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The Curse of Talador: Part One


by funkiechunkymunkie

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Preword: I began this story before Issue 12 of the Neopets Magazine came out. Therefore any name similarities are completely by coincidence.

Sometimes, at night, I gaze at the stars twinkling innocently in the distance, and I think about the world I left behind centuries ago. These thoughts bring me back to Talador. Yes, Talador, my friend. A world more preserved in the ancient ways than any other place. The sky was a pale lavender, with clouds drifting lazily over the golden landscape every time you glanced up. The grass, trees, and plants were a lush and beautiful gold, sparkling when it rained, glimmering in the moonlight as the last rays of sun disappeared beyond the horizon until morning.

     I belonged there. I am Siyana, bringer of the downfall of my world.

     Talador sounds beautiful, no? I know what you are thinking. I wish I could return as well.

     'What?' you may wonder. 'How come I can't just go for a visit? Even just a day?' You would achieve nothing by visiting Talador. Only pain and sorrow for a city long gone. Even most faeries cannot pass the boundaries of my world, for they cannot truly belong there. You see... the city of gold lies on the shadowed side of Neopia.

     The light and beauty are all gone, vanished, eternally lost. Maybe not eternally. But it is because of me. What did I, Siyana of Talador, do to cause such destruction? It is best if some knew the truth. For I am a cursed Light Faerie. A girl who only wishes she could find a way out.

     *

     Centuries ago, in a time and place that have since been forgotten, I had a place to belong, with no one to judge me unfairly and good friends by my side. We were just average Light Faeries-I was, at least.

     The city had been undisturbed for centuries until that fateful day. But, wait, I am jumping ahead of myself. You must first know about the rulers of Talador.

     In the midst of all the commotion and excitement lay the golden castle of the Council, towering tall and proud. Within those walls worked the Council members: Jerdana, a blue Aisha; Kaleen, a Light Faerie old enough to have been present during the start of Talador itself; Thyora, a white Uni; and twin Jetsam brothers, Endor and Rodne. (There was something peculiar about their names. Look closely.) No one other than these rulers knew that other Faeries existed somewhere out there.

     Anyway, I was a young girl at the time, no more than a child, one who had just learned to fly grueling distances at high speed. I was quite talented, too - better than most of the other faeries at the academy. Little did any of us know that skill would be needed in the future.

     School had adjourned hours ago. The sun was now a small pale sliver on the horizon. I gazed thoughtfully at the stars, laying in the grass next to my best friends, Lina and Tryssa.

     "Look, there's one of the constellations." Lina pointed to a cluster of stars. "It looks more like an arrow than a faerie."

     "Oh, and there's a snowbunny! See its ears?" I gestured to a group of stars that resembled the fluffy little creature.

     But while Lina and I continued to form figures in the sky, Tryssa remained silent. Her amber eyes were focused on the stars as well, but she bore a pained expression, as if grieving for something lost.

     Actually, she was missing a someone in her life.

     "Do you think my mother is up there?" she interrupted softly. Her thoughtful stare met mine. Those eyes - well, they sort of scared me. They had a glimmer that meant she had said too much.

     "I know how it feels to lose someone you love," I comforted.

     Tryssa's short, blond hair fell to conceal her closed eyes. "You don't know."

     Her memories suddenly came rushing at me.

     "Tryssa, you have to get out of here!"

     "No, I won't leave you!"

     The sound of fire filled my ears, drowning out all in reality. Flames leapt at me... no, not at me... at Tryssa! But I was Tryssa... Out of nowhere dropped a crackling beam from the ruined ceiling. "NO!" cried her mother. Using the last of her strength, she pushed her daughter out of harm's way. Her last words were no more than a whisper compared to the roar of the flames.

     "Go."

     Tryssa attempted to free her mother from underneath the beam, but it was too late. She sobbed and crawled from the ruins of her home, covered in soot. The poor girl screamed as the house collapsed. So did the one person she loved. That scream would live in her heart and mind forever...

     I snapped out of the memory, tears in my eyes. "I'm so sorry," I whispered. "I never truly understood after all. I'm sorry... " This had only happened recently. Her mother's death, I mean.

     "All because of me," whispered my friend, and she broke into a fierce run. Lina bolted to her feet, but I rested my hand on her shoulder as if to say, "Let her go." Nevertheless, she leapt into the air and was almost immediately airborne. I had no choice other than following.

     We couldn't help but wish there was something, anything we could do for Tryssa. The fire had marked her - in her heart, as well as her hand, for now she bore a ragged scar reaching all across her palm. It was scorched as if to symbolize pain. All wounds take time to heal. The one she carries in her heart may never do so.

     That, too, kind of scared me.

     There was a sudden scream and a flash of golden light in the distance. Lina glanced at me with a terrified expression. Tryssa! All this time I had been zoning out, not truly realizing how leisurely our pace was.

     "Come on, step it up, Siyana!"

     Treetops and hillsides swarmed past with my restless thoughts. Somehow it didn't seem like we were getting anywhere. Where had Tryssa gone? Was she alright? What sort of misfortune had befallen her?

