A New Start for Meridell: Part Two
Meridell, forty years earlier than Part I:
Rosie was absolutely furious at her father; he was being so unreasonable! For a Royal Skeith that was supposed to be ruler over all of Meridell, he certainly wasn’t doing a good job! When Rosie got to her bedroom in their castle, she slammed the door, hoping her father would hear.
How could she face her friends the next day? What would the other neopets in her town think of her family? Rosie didn’t understand why her father couldn’t just agree with the majority of the Meridellians that it was the right thing to do... the only thing to do.
Downstairs in his study, Rosie’s father, Skarl, sighed loudly as he heard his daughter slam her bedroom door. Why was everyone, even his own family, against him on this decision? After all the work and dedication it took to become King of Meridell and live in this beautiful castle, why should he have to share it all now; let alone with hundreds of other neopets? He was determined to stick to his decision on this, no matter how much all the Meridellians, and even his own daughter, disagreed with him.
Skarl let himself remember the meeting he had had with the town just yesterday. The meeting had been called to discuss some important matters around Neopia, one of them being the Neopian Pound. Many were concerned with the countless number of neopets in need of a good home and, from the looks of how long some of them had been there, a good home might not come very soon.
The Neopian Pound guard wanted to purge the pound of all badly named basic pets to make room for some more “deserving” pets, as he called them. These, of course, were the well named and well painted pets, the “elites” and “tradables.” The guard decided to send all the unwanted pets back to where they originally came from, their hometowns. This would mean about 116 abandoned Neopets being sent back to Meridell with nowhere to go.
When word spread of this news, neopets all over Neopia were outraged.
“They can’t do this!” many cried. “It’s just not right!” others proclaimed.
Many letters were sent to the Neopian Pound in protest, but the guard would not budge. Those neopets to be purged were going to be sent home in one week.
None of the Meridellians had any idea where these poor neopets were going to stay. The homes they once had were long gone and most of their previous owners moved away.
There was only one place in all of Meridell that was large enough to house this many neopets comfortably.
Once the town starting spreading the idea around they began to convince themselves that King Skarl would just have to agree. Surely he wouldn’t turn away homeless neopets? Besides, what else could they do?
Just three days ago a Tyrannian Shoyru had delivered the letter to King Skarl with 3,451 signatures supporting the idea that he should open his humongous neohome to the incoming neopets that would otherwise be homeless.
Just yesterday, at the towns meeting, King Skarl had informed all of Meridell that no such thing would be happening. Not now, not ever. The outrage and screams from the crowd did nothing to sway his decision.
From then on, Skarl would be known as the Grumpy Old King.
I woke with a start as I heard a loud tap, tap, tap on my bedroom door.
“Shieylah, come ON! Wake up! It’s a Saturday and it’s soooo nice outside,” Lori cried eagerly from outside my room.
I rubbed my eyes and groggily got out of bed to go let her in.
“Well, good morning to you too! What time is it anyway?” I asked my dear friend.
“It is time for our weekly weekend adventure, that’s what time it is! Every minute we waste inside is less time we have to go explore.” Lori’s excitement spilled out as she begun jumping up and down in my room.
“Ok, Ok, I’m coming! Let me just get dressed and I’ll be right down,” I replied as a huge grin spread across my face. I couldn’t help but allow myself to get excited too, I did love the weekends!
Lori and I had started our weekly weekend adventures the very first weekend I moved here. After six months of living in my new neohome I had started to allow myself to start getting comfortable and Lori and I had become incredibly close. It was safe to say she was my best friend (although Rufus was still a very close second) and during the week I always counted down to our next Saturday adventure.
At first my mother was wary about our adventures. Sometimes we would go diving in the ocean looking for treasure or dig through caves nearby. This would quite often bring about a “I don’t like you two going these places alone,” or a “why don’t you let either me or Lori’s mom come along sometime?” from my mother, but Lori and I would always convince her that we would be ok. And we always were. Sure we were kids, but we knew how to look out for each other and my responsible side always told me when we had gone too far.
Today we were going to explore the long abandoned castle about a mile away from our neohomes. Word around Meridell was that no one had lived there in forty years or so and Lori and I were eager to see if there was anything interesting left inside.
After getting dressed, I bounded down the stairs in a hurry to get outside and on our way.
“Whoa there, miss,” my mother stopped me before I could get past the kitchen. “Where do you think you’re going without a proper breakfast?”
“Mom, I would love to but we’re already late! I promise we’ll stop and eat some berries on the way, ok?”
Knowing that my mom wouldn’t mind, I ran outside to meet Lori.
In all honesty my mom was actually doing quite well in our new neohome and seemed to love it here almost as much as I did. She and Arianna had become close friends as well and I had once overheard her telling Arianna that she could imagine us staying here for good. Words could not describe just how happy that had made me.
Lori and I begun our mile long walk to the castle, our excitement building with each step.
“What do you think we’ll find there? Treasure? Gold? Some old china?” Lori asked me with wide eyes.
“I’m not sure,” I replied. “I hope there’s something great inside though. I want to bring something pretty home for my mom.”
Over our six months of adventures, Lori and I had begun to have quite a collection of findings in each of our homes. Most of them sat either in my bedroom or in hers, but occasionally each of us chose something special to give to our moms.
After an hour or so of walking and chatting, Lori and I had finally made it!
On the outside there was a huge dugout all around the castle where a moat had once been. The huge drawbridge was now rusted and the chains that once pulled it up and down were both broken. The grey, stone walls were still strong and held up the huge castle with standing authority. Some weeds had begun to grow up the sides of the walls but, if anything, it only made the place look more regal and untouchable than ever.
