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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 17th day of Swimming, Yr 26
The Neopian Times Week 123 > Short Stories > Grey Despair, Golden Hope: A Journey Begins

Grey Despair, Golden Hope: A Journey Begins

by ridergirl333

Author's note: You'll have to read Grey Despair, Golden Hope: An Impossible Task in order to understand the plot of this one.

Wind shrieking like some sort of wounded beast! Snowflakes falling from the sky by the millions, coating the mountainside in a drift deep enough to bury the Rock Beast. Snow flying so thickly in front of you, you couldn't know up from down. A chilly breeze picked up, scattering the snowflakes and ruffling my fur. I braced myself against the wind, cursing the day I had ever agreed to set off on this journey.

     My name is Tessalea Bordorian of Bordor Mount, and although I am a mountain Lupess by birth and nature, I was not fit to go out in blizzards. No one is, not even the Snow Faerie herself. Needless to say, my parents did not approve of me "gallivanting off, especially in the coldest months of winter." But they took pity on my new friend, Treali the former earth Faerie, who was now as grey as the gloomy clouds on an overcast day. And when I explained to them that I was going for her sake, to find the Star of the Elements on Mist Mountain, they reluctantly gave their consent. They then supplied Treali with a warm fur coat. A welcome gift after spending days in nothing but a tatty old dress. Then, after a brief meal, we were leaving, heading onto the journey of our lives.

     Our lives might not be too long if we don't get out of this blizzard.

     "We have to find shelter!" Treali shouted, as if reading my mind. "I don't think I can go on much further!"

     "Neither can I!" Even though I was only a few inches behind her, I had to shout to be heard. "But where are we going to find shelter!"

     "We'll have to keep moving!" Treali replied. Frankly, I didn't think we'd find shelter on this desolate mountain. And if we did, it would probably be something small and cold, like a cave. Mount Ice, my people called this place. The Peak of a Thousand Snowstorms. Aptly named, since blizzards occurred there more than any other mountain in the Terror Mountain Range. You'd have to be crazy to live here.

     "You're lost?" called an eerie, low-pitched voice. "Let me show you the way to my home!"

     "What was that?" Treali asked, gasping with shock.

     "I don't know," I replied, bracing myself as another gust of wind came, nearly knocking Treali off of her feet. As a mountain Lupess, I knew how to predict these wind gusts. "But it sounds like it came from over there!" I pointed straight ahead. "And going there has to be better than staying here until my paws freeze off."

     So we followed the voice up the steeply rising trail. Whenever we seemed to be close, the mysterious speaker just darted away. Occasionally, we'd see glimpses of him, but only enough to tell that he was striped in color. Onward and upward we went, us getting closer to him, and him darting away every time we'd get close enough to see. Finally, huffing and puffing, we reached the mountain's peak. "Okay," Treali panted. "Where is he?"

     "I can't help but think he's leading us on a wild Lenny chase." I strained my ears to try to hear his voice again, but all I heard was the howling of the wind.

     "Well, it's pointless hanging around here. Let's turn ba… oof!" My Faerie companion walked into something warm and solid. Spitting out feathers, she looked up into the fiercest eyes she had ever seen. They seemed to give fire and life to the Eyrie's snow-white body and pale pink stripes. They were eyes of a vibrant crimson color.

     His companion was ganglier and less solid than he was. This second Eyrie had cold, steely silver feathers and powerful paws that seemed out of proportion with the rest of him. But his eyes… his eyes were a deep maroon, like dried blood. A slight shiver ran down my spine, and it wasn't because of the cold.

     "You think we'd lead you on a wild Lenny chase, young Lupess?" the silver one asked, extending one of his humongous paws as if to slap me. "Have you no faith in the ones who rescued you from certain death?"

     The bigger Eyrie cuffed the silver one gently. "They have every right to be suspicious of us, brother. Especially the two-legged one. I can tell that she is Sra Dessro." Treali hung her head in shame.

     "The Lupess, she's got the look of a Bordorian," growled the silver Eyrie. "She's got that look about her. I wouldn't trust her farther than I could throw her."

     "Nevertheless, they need our help," the Striped Eyrie said firmly. He gestured for Treali and I to follow him. Finding a seemingly random ice-covered snow bank, he tapped on it three times and… disappeared.

     Treali gasped in shock. I managed to keep my cool but I was a little stunned also. A fully-grown, semi-easy-to-spot Eyrie had vanished before my eyes! "Go on." Urged the silver Eyrie. "You gonna wait until we all freeze on this faerie-forsaken peak?"

     Gently, Treali nudged me forward. A blast of wind nearly lifted me off my paws. Scared or not, I would have to tap on that snow bank and find out where that Eyrie went because I could not stay here to freeze. I walked up to the bank, tapped its surface three times, (were surfaces of snow banks always so hard? It felt like cold steel under my paw.) Suddenly, I had no surface to stand on! The bank was a trapdoor! And I predicted that it would be a long way down. I let loose one long, despairing shriek that was soon drowned out by the wind…

* * *

Distant voices… speaking, but I couldn't quite make out what they were saying. One was deep… very deep. He seemed calm and serene. The other person seemed to be in a foul mood. Ranting… about what? Something about snow… and mountains… and a Faerie… Treali!

