For the next little while, I will be posting on a regular basis my story the Wish. Without the introduction that you can undoubtably find on Kobo, or Barnes and Noble et al.
So without further ado.....
By Van Pornaras
All rights reserved
the cerebral vacation intellectual properties
The characters, places and events in this story are purely
borne in the mind of the author, and therefor absolute fiction.
Any similarities to persons living or dead, is strictly coincidence.
As per international law, all content herein is protected by copyright and cannot be copied or distributed in any form without the expressed permission of the cerebral vacation intellectual properties and the author of this work. All rights reserved. Please respect the authors work.
Cover art By Van Pornaras©2012
To my little girl.
May all your wishes come true.
When my children were little, I would read
them a bedtime story and then, turn out the
lights, lay beside them and tell them one which I
would make up. I wanted them to use their imagination
and visualize their own pictures in their minds eye.
the cerebral vacation publishing
Story by Van Pornaras ©2007
In the Beginning
Korlungr took no mercy on the last of the Druid mystics. Driven by purpose and with all his might, his sword halved the final obstacle that stood between him and his prize.
The forest was silent, albeit for the dwindling gasps of Druid life and the breathless panting of the hungry Norse demons who readied themselves for a much more daunting task.
In the clearing of the Faerin forest stood the treasure. Even in the early morning fog, it glowed with intensity from a light within. An aura enveloped the Elpitha Tree and commanded reverence. An ethereal quality radiated from every aspect of the Tree. There was a peacefulness about it that far paled the savage activity that it had just witnessed.
Bloodied and vile, brutish and raw, Korlungr and all the Vikings became gentle and caring when it came to unearthing the Tree from its interlaced lock in the Faerin soil.
For three solid days, they toiled to remove the Tree from the ground as the weather changed dramatically for the worse. As if irate that natures pride was being stolen, the elements conspired to make the task arduous. Angry clouds engulfed the sky, thick, swirling and black, and allowing the least amount of light through. Winds hampered the laborious chore by increasing in velocity, bending trees and snapping branches of older, taller oaks and maples. Sacrificing many to save the one, but to no avail, for nature was no match for the determination of Korlungr and the plunderers.
Finally, they had the Tree liberated from its soil home. The roots were wrapped in a large hemp sail and loaded onto a large, two wheeled, cart as it was hauled to their awaiting vessel in the harbor.
The winds had gathered more anger and screamed with the vengeance of all the souls they had plundered. The rains lashed the drekar, as the Vikings fought desperately to survive the ravages of the Gods and get out to sea before they lost the tide. The mast creaked with the promise of snapping while the sail fought with the wind to be set free. Korlungr hollered out commands to get over the volume of the gales. He was not a man to be questioned. Almost seven foot tall and twenty stone, he was a feral creature in human form. He was their leader and had cut the breath of many who challenged his supremacy. Just as wild as the storm that engulfed them and equally as merciless. He commanded his men with purpose, volume and the promise of a long painful death should his orders not be followed to the letter.
Even he was uneasy as the elements amplified their assault on them. Angry and vile, nature was taking her fury head long to him and he took the challenge face on. Iced waters, waves and wind, did their best to illicit a punishment befitting their crime.
But he would not be rushed. If not for the time it took securing their prized possession, they would have left much earlier and been at sea and out of the clutches of nature’s tantrum, but he would not go until it was stowed securely. For this trip to the edge of the world, all their talisman and all their Gods meant nothing compared to the Elpitha Tree.
The craggy shores of Faerin were as unforgiving as the gates of Hades, and even more treacherous. Their voices were barely heard over the windstorms, as they fought desperately to get their prize tied down and sea worthy. Four men were swallowed by the sea before they were set to battle the storm and the open waters of the ocean, and Korlungr left them to drown. There was a higher order; all of them knew that the Tree took precedence.
The Vikings now had it in their possession. Nothing could befall them, with this gift from nature to guard them. But a gift it was not and nature grew angrier with each second, screaming its rage and demanding the return of the Tree.
Korlungr stood on the bow and faced the winds head on. He laughed manically at the Gods; Freya and her magic, Thor and his control of sky and thunder and even Odin had no say in this plunder. This trophy was now his and with the last rope tied tight and the Tree secured, they cast off from the remorseless rocky island and into the darkness of the unknown.
The voyage was long and treacherous, but the Tree survived where many a man had perished. There was much water on board the vessel but very little for them to drink. The Tree drank the life out of most of them. Slowly they would wither away, thirst fueling insanity and one by one Korlungr would pierce their souls and hurl them into the ocean.
