Darkness Comes (Faerieland Falls)
Many, many thanks to Aifricr for critiquing this! :D Thank you!
The Faerieland Guards had been rounding a lot of people up; young and old, local and tourist alike would be found by the blank faced faeries and herded into the high, tower-like dungeons. Amongst these was Cellllerry, a bright Tyrannian Kougra, who was currently being escorted by three blank faced Air faeries who spoke little and seemed to react even less.
Cell was gently pushed into a... cell, which was surprisingly light and clean. The floor and walls were tiled with immaculate white, and there seemed to be two rooms – This first one looked almost like a kitchen, and the other seemed to have toilets in it. More like some sort of guest house than a dungeon.
She turned to see the doors slide shut and then almost immediately open again; another group of faeries, this time seven of various elements, threw a tall Korbat in. He sprawled on the ground, and Cell rushed over to see if he was ok as the faeries shut the door again.
The Kougra stiffened in surprise as she realised who the Korbat was – He was easily identified as none other than Lord Darigan!
He seemed dazed, but when she gave him a hesitant poke he stirred.
"Blast those faeries," was the first thing he said, pushing himself up off the ground and glaring at his surroundings. His eyes stopped on Cell.
"Who are you, Kougra?"
She weighed up the situation mentally, then shrugged. "My name's Cellllerry, but people call me Cell."
Lord Darigan smiled slightly. "I am Lord Darigan, ruler of Darigan Citadel. I think you know this."
"Sooo... Why'd they throw you in here?" the Kougra asked cautiously.
The Korbat snarled. "I don't know! I was invited to come here and speak to Fyora, but as soon as I arrived I was set upon by the faeries themselves! It is extremely out of character."
Cell had a kind of 'cool story, bro,' look on her face. "Well, I was just up to finish a Quest, myself," she said. She produced a small jar of glitter from somewhere about her person, and added, "Had to give some Air faerie this."
Lord Darigan gave it a glance, then began to pace up and down the small kitchen-room.
"Look," he said. "We can't just sit here and watch the whole of Neopia being corralled in here – We must find a way to escape."
Cell nodded in agreement. "There's windows," she replied, "But they're strong. So I guess we should have a look around, first. Check for enchantments or passageways, that sort of thing."
They both began to systematically run their hands – paws, in Cellllerry's case – along the walls and floor. It wasn't long before Darigan stopped, and pulled at an almost imperceptible groove in the floor. "This one's fake..." he muttered. "Look, it slides back."
It did indeed. The Korbat yanked it back, and an entire row of tiles collapsed backwards underneath each other. This revealed a shallow open pipe, filled with what looked horribly like unstable slime. The evil smelling, bubbling green stuff that no sane person would use in the battledome for fear it would burn their own fingers off.
Both pairs of eyes widened as their owners scrabbled to get away from it.
After moving right back to the opposite wall and spending an intensive ten minutes checking that the slime was nowhere other than the pipe, Lord Darigan voiced what they both had nasty suspicions about.
"You don't think... This stuff gets into the air?"
Cell nodded in uneasy horror. "I bet it does stuff to your brain... We need to get out right now."
They continued searching, slightly faster now but not so much that they would miss things. There was nothing else in the first room, but in the other...
In the other room Cell found something interesting.
A wet patch, directly under the windows, and a discarded-looking mop. They did not look as if they had been there for any length of time; as if they had just been dropped in a hurry...
Lord Darigan stared over her at it. "It can't have been there for more than five minutes before we were thrown in here..." he said slowly. "But we would have seen anyone come out..."
Cell just paused for a moment. "Oh, seriously..." she murmured. "Surely they weren't that stupid..."
She stood up and gave the room a second, thorough, glance.
"The way I see it..." she began carefully, "There was a cleaner in here. Probably a neopet rather than a faerie; I can't see them mopping floors."
Lord Darigan nodded. "But they couldn't have come out..."
He trailed off, and Cell finished his sentence. "Unless they had wings." She stood up on her hind legs, and gave the window a firm push.
It swung outwards with no resistance, letting in a breeze. Cell laughed aloud. "Fail them!" she yelled happily. "We may be a couple of thousand feet up, but since when has that mattered?" She turned back to Lord Darigan. "Your wings do work, right?"
He nodded again, smiling. "Just give me a moment to get them warmed up. I haven't flown much in these past few years."
Cell moved to the side as the Korbat's huge wings unfolded to their full magnificent length. They spanned almost the entire room, and unlike most Korbat's, weren't joined to his arms. He began to flap them rhythmically.
"All right, you'll have to go through the window first so I can catch y-"
His voice was interrupted suddenly by a brilliant purple light filling the room, and a faerie appeared.
She looked furious.
"So, you thought you could escape? ME? A mere neopet and a fallen lord of a powerless land against the highest Queen on Neopia?" Her hands started to glow dangerously.
Lord Darigan yelled, "GO!" and Cell went. She leaped out of the high window and for a second plummeted straight down, with the horrible feeling that she was going to DIE.
But then she was jerked up as the Korbat's strong arms caught her round the stomach, and his wings snapped out, allowing them to glide on an upwards draft. Fast.
Cell heard the Faerie Queen's distant screech, as Lord Darigan flapped faster away from the city.
After he judged it a safe enough distance, the Korbat wheeled slightly in the air to look back at the city.
Clouds, bathed in deep pink and purple hues, seemed to be sucked towards the city, wrapping around it and covering the lower regions in mist. The buildings came inwards, towards the centre like a slow tornado.
Jhudora's bluff was the last thing to be dragged towards it, moving as if magnetised. Dark cloud vapour was forming underneath it, straining to be off the ground.
Freeze frame the scene and you had the Fall of Faerieland al over again. But view it moving...
View it moving and it was as if someone had hit the replay button on the world.
The two watching it gaped.
Lord Darigan, disbelief clear in his voice, said softly, "She's making it go up... That must require HUGE amounts of energy..."
Cell replied, even quieter, "Maybe she's drawing it from the prisoners."
She felt that they should go back and fight. She wished they could go back and fight. But she knew how powerful Fyora was said to be, and so it would be stupid to return.
She sighed, deeply, and asked, "Lord Darigan? Can we go home?"
He looked down at her, and then back up and the mighty glow of Faerieland, the occasional flicker of lightning playing within it's cloudbank.
"...Yes," he said. "That would probably be the best thing to do, now."
So Cell told him where her owner's neohome was – Tyrannia – and he carried her there, casting a terrifying shadow in the cool evening air as he flew.
In most stories the hero (or heroine) would have stayed and fought. But both Lord Darigan and Cell were fully aware that the Queen of the Faeries was probably the most powerful being on the planet, and that anyone who clashed with her now would almost certainly die.
And that's how I came to meet Lord Darigan (not in his Chambers in the Citadel, which I kept getting told off for going into).There was a thump on the land outside our Neohome, and myself and my three other pets came out to see what it was.
An amazing scene, which will stay with us forever.
Darigan stood tall, outlined by the setting sun's red light, his wings unfurled. And Cell just ran straight to us. "Hello, people!" she exclaimed. "You'll never guess how the Quest went!"
(This was all based on a dream... That's my only excuse for any randomness ;)
(This is also the first short story I've EVER finished! Happy days.)