Faerie Tales from After the Fall: Part Two
The Grey Faerie
I know I should feel sad about the fall of Faerieland, but how can I feel sad when my life has changed for the better since then?
It has been years since my wings, and my powers, were stolen from me by a wicked dark faerie. Before the fall, the other faeries never understood what it was like for me, how it felt to be unable to cast even the simplest spell. They were kind to me, to an extent, though the pity in their eyes was often shadowed by incomprehension. They did not know what it was like to be wingless, powerless, hopeless.
Then came that fateful Faerie Festival, and the fall of Faerieland.
I learned later that the spell that turned us to stone for those weeks (or was it months?) also sapped the magical powers of the other faeries. When the spell was lifted, I, no longer having any magic of my own, merely felt a bit stiff from being held in one position for so very long. For the other faeries, it was much worse. They didn't have enough power between them to cast even the simplest spells. For the first, and only, time in their lives, they were as powerless as I.
As we began to recover, I saw the pity in the others' eyes joined by understanding. "This is how you feel, every single day? This is what it's like for you, all the time?" their eyes seemed to ask.
As we started to rebuild, I could see the others' attitudes towards me changing, day by day. They began to accept me in a way they never had before. I am still powerless, still wingless, but the others no longer see me as a freak. They know, now, a little of what it feels like to be me.
As I walk through New Faerieland, and see the crumbled towers and the homes still being rebuilt, I feel more at home than I ever did in that land atop the clouds. Like me, Faerieland is broken, flightless, the crumbled ruins of that once proud land. No matter how much effort we put into rebuilding it, we will still always remember the sight of our crumbled home.
I know it's wrong, but I cannot help but feel glad for what Xandra did--it's helped me accept myself as I am, in a way I never could before.
The Space Faerie
I suppose I had it the easiest of all the faeries, after the fall. I could fly away from Faerieland, escape from Neopia, and return to my home among the stars, away from all the problems that resulted from the fall of Faerieland. Looking out at the stars helps put my problems in perspective.
It could have been so much worse.
Whenever I look down at Neopia and see the spot over the ocean where Faerieland used to be, I tell myself that we got off lightly. I thank my lucky stars, individually and by name, that Sloth did not conquer Neopia while we faeries were all turned to stone. We could have woken up to find ourselves imprisoned by that mad doctor while he ruled Neopia with an iron fist. I constantly have nightmares about that scenario.
Fortunately, I am not the only one keeping Sloth under surveillance. Valka and his Resistance movement are still constantly on the watch, and after what happened last time Sloth tried to take over, we came up with a number of contingency plans to use against Sloth when I am not available for whatever reason.
I laugh every time I think of what Valka and Gorix did to make sure Sloth was too preoccupied to take advantage of the faeries' petrification. They told me they found a way to flood the Space Station's communication channels with advertisements for Grarrl Hair Goo and Hubrid Nox memorabilia. I wish I could have seen Sloth's face the day they made all the computers on the Space Station display everything in the native Grundo language! They even let loose a bunch of Sludgies in one of the main control rooms. I thank them every time I see them; without them, we would have had a lot more to worry about than incursions of zombies and ghost Meepits.
I still feel a pang in my heart every time I look down at Neopia and see the crater that is Faerieland, for I am still a faerie, and there is still some part of me that thinks of Faerieland as home. But from up here, the pain is distant, and I have the leisure to turn away and let time heal those wounds.
The Library Faerie
Most of the other faeries will tell you they remember every second of the day the petrification spell was lifted from us and we awoke to the sight of our land in ruins. For me, most of that day is a blur. I know I must have awoken, as the others did, in that garden the Faerie Festival was held in, and I must have walked through the remains of Faerie City, though I didn't notice anything until I arrived at my library.
Correction: until I arrived at where my library had been.
The sight of the crumbled remains of the Royal Faerieland Library shocked me out of the daze I had been in ever since the spell was lifted. My library, my life and my home, was now nothing more than a mound of pink and purple rubble. I stood there for some time, too shocked by the enormity of what had happened. My life up until then had been fairly uneventful, so much so that this tragedy shook me to the very core.