“Whoever used to live here must have been so rich,” I whispered in awe to Lori.
We both started walking up toward the huge double door entrance, carefully watching our steps.
As we walked over the old bridge I began to imagine what this place looked like when there were neopets living here. What type of neopets used to live here? Were they kind? Did they have other neopets around my age?
“Wow, this place is beautiful...” Lori’s voice interrupted my train of thoughts and trailed off as she walked away to start exploring.
I hadn’t realized that we were inside, but now that I took a look around, I realized what Lori meant.
It was as if forty years had hardly done anything to age the inside of this place. In front of me there was a huge golden staircase with pictures hanging all the way up the wall. To the left of the staircase was a room which led to the kitchen. Off to the left of the kitchen was the living room, full of nicely decorated furniture of immaculate taste. Even the rugs on the floor were in excellent condition, aside from the layer of dust atop them.
Past the kitchen to the right was what I figured to be a study or an office. There was a desk with some drawers pulled out and books all over the place. I couldn’t believe my luck, I loved to read!
“Lori! Come in here, this is great!” I called out to my friend.
“Wow, of course you would make your way to the room with all the books first, wouldn’t you? Well, I’m going to go upstairs and check out the bedrooms. There’s got to be at least one hundred in here or something!” Lori turned around and started making her way up the long staircase as I continued to explore the study.
Unlike me, Lori had never had an interest in reading. Whereas I loved to draw and read, Lori would much rather spend her time doing sports outside or swimming. Her love for the outdoors had certainly rubbed off on me, but I could not get her to sit down and read one book for the life of me.
I made my way around the desk and started picking up the dusty books. The History of Meridell, one title read.
“Wow, this would be so interesting to read,” I thought to myself.
I knew better than to take anything from this castle without asking my mother first. Even though no one had lived here for forty years, these books still weren’t mine to take.
I put the book back down and starting rustling through the open drawers in the desk. How exciting it was to be looking through a piece of Meridell history.
Many of the papers had aged and were hard to read, but most of them seemed to be letters or just notes with scribbles on them.
As I was putting them back in the top drawer, I saw a name that caught my eye. I reached down at the bottom of the drawer to pull out a letter, thinking it was odd and ironic that it was made out to Rosie.
Surely there was more than one Rosie in all of Meridell, let alone Neopia, but for some reason I felt a need to continue reading.
I know you will never understand the decision I made, but I hope that one day you will learn to. It breaks my heart that you felt the need to run away over this whole ordeal. I don’t even know how I am going to get this letter to you, but maybe someday you will be reading these words that I am writing to you.
I just want you to know that I love you and I always will. You will always have a home here in the castle and I will never stop hoping for your return.
Lastly, in case I am not around anymore when you come back (if you do), I have told the guards to give this letter to you. I would like you to know that I am leaving this entire estate to you and any forthcoming family you have. I have made it known that I want no one else to live here unless it is you or someone in your family.
Maybe you will learn to be more giving and generous than I ever could. Perhaps you can use this property for good since I have failed to.
All my love,
Father/ King Skarl
I didn’t quite understand what had happened to make this Rosie run away but the letter intrigued me all the same. It was clear that King Skarl (so that’s who had lived here before!) loved his daughter very much and I was determined to find out the rest of this story.
I started to fold the letter up but hesitated for only a moment. Would my mother be mad if I took a letter from this historical place? Certainly it would be ok since it was only a letter, right?
I decided that if my mother insisted upon me returning the letter, then that would only give me and Lori another opportunity to explore the castle further! However, at the moment, I was much too excited to share my finding with Lori to continue looking through the other drawers.
Once Lori and I were back outside in the sunshine, I took the letter out of my pocket and gave it to her to read.
“Wow,” she said once she had finished reading it, “I wonder what happened here to make Rosie run away. Isn’t it weird that it’s the same name as your mom?”
As much as I tried to hide it, the last fact that Lori had brought up really was gnawing at me. As we made our way back to our neohomes, I wondered if it was just a coincidence. It had to be; surely my mother would have told me if she had a history in Meridell, right?
Just about a mile away in her neohome, Rosie couldn’t help but wonder how she had let six months go by without mentioning anything of her history here in Meridell to her young daughter. Ever since her first conversation with Arianna the day they had moved in, Rosie had tried multiple times to bring up everything to Shieylah, but she had always chickened out. How could she possibly try and explain that her grandfather, the once king of all Meridell, was such a selfish and arrogant Skeith?
Rosie remembered how horrible it was for her in Meridell after her father’s terrible decision. All the Neopets around the town had taken their frustrations out on her since her father had taken to staying in the castle ever since that dreadful towns meeting. Rosie had had to deal with all the sneers and complaints that should have been directed at her father.
Rosie wanted nothing more than to protect her daughter from the history she had had to endure years back. Just the mere thought of Shieylah knowing her family’s history seemed to convince Rosie that Shieylah would go through the same bullying as she had. Whether or not this was actually true didn’t matter, Rosie didn’t want to take the chance and would do everything in her power to protect her daughter.
In fact, the more she thought about it the less she wanted to tell Shieylah anything. Why did she need to? They had gotten along fine in Meridell for the past six months and whether or not the Neopets around town knew the truth, none of them had ever brought it up except for Arianna.
No, Shieylah didn’t need to know. Her history was something that should be folded up and locked away in a drawer for good, never to be opened again.
Little did Rosie know that her history was folded up, but it was no longer tucked away in a drawer; rather it was on its way to her neohome at this very moment.
To be continued...