It had been a long trip home, and Dory was glad the journey was over. She sat on the patio in the warm winter sunshine, surrounded by affectionate wet doggy noses who prodded her arm, making her slop her fresh squeezed orange juice. The birds twittered and screeched in the lemon and olive trees. She closed her eyes and sighed with pleasure. Home!
The screeching turned into a long drawn out yowl, and it was a moment or two before Dory realized that monkey Charlie had rounded up a gang of his canine buddies for another cat mauling expedition down at the bottom of the garden. Dory leapt to her feet and ran down the cobbled path, shrieking at the dogs to stop. She rescued the limp and traumatized, but thankfully unhurt cat, and wondered again what she was reflecting to herself every time her dogs ganged up on one of her cats.
Shaking slightly, she sat down again in the patio chair, cradling the wide eyed cat, her fur standing in sticky peaks of dog saliva. Dory had stroked the fur smooth, and relaxed. Home! It was great to be home.
“Sand! I may have got the riddle, thought Sanso, but I didn’t get the POINT of the riddle being there in the first place!”
Becky had been flicking through the wads of typed pages as she lay on the sofa, sipping hot lemon and honey, and sneezing. The sneezing! Jeeze, the sneezing had been going on for days. What with all the sneezing and sleeping, she felt more blinked out than blinked in lately.
Sand, sand sand…… Hhmmm, Becky was wondering why the sand syncs were coming in again. She blew her nose, and picked up another wad of typewritten pages, opening at random.
“Illi was bored with the deserted island and the sand dragons. She wanted some action, some surprises, some…..well, some life!”
Wow, I’d forgotten all about Illi, thought Becky. She imagined the calm quiet beach, Illi’s island get-away. Well, before she’d conjured up the sand dragons it was quiet, anyway. Becky thumbed through the next pile of papers.
“Arona pulled out a well worn map from her bag. The map had been a gift from a traveling wizard who visited the village a few years ago. Arona had given him food and shelter and he repaid her kindness with the map.”
Well, I’ll bet that’s a clue, thought Becky drowsily, But I can’t be bothered to work it out now.
The trouble is, Becky muttered to herself, When I start this random reading thing I just can’t stop, it’s like an addiction. She sighed and opened again at random:
“The hydroplane was flying over the “Sarcastic Sea” in the Bermuda Triangle. Anita was not afraid, her parents had told her about the triangle and the different legends of people disappearing or reappearing there….”
The east wall just blurred and began to glow lightly of deep teal and emerald shades, blended in a beautiful and quite creative whirlpool.
Malvina just moved her attention on the encoding of her hair and shift slightly some hue to express a dark stary night, sparkling and full of mystery.
Her laugh rippled through the crystals of the cave, making their light iridescent and swinging.
— WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! A giant disco ball just for us.
— What the hell, began Leörmn but he was fascinated.
And that’s when a wavy Irtak entered the discave with his 2 dragons… they immediately changed shape and began to swirl around with Georges, and Irtak was wondering if he was dreaming or if it was another process in his discovery… he was feeling as if he was dancing as the man-Georges. His body just started moving following the movements of Georges and they were just one.
A dragon egg was hatching. A bluish light around the shell.
That egg was not in a rookery, it was in the Marshes of Doom.
A little girl was passing by and whistling. She was eight and quite unaware of what was happening. But she was drawn to that particular spot where she could see something shining. Her excitement was enhanced by the unheard humming of the baby dragon emerging. Her heart was full of joy and happyness.
She had that name in her mind Asiir and that song her mother was always singing to her when she was younger. At times she would sing it to her again, lost in her memories. And it was quite endearing a song, about another world blending with their own, that world, what was the name?
La Phrëal said a voice in her head. She was a bit startled and stopped singing. Nothing… just the joy and the excitement. She started to walk again in the tall grass.
She continued with her song and began to see the edges of the egg. Wow, she stopped in awe. It was beautiful, with many shades of blue and it was pulsing. Seeing it she was even more full of joy and of love. All fear she could have had before had vanished of her heart.
Lola, I’m choosing you
Hearing these words in her head, her heart exploded of joy, it was so intense the she burst out crying and laughing at the same time. The shell had cracked open and she could see the little creature emerging, so graceful, pink with golden shades. How will she explain that to her parents?
That Abe sure is ugly as a burnt boot and crazier than a run over coon, aint he, said Isadora, one of the saloon girls who Twilight didn’t cotton on to much. The other girls laughed.
Twilight was real fond of old Abe, and truth was she was feeling right tetchy and pernikity and itching for a fight, and she weren’t much in the mood for dancing that night.
And your brain cavity wouldn’t make a drinkin cup for a canary Isadora. So why don’t you just shut that big old stupid mouth of yours before everyone cottons on to the fact that you are studying to be a half-wit.
