Snow on Mystery Island
Kougras originated in Mystery Island, where the weather is always nice, bright, and super sunny. One might be curious how such a tropical species started appearing in the Snow colour, and as it turns out, it is quite the story to tell.
Young Kougras grew up listening to the adventures of Jake the Explorer and Linae’s journey aboard the Cyodrake’s Gaze. It is no surprise that they found themselves getting into trouble as youngsters while trying to create their own incredible journey. There is one particular journey that explains where the Fountain Faerie got the idea for painting Kougras Snow.
Tabernious, also known as Tab by anyone who wasn’t a hundred years old, was always getting into trouble. All he wanted was to be famous for his adventures, but with his vivid imagination, these adventures tended to get out of hand. There was that one time that he led little Piper a little too far into Techo Mountain, and then that other time that Charlie fell into the rock pool. But how was Tab supposed to know Piper was scared of heights and Charlie couldn’t swim?! After those incidents…Tab decided he’d be better off adventuring alone. At least he knew his own limitations.
Today, Tab was pretending that Mystery Island had run out of fresh water, and all the inhabitants were depending on him to save them. He padded down to the Harbour and hopped onto a nearby vessel while no one was looking. He knew the island like the back of his paw and he already knew the island itself didn’t have the solution for its imaginary problem, so he knew he’d have to travel around Neopia to be the hero Mystery Island needed. At least that would be what he saw in his own minds eye as he wasn’t technically allowed to leave the island without his parents, but the ship was docked on the Mystery Island port so technically he hadn’t left the island. He’d just pretend to go and find water, and then imagine how grateful everyone would be and how everyone would know his name! He pretended to steer the vessel north for a while, then he decided to head below decks while his imaginary crew took care of the grunt work.
Tab climbed onto the plush bed in the Captain’s room and helped himself to some gooseberries that whoever the real Captain was had sitting on the table. While daydreaming, Tab didn’t notice the vessel had started sailing. It wasn’t until he heard the crew yelling something about masts that he realized anyone else had even come aboard. He headed above deck to see what was happening.
As Tab reached the deck, he knew he was in trouble. He could see the top of Techo Mountain in the distance, but everything else he saw was the clear blue ocean. The vessel had already made its departure from Mystery Island.
“What’s this?!” A booming voice made Tab jump a mile. “Looks like we have a stowaway Mates!” A crowd of pirates circled around Tab, making him thankful that he at least remembered his Golden Kougra Sling Shot that his Pa had given him on his last birthday…the one where he was supposed to be ‘of responsible age’.
A dangerous looking Lupe parted the crowd and looked down at Tab with a scarred face.
“Answer carefully boy. Yer life may be dependin’ on it. Did Kelpbeard send you?!” The Captain said, obviously on the verge on extreme anger at the mention of King Kelpbeard of Maraqua.
“N..no sir Captain sir!” Tab said in a voice that he wished was more intimidating. “I didn’t mean to be on your ship, I was just playing and I didn’t know the ship had set sail.”
Captain Scarblade regarded the young Kougra carefully. After what seemed like ages, he decided Tab didn’t need to go sleep with the fishes, as another plan formed in his evil mind.
“The lad stays until next port, ye scurvy curs! We’ll drop him at Terror Mountain… see how he fares with the snow!” Captain Scarblade said with a hint of malicious glee. The Captain and his crew slowly dispersed, milling about on the smooth sailing ship. Tab had the feeling the Captain was doing him a favor-not-favor, but he figured it’d be best to not argue. He could swim better than Charlie, but he’d never been this far out in the ocean before so he’d just call it a favor.
Since the immediate threat to his life had passed, Tab wanted to make himself as invisible as possible for the remainder of the journey, so he slid into a quiet lifeboat to curl up and let his mind wander back to his adventure. Terror Mountain would be the perfect place to get ice, which would melt to fresh water back home. All he had to do was figure out how to get a large amount of ice back home to be of any significance. Well and also figure out how he would get back home to begin with, but he figured if it was so easy to get off the island it must be pretty easy to get back as well. Feeling comforted by his dreams of saving the day and getting home, Tab drifted off to sleep.
