Species Introductions: Vandagyre
Welcome to Species Introductions, a special spin-off of my Character Introductions series. Whereas my Character Introductions series focuses on a new character to the site, Species Introductions focuses on an entire new Neopet species to the site (which, as you can imagine, doesn't happen that often)! This time we're focusing on the new species that's best described as being what would happen if you fed an Oukin some fungus from the Fungus Caves, the Vandagyre.
The Vandagyre (pronounced "van-duh-guyr") are, or were, a reclusive species that lived high up in a mountain range until recently. During Neopets' 15th Birthday celebration they decided to break their reclusiveness and join the rest of Neopian society. Considered a wise and kind race (in their own words), they are generally a quiet species who like having elaborate tea rituals, tending gardens, or other such peaceful activities. However, they can fly and when they do they let loose and show off their aerial prowess. But this isn't the only time they'll show some vigor, they'll defend and fight for their friends by showing hidden depths of combat knowledge. Finally, their favorite food are nuts.
Being the newest species there isn't any well known one to talk to yet so I went to the Create-A-Pet center and told them my intentions. As it turns out the Create-A-Pet center foresaw Neopians having questions so have assigned Vandagyre representatives in their offices to inform Neopia about themselves. I asked to speak with one of these representatives and was directed to an office where a male Red Vandagyre wearing a hat and contact lenses sat attentively with a smile. I took a seat and we started the interview:
Greetings, I'd like to thank you for doing this interview.
"The pleasure is mine. I'll like to thank you for showing interest in finding out more about my species. We feel like we have a lot to contribute to Neopia and want to land on our feet running. Would you like some nuts?" *pushes a bowl of mixed nuts towards me*
Great to hear and thank you! *I take a few peanuts and almonds* I'm sure there are plenty of people who want to talk with you today so I'll get to my questions. First off, I'm surprise to see you wearing a hat and contacts, would those be from the Vandagyre Goodie Bag given away by the NC Mall?
"Actually there are several of us Vandagyre representatives so feel free to ask me as many questions as you want, there's no rush. Back to your question, yes, these are the two clothes you can get from the Vandagyre Goodie Bag: the Vandagyre Cap and Wig and the Vandagyre Contacts. We consider them a sort of promise of things to come. You're surprise is probably from knowing that we are unable to wear all the clothing that had been released before our introduction to the whole of Neopian society. These two clothes are the first we can wear but for now on any new clothes released will be adjusted for us to also wear unless they're species exclusive. We're also hoping to get some of the older popular clothing readjusted or us. That said, we still can put on non-clothing wearables like backgrounds, foregrounds, garlands, trinkets, etc.."
And here's hoping they look and fit well. Now the Vandagyre are said to have come down from the mountains. What mountains would these be?
"Our homeland is on a mountain range south of Shenkuu. Though we were close to Shenkuu we were still a reclusive species and did very little trade outside our circle. If we ever traded with any other world it would have been Shenkuu and it would never be directly. But now that we've introduced ourselves we're hoping to expand trade relations not only with Shenkuu but with the other worlds too."
Sounds like there are a lot of big changes ahead for the Vandagyre. Why introduce yourselves to the rest of Neopia now?
"That's a long story though I'd try to keep it short. As you may know, "Neopets' Birthday" is the celebration of the birth of what some may consider the modern era of Neopia. 15 years ago a batch of worlds of Neopia agreed to form an international network, actively cooperating and trading with one another. It was a big experiment and over the years more worlds and species joined in either through their own initiative or being discovered. We Vandagyre, being traditionally reclusive and tad bit shy, decided not to join in for so long as we did not know if this experiment would work because how big it was. It was only during the 10th year had we started considering joining but were still skeptical. It was decided then if this experiment went for half a decade more it would no longer be considered an experiment but rather the modern day status quo and we would join. Five years later and here we are!"
So you were watching and waiting this whole time? You're a very patient species. Well your introduction wasn't isolated to just yourselves, the Ruki was made into a Limited Edition species. Do you know why that is?
"Yes, though like everyone else we only found that out after it was announced. Before we introduced ourselves we talked with Neopian officials to prepare for our arrival and never did talk of the Ruki becoming a Limited Edition species come up. We don't know everything that went on behind the scenes, but we were told that according to the recent Ruki census many Ruki have been feeling homesick for the Lost Desert. It was believed that making them Limited Edition would restrict the numbers assigned to owners and hopefully place more in the Lost Desert. I don't know how making them Limited Edition would do that, though; you'd have to talk with a Ruki official to find out more."
