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Faerieland: A Dozen Years After Xandra


by black_skull725

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This is a follow-up to my previous article

     It has been a little over twelve years since Xandra crashed Faerieland into Neopia. At the time, Neopia collectively wondered how the faeries would recover from the shocking incident and how it would impact faerie-pet relations. Many Neopians pitched in to help rebuild Faerieland, whether it was gathering materials through faerie quests or helping repair or rebuild infrastructure in Faerieland. The faeries themselves faced a debate about whether to try and rebuild Faerieland in the sky or to keep it on the ground. Queen Fyora ruled that Faerieland should remain on the ground, but this did not stop the debate, even though it signified the stance that the queen would execute.

     A dozen years later, Faerieland has undergone many changes. Faerielanders have mostly rebuilt all of Faerie City, although the maps haven’t necessarily been up to date. Most faeries have gotten used to having a larger Neopet population. They’ve also gotten used to being on the ground, with fewer of them debating whether to return Faerieland back into the sky. The exception was of course New Faerieland, which seemed to garner more attention from faeries that longed to be back in the sky. However, Luxinia couldn’t keep up with the demand for housing which led to tensions. Other issues remained with some of the villages and towns outside of Faerie City, where occasional conflict required Queen Fyora to pay them a visit to smooth things over.

     Given that issues still lingered from Xandra’s deed and after the Wraith Resurgence, we at the Neopian Times went out to various communities across Faerieland to understand how much progress the realm has made since then.

     Our first stop takes us back to the port city of Nimbostratus. When we last visited, we found Neopets and faeries working together in the bustling city, but also a bit of tension between them. We stopped by the shipyard and found a group of Koi there along with a few water faeries inspecting the hull of a work-in-progress ship.

     “Oh hello! We remember you from your last visit a long time ago,” the water faerie said.

     “Aurora, was it?” I replied.

     “Yes, you remembered!”

     “Have you been working on ships the entire time since our last visit?”

     She nodded.

     “Yep, pretty much. I did take a short break to help catch fish, but this has been my main job since. And I’ve kept the same crew of Koi here as well!”

     I turned to the water to notice three Koi checking for leaks on a ship that they just lowered next to the docks. One of them turned to wave but appeared too busy to speak to us otherwise.

     “Aurora, when we last spoke, you mentioned there was tension between the faeries and pets. How are things going years later?”

     Aurora beamed as she answered. “Things are much better now. It’s safe to say most of the faeries are now used to living on the ground. I think things are much like they are in Faerie City, with pets and faeries getting along quite well. There are still a small group of faeries that remain unconvinced though, and they’ve left Nimbostratus, so good riddance I guess?”

     She was referring, of course, to a group of water faeries who made their living from fishing that we met last time. They did not seem to care for their new Neopet neighbours and blamed them for things that went wrong.

     “Ah, I see, do you have any idea where they went?”

     “Yes, they last mentioned that they wanted to reach the Isle of Fay.”

     Confusion settled in as I processed Aurora’s statement. “The Isle of Fay? I thought that was just in Faerie Tales.”

     Aurora laughed. “Well of course, but in Faerieland, some Faerie Tales are true! Yes, the island exists along with Lil Fay. I wouldn’t go visit though. The faeries there aren’t welcoming to outsiders and use various magical spells to keep it that way. They also don’t recognize Queen Fyora as their queen.”

     Still, intrigued by the fact that there were faeries that lived on an island away from all the Neopets, we figured a visit to the island would be something we would look at in the future. Having a further look around Nimbostratus, the city itself seemed to be fully rebuilt and had the vibe of Faerie City, but on the coast. Faeries and Neopets relaxed alongside each other on the beaches when they weren’t working alongside each other. The streets, lined with little outdoor cafes, invited tourists from all over Neopia.

     Our next stop was the Village of Cirrus which was much more rural except for the Faerieland Staff and Wand Factory. However, upon arrival, we noticed that much of the village still had not been fully rebuilt. There were still tents lining the streets and the factory itself seemed quiet.

     “What are you doing here?” said an Earth Faerie with a patronizing glance.

     “We are wondering what happened here,” I replied.

     “This village is not a tourist attraction you know! And this factory is now abandoned. All the workers moved to Faerie City after they built a newer wand factory. If you don’t have business here, then scram!”

     “But wait! The last time we visited…”

     “Well, it’s not the last time you visited!”

     The bluntness of the Earth Faerie gave our crew a bit of a shock. Clearly, we weren’t wanted here. However, we continued to press for answers from the Earth Faerie.

     “Look, we’ll get out of your way soon, but we really want to know what happened here.”

