Dreaming in the Real
An Elf from the Happy Elf World.
My name is Elis, and I’ve been told that my real last name is Bariman. I grew up on a world next to Earth, a world known to some as the Happy Elf world.
My world is in need of some description, because as I understand it, it is quite unique to all the shadows that exist out there. We call it Elevandaria, which means ‘World at Peace.’ This was not always the case mind you, and it has taken a great many count of years for us to reach peace throughout all of the lands. My world is inhabited by elves, dwarves, gnomes, and all sorts of faerie folk. We were not always in agreement, and we were not always good to one another. Centuries ago, our world was ravaged by war and bloodshed. And the final war was dubbed, “the war to end all wars.” And this was certainly the case. All sides suffered tremendous loss. Family’s and non combatants also suffered by our mechanized means of war. But at the moment when we were at our weakest, is when the true spirit of our world came through. We abandoned the mechanized engines of battle and for the first time we gathered, elf, dwarf, gnome and all faerie folk in a treaty that has spanned hundreds of years. We made a vow not only to each other, but to ourselves. Never shall we sink to such lows, never shall we destroy another life, never again will we allow corruption and evil within our hearts.
It was at that time that we rediscovered the nurturing powers of faerie dust. A dust that we all possess, and that we can all use to achieve a higher sense of right and wrong. This dust lives on all creatures in Elevandria, and can be scraped off and used to brighten our day, and to cheer up those around us. I personally have found that the dust from my hair to be the most potent, and a sprinkle here and there can turn any sour mood to a good one!
Though I am skilled at song and dance, my true passion lies in Storytelling. Each night at the local tavern, I would recount the lost tales of our peoples, in stories that were passed down to me, and entrusted to me. I was the keeper of the sacred words.
But my world changed one night when I found my mother slain. Murder is not common in my world, in fact I would have to say that it never happens. We have disagreements just like any other culture, but never would we resort to violence. One harsh word would echo an eternity, and would be usually followed by an endless stream of apology. But here I found myself, cradling the corpse of my mother.
Shock and terror met me that night for the first time, for I have never met these strangers before. As my mother lay dying, she caressed my cheek for the final time. Her form shifted and changed, in a way that I was not accustomed to seeing. At the time I believed that this was the evil that corrupted her body. But now I know that she was a Chaosian, and that she had spent a lifetime in Elevandria in hiding.
The mourning of my Mother took a month. And for a month I could not muster to utter the sacred words. Though I was showered in dust, there was always still a tinge of sadness in me. A despair grew inside of me.
And then…I met him.
Our initial meeting was abrupt. He took me forcibly and skipped through shadow in what was later described to me as a hell ride. When he was finished, he stopped, and threw me down on a desolate world filled with rocks as far as the eye could see. I’ve never seen a place without greenery before, but I remember many tales of the wars that this place echoed.
The shifting through shadow had made me weak, and sick to my stomach and yet I managed to say, “Who are you?”
The man had round ears, round eyes, and wore a leather coat with a sword at his side. A weapon I recognized through tales. He sneered at me; a face that I found so disturbing that I sprinkled some dust on myself to rid myself of the horrible feeling. Without warning the man snatched my pouch of dust and flung it to the canyon valley far below. “What is this shit? Crack? You are one sorry son of a bitch aren’t you? I mean look at you! You are pathetic and weak!”
I sat up, “I’m not sure why I am so deserving of such harsh words friend.”
The man slapped me so hard, blood shot out of my mouth and nose. My head was dizzy from the blow. “SHUT UP!” The man cried. “I’m not your God Damn friend, you faerie fucker.”
I covered my face with both hands, not to prevent the tears from being seen, but to prevent my soul from escaping. I said nothing, hoping to avoid another beating. But this was not the case. The man, stronger than I imaged he could be, kicked and punched me with a tremendous furry. “Rise!” he said. “Rise and fight you idiot! Get up!”
But I would not listen to his commands. I had to remain true to myself, and I had to remain calm. Clearly this man was severely unhappy and must have been without dust for a great length of time. I told myself to endure the beatings so that I could heal this man from his sickness. The beating continued until I could no longer count how many blows I had received, and until I lost consciousness.
I woke up in a very different place. I was wearing orange, and I soon found out that this place was called prison. I was given a room, which I shared with a very large man. There were no windows, and the doors were made from iron bars to keep us in, or keep something out. I never did understand which. I woke to being handled in a way that I was not accustomed to. Strong hands were around my throat, or trying to hold me down to a bed that smelled of urine. “Wait!” I managed to gasp.
