The Prophecy Faeries: Part One
PART ONE: THE PROPHECY
An earth faerie walked down the crowded halls of Faerie Heights Academy of Magical Study, an immense pile of books stacked in her arms. Her waist-length hair, which was misty red streaked with green and brown, hung in a braid down her back, the colors perfectly accentuating her deep brown eyes. Thin-rimmed reading glasses sat crookedly on her nose, drawing attention to the scattered freckles across her cheeks.
“Hey, Tenny!” called a familiar voice. The earth faerie, whose full name was Hortensia, turned around and saw one of her best friends, a dark faerie named Bernadette, walking towards her. Bernadette’s short, cropped hair was deep black with tints of purple, shaping her round face. Her eyes were swirled with black and purple, creating a color Bernadette had nicknamed “blarple”. The exact opposite of her friend, Bernadette carried few books and gave an overall appearance of rebelliousness.
The earth faeries standing near Hortensia muttered and snickered rudely as Hortensia turned to join her friend. Hortensia and Bernadette, who were quite used to other faeries’ reactions to their unusual friendship, ignored them and headed downstairs to the water faerie floor, where their friend Victoria was frantically attempting to mop up a puddle of water on the floor surrounding her.
“Good work, Tori,” Bernadette teased sarcastically.
“Help me!” Victoria replied, looking over her shoulder into the hallway behind her. “I think the principal’s coming down here!”
“Down here? What’s Principal Dinusa doing down here?” Hortensia asked.
“Who cares? Help me!”
Hortensia waved her hand at the window, and the tall vines that grew just beneath it sprang up and grew straight through the window, landing at Victoria’s feet.
“Absorb,” Hortensia commanded, and the plant began soaking up the water. When all of the water had vanished from the floor, Hortensia commanded, “Recede.”
The waterlogged plant crawled back out the window to resume its former position just as the principal came striding around the corner. Principal Dinusa was a tall yellow Wocky, who always wore a long, violet cloak emblazoned with the school logo. How a Wocky, or any species of neopet for that matter, could become principal of Faerie Heights Academy was a source of debate (and many jokes) among her students.
“What are you two doing on the water faerie floor?” she asked sharply, glaring at Hortensia and Bernadette. The three faeries were surprised. Dinusa was hardly ever seen around the school, and wasn’t known for reprimanding students. She left disciplinary issues to her vice principal, a fire faerie named Petrici. The only explanation, Hortensia thought, is that she’s in a very bad mood.
“We were just leaving,” Victoria said quickly.
“Hurry along to class,” the principal ordered, even though classes had already ended for the day. “And why,” she asked suddenly, looking at Victoria, “are you so wet?”
“I’m a water faerie,” Victoria answered innocently. “I’m always soaked.”
Glaring at the three of them suspiciously but unable to think of anything else to criticize, she stormed away down the corridor.
“What’s her problem?” Victoria muttered. “And what’s she doing up here anyway?”
“She’s meeting with aliens from another planet,” Bernadette joked. “They’re planning the next cafeteria meal. Ever wonder what’s in the mystery meat?”
“Ew, Dette, that’s so gross!” Victoria exclaimed.
“Did you know that sixty-five percent of all Neopians claim to have suffered near-death experiences caused by cafeteria lunch meat?” Bernadette continued. Victoria rolled her eyes dramatically.
“That’s ridiculous,” Hortensia said.
“Numbers don’t lie,” Bernadette replied, as she always did.
“So, where’s Clarisse?” Hortensia asked suddenly. “Wasn’t she supposed to meet you up here, Tori?”
“I don’t know what happened to her,” Victoria said, looking worried.
“Probably took a wrong staircase or something. You know how she gets sometimes. Can’t even remember where she is,” Bernadette said, faking optimism. Concerned, the three friends waited for the final member of their group to join them.
