Special thanks to parodyham for letting me borrow Setarian as a character!
Originally posted in the Neopian Times several years back.
Chapter 1 – The First Dance
Princess Fyora noticed a Korbat, seated on the grass, eyes toward the ground. She could not bear to see someone so lonely and downcast so she quietly flew over to his side and tapped on his shoulder. The Korbat slowly raised his head, greeted by Fyora's outstretched hand. He stared for a moment and then shook his head.
However, Fyora was not about to give up. She gently tugged on his shoulder. Still, he would not budge, not even an inch. Fyora decided to sit down next to him.
"What is your name?" she said in her soft, gentle voice. The Korbat went back to staring at the ground. After about a minute of awkward silence, he replied.
"Hello Darigan, I'm Fyora," she said, holding out her hand. Still, the Korbat did not take it.
"I won't ask you to dance if you don't want to...I just...wanted to shake hands."
"Oh...sorry" The Korbat extended his little white hand and Fyora shook it. Her hand was soft and warm while his was a bit cooler and rougher. It seemed he wanted to let go as soon as he shook the faerie's hand, pulling Fyora forward. Fyora let the Korbat pull her until they were on the dance floor.
"Look where we are now Darigan...looks like the only way to blend in is to dance." She smiled at the Korbat who sighed and gave a nervous smile back.
"I-I've never danced before. I don't want to make a fool of myself," he said.
"Awww...don't worry about that, I won't spin you 'til you're dizzy."
She led him along, stepping slowly so the Korbat could keep up with her. The others around her began to stop and stare; they had never seen Darigan dance before. However, Darigan did not notice, for he was still trying to overcome the initial shock of actually dancing. The two ended up locking eyes for a brief moment, and Darigan's mouth fell agape as he saw the faerie's beauty – her twinkling violet eyes, her flowing hair, and her silken lavender dress. Fyora smiled at the Korbat and giggled a bit.
"Did you want to continue dancing? I did not think I was dancing with a statue."
"Oh, my apologies, I was just...uh...never mind. Actually uh...I wanted to go sit down and find something to eat."
Fyora knew he was just trying to slip away.
"Actually, it's just coincidence that I wanted to take a break too. Do you mind if I come with you? I promise I won't bite," Fyora said, smiling again. It was a warm, captivating smile that had Darigan frozen again. This time, he quickly shook it off and nodded at the princess. Fyora tagged along as he made his way across the dance floor.
Around the floor were many enormous round tables filled with various desserts – cakes, fruit pies, pot pies, and other pastries. All of the food filled the place with wonderful smells. No Faerie Festival would be complete without tasty treats, after all. The festival was held in a large open meadow quite close to Neopia Central, due to the Soup Faerie being this year's host. Aside from food and dancing, there were also some other games such as Faerie Bubbles and relay races.
Darigan stood around the food tables, searching for something to eat. Finally, helped himself to a slice of Cheesy Chokato Pie while Fyora, being less adventurous stuck with the classic Banana Crème Pie. The two found an unoccupied, wooden round table and sat down.
After a few minutes of awkward silence, Fyora decided to jump into a conversation.
"So, where do you hail from?"
"Oh, I live in Darigan Village in the grassy plains of Neopia. It's far east of Pelsia. I lead a small militia to fend off would-be thieves that often attack our home. Guess they keep thinking it's an easy target. We sure take them by surprise though."
"Well, that sounds interesting to me. All I've ever seen my entire life is just the Faerie City in the sky. Honestly, I haven't had much time to travel the world. My mother...Thyora...she just leaves me with Siyana and her mother Rayana. They are light faeries that help my mother out. They are great friends but sometimes, I still feel a little lonely. Neopia is such a large place to explore but I haven't had much opportunity. Anyways enough about me, so is leading a militia hard?"
"I guess you could say it's exhausting sometimes. I must arise very early in the day, before all of the other troops. I must do my personal physical training routine before sunrise so that I can get ready to train others. Sometimes my militia can be a rowdy group so I always have to make sure they are well-disciplined. It's really a lot of work to keep them all in good shape."