At some point, I started digging through the rubble. I had to find out if any of my precious books had survived. A few of the other faeries, whose homes had received only minimal damage in the crash, drifted over to help me. After nearly an hour, I found the first book, An Illustrated History of Jelly. I dusted off the cover and leafed through the book, amazed that it looked as good as new. Even though I was weakened as a result of that petrification spell, I could feel the protection wards I'd placed on all my books, which were fortunately still active. I closed my eyes and ran my fingers lightly across the front cover, delighting in the feel of the wards that had protected this book, and hopefully all of my other books as well.
Some years before, a small fire faerie had, completely by accident, nearly destroyed a rare manuscript that was part of my library's collection. I resolved then and there to find a way to protect my precious books from any and all mishaps that might befall them. It took a while to work out, but I found a way to protect the books by using the power of the very words in the books themselves to build wards to protect the books from harm. It was a tricky bit of recursive spellcasting, but as I stood there amidst the rubble of what had been my library, I knew it had been worth it.
A hand on my shoulder brought me back to the present, and I turned to find the Queen standing by my side. I caught a glimpse of her sorrow-filled amethyst eyes before my manners returned, and I sank into a deep curtsy.
"I am truly sorry about your library," she said as I stood up.
"It's all right," I replied, managing a small smile. I was probably the first of us to find something to smile about after the fall. "I think most of the books survived; the ward spells on them appear to still be active."
"Good. The Hidden Tower survived unscathed, and there's a storage room there you can store your books in until the library's rebuilt."
"Thank you, Your Highness," I murmured, again dropping into a curtsy.
The Queen nodded her head in acknowledgment of my thanks, then moved on down the rubble-strewn street. I resumed digging, and as I unearthed more books I piled them neatly by the side of the road.
With the help of some of the other faeries, it took only a few days to find all the books and store them in the Hidden Tower. By the Queen's command, the rebuilding of the library took top priority, even over the rebuilding of the palace.
Now, nearly a year after the fall, my beloved library is fully rebuilt, all the books are back on the shelves, and my life has returned to some semblance of normality. I still have nightmares, though, about seeing my library in ruins, and I wonder how long it will take for me to fully recover from that shock.
I. Hate. Trees. Trees remind me of Illusen, whom I loathe with all my being. And no, I won't tell you what that whole feud is all about--that's top secret classified information.
Anyway, my evil lair is now surrounded by trees, which makes it resemble Illusen's home to some degree, which has given me an almost constant headache ever since I awoke from that petrification spell. It doesn't matter that I'm now close to the border with the Haunted Woods, either. They're still trees. At least the Queen allowed me to rename my lair Jhudora's Bluff; if I'd had to call it Jhudora's Glade I would have screamed. Loudly. And probably blown up a few things for good measure.
Illusen had a really good laugh that day the petrification spell was lifted, and she saw what had become of my lair. She was the only one who found anything amusing about the fact that Faerieland was now a crater near the Haunted Woods. If I'd been able to cast any spells that day, she would have ended up as a Mortog in that Kiss the Mortog game in Meridell. Sadly, that petrification spell sapped most of our magic, so I had to be content with ignoring her and stalking off to my ruined lair.
Ruined was an understatement. Half the towers were tilted at weird angles, my Bartamus was nowhere to be found, most of my furniture was smashed to pieces, and all of the potion bottles in my workroom had fallen on the floor and broken, creating some strange chemical reactions (I'm still trying to get the stains off the ceiling). Fortunately, the books in my personal library all survived unscathed; a couple years ago I blackmailed--erm, I mean, bribed the Library Faerie to place protective wards on the books in my library. Still, it took me months to replace everything, even with the aid of my loyal questers. To top it off, the repairs to my lair ended up at the bottom of the Queen's list of construction projects, below repairs to the Rainbow Fountain, which makes no sense, since it's not like the Rainbow Fountain ever worked in the first place!
So now, one year later, my lair is still surrounded by trees, my roof still leaks, and I haven't had any luck finding a way to bring Faerieland back to the clouds. I do have a doozy of a revenge scheme planned out for Xandra, though, for whenever the Queen decides to release her.
The Battle Faerie
Between the incursions of zombies, Meepits of all descriptions, and the ever-present threat of Balthazar, the past year has been a security nightmare! This is even worse than that time I had to let everyone and their Warf into the Queen's private chambers to use the portal to Altador!
