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||You are on Week 487
Every week we will be starting a new Story Telling competition - with great prizes! The current prize is 2000 NP, plus a rare item!!! This is how it works...
We start a story and you have to write the next few paragraphs. We will select the best submissions every day and put it on the site, and then you have to write the next one, all the way until the story finishes. Got it? Well, submit your paragraphs below!
Story Four Hundred Eighty Seven Ends Friday, December 10
The wind stung Ral's wings as he beat them through the cold air, though his heart was far colder. It was night on Terror Mountain, and a storm was brewing as though the Snowager himself was roaring to the black sky, yet the Eyrie flew on.
His paws were crusted with ice, and it stung his eyes, but the tears that leaked from those sharp golden irises were not from sorrow or regret.
He was satisfied with his act, some would say later, much later, when news of Ral's deed spread to the gossipy alleys of Happy Valley. Perhaps if he had known what his family would think of him, and how all his friends would treat him, he would have turned around.
But he didn't. He kept up his flight until the first fingers of light touched the night sky.
It wouldn't be until later that the wreckage of the cave would be found, and his trail picked up by the one he had wronged, that regret would form in his heart.
Of course, that morning, no one thought he even had one, after what he had done...
Date: Dec 6th
It had been after sunset when Ral formed his idea. While his mother and father and little sisters had settled down in front of a fire with a cup of hot Borovan, Ral had headed to bed.
But he lay under his blankets tossing and turning. So much was rushing through the Eyrie's head this holiday season. His little sisters were distraught about Taelia's turning to stone, along with the other faeries. He wanted them to have a happy advent. Their daily trips to the Advent Calendar had left icy tears in their eyes. Normally Taelia would be at the front of the line, handing out presents. She always had a kind word for him and his sisters.
This year it was just Mister Chipper helping to pass out the presents, and despite his warm smile and promises of ice cream, his sisters came back to their home sadly playing with their new gifts for only a few minutes.
Ral suddenly shot out of bed, a grin on his face. He would help his sisters have a nice month of Celebrating and he knew just how! Springing from his bed he grabbed his blanket and threw a few necessities on it. Then he tied the warm blanket tightly and clutched his package in his beak. Careful not to make noise, he opened his window and flew out into the night.
It was a dark evening with only a few stars glittering here and there, so no one saw the Eyrie as he flew up toward the the top of the mountain and his target...
Date: Dec 6th
The frosty massif of Terror Mountain loomed overhead as Ral began his ascent to a place few dared enter. An icy draught ruffled his feathers and chilled him mercilessly, but onward Ral pushed. At last, he picked out the distinctive signs of the place he was seeking.
A deep hole in the side of the mountain, not very wide, but deep and the darkest pitch the eyes could imagine. A long, slow rumble sounded from within the mountain, almost as if the fissure were alive. Ral nodded to himself as his keen eyes adjusted to the darkness and he picked out the beginning of the assortment of items belonging to the Snowager.
What other beast in the realm held as much power and knowledge as the one Ral prepared to face? Most certainly none recorded in even the most distant of histories. While it may have been rather foolish, Ral felt no sort of fear or inhibitions for the thing he was about to do. The face of his poor, distraught sister flashed through his mind and provided the last small inch of resolve Ral needed to fully enter the Snowager's cave.
Slowly and silently moving through mounds of the monster's hoard, Ral was careful not to disturb even the smallest of objects lest he draw unwanted attention. Cresting a small hill of snowballs, Ral's eyes lit up as his gaze fell upon his target -- a sleeping Snowager.
Taking a page from those he wished to save, Ral pulled out a dusty and long forgotten tome scavenged from the basement of the faeries' library. Flipping open to a page that had been marked previously, Ral began to let a stream of unfamiliar words slip through his lips.
"Ecto, medi, meci, deiro."
As the last sound faded from his lips, the most peculiar thing began to happen to the large creature lying before him.
Rising in a serpentine dance, the Snowager reared up with a mighty roar. Turning to face Ral with eyes burning fiery red, the Snowager uttered, "Master, I am pleased to serve you."
"Good, we have work to do," Ral said with a frightful grin. "Let us begin..."
