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Jhudora: A Fake?


by schefflera

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FAERIELAND -

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 time.

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...

...Shopping?

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....

 
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