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Nuria


by einstein20

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For as long as she could remember, Nuria had been different from the other fire faeries. Her skin was always tanned and her hair forever shortened with ragged ends. Why? Well, Nuria had special faerie wings. Emphasis on the special part.

      When Nuria was born so long ago, upon a first glance she had the normal, filmy wings of her fiery sisters but when she screwed her pale face up and began to cry (as new babies often do), her wings burst into flame. The nurse holding her immediately dropped her, crying out in pain at her scalded hands, little Nuria plunging and bawling to a floor that happened to be carpeted.

      As one can imagine, the newborn's wings set the rugs aflame causing everyone to panic since no one had encountered such a child before. All crazy-meepit-land broke lose but after a while, Nuria stopped howling and watched the chaos above her. The scene thrilled her and she began to giggle. And while she giggled, the flames began to dissipate and extinguish themselves as fire-fighting water faeries did their job.

      From their safe places outside of the windows, the faeries floated back in, watching the infant cautiously. Nuria was contently sucking on her toes and listening to the twinkling of the bells attached to a loop around her ankle.

      "What are we to do?" whispered one faerie. "Surely, this child cannot be raised with the rest of our young sisters?" More whispering sounded between the spectators of this unexpected event.

      "I will ask the Queen," Fuhnah stated and marched out.

      But before she was out the door, Eithne stopped her. "What do you going to suggest, sister?"

      "She will not be safe in Neopia Central or in Faerieland. We must send her somewhere where our element thrives. Hopefully the Uber will speak with Fyora; I trust their counsel. How would you feel if it came down to Nuria being sent to someone? If it happened to be you?"

      "I guard the volcano," Eithne gasped. "I do not have time for the fledgling. She must be sent to one who is very advanced, very powerful."

      "Then I won't bring up your name," Fuhnah concluded and vanished through the doorway.

     ***

      "This is a strange case, I must say," Fyora murmured.

      "Indeed," Fuhnah continued, "but Your Majesty must agree that it needs your counsel."

      "Alright, what is it you request?"

      "Where must we place her? Every time Nuria becomes frustrated, her wings burst into flame and--"

      "I get the picture," Fyora stopped her. "I suggest Mystery Island as a safer place for little -- Nuria, was it?"

      "Yes, Your Majesty." Fuhnah inhaled sharply. "But Eithne has already said that she and the other resident faeries do not have the -- abilities, to raise such a faerie."

      "Then the Lost Desert is where Nuria goes," the Queen proposed.

      "But who will look after her?"

      "I will," said a silhouetted figure.

      "You will look after the young one, Lady Aida?" Fyora questioned. The hardly-wrinkled fire faerie stepped toward her sovereign. When not shadowed, Aida had long curly, auburn hair and golden eyes that could burn without fire. She wore tailored pants and corseted long-sleeved shirt that matched her eye-colour.

      "I haven't had something interesting to do in a while, Your Majesty," she explained. "It would an honour to train this seemingly hopeless infant. I've been wanting to get some sun lately anyway."

      "Then it has been decided. Bring her out." A Meerca produced the miracle child, who was sleeping wrapped snugly in a secure fireproof blanket. He offered the baby to the seasoned fire faerie.

      "Thank you," she said to him as she took Nuria in her arms. "If Your Majesty will permit it, I would like to keep Nuria here, in Faerieland, for the time being."

      "Why do you request this?"

      "I want her to have memories of her birthplace before I take her somewhere more -- suitable to continue her extensive training. Should she learn to control her advanced powers before we leave, I would also request a year in the Academy."

      Fyora thought for a moment, her brow furrowed. "I will grant you housing here but I cannot guarantee that she will ever attend the Academy."

      "Thank you, Your Majesty." Aida bowed out of the Receiving Hall. "Well." She turned her focus down to the dozing infant. "I do believe we've got to go find that house that the queen bestowed to us," she cooed and walked out of the Faerie Palace.

     ***

      As Fyora had promised, Nuria lived with Aida for the first several years of her life in a small Neohome on the outskirts of Faerieland. Fortunately, Nuria had taken to her guardian quite well and listened intently to whatever she had to say. In return, Aida had immediately begun to teach her eager student the art of being a faerie. No more freak fire wing attacks or giant bouts of angry displeasure for this fire faerie. No, ma'am!

      Nuria learned quickly and she learned that her wings could be a gift but they usually were a curse. She never questioned Aida's logic or reasoning because Aida was the only faerie to look at her, not her wings. When she was equivalent to the human age of 8, Aida talked to the Academy's board of directors. They outright refused to allow Nuria to attend. No matter how much Aida pushed or how well Nuria passed the entrance exams, they could not risk Nuria's wings or her temper.

      And it wasn't like Nuria had a temper tantrum every time she could not have or do something but it was the ridicule of her peers that might start something horrible.

      So Aida, enveloped in her fury and frustration, whisked Nuria away to the Lost Desert where they were only known as a pair of fire faeries who lived somewhere between the sand dunes.

      "Lady Aida," Little Nuria whispered to her guardian, "why are we here? It is so hot." She pulled at her dress, which was made of fabric suited to the weather of Faerieland, not the dreadful summer heat of the Lost Desert. Nuria barely reached Aida's waist and she ducked behind Aida's legs to shield herself from the sun.

      Aida dragged her back into the light. "Now, now, you'll get used to the heat. Be happy it's warm here all year round, then we won't get cold in the winter." The marketplace bustled around them.

      "But I want to go home," Nuria pleaded in her small voice. "There's too much sand," she complained.

      "We are home, Nuria." Aida crouched in front of her young charge. "And the sand - it's everywhere; get used to it. Here we don't have to worry about hurting things with your wings. Here, people are used to the heat. Come, we've got to go find our house. But first, we must get changed. Ready?" she asked Nuria.

      "Ready." Together they flourished their arms and their dresses transformed into the sleeveless robes of the people around them. "This is much better," sighed the small faerie. They quickly covered their heads and took off into the deserted sand dunes. Nuria's wings burned bright against the blue of the sky. The vast openness below her began to form thoughts of home in her head.

      For the next few hundred years, Nuria lived in a secluded hut, her true identity only known to her sparse neighbours. The rest of the desert town eventually thought she was just a rumour, a story passed down the generations about a fire faerie whose wings were a most extraordinary sight. It was said that her temper is something to be feared. But, who is to know? Not many Neopians even know she exists, and the several that do, don't know why she never returned to Faerieland even after Aida did.

      However if you did happen to meet her, you shouldn't get too close to her wings.

The End

 
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