The Fall of Qasala: Part One
The true story of Razul, Jazan, and others I will not name
for fear of leaving some out was never told. What the Neopian public heard was
a twisted story. Important facts were omitted, and new parts were added, turning
the story into lies. Razul was never evil – he was the greatest and wisest king
of them all. Jazan did become friends with that pink ixi scum, but because of
the friendship, Qasala fell, changing from the splendid city it had been for a
long time to just another desert city, empty of magic and the life that made it
so special. More than one important character was ‘forgotten’, including myself
and the valiant Daysteed.
Not that I blame those who spread the word.
As storytellers will do, they told of only what they knew, what they saw.
I felt him as soon as he entered the palace.
For safety precautions I had placed a magical barrier around the palace, one
that did not prevent intruders from entering but one that alerted me whenever
someone did enter it. Swiftly I got out of bed and conjured a small light in
one of my hoofs to guide me through the palace. Though I was a palace dweller
and had been for what seemed like forever, the palace’s long winding passages
and endless stairs still managed to confuse me in the dark.
I reached the main hall of the palace and stopped
for a while, looking at my mental map of the palace to see where the intruder
had got to. He seemed to be a rather fast mover – in the time I had travelled
from my bedchambers to the hall (which was not a very short walk), he had moved
from one side of the palace to the other. I would have to be just as swift to
catch him. Then another thought crossed my mind and I walked down the hall to
the doors that led to the city to check on the guards that were supposed to
be guarding the palace. With a heave, I opened the doors. As they swung outwards,
the guards’ sleeping bodies became visible in the dim light. I sniffed at the
half eaten remnants of their meal. Just as I suspected - Slumberpetal.
I opened up my mind map of the palace again.
As I watched the intruder travel in my mind, I realised with shock that he was
travelling to Razul’s chambers. He had to mean the King ill – why else would
he enter the palace so secretly, drug the guards, and then move towards where
the King was sleeping?
Asking the air around me to speed me up as I
ran, I shot towards the King’s chambers as fast as a pteri in flight. However,
when I opened the door to the hall right outside the place where Razul slept
and scanned it for any unwelcome presence, I found another one, a familiar one.
“Nightsteed!” I called to Razul’s faithful counsellor,
guard and friend. “I should’ve known that there was nothing to worry about with
you guarding the King.”
The royal uni’s eyes burned in the darkness
as he looked at me. “Vinifae! Thank Adam, I thought I would have to deal with
“You can be quite assured that I wish the King
no harm,” I said dryly.
Nightsteed laughed as he waved me away with
a flap of his wing. “I’ve got it all under control now, Vin, you can go back
“Did you identify the assassin?”
“No. He ran before I could get a good look at
him. But I don’t think he was one of a gang or a band – he looked familiar somehow.
I don’t know why he would have wanted to kill the King, but it was probably
something minor anyway. Go to sleep, Vin. You need rest.”
I looked at Nightsteed again, who snorted and
stamped his hoof on the palace floor in irritation. With a sigh I moved away.
As was usual, I got up at dawn the next day,
ready to perform my usual duties. However, no sooner had I made my bed and walked
over to the door, when someone pounded on the door. I knew who it was right
away. Loud, impatient, and strong enough to make my door nearly swing off its
hinges. There was only one being in the entire palace who had a knock like that.
“My lord Prince,” I said formally as I opened
the door and admitted Prince Jazan into my rooms, bowing low as he entered.
“What is it that brings you to me?”
“Vinifae, I need your help.”
“My help?” I raised an eyebrow. My first loyalty
was and always would be to King Razul, and, well the Prince knew it. He knew
that he could offer me Neopia to betray the King and I would refuse him. So
this was clearly nothing to do with that. But what else could it be – The red
kyrii Prince and I had never been the closest of friends, and never before had
he confided anything in me.
“Yes. I… I don’t think I have any magic in me.”
“My lord Prince, do you think that Razul would
have chosen you for his heir if you were just an ordinary kyrii?”
“I know, I know! But whenever I look inside myself,
I see nothing. Whenever I try to cast the simplest of spells, nothing happens.
I just don’t have it. I can’t talk to Petpets, I can’t move things from one
place to another without touching them, I can’t teleport, I can’t even light
a candle! But Razul picked me for his heir, and as his heir I simply must have
magic, and not only that, but it has to be the most powerful magic that any
Qasalan has ever had before! Excluding your own, of course,” he added hastily
as he remembered who he was talking to.
“Prince Jazan, have you ever considered the
possibility that you aren’t the only Qasalan Prince who has had this sort of
problem before? Trust me, your magic will turn up, maybe even after you get
crowned! Have patience, and your magic will come.”
“Vinifae, have you even listened to a word I
said? It just isn’t there! What am I supposed to do? How can I say that to Razul?
He doesn’t like to make mistakes – you of all kaus should know that! Who knows
what he might do to cover up this one?”
“Prince Jazan, you know as well as I do that
Razul is honourable. He would do nothing that could have a negative effect on
“I expected you, the King’s most trusted advisor
and protector, to say nothing different.” Jazan’s words were formal but they
held a slight edge of disappointment. I got the message: I was wrong to trust
you, I was wrong to confide in you. “I ask you that you say nothing of this
conversation to anyone else, especially the King.”
“You have my word,” I replied, bowing. Jazan
might be getting a little paranoid, but he was Razul’s heir and so I had to
obey him. “Good day to you, my Prince,” I said, as I showed Jazan the door.
“Vinifae!” Razul greeted me at the Dining Hall.
“Adam knows I’ve been waiting here for ages, trying to identify every single
pink kau that walked into this hall.” My fire kyrii King looked rather impatient,
and I felt a bit of a pang at letting my King down. “I have important news.”
“Good or bad, my lord?”
“Bad.” Razuls face was twisted in a grimace.
“Outsiders have started to invade Qasala.”
“Yes. My spies tell me that their ruler, Princess
Amira, apparently isn’t content with just Sakhmet. She has this idea that she
rules over the entire Desert. To enforce her rule, she’s sent out armies to
conquer any ‘renegade cities’ that might have hidden themselves from her eye.”
“‘Renegade cities’ including us, I presume?”
“Yes. I don’t think that she knows of the existence
of Qasala yet, but her army is marching in our direction as we speak. We’ll
need a bit of help to overcome this one, I think. You’ll be in charge of protection
of the city, and you’ll have Daysteed and Nightsteed to help you. They have
to muster as many defenders as they can to patrol the city walls and so on.
You can take care of the magical protection.”
“And the other city dwellers with magic in their
Razul shook his head. “They can’t be spared.
Daysteed and Nightsteed will need them for the city defence. When – no, if –
they discover Qasala, then you need to drop any illusions or whatever you’re
holding and take charge of them. If we cannot use pretence then at least we
can still use force.” He looked at me seriously. “I’m counting on you, Vinifae.
You’ll probably be the single most important defender in the entire city – I
can’t have you taking any unnecessary risks, understand?”
“Understood.” Razul nodded and turned to leave.
“My lord, may I ask when Princess’s armies arrive?”
“Tomorrow morning.” The King sighed. “It’s going
to be a long day.”
To be continued...