I am the Meridell Castle Defender. Perhaps you wonder
why I defend Meridell - did I choose or were it a curse? I will tell you...
It all started a long, long time ago. I was a
white Kougra, a young one named Fidele, and I was born into the land of Meridell.
My parents were kind but humble and I longed for something more. I wanted honour,
glory, power...and most of all, a purpose. I grew up quickly and I began to
undertake daring adventures, trying to get noticed. Waking the Turmaculus, spying
on Illusen. It was all done to catch someone's eye and to prove to myself that
I was brave.
It was while I was attempting to break into the
castle that I came to the notice of King Skarl. He too was young, very young
for a king, and rather idealistic. He loved his people and his kingdom and it
grieved him to see them suffering. His uncle, the previous king, had died and
named him regent. Skarl was foresighted and he realised that he needed a loyal
body of knights to protect him. It was with great pride that I claimed his acquaintance
We grew close, a beautiful young red Eyrie named
Lady Neixa and a Krawk named Gialo joined Skarl and me, and us in our companionship.
Gialo had been turned from a Petpet into a Pet by a strange fungus, found in
a cave on a faraway isle. Neixa was from the borders of Meridell. All were good
friends, bold, brave and with a true heart. It was with sorrow that I remember
the true friends I once had.
Over the years, things changed. Meridell fell
deeper under the blight of famine and disease. I watched my friend's optimism
go to be replaced by despair. He sent away the most faithful of his knights
to search for an answer. We rode on Unis throughout the lands. In a lonely desert,
we found an old seer who told us of a powerful magical orb that would make Meridell
fair once more. We returned home with joy in our hearts, for we thought our
salvation was near.
Skarl fell to temptation and thus began his descent
from a noble and good-hearted pet to a lazy, selfish coward. He did what was
right for his people, but he coveted the orb himself too. I advised him as best
I could but he sent me away several times in rage. Finally, he pinned a small
crest to my chest.
"Keep it forever," he said. "And fetch the orb."
If only I'd known what the consequences were!
I prepared myself for travelling and Skarl ordered me out. With me came Gialo,
the Krawk Knight, and Lady Neixa, the Eyrie Knight. Together, we made a pact
- no matter what, we would seek the orb.
We travelled day and night and we came across
many dangers. We battled through them all till, at our goal, we found a lush
and verdant land. This was home to the Orb. Waiting till dusk covered our presence,
we entered a white castle. It was an imposing and beautiful structure and its
gates were left open to all travellers. We concealed ourselves and followed
a guard to the courtyard of the orb. It was not long before we were left alone
and I approached the orb.
At that moment, a strange sensation overcame
me. I heard many conflicting thoughts and voices. Some told me to take the orb
would be evil - and would condemn its people. Others told me to seize my chance
to save Meridell. From the moment my paws touched the smooth surface of the
orb, my mind was decided. I took it.
Even as I lifted the orb off its pedestal, the
scenery began to change. The white marble walls turned to blackest stone and
dreadful shrieks could be heard. As we ran from the castle, we discovered a
wasteland, its only inhabitants mutated and pitiful. We saw with horror what
we had done in the name of heroism and rode away. We were hindered by the evil
and had to fight our way out. We lost Lady Neixa on our mission and it is with
grief that I remember her comely face. She was buried on the border of Meridell,
where she was born, bordered the land she died in.
I carried the orb home, feeling its burden on
my heart as well as my paws. It had cost me a dear friend, and there was a greater
price yet to pay. We entered Meridell subdued.
Skarl welcomed us, pampered us, and spoiled us.
But we had heavy consciences that could not be appeased. Gialo remained true
to his heart and the cause of Meridell and learnt from this mission. He accepted
and saw with clearer eyes from then on. I, however, could not bear what I might
have done. When the orb was activated, Meridell became green and pleasant. I
had saved my land, but I had not found glory or honour. I had lost a friend
and blighted a land. I took my grievances to Skarl but he refused to negotiate
about the orb. I felt sick at the sight of the green, living land and took myself
over the border, into the land of sickness I had created.
I fell sick and cursed the bitter irony of the
world - the fact that I felt I could not condemn others to life without the
orb, but would need it to live. I chose to bear my penance and I did not seek
healing from the orb. When my eyes finally closed, I found a kind of relief.
But it was not for long. The crest Skarl had given me so long ago brought me
back to life, or a twisted kind of half-life. I was a ghost.
The Ghost Kougra. But not for me a wandering,
solitary watch or a pensive meandering across the land. The crest had enslaved
me and I was brought back to Meridell, to watch the skies till the mutants sought
their rightful revenge.
In my lifetime, I was bound to Meridell heart,
mind, body and soul. Now I have only a spirit to serve in its defence. So I
guard the gates of the castle now. Why? Partly out of loyalty to my people,
partly to my curse, partly so I may absolve myself. I am the Meridell Castle
Defender and that is my story.
My last bitter thought - my name. It means Faithful
in Ancient Neopian, although that tongue has fallen into disuse. Very few know
my name and I found not the fame I'd been seeking. Maybe I've learnt a lesson...but
not a lesson pleasant in its learning. I've learnt the price of a good friend,
the price of a bad one and how power corrupts. Meridell has grown fat and lazy
but its past still haunts it. The mutants will reclaim the orb but how will
it all end? I see no solution but I see a future, a future reborn from the ashes
of the past....
That was Fidele's Story, told by Fidele to oily106. Fidele's crest keeps him
alert till the danger is over. He cannot claim peace till the war is over and
a compromise is reached. It is not enough that one side wins - the future must
not be overshadowed with future wars. Which side do you choose?