     Exasperated, the Earth Faerie softened her glare and beckoned us to sit down on a dilapidated bench nearby.

     “Ever since the new factory was built, the Neopets were excited to move to Faerie City. Some of the faeries working here also followed them. As the population dwindled, a few of us faeries stayed behind, hoping that we would be able to revive the village and bring in new visitors. But no Neopets seemed to want to visit some little backward village in the middle of nowhere in Faerieland. Everyone wants to go to Faerie City or Nimbostratus. So, the town fell into disrepair and to be honest, Queen Fyora’s largely ignored us. Please forgive me for my behaviour earlier. We’re all just a little frustrated here.”

     The Earth Faerie hung her head and then shook it repeatedly.

     “I suggest you go though. There are other faeries who are far more frustrated and would resort to driving you all away with strong magic. But I hope your reporting calls attention to us and perhaps Queen Fyora would finally see our plight.”

     The Earth Faerie refused to give us her name afterwards and after taking one more glance at the rundown factory building, we left the area, heeding the warnings about the other faeries. Clearly, this was something we needed to confront Fyora about. There were past rumours about some parts of Faerieland recovering from the fall faster than others. However, the Village of Cirrus appears to have become an extreme example of this.

     Back on the road, we trekked to Stratusville out on the border near Brightvale territory. Primarily pastureland, we found the small diner we visited last time and decided to poke around.

     A group of farmers had just sat down for their lunch break. After they had ordered their lunch, mostly sandwiches, we sat at the table next to them, also ordering sandwiches.

     There was an Elderly Ogrin, a red Lupe, and a brown Kyrii. However, there was also an air faerie sitting with them.

     “Hello, you all look a bit familiar,” the Ogrin said.

     “Oh! You are that reporter that talked to us last time about our relationship with faeries,” quipped the brown Kyrii.

     “Oh, you’re that farming family. But we never met the air faerie?”

     “Hello, I’m Jenna. I help the family out now on the farm,” she said with a gentle smile.

     “Grampa’s getting quite old, so she also helps around the farm, even delivering our harvest to the market,” the Lupe explained.

     We were curious because last time we spoke, Grampa was not the fondest of faeries. Now a faerie took care of things around the house.

     “What changed your heart about the faeries?”

     The Ogrin folded his arms defensively and then shook his cane slightly at us.

     “Look, I never said I disliked faeries. But ya know, after speaking to a few of them, I realized that we ain’t that much different. Xandra really did a number on them and they’re just trying to get by in life too.”

     The Kyrii then leaned over and whispered.

     “He had a bit of an injury at one point and Jenna found him and immediately rendered first aid. Ever since then, Jenna’s stuck around to help us out. It was quite nice of her to do that so yeah, my father decided to hire her. She’s practically part of the family now though.”

     Jenna nodded. “Yeah, it’s been a wonderful experience living with them and I’m always glad to help with my magic to gather those hard-to-reach items and ensure their grandpa here doesn’t get hurt. I hope more faeries can help other elderly pets this way.”

     There are indeed more faeries pursuing this line of work, with some encouragement from Queen Fyora. Xandra had made the point that the faeries seemed quite distant from Neopian affairs in the past. The faeries are actively working to change that perception while also getting elderly pets the help they need. In fact, at this time of writing, there are now at least 15,000 faeries pursuing this line of work. With Faerieland’s total population nearing 3 million now and 35 percent of it being Neopets, one could see that this skill is in demand.

     As our sandwiches arrived, we all started to dig in and there wasn’t as much conversation. But we did notice that the Ogrin had nearly dropped a slice of bread and Jenna quickly floated it back onto his plate.

     “Whoa!”

     “Ah whoops. Thanks, Jenna,” the Ogrin said.

     After our meal, we decided that it was time to turn our attention to Faerieland’s newest territory in the sky. Queen Fyora and Luxinia agreed that it was time to open the small city in the sky to visitors. She permitted cloud racers to dock with the city’s port, giving her Walein a much-needed break from being public transit to New Faerieland.

     “There seems to be a lot of faerie visitors heading in the same direction,” one of my crew members observed. I floated my wingchair closer to the window of the transit cloud racer to get a better look. There were plenty of faeries heading up to New Faerieland. By the time we arrived, we found a large crowd of them at New Faerieland station.

     Luxinia greeted the new visitors, but clearly had a weary look on her face.

     “Hello everyone! The Neolodge is over there. Please start there to get yourself settled in!” she yelled and pointed the Neolodge to the faeries. Eventually, the crowd thinned out and we were able to get to Luxinia to speak to her. Before we began though, Varia zoomed out of nowhere to join us.