And you aint nothing but a stupid little buckle bunny, taunted Twilight. You got nothing better to do then follow those rodeo fellows around?
Snakes Alive! exclaimed Madame Butterbutt. Will you both hold yer tongues and stop yer bitching. And will you get a hurry on Twilight. Yer ain’t even dressed yet.
Isadora started crying. That Twilight started it, she snivelled.
Sooner i get rid of this damn one horse town the better, muttered Twilight under her breath. She touched the jewelled dagger lodged between her breasts. Those damn liquor breath cowboys better not mess with me tonight.
Old Abe, propping up the bar, chuckled
Sirielle looked through the crystalline window.
A humpback whale was passing by. Sirielle loved the song of the whales. Gorgean whales like this one were males, singing all during the rut to attract females miles away. Every season they would keep most of the same music, adding variations at times to the melody. This one was a sly one, Sirielle could tell. With its beautiful purulent budgeonic spots on its back, it was an old mighty male whale that she had seen already the past seasons, but its song had changed ever so slightly. It had probably plagiarized some of the most successful songs from other whales to become more attractive and that would make him a bit over the top.
At least, the females had a good parade for such insistent huge males, they could just put themselves upside down, close to the surface, so that the indelicate male could not have access to the holy of holies.
Sirielle felt so close to the whales.
Today, she had noticed the first changes on her body. She was growing gills, and soon would be able to breathe underwater. She was already a proficient swimmer, from a young age, as her hands and feet had grown swimfins. But the most interesting modification wouldn’t occur before a certain age.
When she had entered the room of Crystals, she had been a bit disappointed. She had expected some great ceremony with old wizened long-bearded robed priests to operate the crystals, but there had been only a young man not much older than herself, and a distracted middle-aged woman.
The Crystals had the ability to beam some specially focused light and provoke realignment of the patterns of the body. It was like the vibration carried by the light and enhanced by the crystal would be modifying the vibrational quality of her organism, and make it change itself quite naturally from the inside.
She couldn’t wait to go out in the oceanic depths and test her newly grown organs to swim with the huge cetacean.
some writing by Twilight
Jo fixed me up a swing. It hung from the old elm tree out the front. That’s my favourite place. I just sit there rocking and thinking, and thinking and rocking. Sometimes I would weave stories or sometimes I would dream about when I am real famous. I know I will miss Jo and Elroy, but then I cheer myself up thinking how, when I am rich, I will visit them and give them money and presents and how fine that will be.
Elroy and Jo don’t know about my stories or how I love to write. I ain’t much good. I didn’t get much schooling but Elroy helped me some and then I would try and teach myself the rest. The only book we have is a big old bible. That is written in real fine words. The part I like the best is a song that Solomon wrote. I don’t know how the tune went but the words are real nice. It is real romantic too. I dream one day some man will use words like that to me. Not like those drunken slobs round these parts. Anyway, that’s how I know I am not much good, because I can’t write nothing like Solomon. But I try anyway.
Yesterday I was sitting out on the swing rocking and thinking and young Dan from the ranch over the way turned up on his horse. He looked real hot and red and sweaty. Mostly though, he is real fine looking, and I confess I have a soft spot for him. So I leapt off the swing real quick and straightened myself up and bit my lips to make them all big and red. I wanted him to see I had developed some in the last little while.
Where’s your brothers, Twi? he said to me.
I felt he didn’t seem to be giving me the appreciation I hoped for, so I did a little flick of my head and gave him the look I had been practising. I had seen the other girls do this look to the men at the saloon, and it seemed to work a treat. I gestured at the same time, real slow and casual, and I said “Out the back, Dan.” in a honey voice.
He started to ride off, like he was in a hurry. But then he stopped. My heart did a little flutter. He said to me, “You know Twi, the boys at the ranch were talking about you. And it wasn’t the sort of talk should be said about a lady”.
When Dan said that, I felt he had kicked me in the guts. I wanted to gasp. But I am plenty used to putting up with things and not showing my true feelings, so I just looked at him real cold. Then I spat. I have been practising my spitting and I can do it real good now. Nearly as good as Jo.
“I am just telling you Twi” he said. I thought he would say more, but he seemed to reflect for a moment, then shook his head and off he went in a hurry to find the boys.
Elroy and Jo looked real bothered when I saw them later. I knew when to hold my tongue so I did not give them no smart talk, and I cooked up a real fine bean dish for their supper. It was real quiet over the table that night. Truth was, I still felt mighty bad over what Dan had said.
I confess I felt some cares and sadness on me that evening when I went to bed, and found I could not sleep. I got out my diary and thought I would do some writing.
I tried to write what my name, Twilight, means to me. My real name is Tina Willemine Ivy El Disperso. I always been called Twi. Then Hank at the saloon, he says one night, “I am calling you Twilight” and that sort of caught on. It made me feel special, having my own stage name.