Clarisse wandered slowly down the crowded hall of the air faerie floor, heading towards the nearby staircase. She ran her fingers absently through her short, white-blond hair. As she passed a nearby fire faerie, she felt angry thoughts flickering through the faerie’s mind.
Clarisse seemed to have the uncanny ability to tell what people were thinking or feeling, almost as if she could read minds. Sometimes she even predicted future events before they happened, as though she had psychic abilities. Her friends never questioned her about this peculiar “talent”, deciding it was better if they didn’t know. At this moment, Clarisse felt exactly what the fire faerie was feeling, knew exactly why she was so upset, and was filled with overwhelming pity.
She stopped walking and looked up at the faerie’s face, staring her straight in the eye. The faerie turned to look at her, appearing quite unnerved, for Clarisse’s eyes were so strange: huge, perfectly circular, and unblinking, with unnaturally large pupils; blue as the sky, yet slightly clouded, they seemed to reflect images like a fogged mirror. The faerie quickly looked away.
“I’m sorry about your sister,” Clarisse said suddenly, making the faerie appear even more shocked.
“What are you talking about?” the girl snapped, and for a moment she looked fearful. “You’re crazy,” the faerie added, and ran away down the corridor. Surprised by the faerie’s reaction, Clarisse went up two flights of stairs to the water faerie floor, where she found her friends waiting for her.
“Where have you been?” Victoria asked.
“I was just talking to someone,” Clarisse said vaguely.
“Claire, you know people get nervous when you read their minds,” Bernadette said reprimanded.
“I felt sorry for her,” Clarisse said simply. “Something horrible happened to her.” As usual, the others did not ask Clarisse how she knew this.
“Well, just keep it to yourself,” Bernadette said. Then she added randomly, “Hey, did you know that eighty-eight percent of all Faerieland residents insist upon having traumatic experiences related to dark faeries?”
“Dette, that’s ridiculous,” Victoria interrupted. “Most people probably didn’t answer those polls truthfully.”
“It was an anonymous poll, so no one would have any reason to be untruthful. Numbers don’t lie,” Bernadette said smugly. Bernadette loved to read Neopian polls, and often memorized the results. She also loved trivia, and often interjected facts and statistics into any conversation, which sometimes caused her to be unpopular with some of the other faeries.
As Victoria started to respond, Hortensia cut her off. “Let’s go to Clarisse’s dorm. The middle of a hallway isn’t the best place for a conversation.” Her friends agreed, so the four of them walked down two flights of stairs to the air faerie floor, and headed down a long hallway and around the corner to the air faerie dormitories. Victoria and Bernadette bickered about numbers, percentages, and polls as the odd assortment of faeries headed down the hall to the very last dormitory, number four fifty-one.
Four fifty-one was the only dormitory in the entire school that had only one occupant. This was because Clarisse had been orphaned at a young age, so the school allowed her to have her own private dorm room and to stay on the school campus during holidays, when the rest of the students went home. The vice principal of the school, Petrici, acted as Clarisse’s guardian until she was older.
Clarisse produced the silver key and unlocked the door. As soon as the lock clicked, Bernadette unceremoniously shoved it open and strode in, the others following in her wake. The faeries seated themselves around the room, and Hortensia closed the door behind them. For the next hour, the four faeries chatted absently, eating their way through the various sweets hidden around Clarisse’s room (food was not allowed in dormitories).
At one point, the conversation turned to teachers. Since the four friends were all different types of faeries, they didn’t have many classes together. Faerie Heights Academy was divided into seven floors: one floor for each type of faerie, plus a main floor. All of the classes that were unique to that type of faerie, plus the dorm rooms, were on that specific floor, but the dining hall, principal’s office, library, the classes that were offered to all types of faeries, and several other areas were located on the main floor, which was positioned exactly in the middle of the school, with three floors above it and three below. Because of this system, the four friends didn’t see each other much during the school day, so they often compared teachers and classes.
