From Swamp to Sky: Part Three
“I bet my mom would be pleased to know what I've done. I never bothered to visit them!" Irey gasped late the next day. "I'll never make it anywhere this time of day." The Krawk sighed and looked at the little gallion on the bed beside her. She had taken up residence in a small Inn on the outskirts of Illusen's Glade. On the small bedside table was the letter the Fountain Faerie had given her and in her spare time, or when she was cooped up in the room, she read it over and over and over. Now she finally realized what the promise was and to who! She couldn't wait, though, and had to set out immediately. "Come on, Dennis, we can't wait any longer. I want to fly!" She hopped off the bed and gathered her pack and the letter, barely waiting for the gallion.
The sun was setting and casting a fiery rainbow across the sky and clouds. Brigands liked to do their thieving at night so travel would be slightly more dangerous than normal. She was a tough young Krawk, nothing to worry about.
It was a crisp night, autumn was heavy over Meridell, and the leaves matched the fiery sunset both on and off the trees. The once lush, green grass was giving way to winter blades of orange and tan. It was a beautiful sight, the changing of the seasons, one she wanted to experience again. There were no seasons in Bogshot, just hot and cold.
The night travel to Brightvale was as uneventful as the trip the Meridell. One group of five thieves backed off when Dennis snarled and thrashed his tail. Apparently they didn't want to get bit! The thieves here were pathetic...
The sun was rising, and so was her lethargy, when Brightvale castle finally came into view. She would have to stop in town and get a bite to eat before she continued. An empty stomach was hard to travel on when you get too excited to make sure you have something for the road. A quick stop at the fruit stand was enough to get Irey to Bogshot.
”Irey's back!" someone shouted from out of view. An eruption of voicing announcing she was back echoed off the swamp cavern walls. Villagers rushed to greet her and welcome her home with open arms and happy faces.
“Irey!" The old Grarrl's deep voice boomed. "It's about time you came to visit! Didn't we say 'soon', not 'eventually'?" He laughed. "Come in, sit by the fire, have a bite! I'll go fetch your mother." The large Grarrl disappeared into the old hut Irey remembered and emerged with a skinny thing wrapped in a blanket.
“Irey!" it rasped with familiarity. "I'm so glad you finally came home. How have you been? What did you see? And who's this?" She noticed Dennis hiding between Irey's legs.
“Mom? What happened? You look terrible!" Irey gasped.
“Don't be so dramatic. I got sick about a month after you left. It has no cure short of a miracle. I'll be fine." She waved a bony hand. She looked like she had aged fifty years! "I'm still your worrywart of a mother, just a bit skinnier and colder." She offered a warm smile. "Come here and give me a hug, Irey, I missed you so much.”
Irey hugged her feeble mother gently as if afraid she might snap the woman in half. "Are you sure there's no cure?”
“Positive, sweet heart. I'll still live out my years as if I was healthy as a slorg. Maybe even longer!" The momma Krawk laughed.
“I sure hope so, Mom. I'll never forgive myself for leaving if you get too sick." The young Krawk frowned fearfully for her mother.
“Don't be," her mom said tenderly. "Come, sit by the fire, Mayor! Where's the food?”
“Yes, ma'am. FOOD!" the Grarrl bellowed and a couple villagers scurried away to fetch some food.
Irey stayed for the rest of that week to catch up with her mom and tell her all the exciting things she'd done and seen so far. Dennis slept curled up under a blanket on Irey's old bed.
“The Fountain Faerie? That's quite an accomplishment! And you got to meet Fyora! Isn't she amazing? Such a sweet faerie." Mom smiled and looked into the distance as if remembering a time she had actually met the Faerie Queen. "What are you going to do now? What color are you going to chose?”
“Well, I was seriously thinking about Faerie, since it's either that or Darigan to get some wings. Then I was going to see if Jhudora would send me on some quests. Maybe I'll take a break from questing after her and take a long vacation somewhere exotic." The Krawk shrugged and smiled.
“That sounds like quite a plan. I wish I had an adventurous heart like yours. I'd love to see Shenkuu and Terror Mountain. But I'm stuck here in the swamp. Don't make that face at me; I'm quite content here.”
“I need to get this letter signed by the first person I made my promise to." Irey pulled the creased envelope from her backpack.
“What for, dear?”
“My quest was to fulfill the promise I made a few months ago. That promise was to visit the village again, and she wants me to get it signed by the first person I made the promise to as proof.”
“Oh, well, that isn't me. It was the village council that allowed you to leave if you returned.”
“Can you sign it anyways?”