     I awoke with a start, shoving away the soft blankets that covered me. I didn't even notice the warm carpet under my paws as I raced my way down a wallpapered hall with hardwood flooring and into the room in which the two Eyries stood. "Where's Treali?" I demanded, without even thinking to say hello.

     "Relax, Lupess," the striped Eyrie said comfortingly. "She's in her own room. Down the hall and to the right. I'm a bit worried about you, though. You bumped your head pretty good when you fell. Knocked you out for an hour or so."

     "I'm fine," I assured the Eyrie, and without another word, I raced down the hall and to an oaken door with a crystal handle. There, Treali lay weeping on a cerulean satin canopy bed. "Treali?" I whispered.

     Slowly, she turned to face me, her tears glittering in the light of a crystal chandelier hanging from the ceiling. "Tessa… oh Tessa I was so worried about you. When you fell… you lay so limply. The silver Eyrie carried you away and I was afraid I'd never see you again…"

     It then hit me full force. This Faerie was terrified of losing me! I was the only reason she hung on to hope. It's a terrible burden, being bonded to someone so closely. But I just walked over to the bed and put my paw around her shoulder and let her dry her tears on my fur.

     Our cry-fest was interrupted by a knock on the door. "Lupess? Grey Faerie?" The silver Eyrie addressed us. "You must be tired after your long journey so my brother and I have prepared a small meal."

     Small meal? It was a feast fit for a king! Roast turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, candied fruits, delicacies imported from Mystery Island, the Lost Desert, Meridell, places around Neopia! It was served with the finest grape juice and followed by a cake the size of a small Chia! Treali and I stuffed our faces until we could eat no more. Then we chatted with the Eyrie brothers. It turns out that the striped Eyrie was named Beneterr Eyrpeak and the silver one was his brother Maloporg. They had come from a very well to do family in Mystery Island, but decided that the tropical life was not for them. So, they built this cave under the Peak of A Thousand Snowstorms. Maloporg was a technological genius who had built the trapdoor. Unfortunately, they had forgotten that Lupes and grey faeries had no wings to make their landing softer. Luckily, Beneterr managed to get a pile of pillows for me to land on, so I sustained only minor injuries. Then, Beneterr returned to the peak of the mountain and flew Treali down. When they had finished telling their story, we told them ours. Every event in full detail. With complete and total trust.

     Throughout the telling of our story, Maloporg kept shooting Treali glances of what looked a lot like contempt. Did he really hate her? Or was my paranoid mind just imagining things? Was he really trying to avoid my eyes? And were his paws really fidgeting with excitement? I couldn't tell.

     Finally, we had finished telling our story. "May I be excused?" Maloporg asked quietly, keeping his voice perfectly level. His brother nodded and he left without even bothering to clear his plate.

     It was time to either confirm my fears or put my paranoia to rest. "May I be excused also?" I asked. Again, Beneterr nodded. I too left my plate at the table and followed Maloporg to a cavern at the end of a tunnel that was obviously his bedroom. He closed a heavy oaken door behind him, and I lay flat on the ground and peered through the crack under the door. A silver woven rug lay beneath a Regal Oak Wood Bed. Tapestries of famous Neopians hung on the back wall. Kauvara, Fyora, Jeran, Brucey B. Darigan, Dr. Sloth, Captain Dread, and a mysterious dark Faerie who looked vaguely familiar. I let loose a tiny, inaudible gasp. It can't be… her. I thought to myself.

     It was Jennumara.

     Maloporg paced around the room once, twice. I only saw his metallic paws pacing, pacing. Feeling secure, he reached under his bed, (now I could see his head) and pulled out a violet handheld mirror with green tinted glass. Standing upright, he began to speak to the mirror. He hissed into the glass. "O Guardian of the Star. I have the escaped Sra Dessro. I shall bring her to the Craggy Peak at sunrise as you've commanded me."

     To my eternal astonishment, the mirror spoke back! A voice like a thousand shards of ice emitted from the glass. It was a voice like Kougra claws tearing at my insides, bringing about physical as well as emotional pain. "You shall be rewarded greatly, my Neopet. The Guardian will make this worth your effort, oh yes."

     By now, I was cringing from the sound of that voice, curled up on the ground like a tiny Lupe pup. But Maloporg didn't even flinch. He merely raised a paw as if he were saluting the mirror. "Thank you, my lady," he said, before stashing the mirror back underneath his bed.

     They're going to get Treali! I thought, my mind close to panicking. They can't get Treali! I've got to protect her! I've got to warn…

     Maloporg's paws came to a rigid halt. "Who goes there?" he asked firmly, nervousness creeping into his voice. "I hear panting!"

     Before I could get onto all four paws and run, it was too late. Maloporg had opened the door. "It's the Bordorian Lupess. I should have known. You can't hide now, little Lupess. You know too much."

     That's when I noticed the sword in his paw.

The End

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