I'll note to do that, thanks. Are you aware of Petpet Park? It was a land created for Petpets by the PPL using powerful magic though sadly it recently had to close. In Petpet Park there were some species of Petpet which only existed within it, one being called an Oukin who some have compared your appearance with. Is there any relation between the Vandagyre and the Oukin?
"Though we have not heard of Petpet Park we do know of the Oukin. The resemblance is not lost on us and some Vandagyre art has incorporated Oukin designs. However, before we were told about Petpet Park, we thought they were a mythical Petpet as we've never saw one and any of the outside traders we've interacted with said they have no idea where to get one. They never mentioned Petpet Park but even if they had we'd still be unable to get some so it wouldn't have mattered. However with Petpet Park having closed we're hoping that the PPL would consider reintroducing the Oukin to Neopia."
You wouldn't be the only ones who want the Petpet Park Petpets. Last question, for a while now we've needed a Neopet species whose name started with "V" to complete the Neopet species alphabet. Was it a coincidence that your species name started with "V"?
"Nope, it was intentional. Vandagyre is a new name our species got in order to better blend into modern Neopian society. While we can perfectly speak modern Neopian, we do have our own language and before now our species only had a name in our language. Our language is unpronounceable by most if not all other species as we use sounds no other species can make, thus we needed a new species name. We were told you needed a species whose name that started with "V" so we more than happy to fill in that role. We're getting used to our new species name so please excuse us if we don't respond to it or while we're speaking we use our language's word for ourselves. We're quick learners so I'd say by the end of this year we would have gotten use to it."
All good to know. Well that answers all my questions, is there anything else you'd like to say to all the readers?
"I'd just like to say thank you all for accepting us with open arms. I know our sudden appearance may have disrupt a few things which we apologize for, however we feel that in the end us joining modern Neopian society would be the best for everyone. We're eager to both learn about other cultures and share our culture for the betterment of ourselves and to help create a better Neopia."
I got up from my seat and thanked the Vandagyre representative for their time. As I left I thought about something which he said, about them possibly disrupting things. I began to think about how some characters would be affected by the sudden appearance of a new species. Figuring out a list of key characters, I continued to my next segment: talking with said characters about the Vandagyre.
The Duchess (Leader of The Sway)
(Originally I was going to ask the Oracle for his/her/its opinion, but on my way to the Obelisk I got intercepted by two cloaked figures. They told me they knew what I was there for and that the Oracle would only give me vague and unfulfilling answers. Instead they offered me an opportunity to talk with the Duchess, explaining she's been seeing with many Neopian Times reporters about the Vandagyre. Opportunities to talk with the Duchess are very rare so I decided to accept their offer. I was guided to The Sway's camp where I was led to a heavily guarded black tent. Inside was the Duchess herself along with a table and another chair. I sat down and started to introduce myself, but the Duchess rose up her hand and spoke)
"I know who you are and why you are here. The appearance of the new Neopet species has brought many Neopian Times reporters here and I feel that I should get a few things straight. First, the Sway knew about the Vandagyre for years and of their recent plans to join modern Neopia society. We even knew when they would make their debut. Second, I'm sure that you're wondering what the other "factions" think of the Vandagyre. The Thieves Guild and the Awakened don't seem to pay them any mind. The Order of the Red Erisim are interested in their magical properties and capabilities. The Brute Squad heard about their willingness to fight for their friends which made them curious to test out potential recruits. Finally the Seekers seem the most excited, wanting to know everything about them and are actively planning to recruit. Third and final, the Sway's interest is confidential but we're actively observing the Vandagyre. Whether any will join the Sway, which I know what you're wondering, is none of your concern. Best answer you can take away is that possibly in the near or far future one or more Vandagyre may join the Sway, if one or more haven't already. This interview is done; my assistants will guide you to a transport waiting to take you to Faerieland. Leave asking no more questions."
(I was stunned that the Duchess knew my next destination was Faerieland. As her two "assistants" walked up behind me I decided it was best not to ask any questions and got onto the transport to Faerieland where I had an interview with a very notable character waiting)
Queen Fyora (Queen of the Faeries)
"I would first like to share my greetings and salutations to the Vandagyre, me and my Faeries look forward to working with you as we've done with the rest of Neopia. The introduction of a new species is always a busy time for us Faeries. While we knew that the Vandagyre existed, as well as other beings who still decide to remain reclusive, now that they've opened themselves up we can start working magic with them. We'll need to figure out their capacity for magic, which we believe might be high as with other wise species, and how they respond to the elements. Already we're sensing a strong affiliation to Air, which isn't all that surprising for a species capable of flight. Though there is still some more to do, they should have no problem receiving our blessings, be it from completing a quest or opening a bottled Faerie."
