The Lost Desert Aisha of Good Luck & Fortune
"So..." a desert Lupe says, addressing the crowd of tourists as he walks around them, "you are hear to seek good luck & fortune from the mythical pyramid of Buthayna" he says with a smile. He stops in front of you and says, "I will advise you all now, this tour isn't for the faintest of heart."
He turns around and walks towards the entrance of the pyramid, blocked off by a large slab of concrete covered in hieroglyphics. He has thick, black fur and bright red eyes. He wears a gold and royal-blue striped headpiece, and carries a large staff in his left hand.
"If you are not afraid, my name is Anubis, and I will be your guide. Follow me." he says as he puts his hand on the concrete slab, the hieroglyphics turn from gold to red and it rolls to the left, revealing the dark, dusty entrance of the pyramid.
I look around at the other tourists, they seem slightly worried and scared, not knowing what dangers could lie inside the pyramid. I am scared too, but I don't let it show. I have been on a year-long expedition around Neopia, documenting my findings and research top historical landmarks from each land. My research will then be compiled and submitted into the Neopian Times, and hopefully I can become a famous writer one day.
I realize I was thinking too much, Anubis turned around and glared at me, and I realized everyone else was already inside the pyramid. I hastily walked inside the pyramid, and Anubis raises his hand out to shut the entrance behind me. We are standing in pitch black, I feel the thick, dusty air in my lungs. A small child screams, and Anubis releases a menacing laugh and flames appears on the other side of the room, two flames on each side of a large statue.
The status must be over twenty feet tall, it is a desert Aisha sitting in a throne. She holds two symbols in her hands, the ankh, believed to be the symbol of life by the Lost Desert citizens. The statue is a solid block of granite. The beautiful but mysteriously looking Aisha has shoulder-length thick hair, many layers of beautiful necklaces, bracelets around her forearms and wrists, and a snake around her shoulders. She has masculine features, such as strong arms and a strong demeanor. Next to her statue, two smaller statues, one of a black feline creature and one of a sheep, adorned in gold.
"Buthayna, also called Ayna in some villages, lived hundreds of years ago. She was one of the few prodigies of Coltzan not born into nobility. Like many others we recognize, she was blessed by him and granted magical powers before his ultimate demise. This pyramid was dedicated to her and her memory, but some believe her spirit still lives on here." Anubis says, just before the flames begin to flicker. He smiles and nods, acknowledging his old friends presence, and begins to walk into the next room.
I followed quickly behind Anubis, feeling the increased energy in the room. Of all the landmarks I've visited, I've never felt a spiritual connection like I did here. He walked into the next room and flames ignited everywhere, providing light so we could see the paintings on the wall.
There they were, like traditional Lost Desert artwork, the walls were used to illustrate the story of Buthayna and her achievements in her life.
"This first wall depicts Ayna's beginning, found as a baby Aisha by a group of Cobralls, slithering their way through the scorching desert sand to find water. They brought her to the palace, and King Coltzan granted them the ability to swim and survive underwater. Coltzan had Ayna brought up with his daughters, Amira and Vyssa." Anubis says.
"Is this why there is a Cobrall around her shoulders in the statue?" you ask.
Anubis red eyes turn to look at you. "Yes, the Cobralls are a symbol of her legacy. They became friends with the Lost Desert people, rather than mischievous, trickster creatures they were before."
He turns to the second panel. "Here, Ayna is shown receiving a blessing from Coltzan. She was transformed into a desert Aisha, and covered in gold and jewels normally reserved for royalty. The next wall, shows her using her new found powers to bless Lost Desert citizens with luck and fortune. They rejoiced, their crops grew three times faster, the water never dried up in the summer heat, and prosperity ensued. In this period, she was loyal to them. She loved helping them. She loved they way they celebrated her name. Until one day..."
The flames flickered around the room. Anubis walked into the next room, the flames lit up again illustrating the panels again.
"Until one day she was cheated." he said quietly. The flames dimmed.
"The first panel shows Lost Desert citizens stealing, cheating, and lying behind her back. One Kyrii bluffed in a game of cards, and costed a Kacheek farmer all of his land, when the farmer would have otherwise won and won his freedom from a curse. A Krawk, stealing from a Xweetok in the market, the Xweetok was selling the last bit of items she had to afford expensive medicine for her sister. And a Cybunny merchant lied to Ayna herself, asking for good luck for a Battle Faerie quest but actually using the luck to betray Coltzan, leading to his demise. Seeing these acts turned Ayna into a different person, the bad deeds of these individuals made her forget about the good and kind people in the Desert."
"So began her 7 year curses. Instead of giving good luck, fortune and prosperity, she discovered she could grant just the opposite. Those who crossed her received 7 years of bad lack. Not a day went by when something bad didn't happen to them, their crops died, their water dried up, they became village beggars. Soon, everyone knew better than to act out of line or cross Ayna."
"After many many years, a village baby Aisha came to the Lost Desert castle to beg Ayna for good luck. Her mother was diagnosed with a serious disease, her father lost her job, and her sister in jeopardy of having to drop out of school to support her family. Initially, Ayna was angered, she didn't want to grant good fortune to anyone anymore since she had been betrayed. But then, she saw the sorrow in the baby Aishas eyes and remembered that not everyone used her blessings for bad. Her heart softened, and she granted 7 years of good luck to the baby Aisha and her family."
"Ayna retained some of her anger, but also became more understanding. She was very careful upon whom she offered good luck to, and had a shrine built, where she could hear pleas of her people for her blessings. "
I was amazed, as were the other tourists with me. He continued to tell stories of her strength, kindness, and ever-changing mood. She could feel anger then happiness at the flip of the switch, and Lost Desert citizens knew her to be an Aisha who you wanted to catch at a good mood, especially when asking her to extend her powers to you.
The tour continued throughout the pyramid, each room with more paintings of her achievements and challenges. Each room full of gold, treasure and jewels. More and more statues depicting her beauty and strength lined the rooms.
Finally, Anubis took us to the last room. A small music box sat on a stand. It was said that anyone who was worthy of her blessing would hear the music box play.
Everyone took a turn in front of the music box, asking for luck and fortune in whatever they were trying to achieve. No music was played. Anubis claimed that her spirit was probably in a bad mood or that she was feeling sad, as it's almost the anniversary of Coltzan III's demise. The lights lowered and Anubis nodded his head.
"Well, time to go. That concludes our tour." he said as he put his hand to wall and the hieroglyphics turned red, and the door opened.
You look around once more, drawing a quick sketch of the music box. Everyone else was gone, and suddenly you hear music playing. You had asked for good fortune in completing your Neopian Time series, and you think you see a ghost figure on the other side of the room next to the music box. You look harder, and you see her standing by the music box, smiling at you.
And for the next 7 years, you feel her luck with you.