The Cobrall Charmer
|Each pet, a different story, another tale from Neopia…
The Desert Aisha stirred uneasily in her tent. She was
a wandering nomad, but it was rare she travelled alone like this. With the dangers
of the desert and its hostile environment, it made sense to travel in a group,
for protection. For the moment, however, she was travelling just with her tiny
baby daughter. Her senses felt alert and warned her of danger. She sighed –
the desert was always filled with danger. The hot, dry air had dried out her
throat and she reached for the water canteen at the foot of her hammock. Suddenly,
she froze in horror.
In the silver of the moonlight coming through
the tent flap, her daughter sat, laughing happily. Coils of scaly skin glistened
in the light, writhing about the young Aisha. Her mother could not act, frozen
in fear and horror. Her mind raced. She tried not to move suddenly or alarm
the snake. She sat up slowly, calling softly to her daughter.
Her daughter turned to her, her black eyes shining
in the light, her tan coloured paws caressing the scales wrapped around her.
"Nisha – stay very still…"
Her daughter obeyed her. Watching her mother
move towards her, she lovingly unwound the Reptillior from around her, placing
it on the floor of the tent. It slithered away into the night. Isis ran to her
daughter, scooping her up and holding her tight. Planting kisses upon Nisha,
the relieved Aisha closed the tent flap securely and took her daughter back
to her hammock. She fell asleep, still clutching her daughter close.
Mother and daughter dreamed peacefully in the
The young Aisha cub had been hunting again. She’d spent all day tracking down
the Petpets, even in the heat of the day. She watched the Magtile, eye to eye,
wary and cautious. Then they both relaxed. She reached out her paw and the Petpet
flowed up it. Unbeknown to her, she was also being watched. A grizzled Acara,
grey hairs mingling with his tan fur, observed the youngster, smiling. From
his pocket, he pulled a strange looking pipe. Carving of snakes entwined around
the stem, flowing together at the tip. He put it to his mouth and began to play.
An enchanting, haunting melody filled the air. The Magtile looked up and began
to sway to the rhythm. The Aisha too seemed captivated by the music, her eyes
The Acara stepped out of the shadows and produced
a similar pipe from the pocket of his robes. However, it was plain and undecorated.
He handed it to the young Aisha, who seemed startled.
"Now, you play with the snakes; one day, you
will play for them. You have the gift -- as I do. Follow the snakes and the
music and you will never be led wrong."
The Aisha cub leapt up and bowed to the Acara,
hands in front of her heart, as she’d been taught. He laughed and wandered off
into the desert night. Nisha stared at him, wide eyed, for a little while, before
hurrying back to camp. She had a meeting she could not afford to miss.
"A snake pipe," said the young Aisha. She held
The alkitah chuckled indulgently.
"Be sure to practise, Nisha."
The Aisha nodded carefully.
"I will…" Her paws fingered the holes naturally.
The Aisha was seated cross legged on the sand, her paws moving over the pipe
in a complicated tune, the notes hanging in the air. Then Nisha heard hysterical
screaming. She looked up from her pipe practising, distracted. The sound was
from over west. The Aisha sprung to her feet and ran.
As she drew closer, she saw the problem. A
baby Kau, his panicked mother hovering near him, sat on the sand. He had inadvertently
crawled into a Cobrall nest. Angry, hissing Cobralls slithered over him but
his mother dared not pull them off for fear of endangering the child further.
Nisha bit her lip -- the Kau was in serious danger if she did not act fast.
Nisha took a deep breath in and placed the
pipe to her lips. She had never successfully captivated one placid Cobrall
before, let alone seven enraged ones. But she was determined to try. The new
melody she’d just composed sprung to her mind. It was aptly named the Dance
of the Cobralls. She played the opening notes and slipped into a blissful
reverie, her fingers dancing over the holes of the pipe. It sounded of the
lonely wind over the sand, of ancient pyramids against the sky, of windswept
nomads traversing an endless desert, of Cobralls dancing and sliding through
the eternal sand. Nisha began to step backwards as she played, only dimly
aware she was drawing the Cobralls with her. The worried mother swept her
young one away to safety but Nisha did not stop playing until the last noted
faded away into the air.
She turned around to find her tribe staring
at her. Quite a crowd had gathered, drawn by the screams and the music. All
looked shocked and disgusted. They began to jeer and throw stones at the Aisha.
The Cobralls moved forwards to her defence and the tribe backed away. Nisha
realised with sadness what the matter was -- that her gift was also a curse.
She recalled the old Acara and the charmer at the festival -- both had been
alone. A charmer was not just alone by necessity, in order to seek out the
snakes, but because other cast out the weird, the abnormal, the gifted.
Nisha turned away, putting her back to the intolerant
mob, towards the lonely desert that would be her home, with the Cobralls at
her heels as her new tribe. She did not look back. Her old tribe wheeled around,
their white robes flapping, heading back to their tents… leaving her. Nisha
looked at the desert and felt her heart ache. Hers was the life of a Cobrall
Charmer, solitary, lonely and empty.
She felt a touch on her arm and saw that it
was the mother of the child she’d saved.
"Thank you…" the mother whispered in her ear.
She handed Nisha a bracelet from her own arm, as a token of her thanks. It
was cast in gold and fashioned in the shape of a Cobrall biting its own tail.
The mother slipped away quietly, holding her child.
Nisha looked at the Cobrall gathered around
her feet and the bracelet in her paw. With a smile on her face, she clipped
the bracelet around her upper arm. She resolutely put one foot on the sand
and stepped out into the desert, leaving behind her old life. Hers was the
life of a Cobrall Charmer, mysterious, challenging and rewarding. For she
had achieved her aim at last -- Nisha was the Cobrall Charmer.