I love writing, and one of my favorite things to write are character sketches - short pieces, maybe a page, maybe a handful of pages, which illustrate a character. They're really fun, and I almost wish I had more pets to write more.

On the other hand, why do I need to own a neopet to write about them? If I ever name one of these fictional characters after a pet you own or recognise from real life, the reference was entirely unintentional. I'm just having fun playing in the sandbox that TNT created.

Neo appearances

March 15 2012 -- The Neopian Times, Issue 536
Welcome to Neopia, in which Bannok is born.

February 16 2012 -- Story telling contest, Story 543
Lucille the zafara has a strange brush with chocolate on Valentine's day.

January 10 2012 -- Story telling contest, Story 538
It's The Plushie Tycoon's big break, but their main singer Sam is suspicious of the new benefactor.


Requests

Written requests are much rarer than art requests in neopets, but there's no reason why they shouldn't exist. If you would like a character sketch or poem written about your pet - or even a short story - then please, don't hesitate to ask for one!


Neopets Prose

These are stories set in Neopia and based around Neopets or Neopian characters. Some of them are general characters, others were part of specific character designs. Some seem pretty loosely tied to Neopets because they show only a part of a fully formed character in my mind - Survivor, for example, is linked to a skunk Ixi with a very detailed personality and story. What you see here is only a snapshot of him.

The Nightsteed

In some form or other, horses have conquered every corner of the mythological globe, taking to the air with wings as the Pegasus, or to the sea as the hippocampus – or even to our dreams as the Nightmares, the demon horses of fire and death.

Were Unis to exist in human mythology, they would most likely be the Allicorn, a form of winged unicorn. These creatures are gentle and shy, loving, wise, and ultimately benign.

The Nightsteed is anything but.

Though he shares the form of his more peaceful cousins, he is different. His skin hangs loose on his skeleton, his wing feathers are crooked and ungroomed. He is dark in colour and dark in mind; his mane is woven of nightmares and his hooves forged in fear. He was born in fire and carries it with him where he goes; he canters through dreams and in his wake they burn.

No, the Nightsteed is not like the other unis, the vain, shallow creatures of sunlight and meadows and fast flowing streams. He is prideful; his neck is arched and his steps are sure. He is eternal -- his hoof beats ring steady through dreams and minds, never fading, never faltering. And he is beautiful.

It is not a classical beauty, not one that can be achieved with shampoo and shiner. Nor is it one that can be described; it is not in the curve of his neck, nor the arch of his wings. There is no shine to his main, nor lustre to his coat, his eyes do not sparkle so much as burn and smoulder. No, he is not beautiful in such superficial ways; his is a beauty that comes from being more than others. It is in the intensity of his gaze, in the paths he cuts through mortals' dreams, in the sheer essence of existing to the very limits of ones being, of taking no short cuts and cutting no corners.

Perhaps you might think it was a lonely existence. He does not live, so he can never die; he is made of dreams, and so can never sleep. For all the sun shines during the day, night steals across the other half of the globe and so the Nightsteed runs with it; it is always night somewhere, and so always he runs and canters and gallops, with his ears turned forwards and his tail held high. He has never seen the sun. Never stopped to look at the stars above him, or the land below him. He does not know what it is like to feel hunger and satisfy it, or thirst and quench it. He has no friends to turn to, no family to rely on. Only the sky and the wind and the blackness of night, and the pounding, pounding, pounding of his hooves as they leave trails of fire that turn dreams to nightmares.

Perhaps he is lonely. Perhaps he is not. Though I have felt him pass me many a night, I have never had the courage to ask him if he would change himself. But as I shiver and draw the blankets tighter around me and the pillow over my head, I wonder what we would be like if we never knew what a nightmare was.

Survivor

He was a small figure, slightly built and almost skinny. From his shaggy head of white hair to the black and white stripes down his tail, he was nothing extraordinary; slouched posture and unkempt fur, scuffed boots showing beneath a faded coat. Few give him more than a first glance.

And yet...

