A Royal Send Off: Fyora's Bucket List
With Queen Fyora's sudden announcement of her retirement, one has to wonder how she would fill the voids in her day that were previously dominated by government and royal functions.
The council meetings are no more. The court sessions are no more. The petitions from her constituents, the committee hearings, and the Royal ceremonies are all no more.
And for her best friend and servant, Celandra. The days of poking around, listening to gossip and rumours, and reporting it all back to the Queen are no more. Indeed, Queen Fyora would have to find new things to do. After all, she was always doing something as Queen and hardly ever left anytime for herself.
Rather than spending our time with idle speculation, the two of us thought it would be best to simply ask Queen Fyora about her plans. With a quill and hand and parchment aplenty, we began our search. As we approached the Faerie Castle, noticed several faeries and Neopets entering and exiting the castle with boxes. They loaded some of them into a carriage that was pulled by cloud racers.
"What's going on here?" Carolyn inquired. Tall and lanky for a Kougra, she almost reached up to Fyora’s shoulders. It was common knowledge that Fyora towered over a majority of Neopians. She would often have to bring her gaze down to meet eye-to-eye. Despite being royalty, she would often kneel to speak to others — a reflection of her kindness and compassion.
"Well, Queen Fyora is moving some of her things out of the castle and into her Safety Deposit Box," said an Air Faerie.
"Is she inside?" Asked Geo, whose firm voice was key to our investigations. Few could turn down one of his requests, especially as the newspaper’s foremost Faerieland expert. “We’d like to interview her for the Neopian Times.”
"Yeah. I suppose you could go talk to her. She's up in her chambers."
Upstairs, we found Fyora packing some of her things.
"Your Majesty,” asked Carolyn, “do you have a moment to speak with us on behalf of the Neopian Times?"
She nodded. "Sure."
"First of all,” Geo said as he removed a quill from his pocket and set to writing, "why are you stepping down again? You've been at this for so long."
"Well, I feel like my time has come. Lately, a lot of things have been happening in Faerieland and I figured that maybe it's time for a new face to guide her. To be frank, it's been stressful and honestly, I really need a break. I wish the future queen, Siyana, all the best guiding this kingdom."
"It's going to be a little weird not having you around."
"Rest assured, I'm not disappearing, just retiring."
Fyora walked over to a shelf where a collection of every faerie doll sat. She began carefully putting each doll in a box, starting with the Faerie Queen Doll.
Carolyn took a long look at the dolls, then shifted her gaze back to the faerie queen. "Your Majesty, a lot of us have been wondering what you will do after stepping down. Do you have any ideas?"
Fyora hesitated for a moment.
“Well, I’ve never really travelled Neopia much. The only other place I’ve really been to for pleasure is Altador. I’ve been to other places, but only to meet with my counterparts for political meetings, summits, those kinds of things.”
“Where would you go?” Asked Carolyn, “would you want to see anyone in particular?”
“I have not visited the faeries that live abroad. I would like to visit the Jhuidah on Mystery Island first. Obviously, Illusen in Meridell. Taelia and Kari at Terror Mountain. Oh, and I also have never been on the space station so Mira can show me around there.”
“There are only so many places in Neopia though.” Geo tapped the quill against his chin. “Once you’ve seen everything, then what will you do? Will you return to Faerieland?”
Start a Business
“Being queen also meant I couldn’t really create and sell things other than Hidden Tower items on behalf of the kingdom. I’ve been interested in researching better healing potions and defence items than the ones currently available. Surely there’s room for faerie magic to help improve upon those wares. I hope one day this becomes another business traded publicly on the Neodaq.”
“Wow, that certainly is an interesting thing to do,” said Carolyn. “That could also be stressful.”
Fyora laughed. “Well, I’m not going to start immediately. It’s something I’ll ponder once I get bored.”
Join the Faerieland Philharmonic
Fyora then gestured toward a large pink harp sitting in the middle of her living room. “That harp isn’t just for show. I’ve been practising. I also play the flute. Playing in an orchestra is one of my dreams that I never had time for. Obviously, I would have to audition. Just because I was the Faerie Queen doesn’t mean they’ll let me in without making sure I can play.”