“Professor Lettis must be the weirdest teacher in the entire school,” Hortensia said. “She’s my Botany teacher, and she’s absolutely crazy. I haven’t learned anything from her at all. She just tells random stories that are completely unrelated to what we’re studying. Today she spent the whole period telling us about some former students of hers who were twins and always switched places, and then with two minutes of class left she says, ‘Oh, here’s your assignment’ without even telling us how to do it.”
“That’s not nearly as weird as my Practical Use of Water Magic teacher,” Victoria insisted. “Professor Trahtooh. Every time she’s talking about water, she says ‘aqua’, like this: ‘In order to move the aqua with your powers from this side of the room to the other, you must focus your power on the aqua and then try a lifting motion. This should lift the aqua into the air. Using your hands you can wave aqua in the direction you wish. Be careful not to move the aqua too fast, or you could cause aqua droplets to fly across the room,’” Victoria said, using a high, warbled voice in imitation of her teacher.
Bernadette laughed. “At least your Practical Magic teacher doesn’t try to convince you to use your powers for evil. Penwire, my Practical Use of Dark Magic teacher, thinks the only thing dark magic can do is bad stuff. We haven’t learned anything practical at all. I’ve been teaching myself how to do stuff by reading some old textbooks from the library.”
“You know, I’d probably better go to the library and get started on my homework. We have finals in a week, you know,” Hortensia interjected.
“So soon?” Victoria asked, looking alarmed. “I’ll come with you.”
“Ditto,” Bernadette said.
“Okay,” Clarisse agreed.
The four faeries went upstairs to the main floor and headed for the library. As they approached it, Victoria suddenly gasped, “Oh, no. I just realized that Appletree banned me from the library the other day. I kind of... ruined a few books.”
Victoria had a problem controlling her powers. She often inexplicably created puddles of water from nowhere, as she had in the corridor earlier that afternoon. Actually, the reason this happened was because Victoria was an exceptionally powerful faerie, but few faeries, not even Victoria herself, knew this. Few had ever seen such a young faerie with such power before, and so no one knew how to teach her to control it. As a result, Victoria lost control of her powers, and was thought to be untalented, while in reality she was exactly the opposite.
“Would she really recognize you?” Clarisse asked.
“Yes. She chased me out of the library with a broom, screaming as loudly as she could,” Victoria said as Bernadette laughed.
“It isn’t funny,” Victoria added hotly.
“I’m not laughing at you, Tori, I’m laughing at the image of Appletree running around with a broom.”
“Well, have fun without me,” Victoria said, starting to leave.
“Wait a minute. Who said you had to leave? All I need to do is change your appearance a little. That’s one of the few useful things Penwire actually taught us,” suggested Bernadette.
“What? You don’t think I can do it?”
“No, I don’t.”
“Thanks for the show of confidence.”
“You’re welcome. Goodbye.” Once again, Victoria started to leave.
“Come on, Tori. Please?”
“Oh, all right. But if I end up looking ugly and you can’t change me back, I’m going to bewitch a severe thunderstorm to float above your head and follow you around forever.”
“Yeah right. Now hold still. It will only take a second.”
“That’s what they all say,” Victoria said, but begrudgingly stood still. Bernadette concentrated for a moment, and then muttered, “Temporarily Transform.” There was a large cloud of purple smoke, and then Victoria was changed.
Her nose was smaller and rounder, her cheekbones and forehead lower, her eyes smaller, more oval-shaped, and a lighter blue in color. Her chin was rounder, her neck longer, and her cheeks fuller. All of these slight changes combined to make her face look completely different. Finally, Bernadette had changed her hair. Normally, Victoria’s hair was long, all the way down to her knees, and naturally curled in spiraling ringlets, but now it was much shorter and perfectly straight. It was also a darker color; normally Victoria’s hair was light blonde, but now it was almost brown. Her skin tone was also a little darker. She didn’t look ugly, nor did she look exceptionally pretty; she just looked different.
