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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 four centuries after the exiles of the Elves from the Nyidiath world, the Human planet. Since the Elves were gone, mainstream Humans were not much bothering about them. Elves were revered, but in the way dead artists are: the rare remaining elvish artifacts were in museums, or reaching very high prices in luxury auctions... but nothing elvish was visible in the new heartless modern buildings and ugly large working class townships. All was in square and in grey standardized concrete blocks. Even the old religious building symbols were carefully avoided, and you could find nowhere something like a roof with two slopes, ancient reminder of the cult of the UNIQUE. There still were some elven land reservations, such as the Anar Shantar Marjun, the Golden Temple in the first elven lands. There were still humans wanting to become Elves, and gathering in communities. But they were despised and shunned like the Hippies were on Earth.
In these times, the Human world was undergoing considerable changes and turmoil, with the Industrial Revolution, the abandonment of the old religions, the new claims for freedom, science, the absolute power of the banks, and the rise of egocentric values. Of course all this was accompanied with revolts and often violent rejection of ancient powers, lore or music styles. All this was raising and ambiguous mix of hope and concerns, from both new achievements and destruction of the ancient ones. Every children were now going at school and learning to read, and this was said to be a great step toward freedom. But the only newspapers or books they had to read were unanimously fostering «modern» egocentric materialistic values, and despising the other ones, so that their freedom was stolen before they even knew what it is for! Most people were hoping for a better world, better governments, and better life... But the new powers on the rise were after all showing much more dangerous and uncontrollable than the ancient ones.
It is in this situation that we find an ancient mansion in a park, with many trees. This bucolic garden, where once only birds could be heard, was becoming one of the last preserved places in the grey suburbs of a growing town. Cheap workers houses were being built all around, and the urban hustle, smell and noise was surreptitiously but definitively replacing the soothing calm of nature.
The owner of this last oasis of peace was called an old barmy lady by the mayor, because she did not wanted to sell her ancient property to the town. She had a son, Marly, that she educated in the ancient lore and values. But they were feeling quite alone now...
Happily there was close by a kind of culture club where some young musicians and poets used to meet, for playing theatre, dance or music. (already they were saying «culture» instead of «art», thus definitively endorsing the abandonment of any true search for beauty).
This is where Marly met a young lady of the district, named Shelene. But they were keeping to a superficial relation, because of his traditional family, while she was the daughter of factory workers. Oh, I know, this is just an old hackneyed theme, for us on Earth... but for them it was so new, that they ignored all the pitfalls...
However Shelene and Marly had some activities together, with other youngsters of the club. They all wanted to play theatre, and, after some discussions, they choose to play Elves and ancient times. They had no documents, and few was known about this epoch... if not grossly distorted by ulterior story writers. For instance a common set of popular novels was showing Elves as evil merciless creatures always dressed in black, making cruel smiles, and using illusionist tricks to make believe that they had magical powers!
Marly brought his musician talents, and he insisted to add a serenade to the plot. Of course, he was not playing Beethoven or Mozart, but musicians of this world. To give an idea, in this time, Mozart would be considered reactionary, while Beethoven would be revered by youngsters and considered modern... while waiting the inception of modern electronic music, yet to come. There were also many cheap and tasteless songs for lower class people, that they played on kind of guitars or accordions into popular parties.
The theatre play was a common theme in this time, the story of a man of ancient lore and knowledge, loving a modern lady with short hairs. Of course the lady was in balance between him and an cute young enterprising modern factory owner... When the ancient man committed suicide, she was very sad, but the modern man came and quickly comforted her, with his modern way of life, which is so appealing when we have a lot of money, and no need to work 56 hours a week, making our skin rough with washing and cold water!
Of course there was a background story of a revolt against ancient religious taboos, in favour of modern materialism and egocentricity... The ideological bias was just too obvious! But it was so deep in the spirit of these times, that nobody was perceiving it...
The band choose Marly to play the ancient man, and Shelene the modern lady, so that they were both in play and for real! As everybody well noticed that there was something between these two...
So, when they started rehearsing, Marly suddenly felt his cheeks turning red, when he was saying «I love you» to Shelene, as his character! However loving her for real was just looking impossible, and they both keep each other distant and cold, thus reinforcing their feeling of a forbidden love, not even worth mentioning it.
The play was taking a good shape, with the full rehearsals. They were sponsored by the town, and the mayor himself came to encourage the last rehearsals, preparing the great opening to come soon...
