Eye of the Storm
The dark, feathery trees dusted the sky as thunder filled the air. All around Shenkuu, Neopets and owners were running for their homes, looking fearfully up at the smoldering sky. Rain had started to fall, and everyone in Shenkuu raced for the warmth of home.
Farrich the Eyrie was happy to join the throngs of pets heading for home as he returned from his part-time job at Fanciful Fauna. He was just thinking about a spry little Juma they’d had in the store that day when a small yellow blur whizzed into his chest, knocking him to the ground.
“OW! What the-” he cried angrily. “Oh- hey, Rhi.” The blur had landed and revealed itself to be Rhiohana, Farrich’s little sister, looking both disheveled and excited.
“Farrich! It’s so cool- you’ve just got to see this! Come on!” The little Shoyru started tugging at her brother’s wings as she struggled to pull him aloft. Considering the fact that she was roughly half his size, this was no easy feat to accomplish.
“Okay, Rhi, I’m coming already.” he said with a laugh. “What is it that you want to show me?” The Shoyru simply sing-songed with glee, “It’s a SURPRISE, silly!” and started flying off. Farrich sighed, as he was quite used to Rhiohana’s “surprises”, and with one last resigned look at his warm and cozy Neohome, soared off into the smoky blue clouds.
“Rhi,” he said, panting, “Where’s Vishnu?” Rhi was normally never without her beloved Petpet.
“He’s up ahead, leading the way for us!” explained Rhiohana. She pointed her paw, and sure enough, Farrich could just barely see a tiny yellow three-headed Hydruplit weaving in and out among the clouds.
As the two Neopets flew, thunder and lightning crashed and boomed around them, making the Eyrie shiver with the intensity. Farrich, glancing worriedly around, feared for his little sister’s safety amid the raging storm. He could easily stay on course thanks to his muscular bulk, but his little sister was small and flighty, and he could see that she was fighting the wind to stay on course. When he mentioned this to the tiny Shoyru beside him, she only gave him a scornful look, as if to say, “If you’re a big strong Eyrie, why are you acting like a Peadackle when faced with a few tiny clouds? Wimp!”
But these were not just “tiny clouds”, as Rhi put it. These were monsters, looming all around the twosome. If Faerieland clouds were the nice fluffy white ones, then these were the Darigan Citadel of clouds- big, scary, and intimidating. Farrich felt like an insignificant, weak little blot amid their tremendous majesty. Their beauty, though terrifying, was awe-inspiring. As the thunder made the air shudder around them, the lightning made every dark shadow of the clouds rise, alert and ready, up amid the terrors of the sky. Every deep layer of the blue, black and gray was like a thousand shadows coming to life. When the lightning flared again and again, the sky was lit with such brilliance that Farrich could only wonder why more pets didn’t come out to feel this power, to experience the true dignity and majesty in this storm.
“Come, on, we’re almost there!!” Rhiohana’s voice chirped, snapping the Eyrie out of his awestruck reverie. She coasted on a gust of wind all the way up to a wizened old tree on top of a deep blue-grey mountain, where Vishnu was already sitting, all three of his heads bobbing happily. The four heads on the mountaintop turned expectantly to the Eyrie.
“Okay, okay, I’m coming,” he said huffily to the waiting creatures, and with a final glance at the storm, he sat next to his sister, whose warm brown eyes were smiling brightly into his own amber ones.
“What’s so special about this old tree, anyway?” he asked, running his paw over the ancient wood.
“Not the tree, Farrich- the city,” she breathed reverently. Farrich turned his eyes from the twisty old tree to where his sister was gazing, and his mouth dropped open in astonishment.
The rain had started to clear, and from where Farrich and Rhiohana sat, they could see every part of Shenkuu. He could see the pagodas rising above the mist like soldiers, somber and steady. The shops and homes of Shenkuu were dark, and there was no one in the streets. The grass and trees all around them on the mountains and cliffs were wet from the past rain, and Farrich could feel the wet beginning to dry off of his skin. All was quiet and peaceful in the softly glowing moonlight.
“Shenkuu is sleeping,” Rhiohana whispered softly into his ear. “We must be the only ones awake.”
Indeed, the whole of Neopia was still, it seemed, except for their little old tree. Farrich reveled in the glorious silence, just he and his sister, enjoying a quiet moment together under the night sky. The only sound was the rustle of the tree’s leaves as Vishnu settled down for a nap, and the steady breathing of Rhiohana beside him.
Farrich looked up towards the inky expanse of sky, and saw the tiny glowing stars begin to make their way out. The clouds were retreating, weary warriors marching home, and the tiny beacons of hope and light were struggling to take on the night. Rhiohana looked too, and in an instant, they both saw the same glorious sight. One lone shooting star zooming across the sky.
“Make a wish, Farrich!” Rhi squealed. “Let’s see... I wish that I could be an explorer and see every part of Neopia with Vishnu!”
And I just wish that you could stay here, safe and happy with me, away from danger, Farrich thought. He took a sidelong glance into his sister’s great shining eyes, and saw the stars reflected into those liquid pools of chocolate. She gave her brother a hug, and he looked back into the stars. One thing about stars- they are timeless. No matter what storms and troubles happened down in Neopia, the stars would always stay the same. That was the reason Farrich loved them so much.
He didn’t know how long they sat there, looking into the great dark night. He was in a trance, staring at the beautiful, silent land around him. It seemed like all that was in the world was he and his sister. Just two Neopets, they and the sky. He was pulled out of this trance by the feeling of his little sister’s body grow limp as she drifted off to sleep, resting on his shoulder.
“Come on, Rhi,” he said. “Time to go home.”
He gently put his little sister on his broad, green back, and settled her so that she was safe between his wings. He poked Vishnu so that the little Petpet was following behind him, and then he soared off under the moon.
There will have to be another day when I can come here, Farrich thought. The night called to him, wanting him to play and soar in the light of the moon, wanting him to follow his instincts and just fly, all night long. But Farrich had made other promises to himself, and he had far more important responsibilities. Once the little Shoyru on his back was safe at home he could take care of his own happiness.
He caught sight of their Neohome waiting peacefully for them, a tired and worn woman waiting for her soldier to come home. There was a candle in the window. Their owner had gone to sleep. Farrich glided in on the wind, and Rhiohana’s petpet followed along silently. Farrich quietly clicked the door open, and he entered his home. He went into Rhiohana’s room and gently pulled the Shoyru off of his back. As he was putting his sister into her bed, he felt her stir under his paws.
“Farrich?” she mumbled.
“Was it a good surprise?” She yawned.
He smiled to himself.
“Yeah, Rhi. It was a great surprise.”