Making A Legend: Turning History Into Folklore
Neopia is a world filled with history and stories, new events constantly happening and changing what we knew. These events (many which go by the term "plots" if they’re particularly big in scope) are recorded into the archives of history and remade into legends for the common Neopia to easily remember and re-tell to future generations. But who are these unaccredited authors of these legends? Who are they to take history, comb through it, and pick what parts which the masses will consider the definitive story? Let us follow the paper trail to these writers who make a huge impact on history by:
MAKING A LEGEND: TURNING HISTORY INTO FOLKLORE!
"They say it’s the winners who write history,
But creators of legends and folklore are a mystery"
WORLD: The Lost Desert
EVENTS INVOLVED WITH: Brucey B and the Lucky Coin, Search for the Crown, Usurper Plot, Lost Desert Plot, Desert Diplomacy, Lyra and the Lost Heirloom
GROUP: The Recollecting Scribes
Somewhere out in the ever-expanding, sun-baked desert for which The Lost Desert was named for, there is an unassuming stone tomb. One can forgive someone thinking it’s just ruins of one of the many failed civilizations who tried settling in the Lost Desert. Inside is an empty stone room, but only to those who aren’t well written. All over the walls are hieroglyphics, and to those who can read them a puzzle can be produced and solved. It is then you get to meet "The Recollecting Scribes", legend makers whom have silently recorded the history of the Lost Desert. With I giving them a promise of secrecy, hence my vague writing, I am told their story and legend making process.
"We have already lost so much history" a veteran scribe explained, "even now we have a hard time keeping up". The Lost Desert oddly does have the most events connect to it: its discovery to the rest of Neopia, the saga of King Coltzan, the re-emergence of Qasala, a grand heist, and now an uprising in Sakhmet. "Nowadays we are from all over the Lost Desert, mainly the major settlements, but we started as hermits and travelers. The Lost Desert has its name because so many cultures have tried to make a claim here, only to vanish with their people and history. The original founders, feeling pity for the lost, started writing down what they knew of them in the languages of the longest standing desert cities". Of course Sakhmet was one of these cities, but there were a handful of others I saw the scribes translating their history into, notably Qasalan. "Picking what is to be remembered in legends also goes back to the longest standing desert cities. People already have so much of their own history to remember they don’t want to learn about the political and cultural complications of another long gone. So it’s the parts which would catch the people’s imaginations that legends are written about". I ask if they’re particularly proud of any of their work and what are they working on now. "The Lost Desert Plot we took extra care in doing because now there was a new civilization to write for, and I believe the efforts paid off. Right now we’re working on the event we’ve titled as Lyra and the Lost Heirloom, but a certain Krawk braggart has given us trouble as he had muddled everyone’s memory of the event. We fear what truly happened has become yet another victim of the Lost Desert".
WORLD: Virtupets Space Station (and Kreludor)
EVENTS INVOLVED WITH: Virtupets Plot, Neopets V2, Return of Dr. Sloth
GROUP: The Recorders
Deep within the Virtupets Space Station, where only authorized maintenance crew members are allowed to go, there is a series of floors which are miles upon miles of databases and servers which keeps the space station operational. But this is not the only purpose of this mega database, upon all its other operations the Virtupets Space Station is designed to observe the changes on Neopia. However this system has two blind spots: Neopia’s moon Kreludor and the Virtupets Space Station itself. While the space station has an extensive security system and connections to ones on Kreludor, there’s no program in place to document what happens on either of them. But if you can get access to the space station’s background command-line interface and follow the digital clues strewn about, you may find a spin-off faction of The Resistance who has taken upon themselves to record what has happened in the space above Neopia: The Recorders.
