Masila: 10 Years On
Almost 10 years ago, one of Neopia's most formidable villains vanished, never to be seen again. With the last known sighting of her on the 22nd December Y6 in that Krawk Island Tavern, it is no wonder that the Defenders of Neopia are reissuing an appeal to find this cunning femme fatal as we prepare for the 10th anniversary of her disappearance this winter. However, despite no official recording of an appearance, hushed whispers of sightings have been rife amongst all corners of Neopia. We delve into some of the most hyped rumours of the whereabouts of this enchantress to try and shed some light on the location of the proclaimed Mistress of the Double-Cross. Where are you, Masila? Where are you?
July 30th, Year 7
The first sighting of Masila we explore is one in the great land of Meridell. This day wasn't any ordinary day - it was the anniversary of the Discovery of Meridell. Celebrations took place all throughout this great kingdom, with everything from a more amusable King to a lavished Rubbish Dump. However, a particular celebratory activity caught the eye of one Merifoods shopkeeper.
'I been in this land since when I was a little nipper, I have. I knows everyone here – Master Snargan to Miss Illusen herself. So when one stall popped up tryin' to get rid of jewels and bits and bobs I ain't be recognising who it was. Special anniversary gems she said they were – cheap as old nails. Looked like bits of colourful ice to me, but what do I be knowing? Something 'spicious about her, never saw her face, covered by this cloak of hers. But what I do 'member was a dazzlin' necklace or brooch or somethin' round her neck, caught my eye it did. That's all I 'member.'
This sighting was never reported to the Defenders, as by the time the festivities was over she was gone, and this startled shopkeeper thought nothing more of it. Perhaps this devious thief was relieving herself of her bounty to pocket a few Neopoints – an extravagant Acara like she cannot live on stale bread alone. An extravagant Acara like this cannot fund schemes of evil on stale bread alone. Perhaps she simply needed an excuse to get close to Skarl and relieve him of some of his bounty? We will never know, nor will we know if this was indeed Masila herself.
April 6th, Year 8
Our next sighting takes us to the magnificent city of Altador and, surprisingly, a dance club. Not known for her jiving ability, this one seems a curiosity. The short-lived club is a well-known haunt of famous Neopians such as King Altador himself, but not this powerful thief. Yet, a disgruntled Quiggle still seems to believe he witnessed her grace the club on this occasion.
'I have very little time for this, so I'll be blunt. She was there, I guarantee it. Be gone with you, pesky reporter.'
Unfortunately, this Quiggle seemed unwilling to answer any further questions or even give any further information to confirm his sighting. The ramblings of a deluded Quiggle, possibly; a glimpse into the whereabouts of this mysterious woman, unlikely. Alas, this brings us no further with our investigation and adds no further puzzle pieces to the great and confusing jigsaw that is Masila.
December 14th, Year 11
The next produce of the gossip grapevine was harvested over 3 years later, back at the scenes of the notorious Ice Caves. Before we delve into the details, we must contemplate the whereabouts of this woman for these 3 years, and how she has lurked beneath the radar, unreported, undiscovered. Perhaps an alias? Is Eleanor, the friendly Brightvale Acara, her facade? (Apologies to Eleanor, this is simply speculation, we are 99.9% certain you are not Masila!) We can only hope that, one day, Masila will remove the veil on her secrets and cease our curiosity. Now, returning to this sighting. It is in fact Kari who holds the key to this information...
'Oh, you want to hear from little old me? Well, of course I can help! I was just returning from the Advent Calendar, heading back to the Neggery where, gasp, I saw a hooded Acara figure emerging from a small cavern. Ooh, that cloak was hideous, purple was so Year 3, I'd never forget it. She was carrying something, I couldn't quite make it out – I know, I'm not as perfect as you think! How did I know it was her? Her brooch of course, such a beautiful, glistening, glamorous, bewitching, delicate, exquisite, ornate... sorry, I was just thinking of the brooch, it was hers. It was her.'
Our team completed a quick survey of all the caverns in the Ice Caves and nothing. Nada. There was no evidence to suggest our mystifying mistress had ever been there. So is this sighting to be disregarded? Is our dear old Kari just looking for her 15 minutes of fame? Or, is there something we have all overlooked, or something hidden with so much care and thought that we could do nothing but overlook it? This must be the tip of the iceberg of this Ice Caverns appearance - with her infamous relationship with this area perhaps a more sinister explanation lies beneath this potential visit?
March 7th, Y12
A report which needs no further exploration is an incident dating back to March 7th, Y12. A Maraquan JubJub believes he saw the land-dwelling double-cross Queen having a bite to eat in Kelp. Unless she has developed some kind of ability to live underwater, (we must never underestimate the defiance of Masila, but it is unlikely) we can do nothing but disregard this report, and assume he was just concussed from one too many games of Jubble Bubble. Especially as he described her as having tentacles and a face like the chasm beast.
