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Come hear me live!
This text is a part of a larger plot. So it is better to read first «The Kiss of the Worlds», in order not to spoil it.
By Yichard Muni, elf bard
This story took place in the double elven world: the great world, the Nyidiath, was more and more becoming the human world, as they were in the process of chasing the Elves toward the small world, the Dauriath. This huge forced move is known as the Exodus. The two worlds were communicating through the Horiathon, a dreadful obscure place, and a one way passage from the world of the Humans to the world of the Elves. Prophecies say that when the Horiathon will be open in both way, then the Elves would return to the Human world, in order to bring here their beauty, kindness and wisdom.
This story happened in a remote place of the human world: a narrow valley with forested steep slopes, cut into a hilly plateau. People living here were wild and rough, dwelling in dirty huts and clothing with animal skins. It was a dark place, and these people had a hard life, hunting and eating nuts falling from the trees. There was no real village, just long huts scattered here and there, sheltering families. The dwellers were not very kind with each other, and they had no real morals, just following some mandatory clan rules: solidarity when needed for survival, the lynch law, or marrying only among themselves. They did not really had a religion, just fearing the forces of nature, and offering sacrifices to try to ward them off. The valley however had a road, and these people used to be thieves, at times. But they attacked only travellers who looked rich, and after they hide in the woods, as they knew that the Marshi's soldiers would try to catch them.
Above this valley was a forested plateau. But the valley people did not dared to go, because it was populated with Elves... These primitive people were saying that the magic of the Elves made this place dangerous. But the true reason was because the Elves are beautiful and kind people, living in clean houses, playing guitar and wearing long hairs... All kinds of things these idiot thieves hated!
So this valley did not looked like a very interesting place... these wild people were out of any feudal law, and there was no law anyway in this mountainous region. The Elves living above in the mountains did not cared about these rough people. Only the Marshi was sending soldiers to protect convoys of merchants and travellers. But poor people, such as pilgrims, had better to travel alone, as it was the only safe way for them.
(The Marshi is a title of nobility, similar to a duke, without suzerain. He is considered as appointed by the Gods, although not a saint himself. For this reason, the Marshi has a duty of illustrating a «divine» luxury life into his palace, while supporting the temples and the clergy. While the Marshi is independent, he is however submitted to some «honourable» rules on how to treat his people and render justice. Failure to comply entails the loss of recognition as a Marshi, allowing the neighbouring powers to depose him. However kings and lords loath to engage in a war for this motive alone. So the Marshi system degenerated into a nice looking personal power, while many tyrants call themselves Marshis without being recognized out of their land. It is said that the first Marshizaths were created by wise and kind Elves, to lead their people toward happiness, love and wisdom. But this custom was copied and it degenerated, so that today Marshis are often much more zealous into illustrating the divine life in their palace, than into allowing their people with the basic necessities. When centralized states appeared, most marshizaths were incorporated in them, of they became states themselves.)
The Elves living in the mountains above had real houses of large carved logs. But, contrarily to the general elven custom, these houses were not painted, just carved into the wooden carpentry. However, there were nice sorts of wood here, a warm brown one, and a deep purplish one, so that their houses were very beautiful, and the rich wooden tones really deserved not to be hidden by paint. Just these houses were much darker than usual for Elves, but this was well matching the mood of the dusky green forest. Clearings in the woods were rare, and Elves used to dance in the sun beams here, into celebrations of life and happiness.
These Elves were Wood Elves, with shiny jet black hairs and pale skins. They often clothed in purple or blue, with discreet embroideries, or green and brown outdoors. They were wild, and they considered themselves not bound to the general elven customs and councils. They claimed to be the direct descendants of Shelenaë and MakTar, the divine founders of the Elven magic, and they rendered a cult only to them. Contrarily to the mainstream Elves who often had large and magnificent temples, the Wood Elves had no visible temples, just gathering in nature or in living rooms. They called this «heart worshipping», saying that Shelenaë never asked for altars or temples.
Life was hard for them too, with scarce food and simple clothes. But they were Wood Elves, and happy anyway, living of what the forest had to offer, while playing flutes, tambourines and lutes.
A rising issue however was threatening this elven community: the climate change. This was happening because the ocean of the big world was pouring onto the small world, through the Horiathon. So its level was lowering. This made as if the altitude of places was increasing... hence the cooling. And the Elves were already at the higher altitude limit... which was lowering! So they needed to go lower on the slopes, to find some food: mushrooms, nuts, roots, and some fruits. But in doing so, they were coming in competition with the thieves, who were needing food too...