He wears gloves on his hands despite the summer heat, and when he walks, his gait betrays a limp. The choker at his throat is silver, the rings in his ears are gold and the studs precious gems. His one visible eye is dull and tired; washed out grey shot through with red from sleepless nights and wasted days – but somehow alert and watchful. A bandage – black, like so much of his clothing – winds around his head and hides his other eye, but what skin it does not cover is marred by an ugly scar. It curls across his face like tongues of fire, and down his chin towards his neck – and how far then? His shoulder, his hands in their gloves, his leg with its limp?

And yet...

His ear is torn, part bitten out and never fully healed. He is thin and short and never had any muscle, but his movements are cautious and wary like a seasoned fighter. He is pitiful and bedraggled, a lost cause chewed up by the streets and spat out as unworthy, but there is something dangerous about him, something frighteningly intelligent behind his jaded eye that sees everything and analyses it and knows things just by looking and judges and finds wanting –

He limps on down the street, and few dare give him more than a first glance.

Gideon

Gideon was a pet I toyed with creating for a while, all though in the end I decided against doing so. He was a starry Eyrie with mechanical wings in place of his real ones who was something of a kleptomaniac - but he set his sights a lot higher than mere petty thievery.

Bannok and Callum are both mentioned here; Bannok is my kyrii (he does exist), and Callum is his vacana.


------

It's a nice night tonight; the sky is clear, there's a crisp breeze blowing and the stars are bright. You can see the constellations, even – that one's the Gatherer, if you squint, and over there's the Thief. And just underneath, that little cluster of stars that almost seems to be moving across the cosmos, that's the constellation of…

Of…

Well what do you know, you've discovered a new constellation! Congratulations! Must be all that practice in Altador that did it. So I suppose you'll be wanting to know the name of your new constellation, and perhaps the legend behind it? Quickly, before it lands on us with – is that a miniature lab ray clutched in its paws?
--

Howdy! Name's Gideon, last of the once-numerous Blackthorns. Sorry about the rough landing there; hope I didn't flatten you too much. I'm not quite used to flying, you see – no wings of my own, and these mechanical ones aren't quite as aerodynamic as they could be. That could in part be due to the small… Improvements I made to them, but oh well. Hey, do you mind if we walk on a bit? I'm on something of a tight schedule here, mustn't dally too long and all that. Just let me do a quick something about tonight's heist, and I'll be right with you…

Let's see now, I press this and that gives me my rope, and then that one's for the ring clips and… Left over right, right over left, there's that knot done, and I just thread this through here and now for the final part… ooopsidasie, up we go, and voila! One portable – eh… Modern art sculpture? Yes, that'll work, one portable modern art sculpture. What do you mean, it's got warning signs and electric wires all over it? Oh, those. Well, that's just the Grundos, you know? They like machines. Think they're pretty and all, hence the art sculptures of them.

All done then? Onwards to Brightvale! That's where I live, you know. Me an' my family – adopted family, anyway. Me, an' Aethelar, an' Bannok an' Callum – that's our family, living at Hollows in Brightvale. Well, I say Hollows is our house – it's actually Aethelar's; me an' Wulf just kinda came and took over.

Oops, they're gaining on us. Up to the tree tops – you can climb, right? Good – it's the best way to escape them. No trees on Kreludor see, them Grundo folk never think to look in the branches. Nah, you don't need to know why we're being chased by a horde of enraged Grundos – it's not important. I'll tell you later, if you really want to know.

Anyway, so you want to know about me, do you? Interesting, interesting… Well, I'm a misunderstood person, at heart. I'm a gentle soul, an artist and a performer – I used to have a fancy to be a stage magician, but then again with real magic floating around the place, no one's impressed by card tricks and pretty explosions anymore. Still, when the art sings in your blood like it does in mind, what's a guy to do? I go out and do what I do best – I perform.

That's really what it is, you know; the beauty of a lock on the verge of giving way, the gracefulness of a grappling hook thrown just right to avoid all the security… And as for the performance! Back flips and somersaults, creeping down walls and contortion acts through windows – I've got the whole set in there somewhere, believe you me. And the magic… Say what you like about your real magic, my tricks have their place for sure. Besides, a number of the places I break into – uh, I mean perform at – have magic sensors as part of their security systems; setting off an alarm in the middle of my act would just completely ruin the aesthetics of it, don't you agree?

