This is a story set long before present-day Neopia, in a world that is called
Shaylir. Before People "owned" Neopets.... Before Neopets needed caretakers....
It was when Neopets and people worked as one....
This is a tale of a corrupt Neopet king... A tale of fantasy on a great
scale... of a girl trying to set things right... of a Kyrii trying to find his
It is an epic tale about the ancestors of our present day pets and people...
SO THIS IS how betrayal feels... the once well-respected general of Shaylir
thought bitterly to herself as she was dragged in rusty shackles by two mutant-guard
Lupes. She wasn't surprised. Rather, she was almost expecting it. She had figured
out the king's little secret, and of course, she was punished for it. She had
gotten in his way, she'd been to smart.
She'd been a threat to the king.
The long stone staircase was dimly lit from the
dull light of fading torches, but she could still make out the wicked expression
of the Lupe guards she had once commanded. Just hours ago she had been commanding
her army, She was doing what she loved best. Now she would be thrust into a
dungeon where she would spend the rest of her life, unless she had something
to say about it. Xaania knew better than that. She'd have to play the waiting
game. She was ready to wait, taking action when the King least expected it.
It could be years before the time came, but she would wait it out. The stench
as they descended deeper underground was almost unbearable, but in later years
Xaania would lose her sense of smell to the scent that was mixed with decay
and who knows what else.
Now they entered the dungeon. It was like entering
heck. No that was an understatement. It was heck. She could hear Tigermice scamper
across the straw covered floors, but she could not see them because there was
no light other then the few rays that leaked in from the stairway. The straw
itself reeked and fell apart as she walked across it. The walls were caked with
crusty mud and the bars were covered in rust. It was the exact way she pictured
a dungeon. She even saw terribly old skeletons that were still chained up in
some of the cells. She felt a cold chill pass through her spine. Her blood turned
cold and she quickened her pace behind the guard. He spun around making sure
she wasn't trying to escape then continued.
Finally, they reached her cell. The guard took
the key ring from his belt and shifted through the keys looking for the correct
one. He found it; there was nothing significant about it except for the tiny
almost invisible symbol on it. Xaania was surprised she had even noticed it.
Then again, she was surprising herself quite a bit lately. The guard jabbed
the key into the lock and swung the door open. It made a ghastly squeaking sound
that made her want cover her ears, but she didnt.
"Welcome home," the Guard said with a cackle,
revealing his yellow rotting teeth.
Xaania entered the cell, without reacting to
the guard's comment. After all, He was right. This was home now and she was
quite prepared. The guard slammed the door shut causing the entire row of cells
to tremble. She muttered darkly under her breath, but her scowl soon turned
to a sly smile as she pulled out a scroll of paper and a quill from her trouser
pockets. Rather stupid of them not to check her pockets. Xaania shook her head
with mock disgust.
You see, Xaania was a human. Not a Neopet like
most of the citizens of Shaylir. This caused great controversy when she had
become general and even after she proved herself to be a good leader, she was
still shunned among the Neopets of Shaylir.
She slipped the paper and quill back into her
pocket for later and was about to settle down in the straw to go to sleep when
she heard a old cracking voice.
"Ha, the once proud and noble general is reduced
to a lowly prisoner," he said with a loud dry laugh. "I knew they shouldn't
have had no little girl for a general. Very stupid."
"I may no longer be a general, but I will never
lose my pride," Xaania replied calmly, with that she rolled over onto her side
and fell asleep.
The sound of cloven hooves galloping against a dirt path echoed through the
woods and drifted in through the open window of the small wooden cabin. Amberclaw
shook her head. That girl was a troublesome one, but the silver Eyrie loved
her for it. Unfortunately the same thing that Amberclaw loved about Zayal would
be the same thing that could ruin the girls entire life.
Darn the king... Amberclaw thought to
herself furiously. He was the reason Zayal had no mother. He was the reason
he had to keep Zayal away from any contact with the Kingdom of Shaylir. He was
the reason Zayal had no realisation of her mothers existence. Amberclaw just
wished she knew more about why it all had happened.
She remembered the day her closest friend had
made her last request.
