Life After the Curse
This article first appeared in “The Faerieland Gazette.”
After successfully weakening the Darkest Faerie and addressing the Wraith Resurgence, Queen Fyora was eager to get back to Faerieland affairs. However, with the thought of The Darkest Faerie in the back of her mind, it became difficult for her to conduct business as usual.
Although Taelia did the best she could to reverse the effects of The Darkest Faerie’s curse, Queen Fyora still felt it lingering. Her magical powers were weakened, and at times, the curse would cause darker thoughts to surface. While Queen Fyora was wise enough to know the differences, she would have to excuse herself from making any important decisions until the curse’s effects subsided. Despite this, she continued to insist things were fine and tried to convince everyone that the government was business as usual.
“I understand there are concerns among Faerielanders, but I can assure them that I am in decent shape. I do not feel that is necessary for me to step down.”
For most of Faerieland, her confidence was reassuring. However, there existed a fair amount of unrest among Faerielanders. Queen Fyora brought Reizo and Kaia back to the Faerie Castle where each of them would continue their treatments to reverse the curses that The Darkest Faerie laid upon them. For some, having Reizo near Faerieland’s governing institutions was a risk they were unwilling to take.
“We understand that the Darkest Faerie is gravely weakened, but as she attains strength, Malum could once again manifest. He should be treated outside of Faerieland,” said a Faerielander from Stratusville who did not wish give her name.
A few of them showed up to the entrance of the Faerie Castle to protest. Queen Fyora ordered her guards not to disrupt the protestors. However, their message largely fell on deaf ears.
“If he is treated away from my supervision, who will stop him when his curse relapses? Reizo is in the safest place for him. Close to Kaia, his best friend and under supervision of highly skilled faeries,” Queen Fyora argued.
Most Faerielanders generally agreed with this thought. After all, they felt that had Xandra been under closer supervision, she might have turned out differently. But to the protestors, it felt like Queen Fyora was no longer listening to her people. Calls for her resignation continued to grow louder, some coming from within the castle. Although the Faerie Council pledged their full support behind Fyora, other members of the government did not have the same sentiment. The Faerieland Legislature was quite divided. The assembly, made up of 60 members was nearly evenly split on the issue. This made it unlikely any resolution forcing Reizo to seek treatment elsewhere would make it to the council of six plus the queen herself. Even then, they would not be able to gather 40 votes to override any veto from the council. The council would most certainly unanimously strike down any such proposal.
Flo, an Air Faerie from the Village of Cirrus said, “I doubt there will be anything that would come to fruition out of any debate here. There’s just little room for compromise in this climate. I feel that our priorities would be better suited to allocating resources to find the Darkest Faerie before she strengthens again.”
Pressed for more detailed answers, Flo did not appear willing to discuss specifics. Attempting to stop other legislators seemed an impossible feat as many of them declined to answer any questions related to Kaia or Reizo, except individuals from the Pet Caucus. The Neopets in that group strongly supported Reizo’s treatments.
“Pets and faeries must work together to stop the evil in this world. Casting Reizo out will be detrimental to that cause,” said Warren, a Faerie Draik from Faerie City. “We are glad that Queen Fyora recognizes this now. In the past, faeries tended to ignore the needs of Neopets.”
Meanwhile, Queen Fyora did her best to isolate Reizo from Faerieland politics. However, he could still hear the protests and the rumblings among legislators. Wishing not to become the reason for Faerieland tensions, Reizo proposed going to Terror Mountain where Taelia could handle his treatment. Fyora could still closely monitor his status through communication with Taelia.
“I had offered Fyora to seek treatment in Terror Mountain. However, she immediately dismissed such an idea, insisting that the majority of Faerieland still welcomed me,” Reizo said.
“Right now, Faerieland is the best place for him. We cannot have him out there alone without access to any of our magical expertise,” Fyora also added when asked what her assessment was.
That said, life for Reizo wasn’t exactly all rosy. Because of the danger of his curse, he cannot leave the castle. His room is under heavy surveillance by special forces from the Faerieland Army. Although they always treated him with kindness, his faced loneliness. However, Hanso decided he would keep him company when he wasn’t on any missions to find dangerous artifacts.
“He’s just like me. Both of us picked up strange artifacts and look what happened. The curse doesn’t really affect him much when the Darkest Faerie is weak. Brynn’s new mission is to help hunt down the Darkest Faerie to prevent that,” Hanso said.
When asked about why he wasn’t going with Brynn, Hanso stated that Fyora wanted him back at the castle to help protect Reizo. Queen Fyora herself doesn’t recall giving such an order, but thought it was a decent idea.
“I’m sure Reizo and Hanso would be good friends,” she said.
A team of faeries, receiving direct orders from Taelia, continues making potions for Reizo to reduce the effects of his curse. While the Darkest Faerie is no longer issuing orders, Reizo still feels periods where he falls into a trance and remains unresponsive until the curse becomes dormant again. The potions are meant to reduce the frequency of such incidents, and a second set of potions is meant to bring Reizo out of his trances.