Just some days before the Grand opening, the story became an acute reality! A life or death stake!
The town council had decided to expropriate Marly's mother's domain, to build a place for butchery and slaughtering animals! So they made official this shameful custom which was surreptitiously spreading among the lowest classes, definitively breaking the ancient religious taboos on eating meat, and fostering the egoistic pleasure at the expense of life of defenceless beings!
So the fictional conflict became suddenly an acute reality. When Marly learned the new, he could not avoid crying madly...
The new tore apart the theatre group, between a majority supporting of the project, against only a few opponents.
The mayor, who sponsored the theatre, came, wriggling his hands and saying he was sorry, but he was obliged and blah blah blah... Poor mayor had much more commanding interests urging him, than a little theatre or young suburban workers... He realized, too late, that the time was really not convenient to announce the new, but he had little choice, as investors were pressing him relentlessly. He was claiming to be a democrat, but he just had to comply to the real power in a money economy.
Marly's mother was furious, as only can be old ladies with just a short life span left, and thus having nothing to lose. She forbade Marly to play the theatre, just three days before the opening. Anyway he had no more the heart to play it! And this was a huge setback for the group, cancelling months of efforts...
Poor mayor, who was finding himself with an empty pre-paid theatre room, and all the posters visible everywhere, now advertising his spineless policy... Oh, don't worry for him, he could soon make some political tomfoolery to regain an appearance of honesty, and win the next elections with the votes of his submissive victims.
Everybody expected to see Shelene take side with the mayor, but she was really sorry to see Marly and her mother so sad, and the nice tree covered domain destroyed... She was feeling really bad, and torn apart between two worlds, just as her theatre character was... But she also realized that, at the opposite of her fictional character, she really had no desire at all to see Marly committing suicide, and still much less to spend all her life working 56 hours a week, until she dies... as, in the reality, there was no rich beautiful young entrepreneurs interested into poor girls like her, with her short hairs (for safety in the factory), serge blouse and once nice fingers already deformed with harsh work.
She went to speak to Marly's mother, in order to try to change her mind, and allow again Marly to play. But things went very differently of what she expected. Marly's mother was no longer angry, and she received Shelene very well, with many cares, offering her tea and all.
Shelene expected a tough discussion on the ancient versus modern style, and she readied herself with many ideological arguments of the Party. But Marly's mother spoke of innocent things, just showing care and kindness, using no arguments, and not replying to arguments. Instead she made her visit the flower garden, played harp, smiled at birds and many «insignificant» details. Shelene tried to bring the discussion on modernism, to justify the destruction, but she just found herself awkward and out of place to do so. At last, when she went, she was troubled, and no more sure of anything.
The theatre could not take place, with the main actor missing, and others disagreeing on such an important motive, challenging their very lives.
Marly and his mother kept living in their domain, with the clock ticking, waiting for the moment they would be expelled. There was no way to avoid the destruction, even courts ruled out their demands, in the name of «public interest».
Shelene was keeping visiting them... attracted for some reason she could not guess. And little by little she understood, without daring to tell. Marly's mother probably guessed her, and she kept inviting her. Because Shelene was not arrogant, to the contrary of many defenders of modernism.
Shelene tried to discuss the modern arguments, but nothing changed. She realized later that she was just happy to visit them... very happy... a pure and moving happiness, that she could find only here...
How could she find any kind of happiness anywhere else? In the factory, with the foreman always scolding her while eyeing her breasts? In her family, with her parents always frowning at her and disputing noisily? With the dead serious party members, always speaking of work and contracts? With her buddies, only squawking about fashion clothes they would never have? The stake was as simple as this...
One month before the date of the expulsion, by a nice sunny day, Marly's mother showed her Mer altar to Shelene.
This may sound like a huge blunder, as Shelene's parents were some equivalents of Marxists in this world, and of course totally opposed to any form of spirituality. So Shelene may not understand... But the experienced old lady knew very well what she was doing.
Shelene first felt bad to see this, remembering stories of cults and ancient priests exploiting people... her parents would punish her if they knew. But again she found herself unable to argue, just visiting the place, and, as she realized later, wishing that all this world of magic and kindness would be true.
But the magic killers were close! Shelene's parents were angry after her, as, of course, neighbours informed them than she was visiting this «reactionary» place! So angry that, one evening, she found the door locked... She could only come back to the domain, where she found Marly's mother still sitting in her living room, with still a candle lighted, as if she was waiting for her.
