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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 1st day of Eating, Yr 22
The Neopian Times Week 103 > Continuing Series > Origins: The Fire Within -- Part Three

Origins: The Fire Within -- Part Three

by zyranyx

Deafening was the silence in the great chamber. Yakynaza's eyes were once again wide. The king majestically made his descent down a stairwell through the many thousands of seats, Yakynaza stumbling slightly as he followed the king's lead. Reyilíci and Yakynaza reached the bottom of the stairwell, at which a platform was set. The king took his place in the shining, golden throne before motioning Yakynaza to sit at his right-hand side.

     "Subjects of Reino de Lobos, Kingdom of Wolves and of the Midnight Sun, I, King Reyilíci, have wondrous news," the king explained. "A young outlander Lupe, with painted legs yet a flaming tail, miraculously found his way into our kingdom." Motioning to Yakynaza, he said, "This is our guest, Yakynaza, and if you see him in our grand hallways, please be courteous, for all guests are welcome here." At this, a cheer rose from the crowd: "Yakynaza Outlander, traveler and guest of Reino de Lobos! Hail Reyilíci king, king of Reino de Lobos, gracious of all hosts!"

     King Reyilíci beamed and said quietly to Yakynaza, "Perhaps it is time to dismiss my subjects, Yakynaza. Then perhaps you can come to my chambers for some tea."

***

Yakynaza sat in the king's welcome hall, sipping his tea, which was a strange yet satisfying brew made of the leaves of some underground plants that grew abundantly in the volcano's humid atmosphere. The king had remained in the Great Chamber for some sort of conference while his servants had escorted Yakynaza to the king's chambers. They had instructed him to wait, for the king had been scheduled for a royal meeting. So, here Yakynaza patiently awaited the king.

     Eventually, after an hour's wait, and after finishing three pots of tea, the Fire Lupe became bored and began to wander the halls. His aimless ramblings brought him to a familiar seeming hall. With a jolt he remembered this hallway from his dream. It was the same hallway that led to the king and queen's bedroom. He only had been in this hallway in a dream, but he remembered it by heart. He quickly looked around the hall to see if anyone was watching, then slipped quietly into the room.

     Looking around, he saw that it was changed from in his dream. Gaudy gold furniture and lavish banners had replaced the simple decorations from in his dream, and where the crib of the baby Lupe - Yakynaza - had once lain, there was now an ugly, overzealously garish Persian rug. The Lupe stared at the rug before realizing that there was a lump in it. Not wanting the already grotesque rug to become any more repulsive, he attempted to flatten it. When it refused to be flattened, he lifted the rug to see what was underneath.

     Expecting some piece of garbage that the king had stuffed under it, Yakynaza was taken aback to see a dusty old trapdoor. "What the…?" Yakynaza used the heavy brass ring attached to the door to open it. It was dark, for there were no torches to light the way, but the Lupe cleverly poked his tail through the entrance to see what was inside. He saw a bare patch of ground about ten feet beneath him, so he jumped in.

     Landing quietly on the pads of his feet, Yakynaza strode onward, his tail providing light in the darkness. The room looked ill used and decrepit, and there was nothing inside, save a very large rock leaning against a wall -- wait, was that just a rock? Yakynaza crept closer and blew off dust that was centuries old, gasping in amazement at the great stone tablet that was revealed to him. A hieroglyphic picture of a moon, bright and full, silhouetted a flaming Lupe from Reino de Lobos. The words, "Ssenk radeht nith gilgnir beromre verofl lah snusth gindi meht" bordered the top.

     "Strange…" Yakynaza whispered to himself, raising a paw to touch the crystalline Lupe in the tablet.

     "What are you doing?" Yakynaza snapped his paw back as an accusing voice sounded and turned to face King Reyilíci, whose eyes were blazing. "How did you find your way to this room? You are not supposed to be here!"

     "I'm sorry, your majesty," Yakynaza said apologetically. The king breathed heavily through his nose, and swallowed. "No, Yakynaza, I'm sorry. I should not have languished so long. Then you would not have become bored." The king smiled ruefully.

     "Sir," Yakynaza said after a few seconds. "Er, by your leave, do you suppose you could tell me about this?" He gestured towards the stone tablet. The king looked at it for a moment, his eyes clouded in thought.

