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Starry Starry Night


by doughnut215

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The silence in the cool, dark air was marred only by the song of the ocean. Gently rising and falling, a melodious tune emanated from the deep midnight waves. Neopia's moon could be seen overhead, a pearlescent milky white reflected in the calm sea, framed by the light of a thousand stars twinkling far away.

     As the breeze danced across the open sea, a once streamlined shape emerged from the depths. A circle of ripples skipped lightly away from the head and shoulders which had surfaced from the sea, and a cloud drew across the moon. All was dark for a moment, but soon the ocean was once more bathed in silvery light. A steel-blue Peophin could now be seen, face and torso just protruding from the waves. Her old, intelligent eyes were focussed on the moon and her gaze was rapt.

     Her name was Iliria.

     -

[100 years previously]

          The light of the moon was obscured for a moment by a cloud, and in that moment, three shadowy forms emerged from the ocean. Together, they waited, eyes to the sky, seemingly gazing at the moon. It was not long before they could hear the dull throb of wing-beats, stealthy though they were. A slight figure appeared in the sky, and accelerated quickly to land on an outcropping of rock, close to the three figures in the ocean.

     When they spoke, their tones were hushed and hurried. The tension in the air was palpable. It was Fyora who spoke first.

     "Greetings. I came as quickly as I could, friends."

     "You were not followed?" asked one of the figures, softly.

     "No, I was not. I made certain. No one saw me leave," she replied.

     "What would you have us do, Lady Fyora?" whispered Ryelle, a Maraquan Uni and the smallest of the three.

     Fyora closed her eyes in thought. The waves shivered.

     -

     Iliria remained at the meeting place for a long time. She was worried. The Faerie Queen was late. Had something happened? She instinctively clutched the small, shimmering pouch between her fins even more tightly.

     She sank beneath the waves and rested in the cool respite of the murky waters, floating gently out of the glare of the moon. Iliria could not help but remember the events of another time, another age. These thoughts saddened her visibly, and she again rose to the surface, to wait for the Queen.

     Waiting.

     -

[100 years previously]

     "It is difficult to say, friends. One thing is certain, however. The time is fast approaching when She will be coming for it. I am confident that good shall triumph, and it will not be long before I am made Queen. In order for this to come to pass, we must hide the weapon. If She finds it, we will surely fail."

     "We understand, Lady Fyora," murmured the three Protectors.

     "The weapon must be hidden beyond her reach, beyond her sight. And there it must lie, until the time for the second battle is nigh. We shall triumph this time my friends, but there will be another. There will be a time when the Darkest Faerie shall return to these lands once more, and victory will be uncertain. At that time, we will be forced to use the weapon. At that time, I will return."

     "Where do you propose, my lady?" questioned Tein.

     "Far beneath Maraqua, buried deep inside your watery home. It must be safe, so that if Maraqua should ever fall, the weapon will not be discovered."

     "We understand," said Ryelle quietly. Fyora nodded in agreement.

     "When the time comes, you will know. I will not send word, but through my magic I will inform you. At that time, you must come to me here, at the very next full moon. You must bring the weapon, for it shall be time."

     "So it shall be," whispered Iliria softly, eyes sparkling in the starlight.

     -

[present day, somewhere nearby New Maraqua]

     I remember the day when I found out where she had hidden it. As I felt my power returning to me, I knew that my hopes for success lay upon finding the weapon. The small little pearl that appeared so innocent was the focus point of all my hopes and dreams. If I could only find that, I would become the Darkest Faerie once more.

     It took me a long time. I disguised myself in order to be able to go unnoticed and searched through libraries across Neopia. I was on the verge of despair, when I finally found it. It was the most obvious place to have looked and the first place that Fyora should have thought to purge of all mention. But I suppose she did not expect me to be brazen enough to search through the Faerie Library itself.

     I knew where I had to go.

     Maraqua.

     -

[100 years previously]

     Fyora handed Tein a small, shining pouch woven from the finest and strongest cloth. It was iridescent in the moonlight. With a brief farewell, the three Protectors slipped away into the waves, swimming swiftly down, deeper and deeper, until they were far from the sight of others. They enclosed the small pouch in a tiny cave. They cast the wards of protection, and sighed with relief. It was safe.

     Fyora waited for a few moments to ensure that the delivery was carried out safely. With a nod of satisfaction, she leapt up from the rock and flew up into the sky above, focussed on the monumental task that lay before her.

     -

     Whilst Iliria was waiting, she thought fondly of her old friends. Together, they had been the three Protectors, but now only she remained. There had been Tein, a Maraquan Eyrie and the oldest of the three. He was by far the wisest, though. Ryelle had brightened their days whilst guarding the weapon. She was always smiling- a little, cheerful Maraquan Uni, dwarfed by the larger forms of Tein and Iliria.

     Iliria herself had not been able to understand quite why she had been selected as a Protector. She was enormously strong and a fierce warrior, but compared to her two friends that counted for little. Or at least that was how she had felt at the time. Now Iliria realised that she had been chosen for her potential for magic and her courage.

     At long last, Iliria was woken from her reverie by stifled wing beats above. Her eyes rested on the slim faerie descending through the sky, and a smile touched her lips.

     -

     As soon as I reached New Maraqua, I knew it was the wrong place. It was modern, busy, loud, and there were annoying pets everywhere. With a curse, I left the place. I was furious. It was Old Maraqua where I would find the pearl, not New Maraqua.

     I think in my heart, I knew that I would be too late.

     -

     "Iliria, old friend, are you well?" asked Fyora, obvious relief at seeing the Peophin in her voice.

     "Indeed I am," whispered Iliria. "I have the stone." Iliria proffered the small bag to the Faerie Queen.

     "Thank you... I will never forget this deed, and I will not let Tein or Ryelle be forgotten either." Fyora spoke with sympathy in her voice, softly cradling the pouch in her hands.

     "I have no fear. We will be remembered."

     The majestic queen gazed deeply into Iliria's midnight eyes, and inclined her head slightly.

     "Take care, Iliria."

     "And you, Queen Fyora. I have delivered the stone unto you, for I can protect it no longer. So it was said, and so shall it be. This battle is just beginning, and for all our sakes, I wish you the best."

     "Goodbye, Iliria," whispered Queen Fyora.

     The Queen sensed the presence of her foe drawing near, and gracefully ascended to the sky, taking the stone with her back to Faerieland. The time for confrontation was near, but not yet. Not quite yet.

     Under the dappled light of the full moon, Iliria slipped beneath the waves silently.

     - - -

     Had it not been for my foolish error, I would have reached the pearl before Fyora. As old as she was, the final remaining Protector would have been no match for me. But as it was, I was forced to wait nearby and watch as Fyora flew away with my pearl, my weapon. It was mine, not hers. I am not yet powerful enough, but soon I will be. Soon, I will make Fyora regret stealing what is rightfully mine. And then, then I will be unstoppable.

     I will become the Darkest Faerie once more…

The End

 
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