The Gifted Faerie
Excerpt from the Origin of the Wraiths:
What is known about the Wraiths remains arbitrary. Imbalance gave birth to their existence, endearing Chaos to reign over the weak. The object of her design being destruction; thus the world fell, and she exerted her dominion over it. Our finite understanding can only conclude this: where Good existed, Chaos also had her separate principalities, just as it was since the beginning of Time. ---
Professor Thierra sifted through the miscellany mess of papers on her desk, glancing up at Aleha in-between scribbles. The movement of the room was still for the present time; Aleha modestly preoccupied with her books and Thierra contemplatively preoccupied with her papers and Aleha. After a series of glances, each one increasing with concern, Thierra set her clutter of papers down and addressed Aleha directly:
“Aleha,” pursued the sorceress. “Is your mind caught on something?”
Aleha snapped out of her perturbed daze and turned her countenance to the teacher. “Sorry, I was just thinking about other things.”
“Well, if your mind isn’t on your studies, then there’s no use wasting the energy—let’s have a break,” said Thierra, shuffling the array of papers into a battered desk drawer and shutting the entrapment with a soft ‘clack’. Thierra’s pensive eyes retained a look of unrest; it hadn’t been the first time she’d seen Aleha so detached from her work. This detachment had carried on for several weeks.
“Tell me what’s amiss Aleha,” the Sorceress said with exertion. “Your grades have begun to decline in recent weeks and it worries me.”
Aleha received these words with a tinge of regret as this was a conversation she’d been meaning to avoid. The young Faerie had rehearsed on occasion what she would say in this exact situation, acting out lines pervaded with a sort of grace and dignity as she told her teacher that she was done training to qualify for Fyora’s guard. Since she was conceived into the world her talents warranted such a fate, but her heart turned another way. Society destined Aleha for one thing, but she struggled terribly for the other. The motions of life and its harsh proceedings dragged her reluctant conscience through a path she knew she was never meant to go. The act had been all about pleasing everyone else up until now. Unfortunately, the more she appeased the expectations of her peers, the less she felt in herself a desire to strive for something of her own.
Hesitating for a moment, or rather stumbling for words to say, she settled on plainer terms, “This isn’t what I want Thierra.”
Those words altered the feeling of the quiet, musky room. They echoed louder than ever in the prevailing silence, and their meaning was understood at once. Thierra, whose age in spirit far outweighed the wrinkles in her timeworn face, leaned back in her creaky chair and stared into the space resting behind Aleha’s eyes.
Without refutation, Thierra quietly said, “I see. So what do you plan to do now then? You’ve given up the Guard, and forfeited your chances to fight alongside Fyora in defending the city from the Wraiths. What’s your course now?”
“I don’t know,” Aleha replied. “But I know there’s a better way for me and I’ll find it—I know I will.”
The old Faerie smiled, “Well, gather up your things dear, we’ll discuss this more later. I want you to get home before nightfall.”
Out on the stone-hewn path, Aleha walked under the gaze of the gleaming Neopian stars and counted each crack in the pavement, each disturbance in the smooth path before her. Her heart wandered through the mists of darkness that enshrouded the city at night, she glanced at the Faerie shopkeeper closing up the furniture shop and the lights going out in the bookshop nearby. The pervading sounds of footsteps all around became less and less as she traversed the path. Over the bridge, where the distant roar of the Rainbow Fountain could be heard, the water beneath danced and glittered as the stars played off the racing ripples. Her heart returned, troubled again, for the task of rewriting her fate seemed a bit daunting seeing there lies the quill bled dry of the ink it so little had.
Under a tree whose red fruits swayed quietly in the wind, lay a ragged Neopian evidently spent from his voracious journey through the Haunted Woods. His Aisha eyes were stripped, ragged with exhaustion but conscious of all those passing by, including Aleha. He politely smiled as she walked by, but underneath those humble eyes was a soul who had experienced all the frailties of life, and its mark made a penetrable impression on Aleha. His weakness brought to her mind memories of the aftermath following Xandra’s ill-fated betrayal. The Wraiths, provoked from the jealousy of a witch selfish and blind, brought ruin to many inhabitants of the land. How could one person bring so much destruction?
