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Pet Name: Nicolaius
Owner: carsandtrains
Breed: Usul

About Nicolaius:
Once upon a time there was an Usul by the name of Nicolaius. Nicolaius lived in a cabin of brick and wood just between Brightvale and Meridell, though he considered the latter his home. He was much taller than any Usuls he encountered as he wondered through the towns, and he considered himself much smarter than many of the other Meridellians.

Nicolaius was an Usul of much ambition. He hoped that one day, when he was wise enough, King Hagan would invite him to serve in his court. He didn't mind if he simply worked in the royal kitchen...all he wanted out of his life in Meridell was to be known as Sir Nicolaius, of Meridell!

So, when King Hagan began to allow visitors into his castle for friendly chats and exchanges of wisdom, Nicolaius was absolutely delighted. For years he worked long hours at the Merifoods shop, occasionally stopping every once in a while to see if Brightvale Books had a new one in stock. They seldom did, and the endless cycle began to bore Sir Nicolaius. A visit with King Hagan -- that would surely change his life!

x x x x x

Dressed in old, plain trousers and a stained linen shirt, he trudged up the stairs of the castle. Ignoring blatant stares implying the notion that he should turn away, he found his way to a large, gilded door, guarded by guards dressed in silver armor, loudly clanking as they stepped lightly out of his way.

"I am supposed to go in there on my own, correct?" asked Nicolaius, unsure of his next move.

A silver-coated Lupe in matching armor simply gazed down and snarled at the poor Usul. He had certainly had enough of these townsfolk entering such a regal place as Brightvale Castle.

"I am sorry, sir, deeply, but I haven't an idea of where to go!" Nicolaius said, his words falling together as he nervously looked down at his feet. His boots appeared worn and ugly next to the brightly gleaming marble floors. He began to turn away, back toward the way he came.

"I will be on my way then, sir," he said sadly, his eyes now welling up with tears of his own pity.

x x x x x

Halfway down the next hallway, an older and far more fair maiden dressed in crimson, carrying a basket of the richest-coloured silks he had seen in sometime, crossed his path. She stopped and smiled at him, and he felt ablidged to do the same out of respect. He bowed low and spoke his name.

"Nicolaius, of Meridell," he said quietly. "Pleased to meet you, m'lady."

The Aisha laughed sweetly at his act, and curtsied as well as she could with such a burden of the basket in her arms.

"And I am only one of the maids in this palace, my name is of no importance here. Are you lost, child?"

Nicolaius shook his head shortly, and he shyly explained his circumstance.

"I have travelled only from Merifoods, where I sell meats to the people of Meridell and Brightvale. I have come to share a conversation with King Hagan, for I heard that such is possible these days. But alas, I am poorly dressed, and in no condition to speak with such a man as the king. I've not got very much wisdom in mind at the moment, for I can never make it to the book shoppe on time to find something new to read. My wisdom is only as deep as that of the old Meerca who pays me a neopoint a week."

And again the Aisha laughed at him, this time a bit longer, and this time with a bit more heartiness, as Meridell's King, Skarl had once laughed when he had said something of blithe upon delivering five heavy sacks of tomatoes to his throne room. The young Usul felt his face grow red, and he slowly began to turn away.

"Oh child, don't worry about such worldly things as that! King Hagan cares very little of your appearance -- it is why he is our king!" She placed the basket down and kneeled next to it, rummaging through the fabrics as if looking for something important. "Now, if it really bothers you so much, I am sure that the king will not mind your wearing one of his old knight's clothes."

She pulled a long thing out that resembled a cloak, decorated in blue, red, and gold -- it resembled a Meridellian banner, which he had seen many days before flying atop the towers of King Skarl's castle. She bestowed it upon Nicolaius, with a bit of a toss into his arms so that he would not reject the gift.

"Thank you, kind madam!" he said, shocked by her generosity. "But are you sure..." he began, pulling the thing over his clothes so as to hide the rips and filth, "are you sure that the king doesn't mind?"

