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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 happened about one century after the last Elves were exiled from the Here World, the Nyidiath, toward the World in the Sky, the Dauriath.
At that time, the Humans remaining alone in the Nyidiath were confusedly realizing that they were missing something very important, now that they had chased the Elves away.
But most of them were lost into their stories of power and money, so that they continued their life without really bringing this feeling into decisions.
And the Elves were becoming something foreign, like a legend. Anyway Humans had few informations on them, as nobody ever went back from the dreadful Horiathon passage leading to the Dauriath. Some were even believing that the Elves were just all dead while attempting the crossing.
However things were still moving, even if in slow and unapparent ways.
As some Humans were aspiring to become Elves...
Yes, in this world, Humans can become Elves. For this, they just have to develop a good heart. And when they have enough good heart, the magic of the Elves catches them, and they become beautiful and immortal (or very long lived).
This had always happened. But the departure of the Elves seemed to accelerate this movement rather than stopping it. But it was now a difficult and somewhat tricky process, because of the absence of a genuine elven guidance. So Elves to be had to find their way alone, in a world where many humans were still afraid of the Elves.
So Elves in the becoming had to flee the general human society, and to live into secluded places. An added difficulty was that some humans were saying that they wanted to become Elves, but without having a good heart, rather thinking at cheating and exploiting the apprentice Elves.
One of the gathering places of the apprentice Elves was around the Anar Shantar Marjun, or the Golden Temple. This wonderful building left by the departing Elves was made of three domes and two minarets, rounded like Kremlins, stepping along a slope, and entirely plated with gold. It was in the magnificent forested scenery of the Blue Mountains.
This place was said to be where lived the very first Elves Shelenaë and MakTar, who invented the elven ways. Shelenaë also created farming, to stop the hunting of animals. They remained here for centuries of meditation, and when they died, or rather departed to the spiritual realms, they became the Gods of the Elves.
So it was a greatly revered sacred place, that even Humans respected. This probably explains that, when the Elves were exiled, the treaties said that the Blue Mountains would remain a reservation, to be left untouched... save by the Elves in the becoming, who could take refuge around the Anar Shantar Marjun and its marvellous setting of forests and mountains.
The apprentice Elves seldom went into the Marjun itself, which was now cold and empty. The reason was human soldiers guarding the treasures into the Marjun, to ward off robbers and all kinds of morons who may damage this wonder piece of elvish handicraft. Genuine elven artefacts were becoming rare, and they raised very high prices on the black market, so the guards were really needed, and news were added with time. But they were looking at the apprentice Elves with much contempt, allowing them with only one ceremony a month into the building.
So the apprentice Elves had to live at some distance, into the forest surrounding the Marjun. And they built wooden houses to gather, and small huts to dwell in.
It was a difficult epoch... The Elves were gone since a century, eye witnesses were all dead, and most of the elven lore and knowledge was now sadly slipping into oblivion. The human folks were busy and not concerned with nature or beauty. Some were even saying that the magic of the Elves was just a legend, a story they invented to frighten the children and break soldier's moral. Anyway it was no more visible.
This situation made that this gathering of candidate Elves was awkward, unordered, without any real elven leadership. Most of the people were seeking their way to elvenhood, without really knowing how to obtain it and what to do. Elders in the group were gathering some disciples, but among these leaders were some very ordinary crooks playing the Elves in order to lure unsuspecting newbies. Others were just seeking power over whom they though were just naive and weak people. And these crooks were skilled into having the best elven look, wearing nice gowns and jewels and telling nice stories, when sincere teachers were just wearing human beards and clothes. Oh yes, among the Elve apprentices were rich people, or nice young ladies, so the crooks were many...
So in the forest around the Marjun was a kind of community of people gathered into two or three villages with farming, and meditating and training to get a good heart, and wondering what was the correct way to love nature. Naive as they were, they did not realized that they already had a good heart, just some bad habits to quit... But their muddled minds were not knowing who to follow among all the speakers who indicated them different ways. So this little community was both thriving and striving. Newbies were often problematic, and the ancients had surly ways, telling the others what to do and not to do. But the sweetest speakers were the actual crooks, and many newbies were ripped off their money, and after sent back to the human world, disgusted and with nothing left.
But let us look now at some characters.
Jaime was an about 30 years old man, unmarried. He was average sized, good looking, with a somewhat serene face, and wearing a short beard with curly black hairs.
