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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 23rd day of Swimming, Yr 20
The Neopian Times Week 140 > Short Stories > Called By The Wind: The Empty Field

Called By The Wind: The Empty Field

by sara_mossflower

The wide plain stretched to the limits of the horizon. It was desolate, empty. I felt dry grass beneath my paws, and there was a strange scent in the air. It was the scent of something ancient, something wild.

     Something familiar.

     I walked on, feeling strangely that I seemed to belong to this deserted land. There was no time here. It always felt like the crack of dawn; it always felt like the beginning.

     But the beginning of what?

     I tried to ponder this question, but my brain seemed useless. Thought was no way to react to this mysterious environment; instinct took over.

     It was the beginning of something new that would change this place. Though I knew nothing of the plain, I could sense that whatever was getting ready to happen would spite it and take it over, hopefully for the better.

     There was a breeze. Wind was out of place in this world, oddly unnatural.

     I turned around…

     “Sisslio!”

     “Mmnnm?” I groaned in response to the voice.

     “Get UP!!”

     I was suddenly booted out of bed by a large, furry foot. Looking up from the floor, I saw a Zafara like myself. Unlike my green fur, she had a Mystery Island-patterned pelt. It was my roommate, Dayne Riversong.

     “Jeez! You are such a Slorg when it comes to getting up in the morning!” said Dayne.

     I looked at my clock, and my blue eyes almost popped out of my head. “It’s seven o’clock! Are you crazy?!”

     “Crazy about shopping!” she answered blithely. “C’mon! Chop chop!”

     I didn’t budge.

     Dayne rolled her eyes. She whirled around and started rooting through my closet. “Here,” she said, throwing a M*YNCI shirt at my head. “Get dressed.”

     “I hate this shirt,” I protested futilely. I couldn’t believe this. Dayne wanted to go shopping at seven in the morning?! Then again, she was one heck of a shopaholic. I recalled one time when my neighbour Eranthra, an Ixi, had gone to Uni’s Clothing with her at noon and they hadn’t come back until eleven at night. The shopping bags had looked like they’d be a challenge for any professional weightlifter.

     Within the next fifteen minutes we were strolling down the crowded streets of Neopia Central. Well, Dayne was more so promenading.

     I lagged behind, starting to remember the peculiar dream I’d had last night. The image of that plain and its dead, dry grass was starting to irritate me the more I thought about it. Was it a real place? It had felt real; I had felt and smelled things in it.

     “Come on!” Dayne shouted at me. “We have to get to the bazaar before it gets crowded!”

     “Get real! You think it’s gonna be crowded at seven in the morning?!”

     “You never know. We’ve gotta get the best deals! Early Pteri catches the worm and all that blah.”

     “I haven’t even had breakfast!” I complained. “Listen. You go to Uni’s. I’m going to get a coffee at the Art Centre and then I’ll catch up.”

     Dayne sighed in frustration and folded her arms, fixing me with a glare. “You better show up. I can’t carry all those bags on my own.”

     “If the bags are a problem, why do you get so many?”

     Dayne looked at me, raising one eyebrow. Her expression said, “Do you even need to ask? Shopping is my life.”

     “I’ll just meet you at the store,” I said, turning towards the Art Centre. Dayne was such a pain (hey, that rhymes), that dream was bothering me, and I needed that Pinanna Cappuccino more than ever.

     Finally, I was sitting on a bench outside the coffee shop in the deep catacombs. The Neopian Art and Literature Centre was probably my favourite place in Neopia Central, and I wished that I could come here more often, although that was practically impossible living with Dayne and her urge to splurge. It was quiet here, and probably one of the most cultural places around. I was interested in paintings, stories, and poetry, and the coziness of the caves and torchlight added all the more to the atmosphere I loved.

     As I munched on my Tigersquash Iced Bun, I contemplated my dream. It hadn’t just been weird, it had been… real, and slightly foreboding. Unlike other dreams I’d had, like the one where I was attacked by a Faerie Hot Dog, I wasn’t eager to forget this one in a hurry. I felt like I should be doing something about it, but what?

