Lord Faerigan - Fyora's Role in the Meridell Wars: Part Three
Chapter 3 - Justified
Queen Fyora watched the land below from the top of her tower. She saw the Meridell knights enter the citadel. She witnessed them fighting against the Darigans. As quickly as she could, she deployed a peacekeeping envoy of faeries to the citadel in hopes that they would be able to talk some sense into both sides.
"Queen Fyora, we are back," said an exasperated voice.
"Illusen, Psellia, and Siyana? You are all back so so
"We tried to enter the kingdom but Lord Darigan denied us entry. He said he didn’t want any Faerieland blood on his hands and the Meridellians would not accept any peace deal. They wanted his orb. King Skarl took it and he used it to...he...oh blasted...he cursed the land with it!" Psellia said.
Fyora gasped and motioned the Faeries to sit down at a round table surrounded by well-cushioned chairs.
"Please, elaborate if you will."
"This curse will linger. It appears it is already causing much of their fertile land to turn into a dark purple dust. It is as if a desert oasis suddenly dried up and every living plant perished," replied Siyana.
Fyora bit her lip and shifted around in her seat rather uncomfortably. There was a prolonged silence before she got up from her position.
"I’m going to the citadel; I must speak to Lord Darigan at once."
Illusen opened her mouth as if to dissuade the queen from leaving, fearing for her safety. However, she was abruptly interrupted by a loud rumbling noise in the distance.
"What was that?!" Illusen exclaimed.
Fyora stepped closer to a window and watched as Lord Darigan’s castle and the surrounding citadel slowly ascended into the air.
"Wow! Is he really raising his entire citadel up?" Psellia gasped.
"It appears so. I believe war is inevitable. What other reason would he have to raise that citadel and position it so close to Meridell? Thank you all for attempting to diffuse the situation. Unfortunately, it seems that neither side is willing to find a diplomatic resolution. You have done all you could," Fyora said.
Despite Fyora’s exhortations, the three faeries looked rather gloomy.
"Is there anything else we could do?" Siyana asked.
Fyora shook her head. "This is not our war to fight. Our goal was only to prevent it. However, these two kingdoms have already made up their mind. It’s difficult to change that given the circumstances. The most we could do is monitor the situation closely and find any opportunity to attempt to find a peaceful solution. As I have said, you have all done everything you could to try and avert this crisis. Please don’t be upset."
"Alright then, I guess our work is done then?" Psellia asked, still appearing gloomy.
"Go and find rest. I do not doubt that I may be in need of your services again," Fyora replied.
The three peacekeepers filed out of the room, leaving Fyora and Celandra alone.
"Celandra, I intend to visit the Darigan Citadel right now," the queen said.
"Fyora, isn’t that a bit dangerous now? Especially when war is imminent? I’m surprised since you don’t usually make rash decisions," Celandra replied.
Fyora stood there, taking a moment for Celandra’s words to sink in before commenting again.
"Why do you think I’m being rash? I just wish to speak to a dear friend of mine."
"I just think marching into a warzone isn’t the wisest of ideas."
"Well, what would you do then?" Fyora snapped back. She covered her mouth immediately afterwards. Celandra grimaced slightly at the Queen’s words.
"I-I don’t know Fyora," she said with some difficulty.
"Celandra you know I didn’t mean..."
"No, it’s not. I’m sorry for snapping at you. I’m just..."
"Stressed, worried about a friend...like I am doing right now. If you do go, please, at least use the Virtupets Communicator and make sure the Space Faerie tracks your location."
Fyora nodded. "Don’t worry about me," she replied, pulling Celandra into a tight embrace.---
"FL000 to VP123, I am requesting a monitored flight from Faerieland to Darigan Citadel. Over," Fyora spoke into the microphone in her cloud racer. The device had the Virtupets emblem was connected to a small box with an antenna under the glove compartment.
"VP123 here. I copy you loud and clear. Hello your majesty, fancy hearing you on here again. Glad that you are checking in every now and then. Please standby as I obtain route information."
"10–4. It’s good to hear your voice again Mira."
"Uh Fyora. What’s going on in Neopia? Darigan Citadel seems to have gained elevation. Is that correct?"
"That is affirmative. War is imminent after King Skarl laid a curse on Lord Darigan and his kingdom. Darigan Citadel is now floating in the air near Meridell."
"Ah, I do copy and I am able to see the amassing of troops from the Space Station. I am sending route information to your racer."
Celandra signaled for all air traffic to halt as Fyora’s racer received the route from the Space Faerie.
