The Annual Discovery of Ixi Faire
Rain pounded against the shutters as Tayver dusted off another old book. Rainy days were the best times to do his research. He enjoyed the atmosphere that was created by storms and the rain was a soothing sound to his headache. Trying to decipher the spidery old script, the ink faded brown, the pages stained with only Fyora knew what was a difficult task. Tayver's grandfather had handed him the leather bound tome when he was a much younger Ixi. It had lain in a box at the back of his closet for years. He had come across it only last week, while cleaning.
Turning the lamp up higher, Tayver flipped open the cover.
"This is the journal of Master Charles Kingsford".
Tayver grinned in anticipation. This ought to be good. Master Charles Kingsford had been Tayver's great great grandfather. He was well known as an accurate if eccentric historian throughout Neopia. It was Tayver's greatest hope to follow in his great great grandfather's hoof-steps. Thumbing through a few pages, Tayver stopped on one dated July 11, Year 6.
The sun was brilliant in the sky as everyone gathered around the wooden stage. The platform had been built only days before. Work crews had been pounding and hammering, painting and sawing, and finally the magnificent stage was ready. An elegantly dressed gentleman stepped through the curtains and coughed.
"Ahem. Excuse me all but we're about to start."
The group gathered more closely. Eyes vivid with excitement and anticipation all noises ceased except the shuffling of feet as folk shuffled for a better position. Slowly the curtain pulled back. There was a collective "oh" from the crowd. The elegantly dressed gentleman stepped forward again.
"My name is Cornelius Rothbottom and I am the head of the Great Ixi Council. It is my pleasure to welcome you all to Annual Discovery of Ixi Faire. There are many activities for everyone to participate and lots of things for you to see. We have games and face painting for the little ones, and the big ones too, if you want to join! We have vendors selling everything from homemade crafts, clothing, jewelry, and of course, lots to eat. We will end the day with a grand feast to be held in the field to your right. I hope you all enjoy yourselves and please remember to be safe. The nurses' pavilion is just down the way. Once again, welcome! Please begin the day's merriments by enjoying a short pageant."
As Mr. Rothbottom exited the stage, small Ixi began pouring out from the wings behind the curtains. They were gaily dressed and painted. A beautiful young female Ixi came forward with two of the baby Ixi. "My name is Miss Anne and this is my kindergarten class. They have put together a small pageant to welcome you all. Please enjoy! Parents and siblings, please collect your youngsters after the final curtain call." With that Miss Anne stepped down from the stage and sat behind a large piano.
The music began to tinkle through the air as the play began. The young Ixi scampered back and forth amongst the scenery. There was even one dressed like King Skarl himself! The youngsters gathered in the middle of the stage and sang several songs. There was one young boy in the very back of the pack singing much louder than all the rest and rather off key. Laughter and applause could be heard from the far reaches of the audience. The youngsters were a big hit. Finally it was time for the last scene. The little one dressed as King Skarl ran to the very center of the stage where he promptly tripped over his flowing garments and fell headfirst off the platform into the grass below.
The young Ixi got up slowly, brushing the dust from his costume. Climbing back up on the stage, he turned, revealing a rather gap toothed grin. Holding his lost teeth in his hand, he hollered to his mother, "now the Tooth Faerie will have to come visit!" Laughter erupted from the concerned onlookers_ At that moment, the Tooth Faerie herself mounted the steps. She bent down and had a few quiet words with the rambunctious youngster. She gave him a huge hug and turned, disappearing as quietly as she appeared. Everyone in the crowd waited patiently for the youngster to tell them what happened. He finally raised his head and held out a small pile of neopoints. He squealed with delight and ran to the backstage area to show his friends.
With that, the play was abruptly ended and the crowd began to disperse. Some went to the Games Field; others went to the Food Pavilion, and still others began wondering amongst the stalls looking for bargains. Strolling up and down the main thoroughfare, you could see the wares on display. There were Ixi plushies, Ixi clothing, Ixi-themed books, Ixi snacks, and Ixi toys. Everything was either Ixi themed or designed just for Ixi. What a wonderful notion! Even Nanci, the proprietor of Ye Olde Petpets had a stall. You could hear the thumping of the turtums and hear the squawks of the crokabeks.
The sounds of ringing swords and the clashing of shields came from the Games field. The Ixi were holding a jousting tournament. The knights and their ladies were dressed for the festival. The colors were amazing. Pennants flapped in the wind and the Ixi's steeds were snorting dust several feet high. Across the field, perched high above the other seats was the royal box. Squinting against the glare of the sun and the gleam of the armour, you could just make out the figure of King Skarl. It seemed that everyone who was any one was in attendance today.
Gazing out from the pageant stage, you could see the greatest gathering of Ixi in Neopian history. Everyone was in great spirits and enjoying the festivities. A short distance past the last shop stall a great cloud of dust rose into the air. Screams and shouts could be heard coming from that direction. Before I could jump down from the stage, two security Ixi had dragged a pair of youngsters apart. The children were still struggling against their captors and attempting to reengage their scuffle.