Date: Dec 7th
The Snowager moved in a manner similar to the basket-dwelling Cobralls of the Lost Desert. It swayed back and forth as if to some unheard beat. Ral watched for a moment, the tome in his paws shaking as his whole body seemed to cry out in excitement.
"The time has come," Ral began, stepping over the Snowager's tail to pick up a Negg. "The time for the beggar to overthrow the night." He stumbled forward, his eyes landing upon a single Fish Negg.
"Master, what is our first action?" the Snowager's voice was a coarse and raspy hiss that reminded Ral of the sound of boiling water touching ice, the release of steam.
"We have but one option," Ral muttered as he examined the Fish Negg. "The option that the tome speaks of."
"Master, the last who tried..." the Snowager trailed off, his gaze hesitating upon the icy wall behind Ral.
Ral turned, uncertain as to what the great beast was looking at. He took a step closer to the wall, and he gasped as he spotted it.
There, frozen within the ice, was a Ruki. Ral did not recognise the Neopet's fashion style, but he could tell that it was quite old. Quickly re-gathering his wits, Ral once again flipped through the pages of the ancient tome. There, beside the spell that he had used to take control of the Snowager, was a painting of the Ruki...
Date: Dec 7th
There was a caption underneath, and in the dim, meagre lighting, Ral struggled to read it.
The Guardian of the Snow was widely known for possessing the ability to freeze anyone, whether it be literally or figuratively. The Guardian, knowing that his powers had the ability to be extraordinarily dangerous, froze himself in the ice for a thousand years, until those who are noble of heart and worthy of spirit come to free him.
The Guardian seemed to be asleep, his eyelids closed. He had, after all, been frozen in the ice for a thousand years. Flipping to the front of the book, Ral found that the publication date was 1000 BN. It had been about a thousand years, give or take a few.
But he wasn't "noble of heart" or "worthy of spirit"; the only reason why he was here was to help his sisters achieve a Day of Giving they would remember forever...
That was noble and worthy.
"Break the ice," ordered Ral, and the Snowager did so, smashing the ice into a million tiny shards that flew past him harmlessly. The Ruki trapped in the ice maintained his frozen position, but stirred slightly after a few minutes. As Ral waited even longer, the Guardian of the Snow opened his eyes and moved his legs gingerly.
"Why is it that you have freed me?" he asked suspiciously.
"I didn't know what I was doing," stuttered Ral, for he had never spoken to someone who had been released from the ice -- literally.
The Guardian raised an eyebrow.
"So you've freed me. What do you want?"
The Eyrie blinked, confused at how the Guardian was acting.
"Aren't you supposed to be all, 'noble and worthy'?" asked Ral sceptically.
"Nah, that's you," replied the Guardian offhandedly, as he looked over Ral with a critical eye. "Not that I can imagine you as such. Now let's cut to the chase. What do you want?"
"I'm trying to give my sisters the perfect Day of Giving," explained Ral. "But without Taelia, that's not going to happen."
"Where's Taelia?" the Ruki asked.
"All the faeries have been frozen for months."
"And you want me to unfreeze them?"
"Technically, I have the power, but if you want me to do that, you're going to have to do something for me first," the Guardian said sarcastically. "You can start off by getting me a cup of Borovan. Sitting in a block of ice for a thousand years really hurts, you know?"
The Eyrie could only stare.
"What are you, a Bowla? Close your mouth, for Fyora's sake," reprimanded the Ruki. "Now how about that Borovan, huh?"
"I'll be right on it," stuttered Ral, as he rushed out to get a cup of Borovan.
"Good! I'll be waiting here!" called the Guardian from where he stood. "You'd better hurry!"
Ral could hardly believe what was happening. Just an hour ago he was trying to make his sisters' holidays worthwhile, and suddenly, he was fetching drinks for a random Ruki who had been trapped in a block of ice for a thousand years...
Date: Dec 8th
Ral flew anxiously, searching for a store still open at such a late hour. His favourite coffee shop was closed. Even the small run-down tavern in the Ice Caves was locked up for the night. Ral found himself once again wishing for Taelia's return -- she would have gladly shared her Borovan.
