Stargazer: Part Two
Psellia blinked and shook her head.
She was seeing stars in more than the one sense. The sight that met the faerie's dazed glance was almost identical to the dream landscape she'd just left. Luminous dots of light stretched out before Psellia like diamond pins set into blue-purple velvet. The difference was that, while she'd seen skies like these from afar in Azurabel's dream, she was among actual stars now. Psellia was back in her physical body, amidst the clouds.
Though, like the Draik, the air faerie normally marvelled at the stars it was not their vividness that she focused on but another's. The Draik – Azurabel – had forced Psellia out of her head. Sizzling in the faerie Neopet's eyes had been an energy that startled her. It hadn't quite been ire, nor despair, but something in between. What had she meant by telling Psellia that she couldn't help her? What was so wrong that Azurabel couldn't be aided? The faerie's nails dug sharply into her palms and left crescent imprints behind. The half-moons gave her an idea.
Psellia closed her eyes, nestling back into the clouds' fluffy, if delicate, embrace. It was time for a little dreaming of her own. With Azurabel's likeness in mind, she called to the second of her magical talents; the talent that allowed her to glimpse individuals' futures. Magic welled up inside Psellia from her core and, weaving it around the mind-image, she slipped into a vision.
She saw the Draik at her desk, bent over a drawing that came to vibrant life under her paws. The scene flickered and faded as shadows encroached on Psellia's view. The faerie seemed to catch a peek at Azurabel's face before this, too, disappeared. It had passed too quickly to be sure but it seemed to her as though the Draik's features had been stiff with terror. Unfurling over that image was an image of the Neopet and her Usul sister playing together. Vision-Azurabel laughed while dodging snowballs flung in her direction. Her movements were joyful. Free from worry.
Psellia withdrew with a disgruntled, "Hmm." The first and last of the visions she'd seen should've set her at ease. She couldn't, however, disregard the fear she'd noticed in the second. Among the possibilities Azurabel faced, in future, was a definite chance that something might go terribly, terribly wrong. Psellia might've tried to delve again, to seek the nature of that something that might come to pass. She knew better. Should've known better, she admitted, than to try at all. There was no real insight to be found beyond snatches of what could be... and there were as many possibilities for what might cause Azurabel – or anyone – terror as there were stars in the sky. All Psellia had succeeded in, really, was causing herself to feel more worried than she had been already.
Terror. The Lupe, Jeran, had been afraid. When he'd fallen, spinning, from the Citadel heights, the emotions writ on his countenance were a mix of dread and panic. Yellow eyes open, exactly as she'd visioned, she'd had to look away from the awful trepidation she read there though there'd been no way of blocking out his screech. It wasn't a sight she'd wanted to see again. When her vision of the blue Neopet had come, it had been unbidden and all Psellia could do was react to what she'd seen as she had been there, in Darigan, that day. This vision was not unsolicited. This terror the faerie could, perhaps, prevent. Should it be her concern? She wasn't quite sure. Was it? Undeniably.
Soft fur rubbed against her cheek and she startled upright. Tiny pink-and-blue wings fluttered as two of Psellia's faerie Harris nestled into her lap. She stroked a finger under one's chin before extending an arm to a third and then fourth. Several more followed in a procession of purple fluffballs. It was times like these that Psellia needed the affection these Petpets offered. "I've a job for you, my darlings."
Dozens of jet eyes met hers expectantly and floppy ears quirked. They knew what was coming. Displacing them gently, Psellia stood and waded to the home they shared. From the clouds before her rose a tall structure, carved from marble. It had a smooth, polished façade silver in the moonlight and large windows that were ornately chiselled. Seeing it always brought a smile to her face. Pale rays glinted off the gilt handle as Psellia pushed her way through the door. Squeaks behind her told her that her Harris followed also.
She paused before a shelf in her sitting room, recalling the first of the dreams she'd visited. "I know I have a Merry-Go-Round ticket or two around here somewhere," Psellia mused, half to herself and half to her magical companions. Several clustered about her as she rifled through a box of knickknacks. Psellia's hand settled at last on a bright slip of paper. "Aha!" she exclaimed and a Harris or two twittered and ambled forward to collect it. Kneeling, she looked one in its beady eye. "I want you to leave this for a child whose dream I visited this night." It nodded solemnly and she blew it a kiss as it turned away. Its uncanny intuition would guide it to where it needed to go.
Psellia herself ventured down to Neopia only rarely in her physical form. The giving of small gifts was Psellia's way of sending messages to the world below. Watching over dreams, as 'the Dreamer', meant that she at times encountered dreams – hopes, desires, fantasies – so vibrant that she felt that their dreamers must be answered or encouraged or otherwise helped in some way. She didn't move from her position on the floor. The second of the dreams wasn't to be addressed as easily as the first.
"I'll be needing you," Psellia began, "to do something different this time, I think." She darted a look at the closest Harris and Mae cocked its head inquisitively. "Let me get out a piece of paper." Her reaching hand found a Striped Notebook and, ripping out a lined sheet, she grabbed a pen. Tapping the ballpoint against her chin, Psellia pursed her lips. "What to write?" She didn't expect an answer. This was something that she, in any case, needed to figure out herself.