     "Very well," he finally said. "This monument was created many years - centuries - ago, when our volcano was first formed…"

***

Neopia was young, and not nearly as peaceful as it is now. There were no owners at the time, and the pets were then known as the Pangeans. Several of the more powerful Pangean species had kingdoms, powerful kingdoms, but most species were simply desert tribes. One of these was that of the Fire Lupes, which were set apart from the other species because they were the only Pangeans that weren't red, blue, green or yellow in colour -- there were no paintbrushes at the time. They were also set apart because they alone knew that a greater force existed -- Enulede, Faerie of the Moon (or the Midnight Sun, as the moon was then called) -- and they were Enulede's chosen Pangeans.

     However, they did not always obey Enulede, who had created the Fire Lupes and only set a scant few rules about how to live and act, a moral code. The Fire Lupes plundered and killed, and Enulede was very disappointed in them, but did not abandon them. She instead punished them for their wrongdoing by letting them fall into the hands of their enemy, the Chias, a powerful kingdom, who enslaved the Fire Lupes and made them work from first sunrise to sundown. For many years the Fire Lupes suffered under the Chia king and his lords, calling out to Enulede in desperation.

     Finally, after many years in hard labour and repentance, Enulede forgave the Fire Lupes. Out of the Lupes, she raised one to be their saviour, one who was faithful to Enulede. The Fire Lupe's name was Hareb, and some called him the Wolf of the Midnight Sun. He gathered up the Fire Lupes' courage and the power that Enulede gave him, and raised an army against the Chias. The Lupes defeated the Chias, and then travelled to a volcano, where the naturally coloured Fire Lupes created a hidden kingdom, the kingdom of Reino de Lobos, and created the Covenant of Enulede.

***

"…And that's why we have this monument, to seal the Covenant and remind us of our promise to always stay faithful to the Lady Enulede, Faerie of the Midnight Sun," the king finished. "Prophesy tells us that one day, one day when Neopia needs him most, the Wolf of the Midnight Sun will come again, to save the pets of Neopia from themselves." The king turned and jumped through the trapdoor. Yakynaza, however, stayed, lost in thought.

***

The next morning, Yakynaza awoke in the lavish guest room that King Reyilíci had given him for the night ("Until we can find a way to get you back to the surface world, young outlander!" he had said). The four-poster bed was made of a rich mahogany, with white silk hangings and bed sheets, and the same kind of mahogany had been used to make the bedside table, dresser, closet, bookshelves, door and wardrobe.

     A servant Lupess came bustling into the room, carrying a breakfast tray, and placed it on the bed in front of Yakynaza. "I trust everything is comfortable, sir?" she asked, wringing her paws anxiously. But Yakynaza wasn't paying much attention to the servant Lupess, rather to the excited noise that had come through the doorway as soon as it had been opened.

     "Yes, thank you," Yakynaza said absentmindedly. "What's going on out there?"

     "Oh," The Lupess glanced darkly towards the doorway. "It-it is the Day of Sacrifice."

     The blank look on Yakynaza's face told her that he clearly didn't have a clue what she was talking about. The Lupess sighed.

     "Once every century, a dormant darkness that waits beneath the land's surface begins to awaken. No one knows what it is, or where it came from, but it is only stopped when Reino de Lobos' most powerful mage battles against it." A shudder ran through the Lupess. "The darkness is so powerful that it takes every -- and I mean every -- ounce of magic in the mage's body is drained to defeat it. The mage's life force and soul is completely annihilated."

     Yakynaza shuddered, wondering who in their right mind would become a mage at this cost.

     "This is why it is called the Day of Sacrifice," the Lupess continued. "However powerful a magician is, the lives of all those in his kingdom that he has sacrificed himself for is always worth the price. It is also considered a great honour to be sacrificed, for the mage is christened a hero, and is always remembered, throughout time."

     "When will this dormant darkness be destroyed?" Yakynaza asked, a shadow falling across his face.

     "Only when the Wolf of the Midnight Sun is reborn," the Lupess replied. Yakynaza risked one more question.

     "Is there any proof of the existence of this 'dormant darkness'?"

     The Lupess hesitated, her eyes wide.

     "I am sorry, sir," the Lupess blurted out. "But I have already said too much! If you need anything else, my name is Florpiedra!" She fled from the room, her tail accidentally knocking over Yakynaza's breakfast tray.

     However, Yakynaza didn't notice this, for he was lost in thought. Over and over he asked himself the same question: What was everyone hiding?

To be continued...

 

Previous Episodes

Origins: The Fire Within -- Part One

Origins: The Fire Within -- Part Two

Origins: The Fire Within -- Part Four

Origins: The Fire Within -- Part Five


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