|Series||The Journey by Azaelia Silmarwen|
|Previous||Sparrow's Journey: Chapter Eleven|
|Next||Sparrow's Journey: Chapter Thirteen|
|← Sparrow's Journey: Chapter Eleven||Chapter Chronology||Sparrow's Journey: Chapter Thirteen →|
WRITTEN: 9 July 2012
Chapter Twelve: Heroes United at LastEdit
The Smuggler's Caves led out to Smuggler's Beach, and to Sparrow surprise, Hammer and Garth were there waiting for them.
‘Theresa was right. They're here!' Hammer exclaimed, catching sight of Sparrow and Reaver. 'Good to see you again. Hope we didn't miss too much.'
'Besides fighting banshees, hollow men, trolls, shadows and Lucien’s men, no, you two didn’t miss a thing,’ replied Sparrow
‘We wished we were able to help you,’ Garth said apologetically. ‘Are all the soldiers gone?'
'I hope they've gone far away,' muttered Hammer. 'I don't know how much more killing I can stand. Balverines and bandits behind every rock and tree, and every one I kill two more take its place.'
'Eh… this is all quite fascinating,' Reaver said, sounding quite bored. 'I'm… I'm touched. And I'm leaving,' he added, as he began to walk away from the other Heroes. He then stopped and turned to face the cave. 'Oh yes. Three, two, one...'
Next minute there was an explosion just inside the cave's mouth and the entrance caved in.
'And any other lurking nasties in the tunnel now have a bit of a headache,' Reaver said casually, though he had a note of satisfaction in his voice, 'which means I just saved us all. Aren't I nice?'
'Probably about the only nice thing you have done,' Hammer muttered bitterly. ‘Lucien’s men wouldn’t be here if you hadn’t betrayed Sparrow!’
‘I seriously doubt that,’ Reaver retorted. 'Now, in a few moments I'll be sailing away to safety on my escape ship. So the way I see it, we're even.’
'I see a problem with that plan, Reaver,' Sparrow told him.
'And what’s that?' Reaver asked, with a small smirk. ‘Are you going to set your balverines on me to prevent me from leaving?
'No. It’s just that I think that shard’s about to destroy your ship.'
Reaver whipped around, and watched as this beloved ship was blown to pieces by a Great Shard.
'Right...' Reaver said slowly. 'Plan B.'
'Oh, and what would your Plan B be?' Sparrow asked sarcastically.
Reaver didn't get a chance to answer.
'Stop it you two,' Garth snapped. 'Right now, we've got to focus on destroying it.'
'Just never enough,' Hammer muttered.
Reaver quickly took in the expressions on the other Heroes’ faces.
'I'm beginning to assume that this happens to you on a regular basis,' he commented.
'Oh no, having a giant shard attack us is new,' Sparrow answered as Lucien's men were appearing, 'but having Lucien's men coming out of them… that's just getting old.'
Reaver chuckled as he began shooting every soldier he could, while Hammer sent them flying with her hammer, Garth electrocuted them, and Sparrow did all three. He never made it boring for my enemies. He always had a surprise for them.
'Cover me,' Garth yelled, as he ran up a nearby hill to get closer to the shard. 'There must be away to expose its vulnerable spot. I know it has one.'
'And how are we to do that?' Hammer demanded as she fought off a vicious attack from a Commandant.
'Old Kingdom artefacts responded to the Will,' Garth explained. 'I just have to find the right one,' he added, before sending different types of spells at it and muttering to himself. 'There must be a way, but nothing seems to work, unless… long sustained attacks. It is the only way to bring it down.'
'Then start electrocuting it!' Sparrow spat as one of the Commandants sent a trail of spikes at him.
'The shard is shooting, watch out!' Hammer yelled. The Heroes quickly dodged its attack.
'And when it shoots, it is weak,' Garth exclaimed. 'We must attack it, while it's exposed.'
‘Right,’ said Sparrow. ‘Reaver, go over to that other hill and when it goes to attack, shoot it! Hammer, watch his back!’
‘If I must,’ Hammer grumbled.
‘You must! I’ll stay here with Garth. Once Garth is able to get it to attack again, both of us will attack it too!’
‘Sounds like a plan to me,’ Reaver said, before running off, shooting anyone that got in his way, with Hammer right behind him.
It took Garth several attempts to get the Shard to attack again, but when it did, Reaver, Garth and Sparrow all attacked its venerable spot with all they had, before it closed up again. So, once again, Garth worked on getting it to attack, before he and Sparrow hurried out of the way of its fire. Thankfully, Reaver was still able to attack it and ended up destroying it. The Heroes went and met each other down on the beach, in between the two hills.
