Faerie Tales from After the Fall: Part One
If you walk through the edges of Faerieland at night, you will see lights of yellow, red, purple, green, and pale blue adorning the branches of the trees. These are not mere conjured faerie lights, but actual faeries, who sit in the trees night and day and watch the borders, ready to summon help if Balthazar ventures too close to the borders of Faerieland. These are the tiniest and weakest of the faeries, the ones small enough to fit into the dreaded bottles carried by that feared faerie hunter, the ones with the most to lose if Balthazar were to roam unhindered through the glades of New Faerieland.
We often forget about these small denizens of Faerieland, thinking only of their larger and more famous sisters, tales of whom are spread far and wide throughout Neopia. Yet all faeries, large and small, famous and unknown, were affected by the fall of Faerieland, and all have stories to tell about how they have adapted to their new home. What follows are just some of them.
Fair were the towers tall,
One invisible to all,
That stood, before the fall,
In olden Faerieland.
I sing softly to myself as I watch the woods from my perch in a large tree. Around me, in the other trees, many of my fellow faeries sit, all watching, listening, alert for any signs of ghosts or zombies, hoping against hope that Balthazar won't dare to venture this close to Faerieland, hoping that we aren't making ourselves into targets. From where I sit, a line of trees stretches all the way around the borders of Faerieland, each bearing in its bows small faeries of all sorts, whose job is solely to watch the borders, and alert the more powerful faeries if any fearsome denizens of the Haunted Woods try to sneak in uninvited. We small faeries might not have much power, but we do have enough to summon those who can drive away unwanted visitors to our beloved, recovering, land. We can even summon the Battle Faerie to our aid, if the situation is dire enough, though I hope it never is.
It was not always like this. Before, when Faerieland rested atop the clouds, there was no real need for us to guard the borders. Balthazar never ventured out of the Haunted Woods if he could help it, so we were safe enough in our floating world.
It was glorious up there in the clouds! I was in my element, flying freely through the clouds and sky, above the world, above all the problems of those on the ground. I am an air faerie, and as such there could be no better home for me than the cloud-borne land of the faeries. How I miss it so!
My job in Old Faerieland was simple. I flew around my allotted sector, making sure the clouds that carried our wondrous home were stable, seeking areas of the clouds that had grown weak, then telling the more powerful air faeries so they could fix it. It was a simple job, some might say monotonous, but I loved it, for it let me do what I loved best, flying through that land atop the clouds.
Then everything changed.
I remember that day so well, the day we all awoke from that spell, only to find our beloved land had fallen from the skies. I was still perched in the branches of a tree, where I had a good view of the Festival. The first thing I saw when the curse was lifted was our beloved Queen, a look of great sorrow and grief on her face. Looking around, I understood. This was Faerieland, and yet it wasn't. We were no longer atop the clouds. Some benign magic had kept us safe while our beautiful homeland was brought down, crumbled, destroyed.
In the time since that fateful day, we have learned to adapt to our new home. It has been so hard for us air faeries, though, for we are no longer atop the clouds, in our native element. My old life was gone, my old job purposeless, as there were no longer any clouds upholding our fair land.
It was the Battle Faerie, so I heard, who came up with the idea of stationing us smaller, weaker faeries around the border, ready to alert the others of any approaching dangers. Supposedly there were incidents involving some of the less desirable Neopets of the Haunted Woods coming to Faerieland and causing havoc, though I have no proof of whether these stories are true or not. I do know that all of us smaller faeries have never felt safe here, this close to the Haunted Woods.
Balthazar lives in the Haunted Woods, and it is every faerie's worst nightmare, to find themselves placed in a small enchanted bottle, held in the paws of that large, evil Lupe. Can you imagine what it must be like, what horror it would be for an air faerie, to be enclosed in a bottle just barely big enough to contain you, trapped for who knows how long? I hope, for your sake, that your never have to find out. So far, I have avoided that fate, though I have nightmares about it often enough.
I hope to continue to avoid that fate, as I sit in my tree and watch for trouble. I sing to myself, to keep my spirits up, to keep my mind from wandering too much from my appointed task.
Now the towers, broken all,
Rest beside a waterfall;
Their crumbled forms remind us all
That pride did come before the fall
Of olden Faerieland.
There is this to be said for New Faerieland: it does have more rivers, lakes, and streams that Old Faerieland ever did. Oh, there was always the Healing Springs, and the Rainbow Fountain, and there used to be a lovely pond in the Queen's gardens, but that was hardly enough water to support very many water faeries. Most chose to leave the clouds when they were old enough, preferring to make their homes in the oceans of Neopia. I was one of the few water faeries who always lived in Faerieland. I made my home in the Healing Springs, and spent my days helping the faerie of the Springs keep her healing waters flowing cleanly.