“Wake up lad, ship’s docked”, one of the more soft spoken, elder pirates was nudging him awake. He was grateful that he didn’t wake up to Scarblade’s face; he would’ve thought it was a nightmare! Tab hastily scrambled out of the lifeboat so he wouldn’t miss his chance at being left on land, but when he went to exit the ship he stopped dead in his tracks. He didn’t see land. All he could see what a mass of sparkling white snow that radiated a freezing cold that Tab had never felt before. The snow almost seemed to be glowing in the night that surrounded them.
“Enjoy your stay at Terror Mountain ye gooseberry thievin’ cur!” Captain Scarblade laughed mercilessly as he picked Tab up and threw him overboard.
Tab landed on the snow and ice covered shore with a thud. Before he could even catch his breath, the ship was already making its way back to the ocean. Tab got up and looked around. This wasn’t like the ports he’d seen at Mystery Island or even like the bustling ports that he’d seen on Krawk Island with his dad last summer. There was no one around and not a single shop to ask for directions. Only snow and ice as far as he could see. Just as he was beginning to lose hope, he saw a tiny wooden sign that read “Happy Valley” with an arrow pointing up a snow covered path.
Tab ran over to the path, a bit clumsily at first which was very unusual for a kougra, but he realized if he let his claws out a little he would have much better traction and was soon moving with his usual kougra grace. He loved how the snow felt under his paws! It conformed to his every step, plus it made a very satisfying crunching sound. With his spirits raised, he started to run up the path, with the snow flying in all directions in his wake.
While running up the snowy slope was invigorating at first, Tab got tired a lot quicker than his stamina usually allowed. The air felt heavier here, the cold weighed on his lungs. Just as he slowed down to wonder how much further it would be, he realized a whole town was spread out in front of him. There were no lights on as it was so late in the evening, but he could see smoke coming from the chimneys and he hoped someone would be awake to help him.
As he walked up to the largest building hoping it might be an inn, he saw a sign that read “Advant Calendar” and realized no one would be here this time of year. He looked around the valley and realized the rest of the buildings were shops or gaming areas that were closed up for the night. The wind was starting to feel bitter, and even though Tab wasn’t a native to Terror Mountain he knew he needed to find some kind of shelter before the temperature plummeted more. Ahead, he saw the entrance to the ice caves, which would at least shelter him from the wind. He just hoped he wouldn’t run into the Snowager that he’d heard so much about. Well unless he was sleeping, then he might try for a piece of the treasure since it’d probably be his only chance.
The ice caves were amazing; the sparkling ice took Tab’s breath away. Even though the caves seemed as deserted as Happy Valley, it was hard to be disheartened in such a beautiful place. He’d just keep going up the mountain- he remembered hearing that Taelia the Snow Faerie lived there and faeries were always so nice she would surely help him, even at this late hour.
On his way to the ramp that would take him to the top of the mountain, Tab noticed that the Snowager was indeed asleep. That must mean it was at least 10:00 PM! Knowing that he would be taking a risk with the time he had left before Taelie would be asleep, Tab headed towards the Snowager’s cavern. The cavern was huge, although a vast amount was taken up by the massive body of the Snowager. Tab could see little puffs of breath coming from the Snowager’s nostrils and its eyes were still closed, so Tab snuck inside. The rest of the cavern was full of shiny objects; there were all sorts of items here! Before Tab could put much thought into exactly how the Snowager acquired these items, he saw the Snowager move slightly in his sleep. In a panic, he started running away before things got worse- no one back home needed to know.
Tab wanted to get back on track to get to the top of the mountain, but the adrenaline rush was wearing off, and Tab was losing energy fast. His paws felt like they weighed 100 kilograms, and he could feel his eyes drooping. He quickly made it over to the ramp and started towards the top of the mountain before he passed out.
