Riddle of the Blades
Wield me, Faerie, if you will,
But remember to keep in mind still,
If you cannot answer the riddle asked,
When you face an opponent yet unmasked,
My help will not be mine to give,
So find the answer if you wish to live.
The word's burned in Aethia the Air Faerie's
mind constantly. Even in sleep. For they were the words written on the Sword
of Ice in the ancient Faerie Tongue for the Battle Faeries who wielded it. And
Aethia intended to be one of those Battle Faeries.
She rolled over and brushed her long pastel
violet hair from her face. Some still stuck to her sweat-covered forehead, physical
evidence of her most recent nightmare. Unable to sleep knowing if she did not
answer the riddle on the Sword of Flame, she might die like some of the Battle
Faeries before her, Aethia rolled off of her bed and onto her feet with a groan.
Still a little bleary from the bit of nightmare-plagued
sleep that she'd snagged, she walked to and opened a small cabinet. From it
she withdrew a strangely shaped bundle, wrapped in a rough cloth. She unwrapped
the cloth and carefully withdrew the Sword of Flame with both hands. Her palms
burned, but she clutched it tightly. For what was probably the thousandth time,
Aethia silently read the words inscribed on it.
What is the most precious gift in all of the
More valuable than riches and gold?
With it comes happiness in magnitudes untold,
However, to achieve it, you may have to use
A tool most unpleasant, yet at times necessary,
What is this gift, precious and unique?
A treasure that all over people seek?
The riddle was extremely confusing to Aethia.
How could something so important be achieved by its opposite? She sat heavily
in her dining room chair, pondering the riddle that if went unsolved, could
kill or rob her of her strength.
The legends of the Swords' origins were many,
and none had been proven true yet. But it was known that they had been kept
for years by the Faerie Queen and given to the one she deemed worthy of being
the next Battle Faerie. Then the Battle Faerie had to solve the riddle inscribed
on the face of the Sword of Flame-and it changed from Faerie to Faerie-so that
the Sword of Flame and the Sword of Ice could be wielded properly.
If the Battle Faerie could not solve the riddle,
and someone else discovered the answer before them and spoke the word aloud,
the Faerie would be reduced to a Grey Faerie or killed. That had happened to
many Battle Faeries throughout the years. Including the last Battle Faerie:
Valeane's riddle had been solved before she
could solve it and Fiona the Dark Faerie allegedly reduced Valeane to a Grey
Faerie by speaking the answer first. Valeane fled to the Haunted Woods and hid
the Swords. But Aethia found them. And she had no intention of following Valeane.
So she sat and simply pondered the riddle.
Could it be love? Love was precious and sought
all over, but could love be achieved through hate? Aethia didn't believe that
it truly could be.
Could it be rest? Rest was sometimes achieved
through its opposite. And its opposite could be unpleasant. But was it truly
more valuable than riches and gold?
Frustrated, she laid the Sword of Flame beside
the Sword of Ice and wrapped the cloth back around both. She placed them back
in the cabinet and locked it.
No one could find the Swords, or their riddle,
for then they might find the answer before Aethia. And she had vowed solemnly
to herself not to let that happen. She had even placed a spell over the Swords
to keep them from revealing the riddle to others, just in case. Little did she
know, Valeane had once done the same. But she knew that if she herself could
not solve the riddle, she would never face another Faerie again for fear of
being reduced to a Grey Faerie.
Aethia collapsed back on her bed. This was beginning
to seem impossible.
No, she thought sternly to herself.
It is in no way impossible.
She rolled over. Maybe sleep, even if it was
plagued with nightmares, would help her solve the riddle. Aethia closed her
eyes and overcome by fatigue, she fell immediately into sleep.
Suddenly, she was in the midst of a great war,
on the front line. Behind her rode the enormous Queen's Army, emitting fierce
battle cries with weapons drawn. The sky was very dark, as if reflecting the
pain of war. Aethia found herself riding a horse, gripping the reins with one
hand and in the other hand the Sword of Flame. The Sword of Ice was sheathed
on her left hip, within range should she need it. But the riddle that should
have been visible on the Sword of Flame was not there.
What? thought Aethia frantically. Where
has the riddle gone?
Then the realization hit. She was riding into
war, at the head of the Queen's Army, wielding the riddle-less Sword of Flame.
She was a Battle Faerie. Wait, no, the Battle
Her riddle was solved. Happier than she'd ever
been in her life, Aethia pushed her horse faster and rode into battle, sword
Later, once the battle had been won, Aethia
sat on the ground with the Sword of Flame in one hand and the Sword of Ice in
the other. She was dreaming, she was almost sure of that, but she still couldn't
help but feel satisfied. At least now she could think of herself as a Battle
Faerie, past finding the answer to her riddle.
Since the battle's end, the sky had cleared
Then a voice called out to her. "Aethia, Battle
Faerie, you have brought peace to Neopia. Through war, you have brought peace."
Aethia recognized Queen Fyora's voice immediately.
She stood quickly and bowed to the tall, violet
Faerie. "Thank you, Your Majesty," Aethia said.
"No, thank you, Aethia," the Queen replied.
"Thank you for the gift of Peace."
"You are wel-" Aethia stopped as realization
hit her hard: she finally had the answer to her riddle!
Roused from sleep by that marvelous revelation,
Aethia rolled off of her bed and onto her feet quickly. She ran to and unlocked
the small cabinet. Then she once again withdrew the Swords.
She quickly but carefully unwrapped them and
laid them on the table top. Aethia then took the Sword of Ice in her right hand
and chanted back the words written on it. Her palm was freezing, but she did
not loosen her grip. After she had finished with the Sword of Ice, she picked
up the Sword of Flame in her other hand. And she chanted back the riddle that
had baffled her for so long. And then she spoke the words that would make her
a Battle Faerie.
"I, Aethia the Air Faerie, student of Shyvara
and daughter of Dreeana, wish to be Battle Faerie," she said slowly. "To bring
peace to Neopia and defend the innocent. Your riddle, Sword of Flame, has been
"For I, Aethia the Air Faerie, student of Shyvara
and daughter of Dreeana, have solved it. The answer to your riddle is . . ."
She gulped. "Peace."
Author's Note: The Riddle of the Sword of Ice is credited to trappedelements
from her story "From Fire to Ashes" in Issue 162. To read more about Aethia,
check her out in the Neopedia. Fan mail is appreciated.