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The Face Behind the Dancer


by rebornluthia

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"Mama, can I hear a story please?" a young white Aisha asked. "I want to hear a story please, Mama!"

     A Darigan Aisha sat beside the bed. "This is the last story, listen?" The little Aisha nodded. "This is a story about an innocent, yet misunderstood Aisha." The Darigan Aisha began the story.

     # # # #

     Her name was Kari and she lost her parents years ago. Kari was a special Darigan Aisha because of her blue eyes. She didn't understand why her eyes were blue, but she never worried about it.

     A family found her in Meridell and kept the Aisha as their daughter.

     "At that time, you had been hidden in a basket by a river by your parents," Mrs. Liryth Ciryatan said when Kari was 5. "We don't know why you were there, and we didn't want a young child to starve. That's too horrible for a child."

     The Ciryatan family lived in South Meridell. Kari had two friends in this family, Kanrik and Katrina, Kanrik being the eldest of all. They lived on the plains of Meridell, far away from the Castle because the surname Ciryatan means "dark," and the Meridellians were afraid that the family was evil.

     One sunny and hot day, the children went to a lovely grassy plain to play, but they would never imagine that it was the last time they would see each other when they were young. As the girls were finding some lovely nuts, Kanrik ran to the highest point of the mountain and stared.

     Katrina and Kari felt strange and ran to Kanrik. "What did you see, brother? What interesting things can bring you away from collecting nuts?" asked Katrina.

     Kari raised an eyebrow and said, annoyed, "What can you see, Mr. Kanrik Ciryatan? We can only see grass covering there! Oh..." She fell silent in surprise.

     They saw a huge purple snake slipping on the edge of the mountain, blowing out green deadly breath. The children knew this snake so well, because they already heard about this horrible servant of the Darkest Faerie for many times, which was cruel to the neopets.

     Kanrik shouted at last, "It's Kastraliss! Run!" They ran off the mountain, and Kari heard Kastraliss murmur something, but it was not clear enough for her to hear.

     When they ran towards their home, Kari heard one of the strangers in front of their house speaking in a beautiful voice. It sounded as if she was only 12 or 13 years old. That voice spoke evilly, "You are two of the Ciryatan, so…"

     She couldn't hear the last word, because Kanrik said in a low but serious voice, "Hide into the woods, quick! They are coming."

     "How about you?" she asked, but he didn't hear that.

     They hid immediately, but as Kanrik tried to hide, a strong purple Grarrl with three long scars across his mouth saw him and said something. A beautiful young green Acara in a purple cloak came to the Grarrl and had a conversation with Kanrik. She should have been the one who spoke that sentence which Kari heard. Katrina and she stayed in the woods, wondering what they were saying.

     "Will brother leave with them?" Katrina suddenly whispered, frightened.

     The dull blue Gelert brother left with the two thieves and he didn't realize that he had left one of his blades behind on the grass. They waited till all the strangers left, and walked out silently. Kari grabbed the blade and kept it with her.

     Katrina looked at the way which Kanrik had left by and cried. Kari couldn't stop the tears dropping from her eyes too. After half an hour, they stopped crying and thought that they could only go to the Meridell Castle for shelter. "It's hopeless to stay here and cry all day," Kari sobbed and said.

     They went to the front gate of the castle after walking tiredly for a long way. The door was narrow because soldiers blocked most of the door, checking something seriously. Katrina passed the soldiers and went through the wooden gate first. Kari tried to go in next, but...

     "Dariganian," one of the soldiers who had trapped her said, "leave here or die."

     Kari was scared and she saw Katrina trying to go out. The Darigan Aisha shouted to her as she ran. "Stay there, Katrina! We will meet again in the future! Take care of yourself!"

     Kari ran and ran, passing through many small villages and plains. She had tried to stay in those villages, but they didn't welcome her by throwing stones and spears. Finally, Kari was so tired that she found and used a tree as a shelter.

     As the Aisha was resting, she saw a group of people passing the road. The leader of that group, a Darigan Grarrl, stopped at the sight of her and asked, "You are a Dariganian; why are you here?"

     "I was running away from Meridell because my parents were killed by Kastraliss," Kari said, thinking that the Ciryatan family was her last family.

     "Go with me to see the General," the Grarrl said and started to leave. Kari quickly followed behind the group of soldiers.

     A Darigan Eyrie general sat with another group of soldiers not far away. "Peasant, what's your name?" he asked. "I'm General Kass."

     Kari had never spoken to a general before (she had never even met one before!), so she thought that she'd better not tell lies. "I am Kari Elensar."

