Trial by fire
Jericho lay silently in the darkness. Why? The handsome drake questioned himself. Why am I here? He knew the answer though, knew it all too well. Dagger was the reason he was here, in this small, cold cell awaiting judgement. She had wanted this, wanted the Blade so badly she could taste it and now they were here.
It had only been 2 days since they came from the outskirts of New Ducaine Central to this place, miles below only hell knew where. But in that time, Jericho had grown to hate this place. He hated the way they treated him as if he were less than a duck. So far all he had been given was water, a little food, and the Saurian treatment.
Jericho sighed. Now he and Dagger were supposed to take some type of test to prove their loyalty to the Blade, and to prove their skills. He hated being tested, as far as he was concerned the Blade could go away and die and leave him and Dagger alone. But no, she wouldn't want it that way.
The male rolled over, attempting to get comfterable on the rock solid bed the thieving organization had provided. No such luck. "This sucks" he muttered under his breath.
He still had no idea why Dagger had wanted to join this group so much, but lately there was a lot about Dagger he didn't understand. Her attitude, her reasoning, her powers. Oh god, but the strength of her powers! Jericho had never felt anything like it, or saw anything like it. It was like her power was alive and not a part of her, but trying to take her over. Jericho desperately wondered where Dagger had found that kind of power in the few years that they had been apart. At first he thought it was with the Mystic, the ancient clan of Magi that Dagger had been forced to go with, but after her powers took control of her in that old building, Jericho thought differently.
The Mystic had never had power like that, Dagger had told him so. The mystic were earth based and their powers existed in the planet and the strength of PuckWorld itself. That was not what he and felt leaping from Dagger's body and holding her soul prisoner. No, this was more. But what?
Jericho's thoughts were interrupted by a quick rapping at the door. "Yeah," he answered wearily.
The door opened slightly and a large duck allowed himself entry into blackened room. Bright light streamed from the door illuminating the barren room. "I'm Sabastian," the large drake introduced himself. "I've come to take you for your test, get up."
Jericho scowled and rose from the lumpy mattress. He grabbed his long trench coat from the foot the bed. "You know something..?" Jericho said angrily approaching Sabastian. "You can all kiss my ass."
Sabastian turned and headed out the door, "don't flatter yourself "*feo."
"What the hell is ‘feo'?" Jericho's tongue tripped awkwardly over the heavily accented word.
Sabastian only smirked.
Dagger smiled as Jericho entered the small metallic training room. She was glad to see
him. Her gaze then
went to the tall drake who had brought him in. He was one of the most attractive males
she had ever seen, even though he wore a mask.
She began to wonder what he looked like out of the mask, or his uniform for that matter. A soft blush began to spread out over her silver feathers as her mind undressed him. Realizing that the two males were staring at her, she quickly turned away.
Jericho walked over to stand next to the Purple haired Magi. "Nervous?" he asked.
Dagger looked up at him and smiled confidently. "No way," she said quietly, "this is not even a problem. We'll pass the test no sweat, and be 'in' by tomorrow."
Jericho smiled down at Dagger. It was true that he did not feel her confidence, but he had faith in their abilities. They had fought many things together, and he knew that they had whatever the Blade needed as far as skills were concerned. Loyalty though, that was another matter all together...
Sabastian walked over to the far wall and muttered a command that neither Dagger nor Jericho was able to hear. Instantly the wall disappeared and a large shelf of weapons took it's place. There were swords of every make and model, staffs, guns and several other unidentified, deadly weapons. Sabastian effortlessly lifted a two handed bastard sword and tossed it to Jericho.
The shorter male nearly toppled over as the weight of the weapon hit him square in the chest. "You bloody..." he growled.
"You'll need that to fight with, feo." Sabastian spoke in such a relaxed tone that it nearly caused Jericho to run over to him and shove the sword through his chest. He would have too but a frosty look from Dagger silenced the drakes temper.
"You on the other hand are a magick user aren't you?" Sabastian asked walking over to Dagger and stopping directly in front of her.
"I...yes, I am." She stammered embarrassed, lowering her eyes.
Sabastian placed his finger under her beak and raised her head so she could look into his eyes. "My people have a great respect for magick users, bonito. You should be proud of your powers."