NC Mall Scorchio (Representative and mascot of the NC Mall)
"I worried this day would come. The NC Mall welcomes all species and be assured that we've taken the Vandagyre's measurements so all new clothes from us and other Neopian clothing shops will be able to fit on a Vandagyre. However, the issue isn't with new clothes but rather with old clothes. All clothing is made with a bit of magic so that it conforms to the shape of the Neopet who wears it except for those clothes specially made for one species. It's easy to adjust this magic for new clothes, but for old clothes it's a bit more complicated. The magic is a universal effect so that once we adjust it all versions of that clothing would also adjust accordingly, thus we can't just release a new version. In addition if something went wrong while adjusting, say we accidently remove a capability with another species, it could cause some problems for Neopets wearing those clothes at that moment. We talked with our magic engineers who told us it's possible but they'd rather only do ones that would see a lot of use to make it worth the time. All I can say for now is that we'll consider all possibilities and choose the one we consider best for everyone. We want to make everyone happy, but we'd rather look ahead and make even more exciting clothes that everyone will be able to wear!"
Emperor of Shenkuu (Leader of Shenkuu, father of Princess Lunara and Terrana)
"While I never saw a Vandagyre before recently, I knew of beings who lived up on the nearby mountains which have been described to me as looking like a mix between a Pandaphant and a Whoot. Seeing the species now I have to say the description was spot on, even more so than the Oukin comparison I've heard about. But that's not why you are here; you're here to know how Shenkuu and the Vandagyre tribe interacted with each other over the years. Our interactions were kept to a minimum mainly on their request, never did we directly trade though some Shenkuu merchants or their contacts did trade with them. But that's possibly about to change, for recently representatives of their species came to me and requested to help expand trades with them. Wanting to form a new bond of trust with our closest neighbors, I agreed to ask the other worlds to hold a trade meeting, hopefully free of thief guilds this time."
Dr_Death (Co-runner of The Neopian Pound, runs the Abandon department)
"Oh wonderful, a new species. Something for owners to get super excited about and create one or two of before the initial excitement wears down and they toss them to me. But why wait for the excitement to die down? Already some owners have dumped a pile of Vandagyres into the Pound giving me all the classic excuses. "I thought of a better name", "I don't like the Colours it comes in", "It can't wear the clothes I want it to wear", or my personal favorite: "I just wanted to see how it was like". "How it was like", like they were trying on a pair of shoes! On second thought, maybe it was a good thing they aren't in the care of such selfish people and I can find them a good home with a caring owner. BAH! Now if you'll excuse me, the newest mouths to feed like nuts so I gotta go buy a few bags of those."
Ruki Representative (Member of the Ruki Interests Committee)
"G'day, reporter! I am a representative of the Ruki Interests Committee. If you have a Ruki, we're interested in its wellbeing! The decision to change the Ruki into a Limited Edition species was of our decision. You see, Ruki are native to the Lost Desert and even if a Ruki wasn't born there they may still feel a connection to it. Because of this, recent census have reported that a large number of newly created Rukis are feeling homesick for the Lost Desert, especially so after everyone was reminded of it during the exciting events of the Desert Diplomacy debacle. We found that those who really wanted a Ruki usually live in the Lost Desert or someplace similar to it, so we figured that by making the Ruki into a Limited Edition species that only those owners would create a new one. This should decrease the number of reports of new Rukis who feel homesick. As for those who still feel homesick, don't fret, the Lost Desert is only a transport away and after a month or so you should become more acclimated to your new home. A friendly reminder to all Rukis, if you ever have a problem or complaint relating to being treated unfairly because you are a Ruki, the Ruki Interests Committee is here to help you!"
A lot of characters and things have been affected by the appearance of the Vandagyre, but overall I'd say they're getting a positive reception. If you want to own a Vandagyre of your very own you can either head down to Create-A-Neopet and create one or use a Vandagyre Morphing Potion to change one of your Neopets into a Vandagyre (they come in the four basic Colours)! Who knows what the future has in stored for the Vandagyre or if and when we'll see another new species. But for now let the Vandagyre have their moment in the spotlight!