"You should be ready for flight now," Mira said.
"Thanks, Mira. That’s all I’ll need for now. It’s been a pleasure speaking to you. Over and out."
Fyora glanced at the route that took her over a small stretch of sea. Faerieland at the moment was floating directly over Maraqua and the citadel was floating just east of Meri Acres Farm. She nodded to Celandra. Moments later, her racer was up in the air and en route to Darigan Citadel. Minutes into her flight, she received a transmission from Celandra.
"FL Base to FL000, this is Celandra."
"Hello Celandra. I’m just barely a mile from Faerieland."
"Alright, just making sure this works. I’m still not used to this Virtupets thing."
"10–4, I hear you loud and clear. There’s a lot of water and not much else right now."
"Um okay, you take care alright? Let me know if there are any issues."
"Will do Celandra. I’ll be back soon."
Fyora soon saw the coastline of Meridell and slowed her racer down. The citadel was a lot closer to Meridell than she thought. She gasped at the sight of it. No longer were there green pastures and crop fields. The land instead was now barren, covered in dark purple rock. Her mouth opened wide as she saw some of the residents. They no longer looked like themselves. Instead they looked mutated and disfigured, and we’re all covered in a dark purple tint. The strength of the curse was far more than she could have imagined. She felt its power radiating from the land, causing her to feel uneasy. She circled around for a flat area to land until she found such a place right next to the petpet arena.
When she landed she heard loud shouting.
"FORWARD MARCH! Those Meridellians could outpace you all! Lazy bunch! I could just end you all right here! MOVE IT!"
Fyora winced at the menacing voice.
"What are you all staring at?! Oh for Fyora’s sake why is she here?!" The Eyrie shook his head in disgust.
"I’m here to see Lord Darigan," Fyora said, slightly annoyed at the rudeness.
"I don’t have time for this...hey you! Setarian!"
"What is it now, Kass?!"
"Escort Fyora to see Lord Darigan!"
Setarian opened his mouth, ready to fire back at Kass but closed it as he noticed the Faerie Queen was standing right in front of him.
"Right. Come with me, your majesty."
"Thank you, General Setarian."
The two remained painfully silent for several minutes as they headed toward the castle. Finally, the Faerie Queen attempted to engage Setarian.
"General Setarian, what is going on right now?"
Setarian sighed. He seemed irked that the queen asked him a question but stopped short of a sarcastic retort.
"War. Skarl has provoked us with this curse and we will make him pay."
"But isn’t there another way that doesn’t involve fighting?"
"Perhaps...but King Skarl asked for this war. This is between us and him. Peaceful negotiation may work in Faerieland but not with King Skarl."
"Any more questions?" Setarian said rather impatiently.
Fyora thought for a moment but shook her head. She had felt a bit of hostility from General Setarian and decided that she would rather save all her questions for Lord Darigan.
"We are here, your majesty."
"Right, thank you." She reached into her bag and pulled out a 1000 NP coin and handed it to Setarian.
The general’s nostrils flared but he accepted the Neopoints with nary a word, given only a nod and a fake smile before flying out an open window.
She was about to knock on Lord Darigan’s door when she heard voices inside. Curious, she leaned in to listen.
"Show us your power. Attack that fool, King Skarl. After all, that orb was rightfully yours," said a gruff voice.
"He stole your prosperity. Your land used to be fertile, and your kingdom rich. The Kingdom of Meridell has taken that from you," another voice croaked.
"See that land down there? That could be yours. You could be the most powerful ruler in Neopia. Are you going to just wait around and let King Skarl challenge you?" said yet another voice. This one sounded much more different than the previous two. It was honeyed and almost dangerously sweet. The smooth voice inflections sounding just like a faerie causing Fyora’s jaw to drop. Was one of her sisters really trying to stir up war?
"Okay, I’ll do it. Just tell me where my troops should go, and promise me that all we will do is go in and take back the orb," Lord Darigan replied.
"Shhh...someone is at your door as we speak. Invite her inside, but remember, do not fail us. We shall be back," the faerie-like voice said again.
Fyora immediately stepped away from the door. Seconds later, Lord Darigan opened it.
"Ah, Queen Fyora, what brings you here today?" he said nervously.
Lord Darigan’s appearance shocked the queen, but she suppressed her reaction with a forced smile. She observed beads of sweat on Lord Darigan’s face, indicating that he was likely in some stressful situation moments earlier. Fyora knew something was wrong, but she wanted to give Lord Darigan the chance to reveal that to her.
"I just wanted to check up on you. I heard there was an incident?"