Of course, not everyone's perfect. Some of the props I use in my performances are slightly better guarded than others - particularly the ones those Grundos make. Mind you, if you want the best, you have to work for it, and they do have the best around. Like this Phase-Gate; brilliant technology, developed with help from the Space Faerie herself, so I'm told – she's the one in the know with all the portal skills, you see. Anyway, it's a prototype, first of its kind run off science rather than magic; Sloth himself would kill for it. Mind you, Sloth being Sloth, that's not such a powerful statement… But I digress. Anyway, top quality item here, but the security? Have you ever seen something so hard to crack? I mean, look at them behind us! I was halfway back to Neopia before I found the tracking device they'd installed – carved onto the inside of the metal casing.

Hmm? What do you mean, modern art, I just said it's a Phase-Gate – oh. Phase-Gate; that's, um, that's an art term. It means… Avant Guarde, but with just a dash of electricity in it. Oh, and the Grundos aren't chasing us because I broke into their high security underground testing facility and borrowed their only prototype, of course not. Whatever gave you that idea?

You see, this is exactly what I mean by misunderstood. Here I am, telling you about my performance earlier this night, and you jump to conclusions like that! What you're insinuating, it quite shocks the life out of me! I'd sit down and clutch my heart if I thought the Grundos wouldn't catch up with me and throw me in the cells. Eeergh, nasty places those cells.

Oh well, I guess it's just a lost cause, no? At least Wulf is on my side. He's my petpet, an Anubis – he died a while ago, just before we came across Aethelar, so he's a ghost now. Yeah, that wasn't exactly a good chapter of my life just then. Whatever you do, don't tell Aethelar, but if she hadn't taken us in… I don't really want to know what would have happened. But anyway, Wulf is the best. Plus, he's not really solid – made of ectoplasm and all – so he's brilliant at just quietly sliding through walls and things to have a look round inside places. Eh, just for curiosity, of course – he'd never scope out a target so I knew what to expect in the way of defences, of course not.

You don't believe me, do you? You think I'm a charming, lovable rogue who breaks into high security buildings and collects esoteric bits of equipment back in my secret hideout, right?

Well, whaddaya know. I guess some people just can't be taken in like that, hey? But really, I must dash – this charming, lovable rogue (and handsome, did I say handsome?) has got a secret hideout to get to before the Grundos reach for the wide area blasters.

Farewell, and good luck! Oh, and mind that cliff, yeah?
--

With those parting words, the strange Eyrie drops suddenly from your sight, so fast it seems almost as if he teleported. His warning registers in your brain, and you reach out for the nearest handhold desperately. A good thing you did too – you just stopped yourself from careening straight over the same cliff Gideon had, except that you don't have the mechanical wings and various ropes that he does.

Cautiously, you peer over the cliff, half expecting to see a starry shape hanging half way down. It is with surprise then that you see no sign of him – the cliff goes down to a ravine, with sharp rocks and a fast river at the bottom; over the other side is a steep cliff similar to the one you stand on now. So where could he have gone…?

You shake your head, and turn back, noticing the mass of Grundos still valiantly fighting there way towards you through the trees. On a whim, you look up again at the stars, at the Thief constellation that Gideon flew at you from. It looks the same, even that patch of stars below it is still moving – although it's moving in the opposite direction now, away from you instead of towards, and if you look carefully it's got a Phase-Gate strapped to its back.

Looks like the Grundos won't be getting their equipment back after all.

Gideon tells his story to another audience...

------

Most interesting story I gotta tell you 'bout my trip to Kreludor a few days back. I was walking along, innocent as you please, when this random bolt of electro-zappy stuff fries the ground right in front of my paws! Serious! So I jump left to avoid it and - there's a barbed wire wall in the way! I barely managed to stumble over it in tact I tell you, dazed as I was from the near death experience mere moments - moments, I say - before. But no, it doesn't stop there - armies of attack petpets! All robot ones, all bzzapping about some unwanted intruder and no good theif - but there must've been something wrong in their programming, because instead of going to find the intruder, they started ganging up on me! What's a guy to do, faced with insurmountable odds like that? It was a tough battle, it really was - if I hadn't had a few spare super-magnets to scramble their computers, I'd have been in it for sure.