"Don't worry so much, Sir Nicolaius!" she laughed, pulling a brown hat from the basket and brushing the thing off. "We were going to send these things over to the Kacheek at the rubbish dump in Meriacres! They've been untouched in a closet for years!"

"Thank you so very, very much, m'lady!" Nicolaius said, kissing the paw of the Aisha. He bowed once more, and as he did, she placed the old hat upon his head.

"Now go, you silly boy, and have a talk with King Hagan! He may even recognize your clothing, if you are lucky enough!" The Aisha shooed Nicolaius back down the hallway, pulling the basket back into her arms.

x x x x x

Dressed in garb none his own, Nicolaius strolled back up the corridor, a smile upon his face, and with his confidence in its place. He came upon the old silver Lupe, who growled quietly under his breath and told his fellow guards to move away, once again, for this silly little Usul. But he paid no mind to their annoyance, and he strided right by them.

"I suppose I just go in here?" he asked, as he pushed the doors open with much force and passed through, revealing the wise Skeith directly before him.

"Welcome, lad. Have I seen you before? You look very familiar to me," the kind king said, "Come in and sit down! I'm afraid the fellow before you left a mess of sorts, and I've yet to get it cleaned up."

"Thank you, sir," said Nicolaius, bowing deeply. "It is such an honor to be here."

"Yes, yes, your majesty and all of that," the king laughed, motioning to another maiden in the court. "Sit down, boy, and have some tea, will you?"

"Thank you sir," said Nicolaius, sitting down in a plush green seat some distance from the king. The maid offered to him a cup of piping hot tea with honey, and then moved away.

"So what have you come to share with me today?" the illustrious King Hagan questioned the boy, after taking a long sip of the afore said tea. "You've just come to sit and drink tea with me, yes?"

"No, sir, I have come to share with you my own wisdom!" Nicolaius stated. "The wisdom of a poor Usul working to bring food all across the lands of Brightvale and Meridell. I'm afraid it isn't much, but it is what I have..."

"Well?" asked the king, smiling a through his yellow beard. "On with it!"

"Well...I suppose should never...assume that war is similar to the pride of a heard of brown...Blumaroos," Nicolaius stated thoughtfully.

Hagan appeared taken aback, but in one moment, he placed his hands together and stated profoundly, "My, child, that was brilliant! But, yes, it could be better! I'll give you a "B", and how about this..." he reached onto the table beside his throne, peering around the masses of things upon it. Nicolaius wondered what he could possibly be looking for, when he turned back toward him, the Usul's eyes lit up with joy.

"Here, lad, I'll give you this," he said, handing Nicolaius a very large brown book that said Brightvale Castle on the cover. "Perhaps a bit of reading will make your next piece of insight even more brilliant than the one you have just given me the pleasure to hear!"

"Thank you, sir!" Nicolaius bowed again. "It is so hard for me to get books with the money I have and my distance from the book shoppe!"

"I've read the book many times, it is no burden to me. And I believe you have recieved many gifts from me today, yes?" the king laughed as Nicolaius scurried back down the corridor, passing the guards and maidens in his way.

x x x x x

The old Meerca greeted Nicolaius with kindness upon his arrival back at Merifoods later that day. Nicolaius told him exactly what had happened that day, every detail, and explained where he had gotten his lovely new clothes, exactly what King Hagan had told him, the kind Aisha, and his new book, which he had not been able to stop reading since he had started on the road to Meridell.

"Aye, tis a great man, King Hagan," the Meerca stated matter-of-factly as he stuffed a few vegetables into peppers and set them out for the townsfolk. "T'was a great experience for ye, Nic, great 'un." He gazed aimlessly in the general direction of Brightvale castle, before snapping back into the reality he was in. "Well, what're ye doing now, standing as ye are, all smart n' such? Take those tomatoes to King Skarl, Nic, ye silly boy!"

He tucked the book into a loose board in the floor, and wrestled the sacks into his arms and over his back, and trudged along to visit King Hagan's brother, the less perceptive King Skarl, of Meridell.

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