Well, "find" in the loosest sense of the word. You can talk with at least one of their members through the command lines; for all we know it’s only the one members. However that’s not what matters. "Most believe that the space station and Kreludor are freed of Sloth’s control, but that’s just a lie to help them sleep at night" the Recorder typed. "As part of Sloth’s plans, what happens on the space station and Kreludor stays there; best not to incriminate yourself by recording footage of your own wrongdoings. But we are not going to let the atrocities that Sloth and his lackeys have done to us be forgotten! It took some rigging, but we have connected the space station’s security feed to our own archives database. It’s this footage we comb through and edit together a timeline of events. It’s frustrating how at times we are missing large gaps of video, audio, or the video quality is just bad. We more end up making documentaries than stories but the purpose of doing so is all the same. Major aspects of Sloth’s grand plan relied of propaganda and misleading the masses with unclear or false information; we have to be better than him. An exposed lie is soon forgotten, but the truth lasts forever".
EVENTS INVOLVED WITH: The Darkest Faerie, Altador Mini Plot, The Faeries’ Ruin
GROUP: The Archivists Academian
If there’s any land which understands how damaging lost history can be, it’s Altador. Trapped in a time bubble for a thousand years and afflicted by memory altering spells by both The Darkest Faerie (to take control) and Jerdana (to protect everyone), scholars are still trying to piece together what happened during those dark times. But because so many Neopians have their own theories on what has happened, many often conflicting, the duty to get down to what really happened lands at the feet of "The Archivists Academian"; a hidden assembly of scholars who members are kept secret so they can do their work uninterrupted and unbiased. And no, Finneus is not a member; he’s too much of a public figure so has little contact with them aside adding their findings to the Altadorian Archives. To find them you’ll have to follow clues and solve series of puzzles that brings to mind the Altador Mini Plot; guess it’s an Altador thing.
"Do not get the wrong impression of us," an archivist explained as I chiseled my name on a marble nondisclosure agreement, "it’s not that we think we know what the actual truth is, we all have our own theories, but rather we’re the ones who can put our differences aside to consider all viewpoints". After a few minutes I hand the marble slate over. "Let’s see. Your handwriting is atrocious, have you not ever chiseled cursive before?". I ask about their group formation and story writing process. "Alright, a signature is a signature I suppose. It was of course King Altador who requested for a select group of scholars to gather testimony and unravel what has happened to our fair city. Whatever we concluded would be taken as fact, so you can imagine the amount of pressure on our shoulders. We treat all eyewitness accounts as true until another conflict with it. We then take all accounts and discuss what could be causing the conflict. By comparing and contrasting testimonies against each other we come to the truth or close enough to it. We’ve been commended for our accuracy that, when it came time to retell the events of the Faeries’ Ruin we were chosen to do so. It was our biggest project yet as we had to go to multiple lands such as Meridell and Faerieland, but what came out of it was one of the most exhilarating and impactful stories Neopia has ever told"!
EVENTS INVOLVED WITH: Curse on Maraqua, Curse of Maraqua
GROUP: The Watchers From The Deep
More than half of Neopia’s surface is covered by water, and more than half of that has an ocean floor that is thousands of leagues down. That’s a lot of places to hide, especially down to where the light of the surface doesn’t reach. And that is how "The Watchers From The Deep" like it, a colony of undersea chroniclers who record all the happenings beneath the waves. Meeting them is dangerous; not only because of how deep you have to go, but they themselves will spear you with a trident if come uninvited; and they don’t invite often.
"You surface dwellers have your own history, why do you need to know ours?" asked, nay, demanded one of the eldest members to me. Coming across an invite wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t a unanimous decision from the Watchers. However I was quickly guided away to a private chamber by more welcoming members. "Please forgive the Watchers who do not trust surface dwellers. Those who know Maraqua’s history can understand why. It shouldn’t be surprising our own history is closely interwoven with Maraqua’s. Many are part of or are descendants of a group of Maraquans who left their home when pirates began to demand protection money from Maraqua. They feared their history was in danger of being taken as a form of payment. They left to study in seclusion; little did they know the pirates would outright destroy Maraqua. Thinking they were the last of their people, they vowed to record everything that happens from then on in the ocean so Maraqua’s sacrifice would not be forgotten. And we watched and recorded as the surface made attempts to learn what happened, survivors of the first curse came together and rebuilt a new Maraqua, and how new Maraqua fought off Captain Scarblade’s crew and opened itself back to surface dwellers as its own kingdom. It’s a very inspirational tale, from tragedy to triumph, from being alone to having a whole world of support! And we watched it all, we recorded it all, and we retold it all as the inspirational story that we feel it to be".
