The Flight of Faerieland: Part Two
Fyora and Celandra soaked in the healing springs, but for a while, they didn't really speak to each other. It was plainly obvious to Celandra that something was wrong. Even so, she knew that Fyora would open up over time. The last thing Fyora wanted was a rumor about her to spread amongst the faeries and then to the rest of Neopia. Of course, trying to prevent the faeries from gossiping would amount to tyranny in Fyora's eyes. Thus, the queen preferred to keep most things between herself and Celandra.
"Celandra, I wish to tell you something," Fyora began.
"I figured; you did not seem so well when the meeting adjourned. I have never seen you like this after a meeting. What all happened?" inquired Celandra.
"Well, I mentioned to you it was a meeting of the Skies of Neopia. We are a group of kingdoms dedicated to the protection of Neopia's skies. For years, the three members: Darigan, Shenkuu, and our kingdom have worked tirelessly to keep Neopia safe from the likes of sky pirates and other nefarious Neopians seeking to do harm to travelers and merchants. Shenkuu and Darigan have both provided aerial defense using some military airships. Our faeries kept watch of the skies and used magic to thwart would be pirates," Fyora continued.
"Hmm... I guess I never thought about how dangerous the skies could be without anybody monitoring them. So what happened?"
Fyora shifted uncomfortably on the underwater rock she was sitting on. She started picking up some stones behind her and skimming them across the water, trying to pass time while she collected her thoughts. Reminding herself of Xandra's betrayal of Faerieland tortured her mind despite the amount of time that had passed since then. Fyora felt betrayed and disappointed, often blaming herself for her failure to spend more time with Xandra; perhaps she could have convinced Xandra to lay down her arms, instead embracing Xandra in her own arms.
Fyora was no stranger to tragedy either. When she was a young faerie, she quickly became orphaned when her mother and predecessor mysteriously vanished, only for her to discover that her mother left due to the pressure of being queen. She saw Neopia through the dark times when the Darkest Faerie twice sought full control of Neopia. Turning the Darkest Faerie into stone hurt Fyora immensely. She was hurting for the Darkest Faerie, not only because she was her sister, but just like with Xandra, she again took guilt upon herself. She felt guilty for not giving the Darkest faerie as much attention, believing that things might have turned out differently had she done so. Blaming herself excessively was often Fyora's weakness. She no longer trusted herself in making decisions, frequently summoning her council instead to make them for her. There was a time when she asked the council if the Faerie Festival should continue. Withdrawing from others was her defense mechanism, fearing that showing her emotions in public might cause Neopia to see her as weak or unstable, unfit to govern, or other Neopians might get discouraged because they saw her as a role model.
The long and awkward silence made Celandra uncomfortable as well. She was unsure how to comfort her best friend. She remembered as if it were yesterday, when Fyora shut everyone out right after Xandra sent Faerieland spiraling toward the ground. It took an immense amount of encouragement before Fyora would address the public about how Faerieland was to proceed. Fyora recovered from her struggles, but while they persisted, her ability to do her job was affected. Celandra did not want Fyora to go through that traumatic experience again. She waded through the waters toward Fyora and hugged her tightly.
"Forgive me, Fyora. You need not trouble yourself if it pains you greatly."
Fyora embraced Celandra for a bit longer before letting go. She took a deep breath and spoke again.
"No, I am fine. Thanks for doing that, Celandra. It is much appreciated. Now, where was I? Oh yes, Xandra. She upset the balance when she took Faerieland out of the equation. The area where Faerieland used to float is now full of danger. Pirates are raiding Shenkuu's merchant ships and during the previous Altador Cup, the Darigan ship transporting the team was almost overtaken by them as well. Luckily they were equipped with proper defenses after we issued a travel advisory for that area."
"That sounds terrible! Xandra really did not have any foresight when she committed her atrocity."
"Now we arrive at why I was irked during the meeting. The two other kingdoms have conceived of the idea of having me send faeries to defend the airspace. I am deeply concerned about this, concerned for their safety should we proceed with this plan. I cannot bear any more spilling of blood; what Xandra did was terrible enough."
"So how will you proceed then?"
"My goal is to find out how Faerieland rose to the sky in the first place. If I can prove that goal is achievable, it could cause Lord Darigan and Emperor Akeno to reconsider. I am going to have to read some ancient writings stored in the Faerieland Archives, though, which could take me a long while."
Celandra sat there and thought for a bit.
"How hard is it to learn the ancient faerie language?"
Fyora shook her head vigorously.
"Oh no. Do not feel obligated to commit that much time. It will take years for a Neopet to master the ancient faerie tongue. I would be asking way too much if I wanted you to help. I will be fine doing this on my own; in fact I insist."
