The Threads of Time

BeastMaster Fan Fiction
by
aikakone

Rating: R
Summary: Set during the end of season one before Kyra's death, a vicious hunter from the far north that is trying to kill the Beastmaster has an unexpected connection to Sharak. Includes the story of Sharak and the Sorceress as students of the Ancient One.
Author's Notes:
1.
The Finnish poem quoted in the story is by Finnish poet Tommy Tabermann, English translation by Börje Vähämäki. Also quoted is "I love you" from French poet Paul Eluard, translator unknown.
2. Archel and Kaija are my original characters. Archel is pronounced "Ar-KELL". Kaija rhymes with "Hi ya!"


CHAPTER 1

He was old before Time knew he existed. Time, Life, Death, even Love, all monsters for some, had ceased to control him. He existed like the eternal winds that never stop but only travel on to a new place. On the rare times when he actually tried to remember, Sharak could scarcely recall when his life had begun. Of one thing, he was certain: the rocks may crumble, and the seas may boil, but he alone would remain.

In his life as a man he had been a sorcerer who had dared to love. For that sin, he had been cursed to live his life forever as an eagle. He had little contact with humans after his own human life ended. There was the occasional companion in a Beastmaster, who was given the gift of animal communication from the Demon Curupira. If not for her gift to the Beastmasters of every generation, Sharak would be completely alone. Sharak allowed them to use his eyes, and in return they gave him comfort and eased his loneliness. That was, when he could still remember how it felt to be lonely. His emotions, or what was left of them, were all numb by now after years of disuse.

His new Beastmaster friend was Dar, the last of the Sula tribe. Dar knew loneliness as Sharak did. Sharak had seen it all--how the Sulas were all slaughtered by the war-like Terrons, how Dar's true love Kyra was captured and held a prisoner by King Zad. Sharak had also seen Dar, after many years of his own loneliness, finally find a friend in an Eiron traveler named Tao.

That very same Tao was currently sitting with his head bent over in study. The Eiron had been studying the map of the world that he drew during in his travels. Tao's honey-colored eyes missed nothing in their curiosity. He was a man motivated to learn and explore.

He had seen a world of amazing things in his short time with Dar. Dar had saved him from certain death by the hands of the Terrons. The Beastmaster had introduced him to the noble tiger Ruh, the mischievous ferrets Kodo and Podo, and the wise eagle Sharak.

Sharak, the scholar mused, turning his attention to the eagle soaring overhead. As if knowing Tao's very thoughts, Sharak came to rest momentarily on a low branch in a tree on the outer rim of Dar's sanctuary. The great eagle tucked up his wings and gave the young man a look as if to bore into his soul with those eyes that missed nothing.

Tao, for his part, stared right back at the eagle as if to find all Sharak's hidden secrets. Dar had told him that Sharak was older than the rocks from the age of ice. If that were true, surely Sharak had seen much of the world. Tao wondered what great knowledge lay hidden behind the eyes of the eagle. How would Sharak's map of the world appear? There were no doubt places on the world yet left to discover, places where no Eiron had gone.

Before Tao could think on this further, Sharak returned to the skies. The ever-curious man wondered again at the enigma of Sharak. What would be the purpose of cursing an eagle with immortality? That just did not make any sense. Of course that seemed to be the way of things in the Mydlands. Nothing was what it appeared to be, and truth rarely made logical sense.

~*~*~*~

A while later Dar and Ruh came racing back to the sanctuary. Dar practiced with his weapon every day and was ever watchful of the Terrons. It was his own personal mission to protect the innocent from the evil that the Terron warriors and King Zad could do. He had been a victim of Terron destruction himself. He knew the loss, and he would never wish that pain on any one.

The golden-haired man spotted his Eiron friend in their home, the sanctuary. Tao always studied his hide with the lines on it! That was, when he didn't chatter faster than a hummingbird could move its wings. What did he call it? Oh, yes! A map. Who besides Tao would want one of those, Dar wondered.

Upon sighting his friend, Tao gave Dar a wave of welcome. "Dar, what do you know about eagles?" the scholar asked.

"They are very strong and honorable creatures. They are said to mate with the same partner for life," Dar replied.

"Is that right?" Tao paused. "What about Sharak? Surely he must have had a mate that had died some long time ago."

