Never My Fault
Where did I go wrong?
Was it when I made that bargain with The Three? No... No, it's their fault, not mine. It's never my fault, ever! It's not my fault they didn't tell me I'd have my body turned into dust by their foul magic if I failed them! They helped me get that old fool Darigan out of the way – I was this close to conquering Meridell, to carving a new empire that would dominate Neopia! It's their fault that they couldn't just accept a setback! Why, if I was still in Neopia, I would have taken the thrones of Skarl, Darigan and Hagan – perhaps the Emperor of Shenkuu, Kelpbeard, Jazan and maybe even Fyora herself! I was the greatest – No! I am the greatest tactical mind the Citadel has ever seen. It's not my fault Galgarroth couldn't see that.
Smoldering old Grarrl. He was always too obsessed with "the rules of war" this and "honorable combat" that. Pah! Any real commander would quickly tell you there's no room for honor in warfare. Only the strong survive, and I am clearly the strongest of mind! It's Galgarroth's fault for not seeing that and being too caught up in his own self-righteousness.
Why am I even talking to myself? Being isolated here, in the deepest, darkest abyss of the Three's realm... Shackled to dark, unbreakable chains in a prison they designed specifically for someone as powerful as myself. It isn't my fault I got dragged here. No, nothing's ever my fault. It's Darigan's fault, yes, it's his fault!
I don't care that the old fool took me in as a cub. He was even more pretentious than Galgarroth – he always tried to tell me how "the needs of the people are more important than your own." I'm more important than any mere peasant! I'm descended from a long line of nobility – it isn't my fault that my father went and spent away his inheritance on frivolities. Yes, that couldn't be my fault, now, could it?
"How long has it been on the outside," I think to myself. I know I don't have any good answers, but I don't care. Anything to keep myself from going even madder from this isolation. Yes, anything, Kass, even if it means you're talking to yourself like that demented Korbat locked up in the dungeons.
Is that what I've become? "Kass the Insane?" If I escape this torment, will I have my sanity intact? I need to keep my tactical mind intact. It isn't my fault Hadrak and his spies didn't know Darigan came back from here. And if a self-righteous old fool like Darigan can escape The Three, surely a shrewd tactician such as myself can! Yes, Kass, keep reassuring yourself. You'll make it out of here, and then you can exact as much vengeance as you want on Darigan, the Knights of Meridell, and even The Three themselves! Yes, they'll all pay for what they did to you, Kass. Jeran, Vex, Skarl, Galgarroth, Darigan... They'll all suffer.
But none of them will suffer more than that miserable little whelp, Sir Hunter. He thinks he can just saunter up in his polished armor and try and finish Jeran's fight? He and Ashlynne honestly think they stood a chance against my minions! Pah!
And yet, that blasted Paladin and Sorceress did so! And I know they've been on travels across Neopia – fighting evil, gaining equally pathetic allies such as a Ninja and a Timewalker. If I were to return, I'd make sure those four were my first targets. Yes, they'll all pay – none of them more so than Hunter. I swore to myself I would wipe out his family line after his father humiliated me... I will make him suffer for the sins of his father, yes.
Kass, Kass, Kass, why are you still talking to yourself? You're just as insane as that old Lupe locked up in the dungeons talking about a world full of jelly! Think, Kass, think! If Darigan could escape, so can you...
For a brief moment, I felt it. I felt the Three's power weaken – the ethereal chains that bound me were seemingly rusting away. I heard a scream – Ambition's voice, by the sound of it – that suddenly halted as if she was frozen. Or perhaps... Petrified. Morguss was always looking for some way to ensure the Faeries wouldn't get in my way... I tugged against the chain that bound my arm, and it snapped – after all, Ambition was the one who had the most power over me. I broke another chain, and another. I stood up, a smirk crossing my beak. "Well, that was surprisingly easy," I mused to myself, "But it's certain to be more difficult... But first, I should pay Ambition a little visit."
After stretching my wings, I flew up to her tower – the souls of those who had been cursed to live here for eternity reached up at my feet. When I flew in the window, I saw her – a statue. "Well, isn't this sensational news," I thought, as I moved towards her. She didn't move a single, horrible muscle. It was then I knew that this was the chance I had been waiting for, yes. I tensed my arm (which was considerably smaller due to most of my strength deriving from their power) and glared at Ambition. I rushed at her, and with a single blow to her back, smashed her stone form into mere dust. I began to laugh – I laughed harder than I had in years. With her gone for good, I felt the power Greed and Revenge held over me ebb, as well.
It was then I saw the souls of the cursed rallying up against their Wraith minions. I saw some familiar faces – Was that the long dead Emperor Razul I of the lost kingdom of Qasala? And was that Galem Darkhand, feared leader of the Thieves Guild? Apparently, that pompous blowhard Hubrid Nox had also been slain and sentenced to an eternity here – and the prisoners of the Three were winning a massive battle.
Immediately, I took advantage of the confusion, flying around in the hopes I could find one of the fabled Maws of the Three – portals that opened to caves in Neopia that I could escape through. As luck would have it, I found one by listening to the sound of what appeared to be a female Neopian muttering to herself about how "the Faeries will pay for what they did to me." I flew towards it, and as I left this ethereal plane, I felt searing pain shoot through my body. I struggled not to scream as my spirit flew through the cavern at blinding speed – wait, was that the accursed whelp himself?! If only I had a physical body! Oh, no matter. I'm sure Morguss would be able to restore me to my former glory.
"What are these places?" I muttered as my spirit soared over Neopia to the wastelands of the Citadel. Was that another kingdom in the Lost Desert? And was there a village in the Haunted Woods? And was that region where I left the Three's Realm the lost kingdom of Altador? And why did it seem like that awful pink blot in the skies of Neopia, Faerieland, was rapidly falling. Oh, it doesn't matter. I would rule all these lands, anyway.
In the lawless wastes of the Citadel, I flew towards the Hag's hut. The old Moehog was leaning over her cauldron, trying to cast a horrible curse on that fat idiot, Skarl, but it wasn't long before her wizened eyes saw me.
"Don't think I can't see you, Kass," she said, "I've been waiting for the True Lord to return." She lifted a curtain, revealing a bubbling pool of strange liquid. "Step in – Your loyal followers have been waiting for a long time."
With a moment of hesitation, I dove in. Even more pain coursed through my soul, as what was once ethereal became solid, living flesh. I stepped out of the pool, my vision blurred from this painful resurrection, as Morguss handed me my old armor.
"It's good to see you, boy." She cackled, "I believe with all the chaos in Faerieland, now would be the perfect time to begin your new campaign." She opened a curtain, and there I saw them – a camp full of hundreds of Draconians who wanted me, their true Lord, back in power. As I stepped out, the entire camp of soldiers erupted into a loud cheer.
"Kass has returned!" "LONG LIVE LORD KASS!" "ALL HAIL KASS!"
I smirked as I heard them cheer my name. "My loyal followers," I gestured powerfully, just as I had all those years ago. "A shining new era approaches ever quicker! The coup of the decade – no, the coup of the CENTURY shall herald my triumphant return! Soon, all will fear the might of Kass!" They cheered wildly as I raised Naralus into the air.
I have returned. And no one, not even Darigan himself, would be prepared for such a thing.