Eliv Thade Masquerade
On a dark and stormy night in the Haunted Woods (which is
pretty much like every night in the Haunted Woods), a small group of Neopets is
seen crawling ever closer to a large, dilapidated mansion at the top of a hill
overlaid with weeds. The weeds sparkle with a mysterious light from an unknown
source; the scraggly shrubs cluster together bravely, trying desperately to resist
the fury of the wind. The Neopets each pass by the undergrowth without taking
much notice of their desperate battle to stay rooted; they don't take much notice
of anything for that matter, except for what is directly in front of them. Nobody
has time to pay attention to what's in the woods, trying to move forward while
staying balanced is the main concern.
At long last, the Neopets reach the top of the
hill where the fearsome castle stands in front of them in its full glory. All
of the Neopets stop to look at the nightmarish landscape with terror, all but
one. This audacious Neopet continues forward at a steady pace without even noticing
the others. The rest of the group hurries to catch up, and because of this sudden
rush, almost all of them slip and fall on the wet grass. The Neopets quickly
collect themselves and, when they do, begin running again. The moment the group
manages to catch up to the fearless Usul, she turns around so suddenly, the
others almost collide into her. Yet, she seems completely calm, not even blinking
an eye even though a large Elephante almost crashes into her like a bowling
ball. As a matter of fact, it seems the Elephante DOES actually hit her; it
seems like he almost goes THROUGH her -- for a moment... but apparently it was
just a hallucination. The large Elephante backs up awkwardly, pushing the other
Neopets away as he apologizes to the Usul for sort of, almost hitting her. The
Usul gently raises one of her paws and motions for the crowd to quiet down and
come closer, completely ignoring the Elephante. The crowd huddles around the
blue-eyed Usul's gaslight, trying to absorb as much warmth from the tiny illuminating
flame as possible.
"This..." Gilly the Usul pauses dramatically,
"is the formerly haunted Castle of Eliv Thade."
A small chubby Bruce with a pink umbrella raises
his camera to his eyes and begins taking photos of the iridescent castle. Suddenly,
a powerful gust of wind erupts from the forest below and rips the umbrella out
of the Bruce's grasp. The sound of metal twisting is loudly audible as the umbrella
is carried over the mansion by the wind and out of sight. The Bruce looks at
the castle's towers in disbelief.
"Do not worry about your umbrella. I highly doubt
it will ever be found again. Lost objects are usually picked up by the Pant
Devil or Swamp Ghoul," Gilly says matter-of-factly.
All the tourists gulp and look around nervously.
A green Shoyru raises his hand like an obedient schoolchild. Gilly looks at
the Shoyru and nods, urging him to speak.
"The castle... isn't haunted now, right? It's
safe, isn't it... could we go inside?" the Shoyru asks timidly.
Gilly shakes her head. "The castle is very dangerous
and should never be entered by anyone. It's not because of the spectre of Eliv
Thade; his tormented soul has been laid to rest, it is because of the condition
of the castle. It is liable to collapse at any time. The floorboards are very
weak as well, if you stand on them, you could risk falling into the basement
and never being heard from again."
Gilly then picks up a golfball-sized stone by
her feet and tosses it over her head onto the roof of the castle. Everyone is
completely silent as they listen to the stone actually falling through a weak
part of the roof, into the house, and possibly breaking a few things that sound
like glass objects. Gilly, satisfied, raises her head, awaiting the next question.
A tall Lenny in a grey parka now speaks up, "You...
you are the one who laid Eliv Thade's spirit to rest?!"
Gilly nods. "Yes. I shall describe what happened
that night and everything else I know about the history of the castle and Eliv
Thade. It is why we are here after all. Just keep close."
These words created a peaceful repose amongst
the tourists as they waited for Gilly to speak, and, after a slight pause, Gilly
began to narrate the story in a very deep tone; a tone, some of the Neopets
would later describe to be otherworldly...
"Everything ended on a windy, freezing night,
much like tonight about 200 years ago. The castle back then looked almost identical
to the one you see looming before you today but the magic of Eliv Thade kept
the castle from completely falling apart.
"There was a solitary light coming from the
den that fateful evening. The flames in the fireplace were dancing merrily,
casting sharp blinking shadows on the walls and ornate furniture. A cloaked
figure was hunched over a desk in the far corner of the room, slightly rocking
back and forth in his seat. With a feather quill in hand, the ghastly form was
angrily scribbling nonsensical words and phrases on a pile of papers. The desk
was covered with filth and dust; pencil shavings and pages torn out of encyclopedias
were strewn across the floor. The figure lifted its head and sighed. Its first
sign of life.
"How can I allow being so downtrodden by
my own self...?" The possibly-alive creature said out loud.
"It turned around and stood up, facing the flames
of the fire on the opposite side of the room as if expecting an answer to its
question. The light of the fire brought life to the creature's face, although
it still seemed frightening and inhuman. The face was distinctly that of a Kacheek,
a Kacheek by the name of Eliv Thade. THE Kacheek who had supposedly been driven
mad by a puzzle a simple-minded servant of his had given to him. THE simple-minded
servant, who had stumped the greatest mind of all Neopia, one so brilliant that
not even the feared Brain Tree could comprehend?! Yes, it was a terrible situation,
but one that could have been easily avoided if not for the deadly PRIDE that
had infested my... I mean, Eliv Thade's mind.