The day that petrification spell was lifted was one of the worst days of my life, though most of the faeries will probably tell you that. After the effects of the spell wore off, I spread my wings and flew up into the air to get a feel for what had happened. My jaw dropped when I saw the ruins of Faerieland spread out below me. I have trained myself not to let my emotions get in the way of my work, though it was with a heavy heart that I flew around Faerieland that day, cataloguing the damage and assessing the security risks.
I will not bore you with the details. Suffice it to say that, in my position as Commander of the Queen's Guards and head of palace security, I really had my work cut out for me. I'm not certain I slept more than four hours a night during the first few weeks after the crash. At least half of my guards are Neopets, who wisely evacuated Faerieland before the crash, and who were slow to return afterwards, so we were stretched really thin for a while there.
It didn't help that Faerieland was now right next to the Haunted Woods, home of the faeries' worst enemy, Balthazar the faerie hunter. In the first two months after the crash I had to chase him off a dozen times, and I am very grateful he can't capture us larger, more powerful faeries in his bottles, or we would surely be doomed.
There were also a half-dozen or so Meepit invasions I had to deal with, as well as countless incidents with zombies roaming the streets of Faerie City. The latter were the easiest to deal with, as zombies don't like fire, and I happen to wield the Sword of Flame (and the Sword of Ice, but zombies aren't anywhere near as scared of ice as they are of fire). Pretty much any fire faerie can drive away zombies with very little effort, like that small fire faerie who drove away the zombies that were chasing the Library Faerie that one time.
That's what gave me the idea to station the smaller faeries around the border, hidden in the trees so they'd be harder for Balthazar to catch, since Lupes aren't known for their tree-climbing skills. Their job is merely to alert myself or any of the members of my guard if trouble is approaching. So far the system has worked well; only a few of the border guard faeries have been caught by Balthazar, and they have prevented a few zombie incursions.
Thankfully, the Queen and I were recently able to set up some protective wards around the border, which should prevent Balthazar from getting inside Faerieland, as well as preventing any more zombies or Meepits from trying to invade our recovering land. The border guards are still there, though, in case the ward spells fail.
I truly miss the clouds, and I wish there had been some way to prevent Faerieland from falling from the skies.
The Faerie Queen
It has been one year since the fall of Faerieland. One year of constant heartache, sleepless nights, and days overflowing with work. One year of mourning all we lost that day, all the dreams that died in the crash, all the things that will never be the same again.
I am the Faerie Queen. It is my job to protect the faeries from harm, and I have failed. Somehow, in some way, I should have been able to prevent this, though I have yet to figure out how. I tell myself every day that it was not my fault, without avail. Faerieland fell on my watch, brought down by a sorceress I helped train.
Something died within me that day the petrification spell was lifted from us, and I looked around and saw Faerieland, my kingdom and my home, in ruins. I was the first to venture out of that garden, for I had to find out what had happened, why we were no longer atop the clouds. As Brynn and the others explained it to me, I felt my heart sinking to the depths of Maraqua. I am the Queen of Faerieland, and I had contributed to the fall of Faerieland, if only by leaving something out of Xandra's education, leaving her to believe we faeries do nothing but sit atop the clouds all day and argue amongst ourselves.
I am amazed at how well some of the others have adapted to our new home. Perhaps it is just harder for me, as Queen, to learn to accept our position here. Tears well up in my eyes every time I look out of the windows of my palace and see, not the shimmering clouds I have known for so long, but the glades and rivers of New Faerieland.
I shall have to learn to accept, if not to love, this new land of ours. I know full well we will never be able to return Faerieland to the skies, though I do not know how many of the others realize this. It will not be a pleasant task to break that news to them, though I will have to tell them someday.
Perhaps some good may come of this, though. I have been wondering for the past few months if perhaps Xandra did not have some tiny grain of truth in her claims about the faeries' position in Neopia. I do not intend to rule all of Neopia--it's hard enough just keeping the faeries in line--but I think perhaps I should work harder to strengthen our relationships with the other lands of Neopia. It will be a very hard balance to strike, and maintain, which is why I have chosen to remain aloof for so long, but it may be time for the faeries to do more for Neopia than just keep the shadow wraiths at bay.
It has been a hard year, recovering form the fall and rebuilding our homes, and I fear there will be many hardships yet to come. We are still far from recovered, our homes are not yet completely rebuilt, and I do not know how much longer it will take. Time does heal some wounds, though, and I must just let things take their course.