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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 13th day of Celebrating, Yr 19
The Neopian Times Week 140 > New Series > Before We Knew Him: Part One

Before We Knew Him: Part One

by feriku

Lord Darigan stared up at the sky, thinking about the Usul child he had come to love, Sally. It must be hard for her, to grow up in the midst of all these wars. He could remember his own childhood as though it was just yesterday…

* * *

It was a beautiful day in Neopia. Some young Neopets were playing ball. To their dismay, a red Grarrl hit the ball too hard, and it sailed into a thorny patch. After groaning, they drew straws, and a blue Korbat went to retrieve it.

       A large, green Korbat flew down to where the children waited.

       “Excuse me, but have you seen my son today? I need to talk to him.”

       Most bowed, recognizing their lord, and then a purple Mynci answered, “Yep—he’s playing with us.”

       “He’s getting the ball,” added the Grarrl.

       “He got the short straw,” explained a green Peophin.

       There was a rustling noise, and the Korbat emerged from the plants. His clothing and skin were slightly cut, but he was grinning and holding the ball. He stopped smiling when he saw his father there.

       “Darigan!” cried his father. “You’re the heir to the throne! You just shouldn’t do things like that!”

       “But—”

       “Now come on. I have to talk to you.”

       Darigan waved apologetically to his friends, and followed his father back to the castle.

       When they got inside, they went to a large room. They sat down at the table, and the big Korbat sighed.

       “Normally I’d talk to you about what you can and can’t do, but we might not have time. You see, I got a letter from my brother, Harold. Your cousin is coming to stay with us for a while, possibly a long while.”

       Darigan looked up, startled. “Um… Dad? Uncle Harold and Aunt Lisa don’t have kids…”

       “They adopted a little Eyrie just this month, but they’ve been so busy, they’ve been having trouble giving him attention, which is why he’s coming. He’s about your age. My brother says that he’s the most perfect little boy, unlike you. Maybe he’ll knock some sense into you. He said he has a wonderful sense of his position, and is not at all the sort that would crawl around in thorns! Anyway, I want you to be nice to him, like your mother would, and make him feel at home. I must warn you, Harold also described him as ‘a little eccentric’ and said that he ‘has a bizarre sense of humor,’ but then again, he also described your friend, Vex, as psychopathic, so I wouldn’t worry.”

       “So, is there any special reason as to why he’s coming here instead of to any of our other relatives’ places?”

       “He said that the kid had been begging for days to see the castle. It’s some sort of obsession with him—power in general. Now don’t go getting any wild ideas, Darigan. I know you’re not particularly thrilled with being royalty, but you can’t give the throne to your cousin!”

       Darigan sighed. “Okay.”

       From the other side of the door, a voice called, “Uncle Garwin?”

       Lord Garwin, Darigan’s father, cried, “That’s him! Quick, Darigan, get on an outfit that isn’t torn! And comb your fur! Try to look presentable!”

       Rolling his eyes, Darigan obeyed. When he returned, his father opened the door.

       A fire Eyrie trotted in and looked around. He had two small braids near the top of his head, and every feather looked like it had been waxed.

       “I’m here!” he announced, in case they hadn’t noticed.

       Lord Garwin smiled. “ You’re every bit as handsome as Harold said you were, Casey.”

       He blinked. “Uh… my name’s not Casey.”

       Darigan walked up to him. “Don’t mind him; he has trouble with unfamiliar names. I’m Darigan.”

       The Eyrie studied him, and then he said, “Hello, Darigan. My name’s Kass.”

* * *

Shortly after Kass’s arrival, Darigan was showing him around the castle.

       “This is the armory. Erm… I guess there’s not much to say about—”

       “Why don’t you like being royalty?” interjected Kass suddenly. “At least, I hear you don’t. I think it would be really neat!”

       “But Dad thinks that I shouldn’t do things that might get me dirty or something like that. I can play with my friends, but I somehow should stay clean. It’s in ways like that that I get singled out because of who I am. So I don’t really like it.”

       “Yeah… but… have you ever felt like throwing someone off a cliff?”

       Darigan stared at him. He stared at him for a long time. Finally he said, “Uh, no.”

       “Ordinary people can’t do things like that. But rulers can!”

       “Maybe, but only a tyrant would actually do it! You think about pushing Neopets off cliffs?”

       “Only once or twice, like when I get really mad. Hey, if you don’t want to rule, I’ll gladly take your place!”

       Darigan shook his head quickly. “I’m not allowed.” He avoided indicating that now he was afraid of what might happen if he put his cousin on the throne. “Anyway, do you want to meet my friends?”

       “Sure.”

       As they walked out, he warned, “They might find you odd and vice-versa.”

       Once outside, he looked around, concluded that his friends had gone home, and went over to one house. He knocked on the door.

       A purple Mynci answered it. “Hi Darigan! Who’s your friend?”

       “Hi Vex. This is my adopted cousin, Kass. Kass, this is Vex.”

       “Nice to meet you, Kass.”

       Just as Darigan was confident that his cousin wasn’t going to say anything strange, the Eyrie asked, “Are you a duke or something?”