I started writing. Lavender blue sky bleeding into the dark. I thought that sounded quite a good start to my writing, so feeling a bit encouraged I went on some more: Twilight is a magic time. It is the time I see things that aint there, but maybe they could be. My eyes play tricks on me in the half light and I feel like I could be anyone. I feel like I could be someone who I isn’t. Twilight is the time of promises. The promise and mystery of the night to come. It is inbetween time when you know the ordinary stuff could be magic.
I stopped. I weren’t never going to be able to write like Solomon. I knew that and I felt real bad. At least I could dance though, and that was going to make me famous. But that thought could not cheer me up this night and I confess I cried myself to sleep like a baby.
V’ass placed the box carefully on the pier as soon as he got off the boat, and pulled his false handlebar moustach off with a yelp. Next to come off was the bowler hat, and shake out her tumble of blonde curls. V’ass shrugged off the charcoal grey pinstripe suit jacket and unbuttoned the crisp white shirt. With a long sigh of relief, she started to unwrap the bandages that had squashed her ample bosom to her chest.
As the bandages fell in loops on the floor, they wrapped themselves around the box, and in an unfortunate twist of fate, when V’ass bent over to pick them up she inadvertently yanked the top of the box off.
Oh…MY…GOD! V’ass shrank backwards as hundreds of huge blue spiders spilled out of the box. She lost her footing, and fell backwards into the sea with a splash.
It had been real hard since Momma and Poppa weren’t around no more. Twilight was four when they got shot dead, and she could hardly remember their faces now. Sometimes she had memories come to mind, this real pretty woman, brushing her hair at night. One hundred strokes, she would say, make your hair real pretty. It made her feel sad because she wished it were true.
Her brother Jo, he was only ten when they got killed. He was the one found them. They’d been shot. Jo, he took it real hard. Sometimes he’d get this far away and sad look and Twilight knew he was remembering. She wanted to hug him, but he’d be all shut off.
Anyways it was real hard to keep the ranch going after that. Her brother Elroy, he was the oldest. He was fifteen when Momma and Poppa died. So he took on being the man of the house. Sometimes he would try and boss Jo and her round, and Twilight would give him a real hard time. She was just jesting though, she knew he was just doing his best to keep the El Disperso Ranch running and she was real proud of him.
It was real hard though. Winter had been hard. They all were fearing they might have to sell the blue bull just to keep the wolves from the door next winter. Elroy, he was right pig headed though about that bull. Jo would say to Elroy “we have to sell that bull, Elroy” and Elroy would get mad and say “no ways we selling that bull Jo”. One day they nearly came to blows over that bull.
It was the only time Twilight seen Elroy get real mad with Jo. They were real close those two. They were all close really. They had to keep together when Momma and Poppa died. Uncle Bart turned up at the news of their folks dying, wanted to take the ranch, but Elroy , well he got Poppa’s rifle and chased Uncle Bart away. Elroy said he would have shot Uncle Bart had he tried any harder to take the ranch. Twilight would look in his eyes when he told the story and she knew he weren’t jesting. A few others tried to interfere also. Somehow they all stayed together and kept the ranch.
Elroy won that blue bull. It was real rare and very fine and people would pay plenty for a bull like that bull. Elroy said he won it anyhow. He turned up with it one day, and he was real quiet. Twilight saw him whispering to Jo, and Jo looked real concerned. She thought it best not to ask too many questions and so she kept what she seen to herself. But she couldn’t help but be wondering.
Twilight wanted to help take the load off her brothers so she got herself a job dancing in the saloon in town. She liked to call it performing though. Sounded more high class. She watched the other dancers till she taught herself to do it. She would hide in the saloon and watch them. That was one good thing about not having a Momma and a Poppa. She could pretty well do what she wanted. She liked dancing and she knew she were real good at it and pretty soon she was the dancer everyone wanted to see. She’d rather have a Momma and Poppa though, truth be told.
One of the other girls, Anna, she was real pretty too, got jealous and tried to get Twilight kicked out, said she was too young to be dancing . Anyhow Anna had a soft spot for Jo and so he soon sweet talked her round. Jo and Elroy were real good looking boys, and plenty of girls liked them so Twilight was pretty lucky to have them look out for her. ( Elroy said she should wear a blond wig for her dancing, like a disguise, and Twilight thought this was real funny. But she wore it anyway.) Anna got pregnant, and she said Jo was the daddy, but everyone in town knew she slept with plenty of fellows, and Jo weren’t having a bar of it. Anna got real fat with the baby and had to stop dancing and now she lived with some old fellow who was always drunk and would eye up Twilight when she was dancing. Sometimes Twilight would tease Jo about the baby and call him “daddio” and he would get real mad with her. But could be his, that’s the truth. Poor little baby but she were glad Jo weren’t stuck with that Anna.
