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Fantasy Fiction

Eliza of Lertahn was never what one would call an ambitious child. 

Talented? Definitely.

Obedient? Very much.

But behind the intelligence of her gaze, there was never any hunger or passion. Just existence.

A person who was going through the motions. Cycling through life.

Eliza accepted this about herself. She celebrated in her ability to be aloof. She never thought that the quiet inside of her was because she was lacking. She always thought it was because she achieved peace others could only hope to find.   

But now the roaring of the crowd matched the roaring in her ears. The burning of the setting sun matched the burning in her heart. She looked at her good friends, Hames and Adelie. Romie and Clara. They were smiling at her, nodding encouragingly. She turned back to face the kingdom, the audience, citizens of Yrrah, and smiled.

“Many of you,” the crowd hushed underneath her. The pavilion was overlooking the palace courtyard, where many summertime galas were held “know me as Eliza the Invulnerable, or Eliza the Chosen One, or perhaps you don’t know my title but know me for my deeds. For I, and my friends, have traveled across the kingdom completing quest after quest for a chance to rewrite the stars.”  

(Yet, here she was. Changing the world, re-introducing magic, her fate still very much written for her. But they don't care about that. They just want another fairytale. Another hero to love. Another tale to read.)

The crowd roared, she waited for them to settle. Right now, her words were being repeated by men, shouting the message. She had to wait until the back of the crowds got the message. She’d know when the bells rang, soon enough they did.   

(So many people are there, so many people crammed into a mile-long area of space. Tomorrow millions will know, it will be written in papers, told by the tongue...she better be careful.)

“On my quest, I gained something far greater than the means of manipulating destiny. I gained friends and unexpected allies. I gained wisdom. And most importantly, I was part of the team that restored magic to our lands.” 

This is a victory...right?

(What is the dread in her stomach? They already know about the fey and merfolk, about trolls and goblins. About magic. But somehow. Making it official that they were all, co-existent...is changing everything. That myths weren't stories...but the truth.)

Again she waited. Taking in the diverse crowd. All human. Rich and poor. Old and young. Wise and foolish. All at peace. The bells rang.

(This is her last chance. She can hide it or flaunt it. There really is only one choice. It'll bring trouble but the other would bring never-ending war.)

“Plagues cured. Species discovered. New chances and choices now awaiting us! We have discovered others that live under the disguise of magic and can not tell a lie, they call themselves ‘fey’, we call them ‘fair folk’. Other who have entire civilizations under the sea, they call themselves ‘merfolk’ as we shall too. We know about new threats, and we hope that we have the wisdom to deal with them.”

(Convince them, she reminds herself, that this is good. That living among the others is good. Convince them to follow her attitude. They need to.)

“I used to long for a home. But now I don’t think I can ever rest without giving my all to you. The team of righteous heroes, let me show them to you. So that they can be known too.”

(They must be on her side, she clenches her fist behind her skirt, they must worship her and follow her attitude. For if they turn against her...well, hopefully, they will love her team too. That will make things easier. It's easier to love a collection of heroes than a singular one. For if they turn their backs then they can simply turn to Hames or Adelie. Romie or Clara.)

She beckons at her team. First to step up was Hames, her first friend.

(Love him, she urged the crowd, adore him.)

He was well-received. He was muscular and handsome. The ideal hero. But this hero...he was smiling. Not tragic at all. Well-fed and hsi eyes weren’t dimmed and sharp. They were wise and soft.

(The crowd loves him...good. Good. Soften their hearts so that they will love the others too.)

“Hames of Selonimes! He aided in the discovery and understanding of trolls and mermaids!”

She paused, the crow cheered, the bell rang. 

(Good. They were happy. Exuberant. Next one up then.)

She jerked her head, and Adelie stepped forward. Gracefully walking into clear view, “Princess Adelie of Yrrah, who aided in the discovery and peace between the fey and the goblins!”

(She held her breath, Adelie was beautiful. People love beautiful. Love her. Follow her. Give her your loyalty.)

She paused, the crow cheered, the bell rang. 

Romie, the aged warlock stepped forward, not needing a cue “Wise Romie, warlock and magic wielder. A steadfast advisor and friend.”

(Look at him. His magic is no threat, he is slender and soft-faced. Love him. Accept him and his magic. Don't cast him aside like you have before, she pleads silently, welcome him.)

She paused, the crow cheered, the bell rang. 

(A knot loosened. Magic seemed to no longer be voodoo to them. Let it stay that way. Please, don't change. Magic is wondrous. As dangerous as anything else that is of use. Adore him.)

She and Romie exchange a relieved smile. Quick and swift.

Finally...Clara, “And lastly Clara of Retaw, brilliant reader of runes and the mind behind most of our successes.”

(Clara is odd, scrawny, and loud. Not at all the typical girl. She is rebellious. But...she is your hero. Love her. Accept her. Lend her your hearts and she will love you back. Please.)

Eliza smiled fondly at Clara, “Please, remember that these are the heroes who discovered the new world!”

(They are silent...)

She paused, the crow cheered, the bell rang. 

(Thank the stars.)

“The different lives that have been recently made themselves known to us…” she paused, “they are precious! And just as important as us. Remember that. Please remember that they breathe and bleed differently, but they feel the same. They are different and new in a million different ways..but that doesn’t make them or us lesser.”

(Please remember.)

(She knew that the merfolk were listening by the way the water shimmered sweetly and that the fey was listening by the way the air glimmered as if it was a thin curtain hiding something else entirely.)

She paused, the crow cheered, the bell rang. 

Section by section the crowd roared in approval. She scanned the crowds, men who once lay in bed with plague healed, cripples walking,... 

Men who sleep with weapons under their mattresses were now holding cups of wine. Women who once had to haggle to be able to feed their families now full. Children who were taught to hide a dagger under their shirt were now laughing and skipping rocks with werewolves and kids from other towns. With near strangers. No crime because even for just one night all their want were fulfilled. They had no need to steal. To rob. To kill. 

(but still, little thieves ran, plucking apples and gold coins from strangers. Hoarding, instinct kicking in that tomorrow things will change..better to be ready. They may have a full belly and no fear in their hearts but that doesn't stop well-practiced instinct. The world itself isn't dark, the people are. The people made the world dark. And in turn, the world made the people darker. And it is impossible to make it pure forever..)

She wasn’t a fool. She knew better than anyone that the happy ending was not an ending but just the start of a new trial. But tonight, she raised a glowing finger to the sky. Lights bounced around the darkening night. The sunset shaded the people a lovely shade of rose.

(It can be appreciated for how pretty it is because it truly was a sight to see...but it can also cast dread. How long until fear of the unknown casts over those smiling faces? How long until they grow resentful at having to coexist along with another species that is just as clever, if not more, than them? Humans are selfish. Humans crave safety. They...)

And this in no way was an ending but just the start of a new beginning. For better or for worse? Well...that was another story.    

February 11, 2021 20:18

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1 comment

Carole Cobos
16:50 Feb 12, 2021

ooh, right forgot to mention. this is a sort of sequel to my earlier story, 'The gods Chosen'.


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