Dagger's breath came in short gasps. She had never met a drake who made her feel this way before. She said the only thing she could think of, "b...bonito? That means beautiful, doesn't it?"
As Sabastian continued to hold her face in his strong hands, he smiled. "You know the ancient language, I'm impressed."
Jericho cut her off, "are we gonna do this stupid test or not!?"
Sabastian tossed Dagger a small knife and then walked out of the room. The sliding metal door closed silently behind him.
Jericho clenched his teeth. What was the matter with Dagger? She was blushing and acting like a giddy school girl. He lowered his eyes. So that is what she wanted, a man like Sabastian. Jericho sneered at the floor, glad he had not told Dagger how he felt. She would have only laughed at him.
"I guess this is it," she said excitedly grabbing Jericho's hand.
He yanked it away and gripped his sword, "whatever" he muttered.
It was then that the room went dark.
Jericho felt the tension in his sword as he sliced through another soldier. Three more of the PuckWorld special forces lay dead at his feet. Gutted. Slashed. Destroyed. It was self defense. They had come rushing at him, though he didn't remember why. All he knew for sure was that he was in a military base and they wanted him dead. That was all the motivation the drake needed.
He spied a long dim hallway to his left, kicked the dead body off of his sword and bolted
for the hall. It would be a quick run, he could dodge bullets and weapons well. Two
special forces dove at him with lightning speed. Instinctively he lowered his body to
the ground and slid past them and to his desired destination.
Quickly he stood and began to tear down the long stretch to the other side of the building. Why was he here? The question kept nagging at him as he ran further down the corridor.
Several doors stood. Locked. Jericho knew how military bases worked and guessed that they were offices. Not that it mattered, he didn't care. He had one objective and that was to get out of the building, not go routing through someone's desk like a common thief.
Bullets passed by him as he moved to the left, then the right narrowly escaping each well placed shot. They were good. He was better. The bastard sword began to get heavy in his hand and he thought about throwing it. It was pointless to have such a weapon in a place like this. He wondered where he got it from.
Bright light filled his eyes as he emerged out of the hall and into a well lit, board room. There Jericho saw Dagger. She was standing upon a large wooden table shooting small lightning bolts at those stupid enough to attack her. When she saw him she jumped off of the table and landed soundlessly at his feet.
"Where?" he asked
She only shrugged and shot a large fire ball down the hall incinerating Jericho's pursuers. Screams floated in the air as flesh and feathers burned, then there was nothing. They were alone.
"I think we're cornered, Jerri" Dagger said breathlessly.
Jericho took a quick look around the room and noticed that there were only two ways out of the large enclosure. The one he entered through and the one he guessed Dagger had come through. "Now what?" he asked.
Dagger spied a small loose tile on the ceiling and pointed upwards. "I guess we can go up."
Though shocked, Jericho was not about to question Dagger. He nodded and placed his sword into the massive scabbard that was on his back.
Dagger placed her hand on his shoulder and closed her eyes. She had to be focused if her spell was going to work. Silently she commanded the power that lived deep within her soul and deep with in the earth of PuckWorld itself.
A purple aura began to surround the two ducks as Dagger continued her magick. She suddenly got a feeling of urgency and mentally told Jericho to take out his sword.
He did just that as four guards rushed through the door. They seemed momentarily dazed at the workings of the young Magi. Though that did not last long. The trio drew their weapons and headed for Dagger and Jericho.
With new found strength, Jericho lifted the massive weapon and slashed at one of the guards. The sword ripped through his flesh like paper, and crimson liquid began to gush from the guards now wounded neck. He never had a chance to scream though, for at that moment the sword made another swing and lopped off the short drakes head.
Hissing and crackling began to come from Jericho and Dagger as they lifted off the ground and up towards the roof. Power blasted at the two remaining guards leaving them frozen as the two continued to rise. Large, green tiles fell from the roof and shattered upon the gray colored floor.
Faster and faster did the two ascend through the roof and into the darkness of the now visible night sky. But the power that coursed through the Magi was not yet complete.
Flashes engulfed the two ducks and instantly they sped far away from the military base and into the cool night of PuckWorld.
Consciousness began to drag her back into the world, though, she stoubournly refeused. Her head hurt and her throat was raw. Her body ached. She was not aware of where she was but she knew that it must be some type of dream. At least she thought it was a dream. No not a dream, it was her power.
