In the shadows, a demon lurks

Cloaked by the shadows of the forest, a man stands on the outskirts of a small village, watching and waiting. No distinct features can be seen, however a poisonous aura surrounds him. More than that, it seems to seep from his very pores. For hours he watches the village, witnessing all the on goings of its occupants. Patience wearing the man thin, he begins to melt away into the forest before catching sight of his prey: a beautiful, raven-haired young woman - no older than 18 - hurrying to help her aging neighbor with her groceries. A sickening smile makes its way onto his chapped lips, a sharp canine peeking out. ʺFound you, Kittenʺ he growls, his voice hoarse, as if from years of smoke inhalation. Eerie yellow eyes glint with malice as he makes his way to the village, a renewed vigor in his step.

Before long, he met up with the young lady, his once nauseating aura diminished. He instead appeared to her as a friendly traveler who had lost his way. She is quick to smile and offer directions, then turns to leave, her good deed completed. However, the man reaches out to her, gripping the lass's bare arm, asking her to repeat the directions once more. For the briefest of moments the man sees uncertainty in the girl's striking red eyes at the way he tugs her arm. However, that fleeting contact was all he needed to infect her, and he quickly dropped his arm, making himself appear sheepish and apologetic. The lass giggled assuring it was quite alright and repeated her directions, leaving the man, this time undeterred, to stand alone in the dirt road. As soon as she was out of sight, delirious laughter took over the silence. A putrid eye-watering aura wrapped itself once more around the man, whose eyes quickly returned to their murky yellow. In fact, all of his features began to twist and morph as he made his way from the village, humming a haunting tune. The man, who was now revealed to be anything but human, slinked back into the forest. His mission was complete. Soon that charming young girl would bring about the end of her village. Not only that, she will be entirely helpless to stop it and completely unaware that she is causing the disease, he thinks gleefully. Her skin now infected with his Demon's Plague, bringing pain and suffering to every mortal being she comes into contact with. Yes, the demon's master will be pleased indeed.

My Journey to Topaz

It took me nearly 2 years of hard work, dedication and most importantly the kindness of strangers and friends alike for me to achieve the glory that is Topaz, this fine looking darigan aisha before you.

Allow me start from the very beginning though. When I was young and naive, there was this thing, maybe you've heard of it? The conversion. Well, at the time of this heart breaking event, I owned a few pets who were sparred from the cruelty that was the conversion. Faerie Grarrl, Grey Techo but most importantly, a Darigan Aisha. As I mentioned, I was rather naive to the ways of neopets (a casual player, if you will) and the notice they give you about converting them made me believe we were supposed to convert or else there would be penalty. Or, that's how I perceived it anyways. So, of course I converted them all, only to find out maybe a month later we absolutely did not have to do that. I was angry, I felt tricked and most of all stupid for not understanding better. I wasn't as mad about the grarrl or techo, but my aisha (a pet who was albeit, Vvbn), was my pride and joy of the site and I hated how the conversion made her look. So I pounded her and nearly all my other pets and took a rage hiatus for quite a while, before I finally returned.

After my return to neopets a couple years ago I got into the game of trading and really started to understand how it all worked and decided to try and work my way up to a new darigan aisha (now called UC, for unconverted). At first I applied for UC after UC in an attempt to increase my fodder's worth and in turn my chances at achieving my dream. None of thee attempts went anywhere sadly so I decided to do it the old fashioned way, penny trading up. While doing this, I fine tuned my character and turned my failed applications into a project page.

I started with a VWN royal girl draik who by the luck of the gods was a name that appealed to a girl with a dn/bn faerie moehog UFT and she agreed to trade with me. So long as I included a FFQ. which luckily I had, to paint chocolate. I had done it, I had broke into the UC tiers finally. Now all I had to do was work my way up the chains. However, instead of trading for a UC I ended up trading Lucky, my nickname for the moehog, for a very nice RW, within the first 3 weeks of owning Lucky. For awhile I thought about keeping the RW, as I grew rather attached, and start my trading chain over. In the end though, i decided to offer her around. It took months but finally I can across Virginia, a kind neopian I met on a Goal Chat board. She offered to me her DN UC faerie peophin in exchange for my RW. She had seen my project page and wanted to help me in my journey, Something I will be eternally grateful for. After a couple months of offering her around, I finally offered Bleu on a DN UC Faerie Lenny (with a slightly shorter name) and the offer was accepted. One step closer!

It was this Lenny that would ultimately help me achieve my goal, as once again a very kind neopian, Angel, saw my project page and offered to trade Topaz to me if I could find one of the pets she was after. She wasn't name picky or tier picky, just wanting a pet she could love, which led us to a DN UC Darigan Bori with some stats. She specifically chose this pet because, not only was it a pet she wanted species/color wise, she knew that the owner was struggling to trade up and wanted to help that person out as well. So, I offered Dirty on Stu and my offer was accepted. and on June 14, 2015 Topaz was offered on Stu. My dream had come true and I couldn't be happier.

