Jhudora: A Fake?
I'm starting to get suspicious of Jhudora.
"Well," I can just hear you saying, "took you long enough, didn't it? Bit slow
on the uptake, aren't you? Join the club, Schefflera!"
I'm afraid that's not quite what I meant, though. I agree, it's quite easy
to look at Jhudora and see that she's rather a sinister character. It is, after
all, practically her entire image. From the green talon-like fingernails to
the squat golden throne on a rank stormcloud, from her scornful words on other
Faeries to the poisonous or cursed prizes she doles out to her questors, one
might even say she cultivates it.
Does she actually do enough to justify it?
She's cruel, certainly. She's vicious, beyond a doubt.
She may have led the other Dark Faeries to drive Illusen from Faerieland. I
have my doubts about this particular claim; it seems rather odd to suggest that
Queen Fyora would put up with that sort of thing -- especially right under her
own nose! Is this realistic? Is favoring the Dark Faeries so over an Earth Faerie
a wise and fitting action for the Queen of the Faeries? The only plausible version
I can imagine of this story is that there was a concerted effort to irritate
Illusen until she chose to leave. Spiteful, but really not all that impressive.
It is said that Jhudora torments those who fail her quests. Her Neopedia entry
describes her taunting of a hapless Kacheek who brought her an item five seconds
too late, then leaves vague just what happens when the swirling darkness covers
him. I've tried a few of her errands myself, however, and failed a few, and
neither I nor my Neopets seem to have suffered any serious consequences. Perhaps
having an owner affords Neopets some protection from her? What that says about
the balance of power in Neopia might be fodder for another whole article one
day, but doesn't fit in this one, so I shall leave such speculations for another
Jhudora stars as the villain in more than one Storytelling Contest, attempting
variously to destroy Neopia by enchanting (or rather cursing) some gold (story
90), to take over Neopia by grooming an Eyrie to be the strongest Neopet in
all Neopia and then defeating him in the Battledome to intimidate everyone else
(story 113), to take over Neopia using a spell composed of a multitude of items
brought to her by questing Neopets and depending particularly on a Magical Green
Tonu Plushie (story 127), to rule Neopia forever as Darkness after being cast
out by Queen Fyora (story 129), to take over Neopia by getting her sister Filendia
released from an orb (story 130), to obtain servants by draining the Rainbow
Pool and knocking Neopets onto her cloud when they visited the Fountain Faerie
(story 177), to imprison the first of the Yurbles by having a minion impersonate
a Faerieland guard (story 181), and to take over Brightvale and Meridell by
impersonating King Hagan (story 191). Evidently her ambition is waning, considering
those last two.
On the other hand, it must be kept in mind that events in the Storytelling
Contests do not necessarily bear on actual events in Neopia, as carefully noted
in relation to at least two such contests that presented alternate versions
of planned or in-progress plots. Therefore, Jhudora's roles in Storytelling
Contests may be taken as a far more reliable reflection of her reputation than
of her actual plans.
Or perhaps Jhudora doesn't really do that much to earn her reputation.
Well, you may advise me, just read the Neopedia: "By employing others, she
never takes a direct hand in any evil act. This keeps her own hands clean and
helps corrupt those who assist her," it says. Ah, I see. She doesn't need to
do anything. She has people to do things for her; she must be biding her time
until her plan, whatever it might be, is complete.
What exactly, however, are these heinous acts she employs others to corrupt
themselves by doing? Truly, they must be dreadful. Verily, there can be no more
horrendous task in all Neopia than...
Man, are the restockers ever in trouble.
All right, that can't be it. Besides, Illusen and Taelia send people out shopping
all the time. (Evidently Faeries haven't quite mastered the process.) Perhaps
the errands aren't corrupting in themselves, but the very act of cooperating
with a Dark Faerie is. Do something seemingly innocuous for the wrong person,
and watch out for your soul.
This is all quite plausible. On the other hand, if Jhudora's eventual scheme
is to take over Neopia, or for that matter if she has any deep, dark, secret
plan, why in the world is she making such a show of it?
Wouldn't it be simpler and more effective to bide her time in secret? To look
innocent? To smile kindly on the Neopets who come to do her quests, to speak
friendly words of her sisters? What purpose does it serve to snarl and fume
and put on a grand display of nastiness?
I suppose it's possible that she's perpetrating a sophisticated double deception.
Perhaps no one would believe a Dark Faerie could be sweet and innocent. Perhaps
her promises draw only those who are fascinated by darkness and scare away or
repel those whom she could not lure easily into the depths of corruption. Perhaps
to hide her secret and sinister plan, she deviously makes herself so openly
and pettily evil that everyone ignores the real peril until it's too late.
There is a problem with this theory.
It appears that she is, in fact, being taken seriously.
Her questors are terrified of her. Most of Neopia seems to expect her to do
something horrifying one day. Fyora is generous in permitting Jhudora to make
her home on an ominous-looking purple cloud right next to the bulk of Faerieland
-- right in plain view from the palace. How convenient.
How remarkably ineffective, if Jhudora's intent is really to be dismissed as
a threat until it's too late.
What I suspect is that nasty as she is, she's cleverer than that.
I suspect that Jhudora has exactly what she wants right now.
She has the fear and respect of much of Neopia. She has license to snarl and
sneer and be as insulting as she pleases. She has authorization to send Neopets
and their owners out questing to bring her items worth more than the rewards
she'll give in return. She has her own little noisome cloud.
What if she's comfortable there? What if all the show is just that?
Well, in that case, she's might be very annoyed with me for blowing her cover.
I could be in trouble there -- I never suggested she was nice. Then again,
she just may be confident enough in her established efforts that to silence
me after the fact would only lend credence to suggestions that would otherwise
be dismissed as silly. After all, if my speculation is entirely off track and
she does want to take over Neopia, she'd want this sort of thing published,
now wouldn't she?
Or will she silence me ahead of time by keeping this article from publication?
You just never know....