The Rainbow Pearl: Part One
The dim lantern hanging from a rafter in the Tombola
Man's hut was all that illuminated the small space in which he lived. Most people
would think he would have lived in grandeur-how else would he have been able
to afford all of the trinkets at the Tombola?
He didn't. Most of the Neopoints were from Jhuidah,
The Tombola Man snored softly on his mat of rushes.
Clutched in his hands was the only thing that was of great value to him.
It was a pretty seashell on a silver chain. The
seashell, however, was a lavender color flanked by something like molten gold.
Inside was a large pearl.
It was a rainbow one, honed by Maraqua's best
pearl-makers. All of the colors shined on it, seeming to sparkle in itself.
It was magic, nonetheless.
A puff of purple-and-green smoke appeared outside
of the Tombola Man's modest hut. No one noticed Jhudora appear with a beguiling
smirk upon her face. She went inside of the Tombola Man's hut.
Curling her lip disgustedly at his mix-match
of clothes thrown along the floor, she grabbed the locket and hurried outside.
Unfolding her wings, she jumped into the air and flew.
The waves crashed against the rocks as she flew
against the night air. The full moon was the only thing illuminating the sky,
casting eerie shadows against the dark ocean. What lurks under there, reader,
is a whole mystery in itself.
Suddenly, an eclipse started. Jhudora cast a
fleeting glance at the moon and shrieked in agony as the bright light flooded
through her body. She dropped the locket.
Into the foaming azure waves it went.
Life in Meridell was hard for Ariadne, a mere
peasant Zafara under all of the of lords, ladies, dukes, duchesses, and especially-Morgras,
son of Morguss, who was Temporary King. Ariadne hated him, for he had stripped
her mother and father of their riches, and then tore her away from them, to
live with her uncle, a lowly farmer living by the outskirts of Meridell.
Ariadne had learned to stay out of his way and
go hunt for "treasures" to sell. That was the only way the peasants were able
to have extra Neopoints.
She had never joined in group hunts, usually
just sitting by the sea on some lone rock and gazing into the waters.
This time, something sparked her eye, away from
her usual resting place.
Something shiny was hidden on the shore's edge,
in the sand. Ariadne reached in, fumbling for something, hoping for some shiny
What she pulled out was not what she wanted.
Crestfallen, she wiped numerous amounts of dirt and grime off of the shell she
had picked up. Ariadne brightened up a little when she saw it was on a silver
chain. Hurriedly, she wiped off more dirt and grime. As she saw the hinges,
and then the little clasp, she was sure it was a locket, though maybe not of
Soon all of the dirt had been shoved off, and
Ariadne opened it.
To her surprise, out fell a beautifully honed
She hurriedly put it back and raced back home.
"Well, come on in!" rasped her old uncle, a green
Ixi by the name of Luceras. His fur, though dirty, contained an everlasting
sheen to the tips of his graying hairs. He smiled a crooked smile.
"What'd you get this time, girl?" he asked, stroking
his fur thoughtfully.
Ariadne pulled out the locket for him to see.
He snatched it out of her hands like it was some sort of valuable object. He
sat down on his bench and examined it, shell to hinges. Finally, he opened it.
With breathless wonder Ariadne's uncle scrutinized
the rainbow pearl. He at last put it back into the locket and leaned against
his small bed.
"Where did you get it?" he queried.
"At the seashore-everyone goes there to find
stuff, you know," answered Ariadne simply. "What am I to do with it?" she
"Sell it, of course!" muttered her uncle, motioning
for her to get out of the house. Dejectedly, Ariadne exited her small cottage
and headed down the path.
Sorvos the Shadow Kougra was the only person
the traders knew who would trade with them. All of the other traders usually
dealt with the lords and ladies, but Sorvos was tricky-he knew how to make an
easy profit, and trading with the peasants would fit his ambition quite nicely.
Ariadne had once uncovered a transmogrification potion and traded it for a Starry
Paint Brush, though she was quite lucky to have struck an even bargain.
The locket was hanging around her neck, making
a crease in her midnight blue fur. She was proud of being painted-not everyone,
even the lords and ladies of Meridell Castle, had been painted a beautiful color
As she knocked on Sorvos's door, she could hear
a loud amount of muttering and grumbling inside.
"Password?" a gruff voice muttered from Sorvos's
hut. Ariadne rolled her eyes.
"C'mon Sorvos, you know it's me, Ariadne," she
grumbled. She heard Sorvos unlocking bolts from his door, and then opening it
The Shadow Kougra nodded courteously to her,
about the best he gave any of his customers.