“Sure, honey. Anything for you." Momma Krawk smiled and signed it with a feather-pen. "Now go get the council to sign it and go get your wings! I still expect you to visit every now and then." Irey's mom gave her a tight hug and a big wet kiss on the cheek.
“Thanks, Mom, I will. I promise.”
“I know, dear." Mom smiled warmly.
It didn't take long to find the five council members and get them to sign the letter as well. The hard part would be going back to Illusen's Glade. Travel was becoming more than an annoyance.
“I'll visit again sooner this time, I promise." Irey waved goodbye to the village as she, once again, departed.
“Illusen!" Irey called in excitement to the Earth Faerie. “Illusen! Can you take me to Faerieland?" It was late at night and she couldn't wait any longer. Irey had walked without rest all the way back and she wanted to get to Faerieland as soon as she possibly could.
“What's wrong with you? Do you know what time it is?” Illusen opened the door to her tree house looking quite like she had just been woken up.
“I'm sorry, but I've finished my quest and I want to visit the Fountain as soon as possible!”
Illusen yawned and scratched at her head. “Now?” she asked exasperatedly.
“Ppllleeeaaasseeee?" Irey asked as sweetly as she could.
“Alright! But I'm not bringing you back.”
“Deal!" Irey grabbed Illusen's hand before the faerie could move and they took off.
Faerieland was quiet and a great majority of the residents slept. A couple restless neopets walked the cobblestone streets and watched Irey and Illusen oddly as if questioning what Illusen was doing. It took a bit of shouting before the Fountain Faerie surfaced from the Fountain.
”WHAT! What do you want at this Sloth Forsaken hour?!”
Irey pushed her signed envelope under the water faerie's nose.
Illusen snorted. “That's what I said.”
“Fine, whatever. Get over here. What do you want to be?”
“Faerie!" Irey yelled excitedly.
“Alright! No need to yell. Get under the falls and hold still.” Irey obeyed and stood under the rainbow water pouring from the clouds. The Fountain Faerie muttered some unclear words, perhaps they weren't words at all, and the Krawk started to tingle. Within a minute it was done. “There, you're done. Now can I go back to sleep?”
Irey didn't feel much different but there were two, very obvious wings sprouted from her back. Her hair was much softer and her skin was a lovely rich pink! "Thank you so much!" Irey hugged the already irritated Fountain Faerie and she sank back into the Fountain without a proper good bye. “Fyora wanted to see me as soon as I got my wings, didn't she?”
”Oh no, not at this time of night!” Illusen grunted. ”You won't be waking Fyora up. You can wait until the morning to see what she wants with you. For now you can sleep in my personal quarters in the Castle until then, I'll show you how to get there, and then I'm going home.”
“Dennis, we're spending the night in the castle!" Irey squeaked excitedly at her petpet and hugged him tightly. Illusen rolled her eyes and showed her the way to the castle, through it, and to the very obvious Earth Faerie quarters. "Thank you, Illusen, for everything!" The Krawk put her gallion on the bed and hugged the earth faerie good bye. "I'll come visit and see if you need any help now and then." With a soft smile Illusen departed.
“You called?" Irey pushed herself into Fyora's personal quarters.
“Yes, Irey. I have a proposal for you. Instead of going to Jhudora, I want you to run errands for me.”
“Personally?!” Irey blurted.
“Don't interrupt, but yes, personally. And for any other faerie who lives in the castle and requires a delivery assignment of you. In exchange I will take care of all your finances and lodging.”
Irey stood with her mouth gaping open and no words coming out.
“Well?” Fyora asked impatiently and went to brushing her hair in front of the vanity.
“Of course!" Irey finally found her voice. "I would be most honored to be the Castle's personal messenger." The young Krawk bowed.
”Perfect. You and your... uhm... petpet, will be shown to your quarters. If you need anything just let Jazella know, she's the maid that will be attending your floor.” The Queen clapped and a pretty little purple Acara girl motioned for Irey to follow her.
Her bedroom was much more luxurious than she ever could have wished for. There was a canopy bed against the far wall between two double glass doors that opened to a balcony that overlooked the entirety of Faerieland. Sheer curtains fluttered in a light breeze that came through both open doors. A small vanity sat against the far left wall and a matching wardrobe against the far right wall. A small bookshelf was against the wall the door was on with a hand full of books on it.
“Make yourself comfortable, miss. Breakfast is at nine, lunch is at noon, dinner is at seven. All your meals are brought right to you, unless you are not here of course. If you need anything, there's a communication system over there that goes straight to the servant's quarters. Someone will be there to assist you momentarily. Enjoy!" The pretty little Acara closed the door as she left.
This was a dream come true. From the swamps to the clouds, from the murk to luxury, and best of all: she had wings!