For Kaia, watching her best friend undergo the horrors of the Darkest Faerie’s curse is a curse itself. Initially, she did not wish to speak to the press. Queen Fyora encouraged her to get some of her thoughts out there though, fearing that keeping painful thoughts to herself may only make Kaia’s health worse. Although Kaia wasn’t cursed as badly by the Darkest Faerie, even a light curse from the Darkest Faerie can periodically drain Kaia’s magical powers, rendering her vulnerable.
“I’m doing fine right now. I’m just worried about Reizo. There are days where I wish that I never wrote to him, so he would have never made the journey here. At least he would be his old self,” Kaia said.
We tried our best to convince her that she could not have possibly known the Darkest Faerie was lurking in the area, and that this wasn’t her fault.
“Thanks for the encouragement…” Kaia said, but she did not appear to be totally convinced.
“I don’t think she will be herself any time soon,” said Casandia, who became very close friends with Kaia after her arrival. “The curse of unwarranted guilt is a strong one as well. We’re doing all we can to cheer her up, but there’s a problem. Some in Faerieland don’t believe that the Darkest Faerie was disguised as Kaia when she did all those things. They seem to want to believe that Kaia herself perpetrated those crimes. I don’t understand why.”
We were caught surprised as well so to verify those claims, we traveled to Nimburg, situated right on the edge of Jhudora’s Bluff. We spoke to Jezel, a dark faerie. She mentioned that most of the Dark Faeries believed Kaia due to their deep understanding of curses. However, some of the Light Faeries in the area did not.
“Well, I’m not sure if Kaia did those deeds or not. However, I’m not so sure if her story really adds up,” said a light faerie who asked us to withhold her name.
When asked why, she seemed anxious to answer and simply said that she doesn’t know Kaia well enough to give a reason. She then mentioned that if Kaia didn’t come to the Faerie Festival, Reizo would not have come either to awaken the Darkest Faerie. When we raised the point that the Darkest Faerie could have picked anybody randomly to do her bidding, she ended the interview, noting that she just remembered an urgent errand.
Kaia was used to other faeries constantly seeing her as a suspicious figure. The light faerie’s doubts of her weren’t new; they were simply reinforced by recent events. However, none of the faeries dared to confront Fyora directly about the issue. Deep down, they all knew that Queen Fyora would be severely disappointed. However, the attitudes were tense among the populace. Any sense of normalcy would be quickly dashed by fierce debate among individuals about the fates of Reizo and Kaia.
Before we left Nimburg, we ran into a group of faerie pets and asked their thoughts about Reizo and Kaia.
“We fully support their recovery here. Leaving them weak and vulnerable would surely invite the Darkest Faerie to make another attempt to rise to power. This would be particularly awful for faerie-pet relations. Queen Fyora is trying her best to rebuild those relationships and we would hate to see all that work undone,” said a Faerie Draik. She asked us to withhold her name since tensions are still pretty high.
Asked about the opinions we heard in Nimburg, Queen Fyora drew a deep breath and heaved a long sigh.
“It saddens me that some individuals do not wish to bestow the compassion that our guests deserve. Just because they are from a different land does not make them dangerous. That is far from the truth. It disappoints me that the truth appears to fall on deaf ears for some. We as Faerielanders will continue to work hard to make Faerieland a welcoming land for all, even if some of us aren’t fully on board.”
“Are you worried that this would potentially divide the Faerieland population?”
Fyora shook her head.
“I’m not worried yet. The majority still wishes to aid Reizo and Kaia. Rumors of discord are widely overblown so no, I have little reason to be concerned.”
The Faerieland Legislature seemed to agree on this. Even those against allowing Reizo and Kaia to stay in Faerieland conceded that the pair needed to be treated with care to prevent the Darkest Faerie from taking advantage of them again.
“We have other issues to focus on right now; issues like rebuilding infrastructure that the Wraiths damaged, working on a water desalination plant in collaboration with the Lost Desert, and searching for the Darkest Faerie to bring her to justice,” Flo said. “I think we Faerielanders are decent at working together on things we agree on.”
Perhaps that’s the only reason that Faerieland hasn’t descend into the curse of a divided populace. While there are strong opinions on both sides of the issue, most Faerielanders prefer working together on common goals. There will always be individuals on the fringe that will try to stir up discontent, but the vast majority of Faerieland appears tired of discord.
“You know, we are just now working on ensuring that Neopets and faeries get along after the whole Xandra incident. We’ve seen what a divided Faerieland looks like and would rather not return to the past. Divisions are a curse and can bring no value,” Queen Fyora stated.
As it stands today, Reizo and Kaia continue to live in Faerieland. Any movement to oust them seems to have subsided for the time being. The curse of the Wraith Resurgence may have affected them physically, but it has not permanently affected the hearts of Faerielanders.