"Sharak is very old and wise, Tao, but he keeps his secrets. I only know what he reveals to me," answered the Beastmaster.

"And what does he reveal to you now?" inquired the younger man.

Dar gave a ghost of a smile and replied, "he tells me that you ask too many questions!" He gave his friend a playful shove and then said, "Tao, enough questions for now. Let's eat."

~*~*~*~

King Zad sat eating alone in his tent, his sense of discontent growing with every minute. This Beastmaster was beginning to be too much of a problem for him. He must be stopped, and then the Sulas would truly be no more. Zad slammed his fist down on the table, as if to flatten the Beastmaster like the pest he was.

"Sire!" One of the King's captains rushed into the yurt and bowed in salute.

"Can a man have no privacy?" Zad roared. "Get out and take whatever troubles you bring with you."

"King Zad, we have a visitor in the camp. You may be interested to see him," informed the Captain. "He has news about the Beastmaster."

With a disdainful wave of his hand the Terron king said, "Bring in this visitor. It had better be worth my precious time."

When the captain returned he was accompanied by a man a head taller and more broad-shouldered than most of the soldiers in the Terron camp. He appeared to be a giant of a man with hard features, and he was clothed in metal armor unlike anything the Terrons possessed. He dwarfed the entry to the yurt and had to bend his head to come inside. As he came inside his steady gaze never wavered from King Zad.

"King Zad, this is the stranger who wishes to see you. He says his name is..."

"Archel. I have come here with a business proposition for you," stated the man now standing in Zad's yurt. "I am offering to hunt and kill the Beastmaster for you."

"What makes you think you can do it when my best Terron warriors are still tracking him?" spat the king.

"I have a weapon of great power that you do not have. My bow will not miss any target that I choose to hit," said the man proudly displaying his long bow. It was large and strong with winding bands that formed the arms of the bow. The ends of the bow looked like tiger paws holding the string in place. "I will not miss," he repeated.

"Why should I trust you? What is it that you want? Everyone wants something--why else would you have come here today?" said the suspicious king.

"I only want the gratification of knowing that the Beastmaster is dead, of course. Now if you would be so kind as to give me some horses, supplies and maybe a slave or two, I would not want to be the one to prevent your kingship's wishes" greedily smiled the archer.

The war-like king only scoffed at the archer Archel who dared take of his precious time.

"King Zad, my plan won't fail," spoke the man confidently. "I will begin with the Beastmaster's biggest weakness. I will kill his animals. Then he will be crippled and right where I want him," he laughed menacingly.

"So you would kill his animals to get him to come to you" Zad plotted.

"Yes. He would be forced to come to me. What kind and honorable Beastmaster would not?" sarcastically sneered the stranger.

"There is one more thing you should know. I want the Beastmaster's head on a pike as my trophy," Archel said, bowing slightly.

The evil king laughed again conspiratorially. "If you can kill him, his head is yours. Now be off. Leave my presence! Do what you say and you shall have your reward."

King Zad dismissed the stranger with a wave of his hand.

~*~*~*~

Tao sat by the campfire eating his evening meal. The sun was going down and he knew it would get cold soon. He shivered and found his cloak to cover himself.

Dar was in the middle of some sort of "conversation" with the "little rats". The ferrets had brought some new pretty object back home. When Dar said Kodo and Podo had once been thieves, he wasn't kidding!

Just then Sharak screeched overhead. Dar stood up and got that far-away look in his eyes that let Tao know that he was seeing through the eagle's eyes. From Sharak's view Dar could see a large, armored man riding a horse away from the Terron camp. He had never seen such a man before. His body was like one of the great ancient trees that grew in the forest. The stranger had an archer's bow, a different weapon than those used by the Terrons who went in to battle with crude clubs or swords.

"Tao, trouble is coming our way," Dar relayed to his friend.

"I should have known," Tao wryly noted. "It seems that every time you see through Sharak's eyes, you see trouble. Can't you see anything good through those eyes?"

Ignoring the comment, Dar continued, "I see a man coming from out of the Terron camp. He has a an unusually carved bow. It looks like twisted vines and ends with great cat paws holding the string in place."

"I have heard of such a bow and the hunter who carries it, Dar. He kills only for sport, not because he's hungry or for any other reason. He keeps mementos of his kills as trophies and parades them around for all to see."