     "Elensar," General Kass said, surprised.

     "Yes," Kari said, frightened, and didn't even dare to look at the general.

     "Calm down, child," General Kass said thoughtfully. "The lord might be glad to meet you. Do you want to come with us?"

     Kari thought for a while, and accepted the proposal to go and see Darigan. This decision changed her life forever.

     Lord Darigan was not as horrible as what Kanrik's parents said. He had a little evil spirit, but he was kind. "Your parents saved my life," he murmured, and though Kari felt strange, she didn't ask why.

     He called Morguss to adopt her as her second daughter (Kari heard that the first daughter died when she was 19 years old) and the double agent to be her guide. She was QUITE a quiet person. "Why are you called the double agent?" Kari asked when they passed lots of corridors and stairs, heading to her room.

     "Because I work for both enemies." The reply was very short.

     "What's your name? They only call you the double agent?" she asked again, wanting to know more about this new friend.

     "I have no name," she replied. Kari looked rather surprised.

     Kari tried to think of anything that could make the double agent talk. What if I find a name for her? she thought.

     Kari thought about every name she had heard in the past. Suddenly, she recalled of a book she read in the past. It contained many names, and one of them meant "mysterious." It could fit the Double Agent perfectly. "How about Alassea? I think it is suitable for you!" Kari said excitedly.

     The double agent accepted her suggestion with a nod.

     "Why you don't say many things? I wanna know more..." The questions continued.

     * * * * *

     When Kari was 10, she began to learn magic and dance from Morguss and Alassea. Alassea kept telling her not to trust Morguss, but she treated it as a joke. It seemed that Kari was very good in healing magic and water type magic, and she liked to learn more. Kari's dancing was not bad, and she became the dancer of Darigan. Lord Darigan treated her as well as his daughter.

     A year later, something strange happened to Lord Darigan. He accepted an orb after he got it back from Meridell. War began between Meridell and Darigan.

     Kari hid in the highest tower of the citadel to prevent enemies from attacking her and to see every battle between Meridell and Darigan. After four months, the battle ended in Darigan Citadel's big hall. She saw that battle clearly through the windows with Alassea. Sir Jeran, Lisha Borodere, King Skarl, Master Vex, Yellow knight, and a couple of young people were standing around Lord Darigan who turned himself into a fire dragon. Lord Darigan screamed and vanished in a puff of smoke.

     General Kass, the general who found Kari, became the new lord of the Citadel. The new lord kept avoiding any contacts with the Meridellians, and it seemed like he was planning something with Morguss all the time.

     Kari kept having a strange feeling that something terrible would happen to her, but she didn't tell anyone about that. When she was 14, it came.

     "Dear, Lord Kass orders you to go to the west tower," Morguss said. Kari followed her to the west tower. Alassea looked like she knew what would happen to the young Aisha, but she bit her lips and didn't say anything.

     Lord Kass was waiting in front of a metal door.

     "We found this door a month ago and everyone tried to open it except you. Maybe you are the one that was allowed to open the door. Once you open it, the things inside belong to you," Lord Kass said. Kari put her paw on it and it opened silently with her paw glowing red, feeling as if it was burning in fire.

     Inside the room, which was filled with dust, there was a shining red gem on a golden necklace and a tambourine on a nasty wooden chair.

     "Wow!" Kari whispered, surprised.

     "These are yours now, dear. Take them," Lord Kass said.

     Kari looked at the things inside the room. She felt magic flowing inside the two items. They were so beautiful that she didn't feel anything wrong with them.

     Kari slowly took the tambourine and the shining necklace.

     Suddenly, the young Darigan Aisha felt that something attacked in her mind. She was defenseless that she was stunned by the sudden attack. It controlled the Dariganian immediately. She could still see and hear, but Kari was no longer Kari anymore.

     The Aisha's hair turned into copper orange and her clothes turned into a light yellow shirt and red dress. The feather earring she wore turned into two golden earrings. Her eyes became the normal Dariganian eyes, which were red in color with green pupils.

     As the Aisha spoke, Kari heard that her voice changed into sweeter, and that made her feel horrible. The voice said, "Mother, am I dreaming? I am alive again!"

     "Oh, isn't that great, Ireth?" Morguss' smile widened.

     "Thank you, mother," Ireth Phylora Xinjie smiled and said, "What things can I help you? Oh, you're that admirer when I was living ages ago!" She blinked at Kass sweetly.

     Morguss grinned and said, "My dear Ireth, you must be loyal to Lord Kass and mesmerize those Meridellians. Use your greatest power to control them in your best dance, then you can help Lord Kass rule the world!"

