Lord Faerigan - Fyora's Role in the Meridell Wars: Part Five
Chapter 5 - Mr. Scary
Psellia zoomed between the clouds in the skies of Meridell. The autumn air was cold but it did not bother her much. She was an air faerie after all and often used to the freezing temperatures where she often dwelled.
Still she wasn't here for fun and games. Fyora had given her a task to search for Lord Darigan. She was to report the location directly to Fyora and to her only in order to avoid drawing unnecessary attention to Faerieland.
Psellia soon found herself hovering over Meri Acres Farm.
"Wow. The fields here are enormous!" she exclaimed to herself. There were fields in Faerieland too, but Faerieland was hardly the place to grow much food. Still, she could see that the fields were rather barren, as the lack of rain left them in shambles. Perhaps this was the doing of the dark magic contained within the orb that Lord Darigan fought to repossess.
Psellia noticed something out of the corner of her eye.
"Hmm, that young Usul down there seems to be talking to someone in a barn. Strange for her to be hiding the individual. I ought to have a look," Psellia said to herself.
She found a puffy cloud nearby and softly landed on it. She sat down and blew softly. The cloud began to move and she carefully coasted it above a tall oak tree near the barn. From there, she could see and hear everything, even the softest whisper. As an air faerie, she had the power to sense very subtle vibrations in the air, including sound waves.
"Mr. Scary...I brought you something..." the Usul whispered to the hidden creature in the barn.
The young Usul was dressed in a pair of pink overalls and farmer boots. She carried a small bundle and unwrapped it. Inside was a piece of corn on a cob, a small dinner roll, and a few apple slices.
"Here you go. Don't be afraid. Eat up and enjoy."
A dark purple paw reached out and took the food.
"Hissssss!" said the mysterious creature.
"You don't like it?"
"Oh you do like it...sorry it's hard for me to understand you."
Psellia blew gently again to try and get the cloud closer. She caught a glimpse of the creature.
"Oh wow is that who I think it is?"
The creature looked directly at Psellia and began hissing loudly.
"What is it Mr. Scary?"
The Usul turned around to look. Psellia zoomed off quickly right that moment and all the Usul could see was a faerie far off in the distance.
"Oh that's a faerie! They fly around here sometimes. You know, they hail from an enormous cloud high in the sky. Perhaps even one day, I would be able to visit their city."
"Mr. Scary, how about I teach you how ta talk? Let's start with my name. I'm Sally. You’re Mr. Scary."
"Oh you sure are close. Make an "a" sound like this..."
Sally stayed with the mysterious creature until dusk. The weather outside grew quite blustery so she told him to sleep among some hay bales in the barn.---
"Hello Psellia. How do you do?" Fyora said as she poured out some steamy Fyora Apple tea into two pink ceramic teacups with faerie wing patterns along the side.
"Hi Fyora. I have some news."
"Oh? Do tell." She raised her teacup and took a sip.
"I believe I know the whereabouts of Lord Darigan. He's in a barn on a farm where a young Usul lives."
"His speech has all but disappeared and his only communication appears to be a series of hisses. Somehow the young Usul understands him."
"Ah...can you direct me to this farm?"
"Fyora, what happens if you are seen? I thought you wanted to keep Faerieland out of this." Psellia took a sip out of her teacup almost as an instinct as she waited for Fyora to craft a lengthy response.
"Faerieland may be out of this, but should the conflict grow, she will be forced to act. My goal is to keep Faerieland out of this by doing what I can to restore my dear friend back into a proper state of mind so that he may properly govern his kingdom. Right now a tyrant rules Darigan Citadel under the control of the Three. Should he continue on a path to destroy Meridell, then peace in Neopia would become an insurmountable feat. I am also deeply concerned about our dear sister Illusen who loves the kingdom of Meridell and its inhabitants. Faerieland might be out of this conflict, but we as faeries must be involved."
"Well said then. I will direct you to the farm and you may do as you wish."
"Thank you Psellia."---
Fyora set out to Sally’s farm while it was still dark. She wore a thick brown cloak in an effort to disguise herself. In addition, she replaced her crown with a straw hat and dyed her hair to a shade of dark brown.
Because the cloak covered her wings, she took a cloud racer, but only to get down from Faerieland to the land below. Fortunately, Faerieland was floating near Meridell at the time and she did not have walk too far to reach Meri Acres Farm. However, the walk still took much of the day. Meanwhile, Psellia was relaying directions to her from the air, guiding her along to the very same oak tree where Psellia first saw Sally.