Lavender cursive spilled out from beneath her indecisive pen. Dear Azurabel, Psellia wrote. I hope you won't find this note amiss. My name is Psellia and we met in a recent dream of yours. I'm worried about whatever had you so scared and, like I offered, I wish to help in any way that I can. She stared at what she'd written before adding another line. Could we, perhaps, talk? It wasn't Psellia's wish to intrude where she wasn't wanted. Her dream-wandering wasn't intentional and Psellia avoided verbal contact with the dream-selves of any dreamers she met. Though there was something about this dreamer, this Azurabel, that spoke to Psellia deeply, she would respect the decision the Neopet made. It might be the same as before or it might have changed. Whatever her resolution was, Azurabel would've had opportunity to think it over.
Psellia's attention was caught by another of the supply boxes she kept on her shelves. Marked on its white label were the words 'art supplies'. Memories dashed through her head at the sight. Psellia had seen a drawing pad and pencils in Azurabel's dream and Azurabel drawing in one vision. The Draik was an artist. This belated realisation didn't astonish her because she'd seen the Neopet's imagination at work. Reaching towards a basket, she piled a few tubes of paint inside. She hesitated a moment before packing in some coloured pens and charcoal pencils as well. It was the best she could do.
It took three Harris to get the basket airborne. Opening the door, Psellia waved them on their way and watched them shrink into the distance. The sky had lightened and was streaked with the faint rose-gold of sunrise. She moved to close it after them but a slim hand stopped her. "Psellia," its owner enthused.
Psellia swung the door wide. Standing in the doorframe was a faerie she recognised. The pale features were mischievous, suffused with their usual glow, and the golden eyes amused. "Siyana," Psellia said, tone startled. She hadn't expected her friend to drop by but, then, the faerie delighted in being unpredictable.
"Morning, sunshine." Siyana slipped past her and Psellia let her arm drop. Her tired eyes blinked. The light faerie's tresses glinted as if spun gold in the early morning light. Looking at Siyana was like looking at the Neopian sun itself. She was always dazzling and, sometimes, blinding.
"Is it that time already?" The query was rhetorical, even wry. Siyana could be counted on to wake at the crack of dawn. It was why she, another founder of Altador, was called 'the First to Rise'. Psellia stifled a yawn. The other faerie's title was far from enviable, she rather thought.
"Glad to see you so cheery." Siyana poked out a pink tongue. "Up all night, I presume?" The faerie gave a bright tinkle of a laugh as she surveyed the Harris grouped before the entrance. "I don't understand how you do it." The light in her eyes was indeed perplexed. "Nighttime is for sleeping."
"Neither do I, sometimes." Psellia gave a slight chuckle in return. "Though, of course, I can't say that I understand you any better. Waking at this hour? It's insane." She stressed the last two syllables.
"I suppose I'm interrupting your rest." Siyana shook her golden head, bemused. "This is your bedtime, no?" As Psellia spent most of the night awake in others' heads, she had little chance for sleep of her own. Her physical body might be rested but, mentally, she was exhausted. Psellia rubbed her temple. With each word Siyana said, the sudden ache in her head intensified. It didn't help that Azurabel's likeness hovered at the edge of her consciousness, pushing at her peace of mind.
She shook her head, as much to clear it as to answer Siyana. "It's always good to see you," Psellia told her. Sinking into an armchair, she gestured to the other faerie. "Come on, sit down. It's been far too long since we last talked." It was true. The last founders' meeting they'd attended had been several months ago.
Siyana gave Psellia a long, burning look. "What's wrong?" she asked bluntly. Psellia sighed at the scrutiny. Her friend knew her too well, it appeared. "Did something happen in a dream?"
"Well..." Psellia hedged, uncertain where to begin. The other faerie curled up opposite her and gave her an attentive glance. She found her voice. "Yes, actually."
"Let me guess," Siyana cut in. "Someone realised that you were real." It had long been a worry of Psellia's. She smoothed the folds of her yellow gown as she met Psellia's look.
"Have I ever mentioned," Psellia half-smiled, "how much I hate it when you do that?"
Siyana's own, fleeting grin was cheeky. "Do what?"
"Read my mind." Psellia leaned back in her chair and two of her Harris made soothing noises. "I thought I was the semi-psychic one." Siyana's gifts were totally different from hers. She heaved another soft sigh. "It's more than that, though. It might sound strange but I didn't really mind that part."
Siyana's features furrowed. "Go on."
Psellia recounted the dream. "She was so scared. So very, very scared," she finished. "And it's because she realised that I was real that I had to reach out again, even after she pushed me away." Psellia looked down at the Harris snuggled against her folded hands. "She needs to know that someone wants to help her." The faerie hadn't appreciated just how much this had weighed on her thoughts until it was out in the open.
A smile broke out on Siyana's face, as vivid as the break of dawn. "I think," Siyana said, "that you worry too much for an air faerie. In fact," she paused, smile widening, "you worry too much for any kind of faerie." Seeing Psellia's gravity, she gave a nod. "I think that you're doing the right thing."
Further weight lifted off Psellia's shoulders. "I hope so." A scratching at the window made her flutter to her feet. Mae and the other two faerie Harris she'd sent to the Draik, Azurabel, were back. In Mae's claws was clutched a twist of paper. Seizing it, she almost forgot to thank her small helpers. "It's from Azurabel," she announced.
Dear Psellia, the message read. Thank you for your note...
To be continued...