Elves of Myst: Short Story

Midwinter was silent on the Isle of Myst.

The students knew better than to roam the corridors of the academy after hours, and the Myst themselves, masters of magical ability had retired to their beds. There was a rumour that professor Larkin’s home brew was more potent than expected. The faculty had been defeated by spiced rum and rich helpings of festive fruit cake. The scents of cinnamon, raisins, brown sugar and the bitter tang of alcohol still twisted through the corridors.

Mendlesohn the elf tilted his head back and drew in a lungful of the potent aroma, eyes closed with delight before a slap landed on the back of his ear. He spun around so quickly that his pointed green hat fell off and bounced along the cold stone floor.

Lia glared at him. All nine inches of the elf from pointed hat to toe, filled with barely contained impatience. One hand resting on her left hip, she gestured with fury towards the open door and the enormous evergreen tree behind it.

He stuck his tongue out at her, but before she could thwack him again, scampered towards the hallway. Elves had work to do on midwinter. On his back, Mendlesohn carried a sack three times his size. Confident that her partner wouldn’t be distracted, Lia bounded after him, her own sack bouncing along the corridor as they ran.

The tree was a beauty, coaxed in from snow outside and convinced to settle new roots in a gigantic yellow urn. It stretched far above their heads towards the ceiling, swaying a little with the weight of decorations already thrown upon it. There were garlands of brightly colour paper looped between the boughs. Shortbread biscuits in the shape of stars, flowers and the moon had ribbon threaded through and swung low from the branches.

Stood at the bottom, Mendlesohn watched the faint twinkling of fairies who sat on the branches, staring back with amusement. Lia prodded him in the back and he nodded, there was no time to stare at fairy lights, they had work to do.

The elf opened the worn hessian sack he’d carried across the island and pulled out a small gift. A wooden flute wrapped with a ribbon. He turned it over between his hands examining the name inscribed on the instrument itself. It was then that he bounded, leaping onto one of the long tables that stretched across the room. On either side of the table chairs were set, as though ready for dinner. In the front of each chair was a neatly written name on a piece of parchment.

Mendlesohn whizzed across the tabletop before skidding to a halt. He checked the name on the gift, before examining the name on the parchment. Satisfied that he’d found the correct recipient: Wesley, the elf set the flute down with the smallest thump and sprinted back to his sack at the base of the tree.

The elves rushed back and forth from the tree to the table places, tiny hands always full as they distributed the gifts entrusted to them. Still, the island was silent as their footsteps made barely a whisper as they ran.

Finished at last, with the first grey light appearing on the horizon, they collected their sacks and prepared their retreat. It was Lia that paused on their return to the underground, beckoning Mendlesohn to follow her into a small room with soft chairs and stacks of paper in disarray. On top of a table someone had left a plate with two minute slices of fruitcake and a thimbleful of Larkin’s home-brew balanced in the centre. The elves exchanged a grin. Dawn was approaching, but there was time to celebrate before the magicians awoke.

****

My response to today’s daily prompt of Meager I just couldn’t resist!

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this festive little story from the Isle of Myst! There’s more to come from Myst in the Poisoned well!

Feel free to leave me a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

 

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Our Line Through History

A response to today’s daily prompt: Trace.

I love it when a Daily Prompt ties into something I want to discuss.

Last week I went to see King Arthur. Not going to lie, I’m a little bit in love – with the entire film. Now, I’ve turned into a bit of a King Arthur advocate, but I’m serious – go and watch this movie (even if only so that they can make the entire six part series!) The critics aren’t a fan, and I’m so confused. The pacing is brilliant, the dialogue is fast and witty. It’s an amazing story, well told.

This is not a fantasy film that you can approach, expecting a Lord of the Rings epic. You can’t expect a Game of Thrones straight-faced, unflinching gaze. Think more, A Knights Tale – Heath Ledger, Chaucer, Bowie and Queen.

