Chapter 2: Do humans exist?
Dark-elf started recounting the events to his mother....
“That day, early in the morning, I was waiting for Goler the Pegasus at the usual place, anxiously anticipating the news I had to convey to master Griffith. He did not show up, but I was not worried, since we had an agreement: if he did not have any news, it was not necessary to meet me .For some reason that day, and although he didn’t show up, I did not leave; I stayed to play a little with Meril the small Drago. Suddenly, I started feeling very cold, I was actually freezing, something unknown to the town of the Elves. Even small Meril clung to me, shaking like a leaf. The sky had become very dark and gloomy , shooting out yellow and violet rays of light.
”Feeling something bad was happening, I took small Meril in my arms, and took to my heels. I went through the borders of our city and, without realizing it, I found myself inside the blue forest.
In front of me sprawled a small pathway, and I started walking on it, only to realize that the more I walked, the longer the passage became. It was a pathway that didn’t exist beforehand, but was actually forming, as I was walking on it. Of course, everyone knows that there are no pathways in the blue forest.
”I was very scared, but having small Meril in my arms trembling and terrified, I was running faster and faster to provide some secure place for him. After a while, I observed that the roadway came to an end in front of the gate to a huge castle. I was surprised as no one ever spoke of a castle inside the blue forest. The castle was very tall, and thick smoke was going up towards the sky, as if the castle were on fire.
”I was strangely attracted to it, and got the feeling that we would be safe inside. I approached the huge front gate and, while I was about to knock hard , the moment I touched the golden door handle, the gigantic gate opened like the only power needed was my soft touch.
“I entered and immediately found myself in a large reception area. Blue and violet prevailed, similar to the colors of the sky, just before dawn. Impressive huge paintings depicting strange symbols decorated the walls. The furniture was of great size, the couches covered with royal red upholstery, and each could seat at least ten Elves.
”I felt Lilliputian in this environment. In the corner, a giant fireplace was lit, giving off heat around the entire room.
“I started screaming for someone to notice my presence, but I got no response. The first thing I saw was a huge old dusty book with strange symbols on the cover, and the writing totally different from our Elfish writing. I put in a great effort to open the book, and finally I made it . Half of the book was written in an unknown language, and the other half in our own.
“I started reading as much as I could understand, and it looked like a poem or a song. It was a book of prayers and curses, describing black magic and angels at the same time.
”Mesmerized by the beautiful words, I soon forgot the reason for being there. I forgot that someone or something was chasing me and, as I was reading the last words, the wind started blowing, but deep down in my heart I knew that I was not in any danger. The wild wind blowing was actually creating a sense of benevolent attitude and a safe environment.
“Soon, the wind stopped blowing, and an elderly woman showed up. Not like our own women, but rather like the ones you described to me in the stories, the ones I considered to be fables and fiction. She had some wrinkles on her face. Time had obviously taken its toll on her face. She was much taller than myself. I did not feel any fear because her eyes were so calm add peaceful, glowing with serenity and wisdom.
“Hi beautiful Elf” she addressed me.
“Hi, my dear lady. Please accept my apologies for intruding uninvited into your castle, but I was running to save myself and my little friend Drago, from some evil force.”
“While talking to her, I was curious to find out if she had any wings on her back, turning my head right and left to satisfy my curiosity.
“Reading my mind, she smiled and said to me. “I am not an Elf. I am a human, but do not worry. I will not harm you at all. I love Elves, because you are so beautiful and so well intended “
“Thank you very much! You know I was not aware that ....humans actually exist. I thought that those stories about humans were fables for small children.”
“You are very kind and straightforward, probably that was the reason why you responded to my calls, and I am very happy you did.”
“Calls, what calls?”
“Yes, I am soliciting help for a benevolent cause.”
“I will help as much as I can,” I answered hesitantly, thinking of what kind of help a small Elf could provide to such a humongous human.”
“Before you make up your mind, I want you to think very seriously and, if you decide to help, then you have to realize that you must leave your own kind, your loved ones, to provide the needed assistance.....
“My father was the King and, after they killed him, they conquered the entire kingdom. I will give you all the details if and when you decide to come along. You should know that the road will be very difficult, and full of danger. I cannot even tell you that you will be able to survive, or if you will be able to complete your mission. Not even if you will be able to see your loved ones again. You will encounter humans and other beings that you never had any idea they existed, not even in your mother’s fables, but they actually do exist.
“Now you may return home. I assure you will be safe and secure in your journey back home and, whatever you decide to do, it will be perfectly understandable and acceptable.