     At long last I spotted an odd figure of a faerie. She had long, flowing lavender hair, but this lavender was a rather sinister shade. Her eyes were a gleaming red, and the front of her wings were the same, yet when she whirled around I noticed the back of her wings were a similar shade of that sinister lilac. The lips were stranger yet, I admit. They were curled into what would be a permanent simper.

     "Who... what... is that?" I wondered aloud.

     "I dunno, but that is definitely not a Light Faerie," replied Lina.

     And there was Tryssa. She seemed to be bound to an invisible pole by forces unseen. Magic. I just knew it. How else could she be bound there?

     "Come on. We'll land in front and behind that weird faerie and ambush her! Let's go!"

     I was shocked. "Are you insane? Ambush an adult faerie fully trained in magic? We just learned how to fly, Lina! We don't know any spells!"

     Lina was downcast. "Yeah, that was slightly stupid. Let's land, my wings are killing me."

     The thick underbrush hid our wings, plus its color let us blend in perfectly. The strange faerie stood out, seeing as her colors were lilac and red. She paced around Tryssa continuously.

     "I want answers, you know," she murmured. "I know what you want most, and I can give it to you. All you have to do is promise me one thing."

     The Light Faerie did not respond. She knew it was a trick, that this stranger only wanted her to carry out some unspeakable deed. I could tell by the look on her face.

     "All I want you to do is to help me," she drawled on. "This so-called home of yours needs a bit of remodeling, maybe my colors, and perhaps a few... surprises."

     Tryssa's eyes widened in anger. "Liar!" she spat. "I would never join you, not even if my life depended on it!" She kicked a stone with amazing precision, hitting her square in the jaw.

     "You filthy little brat!" the faerie shrieked. "How dare you!" She conjured an orb of swirling blackness out of thin air and shot it at Tryssa. I didn't even realize reacting until the swirling ball hit my forehead.

     "Siyana, you didn't... " Tryssa's voice echoed as my vision blurred. The pain was electrifying me!

     In a rush of sudden anguish, my world went dark.

     *

     I awoke to have the pain subside. Now I was tied to an invisible force as well, next to my friend. That memory of hers was the cause of all this. Yet I felt no anger towards her. Somehow I could not forget the dying scream of her mother. It haunted my thoughts. I shivered in spite of myself.

     "You're a strange one," said the faerie. "Most would not have escaped that spell as easily as you."

     I caught my reflection in her uncanny eyes. A crescent-shaped mark barely darker than my golden hair was now embedded in the center of my forehead. This couldn't be! I had changed. That meant the magic she had used was a dark spell... making her a Dark Faerie!

     There was definitely something more to that spell than just the mark. I could feel it in my blood.

     "Who are you?" I whispered, fearing the answer.

     "I am the Darkest Faerie!" she roared at me. "Now will you, or will you not join me?"

     Lina walked out of the bushes, an extremely senseless action. But wait... her eyes were glowing an eerie red.

     "Her life is at stake," the Darkest Faerie said softly as comprehension dawned on me. An unknowing Lina turned on Tryssa, her hands aglow with a spell she would have never known. This was not my friend. This was my friend under the influence of the Darkest Faerie.

     She raised her arms, preparing to strike the final blow - "WAIT!" I yelled.

     Nobody moved.

     I don't think anyone even breathed.

     "Take me instead of Lina."

     Tryssa gasped. "Siyana, no! Don't do it! Don't do it!" She thrashed within the bonds, attempting to free herself so she could hold me back. The Darkest Faerie snapped her fingers. Lina fell to the ground, as well as the bonds restraining Tryssa and me.

     "Come." I found myself walking forward without any power over my own legs. The Darkling - well, it's true, the name fit her - led us to the center of Talador, the heart of the city. Towering above was the castle of the council. A voice filled my head with booming words I could not resist. "Destroy the people. Petrify them! Turn them to stone forevermore!"

     There was no choice in the matter. She was controlling me. I resisted slightly. AAAAHH! I cried mentally. My body seared with pain and agony. Left and right, unwillingly, I was shooting the spell that would turn everyone into stone. Even if the spell missed, it hit the ground, immediately causing those near the area to be petrified. The true me was horrified but could not resist.

     Behind me, the Council members were fighting the Darkest Faerie. A gap in the commands allowed me to witness Jerdana and Thyora be petrified into solid stone. The remaining Council members had already put up their fight - and lost. Could this get any more horrific?

     That was when I turned on Lina.

     She screamed. The Darkest Faerie was preventing her from running by forcing her to the ground with a spell. My friend's gaze met mine. She knew what was to become of her. I was screaming, "NO, NO, NO!" in my head. The pain was unbearable as I fought to regain control.

     Too late. The shot was taken.

     ZOOOOOM! Lina was hit. "I know it wasn't you, Siyana," she whispered in the few seconds she could still move. The stone was creeping quickly up her slight frame. "Siyana, I know you are still in there. I don't care what happens to me. Just save Tryssa. No matter what, you will always remember," she said, struggling with the last few words. Her neck was beginning to harden. "Because the curse... "

     Her face became solid, the sadness etched forever in the lines of her face.

     At that moment, I realized what she had just said.

     And with horror at what I had done, I realized that my curse was permanent remembering.

To be continued...

 
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