December 28st, Y13
Our interest is piqued. Our teeth ready to sink into a particularly meaty sighting of the dastardly damsel. Our minds ready to unpick every slight detail in the most difficult level yet of this brain-game. We return to the scene of a previous sighting, the Ice Caves. This time spotted by the loveable Polarchuck Dieter.
'A cave! That was it! She was in a cave! I was hiding round the corner, I was scared, you know? I don't know what she was doing, but it didn't look good to me. No good. She had a small blade, no-one with a blade is up to any good! Sorta like the type Kanrik used to have – a bit of gold on the blade. I can't really remember anything else, I'm so sorry. I only knew it was her because of her brooch, reminded me of the gems I love to munch of so much. Mmm... Gems... You've made me hungry now!'
The lady with the ice heart returns to the Ice Caves. What is her attraction? What is the unstoppable force that keeps, apparently, bringing her back here? With no evidence of her ever being there, can we assume this to be rumour, and nothing more? Whatever the case, I'm vexed, perplexed, just plain confused. And why a blade? Has she simply taken up a job as a sculpture creator – has the master of art theft become just a master of art? Or is she up to no good, like little Dieter thought? Thus far, we are no further towards the heart of the mystery; in fact, we have barely even scratched the surface.
January 15th, Y14
A pattern is emerging in a series of what appeared to be random sightings. Haunted Woods. Year 15. Just 18 days after her appearance in Terror Mountain. Is our woman of great secrecy becoming clumsy? – 2 sightings within a month is poor, especially for a master of deceit. At a gypsy camp we have our penultimate description of a glimpse upon our Masila.
'Why, come here, reporter; I have some information I can share with you. An Acara of great decorum, an Acara of class, an Acara of great deportment, she was here. In these woods. Lurking around. I cannot say I saw anything that would cause suspicion; I cannot say I saw anything that would allow you to believe she was doing no wrong. How do I know it was her? How do you know anyone is who you believe them to be? Without the face, what do we have? A personality, a demeanour, an attitude, all of which I recognised to be her. A cloak like a woman with secrets, a brooch which glistened with betrayal, a blade which chanted evil. Evil that would wake children from their beds, keep even monsters awake at night.'
If we believe this to be true, and this is indeed Masila, why the Haunted Woods? What could she want here? Multiple theories spring to mind, but none as pressing as the one I will share with you. Even the thought of it flares exclamation marks in my mind, like beacons in the night. Terror Mountain – the home of the Thieves Guild, a guild Masila was exiled from; Haunted Woods – the home of a disused Thieves Guild. Is she planning a revival of a Thieves Guild of times gone by, a Thieves Guild version 2, where she reigns supreme and drives a new vehicle for her manipulative, malicious, malevolent ways? Is she hiding in the Ice Caves to get closer to her once beloved club, to get closer to bringing her plans of vengeance to fruition? If this was her plan, what is taking her so long? Is the calculated planner taking time to make sure there are no flaws to her strategy? Who knows...?
February 14th, Y15
Ah, Valentines day. What an ironic end to this tale of cruelty. A final sighting. Our most recent, unconfirmed sighting of this siren. And where better to have a reported sighting than a place which confirms the previous theory. Enter the Duchess.
'A rapping at the door of my mansion, my dear. What is this nonsense at such a ridiculous hour? I assumed this disturbance would have a satisfactory, perhaps even exceptional, reason. I send for the butler, and I am informed there is a woman at the door who requests my attention. Rather than remove her from the property, I grace her with my presence, as this request seems rather daring – I wish to know who has the audacity to request for me. It is her. Masila. With a proposition. She wishes to join the Sway. I laugh. The woman really is audacious. She is serious. I demand a reason, she gives me none. I take a shine to her and grant her the wish. For that brooch, it is hypnotic. I was powerless to its wiles, I could not decline. My eyes have not laid upon her since, I assume she has become lost within the sea of esteemed Sway members. A grave shame it is, I would like to see her again.'
The Thieves Guild battled for the Obelisk. Masila must have known they'd show interest. Masila must have known the Sway would show interest. Is this her way of getting close to the Guild once again? Is her plan unravelling? Is this conundrum solved? If so, why? What is she planning? Such a sharp Acara obviously has a plan greater than anything we could ever imagine. Or, it could simply be that she has double crossed unwitting followers, like us, into thinking these are her methods when in fact she has something mind-blowing in the pipeline... Have we been fooled by the Queen of Deception? Are we sitting Mallards, simply waiting for the return of Masila in a way no-one could imagine? Are our reports even true, or just the tales of over vigilant Neopians? Only time will tell...
For now, it is up to us to keep an eye out for this criminal. A mastermind like her must be brought to justice. If there's one thing we can take from all, reliable, accounts is that we must look out for the brooch. It is the tell tale sign of Masila. Be wary. She could be anywhere...
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