By the time they made landfall, a mere handful of men survived and as thanks to the wondrous Tree, the Vikings planted it deep in a magnificent forest in the lands now known as the Americas. As the Druids had protected it, so did the Vikings, but with brilliant and cunning traps. The Elpitha Tree would go nowhere, ever again.
The eons had passed, and in the silence of the forest, the Elpitha Tree grew strong. With the song of the wind and the gentle caress of the sun, the magic returned to the mystical Tree.
Slowly they came, as if called by the few brethren who had stowed away on its maiden voyage, faeries. Twenty of them had miraculously survived the Trans Atlantic trek and now, as the news of the Elpitha Tree spread in the enchanted world, more faeries made their home in the enchanted forest that came to be known as Carthya.
Although beautiful and peaceful, Carthya was not as serene as its occupants would have liked. As it was at Mt. Olympus and at Faerin, the faeries had to contend with the Unseelie Court. For as the news reached the ears of the underworld as well, so did the desire to have it, come to pass. The powers of the Tree were legendary and many a war was a fought over it’s possession and the lands of Carthya. Gremlins and goblins, trolls and the like fought against armies of faeries. Bloody battles that far surpassed the violence of the Viking slaughter at Faerin. Yearlong sieges and thousands of creature’s dead, and in the end, the underworld retreated only to have lost against the bravery of the keepers of the Elpitha Tree.
Years of battles ensured that the Tree would stay where it was, and Carthya could not be taken by the underworld. The Tree would grow forever and flourish in this wondrous land, but none of them had seen the lone figure that stealthily and methodically entered Carthya and stole the lone seed of the Elpitha Tree.
Managing to sneak past the traps and the guards and the magic, he had gingerly picked the seed off the Tree and retreated back to the darkness he had emerged from, without so much as to stir the breeze as an indication he was there.
Somewhere in the Far East, a butterfly had flapped its wings, and perhaps further along the continent it would indeed become a hurricane, but here, in a secluded dale of the New England’s, it was a lilting breeze, aimless and lazy and having no particular purpose. It played the lulling melody of this glorious summer day, carrying the scent of lavender upon it as it meandered without a care.
It was a day borne in the minds of poets. One that indicated that nature was in a wonderful mood. A splendid day, where no clouds fought with the sun, where butterflies danced with their shadows and birds sang their songs softly in harmony with the breeze.
Here, by a little stream, atop a group of rocks, a young girl sat and watched the water glide along its merry way. Ava was the only child of the O’Connor’s. Only eight years old and as innocent as that summer day. Tiny for her age, petite her mother insisted, but that didn’t stop her from anything. With a spirit strong and a will of cast iron, she had proved to all in the town that being born two months early would not deter her from changing the world. When she put her mind to something, wild horses could not keep her still. She was gentle and childlike most of the time and headstrong when called for. But here, basking in the glow of the summer sun, her golden hair danced in the gentle breeze which shifted wisps across her cheeks and tickled her nose as if to tease her into motion. In her frock her mother had sewn for her, she sat with her knees curled up as only her bare toes were exposed to the warm sunlight. She sat motionless staring at the glistening rocks in the creek, hoping to catch a glimpse of something that might spur her to move.
This was her favorite spot. Where the stream curved around Rhinoceros rock, as she called it because of its sheer size, and it picked up speed as it danced over the rocks in the shallow spots. She started coming here when her father had died, two years ago. It was a magical spot, not far from her home but a million miles away, and it gave her comfort in knowing that it had always been there and would always be there. Some things must stay, forever. Her Daddy was gone, forever. Mother had said he had died while working on the new railway. They said that the project was supposed to join the country, not separate her family. Talk in the town was that he had died at the hands of the savage Indians, but she tended to believe her mother than town hear-say.
Every day she would come here and sit and think and dream. The trees would let ribbons of sunlight shine on her and the many varieties of birds serenaded her with songs of lazy summer dreams. As she sat alone on the rocks, that gentle breeze seemed to stop all at once and brought before her, a fluffy seed of a milk thistle plant.
“A Wish!” She cried with delight as she bolted upright and tracked the white floating globe. As if a gift from Mother Nature herself, Ava pinched it carefully from the air and held it in her cupped hands. With the breeze still calm, she opened her hands to look at the Wish. It was absolutely perfect.
“Oh my!! It’s a fresh one!” She exclaimed gleefully, as she carefully inspected it. Being an authority on Wishes, she knew exactly what to look for in it. It was perfectly round, pure white and soft as an angels sigh. She cupped her hands gently, as the breeze stirred to life again. She was not about to lose such a pristine specimen. She closed her eyes and thought for quite some time as for what to ask for. She knew that this Wish was new and had no other child's wish in it. If the wind was right, it had a good chance of getting to the Wish-Master’s world to start working on making her wish come true.