'We did it!' Garth exclaimed gleefully.
'Now that's teamwork!' Hammer agreed, just as cheerfully.
'Yes, such fun,' Reaver agreed, before smiling widely. 'And with that, I'm off… byesy.' He turned around and walked off.
'You can't leave now. We need you!' Hammer pleaded angrily.
'Not my problem,' Reaver said over his shoulder, as Theresa suddenly appeared next to Sparrow.
'Welcome, Reaver,' Theresa said in her usual calm voice. She ended up startling Reaver. He quickly turned back around, before composing himself again as though nothing had happened.
'Er… delighted to be here… er, whoever you are,' Reaver replied, but you could see it in his eyes that Theresa looked familiar to him. 'But as I was saying before the enormous pointy flying boulder interrupted, I really must go.'
Sparrow snorted at his description of the Shard, as did Garth and Hammer.
'Listen to me,' Theresa said urgently, though her voice was still calm. 'If you do not help us Lucien will control the world and every person within it.'
'Well, he's welcome to them. People are, a bit over rated, don't you find?' Reaver shrugged.
'Then who will you sacrifice to the Shadow Court?' Sparrow asked innocently, but a smirk soon started to spread across his face. He had Reaver trapped, and by the look on Reaver's face, he knew it too.
'Argh, very well… alright, yes, I will help you,' Reaver growled, walking back to them. 'And after that there is a good chance I will kill you, but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it,' the pirate warned, before adding. 'So… what now?'
'Now, we must gather at the Circle of Heroes,' Theresa told the four Heroes before her. 'The ritual we are to perform there shall provide us with the weapon we need to defeat Lucien.'
'Hmm, that sounds like a barrel of laughs,' Reaver said. 'Blind hey, I would of preferred mute.'
'So how are we getting back to Hero Hill?' Hammer asked. 'Are you teleporting us there, Theresa?'
'No, you will have to work together to find your own way there,' and with that said, Theresa than teleported herself away.
'And how are we supposed to do that?' Hammer demanded. ‘It's not like we have a ship, seeing as Reaver's was destroyed and ours decided that they didn't want to wait and just dumped us here!'
'Reaver, is there any way off this beach?' Sparrow asked.
'Yes, but it is difficult,' replied Reaver. 'If we climb that cliff, it will lead us to one of the far sides of Wraithmarsh. Then, if we travel through the marshes, on the other side there is a cullis gate, though I'm not sure it works.'
'That's no problem. I could probably start it up again,' Garth said confidently.
'Well, it's a plan,' muttered Hammer. 'I don't know why Theresa didn't just teleport us with her.'
‘She normal has a good reason for doing or not doing certain things,' Sparrow told her, as they walked to the cliff. 'Though half the time I swear she does it to be annoying,’ he added, before putting Shadow on his shoulders and following Reaver up the cliff, and into Wraithmarsh.
The trip through Wraithmarsh wasn't pleasant. Sparrow didn’t know how many times the Heroes fell over or tripped, but by the time they were half way through, they were all covered in mud and who knows what else. Garth seemed to fall down the most, seeing as he wasn't exactly a fieldworker. Hammer also fell down a lot, before she would get up grumbling. Reaver though surprised Sparrow the most. He was actually very graceful when it came to navigating through the marshes. Maybe it had something to do with his past, but that didn't mean that he didn't join them in the mud, though that was mostly Sparrow’s fault. He always seemed to be the closes thing to grab on when he accidently slipped and Sparrow always seemed to manage to bring him down with him.
'Argh, it’ll take us days at this rate!' Reaver grumbled, after Hammer slipped again, landing face first in the mud.
'Don't blame us!' Hammer snapped, getting to her feet and trying to get as much mud off her face as she could. 'If you were leading us through the marshes where it wasn't all water and slosh, we wouldn't be falling over continuously!'
'Sorry, but there is no -'
'What was that?' Sparrow asked suddenly, drawing his sword.
'What was what?' Reaver asked tiredly.
'Didn't you hear that voice?' asked Sparrow, looking around at his allies’ confused faces.
'No, Sparrow, are you sure - wait, I hear it too!' Hammer said.
The Heroes all listened carefully.
‘You’re efforts are fruitless. You will all die in vain. No one will care for what you have done. You will all be forgotten.’
'Banshee,' said Garth, making blades surround him.
'As if we weren't late enough as it is,' Reaver muttered as a huge white banshee appeared. ‘And it had to be a white one too. Great.’ The white ones were the most powerful, just like the white balverines.
The banshee surveyed the four Heroes, and they watched warily back, wondering where her children were.