“What did you do?” Victoria asked accusingly, attempting to examine herself. Clarisse pulled a small mirror out of her backpack and handed it to Victoria, who studied her reflection critically.
“It’ll work for a while, I suppose,” she said finally, handing the mirror back to Clarisse and walking into the library.
“Was that actually a compliment?” Bernadette said in mock surprise, following Victoria inside.
The four of them quickly located their usual table, in the far corner of the Magical Herbs and Plants section, partially hidden by a large bookcase and safe from the prying eyes of the strict librarian, Professor Appletree.
At one point during their studying, a young fire faerie wearing the silver badge of a prefect approached their table. Hortensia recognized her as Tamporean, a faerie from their Magic History class. Tamporean studied their group warily, finding it very unusual that a group of such different kinds of faeries should be studying together.
“New schedules for the next semester have just come in,” she explained for the twentieth time that day. “If you have any problems with your schedule, report to the main office.” She flipped through the large stack of papers and produced the schedules for Hortensia, Bernadette, and Clarisse. She hesitated when she looked at Victoria, however. She didn’t even recognize her classmate now that Bernadette had changed her appearance. “Your name and room number?” Tamporean asked.
“Victoria, room two hundred eleven.”
Finding the appropriate paper, Tamporean handed it to her and headed off to another table, never realizing that she had a classmate named Victoria who looked very similar to the water faerie sitting in the library.
“Oh, no,” Bernadette said, looking at her schedule. “They put me down for Practical Use of Dark Magic twice! I hate that class enough without having it twice in one day. I’ve got to go to the main office.”
“They’re closed this late. You’ll have to wait until tomorrow,” Clarisse said, examining her own schedule.
“But we have Magic History class first thing tomorrow. I’ll have to go after.”
Deciding that they were done studying for the night, the four friends said goodbye and headed off to their respective dormitories.
The next morning, all four of them had Magic History class with an elderly blue Draik named Professor Hentoff. In fact, this was the only class that all four of them had together.
When Clarisse arrived in the classroom, she took her seat in the far back corner, next to a window that let in a gentle, early-morning breeze. Two seats in front of her was Bernadette, who looked bleary-eyed and was trying to stay awake. Two rows over sat Victoria, looking like herself again, since Bernadette had undone the appearance spell the night before. Hortensia sat at the very front of the class, with pen and paper out on her desk, ready to take notes, her glasses perched lopsidedly on her freckled nose.
As the clock in the hall chimed, Professor Hentoff entered the classroom. The only non-faerie to teach at Faerie Heights besides Principal Dinusa, Hentoff was a famous historian known throughout Neopia. It was said that no one knew more about the origins of magic than Hentoff. Most of his students disliked him, however, because they found his historical lectures to be quite dull, not to mention his fondness for essay tests.
“Good morning, class,” said Hentoff.
“Good morning, Professor Hentoff,” half of the class mumbled. The rest were already falling asleep.
“Most of you probably don’t know that today, the thirtieth of the month of Gathering, has historical significance. I have decided to make this historical day the topic of today’s lesson.”
Hortensia was already frantically scribbling down everything Hentoff was saying. Vaguely interested, Clarisse paid attention as Hentoff continued to speak.
“Five hundred years ago to this day, there lived a very famous prophetess who claimed to see into the future. In fact, she saved the entire kingdom of Meridell by warning the king of a coming famine. Many considered her to be the greatest prophetess Neopia had ever seen. She was a red Xweetok named Khorianna. Some were skeptical of her abilities because she was quite young, but others trusted her completely. Khorianna made several prophecies in her time. No one is quite sure of the exact number, for a fire consumed the original Altadorian Archives, including the scrolls on which her prophecies were written.
“Khorianna’s downfall, however, was her failure to predict a terrible plague. The people blamed Khorianna for not warning them of the devastation brought by the plague. Some even accused Khorianna of witchcraft, and claimed that she brought the plague herself. Khorianna and several close friends went into hiding in the mountains.