“Shut up and hold still,” The brutish man said.
“Let me make this easier on you,” I said as I managed to squirm enough to sit up. I took off my shirt, and scratched my head a bit, in doing so I managed to have just enough dust. When the man came closer, I tossed the dust into his face. Instantly his scowl turned to a cheerful grin! I put my shirt back on, and immediately we started to sing and dance!!
It became clear that I had a lot of work to do, because this was a really unhappy place. I saved my dust religiously, gathering about 10 doses of it a day, but I only used it on my roommate for the first few weeks. I stuck close to Bubba, and we were always arm in arm, singing and dancing and having a great time. People seemed to leave us alone, but after awhile others wanted to know why we were so damn happy. So, slowly my plan unfolded. I introduced the others to the dust slowly and soon the joy spread to the entire prison! Each day we would sing songs, dance and recite poetry and stories! Each day my new friends would share tears of joy!
Then the man came.
I was taken away from my new home, and soon we were upon another hell ride; stopping only here and there upon worlds that were ravaged by war. It was here, on piles of corpses that I was beaten again and again. Why this man had so much hate inside of him was beyond my comprehension then and still now. For the next few days we continued our hell ride, and I was exposed to all sorts of horrors on the worlds he called shadows. And then as fast as he arrived, he had left. But before he did he said to me, “Good luck finding song here.”
Poof, he was gone. I’m on a world of sand as far as the eye can see. In all directions there was sand and more sand, with a scorching sun above me. I began to walk in what I believed to be a single direction. I walked for 4 straight days and nights without food or water. A delirium overcame me, and the songs I sang to cheer myself up had waned. I chose instead to sing those songs in my head. It was in that moment when I first tasted despair, but I kept putting one foot in front of the other. Hoping that my feet would lead me to water.
I was right to hope. Because my hope turned into reality, and I did find not only an oasis, but in fact I found an entire river. I stuck my head underwater like a turtle and drank for what seemed an eternity. I ate shrubs, grass, and whatever was growing by this river not knowing if they were poisonous or not. But simply not caring either. I spent a week gathering my strength by the river, and foraging for food. Though there was plenty of life here, it seemed that this world was barren and uninhabited by people. I set a course for going upstream to find the source of the river. I never did find the source. I spent a month just walking. I amused myself by gathering pigments from plants, bugs and fish to create paints. I dried out reeds to make a type of parchment, and I left little signs that I was there. For anyone that cared, for anyone to see that there is still beauty.
I began to miss my home though, more and more. And so my paintings began to change from the general to the specific. I drew a mountaintop where I was born. I drew the river in my town. I drew the townhall that was in a treehouse.
It was then that I discovered my magic.
When I concentrated upon these drawings I found myself able to travel to these places. And poof! I was back home. Things were merry once again for a time, as I was reunited with my friends and family. They showered me with dust, and we sang, drank and were happy once again. But the elders were not happy. They asked me many questions about the man who did this to me. They asked me questions about mechanized warfare. Questions that scared me. I am not accustomed to seeing them in this manner.
Of course though, the man came for me again. But this time it was much worse. He stole me away through a hellride once again in the night. He took me to a world made out of concrete and cold iron. It was there that I had endured the worst beating imaginable. My bones were shattered. My body bloodied and useless, I allowed him to do what he wanted to do. And in that moment, he stopped. Gasping for breath and he said to me. “Time for you to die you little bitch.”
“I pity you,” I said to him. “ You will never see the beauty in a sunrise. You will never understand the touch of grass under your fingertips. Nor the soft caress of a real true love.”
“I have broken you. Even now you cling to your stupid shadow world, as if it were real,” the man said.
“My world may be shadow in your eyes. But if that is true, then I have no use for the real world. Your kind is cruel and evil. And yes you have broken my body, but you can never take away my love. And so I leave you, broken and shattered.”
“I am not broken,” the man said as spit flew from his lips.
“What you are is a gaping hole of despair.”
“What I am is real. Everything else does not matter.”
“It is the everything else that shapes who we are. You are blinded by greed and cruelty. Bonded by chains of misery and dissent. I do pity you, for you will never know kindness and friendship, nor the joy of song and dance.”
The man harrumphed, and pulled out a Trump from his deck as he rose. He Tossed a Trump of Amber onto Elis’s broken body, it landed at his center. “Here. Your training is done. Maybe you can find yourself in the real world. Goodbye…my son.”