Chapter 4: The vocation
“So, you need our help to regain your kingdom and the Golden Leaf” said small Meril, realizing that Dark-Elf was left speechless by Mistrizia’s story.
“I would consider it a very bad thing to seek only my own benefit. We should never look after ourselves only, but rather work for the benefit of everybody around us,” said Mastrizia, causing Meril to bow his head in shame. “This world is made is made in such a way as to depend upon very delicate balances. If you only care about your own benefit, automatically you will be driven to do some deeds that will cause pain to others, and Divine Justice will punish such deeds. On the other hand, how could I feel happy, knowing that everybody around me is miserable? No, my little Meril, what I really strive for is to see this world the way it once was.
“I don’t want to see any more angry and deprived Fairies, who are suspicious, and hide, trying to protect themselves, nor do I want to see expelled Elves, hiding on different dimensions to avoid danger. I want to be able to live in harmony with all different creatures, in a world where injustice will not be the governing force. Of course, different worlds do exist, but no creature should be afraid to cross the Virtual Gates of its dimension to another one. We should all be able to cross the Virtual Gates, and they should be renamed Gates of Peace, like in the old times, and not Gates of Fear, as they are called now. For this to happen, we all must help to find the Golden Leaf, since it has the power to dissolve the shadow of fear, which through the universe, filling all creatures with malice. Even small Elves became malevolent, and that is due to the same shadow spreading all around with black magic, because of the enemies of good, like the Red Pirates and other similar races.”
“We are going to help you, Mistrizia. We to, want to see a better real world reborn,” said Dark-Elf, his eyes shining with a glimmer of hope....
“I knew my call wouldn’t fall on deaf ears. Some creatures of greatly good nature and fearless heart would respond to it,” Mistrizia responded with a smile, full of hope, as well. “Meanwhile, let me show you the castle, until we hear from Druid Maverel.”
It was dawn already, so they stopped briefly at the castle’s entrance to enjoy the marvelous sunrise that was dyeing the scattered clouds some orange and red shades. The tall mountains in the distance were piercing the sky. Their view made Dark-Elf wonder what type of a world was hidden behind them, and what kind of creatures were living in those worlds, which he could not even imagine. He genuinely wished his mother were there, so as to enjoy those wonderful new experiences.
Little Meril sensed the sadness in Dark-Elf’s eyes. It was greater than any other time, and she asked him with great concern.”My good Dark-Elf, what is bothering you so much? I know you are always sad, but this time I could swear your burden is heavier than any other time.”
“You are right. Think of my mother. I would like her to be able to experience these wonders of nature that we encounter. I can’t help thinking that she is alone, back there in Notingel, with a heavy heart, wondering how I am faring, and where I am. I am sure they don’t leave her alone. Everybody is probably driving her crazy, asking what happened to me. They may even make fun of her, due to fact that I am crazy, as they all think, and I am sure of their feelings” said Dark-Elf amid sobs.
Mistrizia showed them around the gardens of the castle. There, they saw all kinds of flowers and plants, all of dark colors, as if they were mourning. Despite the dark colors, though, the deep blue roses were as beautiful as the sunset, dark tulips, and unusual dark purple jasmine, never seen before.
Tall trees created thick shadows, covering some artful stone tables. On those tables, Mistrizia served them breakfast. Then, she took them inside to continue the tour inside the Castle of Comfort.
Up to that moment, they had only seen the dining room and the bedrooms they slept in. Next, they visited the large living room. The wallpaper prints, full of bluish flowers, reminded them both of the Blue Forest.
Large paintings hanging on the walls depicted fierce battles, together with peaceful and small Elves riding large mushrooms, talking with fairies and people in a jubilant way. A large fireplace adorned one of the walls, while on the front cover of the chimney, two interlocking swords formed the letter X . Underneath them was a picture of a magnificent coat of arms depicting a beautiful black wolf, which was staring at a blood red full moon.
Upstairs, they were impressed by a large collection of candles, in one of the rooms. Candles of all different colors, each differently scented.
“During the old times, when the Gates of Peace were still in existence, the castle was Known as the Castle of Joy. Many renowned Kings frequently gathered here to celebrate and enjoy themselves. If you happened to pass by, you could hear all kinds of music and songs,” Mistrizia said with nostalgia.
The next room had a collection of paintings coming from many different famous castles. Some of them were on top of tall mountains, overlooking the blue sea. Each painting was marked by its name and that of its King.
Dark-Elf and Meril were having a great time there, while asking thousands of questions regarding whatever impressed them.
The next surprise was a large room full of different musical instruments. They were all made of gold, very shiny, like they possessed a soul. They looked like they were anxious, awaiting some hand to touch them and spread out their divine music .
Suddenly, after sightseeing for a long time, the galloping of a horse was heard. They all rushed to the window to see a man dismount the horse, and approach the entry gate. He wore a very long coat, and half of his face was covered with a hood.
“The Druid?” asked Meril with anticipation.
“I am afraid not,” said Mistrizia with concern “Let us all go downstairs to find out.”
They went downstairs to observe the strange visitor scouting the place.
“Greetings, Mistrizia, renowned Mistress of the Golden Shadows. The Druid sent me, since he could not be here himself at the present time. He asked me not to delay the mission, but to send your friends to find the Master Good-Elf, the King of the Elves.”
“But I don’t know if he is still alive. It has been a long time since we heard from him,” said Mistrizia.