'What is she waiting for?' Hammer whispered.
'She doesn't know which one of us to attack, so she's probably think who she could weaken the most,' Garth whispered back.
In the end, the banshee had made her decision and her target was Sparrow.
'Did you know that Rose didn't die straight away from the shot?’ she whispered to Sparrow. ‘No, she watched you fall from the window, and cried bitter tears before a final shot from Lucien. And speaking of Rose, what would she say if she could see you now? Do you think she would be proud? Do you think she would recognise the creature you've become?’
‘Who’s Rose?’ Reaver asked Garth and Hammer, while Sparrow froze; his eyes wide.
‘His older sister,’ replied Garth. ‘Lucien murdered her right before Sparrow’s eyes when he was no older than eight years old. Lucien then tried to kill Sparrow himself. That is why he seeks Lucien’s blood. He hates him for taking his sister away from him. Apparently they were really close.’
'You shall not use my sister against me, banshee!' Sparrow growled, drawing the other Heroes’ attention to him, as he charged blindly at the banshee in front of him, trying to stab her through her icy cold heart.
The banshee laughed as she threw Sparrow away.
‘Sparrow, you can't kill her until we find her children!' Hammer exclaimed, running over to him, but Sparrow wasn’t listening. He was too busy listening to the banshee.
'You are the reason she is dead. You were the Hero Lucien wished to kill, not her. She needn’t have died,' she whispered coldly. ‘Could you do nothing to save her? Were you too weak to stop her death?’
'SHUT UP!' Sparrow roared, finally losing it and startling the other Heroes. None of them had ever seen Sparrow so angry, nor had they ever seen him cry.
'We have to find the children, and quick!' Garth said to Reaver and Hammer. 'The longer the banshee keeps taunting Sparrow, the higher the chance he’ll do something stupid.'
'They can't be too far away,' muttered Reaver.
Together, the three of them went looking for the banshee's children, while keeping an eye on Sparrow at the same time.
‘Lucien still laughs at Rose’s death. He still keeps the gun in which he murdered Rose, and shot you. He was just like your father. He pretended to care for you, before he stabbed you in the back. Matt despised you. He only put up with you so he could have Elizabeth’s undivided loyalty. But when she died, he abandoned you and ran off to see his girlfriend in Rookridge, leaving you and your sister to fend for yourselves.’
‘Where are those ruddy children?’ Hammer said, panicking slightly. Sparrow was slowly beginning to fall to pieces. She was also horrified, by what she was hearing. However, she paused in her search, as did Reaver and Garth, when the banshee started on a new topic.
‘Did you know Hammer still thinks her father’s death is your fault? One day she will betray you in revenge,’ the banshee muttered, moving closer to Sparrow. ‘You got your wish; she despises you with every bone in her body. She’ll never love you and why would she? You are a cold, selfish, heartless monster… So come to my embrace…’
‘Sparrow… NO!’ Hammer screamed, running forward as Sparrow started to walk toward the banshee. ‘What she says is not true! Your father loved you, I’m sure of it! And… so do I! I don’t blame you for my father’s death! That was Lucien’s fault and his alone! Please, snap out of it and stay away from her!’
‘I found them!’ Garth yelled in the background, before destroying them with fire. ‘Reaver…’
‘I know,’ said Reaver, shooting the banshee in the head. She screamed and disappeared.
'I'm glad that's over,' muttered Reaver, walking over to Sparrow and Hammer, as was Garth.
'You can say that again,' Garth agreed.
'I think we should call it a day, and find a place where we can rest for the night,' Hammer said, taking in Sparrow’s current composure.
Gone was the impatient, confident, arrogant and indifferent Sparrow, and in his place was a sad, lost and venerable man, who tried to flee from the pain.
'Reaver, is there any shelter around here?'
'Yes, there's a small village up ahead,' Reaver said, before leading the way through the marshes. ‘I used to live there when I was younger. There should be some blankets still a little intact.’
‘Good. We’ll need them,’ said Garth. ‘After sleeping, Sparrow should be better.’
‘He’ll never be better. At least, not until he has come to terms with what he has done and what has happened,’ Reaver replied wisely, speaking from experience. ‘And even then, his past will always haunt him.’
‘You sound as though you are speaking from experience,’ Hammer said as she led the absent Sparrow.
‘That’s because I am.’ Reaver paused as he heard a banshee screech in the distance.
'Hopefully, we won't come across any more banshee's or at least ones as powerful as the last,' Garth said, glancing at Sparrow, before looking back to where they heard the screech. 'I think another episode like that might finish him off.'
‘Might? Try will! He barely survived that one!’ Hammer snapped.