Character Design

human form

Lai is a petite young woman, appearing to be anywhere from late teens to early twenties. She wears a one-piece dress, fashioned out of fine purple silk. It has long, puffed sleeves that end in tiered ruffles at the wrist. A corseted waist adorned with black ribbons is overlapped by a large purple bow. The skirt is bell-shaped, tiered with black and purple ruffles, ending just above the knee. Lai wears purple Mary Janes, the laces wrapping to just below the knee. Her long, raven black hair is fashioned into two high, messy pigtails, held in place with rich purple bows and ribbon. Her face if framed by two smaller pigtail wraps, held by purple barrettes. Lai's hair has subtle purple streaks through it, something that is reversed in her demon form. In this form she wears a collar that more resembles a sturdy dark purple choker with black accents. Dangling from the choker is the insignia of Hades, the ruler of the Underworld. The insignia is a black down facing crescent moon shape. At the center arch there is a deep purple oval shaped jewel. The crescent moon itself is crafted out of onyx. Lai has a very beautiful face, however it is offset by her red eyes. In Hell it is often speculated she is really a vampire gifted with shapeshifting abilities from Hades. Very few believe or know the truth that red eyes were a just trait that many carried by the women in her family. The gene skips every two generations and is only passed to the first born female.

demon form

In Her demon form, Lai is similar to very large fox demon. In fact she is so large, Lai stands over 8 feet tall at the shoulders. Only where fox demons typically are white/black/orange, Lai is a deep purple with black highlights at the tips of her ears, tail and paws. Her fur is very silky looking and slightly shaggy. Lai has black spikes going down the center of her spine and follow all the way to her tail, which actually appears to be split into two separate tails. Growing from the top of her head, she has a pair of feeler type antennas. They serve to alert her to danger and intruders, acting as a 6th sense of sorts. They start out purple at the base and gradually change into a black at the tips. Just like in her human form, Lai's eyes are also blood red in this form. However, as a demon they are far more menacing and terror inducing than they are striking and odd. Her ever present collar that represents her lack of true freedom is black leather studded with genuine silver spikes in this form and has the same crescent moon pendant hanging from it as in her human form.

Character Story

Chapter One

Before the plague, before Hades made their contract, before everything, Lai was a happy-go-lucky girl. A joy to everyone who met her, always brightening people's days with her kind words and brilliant smile. The kind of person who's bubbly joy was just contagious and even if you were in the lowest of moods you couldn't help but laugh along with Lai. Anyone would want to protect her from the darkness in the world. However, shortly after her 18th birthday, the plague first reared it's ugly head. It came in fast and it came with a vengeance, claiming 3 young children and an elderly couple that first week. The village had no time to prepare; they had neither seen nor heard of anything like it before. It always began with a striking red rash that started at the base of one's neck, following their spine and going down through their left leg. Shortly after this, a fever set in, accompanied by a lightheaded sensation. At first, everyone - including Lai - thought it was just a bad reaction to poison ivy. However, hallucinations became frequent among the infected, thought to be brought on by the sky-rocketing temperatures. After just one day, the symptoms worsened, the rash now a bubbling spat of what seemed to be boils overtaking their bodies. Their temperatures rose until their skin was practically scalding to the touch, accompanied by uncontrollable vomiting and writhing bodily pain. The poor souls effected by this sickness often passed within 5 days of showing symptoms. The luckier ones - usually the children and the elderly - passed sooner; truly a blessing, for they did not have to suffer any longer than they could have. For the unlucky few though, the plague could drag out for a full week before claiming them. No one knew how it was spread. No one knew where it came from. No one knew anything about it but the death and sorrow it brought along with it.

During it all Lai tried hard to be the same girl whose radiant personality kept the village's spirits up. Oh, how she tried. She ran from house to house, taking care of the sick, as an apprentice healer to the town's most prestigious doctor. She smiled all the way, with promises of a cure that would never come, spouting whatever comforting words she could in an effort to soothe her patients and their worrying families. The plague raged on and took more members of the village - people that Lai thought of as family. Eventually, it became hard for the young woman to stay as optimistic as she was known to be. The light in her eyes faded, and the smiles became forced. Words she repeated like a broken record - "Help is coming", "a cure will be here soon", or her personal favorite "No need for tears, everything will be better tomorrow" - soon held no meaning, recited in a near-monotonic voice. They were said as much for her sake as for the people she was trying to help.

