A Faerie Tale: War - Part Eight
Illusen heard the battle begin above her. The Queen’s army had returned, she could tell. Things seemed louder, most explosive than before... Illusen was sure it was the final battle; it had to be – for Neopia’s sake.
She was still trapped in her cell; the magic keeping her there was as strong as ever. She just had to escape; she had to find some way of joining her friends and helping to fight. She couldn’t bear to be trapped down there.
She paced backwards and forwards, glancing towards the bars, hoping that they might melt out of her sheer will power. Somewhere in the castle, another tower fell, the blast echoing down to the dungeons.
Jhudora rushed through the maelstrom of war. Faeries were fighting everywhere, fires had taken control of entire wings of the castle, and rubble blocked almost every corridor. She had to find somewhere quiet, somewhere untouched.
The rebels, her rebels, were losing the fight. Skarl’s troops and the Space Faerie were factors the evil Jhudora had never considered. To top it all off, the spells she had cast on her fellow Faeries seems to be waning... many of them were no longer focused on the destruction of Fyora.
Was it something about the Queen that resonated within the Faeries?
Did she somehow embody their freedom?
Perhaps, in entrancing them to fight against her, Jhudora had created an internal struggle that mere magic could not overcome?
No, the Dark Faerie shook her head. It couldn’t be. She’d planned for so many years, worked out every single kink in her plan... she wouldn’t fail simply because Faerieland still wanted Fyora to be Queen. She’d recast the spells, and be sure to make them stronger.
Jhudora emerged onto a peaceful balcony, strangely untouched by the war happening within the castle. She recognised it from the small cannon at one end. It was the same balcony where she had cornered Illusen, mere hours ago.
Yes, that’s fitting... this place can be the seat of another victory, she laughed internally.
The Faerie sat herself down on the floor, and began to chant. Darkness began to swirl around her...
Illusen heard a clattering in the darkness, followed by a few mumbled curses. A few moments later, a worn out looking Scorchio appeared at the bars.
“Banks!” she gasped. “What are you doing here?”
“Queen Fyora sent me, my lady,” Banks panted. “She gave me instructions to free you as soon as possible. You are to find Jhudora and stop her at once. Her majesty seems to think that’ll stop the war!”
“I’ll gladly do my best, but I’m stuck in here,” Illusen said, gently tapping the bars, which glowed briefly with magic.
“With all due respect my lady,” Banks laughed. “There’s very little in this castle I haven’t destroyed before. If you’ll just stand to one side...”
Illusen did as the Scorchio asked while he extracted a small bottle of powder from within his armour.
“Always been the most allergic to pepper, wouldn’t you just know it?” Banks said casually as he uncorked the bottle.
He swallowed hard, and then put the bottle directly under one of his nostrils. Banks breathed in deeply, and the effect was instantaneous. The bottle clattered to the floor, and Banks backed away, appearing to be on the verge of sneezing.
It soon became clear from the rumbling in his throat that something far deadlier was about to happen.
At once, the Scorchio’s fiery breath exploded outwards, in a perilously hot jet that sailed straight through the magic bars of Illusen’s cell. The Earth Faerie pressed herself tightly against the damp wall of her cell, keen not to accidentally touch the burning flames in front of her.
As soon as it had begun, it ended. Banks collapsed to his knees outside the cell, sniffing as if he had a very bad cold. To Illusen’s surprise, the bars of the cell had been melted, as if they’d been in a volcano of years.
The Earth Faerie rushed forward to help the fallen Scorchio, but he pushed her off.
“Go find Jhudora...” he sniffed.
“But, you’re...” Illusen protested.
“I spilt the bottle,” Banks continued. “You’d best run...”
Illusen looked in horror to the bottle of pepper. It had smashed when Bank had dropped it, and the powder within had gone everywhere.
She didn’t need telling twice, and ran as quickly away from Banks as she could. As she rounded the stairs that led back up to the castle, she heard Banks explode below her.
Find Jhudora, Illusen told herself. End it all.
Jhudora was covered in the swirling shadows, her spell almost complete. In the distance, she heard yet another tower collapse... surely there couldn’t be many of the things left?
“We meet again,” Illusen smirked from the doorway.
Jhudora snapped open her eyes. The accursed Earth Faerie had escaped! Somehow, she’d found a weapon. That would make things more difficult.
Like a flash, Jhudora was on her feet. She couldn’t afford to waste time; the longer she waited the more likely it was that the Faeries would stop fighting Fyora. Illusen had to be dealt with quickly.
“Pitiful Earth Faerie!” Jhudora screamed, launching a blast of dark energy from her staff.
Illusen was prepared, having learnt from their first encounter, and summoned a shield of green energy to protect herself. As quickly as she could, she launched a counter attack, sending a sphere of energy back towards the evil Faerie.
It was to be their final battle; both knew it in their hearts.