"What? Who did you hear that from?"
"My sisters were here earlier. Was it not you who turned them away?" Her voice was gentle but much firmer as she pressed for an answer.
"Huh? Oh right, um...I didn’t want King Skarl to harm them," Darigan replied nervously.
"Hmm...King Skarl wanted to hurt them? Explain."
There was a long awkward pause and then suddenly there was a look of fury on Lord Darigan’s face.
"THAT FOOL! HE STOLE IT! I’LL DESTROY HIM!" he shouted. Fyora jumped, startled by the spontaneous outburst. She rushed over to Darigan’s side and tried to embrace him in an effort to pacify him.
"Whoa! Please calm down!" she said.
However, the Korbat reacted by violently pushing Fyora away, nearly knocking her to the ground. She quickly caught herself and stood back up, moving a bit further away from the Korbat. Clearly he needed room to vent.
"Ow that actually hurt. Lord Darigan would never do that normally. I wonder what sort of dark magic is affecting his thoughts," Fyora thought to herself.
"What’s there to be calm about?! He stole my orb and cursed my kingdom!"
"What’s gotten into you?!" Fyora shouted back. It was the first time she had shouted since her encounter with The Darkest Faerie.
"I want revenge! I want to destroy his kingdom!"
"You think war is going to solve this?! Haven’t both kingdoms suffered enough?"
"Get me the orb then! Take it back from him! King Skarl is an unreasonable oaf; there is no peaceful resolution with that Skeith!"
Fyora heaved a sigh. She did not want to drag Faerieland into this mess.
"Lord Darigan, what you ask I cannot do. You know very well how I feel about getting involved in these affairs. If money is what your kingdom needs, I will be there to assist. If food is what you lack, I have that too. I will be happy to support your kingdom but I will not be able to return it back to the prosperity using the orb. As a friend, I would advise not bringing Neopia back into a state of war. As a Queen, I would forbid it."
Fyora was able to move closer to Lord Darigan now, and she managed to put her arm around him. Her soft, gentle touch would usually calm anybody down and it seemed to have a similarly affected Lord Darigan. He lowered his voice when he spoke again.
"...I respect your advice Queen Fyora, but this is my war to fight. You don’t know what it’s like to have another kingdom come in and harm your own."
"Oh that’s it. You don’t think I understand what you’re going through...but I actually do. I’ve lived through the worst kind of war, a civil war between faeries. I’ve seen many evils and atrocities done by faeries that used to be neighbors, friends. Instead, they were all driven by greed, ambition, and revenge. It was a war between the elements, each one being their own faction and all of them demanding the upper hand. Such a war reduced the faerie population severely. It was the most tragic experience."
Lord Darigan shook his head in shame, knowing that he had misjudged the Faerie Queen.
"Oh...I’m sorry...I didn’t know..."
"No don’t be sorry. The war has taught us an important lesson of unity and equality and I have vowed not to ever let such a traumatizing experience of war happen again."
Lord Darigan shook his head.
"I appreciate the insight but again, for us to have peace, we must have this war."
"Oh? Is that your own thought or did it belong to whomever you were speaking to before I came in?"
"Huh? I wasn’t speaking to anyone before you came in. What are you talking about?"
Those words immediately stung Fyora. She knew that Lord Darigan wasn’t being truthful, even though she saw him as a friend.
"...Okay...I must have been hearing things then..." Fyora replied in a dejected tone.
Before Lord Darigan could respond, there was a loud thud outside.
"You better get out of here Fyora. The Meridellians are launching their catapults."
"What about you?" Fyora asked, extremely concerned about the situation outside.
"As I said, this is war. Now, please, I will not have Faerieland blood on my hands."
"As you wish, I just hope we’ll be able to see each other again."
Lord Darigan nodded as he motioned for Galgarroth.
"Sir?" he asked.
"Please take Queen Fyora back to her cloud racer and ensure her safety."
"Right away sir."---
"FL000 to FL-Base and VP123. I’m en-route back to Faerieland," Fyora spoke into the microphone.
"This is VP123," the Space Faerie responded.
"FL-Base, Fyora, I’m glad to hear your voice."
Fyora cruised in the air for several minutes. Below her, she could see the amassing troops from both Meridell and Darigan Citadel. She heaved a heavy sigh. How she wished that they would find a peaceful solution. The faerie wars were a long time ago, but the war below made it feel like it was yesterday. The screams of faeries, the destruction of property, and the many days in hiding once again haunted her mind. She could not help but shed a few tears. At that moment though, she felt a huge jolt. She turned around and saw significant damage to the right wing and the back of the racer. Below her, she saw large wooden trebuchets launching shells at the Darigan front.