"It's mine!" shouted the smaller of the two Ixi. "No it's not you twit! I found it fair so that makes it mine," retorted the larger Ixi. The security Ixi were having a difficult time of the situation. Miss Anne stepped forward towards the youngest Ixi. "What's going on Roger?" she asked. Tears were streaming down little Roger's face. He sniffled very loudly before explaining that he had just won the tattered Ixi puppet from the Ring Toss game. As he was running down the lane to show his mother what he'd just won, his adversary had come upon him and torn it from his hands. They began tugging on the puppet and things got very heated. Miss Anne looked from Roger to the other Ixi. "Now Arnold, what do you have to say for yourself?" Miss Anne's piercing stare could make any young delinquent confess. Arnold hung his head in miserable silence. Miss Anne picked up the tattered Ixi puppet from the ground where it had fallen. Dusting it off, she handed it back to Roger with the promise that she would find some thread and mend it for him.
With that settled, the Faire returned to its normal state of semi-controlled chaos. The sun began lowering in the horizon and as dusk settled, every Ixi there began to head toward the field to the right of the stage. A feast had been guaranteed and everyone was looking forward to what promised to be an excellent affair. Delicious aromas had been coming from the tents next to the field all day. The mouth-watering smells of roasting vegtables and fresh baking bread had been wafting through the Faire for the past several hours. Tables and benches had been set up under an open pavilion in the field. The tables were groaning with an array of delicacies. The Ixi chose their seats with alacrity and turned toward the head of the pavilion, waiting on Mr. Rothbottom.
"Good evening my fellow Ixi!" Mr. Rothbottom began. "What an excellent day! I hope that those among us who are not Ixi will take from this day a greater appreciation of Ixi and will return again next year! As for myself, my committee and I have already begun preparations for next year's Annual Discovery of Ixi Faire. And from what I can let slip, you can be assured that next year will be even better! Before I get ahead of myself, however, this year's Faire is not quite over yet and much is still left for your enjoyment! Please enjoy the sounds of Meridell's own bard, Master Dougal McKenzie!" Mr. Rothbottom took his seat at the head table and began to fill his plate. Others followed suit. Master McKenzie took his stool in the middle of the assembly. He began plucking the strings of his lute and his harp, tuning them just so. He set three wooden pipes upon the stool to his left. The musical entertainment promised to be excellent.
Master McKenzie was a bard of excellent reputation with a renowned singing voice. He had performed at the courts of King Skarl and King Hagan. It was rumored that he'd even spent some time at the court of Queen Fyora, herself. All the assembly waited anxiously for the bard to finish his tuning. Finally, with great ceremony, Master McKenzie picked up his lute and strummed the first notes. His sang in a voice that could melt the coldest heart and bring tears to the driest of eyes. His songs were of great battles, of loves lost and found, of myths and faerie tales. The greatest of Neopian history he had made into song. Trenchers were forgotten, drinks were left untouched as the bard told his tales.
At length the last lingering note drifted into silence. The entire pavilion erupted in cheers and applause. The Master Bard was toasted all around. He had earned his place and most deservedly his supper. Mugs of cold water were passed to him and plates heaped with steaming food were sent in his direction. Much time passed beneath the brightly painted tent while the stars overhead twinkled merrily. More stories were told, many songs were sung, and a few brave souls presented speeches. The grass was littered with the warm young bodies of Ixi who could not stay awake for it all. With a great contented sigh, Mr. Rothbottom once again stood.
"Friends and fellows. It is with a happy heart that I count this as the greatest and most esteemed assemblage of Ixi from all over Neopia." Raising his goblet, he continued, "Here's to another great Ixi Day! And may many more come with the rising of the sun!" Mr. Rothbottom drained his goblet. The other Ixi gathered there did the same. The end of the Faire had come. Ixi wandered off to their beds. Morning would come all too soon. The year would stretch ahead with many months before the next year's Faire. In the meantime, you too must find your bed. Dream the sweetest of Ixi dreams my reader. Until next year!
Tayver closed the journal with great care. Glancing up at the calendar next to his desk he noticed that Ixi Day was not far off. He hadn't been to an Ixi Day Faire in a long time. He remembered his mother taking him when he was very young. It had been nothing like what his great great grandfather had described. There had been a few vendors selling random items, a few food carts, but mostly it had been dusty. And hot – very hot. That's all Tayver could really remember. Perhaps this year it would be different. Pondering the prospect, Tayver circled the date on his calendar. He'd have to make his preparations quickly if he was to attend. Grabbing his quill he began a letter to the Meridell Chamber of Commerce. He was definitely going. He looked longingly at the journal. He vowed that he would have a good time. If it wasn't as great a Faire as it had been in his great great grandfather's time, then he would make sure to be on the Council next year. He was going to bring the Annual Discovery of Ixi Faire back to its original splendor. But first things first, he had to get there and that letter needed writing.