“Two months ago, an ancient diary was found (I am proud to say that I assisted in that discovery), apparently written by Khorianna’s brother, Marpameus, who went into hiding with her. The diary says that Khorianna fell ill while in the mountains, and during that period became fevered and delirious, and had several hallucinations. According to Marpameus’s diary, Khorianna made three prophecies during this time, all of which predicted terrible things that would happen to Neopia. Marpameus couldn’t be sure if these were legitimate predictions, since Khorianna was so ill, but even so he recorded all three in the final pages of his diary. When the diary was recovered two months ago, many of the pages, including the last, were missing. Only one prophecy, the first of the three made during that time, was found. This prophecy was made on the thirtieth day of Gathering, and foretold something that would happen exactly five hundred years later. Today is the thirtieth of Gathering, exactly five hundred years later. Therefore, I would like to share the contents of this prophecy with you today.”
Now Clarisse was paying full attention. She knew the story of Khorianna well. Clarisse seemed to have some prophetess-like talents herself, and had always been interested in the stories of others who claimed to have psychic abilities.
“The prophecy reads as follows:
Five hundred years from now,
Four faerie heroes will uncover
A devious plot to conquer all.
By themselves they shall discover
The object of many myths and legends,
The Shining Sun, the Golden Light,
The only thing that can save us
And keep Neopia burning bright.
An evil villain with a wicked heart
Who pretends to be a friend
Must be defeated, or Neopia
Will soon be at an end.
The four once outcasts,
The four once alone,
Could they be the saviors of us all,
Who keep the tyrant from her throne?
“Obviously, the prophecy doesn’t make much sense. Khorianna’s prophecies were known for their clarity of meaning, but Marpameus wrote that the three made in the mountains were absolutely puzzling. This makes many historians skeptical that these were real prophecies, or that the document just found in the mountains is actually written by Marpameus.”
“Do you believe the prophecy, sir?” asked a light faerie beside Hortensia.
“It is my belief that this ‘seeing the future’ nonsense is absolutely ridiculous. There is no possible way for a person to truly see what will happen in the future. Now, one could make a fairly accurate guess. That is what I believe Khorianna did when predicting that famine. At the time meteorology was not studied, but if someone had studied weather patterns, they might have guessed that a drought, and therefore a famine, was on the way. So, though she might have been unusually clever and perceptive, Khorianna didn’t really see the future. Her other predictions were of the same nature. It would be very fascinating to study her other prophecies, but as they have been lost we shall never know of their contents. This so-called prophecy is absolute rubbish, but it does make for an interesting history lesson.”
Clarisse raised her hand. Many people in the classroom turned to stare at her. Clarisse hardly ever spoke in front of the class.
“Whatever happened to Khorianna, sir?”
Professor Hentoff looked rather surprised at the question. “Funny you should ask. No one knows for certain. Marpameus’s diary ends on the sixth of the following month. A week later, the plague was over, and townspeople entered the mountains in search of Khorianna and the others. Eventually their hiding place was found, but no one was there, nor was there any sign that they had died. They had simply vanished without a trace.”
Bernadette felt shivers run up her spine. “Did they search the mountains near where they found their hiding place?” Bernadette asked, not bothering to raise her hand. “Maybe they were moving somewhere else, but died along the way?”
“It’s possible,” Hentoff said, “but very unlikely. All areas of those mountains that could be reached by climbing were completely searched. No signs of life were ever found.”
“But they only just now found the diary,” Bernadette persisted.
“A diary is a difficult thing to find,” Professor Hentoff said. “Now then, let’s continue yesterday’s topic, the Meridellian Uprising of—”
The loud ringing of the bell interrupted Professor Hentoff, signaling the end of class. “We’ll pick up here tomorrow,” Hentoff said. “Class dismissed.”
The students, most still groggy and half-asleep, filed out of the classroom. Hortensia, Bernadette, Clarisse, and Victoria met up just outside of class and headed to the dining hall for breakfast.