But then, if Taelia was still around, he wouldn't be looking for Borovan in the first place.
Ral had deliberately avoided considering the small marketplace near the mountaintop. It was dangerous up there, not just because of the precarious location, but because the sort of Neopets who went there were not the sort Ral wanted to be associated with. But what other choice did he have?
It did not occur to him for a second to wait until morning. Ral was not the sort to sit and wait around for things to be done.
It was still quiet when he returned home. Everyone was where they should be, curled up in bed, fast asleep, completely unaware of Ral's actions. Ral put on his warmest coat and grabbed the small Snorkle Bank he had on his dresser. He unscrewed the bottom, and his small collection of Neopoints fell into his hand. Then he set off to find the best cup of Borovan he could.
The journey to the marketplace was harsh. Without the sun to shine across the mountainside, the snow and bitter wind seemed a hundred times colder. But Ral barely felt it, his cheeks warm with excitement. He was going to save the faeries. He would be a hero.
Despite the hour, the marketplace was still fairly packed. Everyone was wearing coats with their hoods up. Ral couldn't help but feel that they were not keeping their faces covered because of the cold. Clutching the spell book to his chest, he headed to a small, dimly lit tavern with a misspelled, poorly made sign that read "Coffy Shop."
It was warm inside, but Ral kept his hood up. So did the other patrons sitting at various mismatched tables. It was obvious nobody wanted to be recognised, and neither did Ral.
He walked up to the counter, trying to look casual. A dark, sketchy-looking Techo came out from the back and greeted Ral with a toothy smile.
"One cup of Borovan, please," Ral said, keeping his voice low. He was not sure how to behave in this sort of place.
"Coming right up," the Techo hissed. "That will be five hundred Neopoints."
"Five hundred!?" Ral blurted out, and regretted it instantly. He forced out a low laugh. "I guess that's reasonable for the best Borovan on the mountain."
The Techo did not smile, but he shuffled back into the back to make the Borovan. Ral resisted the urge to tap his fingers on the counter. He couldn't wait to get out of there.
"How did you get that book?" a quiet feminine voice asked. Ral turned to see a figure standing beside him, her hood up like everyone else's. Before he could answer, she continued, "You should not have that book; it is only meant for those powerful enough too--" She hesitated. "Ral, come with me. Right now."
Ral stared at the cloaked figure. How did she...? But she had already turned and strode out of the coffee shop. He glanced behind the counter. The Techo was nowhere in sight.
With a sigh, he turned and followed her into the night, unsure where this would lead him...
Date: Dec 8th
Once they were outside, she slowed to allow him to catch up. They were walking deeper into the snow, and Ral had no idea where they would have been on a clear day.
"Who are you?" he asked the obvious question first.
"It is of no importance."
Ral almost thought he recognised the voice. That would explain how she knew his name. But he would play her game. She was in control right now.
"Legend told of a courageous, good-hearted hero who would come to free the wizard of winter. None of us believed it, of course. Who would free such a dangerous power?"
Ral heard an unspoken insult in that comment, but remarkably he was not offended.
"That legend does not travel alone, though, and neither does that book you so openly possess. With these items comes a prophecy.
"And it would appear, the prophecy is yours."
The sense of threatening powers encroached on Ral once again. "What prophecy?"
The snow was falling more heavily now, and Ral was squinting to see the figure. Suddenly, she stopped and turned to face him. She pulled off her hood.
Ral gasped. She answered his question.
"The Prophecy of Giving..."
Date: Dec 9th
"...the propecy states that he who frees the Guardian of the Snow will have to defeat him, or all of Terror Mountain will fall. As you have freed the wizard of winter, it is your job to fight him -- and win."
Ral felt his legs turning to slush, as the ground came to meet him. The Bori Mage watched him with a mixture of disgust and pity: disgust, for freeing the Guardian that would cause Terror Mountain's doom; pity, for the fact that he would have to fight the Guardian, who had proved himself to be a formidable opponent, so many years ago...
In a strange flashback, she suddenly remembered how she had been the one who had freed him, centuries ago. The Bori Mage closed her eyes and remembered: the way he had fought, the way he had carried himself, and the strangely sarcastic way he had talked, as though someone had irritated him and never apologised...