Now Lai stared on in horror as her true family, one by one, became ill. They had made it so far with out contracting the plague, she thought for sure they'd make it through. They were all dying now though, the very people who brought her up and loved her before anyone else. She had been around the plague more than anyone else, half-expecting to have contracted it by now. And yet, Lai hadn't - a fact she'd become increasingly aware of. The disease eluded her, almost as if she were immune to it's onslaught_ And yet, this immunity was more of a curse, having to watch everyone around her die while she stood unaffected. If it meant the sickness would end, she'd gladly take their place. Lai had already lost the person she was closest to, her younger sister, and she'd be damned if she was going to lose any more of her blood. Therefore, day in and day out she diligently looked after her remaining family, abandoning her duties to the rest of the village in favor of her true kin. A choice she never thought she'd have to make, but a choice she made with no regrets or second thought. Until one night, she just knew. Come morning she would be alone, her kin no more and her efforts in vain. That's when he appeared, seeming to materialize out of thin air, incredibly handsome and towering over her petite stature. Although the man appeared to be only a fear years older than Lai herself, there was a darkness about him. A foreboding feeling if you will. Sadly, Lai, an unusually intuitive young lady, seemed blind to this darkness in that instance.

Lai gaped up at the man for a few long moments, wondering where he had appeared from. However, after composing herself she realized the man could pose a threat to her family and quickly took a defensive stance in front of them.

The man noticed Lai's change in posture and quietly responded, ʺCalm down little one, I am here to offer my services to you.ʺ His voice noticeably deep and rumbling, even though his words were quiet.

Still defensive and unsure she abruptly replied ʺWhat could you possibly offer a poor village girl such as myself? I have nothing more to offer as payment anywaysʺ The distrust in her voice was clear as day.

A slow smile formed on his lips, he liked her grit. Then, continuing as if she had not spoken, he said the words that would change Lai's life forever. ʺWhat can I offer you, you ask? Oh nothing, just the lives of your family, I can make it so they can live on to see many more years.ʺ As he said the words, the man watched as the distrust in the young lady's eyes was quickly replaced with outrage and just a hint of hope.

Lai glared up the man, ʺThere is no hope for them, no miracle cure. Do you not think I have realized this by now? Who are you to think you could possibly save them?ʺ She spat out, suddenly angered that the man had the audacity to play with her emotion's like that.

ʺDo you not wonder how I appeared inside your house? Or perhaps you have noticed how time has stilled around us? ʺ The man asked making a grand display of moving his arms out into an arc as if to say; take a look for yourself.

It was then that Lai realized how utterly still the air around them was, how eerily quiet. She could no longer hear the labored breathing of her family nor the cries for help or general sounds of despair that had become the soundtrack of her life these recent weeks. Suddenly in a panic Lai ran first to her father's bedside, then her mothers' and lastly her brothers', systematically checking for signs of life as the man watched on in amuse ment. The dread in her stomach swelled after each check, nothing, they weren't breathing and their hearts weren't beating. However, she noticed the peculiar thing, her families bodies were still warm and their faces still flushed as if they were alive and in fact just frozen in time. Lai couldn't understand, there was no possible way what the man had said was true. There was no way a mortal could still time, unless he wasn't in fact a....unwilling to complete that thought, the young woman looked back to the man. She felt the fear, like burning ice coarse in her veins as she asked her previous question once more, ʺThat doesn't answer my question! Just exactly who, or what, are you?ʺ She asked slowly, a slight tremor to her voice. Lai, praying that this was a dream and that the man before her wasn't possibly be what she feared him to be, waited for his response.

ʺMy dear child, I have gone by many names and titles, Abaddon, Anubis, Dis Pater, Lucifer evenʺ The man declares proudly, while ticking each name and title off on his fingers. ʺHowever, you may call me Hades. I've taken quite the liking to that one these daysʺ Not once did he take his eyes off the woman, drinking in the fear reflecting in her eyes and oozing from her soul.

Any confidence Lai had earlier melted away as all the words the man had spoken to her played over and over in her head. The Devil, she was standing before a man claiming to be the Devil. A man who, if nothing else, could still time. Not only that, he makes a grand declaration of his ability to save her family. Suddenly, a realization hit her like a ton of bricks; she was hallucinating. The plague had finally infected her and she had been too caught up in taking care of her family to notice her own symptoms. Wild, uncontrolled laughter bubbled out of her at the thought. Of course that was what this was. How could she have been daft enough to actually believe this was real, even for a moment. Hades, come to save her family just as they were about to die and leave Lai all alone in this world? There was just no way! Her frenzied breakdown carried on even as a thought pricked the back of her mind; what if this isn't a hallucination?

All the while Hades looked on, perplexed by the girl's sudden change in demeanor, completely unable to fathom what had brought about the fit of laughter and crazed look in her eyes. Irritation soon replaced his confusion however, as Lai's episode refused to subside. A cruel glint came into his eyes as an idea to end the girl's insistent laughter came to him. Slowly he made his way to the girl's family and knelt before them, extending an already long finger nail into a sharpened red hot claw, and held it to the neck of Lai's mother. Having been following Hades with her eyes, even in her hysterical state, Lai saw what he appeared ready to do and, despite being nearly sure this was a hallucination, sobered up immediately.

Art Box

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Demon Form

Human Form

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