A Fortune Told
Do you want your fortune told?
But once you've peeked,
Know what I tell is true.
There's nothing else that I can do.
Sibyl. That's what they called her.
For as long as she could remember, Delphi had this job. Burdened with the 'gift' of prophecy. Neopets from all over Neopia visited her year round. It was said she could tell a tale worth hearing, for a price.
The price. Delphi wouldn't lie, that was why she stayed. Having left "home" at a young age, it wasn't easy to support herself. She hadn't realized before how much things were valued at. She was sheltered, even if she was nothing more than a pawn to them.
The telltale ache in her temple; someone was here. So early?
With a sigh, she put her mug of steaming vanilla flavoured borovan down on the creaky old table in her cramped caravan.
The brisk morning air slapped her face when she opened the door, and she let out a small gasp. She wasn't used to weather like this; she grew up somewhere much warmer. She knew that there were places in Neopia that had it worse - the chill of Terror Mountain sounded most unpleasant - but she longed to feel the hot Desert sun on her back once more.
"I know you're there." The words escaped her lips before she even realized she had spoken, cutting through the eerie quiet of the Woods. For a few moments, silence was her response. "Do you want my help or not?" she was getting aggravated - she didn't interrupt her morning ritual to be teased.
"Look, I'm sorry to bother you this early, but I've been travelling for gosh knows how long, and I'm not even sure why. I don't know who I am, or where I am really. Someone just pointed me in this direction a few days ago, and said I should find the Sibyl. I just don't understand!" a distinctly feminine voice finally answered, in one long spiel. Delphi was pretty sure the girl didn't breathe once.
"I'm used to it. At least you're legit - you have no idea how many pranksters I get. As if I can't tell the difference." Delphi rolled her eyes, "Before I invite you in, I'd rather see you if you don't mind. It's just a precaution - you never know what's lurking in the Woods."
"Oh, um, of course. Sorry, I hadn't realized you couldn't see me." And with that, a young Draik stepped out from behind the weeping willow that Delphi had chosen to be her companion years earlier. The Draik was much smaller then those she was used to, and Delphi would put her at weighing less then she did. Her scales shimmered of the colours of an evening sunset, a deep blue at her face, and waning to an intense yellow. Her whole body had a faint shimmer to it. She was beautiful.
Putting on her work face, and concealing her response, Delphi nodded. "Much better. I'd like to put a name to the face, but some prefer not to. Come on in." and she abruptly turned and walked inside, leaving the door slightly ajar.
"I would tell you my name, if I knew. What I said earlier is true. I don't remember anything at all. I was hoping you could help me figure out who I am."
Delphi nodded. "Tea?"
The Draik stared at her for a moment, a perplexed expression leaking across her face. "Um, pardon?"
Delphi raised her eyebrow, slightly exasperated, "I said, do you want tea?"
"Oh, sure. Do you usually offer tea?" The Draik tucked her long silver hair behind her shoulders, and looked around the cramped space, taking in her surroundings. The walls were lined with shelves of vials and jars, half of which Delphi herself could hardly remember the contents. A small, makeshift bed was crammed into one of the tight corners, and a tiny kitchen took up most of the remainder of the workable space. Delphi had made sure to fit a small table and who chairs in to her design, however. It came in handy.
"Generally, it's socially accepted. Dandelion, or strawberry?" Delphi wandered over to the kitchen space, and grabbed two teacups. Her mother had always told her having fine china was important. Where she came from, they had a large amount of pottery, and it was considered the height of beauty.
"Dandelion, please," the Draik responded, still standing. Delphi noticed that she kept shifting her weight, and her eyes darted about the room. She could tell the Draik was nervous.
"Sit, if that wasn't obvious." Delphi pointed at the old wooden table and mismatched chairs, "That's my chair, though. Don't sit there."
After the kettle had boiled, Delphi placed the two teacups on the table. She took a long sip, buying time to analyze the girl a bit longer. Something about her fascinated Delphi, but also scared her a little. Not that she would admit that. "So," she finally broke the silence, placing her teacup back on the saucer, "you want to know who you are."
"That would be nice." The Draik nibbled on her lip, leaving her steeping tea untouched.
"You think it's that easy, don't you? I hear what they say about me," Delphi suddenly snapped.
"I..." The girl's eyes widened, and she recoiled. "I don't mean to be an inconvenience. I really don't know who you are. I was just told in town that those who seek answers come to you. I thought it would be okay."
Delphi sighed, ashamed of herself. "I'm sorry. Lately, I've had some problems with visits. I guess I'm a bit sensitive." a thought dawned on her, "you do realize I don't do this for free, don't you?"
"I know. I worked for a few days in the Woods, doing errands for a Swamp Witch, so that I could afford your fare. I hope I have enough." She placed a small bag of coins on the table. At that moment, Delphi looked into her eyes, and something switched.
"Keep your coins - I'll help you if I can. I get strange vibes from you, Miss. I'm not sure this will work. I don't think I've ever encountered anyone like you. Give me your hand, please." Delphi couldn't believe the words she spoke. She didn't do this - just help someone. There was always a price. Always.
Without a word, the Draik held on her clawed hand, and Delphi grasped it. Her gift only required contact - none of that fancy palm reading, or scrying that others often used. Delphi believed that was more for show then mystical purposes.
The pain came before she had time to register contact, it exploded in her head without warning. She let out a small gasp, overwhelmed at the power and fury attached to it. Delphi was never one to shy away from pain, however, so she clasped on to the girls hand harder. Sparkles danced in her vision, and then everything faded to black.
Out of nowhere, her vision focused on an object. Even if Delphi didn't have some knowledge of arcane pieces, she would have recognized this item as significant, and clearly powerful. Ancient scribe scrawled the base of the enormous Obelisk. Her vision flashed again; A sneaking cloaked Gelert, a sophisticated Lenny with a malicious glint in her eye, a Bori hunched over an orb, a laughing group of warriors, a room filled with knowledge seekers. The images faded before she could absorb anything else from them. Finally, it slowed, two young Wockies, identical in appearance stood before her, an army of the dead flocking them. Then, they spoke. "I don't think so."
That was all it took. Her visions never, ever spoke. Delphi dropped the Draik's hand, jolted back into her body. Her projection had finished.
Gasping for breath, and unobstructed terror dancing in her eyes, Delphi looked upon the Draik. Between pants, Delphi managed to sputter out, "Who ARE you?"