“I thought that Khorianna stuff was much more interesting than Hentoff’s usual lessons,” Hortensia said.
“You think all of his lessons are interesting. You’re the only one in the class who actually manages to stay awake, and only because you’re afraid that you won’t get a good grade,” Bernadette teased.
“It was more interesting than usual,” Victoria added, coming to Hortensia’s defense. “The so-called Meridellian Uprising was a couple of farmers who got mad at the marketplace for selling them something rotten, so they burned down the shop and all got arrested. It’s so boring!”
“Actually, the Meridellian Uprising was caused by people who worked in the marketplace, not farmers, and they were upset because some—”
“Okay, we get it, Miss Know-It-All,” Victoria said irritably. “As Dette said, you’re the only one who actually stays awake during his class, except today wasn’t half as boring as usual. Do you think that whole prophecy thing was true?”
“It is true,” said Clarisse, suddenly jumping into the conversation. Everyone turned to look at her. She had a funny, far-away look in her eyes.
“You sure, Claire?” Bernadette asked softly.
“Yes. Khorianna was a real prophetess, and she wasn’t delusional,” Clarisse said, with absolute certainty.
“Okay,” Victoria said, looking for a change in topic, because she suddenly felt very uncomfortable. “Hey look, they’re having strawberries on the buffet today!” she added as they reached the dining hall. No one said anything further about their Magic History class as they found a table and received their food.
“Dette, shouldn’t you be going to Principal’s office to get your schedule fixed?” Hortensia asked.
“Oh yeah!” Bernadette said, dropping her cinnamon roll. “I forgot. Thanks, Tenny!” She grabbed her book bag and raced out of the hall.
Bernadette bypassed several students who gave her odd looks and ignored the shouts of teachers as she raced along the hallway to the far corner of the main floor, where Principal Dinusa’s office was located. The door was closed, and a small red cloth was draped around the doorknob, meaning the principal was busy. With a sigh, Bernadette dropped to one of the uncomfortable chairs just outside the door and waited.
She never intended to eavesdrop, but Bernadette just couldn’t resist listening the conversation as she heard voices coming from the closed door. There was no one else around, so she whispered, “Make Loud and Clear” and aimed the spell in the direction of the office door. Not only were the voices suddenly louder, but also every sound in the office could be easily heard throughout the deserted corridor. Grinning to herself, Bernadette closed her eyes and listened. She heard the soft crackling of a small fire in the grate, the scraping of a wooden-legged chair being pushed across a stone floor, and the scratching of a pencil on paper.
“Now listen closely,” said a voice she recognized as Dinusa’s. “Write all of this down, in case you can’t seem to keep all of the details straight in your pea-sized brain.”
“That’s odd,” Bernadette thought. “She must not be talking to a student or teacher.”
“Yes, of course,” said a squeaky male voice. The pencil scratched on paper again. “I will be leaving the school for three days,” said Dinusa, “and you will be in charge. If anyone questions your authority, report that faerie directly to me. During this time you are not to let anyone out of the school, do you understand? No one shall leave. My trip does not fall on a weekend, so classes will be in session. Use the spell I taught you to keep in touch, but do not contact me unless you must, got that?”
“Yes, of course,” the squeaky voice repeated.
“Good. Any further questions?”
“May I just ask where you will be?” said the voice timidly. “How does this fall into our plans?”
“Must you question everything, Rutherford? If you must know—” Here she lowered her voice. “I am taking this to the person we discussed. He told me it could not be activated until a full moon, which is tonight. I will take it to him, and he will activate it. Then I will be able to use it. Must I repeat what it is used for, or does your primitive mind understand?”
“I understand,” whispered Rutherford.
“Do you really, Rutherford? Do you really understand what our mission is all about?”
Rutherford stuttered a nervous, incoherent reply. Dinusa’s voice rose irritably. “Let me make this very clear. In three days’ time, I will conquer Neopia!”
To be continued...