“I will sense it when you make up your mind, and I will look for you. I will realize it when you make your decision. So, stay healthy and happy, my small good Elf.”
“I left but, after taking a few steps, I turned around to see once more the large beautiful castle, only to realize that in the place of the castle there was nothing at all. It was like the earth had opened up and swallowed the entire edifice deep inside the blue forest.”
Doriel was stunned, not knowing how to respond...Dark-Elf sensed the doubt in his mother’s mind. It was actually obvious on her expression, and so he reacted.
“Mother, I am telling you, the woman did not have wings! Definitely, she was not an Elf! On the other hand, Elves never get old. I will surely leave soon to meet the old lady! First, I want to prove everybody that I am not crazy, and second, I feel I cannot fit in this city any longer. Don’t you see how everyone in this town treats me? On the other hand, I am convinced that the old lady is speaking the truth, and indeed she needs help. You know very well that elves are very insightful and extremely perceptive. I only need your blessing for my long journey.”
“Alas!” said Doriel, bursting out crying......
She observed in the eyes of her son the decisiveness of an unshakable conviction, realizing that nothing could change his mind. She, in turn, had to be strong, and show faith in her son and his abilities.
“ My son, I realize how important this is to you, and you have my blessings. However, I want you to know I feel deep sorrow, and I will pray for you to be safe and sound, and to return to me as soon as possible.”
The preparations began immediately.
The mother started weaving a special backpack made from Elf fibers Iril, which were strong like steel, had intense magic powers, bringing luck, and providing protection to the carrier.
She made new clothes for Dark-Elf, of the same Iril fibers, which had the ability to provide heat during cold weather, and cold during heat.
“My son, these clothes will change color, depending on the environment you are in. So, if you are chased by some enemies, they will not be able to see you if you keep a safe distance.”
She filled the backpack with Kahallan, the main nutrition for Elves. She hugged Dark-Elf for a long time, and with tears in her eyes blessed him and said. “My son, there’s something else I’d like to give you.” From an old chest Dark-Elf had never seen before, she pulled out a silver necklace.
The chain was shining bright, reflecting the light, and a small ball hanging at the end was changing colors to match those of Dark-Elf’s wings, exactly like the day she had found him by the Emerald River. Inside the sphere, a small dagger seemed to be suspended, and on the dagger itself, the letter A was engraved in gold color.
“This necklace belongs to you and, although I am not able to explain this at the present time, I strongly believe that it has the power to protect you, from all kinds of danger.”
She placed it around his neck and, for a moment, she thought of revealing to him the entire truth, regarding the circumstances under which she had found him by the river, thinking she might not see him again, so he had the right to know. However, she did not want to burden him anymore with the revelation that she was not his natural mother.
“Don’t worry, mum. When I come back, you will be very proud of me.” He kissed her and left....
As he was getting away, Doriel observed that the color of his wings became darker than ever before, like tear drops made of silver were covering their entire surface.
Dark-Elf walked in the direction of the blue forest, hoping to find the huge castle again.
To no avail. No pathway was forming to direct him to the huge castle.
“How stupid of me!” he thought. “I started a journey without even knowing what direction to take. If the Elves from Notingel could see me now, they would start laughing loud, and I must honestly admit they would be absolutely right this time.”
His pride, though, prevailed. Not even for a moment did he think of going back.
He continued taking some light steps, in a way only Elves know how to walk.
For hours, he kept walking around the blue forest, trying to locate the strange but rather familiar pathway. Soon, the night was falling, and he decided to lie down to rest for a while.
He could not sleep, disturbed by the idea that he might have to return back. All of a sudden, he felt something on his hand, and leapt to his feet, terrified!
As he was an elf, his senses were heightened, so he was able to see Meril giving him a curious, appreciative, but questioning look.
“Oh, my dear Meril, please forgive me. I left without even saying goodbye to you. Please, forgive me”
Meril looked at him with great understanding, and lay down next to him. Dark-Elf, however, felt a sharp pang of pain, and stood up disturbed. A low sweet voice was heard saying:
“Don’t be afraid, my dear Dark-Elf. I had to sting you a bit with my tail-teeth because that was the only way to direct you to the place you want to go to.”
“ What?.......Meril..... Are you able to speak? ..... How is that possible?”
“Let me explain to you what happened that day. As you were holding me in your arms, Ι stung you with one of my tail-teeth. That was the time you started seeing the pathway inside the blue forest, leading you to the huge beautiful castle. Every Drago’s tail contains a special fluid that in the old times provided us with protection from the evil spirits of the forest. When we sting someone we love, the sting does not harm our friend..... How can I best explain it to you? As I love you dearly, I wanted to assist your effort to save both of us from the evil hounding us , so my sting whisked you off to a parallel world,” said Meril, smiling contentedly as he had the opportunity, at last, to explain the entire truth to Dark-Εlf.