This was also happening in many other places of this world, bringing many local wars, and a gigantic clash was preparing for some time in the future, unless the Elves accepted the exile on the small world. But for now this was just brewing.
The powerful Marshi of the plain was more and more claiming sovereignty over the mountains. He did not cared at all with the Elves, but the people of the valley were a serious problem for him, as he wanted the roads safe, without thieves. He was also planning to have all these forests exploited, and this, the Elves did not liked.
But the Marshi was still far of having a real power on these vast expenses of rugged lands, where walking was slow and difficult. So, the idea he had, was to set a religious community into the valley. Not just ordinary monks, but, at random, several physicians, builders and cultivators. The Marshi first sent emissaries to the thieves, requesting them to leave the monastery at peace, so that in return the physicians would heal them for free of their numerous diseases.
Some years passed by, while the religious community cleared a plot of forest to cultivate, and set some buildings. Of course, they were not just healing, but also doing preaching... These monks were sincere humanitarian ans spiritual persons, and they wanted these harsh people to discover the promise of a beautiful paradise after death. And they did. But, as the Marshi wanted, they were also discovering cultivating and houses. But for this, they needed tools and iron... So they became depend... err, they started to have commercial exchanges with the artisans in the plain. And they stopped thief little by little, as it is not good commercial practice to assault the potential customer. This Marshi was a cunning guy, he won without fight, defending his power interests while the selfless monks were doing all the work for him!
So, little by little the valley was changing, cultivated plots and stone house were appearing. The road became safer, although the people of the valley still had an habit of bullying the travellers, especially the ones who looked rich. They would not attack them, but they were so annoying that travellers who did not knew their tricks were making them «offerings», to be left at peace. The marshi did as if he was not seeing them... for a time.
However, in the world at large, dreadful events were happening. Humans had discovered fire weapons, and they used them against the Elves, with devastating results. They were saying that bullets fly faster than magic. Elves were often living in places with forests and mines, and this is why Humans wanted to chase them. So they were inventing all kinds of racist pretexts to do so, or they invoked imaginary conspiracies.
So Elves were in a critical position, their lands dwindling from climate change, outnumbered by crowds of poor and ignorant colonists, reckless poachers and greedy miners. But the worse was that their magic was weakening, despite the efforts of their priests in this critical moment! Defence was becoming impossible, in front of terrible weapons and an ever increasing flux of enemies. So they had to accept negotiations, until an agreement was concluded: The Elves would be exiled onto the small world, the Dauriath. Probably the Ancient Elves, who signed the treaty and fought for very specific terms, had a precise idea about their future, and how the Elves would recover their strength in the shelter of their exile in the Dauriath world. But for all the ordinary Elves, this exile was a huge pain...
The endeavour of moving eighteen millions Elves would take tens of years. It was easy on the paper of the treaties, and much welcomed by many Elves under high threat. But for the Elves living peacefully into secluded places, far from the general turmoil, it came as a huge surprise, as when we are suddenly asked to do something completely absurd and impossible, at the cost of all what makes our life...
So, one day, the new Marshi sent a delegation to our forest Elves, asking them to move, from the authority of the treaty. Oh, he had no hate, but he wanted their forest. The Elves were not asked to move overnight, but years after years, tribes would leave, while the sound of axes would reach higher and higher into the mountains, to feed the iron furnaces lower in the valley.
In the meanwhile, the Elves took the habit to visit the religious community. This was possible, because in this world, there are not several religions, but many Gods. Everybody is free to worship the God he wants. And Elves have Shelenaë in common with the Humans. So, some relations took place between the Elves and the monastery, and even with the thieves, as they had some resources to manage in common. So the two communities had build some peaceful-looking bonds... although being still defiant of each other.
Of course, what had to happen happened: a rough guy of the valley, Fahrad, and a nice Elve of the plateau, Mithylia, fell in love... But is was an impossible love, as the Elves did not wanted to mingle with those rough, filthy and backward Humans... and these Humans were considering Elves as alien treacherous creatures! With long hairs...
So Fahrad and Mithylia had to meet secretly, into the woods... This was very unsafe however, as they could be spotted at any time, especially by their both people of seasoned forest observers. Not to speak of what would happen if she got pregnant, a thing they had to avoid at all cost.
This situation lasted for months, until winter came, making the paths too difficult. Snow would betray them anyway. So Fahrad used to go to the temple, to pray silently Shelenaë (the main elven goddess, also worshipped by Humans), but without imagining that she could REALLY help him!
