A Royal Interview
Today we have a rare chance to meet with not one, not two, but three leaders of Neopia! King Hagan, Lord Darigan, and King Skarl! Thank you for being here your majesties!
“I’m always glad to provide good insight.”
“My inclusion pleases and surprises me.”
“Hey, pass me that leg of mutton!”
My first question is to King Skarl and King Hagan. I’ve heard that Roberta is your niece?
*King Hagan looks to Skarl, who is too busy eating to answer. He clears his throat before answering.* “Roberta is the daughter of my older sister, Queen Ceridwen, and her husband, King Penthur.”
Darigan: “Wait, you have a sister?!”
*Hagan chuckles* “Indeed! Ceridwen is older than myself. She and her husband live on Cheerford Island—the large island to the south-east of Meridell.”
Darigan: “Is she another Skeith?”
*King Skarl gulps down his food and belches before answering.* “Yep. Actually she’s the basis for the Royal Skeith Paint Brush colour.”
*Darigan visibly shudders.*
Um, okay, so what can you tell me about Ceridwen and Penthur? Why isn’t their land open to the public, for instance?
King Hagan: “Ceridwen loves competition. She’s the most athletic of us siblings but wants to show up both Skarl and me. I’m pretty sure the reason she hasn’t opened her land yet is that she wants to make sure that when she does it outshines both Meridell and Brightvale.”
King Skarl: “I’m glad she’s not open—it means more trade for me! Her husband is this tiny White Cybunny. Disgustingly cute. Always worried about being late. Has this huge pocket watch.”
Um, okay then. What is their land like?
King Hagan: “The northern area of Cheerford has mountainous highlands—they seem to almost break off from where the Drackon Ridge are in Meridell. Those highlands have wide valleys and all of them have lakes. There are a lot of Maraquan Chombies and Water Faeries and underwater caverns that apparently link the various lakes to the sea. In the middle, where the castle lies, there are deep forests and moors. The southern area is rolling, very fertile plains. There is a long river with many branches and the separate farms are marked with hedges. There are lots of Earth and Light Faeries there.”
Skarl: “Every year the lords and ladies up in the north have these games that show off strength or skill. It’s exhausting to watch! But they have lots of food, so that’s always worth going for!”
*Hagan looks exasperated* “The games are quite interesting. They last about a week and the winner gets a trophy—and bragging rights.”
Very interesting. Hopefully your sister will open her land up soon! Now, Lord Darigan, there are many questions for you. In the first place, why is it Lord Darigan and not King Darigan?
“Thank you. Well, when our land was first formed we wanted to base it on the famed Council of Altador. Each of the positions can be elected and there were twelve of us at one time, including a Water Faerie, Earth Faerie, and Fire Faerie. When the blight overcame us and our land we were able to create the engines to lift the citadel and surrounding lands in the air to go after the Orb. We thought that it would be best to have a travelling army since we didn’t know how far we’d need to go. The Faeries remained behind, as did most of the Council, in hopes of finding a way to reverse the blight.”
Where did you initially come from?
“Our homeland was in the area located between where Altador and Shenkuu lay. We had a name for it, but since it has been over three hundred years since we’ve been there, it no longer matters. I visited it once and it has become a wild, overgrown swamp. If the Faeries or anyone else remains there, I cannot find them.”
Is that why you never went back?
“In part. My people have always been strongly independent, so they resent our current need to rely on Meridell for most of our crops. We’ve been studying our curse closely and found a way to produce edible food. My scouts have been searching Neopia for suitable locations for us to resettle. Until we’re sure we can sustain ourselves, we do not plan to move.”
*Darigan scowls at Skarl* “So far we’ve identified several suitable locations, including one close to our old homestead. If our crops remain good, we should be able to relocate sooner rather than later.”
Skarl: “I’ll believe it when I see it.”
*Hagan whaps Skarl on the head.*
Thank you Lord Darigan. I’m sure Neopians would like two questions answered: in the first place, why did the Golden Orb fail? In the second, how does the time loop work.
