The Mysterious Aisha Sorceress
The young child runs joyfully through the field of wildflowers, her pink Aisha ears trailing behind her, fluttering with her speed. The grassy meadow waves and dances in the breeze, the lilies springing back up in her wake. Her paws pound against the grass, again and again. She is a streak of pink in a world of dappled green, with flowers dotting the landscape with splotches of paint in every color. The sky is bright and cloudless.
Brimming with mirth, she laughs as she runs, the sound pouring out her her tiny form. Swept up in the simple joy of it all.
At last, the Aisha tumbles to the ground, rolling onto her back and stretching, feeling the flowers and the grass tickle her sprawled pink body. Golden sunlight warms her carnation-hued fur. Her mouth curls up into a content smile.
Childhood. And glorious innocence.
A year passes, but she is still a child. The Aisha pads through the woods, uneasiness rising with every step she takes. The gloomy, gnarled trees seem ominous and foreboding to her young eyes. Perhaps they are. The musty scent of rotting leaves and wood fills her pink nose. She sneezes. The sky is darkening, the sun having forsaken the Haunted Woods moments ago. Roiling grey clouds are rolling in.
Even the sunset's last rays would have provided some comfort to the young pink pet. She is frightened and alone. The Deserted Fairground is gone, somewhere far away, through the convoluted labyrinth of trees that the Aisha so futilely meanders through. In her heart, the Aisha knows she is going in circles. The trees have her trapped; she is lost.
"I want to go home," she sobs, collapsing onto the soft, muddy earth. Tears pour down her pastel cheeks, matting her finely kept fur and coalescing into dewdrops on the fallen leaves below.
Her body is drenched with flecks of mud and streams of salty tears. Her paws ache from hours of walking. Hours of entangling herself deeper into the reaches of the Haunted Woods. Home seems very far away now.
Perhaps she knows she'll never see it again. Perhaps she has not let go of her innocent hope yet.
"Please," she whispers, looking to the sky. Her voice is hoarse. "Help me."
As if in response, the first drops of rain begin to fall.
Her throat is sore from crying. She has given up wandering about for a day now; the sun has risen and sunk once more, and the little pink Aisha still lies sprawled upon the ground. Her body shivers with tremors; the sunless air is cold, and she has spent the previous night sleepless, battered by the frigid torrent of rain. In a sense, she has given up hope. The first step to her fall.
Another sob breaks from her mouth. She knows it does her no good, but she cannot help it. She is unused to the relentless hunger that gnaws at her, or the jarring loneliness that tears at her heart. She wants to see her family again. She wants to see anybody.
She looks up, blinking. She thinks she can see a faint green light coming through the trees, although she isn't certain she can trust her eyes at this point. Her mind instantly jumps to all the terrifying stories she's heard of the Haunted Woods, but she no longer feels fear, merely a curious hope. The glow gets brighter as its caster approaches the fallen Aisha.
Through her tear-streaked eyes, the Aisha looks up as the character steps into the clearing. She cannot tell whether it is an earth faerie or a dark one; her dark-hued wings fan out like giant leaves, but her flowing garb is black, and her eerie eyes are pure white, seeming to cut through to her soul.
"Please," the Aisha finds herself whispering. The faerie's dark appearance means nothing to the child in her desperate state. She means to speak more loudly, but her throat cannot manage any more than a mutter. "Please, help me..."
The faerie hesitates at the edge of the trees for one chilling moment, then steps forth, gliding over to the bedraggled Aisha like a ghost.
"What are you doing here in the woods, Aisha?" The faerie's voice is toneless and apathetic.
"I'm lost," the child sniffled, with another shiver. "Who are you?"
The faerie seems to contemplate her question. "I am known to some as Ilere," she allows, "but names mean very little in this world."
"Will you help me?" the child pleads.
Once more, the faerie ponders her question.
"I suppose, child. Follow me."
Without another word, the faerie whirls around, her onyx dress fluttering behind her. She glides across the leafy, rotting ground as if she is part of the forest itself.
Hungry, cold, and exhausted, the Aisha pulls herself to her feet and staggers after Ilere, her numbly aching paws barely able to keep up with the faerie. She has no choice but to follow.
After what seems like hours of traveling in silence to the bedraggled Aisha, at last, the faerie stops at a shack.
It is not exactly welcoming. The roof is thatch, and the wood planks that make up the walls seem dangerously close to collapsing. The little Aisha trembles, partly from cold, partly from fear.
"Inside," Ilere explains, "is everything you will need to survive in the Haunted Woods. There is food for you, shelter from the elements, and of course, a spellbook." Her pupil-devoid eyes glint upon saying the last word. "Farewell, child."
With that, the faerie turns around and makes for the trees.