“Again, that sounds fascinating, but also seems like a lot of work.” Geo laughed lightly. “Are you sure you are actually retiring?”
Fyora smiled. “I’m retiring from being queen. That’s all. There will always be work to be done.”
Become a Bird Watcher
On Fyora’s desk sits an old pair of binoculars. They are covered in a thin layer of dust. A small notebook sits beside with a quill and a long-dried bottle of ink.
“Queen Fyora, I see binoculars over there.” It was known that Carolyn often would point out birds on travels to and from work assignments. This time, she was sure to mention the Faerie Weewoos roosting on the castle parapets. "Did you watch anything in particular, like Weewoos? Maybe even your subjects from afar?”
Fyora laughed. “Oh, nothing so invasive as watching subjects. If I wanted to talk to someone, I’d find them myself or have them called to me.” She picked up the binoculars and brushed off the dust. “Ever since I was young, I always enjoyed watching birds flutter about the castle.”
“And did you come upon this love on your own or did someone inspire you?” asked Geo.
She put her hand to her chin and paused to think for a few seconds. “I think it was my mother’s fascination with them that got me to enjoy their company so much. There's a good community of Neopians who enjoy the hobby and are eager to share it with newbies. Plus, no matter where I go, I’ll never be bored.”
Drawing Comics for the Neopian Times
Fyora picked up a box and placed it by the door. We offered to help, to which she smiled but shook her head.
“This office is full of memories. I want to relive them all before I go.”
Noticing the art supplies in the corner of her office, we picked up a blank canvass and showed it to her.
“You paint?” We asked in unison.
“I used to do it more when I was younger, yes. Comics especially. Sometimes, I would even enter the Neopian Times under a pseudonym, not that I’ll ever tell a soul what that was.” She winked.
Our mouths floored. “You drew for the Neopian Times?”
“And wrote, too, yes.”
Fyora went into her closet and removed a four-panel comic about Faerie Gelert and her adventures.
“I never had the chance to submit this, it was supposed to be part of a series. Maybe now I’ll finally finish her story... and use my real name this time.”
“What would it have been about?”
She stared at the painting. “About her journeys on the high seas, her adventures all around Neopia. Making friends, helping Neopians who need aid, looking for lost treasure... that kind of thing.”
“That sounds like a great idea!” said Carolyn.
“I concur,” said Geo.
We were still fixated on the idea that Fyora was a published Neopian Times author.
“And you’re sure you’ll never say what your old writing name was?”
“Positive. It’s my little secret.”
We spend the next while talking about her childhood and the things she loved to do growing up.
“I was like any young faerie, spritely and full of mischievous energy. I would climb trees, wander the gardens, pull little pranks on the neighbours...” She chuckled, then sighed softly. “Those were innocent times—full of wonder and joy and all the best carefree days of youth. I want to relive that time, sans the pranking part, of course. I want to live for myself again.”
“But you’ll always be there if there’s an emergency, right? Like if Xand—”
Geo covered Carolyn’s mouth. “Um.” He said. “Sorry to bring up such a sensitive topic.”
Fyora floated towards the window and stared longingly at the gardens. “Yes, I have a duty to my people’s safety, title or not. Maybe one day... Maybe one day I will set her free.”
Geo tugged at Carolyn’s sleeve. “Maybe we should give her some time to herself.”
The writers nodded to each other. “Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us,” said Carolyn.
“We hope your retirement is every bit the adventure you’re searching for,” added Geo.
“Thank you for your kind words, both of you.” She smiled, before packing once again.
Fyora, a Queen of more decades than can be counted, is stepping down to allow for new blood to rule. But more so, she is looking to explore her own loves, her own interests, and her own identity. The council meetings are no more. The court sessions are no more. But rest assured that if ever the world was to face mortal danger, she would fight for the safety of us all.
Wishing you many long years of joy and happiness, Fyora! Thank you for your service to Neopia.