     Ireth laughed evilly.

     Kari knelt in the space in her mind, sobbing soundlessly. If that Ireth really danced and controlled the Meridellians, would Katrina face trouble? she thought. "I don't want her to be in danger!"

     Ireth smiled evilly at her and said as sweetly as she could, "You can never imagine overthrowing me! Your power is so weak that it's useless to resist me."

     # # # #

      "Mama, I want to hear more!" the white Aisha said.

     The Darigan Aisha smiled and said, "No. Tomorrow, I will tell you more. Go to sleep now, Reenki."

     The next day, the white Aisha, Reenki, talked to her friends in Neopia Central. "Actually, who are your parents? We've never seen them before," a blue Shoyru asked.

     "My father and mother are living somewhere near and don't want to be disturbed. Especially my mother... Bye, see you tomorrow!" Reenki said, laughing.

     That night, Reenki asked, "Mama, I wanna hear the story! Why did you tell me about your own story?"

     Kari the Darigan Aisha just smiled and began telling the story without explaining.

     # # # #

     A week later, Ireth changed her Darigan look to a Brown Aisha, thanks to Morguss. She went to Meridell Castle as a gift to King Skarl with Alassea, who was motionless about this change.

     As Ireth was dancing with her most powerful magic, Kari saw many people in the court were mesmerized. "Be strong, Meridellians! You can resist it if you want!" she shouted but alas, nobody listened.

     She looked around and saw Alassea stood quietly in a corner in the court without looking at Ireth. Many people didn't look at her at first, but Ireth turned their mind to look at her dance.

     Kari saw Lisha the Lioness, who she knew since the first fight with Lord Darigan, stood in the crowd with an annoyed face. It was not a big surprise that Lisha was not mesmerized. She had glasses, after all. Her look made Kari think that she hated Ireth very much.

     Ireth danced gracefully around the court and Kari could observe more guests. She began to feel tired of looking and got bored till she saw a Meridellian that looked at Ireth without glasses but didn't be mesmerized.

     "Katrina!" she cried. Katrina was in a dress like a mage, and was looking at Ireth motionlessly. Why did she become the mage of Meridell? Kari thought. A white Lupess stood next to her and didn't look at Ireth.

     Ireth was told to dance for King Skarl every day. She was very happy to wear new dresses and completely ignored Kari. Everyday, she danced in the court with lots of people looking at her smile and her dance. Everything looked just the same till a month later.

     Ireth was dancing as usual, and Sir Jeran Borodere, the famous knight of Meridell, was back from the fields. Kari caught a glimpse that he came through the door of the court. Katrina and the Lupess seer walked to him and talked. Lisha Borodere disappeared from the court. Everything looked so "normal" till Lisha came back with a heavy book.

     "That which is hidden cannot hide..." she started with her finger pointed at Ireth and read proudly.

     "She found the spell to expose Ireth's scheme!" Kari cried happily.

     Ireth heard what the Dariganian cried and screamed to Lisha. "I order you to stop, young Aisha, stop!"

     Lisha ignored her as Ireth was talking to the air. "...Where there is truth, lies cannot abide. You, from the evil, I must wean. Everyone here let it be seen!" Lisha said more powerfully and green light flashed all around Ireth.

     Ireth screamed and returned into a Darigan Aisha. Her power became weaker and weaker. King Skarl saw the real face of Ireth and was surprised. "Seize her!" he cried.

     At the same time, Kari struggled and finally controlled her body within the fight with Ireth. She threw away the necklace immediately as she changed her appearance back. She stood up and looked at the smashed necklace joyfully.

     Katrina was surprised as she saw the Darigan Aisha standing in front of her. She struggled and tried to run to Kari, but Jeran stopped her and said something to her that made her calm a little bit. The Lupess seemed angry of that and glared at Katrina angrily.

     Lisha tried to cast a spell towards the dancer. Kari affirmed that Lisha really hated Ireth so much that even when she noticed that the dancer looked rather different, she still kept attacking the "villainess" in her mind.

     Kari resisted it uneasily and shouted to Katrina, "See you after the war!"

     The guards ran towards the Aisha as she jumped to the air, vanished with her hands glowing in green soft light. She could hear Lisha shouting to her before she vanished. "I curse you, Dariganian!"

     ***

     Kari appeared in her room in the Darigan Citadel. Alassea sat on her bed and held a silver necklace. She was not surprised to see the dancer, but asked, "At least you have returned, right? I always say that Morguss is not a good person to trust."