He had to flee quickly his country and his work, and was wandering while living with small jobs. This happened because of a dreadful revolt against the local corrupted and venal priests. It was quickly quenched and crushed in a bloodshed. Even if he was in no way involved, Jaime had a very narrow escape of the systematic search for «subversive persons» which followed the main repression.
But now some intellectuals and engineers were publishing a book telling that looking at the planets with a telescope was not showing the Gods, but just other spheres like the Dauriath and the Nyidiath. Facing the utter anger of the priests, many local governments censored this book, but it was too late: the word was spreading fast, especially among learned people, merchants, mighty forge masters and bankers. And now some were starting to say that worshipping the Gods was a waste of time, and it was much more useful to work for one's company, and earn money to buy real things. This time the priests had to keep silent, under the threat of losing large chunks of their financial support.
So a trouble was pervading the human world, between hope of a better material life and fear of a terrible change suppressing the moral values.
Jaime was feeling this trouble in his heart, fearing some dreadful future of wild egoism. But he was confident in what he practised, because he long ago noticed that a kind and moral behaviour much bettered his relations with others, if not his pay.
He was practising the elven God MakTar, and somewhat the elven goddess Shelenaë, that he used to call Mylena (pronounce Meeleynah) in his language. MakTar was a difficult practice, it requested discipline, courage, perseverance to achieve one's purposes, worldly or spiritual. It was said that MakTar was not for the faint hearted, it was a warrior's cult. Jaime was not a warrior, he was deep in his heart a peaceful and quiet person. But even in peace courage is needed, to pass over petty oppositions and hardship.
So Jaime was thoroughly putting all the principles of MakTar into practice, by assuming himself alone, taking care of his person, trying to help others and not wailing uselessly about his poor condition.
For now Jaime was just walking from place to place, working at times, when he heard of the Marjun community. The idea that he could himself become an Elf struck him like a revelation...
His life was suddenly having a nice purpose, sweeping all the uncertainties. He had to do that, whatever the cost!
At this epoch travels were quite slow, mostly by foot. It would take months to arrive here... Months were one had to eat and take care of oneself, into an egoistic world which had to cope with a terrible climate change, from the oceans pouring onto the Dauriath. Towns were forced to relocate, workshops were closed, and millions of farmers had to flee the cooling high lands. And all these people had to run and fight for a plot into the newly uncovered coastal lands. So, it was not uncommon to meet chariots of desperate and hungry migrants on the roads, as if a war was going on. And, as a matter of facts, it was often dangerous to deal with them.
So Jaime was walking steadily, approaching day after day of the country of the Marjun, while stopping here and there, in order to earn some money with working into farms and workshops. This way of taking care of himself without complaining was the way of a good MakTar practitioner. This made that people were recognizing him as such, even if he was not wearing any visible insignia. This made that everybody was entrusting him as an honourable person, safe of any stealing or cheating. This was an important advantage in a world where one had to be constantly wary of numerous thieves and crooks. Anyway Jaime would be definitively unable to behave dishonestly.
Jaime was not complaining of his slow progress. He even found interesting to meet all kinds of people and discovering their ways, with the Blue Mountains on the horizon.
But he was really relieved when he was lifted by a coach. It was a horse car led by a lady called Zetna. She also was about 30, but still looking somewhat childish and merry. She was slim, with long brown hairs. She wore a modest looking attire, do avoid attracting thieves, but under her worn cloak were some rich and coloured fabrics. In facts she was somewhat wealthy, with two servants and two horses. She was looking elvish, but this was somewhat common for ladies.
In contrast, Jaime had just his poor brown clothes made of cut and sewn bags. But he was clean, not missing any occasion to bath into rivers, and also to repair his clothes with new bags that he could save from work. A needle is not much of a burden, but so useful...
This way of solving one's difficulties with one's available resources was again the mark of true MakTar's self-reliance.
Zetna told him that she was also heading to the Marjun. So, Jaime escaped a long and tiresome travel. This was, after all, a better way to enjoy the landscape...
They soon became close friends. But there was a huge taboo on a relation between a rich lady and a poor unemployed worker. So they both became very shy about their awakening feeling. They accounted it on their shared interest for the elven world and culture...
But Zetna took Jaime as her servant, paying him wages. This stopped the sniggers of the other servants.