But darker, grittier…

In the first five minutes of the film, I was sat there with Mr Lovely and I have to admit, I was thinking –oh my. What…what is this? Then it was awesome. We fist-bumped and the film continued to be awesome. So much so, that Mr Lovely and I took my parents and brother to see it over the weekend, and I’m trying to con someone into seeing it with me for a third time. Yes, yes it’s that good. You’ve got to love it for what it is.

How though, how does this have anything to do with the daily prompt? I’ve been sold a lie! I hear you  cry.

Well, I’m glad you mention it.

I was at middle school before Harry Potter. Yes, yes I am that old.

The first I heard about the boy wizard was from my younger brother (mentioned earlier). Now, he being four years younger than I, was prime Potter age when it was first released. About 7 years old? It was the first book he loved and dutifully my mother bought him the first and second books in the series (as nothing else had been released yet.)

Because my little brother thought it was cool, and I was a lofty 11 year old, I was definitely not going to read it – and it definitely wasn’t worthy of my attention. I loved the Worst Witch, Enid Blyton, Agatha Cristie. Then on a trip to my grandparents I got bored in the back of the car, and before the two hour journey came to an end – I’d finished the Philosophers Stone. I spent the rest of the visit and the trek back, devouring pages of the Chamber of Secrets.

I think this episode is important, as for a lot of people Harry Potter is a doorway into a world of magic. Game of Thrones is amazingly popular, and I wonder if its because, in part, it’s being watched by adults who had their appetite for Fantasy whet as children by Rowling?

Growing up, I was always a nerd, and very proud of it. There was the Sword and Sorcery surge of the 1980’s – popularity of Lord of the Rings and love of the Hobbit. There are the Hundred of Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms books, and there are the Dungeons and Dragon’s games. But admitting to enjoying that world as a teenager in the early 2000’s – well that made you a little weird. Fantasy has been a strange, almost underground adoration. Now though, now it feels ‘cool’. I can openly admit to regular playing of table-top games. I can display my collection of Dragonlance books with pride and for GOT fans, I can offer Fantasy words that my friends might enjoy.

It feels as though there has been a shift. If you admitted to playing a little DnD twenty years ago, people might look at you like you’d grown an extra arm. Warhammer was perhaps a bit more forgiving.

With the success of Harry Potter, millions of children were invited to explore a different landscape. Encouraged to find Narnia, Middle Earth and now as we’re grown up, Westeros, Essos, and Sothoryos – not to mention ever popular RPG – World of Warcraft. We’re able to explore fantasy in completely immersive ways, and I think with this, older stories and older lore are returning to the surface as well.

My favourite albums of the last few years have been Monsters and Men: My head is an animal

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLMogyzvc_OR333NwjsPy6CfNVTlCoEB1m

Mumford and Sons: Babel

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWza_On7ajs

These albums, it could be argued have had a dramatic impact on popular culture. They performed well in the charts and they’re far more ‘Folksy’ than what I would have previously thought as ‘Popular’.

What I’m trying to say – and doing quite badly. Is that I feel that rise of Fantasy is resulting in a rise in ‘Folk’. An encouraged, more narrative lyric in music. Something more reminiscencent of Beowulf. If you watch King Arthur – and you totally should, it marries the two beautifully. The music is excitement and reflects the grit within the film, but it also has its roots in historical sounds. The feeling of a modern folk tale.

There seems to be more of an appetite for those folk-tales though, a rise in interest in dark-ages history. I know that some people have always been fascinated, but it seems more popular, it feels more acceptable.  Fantasy in some ways, feels an extension of folk tale and music. Good fantasy, seems to carry a resonance that is traced back to something primal within us all.

Perhaps that’s why I like King Arthur so much, it seems the culmination of a decade of change. Until the recent years and surging popularity of Game of Thrones, it felt as though the world was trying to cover up the past. Too look forward at Sci-fi, Comic-book heroes and futuristic worlds – but with a determined attempt to ignore the past. It feels as though this is changing, or is has changed like the landscape of a landslide. The past will not be buried, and ancient tales will always surface.

This may warrant further blog-posts…

Now, I may have made a hash of this explanation, but I’d love to know what you think!