Continued from Part IV… or Start from the beginning…
The years stretched on and the abundance and prosperity of the Tælon began to take their toll. The lords of the cities and keepers of the books began to find more use of tailors than fletchers. The chefs of the cities were not lacking, nor were the products of their kitchens. Swords were not allowed to become rusty, for the High King had warned against the slacking of the guard. The young men, however, became content with the pleasures of court and home, and the older men retired from soldiery and chose to study the arts of farming and the making of money. Merchanting became an occupation more desired than knighthood, and the values of nobility and honor slowly began to give way to the vices of fortune-seeking and pleasure. It was at this time that the fair-skins began to appear. Similar to our people in most ways, these men were thin, tall, and long-faced. They did not hold the values of our people, and they cared only for the money that could be made from their crafts, but oh! The crafts that they could make! They were glorious; they were beautiful; they were terrible.”
Tharen stopped. His voice was now cracking slightly, as he continued:
“The men brought with them great gems and wonderful stonework. They produced boxes that opened on command and swords that could not be removed from their sheathes except by their owners. The fair-skins brought these toys and the Tælon were enraptured. They allowed the foreigners to live in the city and settle amongst their own people. Faren was at first concerned, but he could find no apparent wrong with the men. Although they were greedy and dark, they broke no laws of the land. Their skill at metallurgy far surpassed that of Faren’s people. Their knowledge and control of the ancient skills was also great. No Tælon man ever entered the house of a fair-skin without his consent. The fair-skins delved into the rock to the South of Tælongaad and built their houses completely from the cold, dark stone of the earth. The fair-skins’ homes contrasted as widely with the white sea rock of Tælongaad as the fair-skins themselves did with the Tælon. The Tælon learned to live with the newcomers, but the peace and joviality that first filled the streets were becoming concepts of the past. Faren’s visits came to our woods and fields less frequently. My own kingdom knew little of the fair-skins, for they despised the open fields, and the keepers of the forests did not suffer them to enter. Messengers of our people would often venture into Tælongaad to learn of the news of the world and inquire as to the health of my brother.
It may seem to you that I have been negligent in my storytelling. I assure you, however, that I have not forgotten my father; soon after dividing his kingdom among his sons, he decided to journey down into the Southern lands. Deep in the South is a small kingdom of the Ellathe. The Ellathe are the oldest of this world, barring the One and his servants. Being like men in appearance and manner, they do not fear death at the hand of time. They are knowledgeable in the ancient arts and can foresee much that might come to be. Seldom do they interfere in the domains of other races. Content to dwell in their homes of nature, formed for them by the Celapth, they remain hidden except to those who are friends. My father fought in the Ellathian council that first purged this land of the fell creatures which had overtaken it. The high race of men we are called by the Ellathe. It is said that we have their blood in our own, but those stories are much farther back in time than our lore now reaches.
The peace in our land was temporary. The eldest of the Ellathe warned my father of a people who would come upon our land and receive welcome. Our rule dictates that we are to turn away none that come in peace. Peace is a blessing with two faces. Both are fair, but the fairest of faces can mask the darkest of hearts. It was concerning fair-skins that my father now sought council. My father took with him a consort of royal high-guard and a few of my huntsmen. Gifts were not required, for nothing crafted by men could match the marvels of the Ellathe. My father granted to me the power of the high throne, and I managed the affairs of the imperial city. Unsettling reports of strange happenings began to reach the city from the East and South. Settlements began to report missing livestock and entire fields of damaged crops. Creatures of the tales of old were even reported to have been seen, although these stories were dismissed as the delusions of worried villagers. Marauding men of the sea began to land and trade with the fair-skins, who had no loyalties but to the strongest and highest paying trader. Faren attempted to stop this practice, and he even banned the pirates from entering Tælon. He could not patrol the entire coast, however, and the settlements of the West began to grow evermore dangerous. After a time, I decided to venture into the West to discern how best I could aid my brother.
 Ellathian word for the servants of the One. The Celapth stayed loyal to the their maker, but others broke from his plan and created their own machinations.
To be continued…
There once was a dog who lived with an old woodcutter. One day he decided to walk out in the old woods that ran next to the beach. On his stroll, he passed a carriage containing the most beautiful young lady he had ever seen.
He stopped and asked the driver “who is that princess in your coach?”
