Bledynn and Vera
Sand stung his eyes as he pushed forward, shielding his face in the crook of his elbow, left hand placed carefully on the hilt of his sword. In between breaths, he could faintly make out the bone-chilling moans of the undead drifting through the wind. Not only had he been trapped in a sandstorm in the middle of the desert, he had been trapped there with some of the most terrifying entities roaming the land.
His name was Bledynn, a lithe Yellow Skeith that had meandered his way into the middle of the Lost Desert. Unsure of why he was he in the first place, he explored the area, avoided the path of some dodgy fellow, and found a promising building—whether it was a kingdom, an inn, or even a boutique, he was unsure. All he knew was he needed to find someone, and he needed to find them now.
However, this place offered no more refuge than an outhouse would. After barely escaping the sinister grasp of a giant Lupe ghost, he stumbled his way out of a dilapidated building right smack into the middle of a storm … with some possessed skeletons, no less. Having to destroy hoards of undead creatures was exhausting, and they multiplied at a rate Bledynn had never seen before; it was almost as if for every one he took care of, three more took its place.
Shaking off the creeps this thought gave him, he pushed forward and muttered down to his trusty sword Vera, “Vera, how long ya reckon we’ve been out here?” After a few seconds of silence, Bledynn nodded, faced forward, and said, “Ah, yes. Six weeks.”
So began Day 42.
Typically, Bledynn would find some shelter in the large stones that speckled the Lost Desert landscape. He would squeeze into a nook, bring Vera up to his side, and stare aimlessly around because it was too loud, too hot, and too dusty to sleep. He figured he hadn’t slept the entire six weeks he was out here.
“Month an’ a half,” he languished, clinging to Vera. He looked to his side and frowned. “Oh Vera!” he sobbed, using his shirt to scrub sand off her. “Ya look like ya been through the wringer! Ya gettin’ all scuffed up!” His attempts at buffing the sword were unsuccessful, so with a very dramatic muffled sob he covered his eyes.
He had been in possession of Vera for longer than he could remember—perhaps his father had gifted this sword to him, or perhaps he found it somewhere while taking a walk, but he fancied this sword was handcrafted by Fyora herself; Vera handled better than no other, glistened brightly like no other, and more importantly, got those nasty undead right where it hurts like no other.
Now, being lost in a desert storm for six weeks isn’t something one goes through easily. In fact, most Neopets would’ve joined the ranks of the possessed skeleton or the undead citizen (or in our case, undead visitor). Bledynn had long prided himself on his “extensive training” (which was never confirmed) for “the dawn of the war” (which war he meant was never understood) so he didn’t need sustenance like any poor john wandering around. Nope—Bledynn was able to retain water like no other! He wasn’t built like other Skeiths, so he didn’t enjoy gluttonously gobbling down jellies; he’d rather eat a bowl of nails for breakfast (he was convinced they made your bones stronger) and drink down a large, steaming cup of Rancid Dung Coffee (he didn’t have a fitness reason for such, he merely enjoyed the taste). For these reasons, he could go days … months … possibly years without any food! He hadn’t gone more than two days without food, but he figured he could last up to four years (his calculations were never shown therefore never understood, either).
He patted Vera’s hilt and sighed, bored out of his mind and a bit restless. “Wanna get us some undead?”
He didn’t hear a no.
The moans of the undead pierced the air, drifted with the wind, and settled into a ghostly howl that surrounded Bledynn. It was hard to gauge where these creatures were, since the storm carried their vocalizations and whipped them three times around, backwards and sideways. Vera always seemed to twinge a bit hotter than normal when the undead were extremely close, so he hovered his hand over her hilt and let that beautiful, trusty sword be his guide.
On cue, the sword burned right as Bledynn made out the distinct shape of a decrepit mummy. The hideous, terrifying creature ambled up to Bledynn, red eyes gazing angrily beneath dusty wrapping. It bent low and growled.
