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Jhudora's Lament

by miraday


      So, you want my perspective after all these years? Fine. Better late than never, but it’s still too late. No matter what you cover… my reputation has been engrained in our cultural conscience like an insidious curse. Some would say it’s only fitting for a dark faerie such as myself. I respect that you’re here, at least; most Neopets are too shaken to even trek up to my bluff. If the carious forest didn’t send a shiver down your back and if the Bartami flying ahead didn’t make your fur stand on end, I guess I can trust your intentions.

      So, where do I begin? It’s been decades of the same rumours and hearsay. If any type of misfortune falls upon Neopia, I’m the one that gets the blame. Neopia wanted someone to dislike, and I became that figure. Oh yeah, sure, there’s been other villains- take Dr. Sloth for example. You see, though, he actually DID try to take over Neopia! He consciously endangered Neopets for his own personal gain and avarice. Where’s the evidence against me? A bad attitude certainly doesn’t make anyone guilty. Neither should my lavender skin nor purple and green hair incriminate me. Look, even Illusen has green hair, but she’s made out to be some seraphic guardian. The point being, it’s all rubbish-- just because I look the part shouldn’t have meant that my lifelong aspirations were undermined by an unfair and undue reputation. I can hardly leave my bluff without being made to feel like the lowest being on the planet. I’ve had to own that persona and act like I am that faerie everyone thinks I am just as a defence mechanism.

      You wanted to know how this all started? Sure, I’d love to tell you. I don’t expect you to believe it, but I’ll gladly share with anyone who is willing to listen. It all started when Illusen and I were young and still vying for Fyora’s approval. Ugh, I hate bringing Illusen up all the time, but it’s hard not to when she ruined most of my life. It’s just—people will retaliate and defend her immediately, but hear me out. Way back when, the amount of years I won’t admit, Illusen and I were both young faeries with promising talent. Yeah, yeah, I know her and I have this historic feud, but talent is talent and I have to admit—her skill with earthly magic was undeniable. The Faerie Queen was looking to appoint positions across Neopia as the land was flourishing and burgeoning. Jhudora was granted residence on Mystery Island almost immediately after it had been discovered, and Taelia had recommended herself to the summit of Terror Mountain; I don’t think Fyora was going to pass up a chance at positioning someone of her calibre there—who elects themselves to icy summit? Anyways, King Skarl’s dominion in Meridell was seeking a resident faerie in the Glades due to the looming threat of Lord Darigan, and Fyora was keen to establish a connection between the Royal Court of Meridell and the Faerie Court. So, Fyora was faced with a decision to choose between her faerie prospects.

      The problem was this: Illusen and I were both great candidates to hold a position in Meridell. I thought the choice was obvious, however: I had practiced in those glades for quite some time. I knew the land, its people, and I had a high quality working relationship between the two. You’d be surprised how useful dark magic is for getting crops to cooperate, and Meridell sure needed it at that time. I even developed an intricate communication system with the Crokabeks that preceded the advent of Neomail. When I was in the region, I easily sent messages to the Castle or to the farmers all through the Crokabeks. The most obvious reason why I was suited for the position, too, was my speciality in dark magic. The scouting reports of the Darigan Citadel even at that time knew that they were meddling in dark magic, enchantments and tactics. I mean—just look at the place. The menacing, floating Citadel—who else would be better to defend against that than a dark faerie who understands the principles of dark magic that underlie its conception?

      Yet—Illusen fit the position better; at least, she sounded better on parchment. She was an earth faerie, and the residence was in a forest. Seemed evident enough. Moreover, she looked the part more than I did: her neutral, earthly looks were more approachable than my vibrant—some would say violent-- emerald and purple. That didn’t mean she could do the job better than I could, though! I was established there, I was respected there! Illusen knew it, too. That’s when it started, when she became cognizant of the fact that I had an advantage on receiving that position.

      One day during Fyora’s decision-making process, I was summoned to help with marrow and potato crop failures in the Meridell Acres and Illusen wasn’t—she hadn’t known that the crop failures were the initial tactics employed by Lord Darigan and his dark magic, though. That’s why I specifically was summoned. I’m sure she was upset by this, since she was the earth faerie and in any other situation probably should have been called first. While I was away, Illusen remained in Faerieland. From what I was told, that’s when she started spreading rumours that she had seen my Crokabeks flying up to the Citadel. She planted the seeds of doubt by convincing others that I had been coalescing with an enemy. She knew her rumours would stick, too, since fear is an insidious thing and faeries are fallible beings, too. Illusen capitalized on the situation because she knew others would latch onto the idea since I fit the part. There was never any evidence, of course, and I needn’t defend myself of such a treasonous act. Those Crokabeks of mine wouldn’t fly within a sight’s distance of that Citadel. No, they were afraid of it just as much as we were back then. It was that corrosive fear that led to the downfall of my reputation. I don’t know how it got back to Fyora, but I know it did. Needless to say, with such rampant rumours flying about, I didn’t get the residence in the Glades. Like I said, Illusen is very talented. She’s good at everything she does, including persuasion and conviction— no matter its veracity.

