MERIDELL - The news just came out--the war between Meridell and the evil invaders
has just begun. But wait - are the invaders actually evil? I'm here to investigate
both sides of the story.
Meridell seems to be the obvious choice. Come on - it's the pretty medieval
land with all the valiant knights and loyal serfs. It's so peaceful and prosperous.
Of course it should be the side you're on. Right? And why not side with Darigan?
Well, they just look so evil! They're obviously the bad guys!
To further my investigation, I took two of my faithful Lupes to Meridell to
interview King Skarl. We were brought to the throne room slightly roughly by
suspicious-looking Draiks. Hey, you can't blame them for being suspicious, they
are at war.
Me: Ecooz- *I remove the obstruction of a Draik's hand from my mouth*
Excuse me, oh great king. I am a reporter for The Neopian Times, and I wish
to interview you.
Skarl: *considers* I guess so.
Me: All right then! First, could you summarise the story?
Skarl: *irritably* Haven't I already done that enough? Go read the
story! *Makes as if to hurl a goblet of wine at me, but decides against it.*
Me: All right, point taken. So.... on to the next question. Where exactly
did the orb come from?
Skarl: I don't know where it was made! But I can tell you where my knights
found it. It was at the peak of a mountain, all cold and snowy. Very unlike
Meridell. My knights struggled valiantly through the snow--one of them met his
death in a crevasse--but they finally retrieved the orb. It was NOT stolen,
like that other measly reporter said! *Eyes me suspiciously.* Say, how do I
know that you're not a helper for that reporter? Huh? Maybe it's a conspiracy!
I was glad of practice with the track team as my Lupes and I raced from the
throne room, hearing the clatter of the guards in their full armour behind us.
To cut a long story short (about a long interview cut short), we escaped.
So according to King Skarl, the orb was not stolen at all - it was retrieved
from a mountain top by Skarl's knights. What does Darigan think of this story,
Darigan seems to be the underdog in the war. Far more people are choosing Meridell
for their side. Also, I don't think Darigan is necessarily evil. Perhaps not
the kindest of characters, but he testifies that he only wants back what is
After my narrow escape from Meridell Castle, I led my Lupes toward the Darigan
Citadel. I walked around scratching my head for a few minutes, trying to figure
out how to get up to the citadel, when my Lupes and I were suddenly buoyed up
in a rush of air and set down at the citadel's entrance. Apprehensively, I opened
the door and stepped inside.
It was dark, with just enough light to see. The light didn't come from any
visible source, it was just there.
Two parts of the walls of the narrow corridor disconnected. I jumped, and
realised that they were creatures wearing black cloaks that blended in with
"Come with us," came the sleek, sinuous voice of the creatures. It seemed
to be the voice of one, but came from both of them.
I gulped and obeyed. They glided silently over the stone floor, and my footsteps
seemed as loud as thunder. Finally, we entered a larger, although no more brightly
lit, room. In the middle stood a throne of night-black, intricately carved hardwood.
It was decorated sparingly with black opals, which seemed to have lost their
shine. On the throne sat a shadowy body, with two glowing, red eyes that seemed
to have no pupil. I stepped forward, trembling.
Darigan: You may have your interview.
Me: But... but... how?
Darigan: Do not meddle in affairs you do not understand, human. We
have ways of knowing more than you would ever believe.
Me: Y-yes, sir. Um...
Darigan: You want my side of the story. Very well. You may have it.
Many years ago, my land was a beautiful, prosperous place. My people were
gay and happy, without a care in the world. All this was because I, their ruler,
am a sorcerer, and I had great power for the good of my land. We needed it so
much because our home was near a great source of evil, which would have taken
over our land if it could.
I knew that I could not let this evil overcome my land, but my magic would
not be there to protect them forever. I knew I would die one day, and what would
become of my country? I decided to embody all the magic that I used to keep
them safe and happy in an orb, a simple thing that could be kept throughout
the ages. And so I made the orb. Perhaps it was foolish of me, but that has
At first, the orb worked perfectly fine. But then, Skarl's knights came and
stole it through treachery and took it back to him. This was the worst tragedy
imaginable. For I had made the orb too powerful. I had put into it all of my
people's power to fight the evil. Without it, we were helpless. The evil possessed
us. We did not always look like this - this is because of the evil. Our land
became blackened and wasted. Our lives became a living death, slaves to the
We were not, however, completely beaten. Every one of us had a shred of good
left in us that I had managed to retrieve from the orb as the thieves fled.
Our minds still know good, but the evil is steadily devouring it. That is why
we are here. We want ourselves back. We want to live without the incessant pain
of the evil within us. We want our orb.
Me: Wow... that's a story and a half. I wonder... I wonder if there
could be a compromise.
Darigan: For once I cannot fathom your mind, human. What is your idea?
Me: Well, it seems that you need the orb a lot more than Skarl does.
But he probably does need it a little, too.
Darigan: I regretfully see your point.
Me: So, maybe you could have your orb back, but give Skarl a little
bit of your magic to help keep his country from the famine and hard times it
had before they got the orb.
Darigan: I must reconsider my opinion of you, human. Apparently, you
have more depth than I thought. I will consider your idea. That is, if Skarl
Me: um... sir...
Darigan: Ah, I see. You do not want to set foot again in Skarl's castle,
I understand. All right. I will find a way to contact him. Fare you well.
With that, the two shadowed figures led me outside. I was lost in thought.
It certainly seemed that Darigan had every right.
Does it seem that way to you?