It’s a cold, snowy night in the Month of Sleeping.
Everyone is sheltering from the blizzard in their warm, cozy Neohomes -- except
for a lone wanderer, almost invisible in the relentless flurries. A young green
Kacheek was gazing out the window when he saw it.
“Mother! Mother! There’s some pet out there!”
The older, yellow Kacheek rushed over.
“Don’t worry, honey, I’ll go out to the poor
thing. Wait right here.” She bundled up in her warmest clothes and set out,
straining to see. The young Kacheek watched nervously, for he had lost sight
of his Mother, when there was a clatter behind him as the two came in. The wanderer
turned out to be a weary brown Aisha with strikingly long orange hair. The little
family did their best to make her feel at home, and in return she offered to
tell them a story.
“Oh yes, do, please!” was the heartfelt reply.
And so she began.
"No pet knows the true story, her real name,
or where she really came from. They know not why she betrayed her country, or
if she ever came to regret her decision. This is what I have heard, you may
believe it if you wish…"
Nashira, a young Brown Aisha, woke up to the smell of Faerie Pancakes after
a long night’s dreaming. She stretched, listening to the cheerful noises of
her family waking up. There was her mother, Skunk Aisha Cook extraordinaire,
her father, a soldier in King Skarl’s army, and her older brother, a young knight-in-training.
Nashira danced into the kitchen and sat down at the table. She had made a hard
decision, but something told her she had to obey the dream.
“Don’t call me Shira. I’ve decided to leave Meridell
and take dancing lessons in the Lost Desert.”
“WHAT?!!” her father yelled.
“You can’t do that,” her mother said calmly.
“Our family has lived in Meridell for hundreds of years. You aren’t leaving
now. Besides, you are much too young and irresponsible to go off on your own.”
“But you let Kakir become a Squire when he was
my age! And fighting is way more dangerous than dancing! I’m not a baby, Mo--”
Her father interrupted. “Baby or not, we don’t
think you’d be safe wandering alone. Darigan may be defeated, but his armies
are still dangerous. When you’re done with breakfast, you can go back to your
room and think about it.”
Nashira glared at him and stormed off without
even touching the pancakes. She slammed the door. It was the first time she’d
ever been angry with her parents. I thought they’d be so supportive!
she thought. I thought they’d understand. She sighed, then began packing
her worn backpack. She chose her hair brush, her tooth brush, her coat, and
a spare dress. Then she climbed out her one window and ran off.
Running away was easier than she thought, and
she had soon reached the southern outskirts of Meridell. Nashira began to move
more cautiously, pausing periodically to look around her. Suddenly, she heard
something behind her. Nashira whirled around just as somebody grabbed her arm.
It was a Darigan Kougra in a strange purple and white uniform. Behind it stood
a group of similarly garbed pets, all armed.
Nashira looked around her. There was no escape.
“Umm, I wasn’t doing a-anything, j-just walking by! If that’s not okay with
you, I’ll l-lea-”
“No, it’s not okay, but you’re not leaving. You’re
coming with us. Tie her up, boys!” a pair of red Zafaras stepped forward, each
“Hey, I said I’d go! Stop! I was just--” At that
moment, she felt a sharp blow to the back of her head and all was darkness.
Nashira woke up in a dark room. It was not a prison cell as she had expected,
but a tastefully furnished bedroom with a VERY comfortable Tiger Bed. She was
confused, and got up. Her bag was on the Tiger Seat, with everything intact.
After examining the room (all Tiger stuff), she rushed over to the single door
and turned the handle. It wasn’t locked.
She raced out, hoping against hope that there
were no guards and that she could actually find the exit. Her luck wasn’t with
her. As soon as she turned the corner, she ran right into the Darigan Kougra
she had first seen.
“Why hello, there!” he said cheerfully. “The
Lord’s waiting in the Dining Hall. It’s right in there.” He jabbed his thumb
behind him and pushed her in through the door.
The hall was spectacular. The walls were made
of black marble, there was a HUGE stone table in the center, and dozens of doors
let hundreds of people in and out. The whole thing was shrouded in magical smoke,
creating a very spooky effect. At the head of this imposing scene was a large
purple Eyrie, resplendent in robes of purple and white. She had only heard rumors,
but knew him to be Darigan's successor; the Lord Kass.
He saw Nashira enter, and gestured for her to
approach. This she did, curtsying a few feet in front of him.
"Rise, Aisha. What is your name?" He sounded
as if he was trying to be kind, though evil at heart.
"I am called Nashira."
"Why, hello, Nashira. I am the Lord Kass, ruler
of Dari-- I mean, Kass Citadel. I've been looking for someone to help me, and
think you just might be the one. What can you do?"
She looked around, nervously. What could she
do? The answer struck her. "I- I can dance."
"Dance… This might work… Let's see how you do."