“We heard that he is alive. However, we do not know anything else, and we must hurry, while there is still time because something is terribly wrong. If he was free and well, the least he could have done was to send us a message if the Golden Leaf is still alright,” said the man, looking cautiously around him, while uttering those last words. “The situation has taken a terrible turn, Mistrizia. Besides the Red Pirates, there are more enemies, and your friends have to pass through their territory to reach Master Good-Elf. That is why the Druid sent me here to accompany them. I am an apprentice Druid. Very few of us are left from our race . Most of us perished at the hands of the insidious enemies who had caught us unprepared. My name is Touathan. Please, forgive my rudeness at not introducing myself earlier, but I felt compelled to relay the information first. I feel the danger approaching fast, and we must start right away. The Druid is absolutely right.”
“You will surely not delay for a while because we have to find horses for our two friends. I will speed up the process as much as I can. You should get acquainted, until I come back,” Mistrizia said, leaving in a hurry.
“ I am Dark-Elf, and this is my little Drago Meril,” said the small Elf, bowing to the ground.
Touathan noticed that, up until that moment, Dark-Elf had not smiled at all, but he did not make any comment. He put his serious expression down to the difficult mission.
Mistrizia soon came back. “I made arrangements for Dark-Elf’s horse, and procured some weapons. I suppose they will take some time to get here. I ordered the horse from the world of the midgets, since, as you all noticed, our friend is of small size. They will get a small beautiful pony. Meril flies very fast, so he will be able to follow suit, considering the distance you have to run. Until then, Tuathan, why don’t you get some rest with our small friends, to gather strength for the difficult journey?”
“I still have a task to attend to, and I will leave for a while. You can talk and have something to eat. I will be back in no time.”
They all sat around the fireplace, and explained to Tuathan how Dark-Elf left Noting almost as a fugitive. When his turn came, Tuathan told them some stories of courage and bravery from the old times.
“What do the Druids do exactly? Are they some type of magicians?” Meril asked with curiosity.
“The Druids were travelers in the old times. They were travelling between the parallel worlds, gaining great wisdom from those journeys. Their wisdom grew so much, to the point of being considered a magic power by everybody. They know the history of every place and the customs of all people. They conquered the secrets of nature to such an extent that they are able to cure every illness with a specific plant, while they are able to use any form of energy to the betterment of the worlds. During their travels, they became acquainted with the most renowned Kings, and with the strangest Magicians, as well. Each one they have encountered was deeply impressed with the endless wisdom of the Druids.
However, they never participated in or performed any magic, until the famous Druid Serpent discovered on one of his trips the “Celtic Mantala” that represents the major connection of the Universes. That gave them the ability to perform fantastic deeds, gathering such a great amount of energy that some entities consider it to be magic power. They try not to transmit these powers to the younger Druids, since anyone who gets involved with such great powers runs the risk of being drawn towards evil, along with their soul. They can only teach those mysteries to the ones that are able to pass through some strenuous scrutiny, during which the apprentice must prove beyond any doubt that he will use these powers only for good causes. Whoever seeks knowledge must prove that they are ready to accept it. He must be able to accept wisdom, otherwise he may cause more evil than good. For any successful apprentice, he must allow the oceans of his brain and the vastness of his soul to be engulfed by the light emanating from the three candles of....Love...Nature... and the Truth.”
Dark-Elf was absorbed in his thoughts, but was interrupted by Tuathan
“For sure, our mission is very dangerous. Despite the fact that Mistrizia assured us that we will find the courage within our benevolent nature, I doubt it that I am going to be able to meet the challenge, since I never had any Warrior training. I don’t know if my help will be sufficient. I feel so small when I compare myself to these wonderful things that you and Mistrizia are talking about.”
“Do not think that you need to know how to handle weapons, or the art of war for you to win. You don’ t even need any bodily strength. The most basic thing you have to learn is how to keep the child you have inside your soul alive.” His eyes, always pure, without bitterness, had the capacity to judge who to trust and who not to trust. “…who your real enemies are, something very important in the battle between good and evil,” Tuathan answered.
The dusk was setting, and they all went outside to enjoy the beautiful moonlight, which was spreading across the evening sky, full of hope. Some noise inside the castle signaled to them that Mistrizia had come back. Upon entering, they saw her serving tea to a small woman sitting with her back towards them. On her back, though, there were.....wings. Dark-Elf’s heart started pounding vividly ....and fast. “Motheeeeer!” he shouted and threw himself into her open arms.
“I couldn’t let you go away on such a long Journey sad and worried,” Mistrizia said to him, deeply moved to see mother and son hugging each other, and sobbing.
They all stayed up until very late to explain to Doriel how destructive it could be for the entire universe if they allowed the Red Pirates to rule over its entire vastness. She definitely agreed, but she was very concerned now, realizing what a great danger her son would be exposed to.
They all sat around the fireplace. Mistrizia brought some musical instrument from the collection she had in the castle, a harp made of pure gold, which filled the room with divine music, at the magic touch of the young apprentice’s fingers. The soft melody filled the room, causing even the flames in the fireplace to start a harmonious charming dance. Soon, everybody went to bed.
Dark-Elf was very anxious all night long and, when he finally fell asleep, he dreamed of strange creatures attacking him, and Druids throwing energy balls, in order to help him.
Early in the morning, Mistrizia informed them that the pony from the land of the midgets had arrived, so they were ready to start their journey.
Dark-Elf’ s pony was beautiful, of light blue color, and with large melancholic eyes. Doriel decided to stay in the castle, helping lady Mistrizia, until her son was back. The small bags with the supplies were placed on the back of Tuathan’s horse and on Dark Elf’s pony. Bidding farewell to Mistrizia and Doriel left some emptiness in their hearts, but the journey started.