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Pet Name: Jacquille
The beginning of Jacquille's new life, six years after the uprising, finally began when he signed up to work at his old position as a solider at the Meridell Castle. Due to the war in Tyrannia, they accepted him without too many questions, which he was grateful for. Since he had stayed in hiding for so long, he wasn't sure what the new Neopia thought of his kind anymore.
He soon found out one night after the war ended, while all the Meridell guards and soldiers were having dinner.
As he stood against the wall, already haven eaten, he overheard a conversation of some young trainees, as they talked about the times before the uprising.
Of course, this piqued Jacquille's interest, and he came closer to listen. Little did Jac know, that this had also caught the interest of a young Woodland Draik.
"I heard that the Meridell Soldiers back then were very brave in the wars, especially the Battle for Meridell!" one young Lupe exclaimed.
"Yes," an Usul agreed. He seemed much older than the others in the small group, but still too young to have experienced the uprising first-hand. "In the end the uprising was a good thing, I agree. But it makes me sad to see a lot of the brave ancient ones long and gone. The majority of them started it- wanting change. Then bitter fighting, and slowly, the ancient ones either gave in and joined the rebels, or fled. For good reason too. The first year after the uprising, if any of the ancient ones were found, they were pressured into changing themselves. By that point, there were few left. To see one now is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I would give anything to know some of their traditions, their stories..."
This is where Jac felt compelled to enter the conversation, despite being very shy from almost six years in hiding. "I met one once," he told them. "I could tell you some of the stories." This was a half-lie; he did know stories, but no one told them to him. He experienced them himself. He was also himself one of the ancient ones, and like the Usul said, was driven into hiding in desperate attempt to keep the old ways alive.
The younger soldiers got more noticeably excited, while the Usul's eyes got wide with awe. "You have?" he whispered. "Oh please, sit and tell us." It was obvious that this had been something he only dreamed about.
Jac nodded and sat with the others, just as the Woodland Draik did. The Draik was also very curious… and a little suspicious.
"One of the stories he spoke most fondly of was the story of the Battle for Meridell. It was by far a difficult and frustrating battle, especially since Kass launched a surprise attack and made it impossible for the majority of the soldiers to move. But in the end, with the help of Lisha, they were able to break free and fight back. The battle was difficult, but rewarding in the end, because the truce that was put in place has lasted until now. True warriors were praised and given their markings for their bravery, including the Scorchio I was talking to."
The Usul spoke up, "I heard of these markings, but what exactly were they? What did the colors mean? The symbols?"
Jac chuckled. "I had the same questions for this Scorchio. He was quite decorated." The markings underneath Jac's armor prickled his skin as he spoke. They made Jac very proud to be one of the soldiers before the uprising. Ever soldier had a different story, so no two soldiers were decorated in the same way.
"First off, every single soldier who made it through the training camp was given the Meridell mark, and it was put wherever the soldier wanted, usually in a spot that was easily seen. Soldiers were very proud of what they did. The rest of the marks had special spots to be placed. Like the warrior I talked to has a red circle over his heart, which shows that he had suffered a battle wound. Because it was surrounded in a yellow, it showed that it had been the wing that was injured. A blue outline would have represented a head injury, while a green would have been a limb. He also had three blue stripes, parallel to each other, showing he had participated in the war against the Lord Darigan, and three yellow stripes looking the same for the Battle for Meridell. Those stripes are the bases, everyone who participated got those. The decorations added to those bases showed specific things that solider did to help. Everyone was valuable, in those times."
All the listeners were captured with these words, envisioning themselves during that time. It was starting to occur to Jac that the ancient ones may not be as hated anymore. It seemed like people were taking interest, wanting to learn more, wishing they were one.
Jac continued to tell them all about his stories, in third person. He spoke about all the special markings he got that hid underneath his silver armor, except for the very small entry-level marking that was found at the tip of his right wing.
By the time Jac had finished, most of the other soldiers and guards had went to bed, while his group was still completely absorbed by his words. They thanked him, and chatted excitedly amongst themselves as they headed to their bedchambers. The Usul stayed behind to thank him even more, telling Jac that he had given the Usul more than he had ever hoped to know. This gave Jac great pleasure, hoping that this Usul would pass on the stories, and the ancient ones could maybe be loved again.
As Jac turned to go to leave for his room, he was stopped by the Woodland Draik. "You're an ancient one, aren't you?" he whispered urgently.
This caught Jac off guard. "I… of course not. Why would you think that?"
"No one would remember stories in that great of detail without actually being there. Plus, the marking on your wing. You were that soldier you spoke about."
Jac couldn't argue, just stand in silence, worried about what this Draik would say or do.
"My name is Dameiian," he whispered, "and my family would really like to speak with you and learn. That Usul was right, your kind is becoming more and more rare. They are desperate to learn. Will you help them?"
Jac saw that Dameiian was being very sincere. Either that, or was a very good liar. Nonetheless, Jac found himself agreeing. This was his chance help the ancient ones, so they no longer had to hide. This was his chance to be something greater than a common soldier. This was his chance to make a big difference, for the good of all Neopia.
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