"Here we are. Sally will sneak leftover food to Lord Darigan and calls him Mr. Scary. I’m sure she will be out shortly after supper," she said to Fyora.
"Alright, thanks for the navigation help."
"You’re very welcome Fyora. I will see you soon."
Fyora took a basket full of fresh fruit and berries to share with Sally and Lord Darigan. She hid behind the tree until a few minutes later when she heard a door swing open. She barely poked her head out from behind the tree and caught a glimpse of Sally.
"Mr. Scary, it’s Sally again. I’ve brought you more goodies today," she whispered.
Fyora scooted around the tree to find get a better view of the barn behind the house. The barn doors opened and she saw the mysterious creature inside and quietly gasped. There inside was a Darigan Korbat and he looked just like Lord Darigan.
"Shhh...you musn’t be loud. The other farmers will hear you and they don’ seem like you very much...no sir. Anyways, I brought you a yummy baked tator."
She unwrapped a baked potato with cheese and baked beans as toppings. Lord Darigan sniffed the potato before he took a big bite out of it.
"Yay. You like it."
"Hiss?" the Korbat stared at the tree that Fyora hid behind.
"What is it Mr. Scary?"
Fyora emerged from behind the tree.
"Whoa a stranger! Who are you?"
"I’m Farmer Yora from way on other side of Meri Acres Farm. I was on my way back from Market Town and I saw you out here with umm...ah yes...you call him Mr. Scary."
"Hmm? Why were you hiding behind the tree?"
"Hiding? Oh, you see, I was scared of Mr. Scary until I saw that he was just a Korbat."
The young Usul pondered for a moment and then smiled.
"Welcome Farmer Yora. Oh look, you brought some goodies."
"Yup, I plan on sharing them with you and Mr. Scary."
"It’s okay Mr. Scary, there’s a new friend here with more goodies to share."
"Wow. You said my name."
"Friendssss," hissed Lord Darigan.
"Hello Mr. Scary," Fyora said softly.
Fyora sliced a bright red apple and handed some pieces to both Lord Darigan and Sally. The three enjoyed some of the fruit for a while before Fyora began to ask questions.
"So how did you meet Mr. Scary?"
Sally turned to Fyora and her smile disappeared.
"It was terrible. The farmers were attacking him, accusing him of stealing crops. I managed to distract them by telling them that the Babaas have escaped their pens again. You see...hey wait! Aren’t you a farmer? Were you attacking him too?! You’re gonna tattle to the farmers aren’t you. Oh stupid Sally, why did you tell her everything?"
Sally gave Fyora an alarming, menacing look. Lord Darigan growled a bit at Fyora.
"No, I would never do such a thing Sally. I just wanted to know how you found Mr. Scary."
"Honest, it’s the truth."
The young Usul seemed satisfied and smiled again.
"She’s rather cute but quite naïve and easily trusting of anyone; I’d better keep a close eye on her, especially during these dark times," Fyora thought to herself.
"Yes?" Fyora replied.
"You said you were on the other side of Meri Acres right? Do you see the floating citadel from your farm?"
"Yes, it's definitely floating."
"Do you think they will attack us?"
Fyora winced at the question. She knew inevitably Lord Kass would try to invade Meridell soon.
"If I tell her, wouldn't she be scared? She's just a young Usul. No, I can't tell her. I can only hope that Jeran manages to keep things under control and away from innocent civilians. I mustn’t disrupt the peace now, as I fear they won't have much of it soon," Fyora thought.
"Do you know of Sir Borodere?"
"I've heard stories of him, but no, I've never met him."
"You know he is a famous knight right? Well, he is going to train a very strong army that will protect everyone in the event that the citadel decides to stir up some trouble."
"Hmm...okay if you say so."
"Well, I'll best be on my way. It's getting pretty dark. Goodbye Sally. Goodbye Mr. Scary."
"Okay. Goodnight Farmer Yora!"
Fyora waved at Lord Darigan...who softly growled back at her.
She then gathered her things and headed out. She could still hear Sally talking to Lord Darigan as she got further away.
"Mr. Scary, it's time for bed for you too. It's darker and colder outside. You don't want to get the NeoFlu."
To save herself the trouble of finding her way around in the dark using light magic Fyora decided to drop by at Illusen’s Glade to catch up with her sister and make sure she was safe.
"Illusen? Are you there? It's Fyora!"