EVENTS INVOLVED WITH: Tyrannian Invasion, War of the Obelisk
GROUP: The Writers On The Wall
Not all of these legend makers are secret groups. There are some which are directly led by a world leader, such as in Tyrannia. Led by Grand Elder Kyruggi, "The Writers On The Wall" are in charge of maintaining and deciphering the Wall of Prophecy which the Tyrannia Council relies on during times of crisis. During the Tyrannian Invasion they hastily scoured the walls for any strategies they could use against the Monoceraptor’s army. During the War of the Obelisk they found a mural depicting the obelisk’s dangerous power and thus Tyrannian stayed clear of the conflict. Such an important place and group are heavily guarded and hardly anyone is allowed to talk with them; or at least directly.
(For the reader’s convenience I translated the Tyrannian language into common Neopian)
"Anything you have to say to Writers you can say to me!" Kyruggi said in a stern voice. As with the others, I asked about the group’s history and their process of turning history into legends. "Turning history into legend? Why they need to do that? On Wall of Prophecy both are one and same! Wall of Prophecy has been written upon since ancient times. History is story of what writer saw and so it becomes legend. Wall runs deep down in underground cave, thousands of years of prophecies not one Neopia can read in a life time". It was then I pointed out something confusing: why is it called the Wall of Prophecy when it’s not predicting anything? "FOOL! Have you not heard history repeats?! Wall has legends of current events that happened long ago! Fiends rising from desert, invaders from beyond stars, fall of Faeries, cities lost to sea; even Tyrannian own history was known. Now new writings will go on to descendants for them to learn their future from our past".
WORLD: Meridell, Darigan Citadel & Brightvale
EVENTS INVOLVED WITH: Champions of Meridell, Battle For Meridell
GROUP: The Scholars Without A Kingdom
You would think that Brightvale, the kingdom of scholars, would have the responsibility of recording and sorting through the history of the three kingdoms. But don’t forget that the brother kings of Meridell and Brightvale are fierce rivals which have rubbed off onto their people. Meridell wouldn’t trust Brightvale with this important task though Darigan Citadel wouldn’t trust Meridell to not be bias. It was agreed that a group dissociated with any kingdom was needed, a group that would be known as "The Scholars Without A Kingodom". The location of the manor which they do their work is someplace within the time bubble which all three kingdoms exist in, but that’s as much as I’m allowed to divulge. If you want to find them as I did then pay attention for ancient runes which act as both a clue and landmark.
"I’d argue our own history is as interesting as the kingdoms we record for" chimed the Scholar who, along with a few guards, escorted me around their massive library. "Since no kingdom was directly involved with our creation it would look as we just sprung up like an early Spring sprig. However our formation was years in the making, made up of us scholars, authors, and poets who roamed the countryside; freed of a king’s judging eyes. Kingdom scholars who had contact with us free spirits suggested the idea to us: record the history, retell the legends; we’ll be funded by the kingdoms but free of any influence. You bet your book straps we took the offer". That explained their history well, but what about retelling the legends? "That’s the more complicated side of the job. History is history, but there’s many ways to tell a tale. Who are the protagonists? Who are the antagonists? How do you write it so each side’s beliefs are understood and relatable? How should the stories twists be best presented? Not easy questions; we’ve had many days of arguing about writing style, grammar, and length. Take our best known work, the two Meridell plots, for example. Meridell may be the viewpoint protagonist but Darigan Citadel is an antagonist with protagonist characters working for them. Meridell’s side of the plot is laid bare but Darigan Citadels is kept obscured with hidden depths. Readers are drawn to the grandeur and heroism of Meridell, but they stay for the mystery and reveals of Darigan Citadel".