One day, Jaime defended the group alone against two small robbers, while the two other servants were running far away. As everybody knows, we always are much better defended by peaceful but courageous people than by cowards with plenty of hateful speech. From this frightening incident, Jaime and Zetna developed a strong link, and they became very confident into each other.
And, oh, by the way, she gave back their freedom to the two servants, who were anyway afraid of approaching the Marjun. With this, Jaime could sit besides her on the conductor bench.
Zetna used to worship the Goddess, that she called Alia in her country. But she was recently introduced into the cult of Shelenaë, the Elven Goddess. Shelenaë had a common repute of being much softer and fault tolerant than MakTar... but to really practice Her was in fact as much demanding: living into mindfulness, compassion, truth, loyalty, perseverance and kindness. It was the later requirement which led Zetna to put hospitality into action, with taking Jaime on her coach.
Shelenaë was also requesting a profound sense of honour, but different of MakTar's: to be faithful toward nature and toward life.
This means respecting and protecting every form of life: plants, animals and even landscapes, and also all the weak beings, like elders and children.
But not the least requirement of Shelenaë was for beauty and purity, with special care of body and clothing cleanliness.
Shelenaë was also revered among the Humans, as the Goddess of farming and wealth, and good friend with Alia on this purpose. But the elven mythology was adding that She invented farming with the special intent of stopping the hunting and slaughter of animals. For this motive, it was requested to Her worshippers not to eat meat, and Jaime discovered this compassion practice, easy to put into concrete behaviour. It was an exchange, as he told her not to drink beer, to avoid losing her mind. So they started to create a very strong spiritual bond, from this sharing of practices.
Days after days of slow journey, the silhouette of the Blue Mountains was steadily approaching.
Until one morning, they started to have the encouraging view of the Marjun temple shining in the rising sun, as a speck of hope and light.
But when they arrived near the Blue Mountains, they soon noticed that folks here were wary of the Elves, saying that dreadful things were happening into the mountain, people disappearing, etc. Jaime and Zetna imputed this to the usual defiance toward the Elves, and especially the fear the Elven magic was still inspiring to the country people.
They were also told that incredible things were happening in the mountain. Especially there were rumours that, since the Elves were gone, Shelenaë used to appear in person into the human world... After all, She was a Goddess, and not bound by the treaty.
After a long climbing path, they at last arrived at the community near the Marjun.
Zetna intended to only visit the place for some days, not knowing of the community. But she was enthralled to meet true Elves, with nice gowns and high speech, telling her of nature, beauty, flowers, making complex and nice rituals into the Marjun main temple (only once a month, but with such dedication...). So she decided to stay with Jaime, that she now considered her friend. Social statutes were becoming irrelevant when entering the world of the Elves!
In the beginning, all went very well for these two. They were spending their time with working into the small fields around the villages, building friendship with the other apprentice Elves, hearing at speeches and teachings on the elven lore and ways, wandering into the magnificient surrounding forests, learning to speak to plants and animals, and meditating for hours in their small huts about good heart and beauty. Without forgetting of course spending long evenings around a fire singing merrily and playing instruments...
It should be said that in this wonderful place, meditation was quite easy, and, into this marvellous forest setting, they all had a strong feeling of a very good energy and inspiration to do beautiful things. They could do only very little, from their poor situation, but they were doing it with a high dedication. Zetna discovered an immoderate taste for cultivating flowers, and Jaime into singing and carving wood.
He would love to sculpt music instruments, but he had no correct tools for this.
They all had a feeling of being already Elves, engaged onto the path of paradise, and expecting to be as soon as tomorrow taken to the Dauriath by some magical force. However nobody could tell how this actually happened, and the ancient leaders were keeping an aura of mystery about this. Jaime, as any logical person, was intrigued, but not enough yet to breach his confidence.
But things started to take a sour tingle when Jaime realized that Zetna was less and less speaking to him, rather spending time with another guy. This guy had taken an high flown elven name, but let us retain only his much more common human name, which was simply Frombert. And Frombert was one of the leaders of the community. He began to highly favour Zetna, making offerings to her, inviting her to honour places, saying she had much talent. And suddenly Zetna started to shun Jaime!
Zetna was soon recognized as a true Elve by Frombert, and by several others.