To which the man replied: “She is an evil witch who has enslaved these lands, she turns into the most hideous pile of bread dough at night and the most beautiful princess in the day. None so far have dared to venture in to cook the bread, it is said that only the pure of heart may do so.”
The dog, realizing that no man had a pure heart, apologized to the driver and suggested he seek employment elsewhere.
He next happened across a fisherman’s cottage. The fisherman was outside weeping and lamenting his current state.
“What is wrong?” The kind but not pure hearted dog asked the fisherman.
“I have lost my wife! Cried the old man. You see, she wished to be lord of all the surrounding lands, and the fish gave us back this old pigsty. When she realized her fate, she jumped into the sea and said she would come back when she had retrieved her papal hat.”
The dog, thinking the man crazy, mumbled his condolences and suggested the fisherman go fishing.
Next, a talking sausage came out into the road. The dog, being hungry, ate the sausage and totally ruined the plot of another fairy tale.
Our canine then beheld a huge green man, clad entirely in green armor and sporting a grisly, green beard. The dog harshly rebuked the knight for stumbling into the wrong set of fairy tales and sent him back to Camelot.
A cat walked by with a mouse hanging limp in her mouth.
“Why did you eat that mouse, the poor little dear trusted you, and wished only to survive the winter.” Said the dog.
“Oh, I don’t know, I suppose because most people are easily entertained by simple theatrics and the slight macabre.” was the reply.
Seeing the sense in this, the dog realized why people watched Rambo movies.
Having patrolled the beach, he headed back into the woods. In front of him was a wonderful house made entirely of gingerbread and candy. Thinking that this was a severe dental hazard, he contacted the ADA and had the house censored from the next edition of the story.
This being a hugely unorthodox mash-up of Grimm’s fairy tales, the author decided to insert the following to give some credit to the writing style of the original brothers Grimm.
Arriving back at the house, he discovered that the woodcutter had chopped off one of his legs. The man, distressing because he could not feed his family, was advised by the evil stepmother to kill the dog. Taking her advice, the poor family had food that night. Such is the way of the world.
(The second of my inane series of hardly serious how-to’s upon the most important subjects in this life.)
Obviously, there are many things in this world which are worth protecting. Your money, your family, your pop-tarts… There are, however, some things in this world that are harder to protect, especially those things which are difficult to define or quantify. Now, I’m not speaking of silly things like love or other such fleeting feelings. No. What I am referring to are imaginary friends or pets. (Henceforth referred to as “imaginary friends.”) Your imaginary friends need your protection. I will detail to you how best to keep them safe from the many dangers and hazards in this world.
- Be Aware of the pitfalls that can ensnare an imaginary friend. Logic, psychiatrists, and stern parental figures are a few of the threats that present themselves to an imaginary friend. Remember, in order for your friend to stay healthy and in good spirits, you have to believe in them. (Cue Peter Pan music.)
- Never introduce your imaginary friend to someone whom you don’t know well. This can lead to confusions on the part of both your friend and your new acquaintance. It will most likely end up with your imaginary friend’s feelings hurt (imaginary arguments can be nasty), and your new acquaintance will probably not understand the situation fully. It is also very possible that the new acquaintance will choose to keep their distance.
- Remember to often tell your imaginary friend how much he or she is loved. Imaginaries can get quite lonely in the confines of an uncaring mind.
- Be Careful when talking to your imaginary friends about their state of existence. Some friends can be quite sensitive as to their condition. Remember that your friends are quite closely tied into your own consciousness; any saddening factors that affect them may also sadden yourself.
- Avoid talking with them in public places – at least avoid doing so aloud. Exhibiting schizophrenic symptoms in public is frowned upon, or so I’m told.
- Make life interesting for them. Remember, these people live in your imagination. Make it interesting! Throw in some dinosaurs, pirates, or evil kittens. It will be sure to make life magical for your friends. (Give them some pop-tarts too, they’ll like that.)
- Finally, remember – imaginary friends are people too, they’re just… special.
Hopefully these pointers will help you in your endeavors to protect those whom you value most. At least, those non-physical entities which call your imagination home. Now, go on! Go have a nice talk with your imaginary friends, play a round of chess in your head, and go watch a movie. I’m sure you’ll all enjoy that.
“Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.”
~ Oscar Wilde