Not all Stones are Silent
While many of our brave Neopians have been off fighting in those wraith creatures wreaking havoc on the lands, there remain a great many whose talents lie not in the battlefield but in areas of scholasticism. Amiciel, one such Maraquan Kougra, has never left his station deep in Maraqua excavating the ruins deep below the sea.
When the first news of the faeries being turned to stone reached the depths, everyone was stunned. What power could turn a being as powerful as the faeries into stone? Not just one but all of them? The faerie festival had been ruined and the pies petrified. The archeologists pondered all of the possibilities with the other Neopians as they continued to receive news as events transpired above the deep ocean that Maraqua lay under. The Maraquans hid indoors, unsure that they were safe even this far beneath the waves after news of Nox's escape reached them. However, they did not hide for long. Once the call for battle came when the creatures of shadow stepped forth, those able to fight quickly abandoned their stations. As more creatures formed from the shadows, the dutiful Neopians picked up arms and headed off to face them, to defend not only the faeries but their homes.
Amiciel was left alone, the last of the archeologists left, for he was no use on the battlefield and lost to even the weakest of wraiths. He remained behind, hoping beyond hope that maybe, just maybe, he could find a way to be useful even still. After weeks of continuing his research in the ruins, a letter arrived. The call this time was for spell breakers, finally a job he could do. Quickly he packed a traveling bag and began the long journey to Brightvale. As he passed by the kelp restaurant, he overheard a couple of the waiters. Amiciel peeked in the door, where he saw Michael the Maraquan Shoyru and Aaron the Maraquan Uni that ran the restaurant, sitting at a table in their very empty establishment.
“Hey Amiciel, you heard they need spell breakers, huh?” Aaron leaned on the table, tapping her menu board.
“Yeah, I am headed over to help. You two still doing OK with no customers?” Amiciel dropped his bag near the door and swam inside.
“Oh, definitely, young one. We are very well established and this dry spell, no pun intended--” Michael laughed at his own joke but met silence from Aaron and Amiciel. He cleared his throat continuing, “Sorry, as I was saying, even an empty spell won't uproot us.”
“Well, that is good to hear. I should be going now; they need all the help they can get.” The Maraquan Kougra turned to leave, but only got a few strokes before Aaron called him back.
“Ami, we were actually talking about something that may interest you.” Aaron waved him back
“What's that?” He swam closer to the table, intrigued to what they may have.
“Well, the faeries have been turned to stone, right?”
“Yeah, been that way for a couple months now. You know this.” Amiciel looked puzzled at the Uni.
“Well, isn't there that statue of a faerie in the ruins? It was once a live faerie if I remember our history right.” Michael finished off the story, impatient at how slow Aaron had been progressing.
Amiciel's eyes opened wide. Of course, why hadn't he thought of that! “I have to go!” Amiciel swam out the door, leaving his bag and the two waiters looking stunned.
The doors to the Maraquan Research Foundation blew open as the Kougra swam in as fast as his fins could carry him. Where were those pages? He looked through the shelves trying to find the right files. The work on the statue was done a long time ago. Not much had been found, but perhaps now there could be some information that would be useful to King Altador and his group of heroes.
For days Amiciel sat in the musty back rooms poring over numerous documents on the statue. Unfortunately, so little was known about that mysterious statue. Paper after paper had nothing that could be related to what was happening. Sighing, Amiciel came to the conclusion that it was perhaps a coincidence that all of the faeries in Faerieland and the one in the ruins had been sealed in stone. Perhaps that was the only way to truly trap a faerie. However, he couldn't give up, not just yet. He had to go and visit the faerie statue in the ruins. Maybe something around there would lead to an idea of how the faeries were even put under such a spell.
As Amiciel headed through the town of Maraqua, he bumped into Aaron. She was clearly upset and reading a letter.
“Oh, Ami, I'm so happy you're here! It wasn't Nox! Xandra has crashed Faerieland into the ground! She tricked everyone into helping her cast a spell to destroy the floating city we all looked up to!”
Stunned, Amiciel stared at her as she swam back to the restaurant, no doubt to tell Michael of this terrible news. The Maraquan Kougra shook his head, pushing Aaron from his mind and continued on his way to the ruins.
Thoughts plagued his mind; perhaps there was no more hope. Now it was time for the heroes to step up or they were all doomed. All the countless battles for nothing. The sacrifices his friends had made when they left to assist in the battles, hundreds of thousands of potions used to heal. Training skills and honing talents to best the wraiths could all be for nothing. Everyone's efforts brought down in one move. Thoughts of Xandra's betrayal weighed heavy on his heart. He didn't know what he'd learn if anything at all from the statue now. Still he kept swimming through the scaffolding and abandoned workstations.
The hauntingly beautiful structure stood alone along an vast empty stone wall stretching upwards for hundreds of feet. Or at least it was empty before. Amiciel gasped in shock as he neared the wall, for now it was covered in writing. An old language known to only a few of the archeologists, a language used by the faeries before they first made contact with the Neopians. He had always admired the ancient language, the delicate curving of each letter as they formed words foreign to him. The message before him wasn't long. So he spread out a scroll of blank parchment and he began the task of translating the message.
~My Dearest Xandra
While I may lie down here sleeping
My eyes are not closed.
I see what you have done above my
Your actions are brave;
however, they are foolish.
You brought Faerieland to its knees,
Devastated the lands in your path.
Your achievements are great so far,
but be warned, little Xweetok.
While you may have triumphed over the other faeries,
I am coming for you.
~The true ruler of Faerieland
The Darkest Faerie
Amiciel gulped as he read the paper. Amiciel looked up at the wall and had to wonder, how could such beautiful letters hold such a dark meaning?