Twilight knew the men looked at her. She knew what they were thinking and she didn’t mind. She weren’t no fool though. She had plans. She was going to be somebody, not laid up with some damn sprog like that Anna. Some of the money she earned she’d give to Elroy, some of it she put in a tin can she kept hidden.
Last night some fellow from out of town came in. A sheriff. She heard the girls whispering and giggling about him. Sheriff Ted Marshall was his name. He was real fine looking and all the girls were in a flutter hoping he would look at them. Twilight wondered what he was doing in town. She hoped it were nothing to do with that bull of Elroys.
Dory’s stopover at Heathrow airport was longer than expected, due to the knock on effect of delays caused by the air traffic controllers strike in Paris. She bought coffee in a paper cup and went and sat in the cramped smoking room. A couple of middle aged overweight women were sitting opposite her, their chubby knees almost touching Dory’s in the unpleasant little nicotine yellow room.
Dory couldn’t help but listen to their conversation, and had to bite her lip on several occasions to prevent herself interjecting questions. Dory wanted to ask where this Tikfijikoo Island was. There was something about the sound of it that caught her attention, and she couldn’t quite put her finger on the strange feeling it gave her to hear the name.
The two women, who appeared to be named Shah and Glaw, were apparently on their way to an island to participate in some kind of experimental treatment, Dory gathered, organized by a Dr Bronklehampton. On hearing the name of the doctor, Dory had a series of images flit through her mind. One of them was of an impish looking redhead with an incredibly large head, doing the tango.
When the two plump ladies left the smoking room, Dory followed them. They bought magazines in the airport shop, and boiled sweets ‘in case their ears went’, and deliberated over sunscreen lotion, and then after some inaudible whispering, in which Dory heard only the words ‘treatment’ and ‘skin’, apparently decided against purchasing any of the skin care products.
Dory followed them into the public lavatories, and learned that ‘our Mavis’ would be joining them for the treatment, and listened to a great deal of rather unkind comments about ‘our Fred’ and his bullying ways. On the way out of the Ladies Room, the bleached blonde named Shah collided with a bag lady, at which point Dory saw a shower of bright blue sparks in her peripheral vision. The bag lady looked up and laughed at Shah and her friend and said ‘It matters not, my friend….HA! HA! HA!’, and winked at Dory as she shuffled past.
Dory followed the ladies to the baggage check-in desk. Yukailli Airlines. Dory had never heard of it; new airlines starting up all the time, she thought, and such silly names, like that Be My Baby one…what a daft name for an airline. Dory sauntered past, as she couldn’t really stand behind them without arousing suspicion. She was momentarily swallowed up in a swarm of Italians, there must have been two coachloads of them. By the time they’d passed her, Dory had made a decision. She would book a ticket to Tikfijikoo, hopefully on the same plane as Shah and Glaw.
That’s funny, she said out loud, It was right here!
She scanned the names above the row of desks….British Airways, Monarch, Air France, Qantas…..but no Yukailli Airlines. Dory asked at the Airport Information desk.
I’m sorry madam, there’s no airline of that name here, the young man behind the desk informed her, looking at her quizzically.
Dory opened and closed her mouth like a goldfish, and wondered for a moment if she had imagined it. Just then someone bumped into her shoulder, causing her to spin round. It was the bag lady she’d seen earlier in the Ladies room.
Leaving at Gate 57 and three quarters, the bag lady whispered, and winked conspiratorily.
Dory’s mouth fell open. She was about to say Oh now really, what is this, Harry Potter Airport? but something stopped her. Instead she asked, But what about tickets and baggage check? But the bag lady had gone.
She rummaged in her bag and pulled out her map to show him. Then her honestly got the better of her. No idea really, she confessed. How about you?
No idea either, said Vincentius.
Arona tried to look serious, then cracked up laughing and after a moment Vincentius joined in. Arona could not help but note what a lovely musical laugh he had. Definitely no snorting, and for a moment she thought fondly of dear wandering Sanso. I Wonder where he is now?
While they were busy laughing, they did not notice the woman arrive, but all of a sudden there she was, an old, bent, withered crone. An apparition of pure ugliness. Their laughter stopped abruptly.
Laughing my little lovelies were you, please don’t stop on my account said the crone. What a perfectly delightful sound. Music to my poor old ears. And she cackled gleefully.
oh Lordy, muttered Mandrake, his patience wearing thin with all the, what he considered, unwarranted and unnecessary joyfulness.
— The legend of Mævel — (Part VII)
Today was the Day of the Forgotten. Mævel had slept well, nestled into the soft and warm depth of her dreams, her head resting on the short blue fur of the fox.
In sharp contrast with the lovely night, she awoke strangely irritated. Even the birds songs were like noise to her ears, and every sound of the forest she heard with acute intensity and a sense of being submerged by many sensory inputs.
