Biography of a Villain: Eliv Thade
Also by thropp
At seven o'clock on the dot every Friday morning, a dull thump pounded on the front door of a dilapidated mansion in the Haunted Woods. At seven o'clock on the dot every Friday morning, Eliv Thade grumbled to himself that the paper delivery Weewoo could be a little earlier, a little more amicable, a little kinder. Eliv had long been used to people treating him quite discourteously. Other people's poor treatment of him was as natural as water in Maraqua, as sand in the Lost Desert, as snow in Happy Valley, if you get the picture. He was an outcast; he was not all right in the head, they said.
If only they knew, the Kacheek thought to himself, as he hobbled to his front door. On the stoop lay a rolled up issue of the Neopian Times – Issue 500, according to the headlines. There was a time – not so long ago – that Eliv would have been ecstatic to see the newspaper thriving so well. He would have celebrated with the contributors and sent avatars out overnight to excited writers and artists. The delivery Weewoos would have been given extra Ha Ha Grubs as thanks for their dedication in circulating the paper.
However, that was before he had the beloved Neopian Times wrenched away from him. The paper that he created, had poured his soul into week after week, lovingly putting ink to paper. Believe it or not, Eliv Thade was once known for something other than speaking in nonsensical riddles and puzzle solver extraordinaire. In fact, he was a renowned editor, chief editor in fact. Writers and reporters flocked to Eliv's paper the same way ocean waves crashed onto the Mystery Island shoreline.
The day that changed everything started out as any other for him. Eliv awoke early in the morning and guzzled some Spiced Pumpkin Coffee and woofed down a high stack of Strawberry Wocky Pancakes and headed off to the Neopian Times office. The sun was shining, the sky was a crystal blue, and there was just a hint of a slight breeze this morning. He whistled a light tune as he strolled through the heavy glass doors of the Neopian Times headquarters.
"Good morning, Mr. Thade," called Eliv's assistant editor, Gerard Van Fleaf, in a nasally voice. He sat at his large wooden desk, looking over the latest issue of the Neopian Times. The pages of the newspaper crinkled with every movement the Buzz made.
"Mr. Thade, have you had a chance to review this week's paper?" he asked in a manner that was not as aloof as he wished.
"Why, no, Gerard," responded Eliv. "The layout gave me some problems, though."
"The layout? Sir, are you aware of how many spelling mistakes you allowed to pass this week?" inquired Gerard Van Fleaf.
"So spelling is not my strong suit, what does that matter?" Eliv responded haughtily. "I am responsible for putting together the best newspaper in all of Neopia! I think that entitles me to a few typos every once in a while, wouldn't you agree?"
"Sure, Eliv, but I can't believe you let this edition be published with so many typos!" cried the assistant editor. "You did not even spell the paper's name correctly. The Enpoian Times? Where, exactly, is this 'Enpoia'?"
"It is... uh..." began the Kacheek, feeling his cheeks turn a cherry red. "It is a little south of Krawk Island..."
"Indeed," said Van Fleaf, arching an eyebrow at the Neopet he once considered his mentor. "Well, Eliv, I regret to inform you that I will have to relieve you of your duties. The rest of the staff and I held an emergency meeting this morning and it was decided that you will step down as editor in chief."
"Step down?" Eliv asked. "What do you mean, 'step down?' You can't fire me from my own paper! I worked so hard to get us where we are today!"
But that was just what the Neopian Times staff did. Step down? Eliv fumed. How dare Van Fleaf think he could take everything away from me in the blink of an eye.
Eliv Thade's head hung down a little lower, his shoulders hunched a little higher, and his spirit was a little more dampened than ever before as he gathered his pride - and the box of possessions from his office Mr. Gerard Van Fleaf had been kind enough to pack for him - and left the Neopian Times headquarters for the last time.
"Goodbye, Mr. Thade," one of the reporters – a lovely Gold Gelert Eliv had just hired – said quietly as he passed.
"Goodbye?" mocked a Mutant Quiggle. "Don't you mean Bygodoe?"
He was subjected to much of the same ridicule his whole trek home from the office. Neopets to whom he had never spoken – and some he had – laughed and pointed, chided and teased.
"Look!" they cried. "It is Eliv Thade, editor of the Enpoian Times!"
"Or should we say Enopian Semti?"
"Former editor," Eliv corrected dejectedly. He made a short detour on his way home and stopped off at the General Store to purchase a large wooden board and a can of bright red paint. Once he returned to his mansion in the Haunted Woods, Eliv set out to protect himself from the verbal arrows that had been flung at him that day.
Eliv laid out the board in front of him and grabbed a long paintbrush. "B-E-W-A-R-E" he carefully wrote out, using long, thick brush strokes. Stepping back to admire his workmanship, Eliv was hardly surprised to see the word "E-W-A-R-B-E" glaring back at him. Eliv could not be bothered to care about the misspelling. Everybody thinks I am stupid anyway, the Kacheek reasoned. Why should he work so hard to change their opinions of him? All those Neopets who once praised his words now scorned and mocked him. He was a joke, a clown, a laughingstock! If he corrected the sign, everyone would know that he cared what they thought, and he believed he could barely stomach the mortification that would ensue. So he must make them believe he did not care one bit.
Eliv decided to embrace his inability to spell shortly after the 'ewarbe' debacle. If everything he wrote came out as an anagram, so be it. He would speak in anagrams. He would write in anagrams. He would read in anagrams. He slowly put together a language that only he would speak. It was a unique way to deal with his humiliation, but it helped Eliv move on from having all his dreams snatched away. It was easier to throw in the towel, to give in to his shortcomings, than it would have been to defend himself for the rest of his life.
And so it was that at seven o'clock on the dot every Friday morning, Eliv Thade was reminded of what could have been, where he could be, and what he would never get back. At seven o'clock on the dot every Friday morning, Eliv Thade thought that his newspaper could have been better and muttered under his breath, "Amateurs..." – although, if he had to spell it, it would probably read "Atamuser."