The Fyora Question: Lesser-Known Scandals
FAERIELAND—Fyora has faced an onslaught of opposition in recent weeks, with growing calls for her to step down and pass her collection of pink-orbed staves to a more worthwhile governess. In the wake of the so-called “Mr. Krawley incident”, everyone from King Altador to Queen Amira – once allies of the Faerieland monarch in the Council of Neopian Nations – have written scathing op-eds on the Faerie Queen; even Brynnso is calling for her resignation.
Fyora has been marred in many scandals during her tenure on Faerieland’s throne, several of which are common knowledge in Neopia, the most recent example being her seeming complete lack of knowledge of the events that transpired in Neovia.
Most Neopians can quickly point to Fyora’s failure to jumpstart Faerieland’s economy and quickly rebuild her shattered nation-state after it fell from the skies, and her diplomatic collapse with Xandra is the subject of numerous liberal arts theses from Brightvale University post-grads. Likewise, many critics see her relationship with Kaia, and her inability to distinguish her protégé from the Darkest Faerie, as a point of contention at best and sheer incompetence at worst. Even Faerieland’s continually lacklustre Altador Cup placings have been interpreted by many as a lack of care of citizen morale on her part.
But what about her lesser-known misconducts? The Faerie Queen has been embroiled in many such indecencies, well-known amongst the citizens of Faerieland and now just coming to light as her past governing and views become more heavily scrutinized. We report on four of these, here, and finish with a small discussion on the nation’s current political clime.
1. Evil Fuzzles Epidemic Coverup and Economic Policy
As the Evil Fuzzles Virus continues to sweep Neopia, and as lands from Shenkuu to Neopia Central close their borders and build hospitals to house the victims of the disease, new evidence shows Fyora did not place the proper precautions to flatten the curve of the disease’s spread through her land.
Faerieland’s neighbouring regions, particularly the Haunted Woods and Brightvale, have seen a drastic increase in the numbers of Neopet migrants attempting to enter their borders. Leaders (or at least those vying for leadership) have expressed deep concerns over the stringent measures required to prevent an influx of the cratered nation’s citizens from entering their lands, seeking solace from the viral spread. A representative of King Hagan had told us, “We simply can’t let them in. It’s too high a risk. Several members of our Border Guard have become sick via interactions with them. Fyora has to be lying about the numbers of citizens infected – she says her numbers are low but clearly it’s much worse than we could imagine.”
One low-level staff member of the Hidden Tower, wearing a mask and speaking on conditions of anonymity, stated, “Fyora said, ‘It’s a Neopet illness. We Faeries are immune. That will inherently slow the disease’s spread.’ Well, that doesn’t do anything to flatten the curve for the many primarily-Neopet communities in Faerieland, or the Neopets here in general, myself included. It is especially bad for those in Faerieland’s lower-class neighbourhoods with high Neopet population density and virtually no faeries! It’s been spreading faster than the Swarm in Protection Zone 6b! Why are we not yet under a state of emergency? Why are even the Poogle Races still running!?”
Many members of these lower-class and densely-populated communities are demanding a monthly living wage to get them through these “challenging and exceptional times” – especially with the Employment Agency vastly reducing its available positions, and the fact many citizens feel the economy never fully recovered from the literal crash in Y12, regardless. Mr. Steve, a Wocky from one of these densely-populated communities who recently tested negative for the virus, opined, “There feels like an obvious disconnect between Fyora and the Neopets residing in Faerieland. She has no idea of the issues that daily surround us. It’s almost as though she sees us as second-class citizens – heck, all the faeries seem to have that mindset, ordering us around to find their things when they need them. If not for us, how many faeries would have perished during the Krawley incident? You know, when we’re treated like we are, and during times like these, you can’t help but wonder whether Xandra had a point.”
2. Legalisation of the Grass Faerie
Fyora has also come under fire in recent years for her willing suppression of quests by the Grass Faerie. Although the Grass Faerie, self-described “dankest of the Earth faeries”, has been around since the earlier days of Faerieland, she has found herself at the forefront of Faerieland’s recent debate on personal rights and recreations versus those of the Faerie Queen.
“I just, like, wanna spread relaxation and happiness, yanno?” said the Grass Faerie, who desires gardening items (and occasionally potato chips and other assorted salty snacks) and in return blesses a Neopet with full unadulterated contentedness – albeit occasionally at the additional cost of a strength or intelligence point, though many Neopets report such losses to be temporary. “This feeling, this peace, it’s my gift to Neopia. And the man, Queen Fyora, is keepin’ me down! Keeping US down,” she added, in reference to those who desire to do her quests.
“The long-term effects of the Grass Faerie’s ‘peace’ are unknown,” says the official statement by the Hidden Tower. “A faerie’s or Neopet’s loss of strength and intelligence, even temporary – with mounting evidence of permanence with continued multiple quests – is too high a risk for our citizens. Thus, we continue to keep the Grass Faerie under tight control, monitoring her activity and reprimanding those who complete her quests.”