Hopefully, the blue fox voice was still very comforting, and she started to wonder how they could come across a Forgotten One in need.
— I think I know where we can find some Forgotten One in need.
— Where? asked Mævel
The fox paused, then answered her question:
— Near your human parents’ home.
Mævel was surprised. She trusted the fox, and never had really questioned him, because more than that she trusted her own feelings, but now her feelings were telling her that there was something the fox had not told her. Or had told her partially. She was silent, pondering the unseen implications.
— Mæ, I’ll try my best to answer your questions, but remember I cannot tell you everything. I can help you remember some things, but there are things that my curse does not allow me to reveal. You have to find them by your own, in order to free us…
— Free us? I thought you were the one Cursed?…
— Yes I am, and…
— How do you know my parent’s home? How much do you know about me?
— I know you since you are a baby actually. And even before…
— Before? I don’t understand a thing… I feel there are some unseen links, that I cannot decipher, yet they are so close to…
— You’re right, there are links, links that are important, and that I cannot reveal.
— Why can’t you reveal them?
— Let’s go to your human parent’s home…
— Why do you always say my human parents?
The fox blew in front of him, creating a wobbling sound into the air in the form of a ring large enough for them to go through it. And he hopped inside, disappearing in mid-air.
Mævel was perplexed, but did not hesitate. She hopped too into the watery ring in front of her and found herself falling into a void, to reemerge on a bed of dry leaves in front of her parent’s home. Blohmrik the blue fox was seated in front of her, observing a shadowy form at a distance in front of them.
— Is that the Forgotten One we will help?
— Why do you need me? You could help her, couldn’t you?
— She wouldn’t see me, Forgotten Ones are usually obsessed by a few people, those who they feel can remember them, and don’t usually see other people. Their perception is quite different than ours.
— Hang on a minute… Why do you think she will see me?
— We are linked.
It was more an affirmation than a question.
Mævel wondered who that shadowy figure was. When she focused on her, the form was getting more solid, and she could catch glimpses of how she looked like. And she was surprised. She was about her age, with long blond hair as hers.
Mævel’s voice was broken:
— My parents had told me I was about to die when I was a baby, then by a sort of miracle, I became healthy… Was that true?… I mean… Was that a gentle way of telling me that I had a twin who died or…
— No, Mæ. She is not you. She is not linked to you by blood. You can talk to her, she will listen to you.
So Mævel went to see the shadowy figure. She had stopped wandering and trying to find an opening around the house, for there were none for spirits: all openings were locked by stripes of red cloth hung onto the doors and windows.
Mævel felt the pain of the Forgotten One as she approached her.
— Who are you? she suddenly asked Mævel, raising her head at her approach.
— I am Mævel.
— Mævel… It means marvel of Maÿ… I was born in Maÿ…
— What are you doing here?
— This is my parents’ home.
— How is that possible?
— Twenty one year ago, I was taken away from them, given to Shaint Lejüs in place of a fairy princess. But Shaint Lejüs was no fool, he had sent his apprentice to spy on the fairy king.
— Yes, Blohmrik… But Blohmrik disobeyed the Elder God, and when he saw the exchange that was about to happen, he let it happen. He wanted to protect the fairy princess from his master. Because Shaint Lejüs wanted the princess as a bride. Ahahaha, how disappointed Lejüs was when he saw that I could not perform the most basic magic spells. I was good at nothing, so he let me go wandering into his Realm. He’d just thought the half-fairy princess had inherited no magic from her father.
— How do you know all that?
— I told her, the blue fox said. I was hoping to bring her relief. But she started to look for her parents, and Lejüs discovered the truth… Because she was not looking for a fairy king. She was heading here, year after year.
— That’s the reason of your curse, is it?
— Yes. She can’t see me because I was Forgotten too, in that form of a blue fox. But as Forgotten Ones don’t forget, I didn’t forget. I couldn’t tell her, because she couldn’t see me.
— So, I am that fairy princess you are talking about… that strange idea was starting to dawn on Mævel.
— Yes. When Lejüs discovered who you were, he wasn’t interested in you any longer, because he thought your magical potential had been irremediably damaged by all those years spent in human company.
— Who are you talking to? the shadowy figure asked, bemused.
— Blohmrik, he is here. But it’s untrue, Mævel said, there is magic in me.
— Yes there is, answered the blue fox, and you can undo what has been done with it.
Mævel remembered the useless key she had manifested when she had tried to go out of her human parents’ house. She had not even looked at it closely.
— You can manifest it again Mæ, said the fox. It is with you. You are its lock.
And no sooner had Mævel thought of the big rusted key, than it appeared in her hand again. But this time the rust on it was crackled, and it started to disintegrate, and a brilliant shiny metal started to show beneath it.
Scratching what was left of the rust, Mævel started to look at the beautiful key, it was shaped as a musical note, and it had some word written on it, in an ancient language she didn’t know how to read. But she knew the sound when she ran her finger on the surface of the word.