It seems odd, now that I think about it, that water faeries were not more integral to keeping Old Faerieland floating atop the clouds; clouds are made of water and air, after all. The air faeries always claimed they had it all under control, though, and with so few water faeries actually living in Old Faerieland, we just left them to it.
It's rather a different story now.
New Faerieland has enough bodies of water to support quite a few water faeries, and after the crash many water faeries decided to make their homes here. It's so nice to have so many other water faeries to talk to! Don't worry, we don't spend all our time gossiping with each other. There's far too much for us to do!
Water faeries obviously can't sit in the trees and guard the borders of New Faerieland like the other small faeries do, but we can guard it from the water, making sure that no one who isn't supposed to be here gets in by boat. There are a few water faeries in charge of collecting the neopoints hopeful Neopians toss into the pond near the entrance of the Faerie Caverns for luck, but their job isn't nearly as important, or as fun, as mine.
I am now one of the many water faeries charged with cleaning and maintaining the waterways of New Faerieland. I spend my days swimming through the large, slow river that runs in front of Faerie City, looking for things in the water that shouldn't be there. If they're small enough, I pick them up and place them at certain spots on the river banks for the other faeries to sort through. If I find something that's too large for me to lift, I make a note of its location and tell the larger, more powerful water faeries about it.
I've found many treasures under the waters, though most of them have brought tears to my eyes. So many things ended up under the waters of my river when Faerieland fell from the skies, and even now, nearly a year later, I'm still finding reminders of how our land came to be like this. Waterlogged books, the words soaked off their pages. Stones from the houses and towers of Faerie City. Trinkets and jewelry, propelled from homes when Faerieland crashed into the ground. Old photographs, remnants of preservation spells keeping the faces of smiling faeries from fading entirely. Little bits of faeries' lives, small tokens thought lost forever, that somehow ended up at the bottom of the river.
There is some small part of me that grieves for the loss of Old Faerieland, but I prefer my beautiful river to the clouds.
Of course I miss Old Faerieland! What faerie wouldn't?
Did you really think a dark faerie like me could ever have been happy in somewhere so bright and sparkly? Please! New Faerieland is so much better! Why? One word: caves.
Yeah, I know, there were always the famed Faerie Caves, but they were still all pink and sparkly. So what if pink is the Queen's favorite color? Does that really mean all of Faerieland has to be pink and sparkly? Don't we dark faeries get a say in the color scheme of our homeland? We do make up one sixth of the population of faeries in Neopia, you know.
Sorry about that. What was I talking about again? Oh, yeah, caves. You see, being a dark faerie, albeit a small one, I like hanging out in caves and other dark places. All us dark faeries can see in the dark, and there's just something about exploring caves that makes me happy. Which is why I love New Faerieland. All those cliffs and bluffs contain enough caves to keep me entertained for years to come! I've found all sorts of caves and crevices in the cliffs behind Faerie City. There's some nice little holes in the cliffs near the Healing Springs, too. I tried looking for caves under Jhudora's Bluff one day, but Jhudora saw me and chased me away. Whatever she's working on in that castle of hers must be something she doesn't want anyone to know about, not even her fellow dark faeries.
The best caves in New Faerieland are, of course, the famed Faerie Caverns, which are where I spend most of my time. And no, I don't go in there looking for treasure; I'm actually one of the ones preventing you from finding the treasure. Bet you didn't realize that whole thing was a setup, did you? The water faeries collect the neopoints you toss in the pond out front. The fire faeries make those torches that are stacked near the entrance, which are enchanted to go out at random intervals. We dark faeries are the ones who randomly change the position of the caves, so that the treasure is never in the same spot twice in a row. Actually, since I'm not a particularly powerful dark faerie, I just make the spooky shadows you see in some of the caves. You thought those were really Wadjets or something, right? Nope, it's just little me, using the ancient dark faerie art of shadow manipulation.
So, yeah, I like New Faerieland. I just wish it wasn't so close to the Haunted Woods--I keep having nightmares about getting caught by Balthazar.
Light. Shining stars, burning sun, pale glowing moon, all light our way as we journey through life. It is my element, my love, my life. I am a light faerie, glowing constantly with the yellow warmth of the sun, of candlelight, of lanterns hung from trees on a summer's evening. I spend my time in the branches of a tree on the border, a tiny yellow faerie light amidst the green leaves, watching, waiting, ready to call for help if something nasty comes my way.
Darkness falls. I become one small light of many, marking the edge of the enchanted land of the faeries, making the trees that ring the border look like they're decorated for the Day of Giving.
The ground below my tree is hard, unyielding, dark, so unlike the clouds of what I still think of as home. In Old Faerieland, the clouds that made up the ground were soft, fluffy, glowing with a pale light even in the darkest night. Our whole land shone for all to see, a shining beacon in the skies, promising light, warmth, comfort, happiness.