WORLD: Mystery Island
EVENTS INVOLVED WITH: Gadsgadsbogen Puzzle, Volcano Mystery
GROUP: The Master’s Word
Mystery Island is led and protected by five guardians: Jhuidah the Island Faerie, the Island Mystic, Tiki Tack Man, the Tiki Tour Guide, and the Techo Master. However, aside from Jhuidah, the guardians change over time as they grow old and choose a replacement. Before the Techo Master it was his master, the Techo Master’s Master. This is where we get back on topic, as it’s his followers who have taken on the duty of remembering and retelling the events of Mystery Island. They call themselves "The Master’s Word" and to talk with them you just need to know what to say to a statue in his image (and offering some NP might not hurt, used to upkeep the Secret Ninja Training School of course).
"My master has spoken much about his master, the Techo Master’s Master. And no, my master isn’t the Techo Master, the Techo Master’s Master had many students who became masters. While the Techo Master opened his own Training School, ones such as my master dedicated themselves to their master’s other duties" explained a disciple part of The Master’s Word. To make things easier we agreed to call the Techo Master’s Master the TMM. "One of the duties which the TMM took upon himself was observing what was happening around Mystery Island and turning them into folktales. He would then tell the stories which will then spread, letting everyone know what’s happening on the island while also learning lessons and being entertained. While spreading the tales are now no longer difficult, creating them involves more than putting words on paper. These tales are more like performances, using fire, powder, and smoke to create images and emphasize important moments. They read more like a script, and for plots like the Volcano Mystery there’s a lot of choreography which needs to be planned out". I point out that this more sounds like something the Island Mystic would do. "Maybe the current one does, but past Island Mystics like the TMM knew was more occupied with their own prophesying than what was happening at the moment. It was said the TMM did not want what happened to Geraptiku to happen again, though oddly never specified what he meant; as if he wanted what happened to be lost along with the city".
WORLD: Haunted Woods
EVENTS INVOLVED WITH: Tale of Woe, Spooky Food Eating Contest
GROUP: The Scribbling Claws
~Get lost in the Haunted Woods at night, with papers of your greatest works in hand.~
~Get lost in the Haunted Woods at night, dropping the papers far and wide.~
~Get lost in the Haunted Woods at night, and if your writing is exceptional you’ll be taken inside.~
That, or if you’re writing is as bad as mine, you’ll be grabbed out of curiosity. Taken or grabbed, those clenched hands belong to "the Scribbling Claws"; legend makers who may be better known as the eerie eyes watching you from the trees in the Haunted Woods.
Can’t say where I was taken. Not because I signed anything, but because it was dark, cold, and silent. The only source of light was from a candle on a table where a cloaked figure sat. Only their hands were uncovered and it was furry and clawed which could fit a number of Species and Colour combinations. I sat down in the empty chair across from the figure, explained why I was there, and let them do the rest of the talking. "You wish to learn our history? Well, that sounds like a jolly good time!" A rather chipper voice came from the figure; don’t know whether it was that or the bone-chilling scream that came from down a barely visible hallway which startled me the most. "Oh, don’t worry a bit about that, just how some of us more deeper wood members get on. I myself like a nice tea" he said, sliding in a tea set which was hidden in the shadows. He poured us both a cup and continued. "To get right to it, Haunted Woods is actually a place you DON’T want to write stories about. Tragedies, curses, hauntings; there are little happy endings here. But, since rarely are there any witnesses to know what happened, how can one ignore the same sad fate? We here have a keener sense of the woods, telling travelers of what we saw and heard from the trees. But interest in our tales of woe soon grew so we became ever more attentive to the happening in these woods. It’s not actually us who retell what we observed, but rather it’s those around the campfires who, knowingly or not, turns them into parables. The Tale of Woe has turned into a message of appreciating what you have and how some things are too good to be true. You yourself should heed a lesson from the Spooky Food Eating Contest: be careful what you eat". I was in a middle of sipping my tea when the candle blew out. In front of me a jolly chuckle came from the darkness, quickly fading as the figure vanished from sight. Last thing I could remember was the distinct taste of Slumberberry.
