by Robert Teague
This story is written solely for the entertainment of W.i.t.c.h. fans, and no copyright infringement is intended. This story may be reproduced, provided no changes are made, and you let me know.
Author's note: This story is based on the comics, so you won't find Blunk here. Knowledge of the Ari of Arkhanta story arc is necessary to understanding it.
The peace of the Fortress of Kandrakar was broken by the arrival of an entity that few would have expected.
She was clothed in a ragged, pale tan dress, had long, pale yellow-green hair, and her skin was pale with splotches of darker green on her forehead. She was barefoot, and her eyes were a pale emerald. Seeing she had arrived, she smiled, which made her look evil because of the short fangs. She appeared to be in her late twenties, or would have, had she been human.
Yua the Banshee landed on the front steps, and waited a few moments to see what kind of reception she would get. An unfriendly one, she did not doubt. But that would not deter her from her mission. The doors were closed, and she could sense she was being watched. The feeling in the air was not one of fear, but caution and respect.
Yua made up her mind to just go inside, when the door suddenly opened and a figure stepped out. It was an old woman, dressed in a white robe. She was short, had white hair, and skin the color of old parchment.
She bowed to the visitor, then spoke. "Welcome, Yua of the Banshees. I am Yan Lin, an Elder of Kandrakar. If you come in peace, you are welcome here."
"I have no quarrel with you or any other here," Yua answered.
"That is good, for we have none with you," answered Yan Lin. She turned and gestured to the door. "If you would please follow me...?"
Yan Lin led the visitor inside, where Yua looked around in wonder. The white walls were covered in bas-relief frescoes of past events, and more abstract figures. Tall windows let in light, and one could glimpse the clouds outside.
She led Yua to a small room not far inside the Fortress. Inside were some comfortable cushions and a low table set with a tea service and a tray of pastries. Yan Lin sat down, and gestured for Yua to do the same. The Banshee looked around with some suspicion, but could find nothing threatening. She sat down gingerly, and Yan Lin poured her some tea.
She picked up the cup and sniffed it. "What is this?"
"Tea. Among my people, it is customary and polite to share this drink with visitors," Yan Lin answered. She took a sip of her own cup, to show nothing was wrong with it.
Yua took a sip herself, and relaxed a bit. The drink was bitter, but somehow pleasantly so. She picked up a pastry and took a sniff. A look of confusion appeared on her face, and she took a bite. The confusion vanished to be replaced with delight, and she quickly finished off the delicacy. Then she picked up another.
"What is this strange flavor?" she asked, "I have never tasted anything like it. Not the bread, the white powder on the bread."
"That's powdered sugar," replied the Elder, "You've never had anything that tasted sweet before?"
"Sweet? Is that what it is? I know the expression, but I didn't know it really existed," answered Yua. She downed another.
The next few minutes were spent in silence, as the odd pair drank tea and ate the pastries. Finally, the tray held only crumbs, and the tea cups were empty.
Yan Lin put down her cup. "So, Yua of the Banshees, what brings you to Kandrakar?"
"I am here to speak to the Oracle about a matter of some importance," was the answer, "Will you take me to him now?"
"The Oracle is in meditation right now. He knew you were coming, and asked me to greet you, and conduct business.
But he did not tell me what your business was," Yan Lin answered.
"I will not deal with an underling. I want to see the Oracle," answered Yua, standing up.
"I have the Oracle's full confidence and trust. If you will not deal with me, you must go home," said Yan Lin.
Yua's expression darkened, and her hands clenched.
"I would not advise that course of action," said Yan Lin, refilling her cup, "The Oracle deals with events on a very large scale, one that encompasses whole Universes. There is no disrespect intended, but asking me to treat with you would mean your reasons are local to Arkhanta."
"Beneath his notice, you mean," answered Yua, angrily.
"No. He is undoubtedly aware of your problem, and feels I am suited for the task of addressing it," said Yan Lin.
"Please sit, have some more tea, and tell me."
Yua strode back and forth across the room, angrily muttering to herself. She had come to Kandrakar as a last resort,
and it was infuriating to be stopped now. But still, she had the ear of one in authority. Finally she stopped pacing, and made a decision. She sat down. "Very well."
Yan Lin refilled the Banshee's cup, and waited patiently for her to speak.
Yua took a sip of tea, and looked at Yan Lin intently. "My sisters and I are dying. The swamp where we live is drying up, and our lives are connected to that place. If it dies, we do too. I have come to ask for help."
"I see," replied Yan Lin.
"Now do you understand why I need to see the Oracle?" asked Yua.
"The Oracle will not help you," replied Yan Lin, "He is an observer, and intervenes only when he must."
"Then you have pronounced the death sentence of the Banshees, old woman," said Yua.
Yan Lin held up her hand. "Do not be so hasty. I did not say you would not be helped, only that the Oracle will not help. There are others more suited for such a task."
"And who might that be?" asked Yua, skeptical, proud, but secretly hopeful.
"Ones you have met before. The Guardians of Kandrakar," replied Yan Lin.
"Then once again you pronounce a death sentence," said Yua, "The Guardians will not help. They hate me."
"And once again you are being hasty," was the reply. "Let me summon them, and see what they have to say." Yan Lin stood up, and headed for the door. Yua followed.
At the door Yan Lin turned to her guest. "I will not lie to you. You are correct when you say the Guardians have
little reason to help, and in this matter I cannot order them. They will have to make that decision themselves"
The door opened, and Yan Lin lead the way down the corridor.
At last they arrived at the Hall of the Councilors, which stood open and vacant. The other Elders wanted nothing to do with what they considered an evil entity.
Yan Lin stood quietly for a few moments, then made a complex hand gesture. "I have summoned the Guardians, and they
will be here shortly." She looked up into the Banshee's face, and saw fear and despair there. "Do not be worried.
I will help to persuade them."
"Why? We Banshees are considered to be evil. Would it not be in your best interest to let us die?" asked Yua, crossing her arms.
"I do not believe that. Individuals may be evil, but not an entire race. I watched your actions against the Guardians,
and while you held Maqi, and they spoke far louder than your words. You showed compassion and concern, traits a truly evil being would never do. The Guardians will remember that, or be reminded."
"So be it, then," said Yua, letting fate take its course.