She could hear some rustling in the trees before she saw the Earth Faerie with her bow drawn.
"Whoa! What's going on here?" Oh! Right!" Fyora snapped her fingers. There was a flash of pink and she was back in her normal wardrobe.
Illusen lowered her bow and heaved a sigh of relief.
"Oh it is you; can't be too careful these days."
"Didn’t you tell me everything was perfectly fine?"
"Yeah, I just didn't want to concern you."
"You are far too busy in Faerieland to-"
Fyora appeared exasperated.
"Never too busy to ensure the safety of my sisters abroad."
"I can protect myself, your majesty!"
"I know; I'm just still not used to you not being around Faerieland except for council meetings."
"You know the reason for that. You know how uncomfortable Jhudora makes me feel. We are not going to get along ever."
"I know, but I can handle her for you. I'm worried that Lord Kass will do something drastic and attack your glade, whether accidentally or deliberately."
"Precisely why I need to stay here. This Glade and its inhabitants need me. I cannot leave the nature here defenseless."
Illusen gently placed her hand atop Fyora’s.
"I will be fine Fyora. You don't have to worry."
Fyora couldn't help but smile a little at Illusen’s stubbornness. The glade was a safe place for Neopets and Petpets seeking refuge. It wasn't about her own safety but the safety of the other inhabitants. Fyora had little choice but to accept her sister’s plea and hope for her safety.
"Alright. In that case, I guess you ought to stay here then. By the way, what is going on with Lord Kass these days?"
"Hmm, yes Lord Kass appears to be amassing a very powerful army capable of wielding overpowering dark magic. Anybody that challenges his authority is immediately thrown off the citadel. He has also begun to taunt Jeran with various ultimatums sent through Neomail but hasn't really brought his threats to fruition yet. However, all signs point to an attempt to make good on his promises."
"I presume that means Jeran is getting his troops ready as well."
"Yes, there have been reports of troops that abandoned the Darigan Army after Lord Kass’s takeover. Jeran apparently allowed them to serve alongside the Meridell Army. King Skarl is also ordering the army to fortify their magical defenses, knowing that Lord Kass is fully willing to use any dark magic in his efforts."
"Who is providing magical training for them? I didn’t think Jeran was a sorcerer."
"Kayla. She’s a Zafara that runs a potion shop in the Meridell Castle. I’ve seen her with a special potion that enlarges Turtums that could be used for armored transportation or launch points for projectiles."
Fyora seemed rather intrigued about the Turtums.
"How large are we talking?"
"Oh, anywhere from 100 times the size to..."
"A hundred or more? Wow..."
"But that’s beside the point. Right now, without Lord Darigan, Lord Kass can do whatever he wants. I sure hope you are right about him being possibly alive."
"If I tell her about Lord Darigan, Lord Kass might use some dark magic to force the truth out of Illusen. I’d best keep it from her at this time, as much as it pains me to do so," Fyora thought.
"Yes, I certainly hope so too. By the way, do you mind if I spend the night here?"
Illusen thought for a moment and then decided to entertain her curiosity.
"What if I said no?"
"Well if you want to host the Faerie Festival again..."
"Alright you may spend the night here!"
Fyora laughed heartily.
"Wait, you mean to tell me you didn't have fun hosting it last year? Aww...that actually makes me a tiny bit sad..."
"I usually sleep on these platforms that I created around these trees. I can take you to my cabin to a real bed though."
"You don’t have to; I can sleep up there in the trees too."
"No, you shouldn’t have to. I would prefer you slept in the cabin anyway. It gets rather cold up here and I don’t want to send you home sick."
"Well, if you insist."
Queen Fyora began making weekly trips to Meridell in order to check on the well-being of Lord Darigan and Sally, along with obtaining additional information about the war preparations. Throughout this time, Lord Darigan’s condition began to show some promise. He no longer hissed and growled as much and was starting to speak, at least in telegraphic fashion, mostly uttering names and asking for food or water. Meanwhile, on the war front, things grew more tense as the Darigan Army began running drills that encroached on the fringes of Meridell territory. This alarmed Jeran greatly and triggered inflammatory rhetoric from King Skarl, who referred to Lord Kass as an "accursed mutant pig that was a threat to the entire world." Alarm was even raised in the Kingdom of Brightvale, where King Hagan had ordered fortifications to the city walls in the event that war in Meridell was to spill over and threaten the livelihoods of Brightvalians.