     It was getting so confusing, I turned my attention to something else. Looking towards the Storytelling campfire, I perked my ears. Maybe someone was relating an intriguing tale. A young yellow Lupe appeared to be the storyteller.

     “…on the great field, the battle took place. Frey KeenBlade led the army from the west, wielding her great war sword, as long as she was tall, the blade said to be unbreakable. When they met the eastern army, chaos and conflict broke out. The great war had begun.

     “The foes fought until the sun sank below the horizon, and by that time, almost all the warriors, western and eastern, had been slain. But Frey was still standing, although only barely. She saw her enemies, but together, they would not even manage a small crowd. Although she was scarred and wounded, her pure-white pelt bloodstained, Frey raised her great sword in victory, crying out for the triumphant west.

     “However, her joy, was short-lived, as well as Frey herself. The warrior Zafara suddenly gasped in pain, and her surviving followers did likewise as a raggedly-fletched shaft thudded into their leader’s heart. Frey gazed down at her fatal wound, at first nonplussed, but then, looking up at her attacker, a stubborn Easterner, realized that her doom was sealed. Her blade fell from her paw, and she dropped to her knees, for the first time in her life kneeling to her enemy in defeat.

     Her friends tried to approach her, but she held up a paw to stop them. ‘Do not try to help me,’ she whispered. ‘I am among the living no longer.’ Then, looking up at her foe, a fire-pelted Cybunny, she nodded, ironically saluting him, then collapsed onto her side.

     Ignoring her earlier order, a Zafara called Bryony SkyGaze and a Lupe named Dredless HowlSoul ran to her side and knelt beside her, weeping for their hero.”

     The Lupe looked down at his wide-eyed audience. “They say that Frey told her friends not to harm the Cybunny, and thanked them for their loyalty, but told them that her bones would rest, awaiting the return of a champion, and that her spirit would never be truly dead. The two didn’t understand, and assumed that Frey was speaking nonsense in her weakened state. The warrior was buried with her sword standing in the earth near her grave, and is now a famous memorial where I come from,” the Lupe said this, concluding his tale.

     “You mean that really happened?” a young Acara asked incredulously.

     “Indeed. My name is Terzin HowlSoul – I’m Dredless’s descendent.” He stood up and stretched. “Well, I hope you liked my story. It wasn’t too scary for you, was it?”

     “No way!” chorused his audience. “It was exciting, but really sad at the end.”

     Terzin sighed. “Well, that’s how it happened, unfortunately. Frey accepted her fate quite graciously. Now if you’ll excuse me, I must be going.”

     “Bye! Come back soon!”

     The Lupe chuckled and was on his way.

     His story had entranced me. For some reason, I felt that I should find out more about Terzin’s tale, that it was connected to me somehow.

     I was about to walk up to him and question him, but someone suddenly grabbed my arm. I whirled around in surprise, and found myself face-to-face with Dayne Riversong, who looked like a storm cloud ready to blast me with a bolt of lightning.

     “WHERE WERE YOU??!!!” she screamed. “I WAS SHOPPING FOR HALF AN HOUR AND YOU DIDN’T SHOW UP!!!”

     I only cowered in confusion, my mind still half on the story of Frey. I managed a clueless “Huh?”, but I soon regretted saying it.

     “WHAT DO YOU MEAN, ‘HUH?’? I HAVE SIX SHOPPING BAGS BACK AT UNI’S, AND SOMEONE MIGHT HAVE STOLEN THEM BY NOW, THANKS TO YOU!!!”

     “Sorry, I –”

     I was cut off before I could say more. Dayne sighed, slightly calmed down. “Just come on,” she mumbled, dragging me along by my paw.

     Had it really been half an hour? But that story, and…

     Well, no matter what was going on, I could tell that my life had been changed in one morning by a dream and a story. Time is odd stuff.

     As I was hauled off to Dayne’s paradise, only one thing was clear in my mind: I had to find Terzin.

     “Ooh,” cooed Dayne, “Lets go look at Usukis first! I need the mermaid one!”

     …But it looked like I’d have to survive the bazaar first.

The End

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