Act III Edit

The remaining loyalist Marauders have been rounded and tied up in Naku Village's square and are awaiting judgment. A circle of villagers have gathered to gaze upon the enemy that caused them so much grief. Among the captured are Halinka and Yafeu and watching in the crowd stand Lance and Anuka.

Yafeu tugged on his chains, his wings bound behind his back, anchoring him to a post with the rest of the oppressors. Halinka stood quietly against the stake, refusing to show weakness to her sworn nemeses. Yafeu held no such sentiments and was constantly bellowing out insults and threats to members of the audience.

Lance patted Anuka's hand. He was thankful that the worst was over and that she could be free of the stresses they'd faced over the past week. Anuka stood behind him meekly, watching the eagle rant endlessly.

Yafeu, glancing around the crowd, noticed Anuka sheepishly ducking behind the other dragon. He paused his declarations of revenge to focus entirely on her, figuring she'd be an easy target.

"And you! Dragon! Where were you on the battlefield, huh? Wait, no, you weren't there! Because you're weak! Pitiful!! You chose to hide rather than fight!" A spiteful grin spread across his face. "Of course you wouldn't fight. You know you wouldn't have lasted five minutes. Useless. Pathetic! Ohh, how the survivors of the war must resent you! A dragon on the frontlines? Think of the lives that could have been saved! But you didn't participate. You stayed here and hid under your blankets shivering in your own piss!"

He paused for a moment to study her as if a next meal.

"When I get free of these ropes, you'll be the first to receive my arrows. One in your frail little heart, one in each of your scaly, greasy wings, and one in your left eye just for good measure. How's that sound? Pretty sexy, huh? Does that get you hot?"

Lance instinctively moved to shield Anuka from any more of Yafeu's scorn. Before he could refute the insults though, she gently put her hand on his shoulder. Confused, he turned to face her. She shook her head, silently asking him to back down. Lance stood agape for a moment before nodding and standing aside. She gave him a reassuring smile and started walking toward her aggressor.

Anuka's lack of reaction caught Yafeu by surprise. Determined to not be one-upped by such a weakling, he nervously fired off more insults and threats. She wasn't listening to him. She just quietly approached him and before he could utter another word, she waved her palm, casting ice blocks on both his feet. The sudden weight change threw off his balance and Yafeu fell face-first down into the mud. Stunned and helpless, he looked up at her in fear. Her gaze down on him was stern and determined.

"You call me weak and pathetic. You hurl hurtful words at those you deem easy targets. Your lack of integrity shines like the sun through your harsh words." She took a deep breath and continued. "I have had to face inner demons that your kind have unleashed on me. It has always been hard. But I think that is what the greatest difference is between the two of us: I have learned to live with and accept my pain and to grow from it. You harbor yours and spew out bile to cast out yours to no avail."

Yafeu stared up at her, speechless. His legs wouldn't budge from the ice and his bindings prevented him from rising. At that moment, he was helpless against her.

"I do not hate you. I do not pity you. If I harbor any negative feelings for you, it is not out of anger; it is out of concern. For you to believe your actions to be commendable and a show of strength, I see it as it truly is: empty words shielding a scared, insecure fledgeling from the harshness of the real world.

"You like to think putting others down makes you bigger than them. You are wrong. So wrong. It makes you small. A lack of effort to understand others is far too easy whereas learning to handle fear and other feelings that come from trusting those close to you takes true strength. This is how I am and always will stand taller than you, and you will just be a helpless, unsympathetic bird in the mud. That is what you are to me."

Stunned from what just occurred, Yafeu gocked at Anuka as she walked away. She had used his inner-most fears to humiliate him. He had no words to save face at this point. For the first time since he was very young, he began to tear up.

Before making it back to Lance, Anuka approached a guard. "Do not let his feet stay frozen too long. Crack the ice open gently within a few minutes. He will catch frostbite if you ignore my request." When the guard frowned, clearly not happy about showing mercy to their enemy, she responded, "I understand your reservations, but please. Do as I ask."

With that, she walked back into the arms of her lover. Tears ran down his face as he hugged her tight.

"I'm so proud of you. My Anuka."

She smiled. What she had said to Yafeu was all true, and while she was grateful for all the help her friends had provided her, she too was proud of herself for finally putting her past behind her.