Dark-Εlf was astonished, and his face grimaced. Obviously, he had more questions to pose.
“Parallel world? What is that nonsense? I can’t understand, and never will. My small friend Meril, what strange words are these? I hope this is not a bad joke,” said Dark-Elf with suppressed anger smouldering in his eyes.....
“Oh ! No... Please, believe me! Don’t let your doubts ruin your chances because we won’t achieve anything! That day, everything happened so fast that you weren’t able to think straight, since you were so scared. Your logic was not functioning, only your emotions were, and your only concern was how to save both of us by running fast, away from the evil hounding us. You even said you wanted to leave this world if that saved us and guided us to a a secure place. Please, Dark-Elf, try to recall the events. Please, remember.... Try hard to remember....If you have doubts, if you do not believe, you will never see the truth. You will never realize that we have been already transferred to that parallel world. You will never be able to see the changes occurring around you, and maybe on ourselves, as well. This is the reason you are able to hear me talking. In this parallel dimension, you can realize that I have a voice you can hear. You could hear my voice that day as well, but I decided not to allow that because you would have been startled.”
That was the moment Dark-Elf finally realized that his eyes were opened. Small Drago’s sweet voice was music to his ears, but more important he could see Meril in a totally different form. Still small, of course, but there was deep wisdom hidden in his eyes, accumulated over countless years, which did not leave any scars on him. He reminded him of good old lady Malthar.
He looked around carefully. He could see the same blue forrest. There were no changes, except it seemed like bright daylight, all of a sudden.
“Meril, is it already daytime? How many hours went by?”
“No, no time has passed at all.. You just showed real faith and, for that reason, you are now able to observe everything around you in the parallel reality we have entered. Time here is quite different and, when it is daytime in the Elf-land, here it is nighttime, and vice versa. That is the reason why they are so afraid of the small elves during the night.
“The young ones, as long as they are young, are very pure. Their logic does not interfere and, since their senses are highly developed, and logic does not prevail, they have the ability to hear every small noise coming from the beings of this parallel reality during the day, which is night for you.”
Dark-Elf recalled his own childhood. He was scared by the slightest noise, during nighttime, even the wind blowing, and he always left a small light on next to his bed all night long, otherwise he was not able to fall asleep.
His mother always told him “ Don’t be afraid, my son. Whatever exists at daytime exists at nighttime, as well.”
Was she so wrong, after all?
Meril’s voice snapped him out of these deep thoughts:
“Let’s go, Dark-Elf. I am sure the good old lady is waiting for you. If you don’t mind, I will come along in this long journey to keep you company.”
Dark-Elf started walking behind Meril half conscious, completely absorbed by his thoughts, and with countless questions in his mind.
All of a sudden, he noticed that Meril was following the “living” pathway, like the one he walked along that strange and fateful night. The pathway was forming in front of them after every step they took, until they ended up in front of the same beautiful castle .
The castle looked quite different, compared to the previous time. It was no longer grayish and gloomy, nor was any strange smoke noticeable from the chimneys. Bright light was coming through all the windows, like a big celebration was in full swing. That immediately gave him a strange, pleasant, and satisfying feeling deep down in his soul, pulling him out of the abyss of his curious thoughts.
As he touched the heavy elaborate front gate, it opened exactly like the first time.
They entered the reception area, and he instantly noticed that same book, only it was not dusty like before, and the golden symbols on the front page were so shiny and bright that they gave the impression of being alive.
“Where is the good old lady?” asked Dark-Elf, thinking aloud....
“I am right here, my good young man. I am very happy you made the decision, and I hope it proves the right one for both of us.” Her voice was heard and, as Dark-Elf turned his head, he saw the old lady coming down the huge staircase, apparently from some other part of the castle, walking with a splendid and magnificent gait .
The old lady wore a beautiful black dress, while a large diamond set on her forehead was shining like a star. Everything showed that it was a day of celebration.
The jubilant smile on her face made her look like a very young girl. Of course, the wrinkles had not disappeared, but the happy mood made them fade away, due to the radiating happiness.
Spontaneously, Dark-Elf bowed in the presence of such magnificence.
“You are very pretty,” he whispered, his cheeks turning red.
The good old lady smiled .Dark-Elf’s sudden appearance surely seemed to be the happiest moment of her life.