"What do you want to buy?" he inquired, giving
Ariadne a gracious sweep of his long, black tail.
"I'm not buying anything-I want to sell," Ariadne
answered promptly, producing forth the locket. Sorvos seized it greedily, running
his paws on it, caressing its smooth surface. Ariadne wrested it from him with
some difficulty and opened it up. Out fell the beautiful rainbow pearl.
"What do you offer me?" Ariadne asked, her black
eyes penetrating Sorvos's shadowed grin.
"It's very pretty…but I'm not so sure about what
it's worth. That shell isn't just any shell. It's like pure diamond, wrought
by magic, probably. I don't know about the pearl, either…" Sorvos droned off
into a rather faintly conceived daze.
Ariadne glared at him and walked out, swinging
the locket around on her fingers.
When she returned, her uncle looked up at her
eagerly, and then sank down. He could not see any Neopoints.
"Did you sell it?" he asked eagerly.
"No. Sorvos sort of-fainted," answered Ariadne
sourly, exiting her uncle's room to go into her own. She slung the locket onto
her pallet of rushes and coarse blankets.
Tossing aside a pile of books purchased from
Sorvos, Ariadne yawned, and fell asleep.
She awoke the next day to a Spyder hanging in
front of her face. She, unlike other people, was used to them. Carefully, she
pulled on the small string of web connecting the spider to the ceiling and threw
it out of the window.
Fingering the locket beside her, she put it on.
Her cold fingers were suddenly filled with warmth as she exited the cottage
to go hunt things by the seaside. Ariadne was rather alarmed at the height the
waves were getting, but she went towards her rock to look for things.
By the time she got there, the waves were already
licking the top of it. The waves splashed onto her feet, and she knew something
was wrong. She dived headfirst into the cold water and reached the shore just
in time. The waves were sucking out the sand, and she had to get away.
Ariadne ran, casting only a fleeting glance at
the shadows trailing behind her. Dirt and sand spurted from under her as she
ran off into the woods. She could hear the waves crashing against Meridell Castle,
battering against the mold-laden rocks, presumed invincible.
She scaled a tree like she was a Mynci and waited,
breathless. Ariadne rubbed her sore back against the tree and slept on, unfeeling.
Ariadne awoke to a strange sword lying by her
side. A scroll had been attached to it. She opened it.
Three shall go,
Two to come back,
But none shall adventures lack,
The key to friendship forever lost,
To find the hall at whatever cost.
The peasant, the evil one, and magic shall go,
To seal their fates one by one,
Nothing can make it undone.
Ariadne thought nothing of it and tossed it off
of the tree and went over to examine the sword. It was rightfully hers, since
she was the peasant, after all. She, unperturbed, thwacked the sword at a rather
thick tree bough. To her surprise, it sliced cleanly through it and fell to
Ariadne climbed down amongst the sodden mess
of ground. Leaves crinkled underfoot as she made her way towards Meridell Castle.
Fervently, she hoped to see that all of the peasants
had made it to the castle, but when she pushed back a few annoying twigs from
her face that were obscuring her vision, she did not like what she saw.
There weren't any peasant cottages there. Only
Meridell Castle, looming overhead, remained. But it wasn't even Meridell Castle
anymore. The big black stones, malachite, Ariadne's uncle had called it, were
laid everywhere on the ground. Meridell Castle, as invincible as it seemed,
had fallen. Ariadne knew Morgras had probably fled somewhere else-he possessed
a rather darkly humorous talent, for bad magic. After all, his mother was Morguss,
But the only thing right then on Ariadne's mind
was revenge. She knew Morgras had caused the typhoon, and killed nearly everyone.
"Morgras, I'm going to get you!" Ariadne yelled
to the wind.
Nothing happened except for a faint rustling
amongst the tall trees.
Ariadne trudged reluctantly towards a small dock
by the seashore. It was nighttime-and Ariadne was not seen. Her midnight blue-black
coat could not have fit in more perfectly, except for her occasional yellow
A Batterfly flapped around near Ariadne, shrieking
as a gust of wind battered it backwards. Ariadne untangled a rope from one of
the wooden boats and hoisted the sail. One of the Mortogs supposedly guarding
the boats awoke with a croak.
One of the boatmen rushed out of his shack, intent
on catching the thief. His loud curses rang in the air with a tone of harsh
But Ariadne did not hear them-she was far gone.
To be continued...