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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 15th day of Sleeping, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 78 > Short Stories > Faerie Sorrow

Faerie Sorrow

by rosella_destiny

Untitled Document I sat in my glade one autumn eve, as the trees swayed in the breeze and the flowers inclined their delicate heads, their jewel-bright petals falling like soft rain or angelic snow. I could hear the lonely, distant cry of a Lupe, the haunting sound ringing with what was and what will never be again. As the familiar, prickling sensation of tears trickled down my cheek, I felt again the weariness of the earth and knew that it would soon fall into sleep, oblivion, until spring's reviving thaw. The wind whispered to me and I answered back, "I am Illusen, and this is my home."

     Every autumn, as the leaves change color and begin to fall, Earth Faerie's weep with sorrow. Our bind with the earth is so deep that we feel the stress and apprehension of every creature as they struggle to prepare for the coming cold, and the exhaustion of every single rock and plant. We know that the earth will sleep for months, enveloped in icy veils, until the first Pteri cries or the first Sponderola blooms. While this solemn change brings quiet melancholy, it also brings us great joy, for we know that nature is regaining strength and will emerge, bursting with life, in the springtime.

     This particular autumn, however, things were much worse. War was raging in Meridell, uprooting the fertile soil and wrenching raw potatoes from the earth. Farmers neglected their duties to defend the realm, and young peasants replaced the Chia Police as law enforcers. Famine was reigning, for without farmers there was no food, and the pant devil and lava ghoul were striking from town to town. They stole everything they saw, for peasant Neopets, while skilled at counting potatoes and weighing marrows, had little knowledge of defending people from deranged, spectral thieves. But everything was worth it, because Meridell was winning.

     I knew very little of the war, but no one could mistake the evil, looming shadow of the great stone structure that hovered over our land. The grass and flowers shrivelled beneath it, and if you stood with one foot upon the shadow and one outside it, it was as if you stood on day and night. It was the Darigan Citadel, and I knew it to be the cause of our war. I didn't know why we were fighting it, but I knew that I would support Meridell to the end.

     One afternoon, Iyana, the Earth Faerie prophetess, came to visit me. Her appearance is somewhat unusual, as she was completely green, with glossy emerald tresses, luminous, jade-like wings, and iridescent wings that flickered delicately. Such was the mark of a prophetess. (All Dark Faeries are prophetesses, but none of them can be trusted.) As she stepped inside my glade, I could tell that something was wrong, something that she was trying desperately to hide.

     Iyana was very quiet as she sat down on a mossy log and sipped the borovan I handed her. She fingered the flowers absentmindedly, with a wistful, dreamy-eyed expression on her face, but I could see the secret in the tightened lines of her shoulder.

     "What is it, Iyana?" I whispered at last. I watched her apprehensively as she nodded, evading my question

     Iyana sighed. "Do you know of the king's orb?" she asked finally. I nodded, confused. The orb was Meridell's greatest legend, fabled to bring prosperity to whatever land possessed it, but what did that have to do with anything?

     Iyana watched me silently, then suddenly burst out, "It was stolen!"

     I gasped. Stolen! I had always thought it had been given to us! I had been proud of our warriors' daring! How dare Skarl lie to me, to all of Meridell? Our greatest legend was a joke! I could feel a whirlpool or indignity and shame swirling inside, spiralling inside my heart until it consumed every ounce of respect I had for the king. Eventually, however, I pacified myself.

     Suddenly, I was struck by a new idea. "Wait! You don't mean-" I stared, open-mouthed, at Iyana, feeling a flood of understanding wash over me. "Our orb, Meridell's pride, is Darigan's?"

     "Yes. That's why the citadel is here. That's why Darigan at war with Meridell." Iyana started to rise, then looked over her shoulder at me. "I came to see you, Illusen, because I heard of your great loyalty to Meridell. I was told that you would support it through everything, till the end. I thought you had the right to know both sides of the story." And with that, Iyana left, leaving me an empty cup of borovan and an ocean full of puzzled thoughts.

     Does Meridell deserve the orb? Should Darigan attack us just to retrieve it? Whose side am I on? Do I have to be on a side? These questions, and many more, chased each other through my brain until I finally made a decision. King Skarl was wrong for taking the orb and wrong for lying to his subjects, but did an entire kingdom of innocent Neopets deserve to die for his folly? Lord Darigan was being terribly extravagant, and Meridell still held my support.

     Instead of withdrawing from the war scene, I became more and more involved. I healed wounded soldiers, gave food to poor, and donated weapons and healing potions to the money tree. I even presented the defenders with leaf shields and honey potions. Everything was going well until Iyana returned.

     She came bursting into my glade one day while I was baking a batch of Illusen's Cream Cookies for the civilians. Droplets of sweat fell from her hair as she panted for breath and sat down on a large rock. This time, she didn't even bother to conceal the fact that something was wrong.

     "Meridell is losing!" she exclaimed as I served her a cup of Snowberry Tea.

     "What?" I dropped the cup, and the periwinkle clay shattered into a million pieces. Ignoring this, I sat down next to her, feeling dazed. "But we had such an enormous lead! What happened?"

     Iyana was calmer now. "The defenders found out about the stolen orb. Many of them deserted and joined Darigan's army. I'm afraid there is little hope for Meridell now."

     I waved aside the last statement. I just wasn't ready to accept it. "Who told them?" I asked instead.

     "They said it was a Dark Faerie prophetess. She was tall for her kind, with green streaks in her hair, hostile and merciless."

     I allowed myself a gasp of fury. "Jhudora! Did she do this just to spite me?"

     Iyana shook her head. "We don't know, although it is common knowledge that she is your sworn enemy, and you hers. I just wanted to let you know." Iyana waved at me and left just as abruptly as she had come.

     Two weeks later, Iyana's prophecy came true. Lord Darigan's final wave was deadly, ruthless. They wreaked havoc everywhere they went, tearing innocent Neopets from limb to limb. Within hours, Meridell lay in shambles.

     I could not weep, I could not shout. My beautiful home was dying around me, and all I could do was go about my day as usual. I baked cookies and gave out quests with numb fingers and an even number heart. Try as I might, I could not find the strength nor courage to help.

     The next day, my glade was destroyed. I covered my ears to block out the dying shrieks of the flora in my glade and examined the area with wide eyes. My cottage was smashed to bits; pieces of cracked china were scattered like hail. Streaks of filthy soot rested where there was once living grass. I looked all around me, but there was nothing I could do but cry.

     Over the next few days, it was as if I was a zombie, a slave under a spell. I hid among the trees by day and slept on cracked boulders by night. It was as if the earth was no longer beautiful and that life had lost its purpose.

     Suddenly, a Pikis flew onto my shoulder and the spell was broken. I breathed in the delicate scent of perfume mallows and began to notice the beauty that remained around me. The sky was as blue as ever, and earth as alive. I heard the cheerful whistling of a Beekadoodle and realized there was a meaning in life.

     I had the promise of spring and the hope for tomorrow, and no one could take that away from me.

The End

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