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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 16th day of Collecting, Yr 19
The Neopian Times Week 128 > Articles > Valrigard The Traitor

Valrigard The Traitor

by weyrladyjeskann

THE DUNGEONS OF MERIDELL - Hey, I'm Jeska, coming to you almost-live from the prison below Meridell. I am here today with Valrigard, the Draik who's unenviable plight has been made well-known by the popular game "Escape from Meridell".

"So, Valrigard, how long have you been down here?" I questioned, my pen poised over a small Shimmery Notebook. I leaned back slightly into the stone wall of his cell, sitting on the small cot he had graciously vacated for the cold floor.

"I have been locked in this accursed hole for far longer than I wish to recount," he replied, dark eyes bright with anger.

Unable to help myself I asked an obvious question, "I take it you don't like it?"

"Would you? The guards are pigs, the other prisoners smell rancid, and my cell, as you can see," Valrigard replied with a sweeping wave around the tiny room, "Can hardly even be called a filthy hovel. All I want is to see the sun again."

"You're right. Just between us, how many times have you, in actuality, tried to escape?" I queried inquisitively, a personal fan of the game that told of his dilemma.

"Just between us?" He waited for my nod. "Very well. You can't print it though, Skarl would definitely tighten security if you did," I agreed quickly, and the Draik leaned forward to whisper the number of times he had unsuccessfully tried to escape. I bit my lip, trying to hide a grin. How many times did he try it? Well, I'm certainly not going to tell you. I did promise, after all…

"What do you down below? Hobbies, and such I mean. I know there must be something you do to wile away the hours," I referred quickly to my blue notebook for questions.

"Usually I just think. You would be amazed how quickly time can past when you just sit down and think. I think about Skarl, my life, traitors in general, and things larger than me like the meaning of life, the true meaning of love. That kind of stuff. I know you think that's funny, but I am serious. I've become quite the philosopher since I was locked up. I also write and draw on the little scraps of paper they sometimes let me have. Currently I am putting together a memoir of my life, it should be done in… a few years. Heh. Maybe," The Draik sighed heavily.

"Ah, yes. You mentioned the guards, what is your relationship with them? On the way down I noticed that many of the other prisoners seemed to be on fairly good terms with their captors. Is this the case with you?" I asked, recalling a sentence from an earlier answer.

"They are all servants of the King, and therefore no friends on mine. They call me Valrigard the Traitor. As if they are any better. I hear them, late at night when they assume everyone is sleeping, talking about Skarl and his many blunders. I hear them," he spoke, adding at my doubtful gaze, "Well, there is one that is not like the others. A Moehog who ran from the Citadel and set to work down here. He had been a prisoner of Lord Darigan, falsely accused of espionage, he said. We understand each other. We have both been betrayed by our masters."

Noting the sadness that tinged his voice I prompted gently, "So you feel that King Skarl betrayed you?"

"Absolutely! He was a friend and yet he turned on me." A fire sprang into the Draik's intelligent eyes as he spoke. He began shaking with suppressed fury, the bowl of gruel he held almost breaking under his wrathful grip.

Giving the Draik a moment to collect himself I pondered my next question, "What is it exactly that you are accused of?"

"Subversive activities!" Valrigard burst out angrily, "I was one of his top tacticians and a close friend yet he dared to accuse me of such a horror. He has had all record of my life in Meridell destroyed. Skarl is paranoid and power hungry. That is not a good combination."

Finally I asked Valrigard the question that had been bothering me since I had first heard of him, "If you were free today would you join with Lord Darigan, because of what King Skarl has done to you?"

The Draik hesitated for just a moment before answering firmly, "Never. Skarl, himself, I won't serve, but I could never betray my beloved Meridell."

"That's good," I paused, glancing down at my notes as I silently admired his devotion, "What is your take on the game "Escape From Meridell"?

He grinned, "I love it. Though I must admit that I can't get past level 11 myself. It is fairly realistic and helps to bring Skarl's folly to the attention of the common Neopian."

Looking back at the glittering notebook I said, "That seems to be all. Thank you for giving up some of your valuable time for this interview."

"It has been my pleasure. I don't get many visitors down here," Valrigard spoke with a rare laugh, "Just the other prisoners, guards, and the occasional White Weewoo."

He drew his brow together in a puzzled motion, "Though how they get in, I will never know."

"Is there anything else you would like to add?" I questioned, signaling for the guard to let me out.

The Draik nodded, "I just want all of Neopia, especially Meridell, to do know that I am innocent of the charges set against me."

"By the way," Valrigard added curiously, "How did you convince the King to let you interview me? That doesn't seem like him."

"I didn't," I whispered with an impish grin, "but don't tell the guards that."

A heavily armed Grarrl tapped impatiently on the iron door, motioning for me to follow him. Bolting the door shut behind me the guard began to stride down the narrow corridor. I winked broadly at Valrigard, who responded in the like, before trailing the Grarrl out of the dungeons.


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