"Eliv Thade shook his head furiously as if trying
to ward off an evil spell. He slowly crept out of the den not bothering to put
the fire out. The delusional Kacheek kept talking to himself as he walked up
the creaky staircase to his bedroom chamber. As Eliv Thade laid his head to
rest that night, he imagined seeing the disgruntled face of his former servant
once he had figured out the answer to that good-for-nothing puzzle. That useless
"However... he never did solve the puzzle--he
passed away that very night in his own lotus land. But because of Eliv Thade's
undying desire to KNOW, his spirit remained, an angry and vengeful apparition
bent on terrifying and trapping wandering travelers. For over a hundred years
the squalid mansion remained a deadly trap for anyone who dared to enter....
"Until... I found MYSELF lost inside the mansion
of doom exactly four years ago to this day. I was coming from the Spooky Marketplace
and while I was on my way home, I had foolishly forgotten my way. At first I
wasn't bothered by being on a different path; I figured the path I usually took
was parallel to the one I was on. I kept walking.... and walking.... until hours
later, I was STILL in the woods. I was naturally beginning to panic and in my
disoriented state I started running blindly down the shadowy trail. After another
long stretch of time, I came to a small clearing at the base of a large hill.
Atop the hill I saw the pointed spires of a large castle. I could almost SEE
the aura of evil around the mansion, even though the mansion was shrouded in
mist and surrounded by the swarthy branches of trees. A demonic air seemed to
float towards me from the top of the hill, beckoning me forward in hushed whispers.
I began to shiver uncontrollably; a terror like no other crawled up my spine
and into my head, ringing a bell in my mind.
I knew I had to get away from that castle as
fast as possible, but when I tried to move my feet, I found that they were cemented
to the ground. With my eyes closed and my fists clenched, I managed to turn
around and run. But suddenly, a bolt of lightning had stricken a gnarled and
scraggly tree nearby, lighting it and a few shrubs and dry pieces of debris
on fire. The deafening thunder seemed to anger the clouds, for they opened up
and began to pour down rain at an alarming rate, drowning everything in a matter
of moments. I then changed my mind for a reason that I never did understand
and climbed the hill towards the castle. It seemed that the lightning had scared
away my original fear of the castle and replaced it with the fear of getting
soaked and lost in the forest at night. I stopped in front of the gigantic iron
door and surveyed the property more closely. I figured going inside the house
and standing right by the front door, which I would leave open of course, would
do no harm. But the longer I stood before the door, the more frightened I became.
The evil aura I felt before was now stronger
than ever. Every fur on my body was standing on end due to a combination of
incredible fear and cold. Yet, somehow I managed to gather enough mental strength
to touch the iron door and push it slowly. The door didn't budge. I then put
both my paws on the door and slowly, ever so slowly, pushed as hard as my shaking
body would allow me to. With a chilling CREEEEEAAAAKKK, like the sound of a
thousand knuckles cracking simultaneously, the door opened, revealing black
nothingness. A warm foul stench invaded my nostrils as I stepped into the completely
silent darkness. And then..." Gilly looks at the frightened expressions of the
And exactly when Gilly opens her mouth to continue,
a black cloud with glowing red eyes blasts out through the front door of the
castle with the force of a cannonball being fired. The old and rusted door is
torn off of its hinges and crashes down onto the slippery grass right next to
one of the wide-eyed tourists. The cloud hisses and screeches in a way that
nothing living could ever replicate. It grows and spreads over the tourists,
its screams becoming louder and more violent. The cloud then slams down onto
the ground, swirling around and twisting, still becoming larger in size. The
tourists stand silently in their spots for a moment, with an extreme pallor
in their faces, not sure what to do. Then, they all spring into life suddenly,
like robots being turned on, and do the only logical thing they can -- RUN.
"AAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!" The tourists whose vocal
cords aren't yet paralyzed scream. The bewildered Neopets bump into each other
like a box of malfunctioning Clockwork Grundos while trying to turn around.
Eventually they manage to face the right direction and run back down the hill
faster than they ever would run down a hill while playing Cheeseroller. The
green Shoyru's shoes are even left behind.
After all the commotion is settled, the mysterious
black cloud quiets down, shrinks in size, and hovers harmlessly in Gilly's paw.
Then, with a sound of sizzling bacon, the cloud fizzes out in a small puff of
smoke. Gilly looks at the sky for a while with a slight smile on her face. She
then begins to laugh as she turns to face the castle, which is now glowing in
an eerie light. The front door is magically back in its place; in fact, the
whole castle seems entirely renewed. The windows are no longer smeared with
ages of dust; the roof's shingles are neatly and sturdily laid down, and the
green moldy color of the castle has changed back to the slick black and grey
of new stone.
Gilly's image then becomes blurry as the colors
of her auburn fur and crimson clothing mix together, much like the way different
colors of paint would swirl into one another. In a matter of moments, a very
different creature is standing where Gilly once was... It is none other than
the spectre of Eliv Thade!
"Hey, that whole story about some Usul beating
me sure brings in a lot of income! I've even got my own merchandise, Hidden
Tower novelties, and game!" the zombie-like Eliv Thade laughs to himself as
he turns around to face his home. "Pah... anyone with one grain of sense would
realize my anagrams are impossible to solve, but it's only fair to keep up with
the myth... and perhaps to scare the occasional group of tourists... Well, anyway,
I better light the fireplace. It's cold tonight." Eliv Thade laughs maniacally
as he floats through the front door and towards the den.