« Araoni »
That was her. She was remembering, and everything started to change.
The wedding of the God Blohmrik, son of Mirÿnda, Goddess of Mirth and of Bälias, God of the Sparkles with Araoni, daughter of the Fairy Queen Theÿa and the Fairy King Aldurion was pronounced on a bright day of Maÿ, in a beautiful orchard in the presence of Araoni’s human parents and sisters and brothers.
Even Lejüs had been invited, even though he would have preferred to be Forgotten…
And so my story ends… said Captain Bone to Tomkin.
— And was the shadow remembered by her true parents? had asked Tomkin.
— Oh, yes she was… Of course. She just didn’t want to steal the limelight from Mævel, you see. Her parents were happy of course to find back their true daughter.
— You didn’t tell me the name of the true daughter, did you?
— No, I didn’t, said Captain Bone with a wink.
Mmmm, Captain,… isn’t that legend a bit long-winded? Tomkin had asked to Captain Bone.
It had been six nights now that the Captain had told bits of that legend to Tomkin, and even if it was entertaining, Tomkin was more and more impatient to get back to meatier stuff, like galleons full of ancient magical treasures, corsairs from the Warring Kingdoms coasts, strange unknown races from far-off lands… that would be more mouth-watering than this endless legend…
Captain Bone had laughed.
— Aaaaah, Tomkin… of course you know I like to tell long stories, and make them longer each time I recall them, but you see, there is also a point in all of that adventure. Mævel’s story is also the story of all of us in a way. Of course, I could tell you how it ends, but in a way it never really ends. More important is for you to see it unfold and that you appreciate the unfolding. The ending is not important in a way. Each and every time this story is recalled, it is different, because it adapts to what is happening right now. Do you see?
— So what is the point of telling me that story? It was supposed to tell me something about this strange knotted object, but I don’t see any link.
— Ahahahaha, the point is precisely that Tomkin. I am telling you my story, but this object makes you hear your own story through my words.
Now, Tomkin Sharple was squatting on the sand near the bonfire lit by Badul’s crew, and he was recalling the words from the Captain. At that time, when he didn’t know a thing about that strange magical object, he had not understood a thing of what the Captain had said.
But now, it started to make sense, some sense at least. Each time the Captain had told him bits of the legend, Tomkin had been fidgeting the strange object, making the Captain smile. Perhaps the object’s magic was not only acting as a translation device…
There was something more about it. He was no longer sure that the Captain’s story had been what he was recalling. Perhaps it was completely different, and he had translated it…
Still, the object had apparently helped him understand what Badul and his men wanted, so it was translating truthfully. But what was a faithful translation?
Then, a flash came into Tomkin’s mind. The Captain had given the object to him. He’d said it was about connections. Being connected.
Till then, Tomkin had been the only one to touch it. He had not even revealed the source of his gift to Badul.
But in the Captain’s case, both of them had been touching it. In sharing that link, they had extended trust to each other, and somehow, they had been mirrors for each other. Perhaps that was what Captain Bone meant when he said that Tomkin was hearing his own story through the Captain’s words.
Tomkin laid down on the warm sand, looking at the clear starry night.
— The legend of Mævel — (Part VI)
Inside the warm burrow, Mævel found a bed of dry leaves and tender moss. She could see some light from the moon, coming through holes in the ground, which were bringing in some fresh air too. Cuddling comfortably into the makeshift bed, she started to sleep peacefully, waiting for her friend the blue fox to come back.
Half-asleep on the beach, Tomkin was wondering… What had happened the next morning… This was fuzzy in this memory, as if the events were moving and reorganising themselves. All that he remember was that Mævel had met the blue fox, but there were myriads of possible events, and all of them were possible, dancing now in front of him.
He could chose any of them… But, would that make the story the same?
Then he recalled that it was his own story… So why make it difficult then…
The voice of Captain Bone was resounding in his ear “You find value in hardships, and value is important to you and our kind. In these lands full of magic, we could just do anything, but somehow you’ll find that rare are the people who constantly use magic. Because when magic is used to make things happen instantaneously, it shifts everything around it to accommodate the changes asked by the summoner of the magic. And it can be overwhelming when too big are the differences between the too states, as we are accustomed to live within a continuity. That’s why I tell you to enjoy the ride of that legend.
Think of it… You could be Emperor of all Lands if you knew how to use magic for such a feat. But would you do that instantaneously? Slim chances. You wouldn’t know how to behave as an Emperor, and on top of that, you probably would find the new aspect of you who is an Emperor to be overwhelming to your present aspect of little Tomkin.”
— Oh, really? Mævel was saying
— Yes, I was a bit of a fool… the blue fox was telling her. But, the silver lining is that there is a way to counteract the curse. But I will need your help again, if you want.