Useless to tell in details all the ugly schemes which followed... Frombert was just a petty crook and manipulator, who was playing the Elf only for his shady purposes. Unsuspecting Zetna was an easy prey, and interesting, as she was rich, and in more nice. The worse was for Jaime, who had to witness all the capture process, powerless, and very sad as he was already much loving her. But he was not better armed than her, to be able to defend her...
One evening in a community meeting, Jaime started to hear insinuations against him. This made him angry and he tried to denounce the ensnaring. Bad move, it just made things much worse: he was called a jealous and possessive petty Human... The whole community started to frown at him, including Zetna, so he just had to keep silent. Whatever he would say now would be used against him.
Everybody was now speaking angrily to Jaime, giving him all the tedious chores, finding him all kind of defects, saying he was not worthy of being an Elf. Some went as far as calling him a traitor or a spy...
Jaime did not yet suspected Frombert of being a crook, and in more he was now feeling deeply guilty and humiliated of the accusations against him, as if they were true. But he was still a MakTar practitioner, and he persevered into his honourable behaviour toward the others, so far as apologizing for his anger. This somewhat alleviated the scorning, but did not removed it. These people clearly needed somebody to hate.
In facts, Frombert, realizing the strength of Jaime's spiritual practice, soon avoided to attack him frontally. But he organized a vacuum around him, inciting everybody not to speak to him, not to involve him into any activities, and to make him feel out of place, not belonging to their group.
But the most painful for Jaime was to see Zetna changing, becoming mad for Frombert, and even no more looking at Jaime, just taking a disgusted look when she encountered him. Soon the crookery took shape: they invented a story of a project of establishing a secret elven mansion. Jaime understood that the irreparable was to come, when he heard that the only safe way to transfer her funds and property was through a marriage...
A wonderful ceremony into the Marjun was planned. Zetna had eyes only for her future husband, and she completely shunned Jaime.
This was too much for Jaime, who had not the heart to see his final humiliation. He rather discreetly left the community, soon one morning, his heart full of sorrow, thinking that he was too bad, and would never be an Elf. He himself burned some elven clothes and sculptures he had made and took back his bag clothes.
He went back into the human world, found a small job, just enough to rent a room in a village, and perform all the daily tasks necessary for surviving.
But all this was looking so sad to his heart, simply lighting a candle at evening, or peeling potatoes, all was looking so senseless, dark and ugly...
He thought this sadness was to pass, but not.
Even looking at the sky, flowers and nature was so painful with home sickness... After all the marvels and promise of paradise he had received, returning to the ordinary grey world was simply unbearable.
Once we have seen the light, the desire for it cannot be quenched.
He even though to put an end to his useless life. What saved him was again sticking at his MakTar practice, putting perseverance in action, and starting to realize that probably Foggier, the Temptator god, was putting him on a test. Better not to fool with the terrible Foggier, and the only safe way to deal with Him is to do precisely the contrary of what He commands.
Months passed, still bringing pain, sorrow and darkness, without hope.
One day Jaime's boss requested him for a travel to a harbour, to convey some iron craft he was doing.
The trip went well, and action somewhat alleviated Jaime's sadness.
In the town, he went into a place where all kind of poor people, workers and beggars were gathered, to eat and have a ball of straw to sleep. It was really a filthy place filled with awful bawls and dirty laughters.
He was eating some bad groat, when he noticed a beggar woman wearing rags, coming to sit in front of him. She was covering her face under a hood, as often do people with some deformity to hide. The weak light of the oil lamps was unable to dissipate the darkness veiling her features. But she was keeping looking at him...
He was intrigued...
And suddenly she removed her hood: She was Zetna!
Even among all these harsh people, they could just jump into the arms of each other, Zetna crying against him... They were so moving that all the hoboes and beggars around did not dared to laugh at them, realizing that something beautiful was going on. It was as if the sun suddenly appeared after months of darkness and cold!
Zetna, crying, explained how Frombert first told her wrong things about Jaime, in order to separate them. But just after the papers were made with the notary, Frombert started to violently criticize her, as he did with Jaime, until she revolted. This was the pretext for Frombert to call her a traitor to the Elven nation! He brought five henchmen, abused of her, and expelled her from her very own home! In full accordance with the law, now that the papers were made.
Jaime explained how he was made to lose his self-confidence with Frombert's slander, and how sad he felt to see her taken in the scheme.