The Faeries had succeeded in preventing the nefarious Wraiths from trespassing into Neopia’s realm since, but how long till that veil of protection should burst? Again, the silence beckoned her, but Aleha had no way to answer it. As far back as she could remember, she always longed to be in company with the greatest of Faeries, fighting a war still very much alive, and yet, she knew that war was not the path to take.
These thoughts followed her to bed that night, and never left until the first rays of morning sun finally arrived. ---
There was no peace to be had, no strength to fill her hollow Faerie bones. But the creature could do nothing but move, so she arose and took her leave towards the grassy hills of Faerieland.
She was grateful for the clarity of the skies that morning, the winds were slight and graceful and the sun’s rays gradually dispersed the doubts that clouded her mind. Upon mounting the hill, Aleha spotted off in the distance a large group of injured and afflicted Neopians making their way towards the Healing Springs. Looking back, she couldn’t recall what the sensation was that pulled her towards that place, but t’wards it she went.
As she made her entrance amidst the quiet waters, a foreboding hush among the uneasy crowd stopped her in her tracks for there at the fount lay the same Aisha that Aleha had seen the night before, only what then seemed to be extreme exhaustion in the eyes of the weary Neopian was now evidently a nasty case of Neomonia. Debilitated, he lay there barely conscious of the words the Water Faerie spoke to him. She used a great deal of magic in attempting to alleviate his ailments, but to no avail; it wasn’t enough. With nothing in her heart but concern for this Neopian, Aleha ran over to the front of the line and asked the Water Faerie what she could do.
“There’s nothing to be done,” said the Water Faerie in great angst, “I’ve used up all my magic to heal him, but his illness has progressed to a stage where my magic will have no effect. There’s nothing I can do.”
Murmurs sounded in the crowd behind Aleha, many concerned Neopians grew afraid for this Aisha’s well-being. There was talk about sending for Queen Fyora so she could lend her powers to help the afflicted Aisha, but the Water Faerie quickly rebuked them:
“No! Queen Fyora is too weak right now to lend any of her powers, and there are very few Faeries in the whole of Neopia itself to spare enough magic to heal this Aisha. I’m afraid there’s nothing more to be done for him.”
With a thunderous pounding in her chest, Aleha exclaimed, “Wait! I might not have much, but could you use my powers to help him?”
The Water Faerie gave a look of surprise and said, “Well, you’re the only other Faerie here, so I suppose it would be worth a shot, but my dear—“
“—let’s do it then,” Aleha said, her eyes burning with determination. “If I can’t at least try to help him, then there’s no use in me being a Faerie now is there?”
A warm smile washed over the face of the Water Faerie, “Alright,” she said. “Take hold of his hand and mine and I’ll cast the spell.”
With that Aleha grabbed hold of both and watched intently as the Water Faerie chanted the spell. A great light immersed the room, the waters in the adjacent springs began to ripple wildly, an enormous amount of energy filled the air, and the crowd buzzed.
At once, the light disappeared and the afflicted Aisha opened his eyes. The crowd, poking their heads out beheld the healthy glow in his face and roared. Amongst the cheers and celebrating that took place, Aleha looked around in wonder. The Water Faerie came to her side and whispered:
“I’ve never seen anything like that before. You have a gift, dear—“ she paused, thinking a moment.
“That kind of magic only comes to those with a pure love and intent to help others. You could do so much to help the kingdom if that is the path you choose to take.” She took hold of Aleha’s hand, “We have enough fighters, but we need more Faeries who will help and lift up those who are still healing after the city’s fall.”
Aleha turned from the Water Faerie to the Neopians cheering in the crowd, though many of them were still sick and injured, their spirits were lifted immensely from seeing so great an act performed. If Aleha could have that much of an impact on others, then there was no question in her mind what she should do. Before, the darkness and the confusion blinded her from seeing the light in her path, but then the clouds broke, and the morning light flooded the darkest crevices of heart and mind. And she knew.
She knew what path to take.