Her back again became warm as she felt herself being lowered on to the warm ground. The warmth comforted her, but a part of her longed for the arms that she had been in moments ago. There she felt remarkably safe.
The sound of birds caught Dagger's attention as her body and mind became more and more
aware. The sent of water filled her nostrals. The soft, warm ground below her also
started to develop texture.
Suddenly she felt cold splashes of water on her face. Dagger shook her head from side to side, then coughed. More splashes followed the first and soon she was fighting to open her eyes. So blurred at first was her vision that she thought she might have gone blind, it began to clear in seconds, though. As her sight cleared she focused on a clear, star filled, midnight sky.
Sabastian was kneeling above her splashing her with water from a small pond. Where in the name of Ducaine?
Dagger fought with herself and began to sit up. As she did so she noticed her surroundings. She was in what seemed to be a lush desert oasis, there was a small inlet of palm trees surrounding a pond and a few patches of lush grass. "How..?" Dagger looked up at Sabastian confusion written on her young face.
He smiled. He wore no mask and looked positively mind blowing. "It was you're power, bonito, it brought you here."
Dagger sighed and began to enjoy her surroundings and the company of Sabastian. Sure there were questions that she needed answers for, but those could wait.
It was an hour later and in the middle of a drink of water when he asked her the question. It seemed to come from nowhere. "Run away with me, bonito. We can get a large house and share all of our secrets, what do you say, hummm?" He placed his sculpted arm around her and pulled her close.
Daggers mind whirled at the thought of sharing secrets with the handsome drake beside her. She snuggled into him and placed her head on his shoulder. "I can't afford a large house," she giggled, "can you?"
"Not yet," he smiled a wicked smile, "but I will be able too soon enough."
He lounged back and rested his weight on his elbows. "The Blade, I'm going to sell their secrets."
Dagger choked, "you're what!?"
"Yes, then we can have our, large house."
It hit her like a magnum load square between the eyes. He was going to sell out the Blade! He couldn't! She needed them to get the crystal of Demimorph. Suddenly something gripped her, it was a feeling of eeriness, like she had with the Mystic. Something was wrong, very wrong. But what?
Sabastian leaned towards her and lifted her shocked face towards his. "No worries bonito, nothing will happen to you. I'll be there to protect you." He nearly placed his beak on hers when she pulled away so quickly it knocked him off balance.
Jericho! He was the one who swore to always protect her! The military base. The test. It all came flowing into her mind. "No!" She screamed, "I wont let you!" Her power was exhausted so she grabbed the knife from it's position in her belt. She had to find Jericho. In a feat of agility she ran at Sabastian who leaped out of the way with startling speed. She was so tired but sheer will kept the Magi going.
As she spun around she found herself incased in strong arms. Though not as big as the ones before they were twice as comforting.
Slowly the night sky melted away to reveal the metallic walls of the room training room. The knife clattered to the ground as she looked up and gazed into Jericho's face. Her panic subsided. It was only the test. None of it was real, though how it had all happened she didn't know.
"You're O.K. now Dagger," Jericho said calmly. The test is over. He saw her confused look and continued. "I came out of it before you did. It was all mentally enhanced, they pumped a gas into the room, we blacked out. It was all in the mind."
Dagger sighed in relief. It was over, she was alive. She hugged Jericho, though he didn't hug back as tightly as he usually did. She thought about asking him what was wrong but decided that she could do that later. All that mattered now was that it was over. But the question was, did they pass?
The ceremony was small but at the same time full of energy. All the members of the Blade watched as Dagger and Jericho took the oath and were given uniforms. They were each assigned a trainer to teach them in the ways of the Blade. Dagger was given Truth, Jericho received Sabastian.
The two never got to talk much until a few days after everything had died down. Even then Jericho was not the way he used to be. He had seen how Dagger acted towards Sabastian, and he had hated it. Jericho figured that he was too close to Dagger, that she should not have the power to hurt him the way she did. But that was of little matter at the moment.
Jericho grabbed the large bastard sword that he and chosen as his weapon and threw on his leather jacket. He had a job to do, and Blade or no Blade, work came first.
[*=For those of you who want to know "Feo" is spanish for ugly]