Sanity is forbidden Circulation: 130,067,293 Issue: 259 | 29th day of Gathering, Y8
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The Legend of Paraiso: Part Three


by jeanaet

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Oreh stood on the balcony of the Top Faerie's tower. He looked over Paraiso, the kingdom he was supposed to save. He hadn't believed the Prophecy was even coming true until, days after his being chosen, the snows had begun to come. Then he had gotten to work. He looked over the water, watching the boats come in and out of harbor. He was waiting. That was all he could do. For weeks he had been waiting for the workers to finish his plans... for Ani to come back safe.

      He still couldn't believe he had let her go. He did not believe she would bring their father back. But what if she did? Oreh did not want to think about it.

      He was not used to the thick coat that he now wore. All of Paraiso now wore them - the weather was getting to be so cold that it was like daggers without them. He shivered and returned into the warmth of the Top Faerie's quarters. The Faerie herself sat beside a hot fire, warming her hands. Oreh sat silently beside her, letting himself get warm.

      Minutes passed and then two familiar friends entered the room. Oreh glanced up and stood up when he recognized Duck and Diamanda.

      "News?" he questioned. The two nodded and Di stepped forward first.

      "The Dreamers saw Ani coming home soon," she declared.

      "Good," Oreh said softly. "I miss her." He was silent for a few minutes and then added, "Is she alone?"

      "We don't know," the cloud Wocky said. "It is so cold we can't concentrate very much anymore." Oreh nodded and stared at the wooden floor then gestured at Duck. The JubJub stepped forward and DI dismissed herself.

      "The progress on your... project," he reported uncertainly, "is almost finished. All of the Fire pets are working their best to keep the snow out of it."

      "Good," Oreh said, looking into the flames. "Thank you." Duck nodded and left.

      "You seem stressed," the lovely Faerie said gently behind him. Oreh shrugged.

      "It is just hard to imagine the end being so near," he replied.

      "It is not the end," she said firmly, standing up. He turned to her. "It is the-"

      "Right, right - future's chance," he said indifferently. She frowned at him. He sighed, giving in. "It is just... so unsettling to go one day from a normal male Wocky trying to get some girls' attention and then the next day... having that same girl and every other being's life on your shoulders."

      "If you do your job right, then you can get the attention of any girl you want," the Faerie said with a slight smile.

      "Can I ask you for something?" Oreh said abruptly. She spread out her hands in a complying fashion.

      "Anything within my power," she replied. He looked straight at her.

      "I need a key."

     With a wave of her hand, a block of wood and a knife appeared. "Here, maybe if you make it... it will be the way you want it." Oreh took the wood and knife and thanked her. She smiled, sighed and rubbed her forehead.

     "I think I'll retire to bed," she informed him. He stared at her then nodded solemnly. She fluttered her gown and vanished.

     Oreh sat in the lounge of the Top Faerie's home, whittling his wood into an octagonal shape, when he was attacked by a ball of fluff.

     "Oreh, I'm back!" the well-known voice of his little sister squealed. Oreh grinned and squeezed her tight. They held each other for a few minutes before he finally held her at arm's length and looked at her. During the weeks that they had been apart, she had grown older. He had not gotten the chance to get used to her fur covered in flames before she had left. (The Top Faerie had colored her for a good-bye present.)

     "I've missed you," he told her - then he noticed the figure standing quietly in the doorway. He stared at the shape for a moment before saying quietly, "You found him."

     Anioreh's face grew solemn and she nodded. "Told you I would," she said, in an equally soft voice. She pulled away and stood beside him, and the pair looked at the figure in the doorway. For the first time in months, Oreh looked into those familiar bright green eyes.

     "Hi, Dad."

     Ani left the two, so father and son sat side by side before the fire. They sat quietly for a long while, Oreh consciously whittling his wood. Finally he could bear it no longer.

     "Why did you leave?" he burst out. His father sighed.

     "Oreh, ever since you were born, your mother and I knew that there was a possibility you might be... you know - Hero. I never wanted to believe it. But then your mother died. And then you didn't get colored and I knew that I was right. I also knew that if you were to fulfill your destiny, I needed to leave - or get forcibly taken. So, I decided to leave until such a time as you were ready for me to come back."