However, in contact with the wondeful Elve, his manners changed. He became more peaceful, more patient with others, and interested in music, flowers and nature. But this immediately made that his comrades started to mock at him! Oh yes, they were rough people! And he had no defences against them...
His very own mother had some suspicion of what happened, and at once she started to gossip about Fahrad meeting an Elve, or was turning Elf. They all knew that sometimes, Human were ensnared to become Elves, and they considered this a great shame, the basic treachery from the Elves! In more, they considered Elves as wimps, or worse, so they were thinking that becoming an Elf was like losing one's virility!
But the Elves were far above on the plateau, so they had only Fahrad to mock at, and soon to hate, making his life difficult, saying all kinds of bad words, and following him in the woods to see who he was meeting. So he soon lose all freedom.
The Elves were also guessing something. They were much kinder with Mithylia, but not encouraging her. These wood Elves were a bit wild, and very wary of Humans. And, to be said, being somewhat apart from the mainstream elven culture, they did not very much believed those stories of Humans becoming Elves. So they were rather suggesting Mithylia to look at better loves into their own community... In a way, they somewhat succeeded, and Mithylia started to think that she had to abandon her love to Fahrad... But can we really abandon love?
Things lasted until spring... Despite paths becoming easy again, none dared to go meet the other... while much desiring this!
But one late spring day, representatives of the Elven embassy arrived in the valley: several Elfs and Elves with nice clean coloured clothes, a great painted carriage, and good horses to draw it. This was just the average way of life of the Elves in the world at large, but in this poor valley, it appeared very brilliant and glorious!
They installed in the monastery. At first the villagers were very defiant, feeling their thieves instincts resurfacing. But the Elf embassy sternly told them that they were sent by the Marshi, under his protection. Anyway, the elegant swords at their sides were somewhat dissuasive. When we have a sword stuck through the belly, that it was wielded by a hairy wimp does not really alleviate things... So the thieves did not dared to attack them (they were fierce cowards, after all), but they kept standing, staring, whispering together unpleasant things and sniggering stupidly.
Two days after, the Elf Embassy wanted to hire a guide, in order to visit the mountains, for a kind of census of the local Elves, needed for managing their exile. There were so many paths going upward into the hills, but the good one was concealed...
At first, the villagers all refused, saying that they never go into the mountains. But suddenly they replied, laughing: «Ask Fahrad!! He knows well the path!» And they all went fetching Fahrad, laughing and bawling so much that he thought they wanted to beat him!
So this is how the Elf embassy met Fahrad. They offered him some money for the job. Fahrad was astounded: he never touched money himself before! He could just stare at the shiny silver cowries. He accepted, but it was not for this strange money thing: he had a pretext to meet Mithylia!
The next day the party left for the mountains, and started visiting elven villages.
The first was Mithylia's village, so that Fahrad could see her... They did not dared to speak to each other in front of everybody, but they were both very troubled and unable to concentrate on other things. As the embassy was doing the trip to other elven villages in the mountains, Fahrad was invited to stay for some days in Mithylia's village. He had no real exchange, by lack of a common language, but he was not shunned, and treated politely. He however well noted that the Elves were keeping Mithylia away for him... So his stay in the elven village was a mixture of frustration, boredom, and excitement of discovering an entirely new way of life. He was baffled by the strangely carved walls, all in curved shapes figuring fabric folds, strange grinning faun faces, and unearthy foliages... A strange perfume was pervading the place, seeming to emanate from the elven bodies themselves, and this made Fahrad very shy.
The second day, shameful of his own dirty smell, he asked for a bath. He was politely offered one, with warm water and all, but he never dared to say that this was his very first bath in all his life! Being clean was a very strange feeling to him, and he hoped that this would lessen the distance with the Elves. Well, it somewhat made them more friendly, but without hope of arranging his situation with Mithylia! (He learned later that the Elves were joking that it was the very first bath for the entire thieves people!)
The morning after the embassy party returned, a sudden hustle took Mithylia's village. Of course Fahrad did not knew the elven language, but he soon realized what was going on: all the Elves were packing their belongings! They were the first to leave! They would be gone before the evening! On the way to the Exodus!
Fahrad felt a hearbeat missing... He was unable to dare to speak to Mithylia, and he thought that anyway his cause was lost! Just at times he could catch her eyes... She avoided him too, but he could see her trembling lips... Soon she would be away, forever out of reach! Even if they had made no project, he felt his life stranded in this valley...