      The rumours didn’t die down, of course. They arose when Lord Darigan launched his attack on Meridell; I was a prime suspect and scrutinized daily. Fyora watched me carefully to make sure I wasn’t coalescing with Lord Darigan like I was accused. Again, needless to say: she didn’t find anything because there wasn’t anything. Those rumours have followed me my entire life. You wouldn’t believe the amount of accusations that were directed at me during the Darkest Faerie’s insurgency or Xandra’s wrath on Faerieland. Still to this day, I hear mumblings that I loathe Faerieland and probably wished the physical collapse upon the place. Look, Faerieland isn’t even afloat anymore, and I’m still here close to Faerie City- why would I remain in proximity if I detested it so much? And as a matter of fact, I’ve been involved in the Faerieland community for ages. I’ve been so kind as to send Neopets on quests and in exchange, I reward them magical artifacts of ultimate power! What does Taelia give out, her pocket change of Neopoints and a piece of food? Big deal. I reward those Neopets rightfully so, the ones who manage to make it up here to my bluff anyways.

      They come less and less nowadays. You know, you’re actually the first visitor I’ve had this week. Jhudora Day is coming up soon—I know that’s what spurred your visit-- but nobody seems interested in just stopping by to say hello or to wish me well on my special day anymore. Just my name alone invites whispers and murmurs. “Jhudora” didn’t use to have such a nasty ring, back when all my faerie sisters still spoke to me. Did you know I haven’t received an official invitation from Fyora in years to visit the Faerie Festival? No, I have to hear about it offhandedly through the few Neopets who still do my quests. That, or one of my Bartami will bring me back a flier or a handout that it found while on its travels. Do you know what it’s like to be cut off from the rest of the world based on something that you had no control over? For your sisters to completely cut you off and not utter a word? For an entire planet to shudder at the thought of you- only based on what they’ve heard?

      It’s lonesome. I sit here atop the bluff day in, day out just… watching Faerie City teeming full of excitement and life. I can’t even get the trees to grow back properly around my castle. And I just bet you the faeries all down there, all of them just look up at the bluff and see the decay and think to themselves, “You reap what you sow.” How I wish that they would just come ask me how I’m doing, or even address the Elephante in the room and ask why it is that things are the way they are now. Now, my only company are the Bartami and my bodyguard Gruslens, Sarah and Daisy. And it’s fine, it really is- I’m not the most social faerie, I know that, and I do have a negative outlook most of the time now. Maybe I do have a bad attitude, and maybe it is my magic manifesting itself in a wrathful way that has led this place to ruin. Maybe I am angry inside, but it wasn’t my fault! I’m not this way because of anything intrinsic about me, I’m this way as a result of how I’ve been treated!

      You see, the thing is… I’ve been mistreated by Neopia for years now. No one has been outright hostile to me recently, but it’s the feeling of constant exclusion. It’s not just from the faeries, or Illusen herself, though I don’t have many nice words to say about her—it’s from everyone. I wasn’t given a fair shot from the beginning. I was mischaracterized based on my appearance, and for the gift of dark magic that was bestowed upon me. I didn’t choose to have these qualities. I didn’t stand a chance as soon as Illusen thought that I was in her way. It was too easy for her to take me down- I fit the physical profile and everyone is too easily guided by what they can or can’t see. What Illusen has never been able to do, however, is justify the rumours she spread. And you know who the blame falls on for my mistreatment then? You. All of you. Everyone who has believed the rumours and the hearsay without trying to find the truth out themselves. I hold everyone else to blame for the way I’ve been treated, and I even feel like I’m guilty of my own mistreatment at times, too. This was not meant to be my narrative, but it is now because it’s been perpetuated by everyone else. It’s a peculiar thing, but I remind myself each and every day that I don’t deserve this, and that one day the perspective of this dark faerie will come to light.

      So there, that’s what really happened. That’s how I’ve gotten to this point with the notoriety that drove you here. You have my perspective now. You can go and report this interview anywhere you’d like, but I warn you that a reputation is very hard to cleanse when it’s already been dragged through the mud. I certainly know it. I’ve lived it for too long now. And to be honest, it’s making me feel sick just rehashing it all. Maybe it’s time that you should go. You’ve got what you came for. Sarah and Daisy will see you on your way out.

      …Wait. Before you leave, I just wanted to say… thank you. Thank you for hearing me out. Thank you for listening. I don’t know how much of an impact telling my story will have, but… if it convinces at least one being to rethink their thoughts about me, then I think it’ll be worth it.

      And don’t be afraid to stop by again even if it’s just to say hello. For now, I think I’ll stay atop of this bluff, hoping that everyone else will eventually realize that I’m not the faerie that I’ve been made out to be. Maybe then I can live my truth and others can live it, too. It’ll be my new narrative, one that I’m in control of. And maybe when that day comes, the trees around this castle will see life once again.

      The End.

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