Sorrow, my antithesis, fills me every time I think of my former home. I am a light faerie, I am supposed to be happy, laughing, joyful, finding light in all things. Instead all I feel is sadness, homesickness, longing for a world that is no more. I am a faerie, meant to fly through the skies on wings of light, not to be bound to the cold, hard ground.
Bottles. The nightmares haunt me still, from the time I spent trapped in one of Balthazar's bottles, alone, afraid, unable to see much from inside my enchanted glass prison. I was released not long before that Faerie Festival, staying only long enough to give a young Acara the ability Magic Torch, before I flew back to my home, the land atop the clouds, now remembered only as Old Faerieland.
Stone. I had only been free for a week when we were all turned to stone, petrified, held captive as our home fell from the skies. Frozen in time, what little magic I have being drained from my veins, that is how I imagine it must have felt, though I remember nothing from the time the spell took hold until it was lifted.
Hope. When I was bottled, that was what sustained me, kept me going, the hope than one day someone would free me, that I would see my home again.
There is no hope left. Faerieland has fallen, and will never return to the skies.
What words come to mind when you look at the landscape of New Faerieland? For me, the words green, trees, peaceful, idyllic, nature, and home describe the scene. I'm an earth faerie, so I'm at home in any place with healthy green trees and carpets of thick green grass. To me, the green glades of New Faerieland feel so much more like home than the fluffy pink clouds of Old Faerieland ever did.
It took a lot of work on the part of us earth faeries to get New Faerieland to look this pretty. Since we're on the edge of the Haunted Woods, the trees that weren't destroyed in the crash were dead or dying, and had to be restored using earth faerie magic. We also had to plant quite a few new trees, and speed their growth with our magic, which took a great deal of time and effort, but the end result is spectacular! We've managed to turn this once-barren corner of the Haunted Woods into a veritable earth faerie paradise, with lush vegetation and beautiful scenery to distract the eye from the sight of Faerie City, which is still being rebuilt.
Even though I'm a fairly small earth faerie, with limited magical powers, I still found ways to help my larger and more powerful faerie sisters turn this crater into a haven. Though I do not have the power to revitalize a dying tree, I can tell how far gone a tree is, and whether it should be cared for or uprooted. I helped plant the seeds for the grass that now covers our lovely home, and I planted a few of the saplings the others turned into the great trees that form the glades of this, our home.
These days, I help tend the trees along the border, watching for signs of trouble while making sure the trees stay healthy. The trees along the border of Faerieland were taken from the Haunted Woods, and revitalized with earth faerie magic. They aren't the sentient trees found elsewhere in the Haunted Woods, but if you know how to listen, they can warn you if danger is near. These trees are my friends, standing guard along the border, and they'll let me know if trouble is nigh. I'm safe within their branches.
I love it here. I hope I never have to go back to the skies.
Seriously, who put all these trees here? And all this water? How's a fire faerie supposed to practice her magic around here without setting fire to the trees or angering the water faeries?
I liked it better in Old Faerieland. We were surrounded by air, which can either feed fire or blow it out. It was a nice balance. Those clouds were pretty hard to incinerate, too. I didn't have to worry about starting a wild fire every time I sneeze, and there wasn't as much water to accidentally fall into while flying around Faerie City. It's not like I'm even a powerful fire faerie, either. I don't know how the others stand it, and I'm amazed none of the larger fire faeries have accidentally started a major conflagration yet. Then again, maybe I'm just rather more accident prone than the others.
Mind you, life in New Faerieland isn't all bad. There were some hilarious incidents involving creatures from the Haunted Woods before the Queen set up a border guard. Like that time a group of zombies were chasing the Library Faerie through the streets of Faerie City. I was actually the one who chased those zombies off, you know. Turns out zombies don't like fire, and even the small fireballs I can conjure were enough to scare them off. The Library Faerie was very grateful for my help, at least until she remembered that incident from a few years ago, involving yours truly and a rare edition manuscript. Yeah, she's still angry about that one.
Then there was the time Balthazar was chasing me, and he ended up falling into the Rainbow Fountain. That was hilarious! I wish I'd been able to get a picture of Balthazar with his fur changing five different colors all at once. He was not happy about that, I can tell you! It probably would've ended badly for the Fountain Faerie if the Battle Faerie hadn't swooped down and driven Balthazar off. Needless to say, I've had to avoid that corner of Faerieland ever since, since the Fountain Faerie is both a powerful water faerie and really angry at me.
After those incidents, it was a relief when the Battle Faerie drafted me into the new border guard. Now I spend my days desperately trying not to set fire to my assigned tree as I watch for any signs of trouble. The first zombie that dares to approach my station is going to get a face full of fireballs. Which, given my luck, will probably start a major forest fire.
Yeah, I miss Old Faerieland. There weren't as many trees to accidentally incinerate, and fewer water faeries to get mad at me.
To be continued...
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