"FL000 to VP123, I’ve been hit! I’m losing altitude fast!"
"I copy. You are very close to a large meadow in Brightvale. Your best course of action is to coast right into there for a softer landing."
"Fyora?! What is going on? Are you okay? Can you hear me?" Celandra shouted frantically over the radio.
"Celandra, I’m okay. My racer was hit. I am still able to steer so I’ll be landing in this pond in Brightvale."
Mira jumped in to reassure Celandra.
"I will send Illusen to ensure the Faerie Queen returns safely to Faerieland."
Just then, the mechanical parts of the racer began to fail.
"Everyone, I am losing altitude fast. I’m going to have to bail."
Before she got a response, she flew up and out of the racer just as it impacted the ground. Right above her was a tree branch though. She was able to move her head out of the way, but the branch got her wings.
"Ow!" she exclaimed as she tumbled into a large puddle of muddy water.
She sat up and surveyed the area. The trees were very thick and allowed little light to peek through. The ground was covered in very shallow water. To her left was a raised wooden path on stilts.
"I’ve read about this place before. This must be the swamp between Meridell and Brightvale...Bogshot isn’t it? I wonder if any of the residents here could help. Hmm...this dress and these shoes won’t do...I guess I’ll have to switch into boots and a heavier dress," she thought.
The Faerie Queen waved her staff. There was a loud pop and instantly, she was wearing a pink denim dress and lavender boots. ---
Jeran had just finished loading up catapults for an evening assault on the main Darigan front. In fact, it was almost time for the assault but most of the troops had gone for supper already. They intended to return and complete preparations, however, Jeran preferred getting more things done beforehand.
"Jeran! Oh Jeran!" shouted a high pitched squeaky voice.
"Lisha? What are you doing here? It’s a bit dangerous over here. The Darigans could be attacking any moment if they see us."
"But you haven’t eaten, and a Knight needs his energy."
He looked in Lisha’s hand and saw a couple sandwiches.
"Oh...I guess I haven’t. Thanks Lisha."
"Can I stick around? Puleeeeze?"
The Lupe shook his head.
"War is nasty business and I would never put you in danger’s path. Please head home."
"Aw, you’re right I guess."
The Aisha gave her brother a tight hug before heading back to home, which was much farther in Meridell than the front lines between Meridell and Darigan.
Jeran not only had not eaten but he also did not get much sleep since the war began. Unfortunately, his fatigue got the best of him and one of his catapults discharged.
"Oh no!" Jeran exclaimed. He watched as the shell flew into the air. At that instant, he heard a loud booming noise and saw something fall from the sky. The object descended quickly into the thick woods of Bogshot Swamp.
Just then, his troops began arriving from the mess tent, having finished their meal. He called out to a blue Wocky carrying a bow with arrows.
"Danner, I must go and check something out. One of my catapults discharged on accident. It appears it may have hit a flying object carrying a passenger. I will be heading toward Bogshot. Since you know the battle plan, I want you to coordinate with the Green Knight to ensure that we move forward with the operation," Jeran said.
"Yes, sir," Danner replied.
They saluted each other and Jeran made his way south to Bogshot swamp. It was only a short distance from where the troops amassed. Darigan Citadel was floating off to the southeast of Meridell, almost right on the border with Brightvale but not quite there to avoid any direct confrontations with King Hagan. Bogshot was within walking distance and it did not take Jeran long to find himself in the heart of the thick swamp. He meticulously scouted the area, looking for anything that would lead him to the object he struck with the catapult and its passenger. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught an eerie pink glow, much unlike anything he’d ever seen before. He drew his sword and cautiously made his way toward the light.
"Who’s there? Show yourself!" he barked as he got closer.
To his astonishment, a faerie stepped out slowly and wearily, heavily favoring her left wing. She was more beautiful than anything Jeran had ever seen. However, her pink denim dress and her lavender boots made it difficult for Jeran to recognize her as the Faerie Queen. Eventually his eyes darted to the crown on her head and he gasped, immediately he dropping his sword; falling to his knees.
"Forgive me, your majesty. You must be the Queen of the Faeries," he said.
"Not to worry. You probably don’t see many faeries around these places. And you must be a Meridellian knight, Sir-?"
"Borodere, your majesty. Jeran Borodere."
"Hmm...I’d much prefer Jeran if you don’t mind. Also, please call me Fyora. I was never too fond of formalities."