— I want to help you.
— Fine. You know about Shaint Lejüs Festival?
— Mmm, yes, my parents told me about that. It’s the Day of the Forgotten, isn’t it?
— and of the Accursed Ones.
— That special day of the year, the Gates of Lejüs’ Realm are opened and Forgotten and Accursed Ones are given a chance to be Remembered or Graced.
— Every year? Why then aren’t all of them Remembered?
— Mostly because the Living Ones dread this day. They are the only ones to be able to free the Demanders, and they quickly felt haunted by the Demanders. So they did rituals to keep the Demanders away from them, as certainly your human parents did.
— Yes, I remember now…
— There is another reason actually. Forgotten Ones can only be Remembered when they recover their true name, and only a strong bond like love or some potent magic can force it out of Lejüs’ graps.
— And Accursed Ones?
— For them to be Graced, they need to do one pure act of altruism.
— A simple act?
— Don’t be fooled, it’s not as simple as it seems. See, I tried to rescue a woman who was drowning herself into the river, but that hunter thought I was attacking her… The fact was that she was willing to be Forgotten, and that my act was not purely altruistic.
— How so? You probably saved her life?
— Yes, but that was not what she wanted, and when she cried that I let go of her, I only wanted her out of the waters, because of me…
— I understand. And how can I help?
— One altruistic act for me would be to help a Forgotten One to be Remembered. That’s what they ask for, but it’s difficult for them to get past the barriers of the Living Ones.
— Shaint Lejüs Festival is tomorrow…
— Yes, have as much rest as you need, Mæ. We will see tomorrow what will occur…
On Mount Elok’ram, the old abbot Hrih Chokyam Lin’potshee was gardening.
Despite his old age, and his being at the head of the Monastery, Hrih Chokyam was always doing his hour of gardening with great application and talent, as was asked to everyone, from the youngest to the oldest monks studying here.
The Monastery was a place of healing and teaching, dedicated to Margilonia, the Elder Goddess thought to have created the Earths. As a matter of fact, gardening was the simplest —yet most effective— way to fully appreciate the grandness and the interconnectedness of the whole of creation.
Hrih Chokyam remembered when he was a little child in the vast fertile plateaus in the Eastern part of Dam Adbor, bordering the high mountains. He had always loved the mountains, better than the plains, or the towns where the wars and plots were fomented endlessly. So he was wandering many times in the mountains, to collect herbs and also just for the fun and exhilaration of climbing higher and higher, and seeing the world as a small thing that could be placed into his hands.
His parents had wanted him to become a farmer, but some wealthy neighbours had thought he was showing signs of being able to do much better, and even proposed to have him pursue a career in the administration of Dam Adbor’s capital.
Young Hrih had considered the proposition for some time, and one day, went deep into the mountains to make his decision.
There he’d got this powerful connection with an enveloping warm manifestation of Margilonia, who prompted him to go higher than anyone had ever been on the top of the mountains, were a natural point of great potential magical energy was. Here, she had conveyed to him, he would have a monastery built, a perfectly clear channel for this yet untaped magical energy.
Ninety nine years ago that was.
Hrih had been higher than any human had ever been, in the search of this point, knowing he would feel it resonate with him. The mountains, he had learned were not as empty as humans had thought, and there were many other kinds of sentient beings living here, far from the wars below.
Interestingly, assisted by these magical sentient creatures and Margilonia’s energies, building the structure had been easy. He had never thought harnessing magic would be that easy, perhaps just because the traveling magicians coming at times in the village to do some healing or just funfair exhibitions were making that very difficult, and requiring lots of training.
The truth was, magic was everywhere, only people had become blind to it, or just lazy to use it. But old Hrih, even if his eyes were not as sharp as they used to be, could see it clear as day. Magic was in everything. Especially in one’s own very existence.
That was the first of the things people coming to learn in the monastery had to understand. Deceptively simple, yet the most difficult lesson for many of them. He had to admit, he had struggled quite a bit with it too, during the endless wandering into the vast mountains. But there had always been a root to eat, or some fresh mushrooms or eggs apparently left here just for him… He laughed now, thinking of it.
Hrih’s life had been so fulfilling. He knew he was weak now, and would not see the springing season, and he was thinking he had to choose someone to take care of the monastery. Few people went to stay here, for as they had learned and applied what was to learn, their own passion was coming back to them, and they would not need to stay any longer.
But a few days ago, a young one had come, announced to old Hrih by a singing rosy finch.
As usual, all was provided when things were ready for it.
Hrih had no doubt that the hesitant young man would be the next one to hold the title of Lin’potshee, or “Precious Elder”.
— The legend of Mævel — (Part V)
Mævel, opening her eyes, found herself in the middle of the forest. It was still dark and the sky was covered with a dark blue haze. Now, she had to find her friend the fox…
How could she do that, in such a wide forest, she started to whine.