She shook off the thoughts and resumed her old demeanour.
"You must win," she repeated, hoping that it would take root in Ral's mind. "If you don't, all of Terror Mountain is doomed. It'll be gone, forever."
The Eyrie looked up at her from the snow as though pleading for a reprieve.
"You may have the Snowager to help you," tried the Mage. "I'm sure the Snowager is more than willing to assist you with saving his home."
Ral still did not respond.
"And I will help you too," continued the Bori. "The ice's greatest foe is fire, for fire will melt ice. Thus, I am giving you the weapons I used to defeat him long ago."
She reached behind her back and brought out a wand, the top of which was adorned with a golden flame that flickered and danced, as though alive. When she handed it to Ral, the fire on the tip swelled and glowed even brighter.
"I wish you all the best," she said. Ral could have sworn he saw a smile flit across her face, but before he could get a better look, she was gone. The snow was falling heavier now, the clumps of white drifting lazily from the sky, landing on the ground and covering the footprints they had left.
He opened up the book and reread the prophecy. The snow was blinding, but the urge to understand the fate set in stone for him was greater.
Legend has it that he who releases the Guardian of the Snow from his slumber will have to defeat the said Guardian, lest the entire land be destroyed by his powers.
That was him. That was his destiny, to fight the Guardian of the Snow, and to win.
The book closed and he continued to trudge through the deep snowbanks. The wind blew the snow, obsuring his view, but he somehow knew where to go. Something guided him toward the Snowager's cavern, where the Ruki still waited.
As he stumbled into the cave, a voice said, "Well it's about time! Gosh, what kept you? Where's my Borovan?"
Ral closed his eyes and took a deep breath. When he opened them again, the fiery wand was in his hand, and the Ruki was staring, awestruck, at him...
"Where did you get that?" he whispered, his eyes bulging and his chest rising and falling with his short, rapid, breaths.
"The Bori Mage," Ral replied simply.
Jets of flame erupted from the tip of his wand, melting the ice in the cave. The Guardian of the Snow dove aside and snarled at the Eyrie, raising his arms and releasing a wave of cold, cold, ice...
Fire and ice met as the flames from Ral's wand and the ice generated by the wizard of winter collided, neither of which could move the other. Ral finally broke the connection and leapt nimbly away, landing in a pile of Neggs the Snowager had hoarded.
It seemed as though it would never end. Regretting the fact that he had never asked the mage how long it took to defeat the Guardian of the Snow, Ral blasted bits of flame at the Ruki, deflecting his attacks while trying to avoid stumbling over the Snowager's collection of miscellaneous items. The Guardian created a frozen snowball with his bare hands and hurled it at Ral, hitting him in the face and causing him to fall. He quickly wiped off the snow covering his face.
"You will never win," hissed the Guardian. "You have none of the Mage's abilities, and I can easily defeat you, the way I defeated everyone else, over the years..."
Date: Dec 10th
"...with the Snowager."
Ral started and looked around, realising he had no idea where the massive creature was.
"It can't be," Ral protested. "I was the one who used the spell first to control him."
The Ruki let out a cold laugh that chilled Ral's bones more than the icy weather outside. "Do you honestly think that matters? The Snowager is bound by the spell, but only to the one with the most power."
"Ecto, medi, meci, deiro," the Guardian hissed, and the Snowager slithered out from the depths of the cave, his fiery red eyes now a sickly green. "Snow beast, you have a new master to serve."
The Snowager dipped his head obediently and turned on Ral. "Wait!" the Eyrie cried out, stumbling back. "At least tell me this. If you are really cruel and mean, why does someone with the noblest of hearts and worthiest of spirits release you?"
The Ruki thrust out a hand, stopping the Snowager. He begin to circle Ral like a creature does to its prey. His eyes narrowed happily. "Ha! You believe such garbage? A Neopet with a truly pure being would not try to free me at all, or control the Snowager, you see? Only those who are greedy and seek power for themselves bother to free me."