The Elves were sad to leave their woods, and they slowly and reluctantly departed. Fahrad was just a mute and powerless witness of their sorrow, trying not to be overcome by his own...
The group engaged on the path down to the valley, the embassy first, then Fahrad, and after the Elven village, about eighty Elves, and Mithylia near the end. So he was mostly unable to see her.
Seeing several Elfs bare chest for the effort of wearing luggage, Fahrad realized that they were skinny... So they did not had much choice either, than to leave these poor lands. Hunger and climate change pushed them just as well as war and rifles.
About midday, they reached the human village, near the monastery. The Humans all showed up, but at some distance. They did not dared to openly express their joy of seeing the Elves leaving, but they did not missed any occasion for an angry or mocking look. Farhad was thanked, and he received his pay. But he was feeling so miserable and useless, no more allowed with the Elves, and afraid of joining his own people. So he was keeping wandering around between the two groups...
Soon all the Elves were ready to set off. The carriage was loaded with luggage, food, and the weaker ones. The other Elves arranged in a file, ready to walk. And Fahrad was hopelessly trying to catch Mithylia's eyes...
At this moment, the Humans started laughing openly, making mock goodbye signs and boos, clearly telling that they were happy to see them gone, and for once, not looking at Fahrad. Thieves they still were in their hearts...
Powerless, Fahrad looked the Elves walking away... A last time he saw Mithylia having a sad glance toward him... until they disappeared in the turn of the road.
A great loneliness fell on his heart...
It was as if the sun was switched off, as if there suddenly was no more future...
But just at this time, Fahrad heard his mother yelling at him: «Fahrad! Indignant son! Where are you? Come receive your punishment!». An angry mob noise acknowledged her: he was a much easier prey to bully, than the frightening Elves! Especially since the sword bearers were gone... Worse, they could apply the lynch law to him, and torture him and even kill him!
However, it was not fear which overcame Fahrad's heart, but anger, to see his mother treating him like a small child, when he was a grown up man, able of being loved by an Elve...
So he suddenly plunged into the woods behind the monastery, before the others managed to spot him!
For several long minutes, he ran for his life, he ran for his love!
He dashed through the green barley fields, waded into the brook, crushed the ferns... The road was forming curves, so that he had a shorter way to catch up the convoy. In his haste, he fell from the embankment onto the road, just in front of the first Elves!
He suddenly felt so awkward, panting, sweating, dishevelled, his brownish shirt torn, blood on his scorched hand... His behaviour was just too obvious, and in more Mithylia had a short scream, betraying their feeling!
All this was just too visible... The Elves halted, staring at Fahrad with wide open eyes... He wondered what they would do... kill him with the swords at their belts... use magic against him... beat him... or just laugh at him, and after left him alone with his immense shame!
He heard a laughter... and several. All the Elves started to laugh softly... Fahrad turned red with embarrassment... How he could imagine to ever love an Elve? All this was just plain ridiculous, he thought. He would return to his village, and hear the mocking of his mates... for all his life.
He managed to stand up again, starting an hesitating step toward his village, mumbling some apologies...
But suddenly he realized that an elven lady was blocking his way. He did not noticed her before, although she was quite noticeable, with a large robe of delicate fabric, totally unfit for a long walk, shiny and absolutely clean, with a quantity of frills and ribbons floating among large fuzzy locks of wonderful beige hairs, around a perfectly oval face with a wonderful smile and emerald eyes....
She walked toward him... in a strange way, like floating in silence...
She took his injured hand in her hand, and instantly the pain stopped, as when we switch off a light! He realized that it was true, Elves were magicians, but using magic for the good, not for harming people! Fahrad was just able to stare at his dirty hand, amazed. There still was dust and blood, but no more wound!
He became aware of the wonderful perfume of the lady, her extremely kind look, although stern in some way.
He realized that the other Elves were no more laughing, they were too amazed, silently staring at the strange apparition... There was a powerful vibration of marvel in the air, and even the trees and flowers around seemed to lean silently toward them!
She said something in elven language, that of course Fahrad did not understood. But he saw Mithylia starting to walk hesitantly toward her... among the astonished murmurs of the other Elves.
The lady took Mithylia's hand, spoke to her, and asked her to translate for Fahrad... So, with a trembling voice and tears in her eyes, she started to utter:
«Love ignores races...
«Anyway Elves and Humans are not separated races.
«Elves are humans who developed a good heart, and become kind to others,
«seeking happiness into nature, beauty and music, and sharing this together, so that it makes sense.