Then that fateful night came, where the Darigans began to mount an assault the Meridellian northern front. At first, the Meridellians fended off the physical attacks easily with their giant Turtums and projectile weaponry. However, things quickly turned when the Darigans began using strong dark hexes and curses. Kayla worked tirelessly on various potions in order to cure strange hexes that left soldiers unable to see or hear. Reinforcements were cut off as Lord Kass sent a Court Dancer to bewitch King Skarl and the rest of the male occupants of Meridell Castle. Still, the Meridell front was in deeper trouble and retreated further back to Meri Acres Farm in an effort to regroup and formulate a new plan to attack the citadel directly.
Thus, Fyora began to make more frequent trips to Sally’s farm, still disguising herself as Farmer Yora.
"Mr. Scary, why are you up on the roof?" Fyora asked when she found Sally trying to convince him to fly back down.
"Oh he’s just acting like a Korbat, that’s all. Still, it’s supper time and I can’t climb up here and give him his food," Sally said, throwing up her paws in frustration.
"Perhaps I could be a sorceress farmer, just this one time I suppose."
Fyora smiled at Sally.
"Hmm...is his food in a basket? I think I might have the answer to your dilemma."
"Sure, how are you going to do that though?"
"Let me show you."
Sally’s eyes grew wide as Cheeseroller cheese when she saw the basket surrounded in a yellow glow as it floated up to the roof of the barn.
"You didn’t tell me you knew magic too!"
"Sorry, it’s just that I didn’t want to cause trouble by using magic all the time. Sorcery can be a bit scary sometimes."
"Food!" exclaimed Lord Darigan. He began eating when at that moment, there was a strange noise off to the north. Everybody’s eyes turned toward a hill where they saw a cloud of dust.
"Oh no! Those are Darigan Soldiers! They are headed right at us!" Sally shouted.
The soldiers began hurling projectiles and hexes at the group, forcing them to scatter. Fyora attempted to block the hexes with her own magic, but she was outnumbered.
"Get behind the barn!" she commanded to both Sally and Darigan but it was too late. Darigan was hit by a dark purple blob and appeared to be unconscious. Fyora saw a soldier charge at Sally and moved to stand in the way. The soldier’s hex hit her instead. Being a powerful sorceress herself, a few hexes wouldn’t cause her much harm. However, it did stun her for a few seconds.
"No!" she shouted as the soldiers closed in on Sally.
Thwomp! Thump! Whomp!
Sally turned and saw Mr. Scary standing over her with the soldiers huddled in fear as they looked up on the figure that had just landed in front of them.
"Y-you’re supposed to be dead!" one soldier exclaimed.
"I am not. Sally, I’m not Mr. Scary, I am Lord Darigan and I apologize that these imbeciles are here to destroy your farm."
He turned toward the soldiers.
"Return to the citadel and await my arrival. Send Lord Kass my greetings."
"Will you further dishonor your kingdom!? There is no honor in attacking innocent farmers from another kingdom. Leave now!"
"Y-yes sir!" The soldiers turn and darted away fast as they could.
He turned to Fyora and took a sniff. Lavender. Immediately recognized that smell as perfume that the Faerie Queen would wear. Fyora subtly shook her head at Lord Darigan to indicate that she didn’t want Sally to know her true identity. Lord Darigan nodded and smiled a bit.
"Thank you Fyora," he whispered.
He turned to Sally who was stand up and trying to get a good look at Lord Darigan.
"Mr. Sca-I mean Lord Darigan. Where will you go now?"
"I must go and regain control of my kingdom. Farewell, young one. May we meet again when the world is at peace."
"Bye, Mr. Scary..." the Usul said, holding back her tears.
"Are you okay?" Fyora asked.
"Yeah, it’s just that..."
Fyora put her hand on the Usul’s shoulder.
"Lord Darigan needs to care for his kingdom. I know you’ll miss him. If you look up though, his kingdom is just up in the sky. Don’t worry, you’ll see each other again. Anyways, let me have a look at you to make sure you are okay."
Fyora noticed a cut in Sally’s tail. She ran her fingers around it and used a healing spell to patch up the wound.
"How did you become a sorceress?" Sally asked.
"It runs in the family I guess. Alright, I don't see anything else."
"Thanks Farmer Yora. Are you leaving now too?"
"Yes, but I will make sure we meet again. I won't forget you and all you did for Lord Darigan."---
Meanwhile, floating on a cloud above, was Psellia. Fyora had asked her to observe the activities up in the citadel. After overhearing that Jeran was going to attack the citadel directly with mounted Unis, she paid even closer attention.