"That's fascinating. Is your militia large?"
"Oh yes, we have over a hundred troops now. It's started to become a tradition for the younger folks to train to join the militia at an early age."
"That's quite large for a village. Any other reasons you keep so many troops around?"
"Perhaps one day we will be defending our homeland from our distant neighbors. King Darus of Pelsia seems to be a very friendly king. I am concerned about one of Darus's two sons though. The youngest, Hagan, appears to be mature for his age. However, his eldest, Skarl is a bit doltish and itching for fights. Skarl will likely inherit Pelsia, but Hagan is the favorite so perhaps Pelsia would end up in Hagan's hands instead. I wouldn't put it past Skarl to try to fight against his brother and take the kingdom for himself. Their kingdom is pretty far from ours so I don't see how they could become a problem. I'm not taking any chances though."
"Oh, I see. We faeries don't have much of an army, but we do have magic on our side. I guess magic does keep things interesting sometimes. The other thing we have a lot of is gossip. Sometimes it's a bit horrifying how some of the faeries treat each other. It really bothers me that some of this gossip is directed at my mother. They say she is a weak and lazy queen that does not heed any of their grievances."
"Not much magic at the village. I haven't had a gossip problem either. Faerieland does sound like an intriguing place, though with all of that magic. Do only faeries live there?"
"Faeries and faerie pets mostly. There are other Neopets there too, but I don't think we do a good job of making them feel welcome so they eventually leave."
"Oh...still I guess it seems like a peaceful kingdom. I have to stay in my father's army so I can't travel anywhere yet though. Otherwise, I would love to visit."
"Perhaps we can visit each other's kingdoms one day when we are Lord and Queen."
"Perhaps. Yes, that would certainly be wonderful."
Neopia was quickly changing during these times. New Kings and Queens emerged, taking the reins over many Kingdoms. New borders were also drawn, mainly to settle family disputes. Skarl and Hagan never really got along. Although Skarl was the eldest and should have automatically inherited King Darus's throne, King Darus wanted to give Hagan a share of the kingdom. Skarl would not stand for having Hagan serve as part of his court so King Darus decided to do the unprecedented: splitting the Kingdom of Pelsia in half. The western half would be called Brightvale and the eastern two leaders were quite the opposites, Skarl preferring to amass a large army to demonstrate his might, while Hagan preferring to use knowledge and wisdom to demonstrate peace and diplomacy.
Queen Thyora's mysterious disappearance ushered in Fyora as the new Queen much sooner than Neopia anticipated. At first, there was some hesitation with many questioning Queen Fyora's ability to rule. However, after enacting many reforms such as the establishment of an Employment Agency and restoration of the cobblestone streets, she became overwhelmingly popular. Neopians from all corners of Neopia sought Fyora for help and listened intently to her advice.
Lord Darigan's village grew in large numbers. He had constructed a large citadel and his militia turned into a full army. They were no longer mere villagers, but proud citizens of a powerful kingdom. The land was extremely fertile, and the harvests were always bountiful. Every year, they would have an enormous feast to celebrate abundance.
Diplomatic relations were slowly being formalized among these kingdoms. Although King Hagan and King Skarl did not like each other much, they decided it would be prudent to form some diplomatic relations, even if they were strained.
On the Faerieland side of things, Queen Thyora was notoriously distrusting of other kingdoms so she never really made an effort to form alliances. This lead to Faerieland being excluded from many agreements such as trade. This kept Faerieland from becoming a prosperous kingdom. An isolated Faerieland was the last thing Queen Fyora wanted so she made it a goal to meet with other world leaders.
As a result, Fyora, wanted to maintain diplomatic relations with as many kingdoms as possible as a way to promote peace among the kingdoms and to attract more trade with Faerieland. She was extremely eager to visit other places, realizing her dream to travel the world. She recalled her promise to visit Lord Darigan once they ruled their respective kingdoms so she arranged a meeting to visit him as soon as she found time to settle down.