A Faerie's Friend
Once upon a winter, a water faerie wandered across the ocean. She floated over the waves, her wings beating gently. Small troughs formed beneath her as the gusts of wind came to rest on the moldable surface. She was a simple faerie. All she wanted was to help.
It was the time before shops and stores, before quests and adventures. Puppyblews ran free, and Meepits were very near their ultimate goal. But this is not the story of these Petpets. This is the tale of a tired young faerie, and a Snowickle no bigger than her leg.
The lass had experienced a terrible quality of the world: envy. With beauty beyond belief, she threatened others with comparable looks. Their fear resulted in her banishment. The others played with her, whispering lies in her ears, tricking her into sorrowful situations. When she forgave them, they were offended. The jealous faeries trapped her, cut off her hair, and locked her within a thick furry coat. Threats and magic banished her from the clouds that were her home. She fell to the ocean.
With no home, she ended with a path across the water. She was a faerie in her element, but never felt so alone. Emotions rampant, rain followed her dutifully, a companion in pain.
To match her cold heart, the faerie wandered north. The rain slowly changed temperature, cooling her inside the heated hood that hid her beauty. As she wandered, she spoke with the rain. It was her friend, her pet, her creation. She was its master, but it was not under her control. They were partners in loneliness.
In the distance, the shore appeared. Where once waves ruled, ice slowly stole over. The faerie stepped lightly up onto the thin covering. The base of the mountain was finally visible. Inside the coat, the creature of water finally felt comfortable. Here would be her home, if the inhabitants allowed it.
The faerie knelt to the ground. She bowed her head respectfully. A gust of wind rushed off the mountainside, pushing her back up to her feet. The mountain had accepted her.
A sharp dagger bit into her hand. “Ow,” she noticed. The faerie glanced down. At her feet, barely big enough to reach her hand, was a glistening Snowickle.
“What makes you so angry?” she questioned, bringing herself down to face the Petpet eye to eye. “Are you bitter because of your size?”
The slithering Petpet growled at her. It nipped at her hand again, and she let the bite find its mark.
“You’re right, that was cruel of me. I think you look lovely just the way you are.”
The Petpet considered the compliment. It agreed with the observation of the faerie, and licked her hand to introduce itself.
“Pleased to meet you,” she responded. “My name is Taelia. Would you like to come with me? I’m travelling up the mountain to find a home. Do you have a home?”
The Snowickle shook its head in the same motion as its tail, quite sadly. He was as without a place to stay as she was. The little Petpet swept snow into Taelia’s lap with his tail and jumped up to curl into it. She laughed, a crystalline sound. “We’ll find a home together, then.”
The pair of Neopians walked onward. The rain had abated, but snow had taken its place. The Snowickle nearly danced in the falling flakes. Nearly no time had passed when they reached the base of the mountain.
Petpets mingled in the valley. They met, eyed each other warily, or just fought for fun. A few wandered off to take a nap in a corner. Taelia searched diligently for another Snowickle as they continued on, but there were none. The reclusive Petpets must have burrowed in somewhere for comfort.
Tilting upward, the land became more frozen. The snow cast by Taelia’s cloud softened their steps, but she still felt the cold tundra beneath. Suddenly, an idea hit the water faerie. After all, what was ice but water? The Snowickle sensed her excitement and paused to glance at her.
Taelia smiled at the Petpet, studying its features. Behind her, the ice molded to her will. With her magic, the faerie fashioned an imitation of the Snowickle. When she was finished, she stepped aside and tapped it with one finger. The statue sprung to life.
The new Snowickle sniffed at its real counterpart, examining it. The original eyed Taelia. What was the strange creation?
“It isn’t real. My animation magic will only last as long as I feed it. But until it does, you have a playmate.”
The Snowickle ran off with its mirror, snapping at each other and racing around the cavern. Taelia was happy for it. Nothing felt better than making a lonely Neopian happy. The water faerie continued up the winding path, approaching her final destination: the peak.
As the path became steeper, Taelia beat her wings slightly to ease the journey. The Snowickles followed together, racing to see who could catch up the quickest, then falling behind while they fought in a friendly manner. She laughed again, a clear sound that chimed behind them. The sound was stopped short by a gasp. They had reached the summit.
Soon the mountain’s view would be obscured by the approaching cloud. Through the love of the Petpets and the natural growth, the mountain slowly carried its peak skyward. But then, Taelia could see everything. Faerieland floated in the distance, with ocean waves eternally trying to reach it. Off to the east, a small village with strange inhabitants was growing next to a volcano. They were larger than most Neopians, but lacked the wings of faeries. And beneath her, frolicking Petpets lived happily.
A roar echoed right behind her. She turned. It was the Snowbeast! Taelia leapt into the air to take flight, but a large, hairy paw wrapped around her. She struggled against it, but the beast was too strong. She cried out in pain as the grip tightened.
Out of nowhere, her Snowickle leapt at the monster. It clawed its way up to the neck, wrapping around it tightly. Taelia felt her vision going dark. She fainted momentarily. Somewhere, a falsified Snowickle shattered.
When she returned to consciousness, the Snowbeast had dropped her to face his tiny opponent. The Snowickle dodged each reach with practiced agility. When the opportunities were presented, he bit the beast. Taelia struggled to her feet, but she was deprived of air still. Through hazy eyes, she saw the Snowbeast finally catch her champion and begin to crush it. She cast her spell to save the courageous little Petpet and fainted once again.
When she awoke once again, this time with a steady head, the Snowbeast was gone. She blinked a few times and struggled to her feet. Then she heard the roar.
It was an angry sound, filled with regret and rage. She turned to see the monster that now stood on the cliff, her sorrow-filled champion. The Snowickle’s survival had come at a cost it was unwilling to pay.
Taelia stared sadly at the giant before her now. She had cast a spell to enlarge her friend, to enable him to withstand the crushing blows. But it had gone too far. Her friend was enormous, far bigger than the tiny Snowickle had ever wanted to be.
“You’re angry with me,” she said. The beast lowered its large head to her level and snorted, then looked away.
“But you understand why I had to, right? You would have been crushed into snow dust.” She received no response. Taelia sighed. The snow continued to fall about her. She reached around her neck and unlatched a necklace.
The glimmering treasure was an heirloom of the faeries themselves. It glinted goldenly in the light, and it caught her once-friend’s eye. She wrapped it around his tooth for safekeeping.
“It’s yours,” she whispered, hiding the tears in her voice. “I’m sorry.”
The Snowickle roared. He stopped, stared at Taelia, and nodded his head. Then he burrowed into the earth, leaving a giant hole in the mountainside. The water faerie sat there silently, letting her frozen rain fall around her. What felt to be hours later, she stood up. This would be her home. The site of her greatest mistake. Taelia lifted her hands, the snow rising with them. She brought them together in a sound of thunder. In front of her was constructed an igloo, covering the gaping pit in the snow.
Taelia walked inside her new home, waiting alone for her friend to return.