The Heroes eventually came to the small village, though it wasn't much of a village now. Most of the buildings were falling apart. Reaver led them inside one of the sturdier houses.
‘Welcome to my childhood home,’ he said sarcastically, before going to a nearby cupboard and scrounging around inside.
‘Your mother was the decorator, wasn’t she?’ Hammer asked, looking around at the remaining walls. She guessed that this place would have once been very homely.
‘Uh huh… she was in charge of the household,’ Reaver said absently, before demanding out loud, ‘Where did she put those sheets? I swear she use to keep them in here! Probably rearranged the house after I left,’ he grumbled to himself as he went upstairs.
Five minutes later he poked his head downstairs and said, ‘Bring him up here. My old bed is still in pretty good condition. It won’t break if he sleeps in it.’
‘Okay,’ said Hammer, gently grabbing Sparrow’s arm and leading him upstairs. Once upstairs, she then took Sparrow’s weapons and bag, before gently pushing Sparrow into bed. Shadow jumped into bed next to him, whining slightly.
‘He’ll be okay,’ Hammer said soothingly, before she settled down for the long night ahead.
The next morning, Sparrow’s condition hadn’t changed.
‘Should we stay here until he’s better?’ Hammer said uncertainly as he lay in bed.
‘That’s too dangerous. We were lucky enough last night not to be bothered by banshees and hollow men. No, the sooner he gets out of here, the better. He should improve once he leaves this hellhole,’ Reaver said firmly. ‘This place is probably making him even more depressed.’
‘You know this place better than anyone,’ Garth said, gathering up their belongings.
Leading an absent Sparrow through the marsh lands was not enjoyable, especially when they were attacked by hollow men and the Hero of Bowerstone just stood there like an idiot letting them hit him.
‘He’s more depressed than I thought,’ Garth said as he attempted to get some health potion down Sparrow’s throat. ‘Depressed or not, I cannot believe he stood there allowing those hollow men to attack him.’
‘Well, we’re almost at the cullis gate,’ Reaver said, reloading his Dragonstomper. ‘We’ll get there in under an hour.’
‘Good,’ Hammer sighed.
When the Heroes and Shadow arrived at the cullis gate, Garth went straight to work to activate it again, while Hammer and Shadow sat next to Sparrow. Meanwhile, Reaver stood guard; his dark, sharp eyes scanning the landscape for any approaching enemies.
Half an hour later, the cullis gate was up and running. The Heroes and Shadow hurried through, not wanting to stay in Wraithmarsh another minute.
When the five of them arrived back at Brightwood Tower, they were attacked once more by Lucien's men.
'Haven't they got anything better to do, than guard this tower?' Hammer demanded angrily.
'Probably not,' Sparrow replied glumly as he slowly began to take in the sun.
Hammer and Garth stared at Sparrow. A few seconds ago, he looked like no one was home, but now he was taking and responding to things.
‘I told you that he’d feel better once he left Wraithmarsh. It’s the sun light and air that helps people improve. He’ll be fine in no time,’ Reaver commented, shooting every enemy in range. 'If Lucien keeps this up, he won't have any men left.'
'And that's a bad thing?' Garth asked.
'For Lucien and the poor dead sods it is,' replied Reaver.
Once they had left Brightwood it was smooth sailing to Hero Hill.
'What exactly does Lucien want?' Reaver asked as they walked up the path to the top of Hero Hill.
'Aside from wanting godlike power? Hmm, that's a tough one...' replied Hammer. Sparrow wasn't able to tell if she was being sarcastic or serious. Maybe she was being both.
'No, that kind of power is a means, not an end,' Reaver disagreed. 'What does he want to do?'
'When I knew him, he wanted to resurrect his family. Probably still does,' Garth answered, glancing at Sparrow. 'But... give a beggar a million gold, and he'll buy food - until his full. Then he realises bread isn't the only thing for sale.'
‘So you think that while his intentions were at first pure, that he has now become corrupt?’ Hammer questioned as they arrived at the top of Hero Hill. There was no cullis gate, only Theresa.
'Now we can begin,’ Theresa said when all the Heroes were standing in front of her. ‘Stand in the centre, Sparrow,' she instructed. 'You represent that which binds that three together; Strength, Skill and Will. Together you will call forth the great weapon that will defeat Lucien.'
Sparrow did as she asked stepped into the circle in the middle of the Hill where the cullis gate was. The moment he stepped foot in there, a bright white light surrounded him. He then watched as Reaver, Hammer and Garth each went and stood in their relevant circles. Nothing happened, except the blue light of strength glowed in Hammer’s circle, ruby red light of Will in Garth’s, and the golden light of skill in Reaver’s.