But Valtonous Rea, goalkeeper on Faerieland’s Altador Cup team, disagrees with the state’s stance. “It’s [Fyora’s] opinion,” the Uni commented. “And yes, I concede that many in Faerieland feel the same way. But just the opposite – that the Grass Faerie should be legalised, not locked away, and her quests properly regulated – is the opinion of many others in this great nation. This includes me – and I probably wouldn’t even do a quest, anyway! I just don’t believe the Faerie Queen should have the final say on what is objectively our right to complete Grass Faerie quests. This is discrimination, both toward the Grass Faerie herself, and those who might want her services.”
Rea has become an advocate for civil liberties in recent years; this includes her support for legalisation, with many – and growing – prominent voices behind her, including Delina the Crafting Faerie. “I’m a specialized Dark faerie,” she said. “And the Grass Faerie is a specialized Earth faerie. From that perspective, we share a lot in common. Have I done some of her quests before?” She gave a coy smile. “Sometimes her relaxation really helps my crafting inspiration. Nevertheless, just as many Neopets choose not to complete my quests for whatever reason – lack of or downright hostility towards NC being the principle reason – Neopets could just as easily not complete her quests. Why stop those who do? We should educate Neopians on the potential risks, sure – but ultimately it’s their choice, they aren’t harming anyone else, and who is Fyora to infringe on that choice?”
An aide close to the faerie queen confided, under anonymity, that “It’s pretty well known that many Faerielanders complete Grass Faerie quests. Fyora has been examining potential avenues for quest legalisation, but it’s too soon for any concrete plans.”
3. Faerieland Water Crisis
For the first few months that Faerieland sat in a crater, its main source of water came from the freshwater pools that had coalesced like miniature calderas about the impact zone. These quickly dried up, and Fyora scrambled for an alternative source of water. Complaints amongst the water faeries were particularly high; although many can make their own water, they refused to make water for the whole of Faerieland.
King Altador, citing “the special relationship Altador has with Faerieland” – in reference to the portal from Altador to Faerieland in Y8 – issued a decree immediately thereafter offering to discount construction on a Water Treatment and Distribution Plant, similar to what is available in the Yooyuball Kingdom, to refine and distribute nearby ocean water. After her chief economists “ran the numbers”, Fyora dismissed King Altador’s offer. Purportedly (as the original statement has since been stricken and is no longer available), the official statement by the Hidden Tower declared the proposed water plant as being “too costly and expensive in construction costs vs. the benefit to citizens.”
The Faerie Queen then had the idea that a nearby and already “sufficiently treated” – i.e. freshwater – source could solve the hydration needs of the fledgeling Faerieland: the Demonica River that flowed between her grounded nation-state and the Haunted Woods. “It is almost as close as the ocean,” said a representative of Fyora, “and being freshwater will require much less treatment.” Despite the Hall of Heroes advising against it, a small refinery and distribution plant was constructed by the Faerieland Army Corps of Engineers – though many of them expressed scepticism over the idea as well.
“I did tests on the water,” said Mr. Alex the Aisha, a chemical engineer who worked on the project. “It contained amounts of chemicals and toxins that far exceeded the recommended safe levels as set out by the Environmental Protection Wing of the Council of Neopian Nations – in some cases even after we had done our best to filter them out. It also contained traces of chemicals we couldn’t even properly identify – strange stuff leeched in from the Haunted Woods, I’m guessing. Fyora was concerned about these, sure, but pressed on with the project anyway, citing the needs of her citizens.”
“The water was almost completely brown,” stated Ms. Kaylie, a Lenny in a middle-class Faerieland community whose members are presently in self-isolation due to the Evil Fuzzles Virus. “It was absolutely disgusting. Many people drank it and became sick. Trips to the NeoHospital increased dramatically! Grumbles, Bubbles, Achy Head… Terrible.”
Naia and Marina, too, voiced vehement opposition. “It made many pets turn into mutants!” complained the Fountain Faerie at a Faerieland town hall about the water crisis. “Even after my best efforts to purify it, the Rainbow Fountain seemed to work more like the Lab Ray!”
“It actually decreased Neopets’ health!” similarly complained the purveyor of the Healing Springs.
Though Fyora was slow to admit her wrongdoing in the crisis, she did eventually reverse her decision and accept the costs of a water treatment facility co-built between her Engineers and those in the Altadorian Army.
And although the water in Faerieland is now “Clean and Pristine”, according to official propaganda by the Faerieland Tourism Board, the whole incident has left a foul taste in the mouths of many Faerielanders.
4. Fyora’s Mafia Connections?
Although the majority of Faerieland’s citizens are generally unaware – or at they pretend to be – there is mounting evidence to suggest that the winner of the Poogle Races is pre-selected. Although only major races were fixed pre-fall, it seems as though whatever faeries (?) are behind this racket have been allowed to expand since the events of Y12.
Speaking under strict anonymity, a (former?) mafia member confided in us, “Yeah, we’ve been operatin’ in Faerieland since around the time of its discovery. We’ve had a hand in a few events here, but nothin’ major – we are beholden to the Sway, after all, and they’re more in charge a’ that. We mostly confine ourselves to the Poogle Races. It’s quick and easy money. Everyone’s in on it.” They gave a mischievous grin. “Even Little Miss Pinky Pants can’t help but look the otha’ way when she gets some of the cash! That’s not to say she hasn’t tried to shut us down in the past when the economy was betta’ – good on her! – but we have a way of quickly rebuilding. Unlike Faerieland. Hah!”