"Do you know his name?" questioned the Beastmaster.

"His name is Archel," said the Eiron scholar with a frown. Tao stood up and put a concerned hand on his friend's arm. "Dar, if he wants to kill, he will find a way. He has a reputation for this."

As if on cue, the sounds of the forest exploded with a loud boom.

"Curupira!" exclaimed Dar, both men looking in the direction of the sound.

Curupira came walking out from a small grove of trees. "So you know of this hunter. I will not have my animals slaughtered by a human" she said with utter disgust. "You must save my animals, Beastmaster. Remember the promise you made to me. You will protect my animals."

Dar looked at the forest demon that had given him his power. She had the beautiful face of an adolescent human girl, but she was definitely not human. Her body was green and clothed in vines, and her feet turned backward. "Funny feet", her foe Ketzwayo had called her once. Ketzwayo was now dead, but a new menace had come to threaten Curupira's animals.

"Curupira, I will do all that I can to stop him," Dar said to the frowning demon.

"Do it, Beastmaster! You're not so important, you know. You can be replaced," threatened the demon before she disappeared.

~*~*~*~

Archel traveled out of the Terron camp on a mission. He would have the Beastmaster's head as a trophy of his kill. He would get the man's attention the best way he could--by killing what he loved, and that suited Archel just fine. He enjoyed the hunt and his trophies.

Archel knew he could not lose; he never did. Archel laughed to himself at the simple genius of his plan. He would have the Beastmaster's head very soon.

Archel did not know that Dar saw his advance through Sharak's eyes. It would not have changed his course of action if he had known. With his plan, he could make the Beastmaster come to him. The archer had no desire to hide.

~*~*~*~

Dar readied himself for the journey as Tao packed essential items such as his healing herbs. He had fought hunters and poachers before and succeeded. He prayed this that time would be no different.

In case the task was to be long and difficult, Dar encouraged Tao to pack lightly by saying, "Tao, we have to move as quickly and quietly as possible to find this Archel."

Tao was more concerned with his friend's well-being and had to ask him, "Dar, I know you have to stop him, but what will you do when you find him?"

Grim-faced, the Beastmaster replied, "anything it takes. Now let's move. We don't have time to lose, and he is still a few days travel from here."

Dar separated his staff into its two distinct parts and put them into the harness on his back. Meanwhile the ferrets ran into their traveling pouch. Ruh slipped silently into the forest to scout ahead for any danger.

Tao faithfully followed his friend, but not without some feelings of trepidation. Here we go again, he mentally sighed.

~*~*~*~

The Sorceress curiously watched the Beastmaster's movements. She usually kept herself informed of all that he was doing. She had always wanted his power to communicate with the animals. She needed Dar to be alive. Through him she could communicate with Sharak.

She and Sharak had both been students of the Ancient One. They had left the world of humans to learn the art of magic. The Ancient One had told them that anything human, especially emotions like love, were forbidden to those who would work magic and live forever. Emotions made one mortal. She had loved Sharak, though. Because of this and other transgressions, she and Sharak were each cursed: she to forget and he to be forever an eagle.

The Ancient One had recently allowed her to remember, and remember she did. She relived every infinite detail of their love. It had come over her like a flood, and she had no defense for the pain of love lost. Every feather-light, whispered memory made her ache.

Before they were parted forever, Sharak had recited a poem1 to her in his secret language. Now she remembered clearly and painfully as she had remembered all about their love:

'Go to the forest,
Go to the mountains
Go to the far off sea
Let loneliness caress you
Until your skin is thin enough
So thin that your heart
Sees me through it
That I was the one
Who caressed you,
Who caresses you
Go, go.'

The sorceress shivered to herself. She would try all to feel his caresses again. She turned again to watch the images appearing in the water of her amethyst geode. She determinedly squashed the images to make them go away from view. No, she needed this Beastmaster alive, and she had to make sure he did not come to harm.

To Chapter 2

1. Poem by Finnish poet Tommy Tabermann, English translation by Börje Vähämäki.


Vita Brevis, Ars Longa

aikakone

mydlands@yahoo.com

Disclaimer: BeastMaster, its characters and images are the property of Tribune Entertainment, 1999-2002.
This fan fiction story is my own work, aikakone.