WORLD: Terror Mountain
EVENTS INVOLVED WITH: Hannah and the Ice Caves
GROUP: The Time Keepers
I was jolted awake by a sudden blister of cold air. Ahead of me was one of the lesser traveled entrances to the Ice Caves in Terror Mountain. After making sure everything was still on me (I was missing some Neopoints, of course; but I still had my notes which was all that mattered to me) I walked into the cave. Whether they knew it or not, The Scribbling Claws dropped me where I was going to go next: to see The Time Keepers. While finding the other legend makers involved text puzzles, the puzzle The Time Keeper put forth more involved times and dates. From their name you might think the Keeper of Time, king of the Bori civilization in Terror Mountain, had something to do with them but never did I need to set foot into the frozen kingdom. Rather it’s the caves walls and occasional stalagmite (the ones which rise from the ground) which had the clues I needed buried beneath their layers of snow and ice.
TAP. TAP. SHATTER! Freed! I don’t remember when or how I got frozen in a block of ice, but luckily my saviors turned out to be The Time Keepers! I had apparently been walking in circles around their entrance because I was reading the dates as month/day/year but they were written in a day/month/year format. Oops. But now wrapped in a fuzzy blanket and a cup of hot coco in hand (don’t worry, no Slumberberries, I checked) I asked them for their part in legend making. "To clear up a misnomer, we have no relation to the Bori king, though we do now closely work with him. The Bori were still frozen when our group formed, though many of them have joined us since then. Our group was originally looking for the Bori, who at the time we called "The Time Keepers" since we found ancient writings which mentioned their king was named "The Keeper of Time". We only got as far as finding special tunnels of ice made by them which were like one way mirrors: you could see out of them but not see the tunnels in the walls, floor, or ceiling. These tunnels are everywhere and soon our focused shifted from finding the Bori to observing all that we could from these tunnels. Then the Bori woke up. They explained the original purpose of the tunnels were to provide scouts a way of getting around Terror Mountain without being seen. With special permission we were given access to all the tunnels as long as the Bori kingdom got a copy of our discoveries. But rather than keep them as records they turned them into stories; "it keeps them fresh longer" the king said. Whatever the reason, they have a knack for it, as seen when we gave them everything we had about Hannah’s adventure in the Ice Caves that woke them up. We saw everything from the tunnels, and the Bori were all very thankful we did, then making our report into a legend of excitement, adventure, heroism, and sacrifice! Reading their version was like us witnessing these events as if we were right there, which we were but more actively participating than merely watching".
WORLD: Krawk Island
EVENTS INVOLVED WITH: Krawk Island Disappearance
GROUP: The Braggarts At The Tavern
Ever since Governor McGill took charge of Krawk Island there has been a concern about the preservation of Krawk Island’s history. McGill had proclaimed that Krawk Island’s history would now be remembered more than ever with the opening of the McGill’s National Library, but questions of bias remain. How does this relate? Before this there was another group of legend makers who listened on to stories at taverns all over Krawk Island. Reportedly McGill tried to reel this group in, but this only made them more aloof. However, if you know where pirate’s tales are told, and know who to buy a grog for, you may just meet "The Braggarts At The Tavern".