"Hmm...it looks like the Meridellians are near, led by Jeran," she noted in a report to Fyora.
The Unis flew past her cloud, paying little attention to her as they've seen plenty of faeries in the skies before. Still, the tailwind left Psellia clinging to her cloud and hugging her Harris tightly. As the air settled down again, she turned her eyes back to the citadel where the mounted Unis, who surrounded the citadel, were now launching an offensive with archers while Knights jumped off of them and landed on the citadel to mount a land attack.
"Knights and archers on mounted Unis are aiming to assault the Darigan castle in an effort to defeat Lord Kass. It appears the Darigan troops aren't surprised and there is much bloodshed. Jeran has led a small group to try and sneak further into the citadel in order to initiate an attack on Kass," Psellia wrote in her report.
As the troops headed toward the interior of the citadel, Psellia floated her cloud closer to get a better look. She saw that several Meridell soldiers were wounded and that the Darigan soldiers were getting ready to toss them off of the citadel. Fortunately, archers shot arrows at the Darigan soldiers and were safely able to recover the wounded.
"That was close!"
With the Meridell soldiers advancing, the Darigans began falling back. It seemed that the Meridellians had gained the upper hand, but suddenly, Psellia noticed dark purple magic hurling from the Darigan front. They were switching their tactics to using curses and hexes in order to cause their opponents immense pain and strange ailments.
Moments later, Psellia saw something that shocked her. Jeran, the Meridell army’s only true leader, was caught by Lord Kass, who hurled him off of the citadel.
"No!" Psellia exclaimed. She flew at Jeran’s falling body as fast as he could. She reached out her hand.
"Jeran!" she shouted.
The knight reached up and took Psellia’s hand. She extended her wings out like a parachute and the two slowly coasted to the ground, landing with a soft thud in a small meadow surrounded by forest. The two sat up and looked at each other. Psellia’s blue dress was stained with mud but otherwise, she looked fine. Jeran clutched his right arm where there appeared to be a gash from Lord Kass. Psellia grabbed her handkerchief and tied it around his arm in order to stop the bleeding.
"Can you walk?" Psellia asked.
Jeran stood up and took a few steps.
"I-I think so."
"Oh what a relief."
"May I ask out of curiosity, why were you nearby the citadel?"
"Hmm... I’m not sure how Jeran or Meridell as a whole will react to this intervention by the faeries. Best to just plead ignorance," Psellia thought.
"I just so happened to see you and your Unis flying toward the citadel so I wanted to see what was going on."
"Okay, well, I must find a way back to the citadel and..."
Psellia stood in front of Jeran and softly put her hand on his arm.
"You need to rest."
"But I can’t leave my army up there alone..."
"I’ll tell you what, we will fly up really quickly to see what’s going on."
"But I can’t fly..." Jeran said, looking rather confused.
"Oh don’t worry, I’ll get you up there." The air faerie blew gently, forming a cloud big enough to fit the two of them. She and Jeran floated back toward the citadel on a cloud. What Jeran saw next astonished him. Lord Darigan himself had appeared and was regaining control of his army. Kass’s remain loyal soldiers were easily overwhelmed by both armies, Darigan and Meridell.
"How did...I thought Lord Darigan was dead?"
"Looks like he had a bit of second wind."
"Shall we go back to Meridell?"
"Oh you needn’t trouble yourself. I will be fine on my own."
"Okay, if you say so. I will be watching from the skies anyway."
"Psellia, thank you. You saved my life and I owe my gratitude to the Kingdom of Faerieland."
After the Battle for Meridell, the two kingdoms met in Faerieland in order to formally declare a truce. Unfortunately, the truce did not restore the devastated territories in both kingdoms and many months of rebuilding were necessary. Even so, the land was at peace once more and had it not been for the secret intelligence gathered by Faerieland along with a little help by a young Usul, neither kingdom might be standing today. Kass was not so lucky, as the Three vaporized him with their magic as revenge for his failure. The Three then left, allowing some of the curses on the land of Meridell to lift. This created more fertile land. The curse was much more potent in Darigan Citadel, but the truce allowed them to import food from the farms below. Food wasn’t as plentiful, but it was enough to satisfy the kingdoms’ hunger. Both sides realized the destruction that greed, ambition and revenge did. It was a lesson that kept them from sliding back into conflict. Peace was now the true leader of the lands.
To be continued…