She just smiled, and said «useless to tell me what happened. You can sleep in the guest room»... This is how Shelene became part of this family. Marly was happy!
The next day, Shelene tried to come back to her home, but her drunk father was so angry, with threatening gestures, that she was afraid of being beaten and thrashed as soon as she would pass the door... she retreated and tried to go to her work... But here too she was fired! With a ridiculous motive...
Having lost both home and resources, she had no choice that to live in the domain... Happy to be with Marly and his mother, but frightened of what was to come after this short relief.
Three days before the expulsion, representatives of the mayor went to the domain, to give the money of the forced sale. They found Marly's mother very quiet, feeding birds, cultivating and pruning trees, as if she had the eternity before her. They tried to apologise, making unconvincing worried looks, but she ignored them, or giving them flowers to smell.
The day of the expulsion, the domain was surrounded by a hundred of cops, as if they had to chase out an army. Behind them were dumb looking workers with picks and axes. Probably the worse prison dwellers were hired for this hopeless job. All around was a crowd who was obviously here in the hoping to see some fight.
Marly's mother had a horse carriage. They all three went in, with few luggages. They left the house some minutes before the deadline, all candles lighted on the altar, water sprinklers in the garden. They did not looked back, ignoring the officials trying to mutter hypocritical excuses, and leaving all these evil people to their self-destruction work (The domain was the last nice place nearby, so that the destroyers were their own victims). Shelene saw her parents and even Party members into the crowd, shouting unfair reproaches. But she knew that it was dangerous to reply to them...
Fortunately, they had now a lot of money, from the forced sale. So they kept travelling for some months, into all kinds of pleasant places. One of the advantages of modern times was that roads were much better, and safer. Marly's mother could even place most of her money in a bank account, so that they had no need to be wary of thieves (there still were some, in remote woods or mountains).
But soon winter approached, so that travelling and sleeping in the carriage would become uncomfortable... But the mother had a thing in her head: their apparently random travels had approached them from the Marjun, the golden temple of the Elves... and there was a community of true Elves here!
So here they went, and they stayed with the Elves in the Marjun for two years.
Marly and Shelene soon married in the magnificent great temple, and lived in a little wooden cabin nearby.
It was two wonderful years of happiness for them, among the Elves, while learning their values and their language!
At least they were free, not of the egocentric freedom, but of the most precious freedom: the freedom of exchanging nice things, beauty and kindness, Especially, they were free to do so without being mocked at, without some idiot «advising» them to be «more realistic»...
And at last, the Faery tale of their theatre play was becoming true, but not in the way the original author intended! Instead of marrying a modern materialistic businessman thinking only at his own personal interest, Shelene got a wonderful and kind Elf to be! And she quickly understood that Elves were the future, not the past!
Later, they all three went in an elven harbour for five years, near the sea, working for the community, until the mother died. She was happy, as she had succeeded into something in her life: raising her son into a worthy and happy man. She even did more than she expected, with saving Shelene from a meaningless life of boredom.
The remaining money went to the couple, more some other things that the mother had kept hidden, for the surprise.
But Marly and Shelene gave this to the elven community, as they would no more need money: soon after the mother died, they boarded a black Horiathon-crossing ship, for the terrifying trip to the Dauriath, the elven planet touching the human planet. They were among the last to go this way, as a dangerous bore wave was forming around the Horiathon, which would forbid further travels, until it would be passable in both ways, 180 years later.
Once in the Elven world, they were free to love, explore and build a better world.
Marly and Shelene slowly became true Elves, with passing years. But they never left the elven world, even when the Elves returned to the Human world. Instead, Shelene, who was modern in the true meaning of this word, became a professor, and she made important discoveries in physics, contributing to a life friendly science.
This story was improvised in 2008 in my bardic meetings in the lands of Elf Circle, into Second Life. I first explained the general plot of the stories. Then I asked for some seed words. I got «ancient», «destiné», «war like», «forest», «meat eaters», «romance», «kilers of all magical creatures», «Beethoven» and «Mozart», «magical», «human witches».
During the creation of this story, an interesting dialogue happened here:
«Hearer 1: This makes me sad though
Me: Ah, sorry
Hearer 2: Because the bad guys won?
Me: They won nothing. They chased the good guies, it is not a victory, but a great loss for them.
Hearer 1: They just couldn't see what they were losing
Hearer 2: No, they impoverished themselves.
Me: They thought they earned money, but at a dreadful cost».
Scenario, graphics, sounds, colours, realization: Richard Trigaux.
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