The Road To Becoming An Outcast
Deep inside Faerieland was a place forbidden to enter, its secrets unknown to the inhabitants. The rules were set. No one was allowed inside. But since the beginning of time, there would always be a person in search for something, someone ready to break the rules. Amara, a beautiful faerie Aisha was one of the most powerful sorceresses of Faeriland, but unlike most of her kind, she liked to keep to herself and learn about the art of magic which never failed to fascinate her. Over the years, it had become close to an obsession.
Her new obsession was the forbidden place and its secrets, something that she should never know. But there was nothing more she wanted. So she set out to find anything she could about the place, but nobody was able to answer her questions as none of them had ever been inside it. What was this place? What were the secrets it held? Why did it become forbidden? There were so many questions left unanswered. So this time, she left with her pet miamouse to find out about this 'Forbidden Place' before somebody realized her intentions and stopped her.
She stood before the giant walls that she had so often looked at. With her heart thumping faster than ever, she flew higher and higher, till she was finally above the walls. She slowly began to descend, the clouds around her thinning with each passing second. She looked around in awe as her feet touched the soft ground.
The garden was the epitome of beauty with glowing flowers that gave away a sweet fragrance. Long rays of sunlight streaked in through the leaves of the tall, slim trees that grew on either side. A small, yet pretty fountain took pride in the center. The sound of the splashing water and the rustling leaves rang like a melody in her ears.
The fountain in itself was a mesmerizing sight. In the middle of the fountain was the statue of a woman sitting on a rock, holding a crystal ball in her hands. Around the basin were flowers, gently squirting water onto the woman's feet. Though most of the stone was covered with moss, the intricate carving was unmistakable. Amara lay on the soft grass, breathing in the sweet scents around her, while Mia jumped around her.
"Well," said Amara softly. "We're finally inside, Mia! The first ones! Aren't you excited?"
Mia nodded eagerly. "It's such a wonderful place, but I'm still scared. What if someone finds out that we've been here?"
Amara shrugged. "I don't know. We haven't even touched anything so far and only this garden seems to be here. Besides there's no way anyone could find out!"
"Wonder what the secrets could be," thought Amara, closing her eyes.
Curling onto her side, Amara slept, lulled by the soft breeze, Mia gently cuddling against her.
She emerged from the fog, disoriented and confused and convinced that she was drowning. There were iron bands around her chest and they were getting tighter and tighter. Black, murky water closed in on her and she couldn't breathe. Panic gripped her and she tried to kick for the surface, but she was paralyzed, her legs and arms useless.
Amara awoke in a state of shock, panting heavily. Delicate sprays of red leaves and berries danced before her eyes. Then she realized she was not wet. It took her a couple of seconds before she realized that it had been a dream. She sat up and looked around her. At once, her eyes fell on the fountain and she realized that she was thirsty.
She dipped her hands in the sparkling water and felt elated. The water felt cool against her warm, moist hands, soothing her. She bent her head into the basin and took a small sip. Suddenly, she fell back, her eyes widening with shock. Her head felt like it was on fire. Her mind filled with a mixture of images and she blinked helplessly, waiting for it to stop. 'Is it poisoned?' she thought wildly. 'Am I dying?'
After a moment, the images seemed to slowly fade away, taking the pain with it. Amara stood up. Mia was looking at her owner with frightened, tear filled eyes. "What happened to you?"
Amara shook her head. "I don't know. There were so many images just flashing before my eyes! I couldn't stop it. I have no idea what was happening." She inhaled deeply and took a step towards the fountain, studying it. The crystal ball in the woman's hand was glowing a bright pink. Her eyes slowly scanned the basin and she could make out six letters that were carved along with the designs. T-E-M-P-U-S.
"What does that mean?" asked Mia who had also spotted the letters.
"It's a Latin word," replied Amara. "It means 'time'."
Her mind began to race as she thought of the various meanings that the word meant in this situation. She paused for a moment, then smiled slightly. "I think I know what this means, but I'm going to have to drink that water again to find out.
She slowly bent her head into the basin again, sipping the water slowly. The same burning sensation filled her head, but she forced herself to focus. This time a different set of images filled her mind and the image of a particular gray Aisha captured her interest. But before she could focus on another image, they began to fade once again and her mind was free once more.
"Well?" asked Mia.
Amara smiled. "This fountain is the secret that this garden holds! The water is magical. It is a path through time!"
"A path through time? Does it mean you can see the future?"
"Oh Mia," exclaimed Amara, grabbing the little petpet. "It doesn't just show the future. It is time! If I learn how to use this fountain correctly, I can use time at will!"
Mia looked terrified once again. "But isn't that wrong? That's too much power in the hands of a single person."
"I know! I would never use this kind of magic for anything. I only want to learn about it. I mean no harm to anyone or anything!"
Suddenly, an angry voice filled their ears. "We know that you are inside! I demand that you come out at once!"
Mia and Amara looked at each other, their hearts thumping in their chests. Amara breathed heavily. She grabbed Mia and hesitantly began to fly towards the walls. She rose higher, her fear rapidly increasing. She landed outside with closed eyes, too scared to look at the people that stood before her.
"How dare you?" screamed the Faerie queen. Amara had rarely seen Fyora lose her calm and this sight seemed to frighten her further. "You have broken the rules, Amara, and you have betrayed us all by entering the Forbidden Garden! You have insulted our ancestors by ignoring the rules set by them thousands of years ago and you have insulted us all. Never in my entire rule have I seen such behavior."
Fyora, who was known as the most just, noble and kind ruler in the whole of Neopia was now trembling with rage. "Let this be an example to anyone who has any intention of breaking the rules." Fyora turned to look at Amara, her eyes smoldering with fury.
"Amara, I take your powers from you and cast you out of Faeriland."
Amara screamed. "No! Please. This is my home. I have nowhere else to go!"
Amara fell to her knees, tears cascading down her cheeks as her bright color began to turn into a deep gray, her once beautiful wings withered and fell soundlessly. The image of the gray Aisha came back to her. 'That was me,' she realized. 'That was me being cast out, being separated from my home.'
"Please," begged Amara, praying with all her heart that the Faerie Queen would listen to her. A bright light surrounded her as the voices around her seemed to vanish. She had been banished from home, her powers taken, her memory of the garden
Fyora looked at the people around her. It had been a severe punishment but that step had to be taken. She knew the Garden as well as she knew herself. Created by her very own mother, she had learned its secrets as a little girl and she knew what greed could do a person and to the kingdom itself. Nature's balance depended on time and it had to be kept. 'And I have to do everything to ensure it,' she thought bitterly.