The battle raged on in the castle proper. In the courtyard, Jhuidah and the Soup Faerie fought side by side, their magical spoons raised like the sharpest of swords. On the other side, the Dark Faerie Sisters finished off the last of their opponents.
The three seemed to shake their heads slightly, as if removing some form of dizziness. Then, evil smiles spread across their faces like oil.
“Our mistress is here!” Vanity cackled.
“Now is the perfect time!” Spite agreed.
“Whoever said Mavara had to be the one to lead Faerieland?” Malice sneered.
The sisters turned as one to the small pile of rubble that Vyline hadn’t removed. They lifted their hands and raised the statue of their former employer... the Darkest Faerie.
She was encased within it, having been bested by Fyora once more and cursed to sleep for a thousand more years... but the sisters had new plans.
They fluttered gently above the ground, circling the statue, and began to cast their magic. They would wake the Darkest Faerie, and bring chaos to Neopia again.
Across the courtyard, Siyana the Light Faerie and Psellia the Air Faerie saw the magic begin. They were sworn protectors of Altador, and had seen the Faerie’s evil first hand; both times it had been unleashed upon their city.
“No!” Siyana screamed.
The two of them rushed forward to stop the evil sisters, all thoughts of the trifling war put behind them. They were not fighting on the same side as the Dark Faerie Sisters anymore. They weren’t fighting on any side, but that of Neopia.
In the main hall, which once hosted large ballroom dances and intricate plays, the Faeries fought.
The Battle Faerie, Aethia, her twin swords ready, continued to direct her troops. Above her the Battle Eyrie circled, picking off the unfortunate Faeries who dared to challenge the steed’s rider.
Aethia too felt the same sense of dizziness... and suddenly, it wasn’t as if she wasn’t doing the right thing anymore... all the Faeries she had fought against... why had she done it?
For the good of Neopia, yes...
But was it, really?
“You,” a familiar voice sneered.
Aethia turned, confused by the entire situation, to see Fiona the Dark Faerie standing in front of her.
Her blade was drawn, and she didn’t look in the least bit friendly.
“The swords... Give them to me and I may spare you,” Fiona demanded.
The Faerie had always craved the twin swords of the Battle Faerie. Aethia had repelled her once, but now she was disorientated.
“Never!” Aethia shouted.
“Very well,” Fiona laughed, and ran at the Battle Faerie, their blades sparking with magic as they clashed.
“It ends here,” Fyora said, with more than a hint of finality.
She had finally caught up to Mavara, cornered now in Fyora’s own throne room.
“Please, Mavara,” Fyora begged. “Call off your forces... we can work together to find a peaceful solution.”
Mavara seemed dazed, but her sense of dizziness was brief, and she quickly regained herself.
She had always taken the brunt of Jhudora’s magic... she would need more than the others to sway her attitude.
“I think it is too late for that!” Mavara laughed. “You come here, asking for peace, when it was you who started this war! You who killed so many! This is all your fault!”
“Mavara...” Fyora whispered, holding out her hand.
“No!” the Dark Faerie screamed. “We’ve listened to your poisonous words long enough! I won’t put up with you any longer!”
She swung her staff hard, knocking the Queen to the ground.
All around the castle, the Faeries began to come to their senses. To many, it would have seemed like such an act would stop the fighting, but in truth it only made it worse.
The differences of the war were put aside by most, but replaced instead by the old differences that had built up over the years. Old enemies found each other in battle, elements turned against each other. The heat of the flames, the smoke and the fumes seemed to have given an air of madness to the Faeries fighting within the castle. Chaos had broken loose... it seemed as though the return of the old days was imminent.
The palace guard watched as the Faeries fought each other, unsure who, if anyone, they were fighting for anymore. No one had seen the Queen since she went in the direction of the throne room, the Space Faerie was engaged in a bitter fight with Taelia the Snow Faerie, and Illusen hadn’t been seen since she’d left Banks in the dungeons.
Sandra, the Fire Faerie who thought she was a Faerie Kougra, stood in front of the rest of the guards. All around her, Faeries fell, or laughed with maddened triumph. There was so much hate, so much anger...
...and for some reason, it felt so personal to her.
But why should the fates of Faeries matter so much to a Kougra?
Like a wall being demolished inside her mind, the truth of the matter hit Sandra.
The tears began to roll silently down her face, as more and more of her kind fell.
“So much hate...” she sobbed quietly.
Then, like a tide of anger within her, Sandra felt her powers awaken. She lifted her head to face the ceiling.
“I’m a Faerie!” she cried out for all to hear.
If they didn’t hear her declaration, they most certainly heard what happened next.
Like a bomb, Sandra seemed to detonate, her Fire Faerie powers producing a blast that consumed the immediate area. Decades of built up power, all released at once.
The pillar of flame ripped straight through what was left of the castle, and shot high into the sky, hitting several of the surviving dirigibles. There wasn’t a soul in Faerieland who didn’t see the blast.
To be continued...