     Oreh wanted to argue, wanted to be mad at his father, but he knew that they were good reasons. Leave or die? He nodded, accepting it. His father smiled with relief.

     "What are you making?" the older Wocky asked, his voice filled with wonder.

     "A key," Oreh replied.

     "What is it for?"

     "Our lives," the young Hero said simply.

     Oreh was lowered down slowly on a rope, into a hole that must have been more than two hundred feet deep, and five feet in diameter.

     "You all right, son?" his father called from above.

     "Yeah," Oreh called back and looked around at the bare walls. He pulled a chisel out of his bag and looked closely at it. "Time to work some magic, I guess," he said, and then blew softly on the tool. It began to glow and he began to work.

     For hours he carved into the tough clay walls. Once in a while he would consult the book of Prophecies and then jump right back into work. Designs and numerals began to dance around the walls, telling the story of Paraiso. He worked the hardest around one small space which he left for the most important part of all.

     After what seemed like days of carving and carving, he stopped to examine his handiwork. The wall had been carved much higher than his full height. How did I do that? the hero wondered, but he did not spend much time trying to figure it out. It was time.

     "Duck!" Anioreh and his father had had their turns watching him many times. The JubJub's grumbles came clearly down to him.

     "What do you need?" his tired friend called.

     "It's time."

     "Oh."

     The Top Faerie admired Oreh's work. She attempted a smile at him and almost succeeded. She looked so ill!

     "You have done wonders, Oreh. Now it is my turn," she said, her voice filled with slight regret. Oreh nodded, understanding. She leaned forward. "Show me the key, dear," she whispered. He pulled the wooden octagon out of his coat pocket. She took it delicately and examined it closely.

     "Right here is where you need to... you know," Oreh said, gesturing at the blank space he had left uncarved. She nodded and smiled, placing the key back in his paws.

     "Now go, Hero; when you are gone I will begin," she informed him. Oreh sighed and hugged the lovely Faerie.

     "Good bye," he whispered, knowing he would never see her again.

     "Good bye, my little friend," she whispered in reply, stroking his fur. He pulled away and grasped the rope pulley. He tugged it, signaling Ani and his father to pull him up. He looked sadly down at the Faerie as he was pulled up out of the hole. She smiled up at him for the last time, then he was out of the hole and running to the harbor.

     Oreh shoved the key into a large random bottle and shoved the cork into it. He sighed and kissed it sadly. "Save us," he whispered, then withdrew his arm and gave a mighty heave, tossing the bottle out into the waves.

     "What if no one finds it?" his father asked.

     "They have to," Oreh replied simply.

     The Top Faerie watched Oreh disappear and then turned to the walls. She felt so weak, she must make every ounce of her magic count. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, concentrating with all her heart, mind, and strength. Slowly, she lifted her hands into the air. All the magic in all of Paraiso seemed to gather around her, supporting her and lifting her.

     Elaey opened her eyes - for that was her name, something she had never told anyone - and reached out her long elegant fingers to touch the empty space on the wall. She pressed her hand on it and then focused all of herself into it. The air quivered with magic.

     Sparks leapt around her fingers, disappearing into the clay walls. Oreh's carvings hardened for eternity and the earth vibrated with the power. The Top Faerie sank to her knees and looked up at the octagonal indent in the wall. She smiled peacefully, and closed her eyes.

     All the inhabitants of Paraiso immediately began to feel weary. They yawned and stretched and laid out where they stood. Oreh watched all of them close their eyes then slowly fade out of sight. He watched sadly as Ani and his own father were the last to lie down, bewildered, and then fall asleep with happy expressions. Before they disappeared he kissed their cheeks.

     "I'll see you when you wake up," he whispered. He then stood and looked over them as they disappeared.

     Oreh the Hero then looked at the pale sun setting over the snowy horizon. And still watching this, he vanished.

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» The Legend of Paraiso: Part One
» The Legend of Paraiso: Part Two
» The Legend of Paraiso: Part Four



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