Darkest Star, Brightest Shadow

There are some times in life where even the brightest of stars can become so dark and corrupt, that they are unstoppable. It is at this time of peril that a nobody, an insignificant little shadow, must step up to face the enemy. Umbra. Umbra must step up, and become the brightest of all shadows...

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5. Leave or help

They had stopped in front of a cave. The wolf sat, waiting for Umbra. When he had appeared, the wolf trotted into the cave. Umbra, without hesitation, followed it into the cave enterance. It was fairly large, with a large bundle of bags lying in the corner. At the other side of the cave was a cage made of recently cut wood. Inside...

"Aquila?" Umbra gasped. His old enemy looked up, his deep blue eyes suddenly lighting up with hope. As Umbra ran over, he noticed that there was a cut in Aquila's forehead, and there was fresh blood staining his blonde hair. The kid had clearly been crying, and one of his arms was twisted in an unnatural way.

"Umbra... Please help me..." he whispered. Umbra crouched beside the cage to look at Aquila in the eyes.

"How do I know this isn't a prank?" Umbra asked. His expression was half wary, half sympathetic. Well, it was switching between the two, anyway.

"Umbra, please! Trust me... Otherwise they're going to kill me! Besides, why would I cut myself just to trick you?" he whimpered. Well, he had a point. Aquila wasn't the sort of person to cut himself just to make someone else look stupid. And the look in his eyes... it was pure fear. Umbra knew that if he didn't help, Aquila would be seriously injured. Or killed.

"Well, why should I help you? You bullied me when I was just a kid. You were so mean to me, Aquila. So tell me. Why should I help?" Umbra growled.

"I... You... You shouldn't. You have no reason to help me. But please. I... I really need your help, Umbra! Otherwise I'm going to die." Aquila was sobbing now, tears running down his face.

"They... They said they're going to kill me,Umbra! I don't want to die! Please help me. Please!" Aquila begged. "I bullied you because Opal made me. He said he'd hurt Silver if I didn't! I know it's not a good enough reason, Umbra. You have no reason to save me, I know. I made your life miserable... I'm sorry. I'm so, so, sorry." Aquila sobbed, his face tearstained and full of fear. Fear and... honesty. Looking into his eyes, Umbra knew he was being honest.

"And Silver is?" Umbra asked, his tone softening. Aquila raised a trembling finger and pointed to the wolf, who had been forgotten in the conversation. If you could call it a conversation. Umbra gasped.

"You... have a wolf?"

"I befriended him when we were both little. Opal... he found out. Then he threatened to hurt Silver if... if I didn't... bully you. I'm really sorry, Umbra. But Silver..." Aquila trailed off, burrying his head in his arms.

"Okay." Umbra said, "I believe you. I can see it in your eyes, and I don't think Silver would be your friend if you were just a bully. Wolves are smart." Umbra said.

"You... believe me?" Aquila murmured, wiping away tears. Umbra nodded, then asked, with a slightly wearily tone to his voice,

"So you want me to get you out of the cage?" Aquila nodded weakly. "And who exactly put you in the cage?" Umbra asked him. Aquila looked at Umbra nervously, debating whether or not to tell him. Like if he told the truth, then Umbra would run away screaming. Then he finally opened his mouth to speak.

"Goblins." he whispered in a choked voice. "Fifteen of them. I...I-"

"WHAT?" Umbra yelled, shocked. "What do you mean, goblins?" Aquila backed away from the enterance of the cage like he was scared of Umbra.

"Sorry, I... Just... Please, get me out of here. Please, before they come back..."

"And when are they coming back?" Umbra asked. He couldn't believe that goblins were here, in Shegeira. In his home town that he thought was safe, protected by Terragon's soldiers. Goblins. And by freeing Aquila, he was defying them. Umbra shivered.

"I don't know. They... They left for a hunting trip about fifteen minutes ago." Aquila murmured. Umbra nodded, anxious to free the kid and leave.

"So I just slice the cage down?" Umbra asked, and Aquila nodded, sniffing. Umbra drew his blade, and sliced at the bars. It was a powerful slice, cleaving straight through the wooden bars. Umbra sliced again, this time lower down, to provide Aquila with a way to get out.

"Thanks, Umbra." Aquila said with obvious gratitude in his voice. "I really thought you were going to leave me there." Umbra gave a slight smile.

"Well, I guess I'm just generous. Now, lets go." Umbra replied, desperate to leave. Nodding, Aquila followed him out of the cave enterance, Silver at their heels. Aquila pointed to the oposite direction that Umbra had come from.

"We'll go the oposite way they went in." he decided, and lead his wolf and his saviour deeper into the woods. Umbra glanced back, and thought he saw a shadow again. Just one, flying from one branch to another. But then it was gone. Umbra decided to ignore it - surely nothing could be more dangerous than goblins?

"Umbra, I know I was horrible to you when we were little. But you still saved my life. Seriously, thanks so much, Umbra. If Silver had found anyone else, they probably would've ran away from him screaming. Most people don't like wolves. But like I said, I owe you my life. If there's anything I can do to repay-" Aquila was cut off by the sound of an axe thudding into a tree right next to Umbra's head. Both of the boys whirled around, to see what they had been dreading.

 

Goblins.

 

Lying on the ledge of rock, I wonder if the legends of lava falls are true. It is said that, if you venture further into the falls, into the centre, there is a way out. An easy way out. But it's not anything like a hole in the edge of the volcano, providing you with a convinient way out, its a portal. In the terror of flying away from my persuers, I had forgotten about it. The portal is supposed to take you to the North-Eastern area of the kingdom, near a city called Terragon. But apparently, there is a gaurdian there, protecting the portal. I ponder over the thought. Should I try and find this portal? But supposing it is a myth? Supposing I waste the last of my energy, and die trying to reach the portal? Or maybe the gaurdian will kill me... Or there is no portal, and just a gaurdian, there to slaughter me? Ah well. My body is still in extreme pain, and I need a rest. Letting my eyelids droop, I slip into a dark and mysterious sleep...

 

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