"Amberclaw! Are you home? I need to talk to you
immediately! It is imperative that I speak to you!" she exclaimed pounding on
the wooden door.
"No need to yell, my friend," Amberclaw replied
with an easygoing manner to her voice, but as soon as she saw the expression
on Xaanias face and the baby cradled in her arms she knew something was wrong.
Terribly wrong. "What Happened?!"
"They're sending me to the dungeons, Amber, for
life. Take Zayal. Please, your the only one I can trust. She cannot be found
by Shaylir. They cannot know she is my daughter!" Xaania spoke rapidly handing
over the cooing child into Amberclaw's caring talon.
"But Why? What is going on? Explain!" Amberclaw
replied, obviously shocked.
"I cannot explain, He'll destroy you both. He
won't destroy me. It will cause too much chaos. He doesn't have to say I'm in
the dungeon, only that I disappeared. I know something, I'm not supposed to.
I've threatened him. You mustn't know what. You will know when it is time. I
must go before they find me here!" The young general's voice was shaking. Amberclaw
had never seen Xaania afraid before.
"Dear, You are making no sense! You must explain,
what did you find out...why are you a threat. Why don't you hide here if they're
looking for you? How do you know they're going to put you into the dungeon...?"
the Eyrie's questioning was cut off as Xaania ran out of the front door and
into the forest.
There were so many questions left unanswered
that day, but Amberclaw knew Xaania was still alive in the dungeons. Her friend
would never give up, Amberclaw had no more time to think as the door swung open
and a young girl appeared in the doorway.
Her green eyes were sparkling with exhilaration.
Her short, choppy hair was disheveled and its almond colour was glistening
with beads of sweat. Zayal was a small girl, but her personality made up for
it. Yes, her personality made up for every inch and then some. A Uni head suddenly
came in from the window. Its golden horn shining so brightly it sent rays of
light bouncing around the cabin.
"Now, what did I say about just disappearing
like that in the morning without telling me?" Amberclaw said, trying to sound
worried, even stern. But she couldn't, she knew Zayal was quick-witted and knew
every inch of the woods. Then again, if somebody from Shaylir came, Zayal wouldn't
know how to react. She wouldn't assume she was in danger, therefore she couldn't
use her strengths.
"It was such a beautiful morning though, Amberclaw!
The sun was shining right in through the window. It wanted me to come out! I
couldn't help but go out for a ride! Plus, Silverwind wasn't busy and said he'd
love to take me for a gallop!" Zayal replied enthusiastically, the smile on
her face so broad that Amberclaw couldnt help but soften.
"Of course I'm not busy, there's no action around
these woods anyway," Silverwind, the white Uni, added with a snort.
"Well, all right...but next time at least wait
until I wake up. Okay?" Amberclaw said with a smile.
"Okay, okay!" Zayal replied with a giggle and
collapsed onto the ground. "The forest really is a wonderful place, but I wish
I knew what the kingdom was like. I'm sure it is very exciting!" Zayal said,
her voice drifting off.
Amberclaw froze, not knowing exactly how to approach
the subject. "Well, The Kingdom is a horrid place, run by a terrible Neopet
You wouldn't want to go there," Amberclaw said with a sigh. "It has declined
ever since..." Amberclaw gasped out loud. How could she almost make such a stupid
mistake! Silverwind took this opportunity to leave.
"Bye you two, I'll see you later," he replied
as took his head away from the window. Amberclaw nodded and Zayal waved.
"Silverwind said the kingdom is nice! I'm sure
there's so many things to do there! Many adventures!" Zayal's eyes had that
twinkle, that showed how interested she really was.
"I forbid you to ever go the kingdom. It is a
dangerous place. Do you understand, Zayal?" Amberclaw's voice was so bitter,
so furious, that it made Zayal sit up in surprise.
"But..." Zayal protested.
"Do you understand?" Amberclaw asked again.
"Yes... Amberclaw," Zayal sighed, lying back
down on the bed dreaming of adventure.
If Zayal was already so curious about the kingdom
at the age of eight. Amberclaw dreaded trying to contain her when she was older.
Amberclaw had every right to dread, she couldn't
even imagine how much more adventuresome Zayal would get.
To be continued...