And then I was stuck - couldn't go back over the barbed wire, it was a miracle I'd survived the first time (and all the grappling hooks were on the wrong side of the wall anyway. Agile, I may be; able to scale twelve meters of smooth steel without a rope, I am not). So I had to go forwards - and it's a good thing I did too, 'coz they flooded the grounds with this wierd glowing gas thing I've never seen before. From what I read in the unauthorized blue prints of the place, it's knockout gas and then some - not even meepits can withstand it. (So I'm told. I'd never test it on a meepit, dear Fyora no - what kind of neopet do you take me for?)

So I finally got into this place - and that took some gymnastics, let me tell you. Anyone would think they didn't welcome visitors, what from the poison-coated trip wires and the electro-cardiac force field generators I had to work my way around. Anyway, in the middle of the room surrounded by practically a meter of kreludite wall (took at least three of my explosives to get through it. Annoying stuff, that kreludite), was this piece of... techno-thing. Not much to look at really, all wires and electrics with signs saying [Danger! Untested Prototype] stuck all over it. But hey, I thought, maybe the grundos are having a go at modern art.

So I went to have a closer look, and - I dunno, I must've breathed on it wrong or something (you try holding your breath for as long as it takes to unscrew the seventeen bolts holding the thing to the floor), and a siren went off! And that's not the worst - big red screen flashed up, "Unautherised Personel, Self Destruct Imminent, Enter Authorisation Code to Prevent." What was I supposed to do? Ok, so maybe hacking into their computer system and reprogramming it to accept me as the only authorised personel was a bit extreme, but I was stressed.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, no point in leaving the grundos with a piece of modern art they couldn't use anymore, so I cleared up my belongings like a good little Eyrie, and brought it home with me. I still don't think it's a very good sculpture, but it does a fantastic job of holding open the inter-space phase portal that connects this underwater cave to the outside world.

Non Neopets Prose

These are all in some way related to Neopets, which is why I've put them here. Some of them I've written as part of a writing challenge or due to a prompt on the Neopian Writers board, others were inspired by characters on Neopets but are not set in Neopia. The first piece, Ghost, is written for the same character as Survivor above.

Ghost

He lies half slumped in the corner, unmoving and silent. His clothes are ragged, torn; the hems are blackened and burnt. His boots are worn through at the soles. He is unseen, beneath the notice of the shoppers and the commuters and the teenagers on their dates.

They walk past, heads bent together, delighting in their lives and in their worlds – or head up, eyes scanning the street and the signs and the sellers with their wares. Their gaze slides over him and past him. They put him out of their mind and move on.

Occasionally, this is not so. Once, this had never been so – once he had been a figure of respect, once he had commanded attention wherever he went and his mildest comment was an order to be obeyed without question or delay.

But that was once, and this is now. Occasionally, now, he is noticed. Occasionally a small child in a pink coat will tug on her mother's arm and ask, Who is that man? Why is he sitting there? Doesn't he know that it's raining and cold?

The mother will turn; her eyes will be stubborn, refuse to pick out the pile of dirty cloth and tangled ginger hair. He is not there, they tell her; He is beneath our notice. But the child will insist, as children are wont to do, and the mother will look again.

For a moment, she will see. For a moment, she can see both the man and the wall he is leaning against. The man lifts his head, and she will see that his eyes are red and his face is scarred and he is pale as death and spirits and polished bone –

Come along, the mother will say, taking her daughter by the hand and drawing her close. Her gaze has slid over and past him, and he is out of her mind. Come, the mother will say, Let's get you inside and out of this rain.

And the child will protest, but she will follow, and only look back once to see the strange man with his red eyes watching them as they go.