At last they realized that they had both lost everything...
... save the most important: their elven soul, and their good heart!
Later in the night the eating room was closed, and men and women were sent to separate dormitories. They took profit of the turmoil to escape the inn, toward the nearby harbour, without even Jaime claiming his pay from his boss.
They had both made the same dream, and they knew exactly what to do.
Nobody noticed them when they slipped into the water of the harbour, swimming toward an ordinary looking ship anchored a bit further.
They told the passwords to the Elves aboard the ship, who were anyway warned of their coming. Once aboard, they were comforted, washed, healed, given food and clothes.
This was a secret elven ship, a part of the little elven embassy remaining into the Nyidiath for some purposes. These Elves had just short hairs and ordinary human clothes, and their ship was an old freighter with decayed paint and brown sails.
No rich fabrics, no rare jewels, no delicate music instruments could be found into the ship, even by human soldiers who used to thoroughly search into boats for smuggled goods. No songs, no tales, not even any elven word could be heard from outside.
Nobody could guess they were Elves... But they offered such an human warmth and moving friendliness that Jaime and Zetna were instantly relieved of any doubt and sorrow!
Without any question, as of something obvious, they were given the same raw planks cabin for the end of the night.
So the magic of the Elves was still operating, even if discreetly. The Elves in the Dauriath world were slowly but steadily regaining their damaged strength, and gaining in number. The Ancients, especially, had far away vision powers, so that they were perfectly aware of all what was happening into the Marjun community... and who was an Elf or not. Unfortunately, they could not act directly, so they had to guide out the sincere to safety, and left the crooks do the sorting.
Nobody noticed the disappearance of Jaime and Zetna from the human world.
They did not knew that they were already Elves, already having a good heart, just needing to show how sincere they were.
Two years later, they married officially and received the magic life of the Elves.
Soon after, they went into a black Horiathon crossing ship, making the terrifying trip to the Dauriath, the paradise of the Elves.
After, they started a life of happiness, light and love, into a fairy tale world of flowers, forests, painted houses and moving songs.
They were really astonished of all the work the Elves already did into the Dauriath, telling them that their carved and painted houses were as nice as the few ancient elven houses which still remained into the Nyidiath.
For some time, they were busy raising children, cultivating and building their new world. But later in their millennia long lives, they became prominent members of the Elven society into the Dauriath.
Centuries later, when the Horiathon will be open in both ways, they will be among the first Elves to come back to the Nyidiath world, to tell to all the Humans that they too have a good heart, just needing to remove the weeds of egocentricity, eagerness and hate.
But this is another story...
This elven tale was presented to the January 2009 bardic contest in the Elven lands of Second Life. It is a part of the larger plot of the Dauriath Elves. The theme was the Nine Virtues of our Elven community «Elf Circle».
But in the very first, it was an improvisation that I made at a bardic evening. I added the Nine Virtues for the contest, but it was easy to do so without appearing as an artificial addition: without the Nine Virtues, or any other set of strong moral/behaviour principles, this story would just not happen in this way, and the characters would be thrown away of each other under the wild force of unmastered emotions.
For me to be an Elf into virtual worlds is not a game. It is to live for a world of beauty and kindness, whatever universe or specie we are compelled to live in.
Here are the Nine Virtues, as explained in the «Elf Circle» charter:
Hospitality: Also known as courtesy, hospitality is to be generous, kind, and loyal to those who enter your house or with whom you have dealings.
Courage: Courage is a mental state which impels an individual to accomplish some endeavour, regardless of fear and/or danger.
Truth: An acknowledgement, acceptance and promotion of what is.
Loyalty: Loyalty is the unwavering commitment to the well being of those who are deemed worthy of such a commitment.
Honour: Honour is the expression of self esteem by an individual involving the keeping of promises, the performance of duties, and the respect of other people value and possessions.
Self Reliance: Self Reliance is the ability and desire to provide for ones self.
Hard work: Also known as Industriousness, Hard work is the willingness to provide for ones self, and ones family, by labour and effort.
Perseverance: Perseverance is the willingness to accomplish some goal or endeavour regardless of obstacles or failures.
Discipline: Discipline is the self motivation by an individual used to accomplish goals.
These Nine Virtues are inspirited from the Norse mythology, through various authors.
Scenario, graphics, sounds, colours, realization: Richard Trigaux.
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