The Fall of Faerieland: Part One
Finna ran in long, even, rhythmical strides, quite easy to do with her lengthy Ogrin legs. She reached the Elder’s hut in no less than five minutes, a fair amount of time from her own hut on the other side of the village. The Calabat perched on the thatched roof gave a high-pitched, “Ee-err, ee-err!” to alert the occupant of the hut that Finna was there. One such Calabat lived on the roof of every house in the village in a straw nest. They acted as doorbells and were, for a petpet native to the Haunted Woods, very amiable when raised right.
From inside the Elder’s hut, an old voice called, “That’s enough, Gillespie, enough!”
The Calabat immediately quieted down and remained there, examining Finna for a few moments, trying to decide if she was a threat to the Elder. With a snort, Gillespie soared a few feet up the roof to his nest.
The voice of the Elder came again, “Now then, who’s there?”
“It’s Finna, ma’am,” the purple Ogrin said confidently. “From the other side of the village.”
“Finna, dear!” the Elder called cheerfully. She knew all the children in the village and loved them all. “Do come in.”
Finna entered and looked around the hut. It was no more roomy than anyone else’s; the Elder did not like to feel entitled to something greater. There was a fireplace, which sent smoke out the crude chimney, and a soft bed like that which belonged to every villager. Two clumsily made rocking chairs were drawn close to the fire, and in one sat the oldest Ogrin Finna thought ever had lived. She used to have a luxurious blue coat, so the older folk said, but it had turned white over the who-knows-how-many decades. Finna didn’t know anyone who actually remembered the Elder’s real name - out of respect, everyone called her “Ma’am” like they were told to do when they were kids - parents, grandparents and children alike.
“What do you need, Finna dear?” the Elder asked politely. Just as everyone called her “ma’am”, she called all the kids “dear”. So it wasn’t “Earl” or “Lucinda”, it was “Earl dear” or “Lucinda dear”.
“Well, ma’am,” Finna said sheepishly, “I’m worried. There are big dark clouds churning everywhere now, and lightning is striking the trees with no rain. People say there’s something big going on, and that all of Neopia is going to be swallowed up in a huge hurricane!”
“Finna dear, don’t fret,” the Elder said softly in her old way of speaking. “When events such as these happen, rumors spring up like a garden does: the people plant the seeds, and the rumors grow. None of them are true, because no one knows what’s going on, not even me. We will find out when it happens, and at that time we have to be strong and face it with confidence. Do you understand, Finna dear?”
“I... I think so,” Finna replied shakily. “Thank you, ma’am.”
With that, she humbly got up and left the hut.
The next morning, the skies were even darker and the lightning brighter. The air was still when not shaken by booming thunder, and tension hung in the air like a Spyder web.
“Finna,” Finna’s mother asked her that morning, “the Elder has said for us all to stay in our homes starting this afternoon, as the storm has gotten worse. For this morning, we need to gather as much food as possible, because we don’t know how long we’ll need to be inside. I need to get buckets of water and vegetables, and your father is helping gather the Elder’s food, since she is certainly not capable of doing that herself, the poor old dear. Finna, I need you to go gather berries in the far field today. Be safe, and bring Aracione with you for protection. Be back at noon, Finna, make sure.”
“Alright, Mother,” Finna agreed. Aracione was her Melton, a fiery ball of a petpet that Finna held dear.
And so the pair set out on the walk to the far field, where all the best berries grew. Finna’s wicker basket was half full when she absentmindedly wandered off into a small grove. She had come there since she was very little, and nobody came to the silent woodlot but her. She lay down in the cool grass. She had not been there for a very long time, for she seldom went to the far field anymore. Lately she had been cooped up in the huts, helping to weave baskets (which she detested) and sew clothes (which she detested even more). Her mother worked repairing old clothes the villagers brought her that needed to be patched up.
It’s time you know about Finna’s village. She lived in a land sandwiched between the Haunted Woods (which is where the doorbell-like Calabats came from) and Brightvale. This left a small gap through which Neopia Central could be reached. Though their land was fruitful when it came to crops and delightful when it came to weather, nobody dared to venture out there because it was so close to the Haunted Woods. Finna’s was the only village out in that land, and all the pets living there were Ogrins. They loved their secret little way of life, and that little forgotten area was perfect for their Ogrin statures and habits. This land they called Ogrin-Haven. That was where the Ogrin Village (as only they called it, because only they knew of its existence) had been settled nearly a hundred years before and had since remained.
Finna did not realize she was nodding off until she woke up later, only to find Ogrin-Haven, her secret piece of the world, would never be the same.
A leaf blew onto the purple Ogrin’s face and Finna sneezed, waking herself up. She blinked her eyes a few times, only to have another leaf blow into them. She rubbed them again and observed a tremendous shower of autumn leaves falling all around her. The violent wind whipped her mane against her neck and the grove’s trees groaned as they swayed to and fro. Finna stopped in mid-yawn, realizing that she had drifted into sleep and things had changed quickly while she was dreaming now-forgotten dreams. The dark clouds were as deep a shade of purple as Finna’s fur, and furious bolts of lightning shot everywhere. Yet no rain fell at all!
The odd storm had gotten stronger and Finna felt a sudden wild instinct to flee far away. Doing her best to suppress it, she took a few deep breaths and unsteadily rose to her feet. Just then a massive object broke the clouds. It was as big as all the berry fields and the village combined and doubled - no, tripled or even quadrupled! It was the biggest... thing Finna had ever seen! It was as large as life itself, and Finna felt very afraid.
“Aracione,” Finna said slowly, panic building quickly in her voice. “Aracione!”
She had to shout at her Melton, because, as the petpet was literally a ball of fire, touching it would burn her skin. She wanted to shake the hovering petpet awake but resisted.
“Aracione!” Finna cried as the large object grew larger still. It seemed to be a mass of dark clouds and clots of earth... and was that a city on top of it?! A kingdom of crumbling pink towers and shops could vaguely be seen on the falling world that neared her village.
Aracione woke with a start and saw the massive object nearing the ground. She screeched in bewilderment at this new development of the strange storm.
“W-What is that thing?” Finna cried, both expecting and not expecting an answer. Aracione squeaked, at a loss. Finna felt very small and weak contrasted to this meteor of a kingdom.
Finna sprinted out of the grove, closely accompanied by Aracione, and came to the top of a peak overlooking Ogrin Village. The peak was called Flotsam Fin, named for its unique, outstretching - almost graceful - shape.
“Oh, no,” Finna whispered as realization dawned. “Aracione, it’s going to crush the village! We have to go back!”
Aracione squeaked in protest and shook her head as a warning.
“...you’re right,” Finna sighed. “If we go back, we’d be crushed as well. Look, Aracione - they’re leaving the village.”
About five dozen Ogrins lived in the large but quiet village, and now all of them were panicking to get out of the crashing land’s path. Screams and wails were heard as they realized that their beloved home would soon be reduced to rubble.
“Aracione,” Finna said sadly. “What if they don’t make it away in time?”
The land got closer and its shadow on the ground grew larger and spread over a bigger area. Finna watched with horror as the shadow got nearer to Flotsam Fin, where she stood, having assumed she would be safe at that distance. But as the falling kingdom drew ever closer, she saw how truly large it was.
“We need to get out of here - fast!” Finna said urgently to her Melton. “Run!”
To be continued...