"But I want to go home," the Aisha cries, her sob slicing through the quiet night like a note from a crystal instrument.
Ilere does not answer. The night has already swallowed her up.
A shudder ripples through the Aisha's body, cold threatening to engulf her. She does not want to go into the run-down house. It frightens her, just like everything else in these woods.
Above, more clouds darken the horizon. Her fur fluffs up with the memory of the torrential, icy rain a night before. She has no choice but to go inside.
The door swings open with a creak, wobbling on its hinges. Cautiously, the Aisha pads in, pushing the door shut. It is not as dark as she expects; she can see fine. Moonlight streams in through a lone window. There is a rather shabby looking bed on one wall. In the center of the room sits a table with only one chair. The light comes from the fireplace. A strange, dim golden flame flickers on the firewood. It gives off plenty of light, but little heat, and it does not burn the wood it dances upon. Whatever it is, it is some sort of magic.
Upon the table is a plain green apple and a cup of water. For a moment, the child forgets all else. She makes for the table and pulls up the wooden chair, taking a large bite out of the apple. It is fresh and crisp, and she savors the taste. Likewise, the water is pure, refreshing and cold. Sated, the pink Aisha gets back up again.
Near the bed is a box, brimming with supplies. She can see a large black garment, as well as matching shoes and gloves. There are a few jars of rather repulsive-looking ingredients resting next to a tattered, cobalt book.
The child dons the long, jet-black robe. It is much too large for her, and the witchlike garb scares her a little, but it least it provides some warmth for her shivering form. She collapses onto the uncomfortable straw bed, clutching the garment close.
She sniffles, too exhausted to even comb her matted fur. Tears spill from her eyes.
"I want to go home," she repeats. Once more, the world gives her no response.
The loneliness threatens to crush her. She would do anything to see her family; her mother, her father, her friends... Oh, how she wishes that she would wake up from this miserable dream.
And thus is the seed of darkness planted.
She wakes up to find golden sunlight filtering into her eyes.
Rolling over, the child stretches and groans. For one glorious moment, she
Then she sees the reality of her surroundings. The shack has not changed. Her childish wish goes ungranted; she is not having a nightmare.
Another sob pours from her throat, now sore with crying. She shuts her eyes more tightly, wishing that everything would disappear.
The Aisha realizes a loaf of bread and another glass of water have appeared on that rickety wooden table, but she ignores them. She staggers over to the box of supplies, half-tripping over her oversized robes, hoping there is something in there that will help her escape.
The first thing she notices is the spellbook.
She fingers the book. The cover is a greyish cobalt, covered with aeons of dust. It is worn and tattered, and the pages are yellowed with age.
The book has no title, but the Aisha can feel the power emanating from it, tendrils of temptation clutching at her young mind and rousing her curiosity.
She picks up the spellbook and begins to read.
Years pass, and the little pink Aisha girl that frolicked in the lush meadows is no more.
Spell after spell she casts, each and every one draining a precious bit of vitality from her. They take a little of her personality with her, too, as she has little life in her for them to use. Loneliness has made her bitter, although over time, she ceases to feel that, too. Over the years, she becomes twisted, each spell making her a little less of the Aisha she used to be. The dark magic she wields has cast its taint upon her form. Pink fur turns to lavender, and then deep violet. Wings reminiscent of a Dark Faerie's branch from her back. A cyan scar twists around one eye like a mark from a curse. Claws of ebony adorn her fingertips, the same shade as her still-elegant hair.
Most of her childhood memories fade. Her desires to find her family have long since left her. Loneliness has also ceased to mean for her, but her bitterness towards the world has not. Oh, she has plans. And she's not afraid to show Neopia what they are...
She is not so innocent now, as she strides through that same meadow, her black dress trailing behind her. Different flowers dot the new grass beneath her feet, the ones she cannot remember having crumbled sixteen years ago. Her paws tread lightly on the damp ground, her steps soft yet steady, again and again. Rain falls upon her lithe, violet-and-black form, her tainted fur dulled by the clouds that mar the sky.
Her eyes are open, uncharacteristic of an Aisha; they gleam a startling crimson hue. All four ears are pricked as she listens to the rainfall, listens to the heavens' downpour. Her wings are held slightly ajar, and her raven hair is slick with rain. Everything is quiet, save the dull patter-patter of the rain upon the grass.
She finds a shadow of joy in the rain, and in her solitude. But she does not laugh this time. She no longer feels happiness so vividly. The time of friends and normality had passed. She has only herself to rely upon. Accompanied, of course, by her magic, and her plans. She flicks her wrist, conjuring a sphere of cyan flame that hovers above her palm, sputtering and flickering ominously. Her mouth curls up into a devious smile.
And the sky continues its grey lament, tears falling for the premature ending of childhood. Weeping for innocence lost.