When Tab finally reached the top of the mountain, he was exhausted. He looked around, but could barely make anything out because it was snowing so hard. There seemed to be a large igloo in the middle of the mountain peaks, so he started dragging himself in that direction. He was almost there when a strong gust of wind knocked him into a snow bank, and he didn’t have the energy to dig himself out. This was it for Tab…his imagination had gotten him in deeper than he could handle this time. He closed his eyes and prepared to freeze to death, all alone in a strange place, when suddenly musical laughter filled his ears. He blearily opened his eyes to see Taelia herself standing over him.
“That’s a great look for you!” She giggled as she reached out a hand to grasp his paw and help him out. He realized she was laughing because he was covered in snow from head to claw. He tried to shake the snow off, but it had clumped together and stuck to his fur, so he was stuck that way for now.
“Luckily I have company tonight, else I would’ve been asleep hours ago and wouldn’t have heard you coming. Come inside now, we’ll get you some hot borovan and chat about your adventures! I know at least one of my guests will love to see a Kougra with such a unique appearance.” Taelia was very friendly, offering him help even though she had guests. Tab gratefully walked with her to her igloo, which was amazingly warm inside considering it was made of ice blocks. As Tab stood in the entrance to take in the warmth, he looked around and his eyes bulged when he saw who Taelia’s guests were: Illusen and The Fountain Faerie! It was rare to meet any faerie, let alone three at once!
“How on earth did a kougra get here, especially at this hour?” Illusen asked with a surprised tone.
“I’m not sure,” Taelia answered, “I asked him to come in and warm up and tell us about his adventure while the snow melts off of him.”
The Fountain Faerie remained quiet, but at Taelia’s remark she spoke up. “I think the snow looks good on him. Plus think of how practical it would be to those in hot climates as it would keep them cool…” she suddenly grabbed for a sketchpad that was nearby and seemed to be elsewhere with her thoughts.
While the Fountain Faerie scribbled away, Tab told the other two faeries about his imaginary heroism that led him to his current predicament. Illusen approved of his imagination, as fresh water should be a concern that all in Neopia shared. Before she started giving statistics about the percentage of fresh water available verses the amount that the population consumed, Taelia chimed in.
“We are expecting to hear from our sister, the Water Faerie, soon. You see, we like to discuss our plans for the Faerie Festival all year, and it’s been almost a month since our last meeting so we’re trying to catch up. I’m sure she has connections and could arrange a ship to take you home. I will ask when I talk to her. In the meantime, would you like to get some rest? I’m sure you’re weary after such a chaotic day.”
Tab agreed, as he was falling asleep sitting up already. Taelia brought him a pillow and blanket and he lay down in front of the fire. He was asleep before his head hit the pillow.
When Tab woke up late in the morning, Taelia let him know that the Water Faerie was sending some of King Kelpbeard’s men on a ship to pick him up and return him to Mystery Island and that he might want to start his journey back down the mountain to meet them. Illusen and The Fountain Faerie were heading out as well, and they had agreed to walk with him.
After thanking Taelia for all of her generosity, Tab set out to make his journey home. On their walk down the mountain, Illusen taught him all about desalination, which was a process that could remove the salt from saline waters to make them drinkable. This very educational conversation lasted all the way back to Happy Valley, where Illusen decided to stop for a slushie before heading back to Meridell. They said their goodbyes, and continued down the path to the mountain’s shoreline in silence. They had reached the shore and Tab could see a ship approaching on the ocean. As it got closer, he saw the beautiful maractite markings and realized this was the ship sent for him and he’d really be going home! The Fountain Faerie finally spoke, as this would be their last moment together before parting ways.
“I know last night was difficult for you, but you gave me a wonderful idea when you came in covered in snow. I made some sketches, and I created a paint brush that can be used at my Rainbow Pool to make the look permanent.” She handed him a white paint brush that seemed to have a chill coming from it, with a red ribbon tied around the handle. “Since you inspired the idea, I thought you should have the first one. I can change your colour now if you like the idea!” Tab agreed in an instant, only thinking of asking his parents’ permission after the fact.
After giving him such an amazing gift, she dove into the ocean and was out of sight. Tab could hardly believe his luck… a new paint brush colour inspired by him? Maybe everyone would know his name after all!