"Yes, Fyora." He nodded with a smile that vanished a few seconds later. His eyes grew wide with panic as they caught sight of a destroyed cloud racer.
"Oh, surely I have committed the most serious offense. I was the one that shot your racer out of the sky when my catapult wasn’t fully secured. That must be why your wing is also hurt. Surely King Skarl will have my head now."
The Faerie Queen reached over and gave Jeran a pat on the shoulder.
"It’s okay Jeran. I can assure you I won’t tell King Skarl. Besides, I’m not that hurt and honestly, It’s going to take much more than a catapult to bring me down. You have my forgiveness."
Jeran let out a sigh of relief. "You have my utmost gratitude Fyora."
"Oh you’re not off the hook yet dear. I’d like to speak to you about the war you are involved in."
"Oh? What would you like to know?"
"King Skarl is in possession of a magical orb full of darkness. What does he plan on doing with it?"
"He aims to end the famine that has long plagued our kingdom, nothing more."
"I’ve seen this orb and I have a strong fear that it will do much more than end a famine. I don’t mean that in a good way either. I am concerned that it will bring disastrous curses in this land."
Jeran bit his lip and sat down on the elevated wooden path. Fyora joined him moments later.
"King Skarl will not listen to any advice short of going to war with Darigan. His brother has already been to the castle to persuade him to find a diplomatic solution."
"Has he always been this way?
"No, he wasn’t always this war hungry. This only happened after he possessed the orb. Why?"
"Do you think he’s perhaps under the influence of the orb?"
"Hmm...perhaps. However, I am his knight and I cannot simply forsake his orders. It is my pride to serve him. I would never openly question him."
"I would never ask you to go against your king’s orders, and I do not wish to be directly involved with the war. I am merely wanting to know the situation on the ground. However, would you do so much as assure to me your fight will not harm civilians on either side of the conflict?"
Jeran looked at the Queen seriously and nodded.
"It is my duty as a knight to preserve life. You have my word."
"Good. Also, I have a sister in Meridell. I would like to ask that you make sure she is well protected."
"Of course, I will make sure Illusen’s Glade is secure."
"Then I too will ensure your safety."
"I don’t think that’s particularly necessary, but I truly appreciate it Fyora."
"Fyora? Might I ask what brings you to this area?"
Fyora paused for a moment. She wanted to tell the truth, but also wanted to avoid any chance of misunderstanding. She did not want Jeran to think she was aiding King Skarl’s adversary, even if he was a good friend.
"I was speaking to Lord Darigan. Now I know that may sound suspicious, but I want to assure you, Faerieland has no business in getting involved in any wars. Rather, it is my desire to prevent them from breaking out. I was attempting to persuade him from pursuing a violent solution to his cause. Unfortunately, he did not heed my advice. My deepest apologies for putting you into a position of war."
Jeran took his time to carefully study Fyora’s words.
"I will admit that I still have suspicions, but because you are the Faerie Queen and you demonstrate the utmost integrity in ruling your kingdom, I am willing to set those aside. Should I start to see a pattern in your visits here, then I will be forced to investigate."
"I can certainly understand. I do not expect you to trust me at all. After all, you've only heard of me and this is only our first meeting. I would one day hope that you do place your trust in me though."
"Right, however there is another order of business. What can I do about your injured wing?"
"You need not worry about it. It's just a wing and it will grow back."
"No I mean how are you going to get back home?"
"I hear Illusen has a faerie cloud racer. Would you be so kind as to inform her of my location?"
"It would be my honor."
There was much bloodshed during the war. Both armies were utterly decimated in the conflict, leaving many villages desolate. As the situation continued to grow direr, the Faerie Queen scrambled across Neopia in an effort to secure some aid to the two ravaged kingdoms. However, thieves and bandits seized advantage of this, plundering much of the aid. Fyora did manage to work around the situation by airdropping supplies over villages but this process was much slower as cloud racers were not fit for carrying vast amounts of cargo. On paper, the victory went to the Darigan Army, resulting in Lord Darigan repossessing the orb. However, regaining control of the orb did not go according to plan. Instead, the curse continued to plague the Darigans. Soon it would be the least of the worries for the Darigan Army. The orb began to change Lord Darigan, driving him into total madness. The Darigans desperately tried to dispel the curse but their efforts were mere futility. Soon, they were faced with a decision, to continue supporting Lord Darigan despite his intention to wipe Meridell off the map or to defect in order to avoid further sinking the region into utter chaos.
To be continued…