     “Hello friends!” she exclaimed.

     “Well, it certainly looks much busier here than our previous visits,” I said.

     Luxinia sighed and collapsed onto a bench next to a fountain on the main island of New Faerieland.

     “That’s an understatement. It seems like the faeries that really wanted Faerieland back in the air are requiring us to make new land faster than the Gift of Calabrus was intended to do that.”

     “Doesn’t that thing also sap your magic strength?”

     “Yes, but the other faeries can use it. However, the Gift can still only be used once a day. Calabrus didn’t want us to make a huge land that covered all Neopia, clearly haha.”

     We looked around and saw more than a dozen sky islands in the background and my jaw dropped a little.

     “Wait, just how much land did you all create up here?” I asked.

      “We got a little carried away!” Varia exclaimed with a huge grin on her face.

     “You didn’t stop her?” I pressed.

     Varia shrugged. “Queen Fyora said the same thing to me. There’s no stopping Luxinia once she sets her mind towards something. That’s like asking Gooblah to quit Food Club or Team Faerieland to win the Altador Cup.”

     “Hey! At least they’re building their own houses, so I don’t have to use my magic for that,” Luxinia retorted.

     New Faerieland did indeed have the look of the old Faerie City minus the castle. Multi-level houses lined the side of the street further down and grand bridges connected each piece of “sky-land” together. The difference was that they were less pink since New Faerieland didn’t follow the pink building rule of Old Faerieland. The buildings still had the grandeur of Faerie City with fancy windows and cute roof shingles. Each “sky-land” also featured an enormous decorative fountain in the middle, earning New Faerieland a new nickname… The City of Fountains.

     To get a sense of how busy it was, we followed Varia back to her General Store. The long line of customers snaked around the store and almost out the door.

     “Oh, you’re back!” said a brown Acara behind the counter.

     “Nephrite?”

     “Oh hello. Yes, that would be me!”

     “They are helping me run the store while they aren’t trying to research into my past,” Varia explained.

     “That’ll be 150 Neopoints! Thank you for visiting the New Faerieland General Store!” Nephrite said before handing things back over to Varia.

     “Your store is busy; how do you keep up with all of the visitors now?”

     “Well, I’m starting to hire more staff with some additional funds from Faerieland to help this community. Tia and Jorett are doing the same though, so we are competing for people to work here. We do get lots of visitors from Faerieland willing to move here though so that bodes well.”

     Of course, New Faerieland was something that Fyora did want to put funds towards despite her views that most of Faerieland should remain on the ground. Realizing that some faeries didn’t share her vision for Faerieland, New Faerieland would be a decent compromise. That said, given that the Village of Cirrus appeared to lack resources, we figured it was only fair to question the Faerie Queen on the uneven distribution of aid across Faerieland.

     Back outside, we ran into a group of faeries, a dark, fire and light faerie sat around the fountain and appeared to be having a picnic.

     “Hello everyone,” I said.

     The dark faerie waved at us. “Ah hello, do you work for the Neopian Times?” she asked.

     “Yes, we do! We wanted to ask about why you moved to New Faerieland. But first, who are you?”

     “I’m Anna, and these are my friends, Lana and Sena. We moved to New Faerieland because we missed living in the sky. Old Faerieland on the ground is nice and all, but we prefer the skies still. Did you want to try our Baked Faerie Corn?”

     She handed each of us a Baked Faerie Corn. I took a bite and was immediately reminded why Faerie Food was indeed the best in Neopia. The sweet buttery goodness overtook my mouth, almost causing me to forget why I was there.

     “This is really good! But we had one more question. How different do you think New Faerieland is compared to when Old Faerieland was in the sky?”

     Sena, the Light Faerie, spoke up first. “There are more Neopets here and I think that’s a good thing. Luxinia and her friends did an amazing job in making this a welcoming place for all.”

     “Oh, and it’s also nice to be in a place where the buildings don’t all look the same. Old Faerieland got pretty boring with all that pink,” Lana, the Fire Faerie added.

     It wasn’t the first time we heard Faerieland described as boring. I suppose after living a long time in an extraordinary place starts to make it seem… ordinary.

     Anyways, we decided it was time to speak to the queen herself. As usual, she was busy, and the castle guards first turned us away. Eventually, Queen Fyora poked her head out of a tower and saw us waiting around.

     “Well, don’t keep them waiting too long, invite them inside!” she said to her guards.

     The Faerie Queen seemed to be in good spirits as we stepped into her chambers. As usual, she served her usual tea and this time she brought out Faerie Bonbons. As we sipped our tea and nibbled on the bonbons, I jumped right into asking her questions.