'So now we just... er, do what exactly?' Reaver asked, looking around, before he suddenly fell to his knees, groaning with pain, and he was shortly followed by Garth and Hammer. Then, beams of yellow, blue and red lifted them into the air, before coursing through their bodies, then coming straight at Sparrow. It wasn't the most enjoyable experience to have their energy being forced into his body, but when it stopped, he felt more powerful.
The white light disappeared and Sparrow looked around. Hammer, Reaver and Garth were all on their knees, looking weak and tired. Theresa was nowhere in sight.
'Bloody hell! That... hurt,' Hammer gasped.
'I... agree,' Garth gasped back.
'Well, I did enjoy making that pretty light with you, but with that done, what happens now?' Reaver asked, sounding tired.
'I don't know,' Garth admitted. 'We crossed beyond the far edge of my knowledge when he stepped into the centre.'
'Well then, what happens now... er, blind woman?' Reaver asked, looking around, as were Garth and Hammer.
'Where's Theresa?' Hammer exclaimed.
'I don't know. When the ritual finished she was nowhere to be seen,' Sparrow replied, looking around, worried. He hoped nothing had happened to her. He did not wish to lose the last of his family. He wasn’t strong enough to deal with another death.
'Well, this can't be good,' Reaver muttered, and he couldn't have been more right.
At that moment, Great Shards appeared unloading many Commandants. The Commandants were able to bind Hammer, Garth and Reaver up easily for they were all weak from the ritual, but they had a lot of trouble with Sparrow, especially with an angry dog biting at their heels. The only way they got Sparrow to the ground was when they shoved a dagger under Hammer's chin.
Once they had all the Heroes under control, Lucien finally showed his face. He stood there tall and proud, as he surveyed them.
'Heroes, enough power to build a new world and you waste it trying to save the old one,' Lucien said, shaking his head in disgust.
'Open your eyes, Lucien. The ruins of the Old Kingdom are all around us,' Garth growled.
'And soon they will be buried under the New Kingdom. And you're looking at the new King,' Lucien replied calmly.
'Pretender. Your fall... shall be hard indeed,' Garth growled again.
'Um, deal still stands, Lord Lucien. Er, King Lucien,' Reaver said, making his fellow Heroes all turn and look at him.
'Oh Reaver, will you shut it?' Hammer snapped.
'In fact, you can have these people for free,' Reaver continued.
'And so I shall... and you as well, son,' Lucien told him.
‘Did he just call me “son”?’ Reaver asked, looking shocked. A man young enough to be his something-great grandson just called him son.
'Where is she?' Hammer suddenly demanded, ignoring Reaver’s question.
'Your fortune telling friend?' Lucien asked indifferently.
'What have you done to her?'
'I merely listened,' came his bewildering answer, before he turned and faced Sparrow. 'I should have gone out in the dark and found your body that night. But I was hasty. I let the bloodline flourish, and you have flourished.'
'I'll take that as a compliment,' Sparrow said to him coldly.
Lucien gave him a cold smile and aimed his pistol at him. It was the exact same pistol that killed Rose. Sparrow’s blood began to boil. The banshee was right.
'But this time is different,' Lucien said softly. 'The last of the Heroic blood shall flow out on top of this hilltop.'
‘Why here? Why not back in the Spire? You recognised me, did you not?’
‘Yes, but I thought that I was mistaken. After all, I thought that the little boy I had shot all those years ago had died.’ He began to pull the trigger.
Shadow, seeing that his master was in danger jumped straight at Lucien's arm, teeth bare. Lucien turned and shot him.
It was as though it was all in slow motion. Sparrow watched as Shadow's body tensed with pain, before he went and hit the rocky floor where he laid unmoving.
'SHADOW, NO!' came the agonising scream from Sparrow’s mouth, startling everyone around. None of them even knew Sparrow could make such a sound.
Tears began to fall from Sparrow’s eyes as he felt his heart break again. Why was it that everyone Sparrow loved that to leave him? Was it no surprise that he refused to let anyone get close to him? His heart could not take it.
'Pitiful creature. Misguided and weak, just like its owner,' Lucien said softly again, aiming the gun right at Sparrow heart. Sparrow didn’t even react. He just sat there, too hurt to move. 'The last time I killed you, it tore my heart out. Of course, you were only a child... but then... so was I.'
Lucien pulled the trigger. Sparrow felt pain coursing through his body, the exact same pain he felt all those years ago. He was numbly aware of Hammer and Garth's yells, and before Sparrow knew it, his world went black, with Theresa's voice echoing in his mind.
'Death is not your destiny today, Little Sparrow.'