The Hero of the Glade
I looked about, my eyes wandering everywhere, dark clouds
hanging over Illusen's Glade. I'd forgotten how beautiful it was, even when it
was in ruins, like how it was thousands of years ago. My long ears drooped, and
my paws clasped together. This place was full of gloom, and there was no hope,
no light, nothing that could penetrate her dark magic.
Still, it caused me to think about my past,
and how I coped with it before. It was very hazy before, but now it was as sharp
as the point of a pencil, the people that existed before running around the
Glade. The sky was full of light clouds with a brilliant blue sky. Everyone
was running around with long planks of oak and pine, holding it this way and
that, stone splinters holding the soon-to-be stage in place. It was a stage
for the dance of the New Year, and created the most commotion in the Glade.
Even Illusen herself would appear sometimes,
although it was very rare. She would use magic to hold up an unsteady board,
or get wood; every little bit helps. Even I did my part by making stone splinters.
But what I really wanted to do was dance.
Once I saw my first festival when I was four,
I always wanted to dance on the special stages during a festival. I practiced
every move, stumbling and tripping in my dirt lined hollow. Still, nothing would
hold me from my potential.
I would often climb a large tree that my home
was built within and survey the work, dancing along the thick branch. The tree
itself had stood for hundreds of years; it was a lovely tree, and one I practiced
on quite a bit.
I often took myself into a new world with every
dance. The weather of my dance never changed, as Illusen made a barrier to keep
out the cold of winter and the absolutely unbearable heat of summer. It kept
out excess rain, but would create all the rain we needed. It never snowed here.
Still, it felt that every day brought changes. It was a mystical feeling, and
with the feeling on dancing, I often took it quite seriously.
Once, I took myself just a tad too far. I tripped
and flipped through the air, my hands grabbing everywhere, hoping to catch a
branch. Thankfully, I fell into the water and I floated back to the surface.
Sitting on the edge of the pond was one of the dancers, who had had her attention
sidetracked from watching me up on the high branch.
She looked at me for a brief moment before turning
her head away. "Must be nice to be that serious about dancing." She sighed,
and then turned to me. "What's your name, kid?"
I blinked, and looked at the red Aisha dancer.
"My name is Sasha. A pleasure to meet you."
She gave me a warm smile as I wrung out my long
Cybunny ears. Water dripped off my beautiful dancing dress. "Since you're so
good at dancing, do you want to dance with us at the festival? We'd be most
delighted for someone as great as dancing as you are to join us, you know!"
She winked at me before pointing up at the tree branch I was on just minutes
"Well... sure! I'd love to come!"
"Just be on the stage before the festival starts.
You'll knock their socks off," She giggled. "Even if they don't have socks!"
I smiled back. "Thank you so much!"
Instantly, the bright, cheery winter day faded
back into the gloom of the dark magic. I wandered over toward a hollowed out
tree stump. Wiping Werelupe dung off of it, I looked up into the tree-top village.
I could see a small green glow where Illusen now hung under the magic's power.
How I wanted to free her.
But that was not my job at the moment. I didn't
really need to be here. It was just how much I missed my old home, my old family,
my old life. Still, there were always the memories. Like the time that I was
invited to join a young Lupe on a quest to found a city of his own, and the
12 of us doing so... and this happened because of it.
A rather large red-colored brute stared at me.
I simply turned away and returned to the pleasantness of my memories, to forget
about all the horrible things right now.
The light filled my eyes once more as I saw
the stage right in front of me. An hour more of work at it would be complete.
It was only a few more hours until the festival, and barely much longer after
that that I would begin my first dance upon stage! It was one of the most exciting
moments of my life that I would ever experience, and exactly what made me what
I was today.
The Aisha dancer, who I learned was named Ina,
walked up to me. She smiled warmly again, and her red fur seemed to glow. "Shall
we practice?" she asked me. "I mean, we'll be dancing soon... "
We began to walk toward the lake to practice,
but Illusen buzzed by our heads, headed for the stage. "He's coming!" she cried
breathlessly. "It's the Werelupe King - He is coming!"
At least half of Illusen's people began running
around and screaming like young children, most of which actually were young.
I was frantic. Not tonight - any night but this! "What do we do?"
"We hide," Illusen said firmly. "We must go
into underground safety. There's no holding him back." Illusen motioned for
all of us to follow her.
She lifted up into the air and flew wildly around
tree after tree before pushing one over. Underneath where the tree had been
was a large tunnel.
"Everybody, in, now." Her words were short and
few as beads of sweat dripped down her forehead. Everyone in the town ducked
into the hole, the young children first, followed by almost everyone else. I
was the last to go in, besides Illusen, who pulled the tree back over our cover.
Those few hours of the sound of wrecking and
howls and barks were what I thought to be the worst of my life. I was wrong.
But that was another memory.
When the sound cleared out, Illusen pushed the
tree out of the way and walked out into the open. I followed, with everyone
bustling to get out.
What I saw devastated me. Trees were lying everywhere.
Some of them crushed homes. Others were raided. There was rubble everywhere.
Illusen's treetop village was completely shattered. Woodchips and pebbles littered
the ground. A silent gloom lingered everywhere.
Many little kids sat crying next to the dry
bushes. Some farmers watched their Negg plants wither into nothingness. Even
others looked toward the stage.
Or, rather, what had been the stage.
The stage was in complete ruin - floorboards
were everywhere, nails littered the ground, and even still, the festival couldn't
But I had waited to dance for everyone long
enough. Even if it was gloomy, I knew what I had to do.
I began spinning and twirling like no other
dance. A small glow echoed around me, and spread out, almost like magic. With
every step, a blade of grass righted it self, a seed re-rooted, and plants bloomed
before our eyes. The rubble in the ground disappeared. Although the homes and
tree were still in ruin, everyone had a smile on their faces. They clapped,
and some joined in.
Shortly after my dance was over, we began to
clear trees and fix homes. A short while later, maybe 5 years or so later, just
after the Festival of the New Year, a Lupe came to see me. He offered to join
me on his quest.
The memory faded into nothingness, but I had
a renewed hope. Even though I couldn't do anything, I could always remember
the good times here.
And right where I had danced thousands of years
ago, I danced again, better than before. A glow echoed around me, and I smiled
and spun happily for the first time in many years.
Author's Note: If you're reading this, I've gotten yet another piece into
the Neopian Times! Neomail me comments!