To Guard the Living
To Guard the Living
"Oh please wake up, Phaedra!"
The Horse huffed, but did not move otherwise.
"Phaedra, you are being childish. I only want to talk!"
The Horse's eyes turned blue, and he shifted his legs a little.
"What do you want, Avion?"
The Eagle looked up at Phaedra, who was now sitting on his flat sleeping platform.
"Have you heard of the deaths of Valus, Quadratus, and Gaius?"
The Horse suddenly appeared saddened. "I had heard of our Great Minotaur and Bull, but not the Knight. He has fallen also?"
Avion sighed. "I am afraid so. The worst part is that we have no idea how to stop our assailant. That vile Colossus Kuromori says he knows the order in which the Wanderer is going after us, but he wouldn't tell me."
Phaedra's eyes flashed red. "That putrid lizard. You should drag him by the tail to Malus so he can be forced to tell!"
The Eagle chuckled slightly. "I doubt that would work. Kuromori would blast off my claws before we were half way there!"
The Horse huffed again. "Well, somebody has to do something! This Wanderer is clearly much more powerful than he appears, and is a threat to our existence!"
Avion nodded. "Exactly. What do you think we should do?"
The Eagle stiffened, expecting the usual "throw the boy off a cliff" response.
"He is going after us for a reason, surely. Than all we must do is give him what he wants! Killing the Wanderer will only scar our souls, no matter how much he deserves it."
Avion blinked. "R-Really?"
Phaedra nodded. "Of course! Now, we will need to have someone spy on the boy. Not a Colossus, they're too-"
"Wait, you don'twant to kill him?!"
The Horse looked surprised. "What, do you?"
Avion would have appeared ruffled if she had feathers. "Of course not! It's just… and you… and everybody… um… wow, wonderful! Wonderful! I will send some doves to stay in the main chamber of the Great Temple, since that is where the Wanderer is coming from. If they find out anything of importance, I will be the first to know."
Phaedra gave a satisfied snort. "Very good. Now, my dear Eagle, would you be so kind as to let me have some peace and quiet?"
The Eagle shook herself, embarrassed. "Oh. Yes! My apologies for keeping you from sleeping."
The Horse nodded and his eyes went black, showing he had drifted off.
Avion sighed and carefully took off, flying out of the luscious, green canyon. She called a group of doves and gave them their orders, all the while with an eerie feeling in the back of her mind.
So much worry…So much sadness…
Phaedra sighed. He had so much weighing on his mind it affected him physically, making the Horse tired and in want of rest. To calm himself, he listened to the songs of birds passing by, the rustle of leaves on leaves in trees, the sound of lizards skittering over rocks, and… the footfalls of a horse?
The Horse shifted slightly, making his hearing even more acute. Coming down the path into the canyon was a hoofed creature, obviously a horse from the way its steps came in a nervous and graceful fashion. Phaedra heard someone mumbling to himself upon the horse, and peaked his sense of the ears higher.
"After this, Agro, I am a quarter of the way through. Only a quarter, but still… I did not think I could get this far. What do you think this one'll be?"
The horse did not respond.
"Oh… right… you can't talk. This blasted place is making me insane…"
The footfalls became more pronounced as "Agro" walked around the hill-like tombs, approaching where Phaedra rested at the back of the canyon.
When the intruders were close enough, the Horse's eyes turned blue, allowing him to take in the sight before his hooves. There near his feet stood a black horse with a boy of the Wandering tribe upon its back.
Phaedra, joints creaking, brought his legs beneath him and stood, balancing easily on his pointed hooves. The Horse glared down at the boy, giving him a clear message to leave. Agro was already starting to shy away, giving terrified whinnies. When Phaedra began to step forward, the Wanderer kicked his horse into action, cantering away from the platform towards the tombs. The Death Guardian followed at a reasonable pace, only intending to scare the boy out of his land.
Suddenly, the Wanderer jumped off his horse and began running by himself in the direction of one of the tombs. He ran around to the entrance side and dove in. Enraged at seeing his place of duty intruded, Phaedra walked up to the tomb and began to rear, bringing his hooves down violently upon the raised ground. The Horse had completely put aside his noble beliefs and intended to kill. Phaedra stopped rearing and walked around to the entrance side of the tomb. Leaning down, the Horse looked into the hole, checking to see if the Wanderer was sufficiently shaken to death.
To the contrary, as Phaedra soon found out, the boy was quite alive. He jumped onto the reign-like stones that drooped off of the back of Phaedra's head. The Horse gave a startled snort and got back into standing position. Meanwhile, the Wanderer continued to jump upwards, grabbing notches in Phaedra's head armor. When the Horse felt something crawl onto the exposed fur of his cranium, he shook. The Wanderer, not expecting it, was thrown onto Phaedra's back. The boy was stunned for a few seconds, but quickly got back on his feet and began running about on the Horse's back, looking for vitals. Phaedra, not waiting for the Wanderer to figure out where his only vital was, began to rear and buck. Despite his efforts, the boy was now running up to his neck. Before he could shake again, Phaedra felt a piercing pain in his neck, numbing the nerves temporarily so his head came down. By the time he could raise his head, it was too late. Even worse pains began to split open his brain, blinding him. Phaedra shook desperately, trying with all his might to get rid of his attacker. Trying to guard his life.
But to no avail.
The world became without feeling or emotion as the Horse fell. His world turning dark, Phaedra looked past his assailant, who crouched before him panting. There, standing upon the closest tomb, was the black horse. They locked eyes for an instant. In his last moments of life, Phaedra knew what Agro thought.
I am sorry… Great Horse…
Avion once again felt a piece of her heart implode. Landing on a ridge in the south-eastern mountain range, she looked about.
The Eagle grimaced and looked down at where the voice had come from.
"What do you want, Kuromori?"
The Gecko climbed up the cliff face from the ravine he had been sunbathing in and spoke in a taunting voice.
"I know something you do not, la-la-la-la-la…"
Avion's eyes flashed red. "Stop acting so immature, you putrid lizard. What do you know?"
Kuromori snickered. "You'll have to be nicer to find out."
The Eagle sighed, annoyed. "Fine… will you tell me please?"
The Gecko laughed. "That's more like it! Hmm… I was passing by Phaedra's canyon when I heard the most dreadful ruckus. When I looked inside, our Horse was jumping about, a little boy sitting atop his head stabbing away! I knew Phaedra was weak. After all, who would take such a tedious duty as guarding the dead? In the end though, it turns out he wasn't that great at guarding the living, either."
Before Avion could claw his eyes out, Kuromori scurried down the cliff side, out of sight.