     "Why didn't you tell me when I went away with her?" Kari asked angrily, thinking of being trapped and controlled by Ireth.

     "Can I tell you in front of Morguss? Can I push you away and tell you the truth? Absolutely not. I did try to tell you don't trust that Moehog, but you never listened," Alassea said calmly. "It is the time for you to receive your real belongings." She gave the necklace to Kari who became calm after her rage.

     There was a beautiful blue gem on the necklace with white stripes, and it was extremely beautiful. Kari took the necklace carefully and asked, "Why do you give such a thing to me?"

     Alassea said, "It is one of your parents' belongings. I found it in the highest room of the north tower. If you like, you can hide there. You know, Morguss and Kass can't let losers survive."

     The Aisha felt cold from the stonehearted people and asked, "I want to know about his necklace."

     Alassea said, "I don't know many details of it, and I can only say that its name is the Amulet of Ocean. If Lord Darigan had not disappeared, he could tell you more. Let's go to the room first."

     They went to the old wooden door in the tower, which was locked. Alassea laid her hand on the door and murmured something, and then the door opened. As they entered, the door closed again.

     There were lots of items inside, and Kari confirmed that it was a storage room from its tidy look. Alassea led Kari to a wooden box and opened it.

     "That's the stuff my parents left behind?" she asked uneasily in stunning mood. There were many scrolls and magic things inside the box. "It can't be!"

     "Yes. You are going to sleep here," Alassea said and opened another old wooden door. "There are enough stuffs inside that can keep you well, and I will give things in through here." She pointed to a hole on a side of the room. "I can't always walk here. Morguss will be suspicious of me for that. Have a good rest, Kari."

     ***

     So that was Kari's life in that strange old room till the war ended. No one disturbed her except Alassea. She spent most of her time on the stuffs that her parents left behind, and she learnt more spells from Alassea when she could went there.

     Two months later, Kari got the feeling that something would happen that she hid to the tower and watched the battle down there.

     Kari saw Sir Jeran and knights came to the citadel by several Uni steels, fighting against the Dariganians. General Kass walked out with his huge blade and threw Sir Jeran off the Citadel. An air faerie caught him and left.

     A Korbat-like shadow fled to the Citadel. Kari knew that he didn't die, and she was so delightful.

     "Lord Darigan!" Kari nearly screamed as she saw him. He fought with the surprised general and damaged the glowing amulet of Kass. Kass screamed painfully and vanished.

     Kari couldn't resist crying with joy and ran down to see Lord Darigan. It's just too good to see him survive! she thought.

     Kari moved back to her original room and lived as usual before she saw that tambourine Ireth had used. Kari kept that tambourine with her and cast a protecting spell that didn't allow Ireth to do anything else. The tambourine glowed in blue for a while and then became the usual look of it.

     She didn't go to Meridell to find Katrina as long as she had the identity of the Court Dancer, because she knew that people might welcome her with rotten eggs if she walked on any streets in Meridell. She just waited, waited for the day Katrina came, or she would have to wait people to erase that horrible memory of her.

     She found Lord Darigan in his new chamber and asked him about her parents. "They were punished by the Three, I guess. Your father disturbed the orb when it was trying to control me, then next day, you were down there by your mother and they vanished since that day."

     Kari felt sad about her parents, and she wasn't sure about revenge or not. She made up her mind that she wouldn't think too much about it.

     Also, the dancer asked about the amulet. "Well, I know not much about it, but I can tell you that Elensars are the blessed by a water faerie," Lord Darigan said.

     Kari took out the amulet from her pocket and thought whether wore it or not. "Since it is a blessing from the faerie, I shouldn't leave it with the other stuff," she thought as she wore it around her neck.

     After that, Kari stayed in Darigan, studied magic from the stuffs her parents left behind, and become the Darigan Dancer.

     Alassea was no longer the double agent anymore, and stayed in Darigan and decided to found her real name back. Kari decided to help her and she really did so. Since that day, Alassea was renamed Cinekasa Trufate. Cinekasa then became the librarian of Meridell and Darigan, and her job was to tidy up all the records and books of the two countries.

     Darigan was fulfilled with peace and warm after the war since that year.

     ***

     "So that's the whole story?" Reenki asked. "I thought it was longer! Mama, can I..."

     Kari replied, "The story is more difficult than you think about, dear. When you are older, I'll tell you. Have a good sleep."

     Kari left the room and saw the once-a-thief standing under the moonlight, looking at her and smiling quietly. Her smile widened and walked to him. "You will know the whole story, when you know more, Reenki," she whispered.

The End

 
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