“I can answer the first but not the second. The Orb was found by the founders of the Citadel and the Council many years before I became the current lord. The outer inscriptions on it are in Faerie and promise great bounty and prosperity. However, there are ways to tap into the power of such an object and if the Orb is twisted in just the right way, those come to the fore instead and promise great power. I believe that the Orb was made by both a Light and a Dark Faerie due to its dual nature. In any case, I was tempted by the power. If I had not fallen, I might have broken our curse. As it was I failed my people completely.”
What did happen to you after the Orb broke?
“I’d rather not discuss that. It is still a painful and humbling memory for me. Suffice it to say, I was not destroyed but lived on in a diminished form until I was found and taken care of.”
Is that what happened to Kass too?
“I suspect so, but only time will tell. I have been keeping an eye out for him.”
Do any of you know how the time thing works?
Hagan: “My scholars made an extensive study of it, actually. The whole area encompassing Meridell, Brightvale, and Cheerford had become englobed in a temporal anomaly shortly after the Orb had entered the area. Somehow two separate points of time became interlinked—the first caused Jeran to be transported into the past when he was playing with his sister in the ruins of Meridell. That anomaly, however, affected nothing. Time flowed normally for the next ten years—at least, as far as Meridell and the lands around it were concerned. So too did time flow normally for poor Lisha. Then, when she and her friends came to the ruins of Meridell Castle, the second anomaly opened. By this time the Darigan Citadel had entered the area affected by the anomaly, so when it was triggered all four lands were removed from normal time. They returned to it after the release of energy from the Orb—which placed all of our lands in the present of Neopia.”
That…sounds very confusing.
*Hagan sighs* “Put more simply, a much, much more powerful version of what happened to Altador happened to Meridell, Brightvale, Cheerford, and the Darigan Citadel. It lasted fewer years, however.”
So the second battle for Meridell was actually in the present, not in the past?
“Yes, as far as history is concerned. I would assume that in the unaltered timeline Lord Darigan either did not succumb to the temptations of the Orb or he did and the results were much direr than in the one that we now know. In any case, all of our lands are currently in the actual present of Neopia which is all that matters.”
Okay. But Meridell was discovered in Year 4 on the 30th Day of Swimming while Brightvale didn’t appear until Year 6 on the 11th Day of Hiding, which is a couple months after the second war ended...
Skarl: “Yeah, thanks a lot for nothing!”
“I wanted nothing to do with your wars! I especially wanted nothing to do with them once I found out the truth behind the Orb! I am not about to risk the lives of people in Brightvale on your stupidity and greed! Once it was obvious that lasting peace was finally established, however, I thought it would be wise to open up my kingdom to the world at large.”
Skarl: “Real convenient, that.”
*Hagan glares at Skarl, who returns it in full.*
Um, King Hagan, why is it you are in Brightvale and your sister is in Cheerford? I mean, usually the eldest gets the kingdom and that would be Ceridwen…
*Hagan stops glaring at Skarl, pauses a moment, and sighs.* “Our parents died in the Great Splashing and we spent time rebuilding Meridell Castle. Once that was complete, we agreed to divide the kingdom among us and drew lots over which part would belong to whom. Skarl won Meridell, I won Brightvale, and Ceridwen won Cheerford.”
I see. Lord Darigan, why weren’t you invited to the meeting with Princess Amira?
“Actually I was, but I politely declined. As long as the Citadel remains skyborne, I fear it will not be able to partake in most regular trade routes by land. I hope that once we find a place to settle once more I can establish such relations.”
Lord Darigan, when Emperor Razul emerged again, his fiery appearance seemed similar to the form you took when empowered by the Orb. Do you think there’s a connection?
“I’m not sure. Remember, the Orb broke some three hundred years in the past and the terrible sandstorm that caused Qasala to vanish occurred some two hundred years ago. Presumably Emperor Razul was empowered some time prior to that. Given all the odd time-related things that have happen, however, it’s certainly not impossible that somehow some version of the Orb escaped destruction and ended up in the Lost Desert, though I don’t like to think about what it means if it is still around somehow.”
Thank you. And thank all of you for your time!
Hagan: “You’re very welcome! I am always glad to impart wisdom on my fellow Neopians!”
Darigan: “It was my pleasure.”
Skarl: “What, no desert?!”
*Darigan and Hagan look at one another and say in unison:* “Truly you have my sympathies.”