That was another bit of Fyora's personality. She didn't really like to accept help from others either, rather wanting to be independent. This was especially hard for Celandra at first. How could she serve someone that didn't want to be served? Sure Celandra still cleaned the castle, but when she wanted to help Fyora with something, Fyora would always put up resistance such as the time when Fyora wanted to purchase and hang the Faerie Festival decorations herself. After this went on for a while, Celandra ended up asking why Fyora didn't want any help. The queen mentioned that castle life was boring and she was always searching for any excuse to leave in order to do something active. Celandra learned that it was best to let the queen ask for help when she needed it.
Celandra smiled and gave the queen another hug. However, the kind gesture ended up splashing the queen in the face with spring water. Queen Fyora reached into the water and pulled out a snowball.
"You splashed me so now I am pondering whether or not to throw this snowball at you," Fyora said playfully.
"Oh, Fyora, you always have tricks up your sleeve. I could have guessed that you could mimic the Healing Springs faerie's powers," Celandra responded.
"I do not wear sleeves so I do not think your assessment is accurate. However, I have decided to spare you from the snowball. Instead, I will take back my privilege to fly the cloud racer."
The two laughed and were soon on their way back to the castle for the night. Fyora waited until Celandra fell asleep and then made her way down to the library. She was determined to find out the how Faerieland ended up in the sky.
The Library Faerie was about to close up the library when she noticed an all too familiar pink glow.
"Ah, her majesty is here. Still, the timing could not be worse. The library is supposed to be closed," the Library Faerie thought aloud.
"Good evening, Kitya. My deepest apologies, but I need access to the library overnight; official business," stated Fyora.
Kitya sighed. Fyora frequently bent the rules and this was no different.
"Okie dokie, she's all yours for the night."
"Thank you, Kitya. I will put everything back the way it was, at least I will try."
"I am sure you will," Kitya said, laughing nervously.
When Fyora previously used the library, she ended up picking up a book that had wings and it flew all over the place, causing a rather chaotic mess. Only Kitya herself could pick up the winged books without them flying around. It was a rather amusing ancient law of magic that the faeries created.
Fyora wandered into library. There seemed to be over a hundred rows of books and the rows were as long as two Altador Cup pitches. The rows were sometimes over ten feet tall, requiring a pair of wings to reach. Magnificent chandeliers hanged from the ceiling, each of them giving off a bright pink glow. The floors were carpeted with a repeating pattern of faerie wings and books, also predictably pink. Towards the back of the library were several rooms, often used by faeries and Neopets studying for their sorcery exams.
Fyora needed to head over to the section to the far right, past the restricted section. Most books there discussed extremely dangerous sorcery that could lead to loss of life. The queen did not want to burn the books in the rare event some of the spells were needed. Behind the restricted section were the archives, where ancient writings, especially those of the Faerieland monarchy, were stored.
"Hmm, I should probably look at all of the monarchy books first. Two-thirds of them are written in the ancient faerie language so it will be quite a busy night," Fyora said to herself.
Fyora sat there and started thumbing through the ancient tomes, one by one. She did not seem to come across a single bit of writing about Faerieland's rising anywhere, even after several hours of searching.
Finally, she closed the book; putting her head down on top of it. She began to doze off and was almost asleep when there was a sudden noise.
"Fyora..." said a voice that sounded very close to Fyora's own.
Fyora raised her head and drowsily looked around the room. She noticed that there was a bright white glowing ball in the room.
"Hmm, this is rather strange. I have not seen this type of sorcery. I could have sworn I heard a voice too," she thought.
Much to her surprise, the outline of several faeries appeared out of the glowing ball of light. The Faerie Queen looked on in awe as she saw the faeries take shape. Each faerie, there were four of them, wore a tiara similar to the one on Fyora's head and carried a staff of similar shape, but the colors were different. Fyora snapped out of her trance, and began to speak.
"My ancestors!" she gasped.
The faeries nodded.
"Yes, you are correct. We have seen that you are in distress and offer our assistance," answered the faeries. Fyora got up out of her chair and fell on her knees; bowing to her ancestors.
"Should there not be six of you? I see Auyora, Ayzora, Lyora, and Kyora. Where are Maleyora and Thyora?"
"You do not have to remain on your knees. You may stand or sit; there does not need to be any formalities. Anyways, Maleyora, as you may know, is not part of our group because of the injustices and acts of tyranny she committed as a Faerie Queen. Of course, you are all too familiar about what happened to Thyora," replied Lyora, Thyora's predecessor and the fifth faerie queen. She wore a bright orange dress and looked just like Fyora, except lavender was replaced with orange. The other queens were similar as well, with color being the primary distinction.
Fyora sat down in her chair again. Fyora was slightly dismayed that she was not able to see the spirit of her mother, however, it didn't surprise her much. Thyora broke under the pressures of being queen and resigned from her post early, disappearing and leaving young Fyora behind, at least young in terms of faerie years.
Auyora, the first Faerie Queen, began to speak.