     “So, it’s been a dozen years since Faerieland fell. How do you think the recovery has gone?” I inquired.

     Queen Fyora hovered over to a window and looked at Faerie City below. “Well, it has been a journey, but given us, faeries live quite long lives, a dozen years does go by in a blink of an eye. But the progress we’ve made in healing our realm and healing the divide between faeries and pets has been tremendous. I… I only wish Xandra was here to see,” she began. Her voice then trailed off as she pulled out her handkerchief and dabbed her eyes a bit. “Sorry, I swore I had gotten over this by now… I guess not. You’ll have to excuse me a bit…”

     “No no, that’s quite alright. Take all the time you need.”

     She took a sip of her tea and ate a bonbon followed by another sip before acknowledging us again.

     “Thank you all for waiting, you may go on,” she said.

     “We met a faerie who became a caregiver for an elderly Neopet. How common is that these days?”

     Queen Fyora’s eyes lit up and she smiled widely. “This warms my heart. Yes, I’ve been encouraging this because I think it’s a need that we faeries can fulfil with our magic especially. Happy to report that thousands of faeries are now pursuing this line of work. Neopets appreciate the help and I hope the faeries feel a sense of joy while they care for other Neopets.”

     “We’re glad this is happening too. It has changed hearts and minds among even pets who resisted living alongside faeries in the past. But… switching gears, this is going to be a tough one, but we got back from visiting the Village of Cirrus. It seems the wand factory there got shuttered after it moved to Faerie City. Are you aware the village hasn’t fully recovered from the fall?”

     Queen Fyora rubbed her forehead nervously and sighed. “Well, I am aware of that. I won’t make any excuses for it. The loss of a factory there had quite a large impact on the area. The faeries there are probably quite upset.”

     “Yes, they definitely are. They claim that you aren’t listening to their pleas.”

     Queen Fyora folded her arms and shook her head. “That’s not true. I’ve been working to get a new business there to move into the factory building. However, it has been a challenge to convince someone to move out to the Village of Cirrus. I do concede that I have not made it out there recently and should probably pay them a visit.”

     “Will you commit to helping the area then?”

     “Yes, I will. You can count on that,” Queen Fyora said emphatically.

     “There’s one more thing. Did you hear that some faeries decided to move out to the Isle of Fay to avoid settling with Neopets?”

     “The Isle of Fay? No, I don’t really get much news out of there. The faeries there are keen to have nothing to do with Faerieland. But it does make me sad that some faeries still harbour prejudice against Neopets.”

     “Do you think we could go visit those faeries and see how things are over there?”

     The queen held up her hand. “No, I do not think that’s a good idea,” she said flatly. “That is not a safe place for Neopets.”

     After a bit of back and forth, Queen Fyora did suggest that we could visit if we travelled with a faerie well-versed in dispelling dangerous area-affecting magic. However, then she proposed herself as the travel guide.

     “I would be willing to go with you, but my schedule is booked for a while. Perhaps your visit can wait,” Fyora suggested.

     Not wanting to argue with the queen any further, we obliged.

     “Actually, I had one more question,” I began. “New Faerieland has been growing at a rapid pace. How do you reconcile that with your intention to keep the rest of Faerieland on the ground?”

     After a very long pause, Queen Fyora began to answer. “The reason I encouraged Luxinia to build out New Faerieland was to give folks an option to choose. I had resisted this in the past because I felt that keeping Faerieland on the ground was vital to our relationships with pets. However, seeing that Luxinia and other Neopets could help build New Faerieland, I felt that we’ve moved beyond that, and with the Gift of Calabrus back in our possession, we can make Faerieland a place where all are welcome, whether they prefer the land or the sky. This was why I encouraged some Neopets to move up there. I do not want to make the same mistake of isolating Old Faerieland before inviting Neopets to visit.”

     Diplomatic as per usual, Queen Fyora realized that Faerielanders had different opinions about her policies and New Faerieland gave her some breathing room to please both sides.

     After a dozen years, Faerieland has made tremendous progress in rebuilding herself into her former glory. Despite this, there are still some growing pains and a lot of things for Queen Fyora’s administration to work out. More importantly, Queen Fyora’s moving with the intention to ensure that Neopets and faeries continue to get along as the faeries continue to take lessons from Xandra’s actions, as terrible as they were. The next dozen years in Faerieland seem exciting and hopeful. We hope to share in Faerieland’s continued development and progress.

     From Faerieland, this is the Neopian Times.

     

 
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