The Violin

He hated the violin, when he was small. The strings were harsh against his fingers, the bow was awkward in his hand. The instrument felt heavy and ungainly against his shoulder, bony and weak thing that it was. Hours and hours spent holding the violin until his hands cramped, positioning his fingers just so and then again and again and again until he got it right.

And for what? It sounded like a wailing cat half the time, and the other half it didn't sound like anything at all on this earth. Hours of practice with his mother standing over him, lamenting his poor skills and begging him, urging him to try again. He'd love it, she insisted. It was just an awkward phase, he'd get through it. It would be worth it in the end.

And so he played, gritting his teeth against the painful sound and the building resentment. Why should he love it? It was nothing special. Music was nothing special. It would never be worth it, and he couldn't do it anyway even if it was. The violin was a dead piece of wood, and it sounded like it.

But in her hands... In her hands, it came alive. In her hands, the violin sang and danced and laughed and cried. She would take it up and suddenly, it wasn't his violin anymore. She would play the simple tune he was trying to learn, and it sounded better than any concert he had been forced to sit through.

Now, she is old, and her hands shake. Now, she is old, and her eyes are weak and her hearing fails her. Now, the violin is not laughing in her hands, but silent, like a mourner at a funeral sits and dares not make a sound.

So he takes up the violin, the hated violin, and he begs it to come alive in his hands. He plays, and his notes are off key and his hands are not positioned right, and it sounds like a dead piece of wood.

But his mother is deaf – what does the sound of it mean to her? Her son is with her, and she remembers when he was small and sat and listened to her as she does now to him.

His mother smiles, and he loves the violin.

Character Poems

These are short poems designed to go on a petlookup or as the introduction to a petpage, giving the reader a taste of what the pet is like.

Please: Do not take any of these poems for your own pet. They were written for someone else and someone else's pet. If you would like one for your own pet, you are very welcome to request one.

Bitter | Mercenary | Tired

Another day, another dawn
Another step down the beaten track.
What is life and why go on
When you've been to the end and back?
Determined | Runaway | Free

Over the hills and over the sea
There's a ship gone sailing, sailing free;
In my dreams and in my prayers
I am free and sailing, sailing there.
Hidden | Mysterious | Silent

The shadows sing of times gone by
I hear them in my sleep.
All is lost, they sing, the end is nigh
And lost alone I weep.
Secretive | Aimless | Jaded

Life times pass, the seasons fade
Dust clouds settle like winter snow
And I, who saw whole kingdoms be unmade
Wander on, and on for eons still I'll go.
Hungry | Malevolent | Hoard

Beware, all who enter
Beware, and take heed;
The neopets gather
And they're ready to feed.
Comic | Cheerful | Generous

There's a draik outside the window
He's short and squat and fat
He's riding a brand new bicycle
And wearing an orange hat.

Poetry

Nuroa

April 2013, written for Giada

The dawn is near; the world awaits
with baited breath –
The waters still and calm their waves,
The faeries turn a watchful gaze;
The wind is stirring in the west.

First the sky, with rosy hue
is softly lit.
The clouds are gold, the ocean blue,
The dawn begins the day anew,
And brings new life along with it.

For by the shore the wavefronts break
with foaming crest,
That wind and sea begin to shape,
With tail and wings, a water draik -
By all the faeries surely blessed!

The dawn is come! Nuroa sings
a joyful call,
And spreads her crystal water wings
To welcome faeries, queens and kings;
Let beauty reign for evermore!



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It is a journey
I must face...alone.
*dramatic music*
I want to stay on Neopets,
where the dangers of
Meepit invasion
are taken seriously.
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It is a journey
I must face...alone.
*dramatic music*
I want to stay on Neopets,
where the dangers of
Meepit invasion
are taken seriously.
Heads Up! You're about to leave Neopia!

You've clicked on a link that will take you outside of
Neopets.com. We do not control your destination's website,
so its rules, regulations, and Meepit defense systems will be
different! Are you sure you'd like to continue?



It is a journey
I must face...alone.
*dramatic music*
I want to stay on Neopets,
where the dangers of
Meepit invasion
are taken seriously.
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