Freedom: Part One
The otherwise deserted clearing was bustling with activity as all the pets disembarked their carriages and brought the caravan to a halt.
It didn’t take long for music and dancing to commence. A fire was quickly built and the group danced until the morning light began to rise.
The following night, a fire was again brought to life as the air in the clearing was made lively with the sound of music and shouts of joy.
A pink Aisha sat down gently on a log and called out to all, “If you’d like to hear a story, come listen now!”
The youngest children heard the voice and searched for the Aisha. However, it was hard to miss Megan. Her fluffy pink hair waved peacefully behind both her sets of ears. Her short ears sported gold hoops and gold posts studded with emeralds. As she ran her fingers through her hair, the moonlight reflected off her many gold bracelets and the gold rings that she wore. Her scarf held back her hair, yet she didn’t let that stop her from tugging at the patterned scarf until the knot was directly below her right ear. Despite her priceless and beautiful jewelry, she wore normal clothing. She wore a baggy shirt with a few patches. Over the shirt was a vest that laced up the front. She also wore a simple skirt. Above the skirt she took a large scarf and wrapped it around her waist.
As Megan picked up a baby Wocky and set it on her lap, the gold plates around the edge of her scarf made a sound like that created by chimes.
As the children rushed around Megan, the elderly and adult gypsies headed toward Gindara’s carriage. Hers was always at the very end of the caravan.
Gindara stretched and yawned. Before the pets outside could begin knocking, she spoke to them. “Come in, and I will tell you what the future brings.”
The pets slowly filed in.
As gypsies, the pets would travel constantly. It was tradition that on their second night staying in any one place, Megan would tell a story to the children and the older pets would go to Gindara.
Gindara smiled, with just a hint of an evil grin playing at her lips. “So, you all want me to tell you what the future brings. Well, it all depends on what I say.”
The blue Usul focused her eyes on the red glowing ball in front of her. “I can guarantee you that three nights after our departure, a band of thieves will come through this place and that every one of them will become very ill after eating a poisonous berry that they mistake for starberries. After they recover, they will be weak. When they finally reach civilization, they will be caught by the Defenders of Neopia and taken to a prison. They will eventually escape, but I’ll keep the rest of their tale to myself.”
The oldest pets nodded, knowing that while Gindara could see the future, she would only predict things that were either annoying or downright malicious, while the adults looked at each other, unsure of how to react to Gindara’s prophecy.
“I see that you who have never been here before don’t understand what I do. That’s reasonable, as most of you have never before come to one of these ‘meetings.’ I predict the future, but I can’t make it happen. It’s the job of fate to bring about what I predict. However, Adria has a hand in that too. You see, she is a kind of fate. It’s not something that you will understand for many more years. Just accept that what I predict, she makes happen, even though she may not have anything to do with what occurs, she makes it happen. Yes, I can see that you young ones don’t understand that. You will, you will.”
The blue Usul sat silently as she set down the red orb. The younger pets, the ones who had never before listened to Gindara, couldn’t help but stare at her. She looked little like her older sister, Megan. She wore bandages on her hands despite the fact that her hands were not injured. She took pride in a single ring with a large ruby embedded into the gold. Across her head was a purple headband with long, smooth rubies across the front of it. Her long and straight blue hair fell in front of her face. She wore a blue and purple dress, but atop the dress was a black vest that was laced up the front. Almost entirely covering the bottom half of her ears were earrings with rubies embedded into the gold, similar to her ring, but on the edge of the earrings were large pieces of gold.
The older pets realized that Gindara was done and so they left the blue Usul alone in her carriage. The younger pets simply followed the lead of the elderly. They walked out to hear the end of the story that Megan was telling to the children.
“Still they wait, eager for the opportunity to take the throne from the treacherous beast that now rules.”
Far past the edge of the clearing, an earth faerie walked slowly through the dense forest as she laughed.
“You can’t predict doom forever. At one point, the curse you predict upon others will be your own.”
The faerie laughed bitterly as she pulled her hood down in order to allow herself to bask in what little moonlight found its way to the ground beneath the faerie’s feet.
Her eyes were a pupil-less green. It was as though there was just a glowing green orb where her eyes should have been.
Her green and brown leaf-shaped wings were an oddity. She was a beautiful and deadly faerie, and her wings were unlike those of any other earth faerie. It was true that they were shaped like leaves, but they had a sinister appearance to them.
Her long dark green hair billowed in the wind as her cape flapped violently. She slowly parted her green lips to speak again, even though she was alone to hear her words.
“They all think that I’m some villain. Still, I should let them think that. If they’re all too ignorant to know better...”
Ilere spoke to herself of the earth faerie council. When she didn’t adhere to their strict codes of style and etiquette, they gave her an ultimatum: change or leave.
It took all of twenty minutes for Ilere to gather her belongings and leave Faerieland.
She went in search of the darkest land that she could find. She discovered Neovia, but found the small city too busy for her liking. She gently floated past the gravestones and into the sinister forest.
She quickly constructed her own home and lived peacefully in the silent forest.
One night, she heard the sound of an approaching caravan. She knew that a band of gypsies would be settling down for the night, but Ilere’s curiosity overtook her. She followed quietly behind the caravan. Once seeing where they chose to stay, she left and returned on the second night. There, she saw a pink Aisha sit down and tell a story while the older pets all filed quickly and quietly into a carriage. Ilere stood just outside the carriage and listened in. What she heard changed her life drastically.
“Well, my fellow pets, it seems we have an eavesdropper. Let’s make her life a little interesting. I predict that she will gain an unparalleled beauty among her kind, but she will be viewed as a villain. She will live as an outcast for the rest of her days.”
Ilere could hear the smugness in the voice that began to speak more loudly, no doubt for Ilere’s benefit. “You should have just joined us. Woulda been better for you, don’tcha think?”
Ilere was confused, but she flew away to her home. When she awoke the following day, she discovered that the mystery pet’s predictions had come true. While being viewed as a villain wouldn’t bother Ilere much, she discovered that she could do nothing about her eyes. They worked as they always should have, but they appeared much different. Looking into her eyes was a unique experience that even Ilere found startling.
“Oh, Gindara, I wish you would stop predicting such horrid things.”
The blue Usul shrugged. “It’s what I do, Adria. Like how Megan tells stories and you bring my predictions true.”
The normally excited and chipper red Wocky was biting back tears. “But I don’t want to make your predictions come true!”
Gindara shrugged. “It’s just the way we are. Do you even remember why we chose to be gypsies?”
“Of course. We wanted to be different and unique.”
“It was only then that we discovered that I had a knack for predicting the future.”
“Yes, but we also discovered that it is I who makes those fortunes come true!”
“Don’t forget that neither of us could do it without Megan. She is the one who keeps my predictions in check.”
Adria sighed and shook her head. “Gindara, I just wish that you would predict a bit less often. Predict if you want, but please not every time we settle. I always feel so bad. Remember that eavesdropper? She’s probably around here somewhere, and what if she wants revenge?”
Gindara allowed her thoughts to wander back to the day following her prediction about the eavesdropper. She had wandered the forest and found Ilere. She apologized and explained that she meant no harm. She had only just joined the caravan and didn’t know that her prediction would come true.
Gindara’s thoughts snapped back into the present. “Sister, I can promise you that we need not fear that. Ilere will not seek revenge for what was brought about.”
“It was Ilere?”
To be continued...