But the Scorchio Bookie disagrees. “Our Poogles are good Neopets,” he said. “That I can and will say for sure. They have always been fine, upstanding, honest, patriotic models for both athletics and good ethics. There is no way they would willingly become involved in something like this.”
All Poogles declined to comment, citing that we would have to contact their lawyers.
“After the crash of Y12, things – of course – they changed,” said Mr. Michael, a Korbat, and long-time Neo Sport cameraman. “It might not show up on the re-runs, but the demeanours of the Poogles are different – and I’ve been filming races for almost two decades, I know our guys. I’m not sure how, but involvement with the mafia would explain it – they certainly seemed to recover quicker than a lot of us did after the crash, but they may also have just had more saved wealth. But given it’s not yet been cancelled during these challenging and exceptional times, I wouldn’t be surprised if Fyora is in on it, too, or practices other forms of cronyism – especially if some of the money goes back into Faerieland. Of course, then, it could be argued that it’s somewhat necessary for the rebuilding effort. But at the expense of those who place bets – many of them tourists, and many more from the lower-class communities just hoping to make a quick buck – it seems a rather heartless thing to do, regardless of ethical considerations. And it’s even worse from someone claiming to be a kind-hearted and moral individual, such as our queen.”
5. The Republic Question
Considered a fringe group a decade ago, the so-called “Republic Wing” (with special emphasis on the Wing) has been steadily gaining interest since shortly after the Y12 crash, with its popularity increasing as more and more of Fyora’s scandals and missteps come into the public light. Although always a voice in Faerieland politics to varying degrees, the Wing has been elevated to an almost official opposition status in the wake of the Mr. Krawley incident.
Fyora does delegate tasks to certain faeries – for example, declaring Aethia head of the Army – but the citizens largely do not have a say in who represents them and their affairs. Many of Faerieland’s citizens need to simply trust that the Hidden Tower has their best interests in mind. Many citizens feel as though that should change.
Even some of Fyora’s closest aides have expressed the need for an elected council of Neopets and Faeries to replace the Faerie Queen or otherwise keep her in check. “The best time to have done so was during the rebuilding effort in Year 12,” said one such faerie, speaking under anonymity. “There was a lot of talk of it then, with both the economy in ruins and the ‘Xandra question’. Though it wasn’t all politically motivated – ‘our nation just literally crashed to the earth, one woman can’t do it alone,’ so the argument ran. But [Fyora] refused to share her leadership with anyone else. When she took in Kaia, we thought, ‘Hey, maybe she’s at least open to sharing her power somewhat,’ but that has largely quieted.” She gave a dramatic pause. “The best time was after Y12. The second best time is now.”
We approached Kaia for comment. “I was generally treated more welcome in Faerieland than in Shenkuu,” she stated, “but there were – and are – the odd incidents. I recall one Bruce spat on the ground near me and chastised me for being the ‘obvious successor to the Faerie Queen’, and that ‘the monarchy had no place in modern Faerieland affairs’. I talked to Fyora about it, and what people were thinking, but she reassured me that she had no plans to step down from the throne or share her leadership. A small victory, I guess?” she added meekly. “Personally, I would love if everyone from the least to the greatest had a direct say in our nation’s affairs.”
Others, though welcome to the idea of a Fyora-exit, were not so eager on the idea of a republic. “I think the monarchy is deeply entrenched in Faerieland’s society,” remarked Callum, a Buzz originally from an affluent Faerieland neighbourhood who was studying political science at Brightvale University prior to its closure amidst the Evil Fuzzles Virus; he has since returned to Faerieland. “It can easily be seen, from the neighbourhood and street names – like Faerie Castle Road – to the cult of personality around the ‘Queen’ concept and specifically Fyora herself. I think it’s time for a change, but I don’t want to see the monarchy abolished. I don’t think it can be, at least not without a major overhaul of our political system.”
“Oh, certainly, she should have stepped down years ago,” said Taelia, who had briefly returned to Faerieland to attempt to bolster support for the Wing. “Now, I’m a little more radical – it’s why I moved to Terror Mountain, where there is no leader and decisions are much more communal, and I would love to see those things for my homeland – but Fyora as ‘Queen for Life’ is deeply disturbing. If you’re extremely benevolent, doing exceptional work for your people, and have a sound long-term plan? Ehh, it’s passable. But I think the Krawley incident has shown us that [Fyora’s] anything but competent.”
Faerieland is a nation deeply divided over many issues, and the Faerie Queen is at the centre of it all. Will Faerieland ever completely recover? And will Fyora lead that recovery? Or is recovery only possible without her at the throne?
As she continues to find herself in a scandal, and losing popular support, will she become more lenient, or less? Will she be ousted, step down, or tighten her grip on power?
Together, these comprise the question on many citizens' minds: the Fyora Question.
We will have to wait and see how the situation unfolds.