He clapped, and a light, rhythmic music began. Nashira snatched a quick glance
at the hundreds of pets surrounding her. She had never danced for more than
two people at a time. She closed her eyes, trying to block out everything, and
started. She let her feet and heart carry her through the song, dancing with
it, around it, over and under it. She twirled and leaped, finally finishing
with a graceful bow. It was her best performance ever.
Nashira looked up to the sound of everyone clapping.
"Well done, well done! You are perfect!" Kass was smiling, a joyful smile, only
a hint of the evil within glinting from his eyes. "Now, follow me, I need to
show you something." She obeyed, flushed with the excitement from the dance
The Lord led her down a dark corridor, one caked
with years of dust and disuse. It winded on and one, deeper into the depths
of the Citadel.
"Here we are. Touch nothing but the floor." He
opened a heavy iron door, then ushered her into a brightly lit room. At the
start, Nashira could not see the source of the light, then saw the cabinet in
the center of the chamber.
The glass on every side showed the contents,
ranging from a necklace of feathers to a golden circlet. There were two empty
spot, one large and one small. Kass interrupted her thoughts.
"The Cabinet of The Three. When the chosen bearer
of an item enters the room, it unlocks, the object falling into their hands.
The empty spots are wear Darigan's Orb and my Amulet," at this, he gestured
to the mystic thing around his neck, "once rested. In one hundred years, new
ones will take their places." He nudged her forward. "Now, touch the door."
Nashira did so, trembling visibly, and stuck
out her paw. Immediately, the door opened outwardly, almost knocking her over.
On reflex, she reached out, catching the golden circlet.
"As I thought. Put it on."
"Why?" Up 'til now, she had obeyed him, but she
could hardly imagine how much power this thing held. "What will it do to me?
You try it first." She held it out to him.
Somewhat startled, he laughed. "I couldn't. It
would kill me. I'm not the true bearer. You are." At the time, he seemed like
a kind, caring father. Later she would learn that he rarely showed this side,
only when he was trying to win someone's alliance. She didn't know this yet,
though, so she did as he said. A green glow surrounded her, then it vanished.
"Now, it's time to give our princess a test. Follow me."
They made their way back to the Hall, where he
whispered, "Now, it's time for you to dance again. This time, I want you to
tap that purple Moehog over there on the shoulder when you're halfway through.
Music!" he shouted. The Aisha repeated the steps of her previous performance,
though with much more confidence. After a minute or so, she swirled around,
lightly tapping the mentioned Moehog. She then resumed, ending to boisterous
applause. She turned to Lord Kass, then followed his gaze to the Moehog, He
was acting strangely, his eyes a hypnotic blur of yellow and orange.
Kass was whispering again. "That is what the
circlet allows you to do. You can hypnotize while your dancing at a mere touch!
I will need your help tomorrow." He left her, at which point the Kougra stepped
"I'm to take you to your room. This way." As
they approached the familiar entrance, he motioned her towards it. "I'll be
going now. Coffee break."
Inside, everything was the same, except for something
on the bed. It was a dress, of red velvet and white silk. The wide skirt was
perfect for twirling- perfect for dancing. Beside it were two gold earrings,
and a gold tambourine. Nashira shrieked in delight, immediately pulling on the
dress and clasping on the earrings. She danced and danced, until she was too
tired to go one, when she collapsed on the bed into a deep, dreamless slumber.
Two days later, she was entering the court of King Skarl, her former ruler.
She bore a note from her new master, Lord Kass. She skipped up the steps to
the throne, handing the parchment to the Skeith with a bow.
"A gift for King Skarl from the Lord and Master
of Kass Citadel," he read. "In hopes the peace between our people can be maintained."
"I am at your service, your majesty." Nashira
bowed. She was wearing her new dress and holding her new tambourine.
"A dancer, eh? Alright, pretty one, let's see
what you do. Music!" Once again, she danced with the music, the world a blur
around her. As she leaped and swished, she tapped first an Acara, then a Zafara,
then finally she approached Skarl himself. As she lightly touched his chin,
she noticed a small puff of magical fog burst from her paw, and his eyes change
to the familiar hypnotized swirl.
"Incredible! You MUST dance for me every day!"
"As you wish, my King." She had succeeded. Skarl
was completely under her control. Nashira waltzed off, little knowing what evil
she had done her native country in that single performance.
Eventually, she saw Kass' plan, saw what a fool she had been to join his side,
saw how much he damaged her home. She grew to know the Eyrie's darker side,
the side that could condemn ten pets to death without flinching. She had had
enough, and left. She kept her dress, her tambourine, and her circlet as memories
of those golden months, where she had found happiness, albeit a false one.
"And only one pet knows what became of her, and that's her herself. Some say
she wanders Neopia, telling her story as a lesson to think before you choose
sides." The old Aisha finished her tale.
The young Kacheek glanced at his mother, then
asked, "Can you dance for us?"
"Why of course." And so she began.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: If this got in, congratulate me, it's my first attempt. I'd
be happy to receive any comments, questions, and suggestions about this story.
It's just my version of why the Court Dancer joined Lord Kass, and how she got
her powers. The name, since no official name has been given, is completely made