"We know you are looking for the answer to how Faerieland rose into the sky. Since I was the one to witness this, surely I should be the one to answer."
"Yes, that would be wonderful. The other members of the Skies of Neopia alliance want me to put faeries in danger's path."
"It was a process over time, controlled by the celestial spirits that watch over Neopia. If you call out to them, they might just answer."
"Celestial spirits? How do I reach out to them? Are you not spirits too?"
"We are not celestial spirits as we are spirits of Neopia. However, we will be able to instruct you in the Rite of Listening, which would allow you to speak to the celestial spirits," Kyora responded.
Fyora looked desperately at her ancestors.
"Yes, anything that will help save Faerieland."
"Do not be ridiculous, Fyora. You have not only done great services to Faerieland but also to the entirety of Neopia. We will instruct you in the Rite."
The faerie spirits waited while Fyora rummaged for a quill and a roll of parchment.
"I am ready," Fyora said.
"You must bring a faerie of each element. I believe you already have a council that fulfills such a requirement. Now all we need is you to build a shrine. Use the purest of all the marble in Neopia. It should be twenty feet in height and two feet by two feet. What you shall inscribe on it is written in section five of Auyora's first archive on the shelf there. Oh and bring your servant Celandra with you. There should be at least one Neopet witness so the spirits will know what your wishes are Neopia's wishes. Finally, each faerie is to bring three quest items that they believe will please the celestial spirits. Do I make myself clear so far?" Ayzora said.
"Yes," Fyora said, quickly jotting notes down.
"Very good. The next part of the Rite will involve each faerie placing their quest items in a ring around the shrine. They must then all use a levitation spell to lift the items toward the sky. While this is going on, you will cast a lightning spell that will strike the top of the shrine. You will also have to recite the incantation written in the same section you found the inscription. We are glad that you know the ancient Faerie tongue; we feared that such a tradition was not going to be handed down. Once this is complete, the spirits should respond and the sky will open up with a glowing pillar. If they accept your offering, the quest items shall rise up this pillar and disappear. An accepted offering will mean you can speak into this pillar that you want Faerieland to rise again. If they are pleased by your offerings, they will answer with affirmation," Lyora stated.
"Uhm, okay. I will give this a try. What should I do if it fails?"
"Oh, I have a hunch that you will not fail. In any case, we want you to know that we have your back and we are always watching over you. You have a fine tenure as queen and many blessings will come over your kingdom. Feel free to call upon us any time. The incantation is scribbled on the inside cover of the book you fell asleep on," Kyora assured.
Fyora still seemed hesitant. Charging in with blind faith was still something she needed to work on. Fyora liked organization and plans. Without them, she would be extremely stressed and agitated. Only Celandra would be able to calm Fyora down in those scenarios.
"Ummm... okay. If you all say so."
"We will let you sleep. Goodnight, Fyora," Ayzora said.
The faerie spirits each stepped toward the glowing ball of light and were absorbed into it. When the last spirit stepped through, the glowing ball faded away and Fyora was back to being alone in the library. It was cloudy and Fyora could not spot Kreludor. The view just wasn't the same as it was before the fall of Faerieland.
When Faerieland was in the sky, there wasn't any need for streetlamps. Kreludor was closer, and there weren't any clouds to cover its light. All Faerieland needed were a few mirrors reflecting light to areas of darkness and illuminating spells. Today, the Faerieland streets were lined with lamps that construction workers had just put up. The smell of kerosene diffused throughout the streets and collided with the perfume that the faeries wore. It made a horrible mixture that made some Neopians sick or irritated. The Faerie City used to have a vibrant nightlife even past midnight, but now the streets were empty, not a single Neopian in sight. Fyora sighed and shook her head as she headed up a staircase that connected the library with the rest of the castle.
As she made her way back to her chambers, she encountered Celandra.
"Why are you up so late, Fyora?" Celandra asked, looking concerned.
"I was going to ask the same for you," Fyora replied.
"You look stressed, Fyora. I am concerned that it is affecting your well-being."
"No, I assure you I am fine."
"Are you sure? You just spent a long time away and I am a bit concerned. Perhaps I should let all the council members know to delay the meeting tomorrow."
"No, the council meeting cannot be delayed."
"Are you sure? I really do not think..."
"I already told you, I am fine!" snapped Fyora.
Fyora immediately covered her mouth and gasped silently. Celandra quietly stepped toward the queen and gave her a hug. She then headed back to her room. Fyora sighed and went to her chambers. Her faerie weewoo greeted her with a soft hoot, and a rather confused look.
"Sorry about that, Ariel. I will be sleeping soon so you may go and socialize with the other weewoos. Do not worry about me. Here is some bird seed."
Ariel nibbled at the seeds in Fyora's hand as Fyora pet her. The weewoo hooted affectionately and then flew out the window to hang out with her friends. Fyora finally collapsed into bed, exhausted from her searching.
To be continued...