«And when an Human becomes really rooted into the Elven Path,
«he receives the magical life of the Elves, from the elven goddess Shelenaë.
«You are free to love each other if it is what you want to do.
«Nobody can remove you this right, not the powerful Marshis, even not the mighty Elder Elves.
«Just be aware, Fahrad, that if you accept her love, this will be your commitment to the Elven Path.
«In following it unwavering, Fahrad, you will become a plain Elf like us.
«Please feel totally welcome into the elven world.»
The lady stopped, just smiling at Mithylia and Fahrad, now facing each other... In a motherly tender gesture, she arranged Fahrad's hair with her hand, giving him a much better look... He shivered to this delightful contact.
Mithylia awkwardly approached her hand... Fahrad slowly seized it... soon they were standing, hand in hand... And they kissed shyly, just touching their lips together. Some hesitating cheers came from the other Elves.
Then the lady said, in Fahrad's language: «we don't have a formal marriage. We just respect our hearts, instead. This has much more value than any contract.»
And then, laughing: «Do you have any luggage, Fahrad?»
He muttered about his clothes, his hoe, some pots... and then suddenly he realized how futile it was... No, he had no luggage!
Instead of replying, he attracted Mithylia into his arms... just to see, gasping with astonishment, the elven lady disappearing, dissipating in thin air, like a wisp of haze into the sun!
The strange silence was dispelled, and they could hear again birds, crickets, soft wind in the leaves, soil crunching under their feet, and the brook singing besides...
She REALLY was Shelenaë the Goddess! Her who seldom attended the strategic High Elven Councils, was appearing in a muddy path of a forgotten countryside, to repair a broken love!
Even the other Elves were looking with amazement!
There were little comments, just some smiles... and some discreet apologies. As of any kind and straight people who are found in fault, these Elves were feeling deeply guilty of having shun Fahrad. They probably felt more shame than him, from the gentle but true reminder of their Goddess... «welcome among the Elves» «Welcome to our tribe» some managed to say, with one hand over Fahrad's shoulder.
Some minutes later, they all set off again toward their new life, Fahrad and Mithylia hand in hand, and the others singing a love song.
Just at this moment, they heard the thieves shouting behind them. Fahrad had a look back, and he saw them staring at him, in the distance, and his mother shouting something indistinct.
He had the idea of making some victory sign, but how can we be angry, or even only proud, when we just saw the wonderful Elven Goddess?
So Fahrad just made a farewell sign, and he forgot them. He had a much happier life to start, into the Dauriath, after the dangerous and tiresome journey of the exile.
Be reassured, later the thieve people became instructed by the priests, and learned into kinder ways... well, their children, at least. But generations pass...
In the meanwhile, in the wonderful elven land of the Dauriath, in a little love nest he shared with Mithylia, Fahrad, completely transformed into a beautiful and kind Elf, built a small altar especially with the purpose of praying for his former mates.
This story was first improvised in my bardic circle that I was holding in the Elf Circle lands in Second Life. Attendance offered me the seed words: «thieves», «Wintersonnenwende», «winter slice», «When the sun come back», «Elvendreamland», «feuding cheiftains». I later put it under literary form.
Later, in my first performance into the first general official events into Inworldz, I did this introduction for the non-Elf:
I use to do this bardic time into elven places. However, today is a bit different, so I need to explain what are Elves, and why we are in Inworldz.
The origin of the word «Elf» is into the Edda, the book of the Norse and Viking mythology. Elves appear as lesser gods, very beautiful, very wise, and enjoying magical powers. They live into their own world, Alfheim, where there are entrusted into loving and protecting nature. In a way, we can consider Norse Elves as akin to Nymphs, angels, Malaika, devas, dakinis... But in the late European Middle Age, the idea degenerated, as far as seeing Elves as ugly or evil creatures. Modern roleplayers or movies often diabolise Elves too, even if there is no ground for this.
Tolkien's «Lords of the Rings», and later the movies, gave again a great impetus to the idea of beautiful, kind and nature-loving creatures. This is because we all more or less long to be such nice creatures. However we need to train into some serious and proven spiritual path, if we want to transform a nice ideal into an actual nice behaviour. So I am here in the virtual realms to help people open their heart to the Elven ideal, through my stories or other activities.
A last word, is that male Elves are often confused with female Elves, because of the long hairs, slender bodies and lack of face hair. So I prefer to tell that I am a male... Sorry for some if it is already too late!
Scenario, graphics, sounds, colours, realization: Richard Trigaux.
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