"I be a braggart, but the one ye lookin’ fer? I honestly can’t say, matey" said an old sailor who came up to me and accepted the extra grog I had, "But ye know, I may just still know som’ of the answers ye askin’ around". We walked over to an empty table and sat down. "By da way, even in the good parts of Krawk Island, ther’ are questions ye shouldn’t be askin’" he looks around and then silently whispered to me, "the governor has ears everywhere". As the old sailor said this an orchestra of chairs all around the tavern started shifting; probably a coincidence. "It be proper we’re in a tavern, ‘cause that’s how it all started. Thar be no tale spinner like a sailor. We come back from a voyage, each one don’t know if we would be comin’ back alive, with dubloons in our pocket and a few stories to tell. All lies of course, ha! But story don’t got to be true to be entertainin’. But these stories, they only got one night ta live. They’re told and forgotten, another to take its place and then another to take that one’s place. Let me step back a bit, I said they be all lies, but I was just bein’ crotchety. A small coin purse worth be true, which just makes it a further a shame they fade away. So, with quill, paper, and a good ear, a crew full of retired sailors started to make better use of their tavern flounderin’. They made those one day yarns into ageless epics to be retold again and again. Sometime as is, sometimes wit’ changes, and sometimes even combine’ together; but never forgotten". He took a big sigh and a swig of his grog. "Then came the Governor. He would just love ta just have some of those tales sunk to where the Krawken crawls. It’s why I’m not a braggart ye lookin’ fer, in fact they broke up. Sailed off. Someplace McGill can’t rip out the pages of their manifests. Sorry fer wastin’ yer time, let me pay for the grog". I closed my notebook and got up. I thanked the old sailor, dropped a pouch of dubloons for the tale, and walked to the door. By the time I got to the door and looked behind me the old sailor was gone, only empty mugs and a handful of dubloons where we sat.
EVENTS INVOLVED WITH: Wraith Resurgence
GROUP: The Librarians Decimal Clarifiers
For many the Faerie Crosswords game is part of their daily routine. Though what many don’t know is that, on top of the normal puzzle, there’s also a hidden one which uses the same spaces but different clues. Where to find these alternate clues is an entire different puzzle you’ll need to discover on your own, but once you find them and are able to solve the alternate puzzle, when you look up from the paper, you’ll have been whisk away to the legend makers trusted with the history of the Faeries: The Librarians Decimal Clarifiers.
I wasn’t expecting the sudden shift, in the second I solved the crossword I was unknowingly teleported to a hidden library where Faerie and Faerie Neopets were either on ladders getting a book, at a desk reading through piles of books, or pushing a cart letting the books on it fly back onto a shelf. They were the busiest legend makers yet, and I said as such to the Faerie who met me. "And is that so surprising after what we’ve been through these last few years? The repercussions of the Faeries’ Ruin run deep. Our magic weakened, infrastructure in shambles, and worst yet: a lot of history misplaced or lost. I wouldn’t say we’re the oldest legend makers but we have existed since early Neopian civilizations. At first we just wrote down our history, waiting for the Neopet cultures to become advance enough to share them. However when we finally felt that point was reached they still weren’t that receptive to our knowledge. Early Neopets were much more interested in stories that caught their imagination, and so we began adapting our history into tales to impress and teach. Guarded by the Library Faerie, we carefully craft narratives as it’s easy to make us Faeries come off as saviors or tyrants when we just want to live in peace and harmony. As time went on Neopets did become more interested in our history but there was other benefits to translating them into legends so we kept at our work. After the Faeries’ Ruin and the fall of Faerieland, this library was a complete mess. There are still parts which we have to renovate and there’s hundreds if not thousands of books missing. We now been spending most of our time seeing what books we have left, we were worried we may have lost our legend making touch. So when the Wraith Resurgence was happening we agreed we would be the ones to handle retelling this plot. Some may say it was still too early for us to handle this task while our libraries were not fully restored, but as Faeries this meant a lot to us".
The job of the Legend Makers is far from over as Neopia is ever-changing; however this is where it ends for this article. I have shown how each land has their own way of turning their history into folklore, none the less intricate than another. So the next time you’re re-reading the story of a plot or event, take a moment to appreciate the unsung heroes who had put pen to paper so those fleeting moment are now immortalized for all to read at any time.
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The sun’s light shined upon the dunes of the Lost Desert, casting away the cold spell that enveloped the night, giving way to waves of heat, as if the sands were lit ablaze. The seemingly endless rolling hills of sand extended far beyond the horizon, each grain sparkling in the sun, undisturbed and still. All except for one particular stretch, where the sands shifted, step by step, as three young travelers hiked through the vast expanse.