Bledynn raised Vera high above his head, and began his monologue had had been working on these last few days: “Ya come int’a my home with malicious intent, foul beast! Ya wanna fight me, the one who reigns these lands? Ha! Nice try, creature of the darkest nigh’, but it’s I—and only I—who decides which one enters these lands … and which one leaves these lands! I apol’gize for the way this must end, but—hey … hey wait! Where ya goin’?! Come back! COME BACK!!”
The decrepit mummy grew tired of his over stylized speech and took off to chase after a Grundonoil, a curious orange and yellow beast. Bledynn dropped Vera to his side and sighed. “Apparen’ly I talk too much, huh, Vera?”
The sword twinkled.
Bledynn placed Vera back into his belt and began sifting through the new sand to find something to eat. Although a nutritious, healthy breakfast is much preferred, Skeiths are notorious for being able to consume anything and everything—Bledynn was the same way, and his ability to stomach garbage, non-edibles, and weird potions drew many crowds and made him the envy of his friend group (he didn’t have very many friends, but the few he did were very impressed and, obviously, jealous).
He found a large black Scarab beetle, gulped it down, and burped so loud the undead ceased moaning. He wiped his mouth and considered eating the large green Scarab beetle that crawled around his feet, fear very apparent in its beady red eyes. Just as he was going to reach for it, he heard a very faint sound coming from his hips.
Extremely confused, Bledynn began moving his feet up and down to see if he was accidentally standing on a fellow Neopet (this had happened more than once and at this point was not an unusual occurrence). But all he saw was the shaking body of the green Scarab beetle he nearly missed with his large feet; he once again considered eating this bug, but the realization that there was another voice was making him giddy.
Could this mean help was coming?
He had imagined hearing voices on two separate occasions during these sandy six weeks:
The first occasion was on Day 17, after his feet got caught beneath Vera who had broken free from his belt. He tripped, fell hard with a loud thud, and rolled down a small hill until his head stopped him by smacking right into a boulder. It dazed him more than injured him, and he completely forgot this incident and therefore can’t recall any details, but let’s just say he spent the next three days looking for the squeaky voice singing all of Mellow Marauders’ greatest hits.
The second occasion was on Day 31, when he was sure—nay, convinced—he saw a giant Chomby made of … jelly. This is of course absurd … a figment of his imagination, a sad side effect of having too much heat and not enough nails for breakfast. There’s no such thing as jelly Neopets.
However, this time as a bit different—this time, he didn’t hear words his mind already knew … he was hearing things completely new to him. The cursed moans seemed to grow weaker, as if something was happening to them …
Bledynn’s eyes grew wide. He knew for a fact he heard that; the voice, clear as a bell … there was no way he had hallucinated THAT.
He pulled the sword from his belt, and held her close to his eyes, inspecting every inch. He had heard Vera speak—she had said “hello”, clearly. She had never spoken before, yet here they were; six weeks deep into a sandstorm, and now she’s getting chatty.
He squinted his eyes into the wind, looking for a figure or non-existent Jelly Chomby. Again, when he wasn’t looking, he heard the very distinct, “Hello …”
“I’m not crazy!” he shouted to no one in particular (or maybe to Vera, in hopes of guilt-tripping her into apologizing). He looked around again, sand piercing his skin and scrapping against his feet, but there was no one there. He kept his eye on Vera for a few more minutes, but only silence followed.
He held her close to his face, eyes shut tight, and whispered, “Vera … you’re my only friend I got here … I ain’t got no one else … now, if you can speak … please Vera, just … just say somethin’ … say somethin’ …”
“Can you see me?”
“V-Vera … you can … you CAN talk! Oh, Vera!”
His eyes bugged out of his head as he held that glistening, beautiful sword in his hands. It twinkled knowingly, his bright-eyed reflection radiating with pure joy.
Once again, he heard very faintly, “Hello … can you hear me? …”
This time the sound came from his left. He looked up, and in the distance saw, with absolute certainty, the silhouette of a Blumaroo struggling to lead a tall Eyrie, a magic Acara of some sorts, and a staff-wielding Techo in this poor Yellow Skeith’s direction.
Bledynn inhaled sharp, placed Vera back in his belt, and shouted loudly to the sky, “Well, bless my eyes!”