       Vex gave him an odd look. “No…”

       “Well then, what are you?”

       “Nothing yet, but I’m going to be the next warden!”

       Kass didn’t look very interested.

       Darigan jumped in. “Vex, why don’t we go find our other friends?”

       He agreed, and they went to another house.

       Before he even knocked, a red Grarrl opened the door. “Never, ever, EVER invite Haskol to your house!” was his greeting.

       A purple Skeith appeared in the doorway behind him. “Sorry for breaking the wall. Ridella made me mad.”

       Kass stared at them as though they were particularly colorless rocks.

       “That’s Galgarrath and that’s Haskol,” said Darigan. “Guys, this is my adopted cousin, Kass.”

       “Are any of you going to be important when you grow up?” asked Kass.

       Haskol grunted. “I’d like to be a guard. They’re important. Without guards, prisoners could escape and enemies could invade! What about you?”

       “Hopefully, I’ll be the best.”

       Galgarrath rolled his eyes. “You want to be ‘the best’? That’s got to be the lamest thing I’ve ever heard!”

       “You’re destined to be the next court jester, aren’t you?” asked Kass.

       “This,” a new voice interrupted, “is the saddest argument I’ve ever seen!”

       A green Peophin called Ridella was standing in the doorway and shaking her head.

       Glad for an opportunity to change the subject, Darigan said, “This is Ridella. Ridella, this is my adopted cousin, Kass.”

       Before Kass could make another one of his comments, a small voice cut in.

       “Could anyone tell me where the castle is?”

       A nervous looking brown Aisha, with golden hair walked towards them.

       “Don’t talk to her,” advised Kass. “She looks like some kind of unimportant peasant.”

       Ignoring him, Darigan said, “The castle’s over there. Are you okay?”

       “I’m scared. My parents sent me here, and I don’t know how to act in front of lords! Nobles are scary!”

       Trying to hide a smile, Darigan suggested, “We could come with you.”

       She smiled. “Thank you! That would help!”

       Kass jumped in. “Well tough, because—Hey!” he cried indignantly, as he saw Darigan, Vex, Galgarrath, Haskol, and Ridella all march off with her.

       On the way, they introduced themselves. The Aisha’s name was Tara.

       They went as a group to the throne room, where Lord Garwin sat.

       He blinked as they bowed. “Err… oh! The little Aisha’s here!”

       Tara smiled nervously.

       Vex whispered to Darigan, “Is she another crazy relative?”

       “I don’t know,” he replied. “And Kass is just a little odd, not crazy.”

       “That’s the understatement of the year,” muttered his often grumpy friend,

       Galgarrath.

       Lord Garwin said, “Tara is a dancer. She’s also some sort of mage, or so I hear.”

       Tara nodded. “Yes, I suppose I am a mage.”

       Garwin smiled. “Isn’t that wonderful, Darigan?” To Tara he added, “He’s my son.”

       Tara glared accusingly at Darigan for not telling her, when Kass walked in.

       After glaring at everyone, he walked over to her. “So, I think I heard them say you’re a mage. What do you do?”

       She trembled. “Hypnosis,” she whispered, very softly.

       Before Kass could say any more, Ridella pulled Tara away.

       “Your dream is to become an interrogator, isn’t it, Kass?” she asked.

       “He wants to be ‘the best,’” mocked Galgarrath.

       Kass’s feathers puffed out, and he let out an angry screech.

       “If you’re going to fight, go outside!” exclaimed Lord Garwin.

       Kass flounced out, grabbing Darigan’s arm and pulling him along.

       Darigan looked at his friends and shrugged.

       Once they were outside, the Eyrie asked, “Why are they your friends?”

       “Why not? They’re all fairly nice and we—”

       “But you are the heir to the throne! You’re way superior to them, just like me.”

       Darigan looked at him like he was crazy. “I don’t care! There’s nothing wrong with our friendship!”

       “What about that Haskol guy? He’s a huge, ugly Skeith!”

       “I don’t care if he’s a talking rock! Haskol is my friend, just like Vex, Galgarrath, Ridella, and Tara. And you, I guess.”

       “If I were the future lord, I’d never be friends with them! Maybe the mage, but—”

       Darigan couldn’t take it anymore. “Well you’re not the future lord, are you?! You never will be!” He was a little surprised when he shouted that.

       A day ago, if someone had told him that he had a cousin that wanted to rule, he would have happily let him rule. Now, however, after talking to him, a part of him was determined to keep Kass away from power.

       Vex and the others peeked outside, wondering if the argument was over.

       Suddenly, a flickering light caught Darigan’s eye. He turned to look. It was coming from the forest.

       He frowned. “What the…” Then he realized. “The forest is on fire!”

       Kass temporarily forgot about the fight, and the cousins raced towards the blazing forest, with Darigan’s friends following.

To be continued…

Previous Episodes

Before We Knew Him: Part Two

Before We Knew Him: Part Three

Before We Knew Him: Part Four

Before We Knew Him: Part Five

Before We Knew Him: Part Six


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