She directed them to the dining room for a royal dinner, like no Elf could ever imagine, not even in his wildest dreams. Many candles were lit around the room, with their flames dancing with happiness.
After dinner, the Lady noticed that Dark-Elf was so tired that his small wings were falling heavy on his arms, showing his exhaustion.
“I think it’s better to sleep and get some rest and, when you wake up, I will answer all your questions . For a moment, I forgot that, right now, it is night for you,” the lady said and, holding his hand, led him through the huge staircase to the room she had prepared for him.
Dark-Elf could not hide his pleasant surprise upon entering the room. He had never seen such a large bed before.
“ For sure, these iron ornaments all around the bed are made for humans,” he thought.
The bed was huge, with very elaborate iron ornament railings all around as it was a four-poster bed, exactly the same color as the color of the beautiful bed covers. Everything in the room was of a bright sky-blue color.
The windows were all made of wood, and their shape gave you the impression that, if you opened any of them, it would usher you into a gallery curved out of the sky dome.
The lady of the house pulled the heavy curtains to block the light, so the two guests, Dark-Elf and Meril, could rest comfortably. Meril was observing everything with great satisfaction, listening attentively to the few words his friend was exchanging with the magnificent lady.
“So, get some rest and, when you wake up, I will be expecting you downstairs, so we can talk.”
“I apologize” said Dark-Elf in a loud voice.
“I forgot to introduce myself, and I didn’t ask for your name. I apologize for my rudeness , but this is the first time I have been exposed to such a wonderful experience, and I feel totally lost,” he added, bowing his head shyly.
“I already know your name, my dear Dark-Elf. My name is Mistrizia. However, now is time to rest,” said the lady, as she walked away with light steps, not wanting to disturb her guests any longer. She then discreetly shut the door behind her.
“All this is very strange,” whispered Dark-Elf but seeing Meril fast asleep already, he turned to the other side, and plunged into a deep slumber in his mysterious and wonderful dream world.
When he opened his eyes, he saw Meril already awake, gazing at the stars through the window. The night was nearing fast.
“It is very hard to get used to such a strange timing in this world,” he whispered to himself.
They walked downstairs, where pleasant lady Mistrizia welcomed them with her usual smile.
“I hope you had some rest,” said the lady, while pouring hot tea into some silver curved cups, the like of which they had never seen before.
“And now we have to discuss your trip, your mission… I am sure Meril has explained to you that you are in a parallel world-reality, and the only thing you know about this reality is the difference between day and night, compared to your world. You must be very careful, however, since there is a great difference between the two world-realities.
“In the world of the Elves, you consider every day a holiday, you do not worry about many different things, and your only concern is the work that each one of you has undertaken to perform, as well as the beautiful art that you are capable of producing. In our world, however, there is plenty of pain and a lot of malice.”
“In other words, humans are so malicious?” Dark-Elf dared ask.
“Everywhere, in any world, there are good and bad elements. Good and bad cannot be told apart. Everything has two different angles. For example, although Elves have been considered benevolent beings from ancient times, bereft of malice, you yourself experienced the growing malice in their souls, when they were given the motive to mistreat you.”
“I didn’t do anything to them. I still cannot understand what that motive behind their bad behavior was,” answered Dark-Elf, looking for some explanation.
“Oh, my dear Elf, you still have a lot to learn, and the more you learn and discover, the more pain you feel. Their motive was the realization that you are so different from them. Of course, not because of your distinct appearance, since all Elves are really beautiful. They saw you finally smiling, when you announced that you discovered there are humans, and insisted that they really exist. They didn’t even stop to listen to your description, they sensed you were different, your way of thinking was different and, feeling threatened by the openness of you mind, they were blinded by the jealousy as they wished they had said the words spoken by you, so they could have had the glory all to themselves.
“In this world, I want you to think that your differences from the others will be more prominent, so you will have more enemies that will be powerful. That is the reason I hope you will be far more careful, and understand this, my little friend.”
Dark-Elf was looking at Mistrizia, fear lurking in his soul.
“Well, I am a small Elf, what kind of protection do I have against humans, who look like Giants in my eyes? I think that a mighty warrior from the human race would be of far greater help to you.”
“Do not think like that. The body strength is not as important as the power of the soul. And do not rush to declare that you do not have the soul-power because good always finds the way to be victorious over evil. I realize you are a pure and well-intended Elf, who has not yet realized how much he can achieve with modesty and generosity. Those two are the most powerful weapons,” Mistrizia said sturdily.
“I will tell you what type of help I need from you and, if you are in doubt, there is always time to back off. No-one can keep you in this world-reality against your will.”