CHARDIYE TRUDGED ALONG the overgrown path of the Wondering Woods, reliving
the worst times of his miserable life. His owner had dumped him, the world had
gone upside down, Alurula's gift was lost... that was the worst one. What would
she be thinking? Was she angry? Chardiye imagined himself back in her unearthly
hall, and the golden-haired, green-eyed girl standing furious in front of him,
hands outstretched to him in spite, saying, "You have failed, Chardiye... you
will no longer be my friend..."
What had she meant, she would always be watching
over him? It didn't seem like she was now. She couldn't care about a worthless,
dirty, dung-brained Eyrie.
Chardiye was jerked from his wonderings when
what looked like a large walnut with a head came rolling out onto the dirt,
followed by four more of its fellows. The walnuts plucked at Chardiye's disassembled
feathers and fur, making squeaky noises to one another. More of them kept coming,
and plucking at the Eyrie. "Got off of me!" he said when they were almost covering
his whole body. Coincidentally, their shells opened to reveal insect-like wings,
which they beat and carried Chardiye along. He squirmed and cried out, but the
more he cried out, the more he seemed to think it was pointless. By the time
he had given up all hope, the walnut creatures dropped him on the front lawn
of a small stone cottage.
On the porch of the cottage stood a stooped old
woman, who was looking very welcoming and had a mug of borovan in her wrinkled
hand. Chardiye shook himself off, and stared curiously at the old woman, who
stared curiously back.
"Come in, my child," she said, smiling. She reminded
the Eyrie of someone, though he couldn't think who. He followed the lady into
her cottage, where she handed him the borovan drink and sat him at her table.
"You seemed troubled, my child," said the kind
old lady, "What is wrong?"
Chardiye said nothing, but just stared at the
"What is your name?" the lady pressed.
The Eyrie opened his mouth, but still said nothing.
What was his name, anyway?
The old woman smiled and didn't seem remotely
irritated that he had not answered any of her questions. She let him finish
his borovan and let him lie down on a comfy sofa. He told her shakily about
his life in the rundown world, and how people threw sludge at him and how he
had to live under a bookshop. He told her everything except for the part relating
to Alurula. She wasn't important any more. When his throat became too tight
to speak, the old woman held him close to her and rocked him back and forth
in a comforting manner until he fell asleep.
He awoke to bright sunshine and a very warm and
fluffy bed. He wanted to lie here forever and bask in the comfort of the old
woman. He closed his eyes and drifted off to a light sleep until the sweet lady
came in with more borovan, a stack of pancakes, and some plump strawberries.
The Eyrie ate his way through another conversation with the woman. He let her
soft, floating voice wash over him as he sat there.
The Eyrie stayed with the old woman in her cottage
in the Wondering Woods for several days, until the days just flowed together
and he couldn't keep track of time or anything. He didn't remember his name,
or anything that had happened to him prior to his meeting the nice lady. All
he cared about was frolicking in the tall grass all day until going back to
the cottage for supper.
One of these days, the Eyrie sat for a long time
in the still grass, wondering. What had he come here for? To see the old lady,
of course. But what had he been doing before? His mind felt pleasantly empty.
He hummed to himself for a while. He jumped when one of the walnut-creatures
popped up at his side and stared inquiringly up at him.
"Hello," it said squeakily.
"What's your name?" asked the walnut.
The Eyrie said nothing.
"What's the matter?" the walnut teased him happily,
Something jolted the back of the Eyrie's mind.
The Walnut thing had left.
That night the Eyrie lied awake on his fluffy
bed, wondering. Remember. Remember. For some reason, that word meant something
to him, as if it were an old friend he had not seen in years. He rolled the
word around on his tongue. What had he forgotten? It seemed like something important.
And then another light flickered on in the Eyrie's mind: Alurula. Alurula. What
was Alurula? It, too, must have been important.
There was a knock at the door and the old woman
entered. "What is troubling you, dear?"
"My name is Chardiye."
The old woman looked disappointed. "I thought
you had forgotten it forever, like the other pets that come to visit my home.
But alas, you may go now. I will go back to being lonely."
"When I say goodbye to a pet, never did I see
them again. I have no faithful friends."
"But then, a new pet comes into my home and I
hope they will stay with me, and forget all their hard times and live the lives
they have always hoped of. You have a lot of spirit, Chardiye."
Green eyes. Golden hair. Remember. Alurula!
"I'm sorry," said Chardiye gently to the sad
woman, "but I have been sent out on a quest and I have to fulfil it. Please
don't forget me."
The old woman shook her head sadly. Chardiye
gave her one last hug and a smile, and left the pretty little cottage in the
He ran along the foliage of the woods, keeping
his eyes shut tightly, repeating to himself, "Alurula. Alurula. Alurula."
What was it she had needed? Why had he gone to
her? What had been wrong? He stopped, panting hard, trying to remember. The
world had gone-bad. He had read books. The books told him... the books told
Chardiye opened his eyes. It was pitch dark all
around him, except for a tiny light that glowed blue a distance away from Chardiye.
As he stepped toward it, a familiar, lilting voice echoed from somewhere. It
"You remembered what was set for you,
You alone were always true.
But I have one last request to give,
To save the land in which you live.
Eternal Spirit is near at hand,
Alas, the light is not as grand
As it once forever used to be
It is dimmer, as your eyes can see.
You alone can save its light
Which is dying now beneath your sight.
Hasten, do not dare to wait
Chardiye, or you will be too late."
The voice died away. Chardiye wish it could have
stayed. However, the Eyrie heeded the musical message and walked slowly toward
the dim blue light. As he drew nearer to it, he saw that on a plinth was a tiny
orb, suspended in mid-air. The Amulet of Eternal Spirit! The orb was filled
with a swirling white mist. Below the orb, looking as if it held it up, was
a tiny blue flame. Chardiye closed his eyes, wondering what he ought to do,
but somehow he knew exactly what to do. He lowered his face to the light, took
a deep breath, and blew gently on the magical flame. It burned brighter and
brighter on the plinth, until, all of a sudden, it let forth a sparking sound
and a blinding flash of blue-white light issued from the burning flame, almost
dazzling Chardiye. The light surrounded the orb and Chardiye knew that all would
be back to normal in Neopia. He watched the Amulet revolve slowly above the
flame, and then, like so often it had before, everything dissolved into darkness.
Chardiye blinked. Where was he now? He blinked again, and the dusty, bare walls
and floor of the dumpy old bookstore came into clearer focus. He sat up.
The Eyrie had been sleeping with his head propped
up on a very musty old book with the title, The Legend of Alurula. With
a sinking heart, he realised he must have been dreaming. But-it had all felt
He stood up and stretched. He was back to his
old life, with no owner and no Alurula. He thought he might as well go for a
morning walk and try to scrounge something to eat.
When he arrived in the sunlit Neopia Central,
something was very different. People were greeting each other in the street,
talking in joyful and content voices. No one threw a pile of sludge at Chardiye
as he marveled at all the pleasant people. Then, with a great spurt of excitement,
Chardiye sprang into the air and gave a loud whoop. It had been real.
But there was one thing that was still wrong.
Chardiye didn't see his old owner anywhere. He was still homeless, abandoned.
No one would ever love him. The Eyrie rubbed his eye frantically, trying to
hold back a tear just this once. A shadow fell over him.
"What's wrong?" said a euphonic, lilting voice.
Chardiye looked up with disbelief into the face
of a green-eyed, golden-haired girl who was smiling back down at him.
"Hi," she said.
Chardiye just stared at her.