Ral trembled, reeling from the nasty words being spat at him. Suddenly images of his sisters swam before his eyes. "You're wrong," he said defiantly.
The Guardian's eyes flipped open in surprise, then narrowed into angry slits. "I'm what?"
"Wrong," Ral repeated stubbornly. "My methods may not have been the greatest, but what I wanted was for my sisters to have the best holiday season possible. Without Taelia, they can't do that. I needed the Snowager to unfreeze the faeries so my sisters will be happy again, but I wanted your help in case something went wrong."
The fiery wand in Ral's hand sparkled with life, and it flared greatly. It grazed over his paw, but did not scorch it. On the contrary, it actually gave it a sort of golden sheen, as though it had imbued the Eyrie with new powers. "You will not stop me from making a difference to my sisters!" he shouted, thrusting his golden fist and fire wand at the Ruki.
The Guardian was the one who now stumbled in fear. A beam of light shot out from Ral's fist, connecting with the fire from the wand. They merged together to create a blast so forceful it struck both of them off their feet and even flung the Snowager back a little. When Ral could finally move, he looked around apprehensively and found that the Ruki was not in sight.
Clambering over the massive pile of hoarded items, the Eyrie spotted something dark and glittering in the area where the Ruki once stood. Sliding down, Ral saw that there was a tiny Ruki statue in his place. The Eyrie had barely any time to ponder how this happened, however, as the cave began shaking.
With a gasp, Ral realised that it was collapsing. He saw the pinprick of light at the end of the tunnel and knew he would not make it out in time. Clutching the Ruki figurine in his hand, he sprinted for the Snowager.
"Help me, please!" Ral cried out desperately. The Snowager shook his head sadly.
"There is nothing I can do, it is closing in too quickly." As he spoke, a huge chunk of ice slid from the walls and fell to the floor with a resounding crash. "I can petrify you in the ice, as the Ruki was, but your spell is wearing off. Soon I will not be able to have the control over my powers that I do now. You risk being frozen in that ice for countless centuries."
Ral hesitated, his future not looking too bright. Before he could answer the Snowager's proposal, he
felt an odd tugging sensation spread throughout his body. The next thing he knew, his vision blurred, and the world around him seemed to move at a dizzying pace. He came to an abrupt halt, and tried to come to his senses.
"Don't move," a familiar voice commanded. "I transported you out of that cave pretty quickly, but it was risky. Just wait until the dizziness fades." Recognising the voice as belonging to the Bori Mage, Ral nodded weakly and waited until his breath returned to normal.
"What happened?" Ral asked.
The Bori just sighed and looked to her left. Ral followed her gaze and gasped in horror. The Snowager's cavern had collapsed into a heap of rubble. "Is he all right?" Ral asked nervously.
"Yes, yes, the Snowager shall be just fine. It will take him a while to get things in order, but believe me when I say he will." The Bori turned her piercing gaze to fix Ral. "Now it is my turn to ask you: what happened?"
Ral described how the wand had suddenly given him special powers, and how it had seemingly turned the Guardian into a miniature figurine. The Bori looked puzzled and turned it over many times in her hand. "Where's the book? Perhaps it can answer our questions."
"It's buried in the cave somewhere," Ral said glumly.
"Ah, it's for the best, I think. Now no one else will know how to become the Guardian of Snow, and Terror Mountain shall never face the threat again." She gave Ral a warm smile. "Come, we have other business to attend to."
"A warm cup of Borovan?" Ral asked, grinning down at the young Chia. She nodded, her cheeks rosy from the cold. Ral passed over a steaming cup, wishing the young girl a happy holidays. Ral glanced to his side, where Mr. Chipper was handing out Advent gifts. A long line stretched out in front of him.
It's true, Ral could not provide his sisters with Taelia. But he was doing his best to at least make a difference in the community as a whole. In the aftermath of the destruction of the Ice Caves, many had been angry. His friends and even family looked down on him with disappointment. But Ral did not give up. Instead he volunteered to help decorate homes, clean up the town, and give out Borovan to those collecting their winter gifts.
As for the Guardian of Snow? He now resides as an ornament on Ral's tree at home, a reminder of a disaster that could've been.
Date: Dec 10th
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