— Well, why not start by asking… hooted a rowl nearby.
Mævel was surprised. She had thought these hot pink speaking owls where found only in legends, not in woods nearby…
— You are in a legend, sweetie retorted the rowl.
— Oh… Surely the legend of someone else then. Who’s legend it is, I am in, dear rowl?
— Oh, you can call me Aromelle, sweetie. It’s your legend of course.
— No kidding? Phew, what a responsibility… I shouldn’t tell you that, but you seem like a rowl I can confide in, err… I’m no hero, I’m not even educated, and I pass winds like any impolite woman or polite green ogress would do… And having everyone know that would be kind of embarrassing… What a legend that would be…
— Then we’ll just say to the bards to skip that part… said wise Aromelle. Now, you wanted to ask something?
— Oh yes, I have to find the blue fox.
— And would you mind being a little more precise about that fox. I know thousands of blue foxes sweetie. Hoohoo, perhaps that’s an exaggeration, but I know quite a few, of others’ legends… You’re not the only legendary one coming into these woods to ask for advice.
— Oh, I’m sorry, blushed Mævel
— No need sweetie, snapped the rowl, in fact I know exactly who you are looking for… Wouldn’t that be Gulniforgf, the hunchback one-eyed cleft-lipped ogre cursed by Nærvel, the Goddess of the Waters? she said with an encouraging wink
— Oh, by Ghört’s sake, no!
— Hoohooo, no need to swear. Of course it isn’t, I knew that, sweetie. That must be Mifilthion, the toothless bald thousand-year-old troll cursed by Agnima, the Goddess of the Flames, you are looking for, hum? she said slyly
— Oh, no, no, no… Mine is Blohmrik, he said he was a god…
— Oh, but you know, everyone is a bit of god in a way, so that’s hardly…
— He said he was cursed by Lejüs
— SHOO–SHOOO, the rowl flapped her wings visibly distraught. That can’t be him! Poor thing… Aromelle added plaintively, you know in these matters of curses, you have to deal with the cursing one, and Shaint Lejüs is a tough one to deal with…
— Oh, for a moment I was afraid that you’d say Blohmrik was a deaf varicosed warty dwarf… I don’t fear that Lejüs, said bravely Mævel… perhaps a bit hastily, she thought to herself
— Oh, no, he’s a nice fine man, sweetie, you both would do such a perfect couple…
— And where do I find him then, Mævel was getting a bit impatient with the winking hooting hoot
— Well, that’s easy, you just happen to have appeared on top of his burrow.
What a waste of time, was thinking Mævel… She couldn’t wait for much longer, and after all, the burrow could be a nice place to rest.
With a quick thanks to Aromelle, she entered the tunnel in front of her.
— The legend of Mævel — (Part IV)
Mævel’s mind was made up, she was leaving tonight. She took a few of her belongings in a little bundle, and all very silently, moved to the door, the bundle in one hand, and the key in the other.
But when she tried to put the key into the lock, she noticed something was wrong. The key was way too big for the small lock. What was the purpose of materializing a big key unfit to the locks that were in front of us? she wondered.
Perhaps the key will have another use, she said to herself, and she put it into her bundle, and wondered whether she could find another way to get out of the bedroom.
« Use your magic,… you don’t need to play by the rules » a tiny voice whispered in her ear.
« What does that mean? » she asked, befuddled, as perhaps her parents where right after all, she was becoming nuts… Well, that might attract squirrels and have them gnaw a hole in that wall, she said giggling to herself.
« You don’t need draw squirrels,… you can draw a door directly »
What a strange idea, Mævel thought, drawing a door… It sounded so funny at the moment, that she could feel her heart lift and her spirits as well. What could she use to draw that door… Her gaze ran quickly through the bedroom, looking for a bit of chalk, or charcoal, or whatever else. What a terrible thing that she was so obsessed by dusting, as there wasn’t even a single dust bunny left to draw that door.
« Now, will you pay attention? »
« I beg your pardon? »
« What did I told you? »
« Mmmm, let me think… Oh! I don’t have to play by the rules… »
So, in a bout of genius, Mævel ran her finger on the wall, starting from the floor, straight upwards, then to the right, and straight down again, until… well, nothing happened.
« That wall hasn’t budged any! »
« Are you sure?… Look closer »
And Mævel saw that the wall had become like a shiny surface of water, right inside where she had drawn the limits of that imaginary door. And when she pressed her finger, it was simply going through it, as though the surface had just been an illusion.
With a thank for the helpful voice in her head, she was about to cross the surface, but was stopped in her track by a moment of hesitation. Could she change the destination behind the wall as well?
Why not, after all, she didn’t have to play by the rules.
« To the forest! » Mævel ordered intently to the wall before jumping in.
The voice smiled to her fondly.
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