It took her quite some time to come up with a wish worthy of such a wonderful find. After a few moments her face lit up with her desire. With a smile on her face and her fancy in her mind, she opened her hands and pushed the Wish free with a soft breath.
It danced in front of her for a moment and then skirted away on the warm breeze. She watched it dip and rise, shift this way and that. She got off her rock and chased after it through the thicket behind her.
“Good luck Wish. Have a safe trip!” She watched it as it picked up speed and dashed around the trees, as if playing tag with her. It stopped for a moment, as if to say goodbye and then flitted off deeper into the forest. Ava ran after it but lost sight of it soon after.
“Goodbye Wish! Be careful!” She said as she stopped running and tried to see where the Wish went.
The Wish was happy now, carrying the dream of a little girl. It skipped along the breeze, through the thicket and over a creek, along the bank and up into the air high above the trees as if saying, here I am! It twirled in a little eddy and dove back down, just over a field of tall grass. The breeze picked up and the Wish gained speed as it flew over a vast field of sunflowers.
From out of nowhere, three objects joined the Wish’s flight. One took the lead and seemed to guide the Wish. Another winged creature flew above the Wish and last followed close behind. With every twist and turn the Wish took, so too did the three sparkling winged creatures, the guardians, protectors of the Wish; Faeries. They danced in the sky as if playing follow-the-leader, whatever the Wish did, so did the faeries.
Ylika was the faery in the lead. She was the eldest and the strongest of the three, from the oldest family of enchantlings in Ireland. She was clothed in soft shades of lavender and mauves and her wings were three segments of the sparkliest gold. She had the gift of speed and sight and led the rest of the faeries, all who kept watch over the Wish’s path. It was a long way to travel to get to Carthya, the land of enchantment and many dangers could be expected. As she surveyed the flight path, she would look back occasionally to check on the Wish and the others.
Flying beside the Wish was Anixi. She was a very slight faery, but with strength of mind and heart. With the finest silk from trips to India, Anixi was dressed like a princess on her wedding. So many colors made up her clothes, yet they looked so beautiful. Her only adornment was a small gold chain she wore around her neck which held a small lock of hair from a unicorn she had for luck. She always wore it on Wish flights. Her wings had no color and appeared almost invisible, as she flew above the Wish.
She was from the flight of faeries from England and had come to this land some 300 years ago when only few faeries were in the Americas. Because faeries cannot fly great distances, they stowed away on ships bound for the Americas from Europe and abroad. When she came here, they were but a hundred faeries in this land, now with more than a hundred thousand, it felt more like home. But now it was only three of them in charge of the path of the Wish.
She too knew of the many perils that loomed ahead of them. Not so many here in the land of humans, but as they got closer to their world, things could get frightening. But still as they danced and played with the precious Wish, she knew the danger that even lurked in the human world. Shape shifters and pixies, imps and gnomes. Leprechauns were not so much a problem out of doors, but sprites had a way of making things difficult for anything humans wanted. So she kept a close eye on everywhere they were going, hoping for the best and ready for the worst.
The faery following the Wish was Loulouthi, the youngest at only a hundred years old. She was also the smallest of the three and on her first Wish flight. She was dressed in simple clothes not being old enough to earn any colors. Her wings were white and, other than the few sparkles that took the place of freckles on her skin, she had nothing to adorn herself. She was worried about doing a good job but she was also excited about being chosen.
This was her first flight out of the enchanted realm and into the human world. She kept as close an eye on the Wish as she could, most of the time, but she couldn't help looking at the wonderful things all around her, and there was so much to see. The land was so vast and filled with wondrous things and many a time she would lag behind, caught up in the sights below.
The Wish inherently knew where it wanted to go, but it had to catch so many different breezes that it dipped and dove, twisted and turned and seemed to take the long way to Carthya. The job of the Wish faeries was to make sure that the Wish stayed safe. They could not touch it. It had to find its own way home, on a wing and a prayer, and by no means could the faeries come in contact with it. Loulouthi knew this, so she just followed it and worried that they may not make it in time. Wishes don't last forever. From the time a child plants a wish in it, it had only two days to get Carthya.
Being her first Wish flight, Loulouthi had no idea that this Wish was far more lively than most. It took so many different paths that the faeries had to use all their concentration to keep up with it. Loulouthi, with her sightseeing, seemed to have a problem with that. And as the Wish dove straight down to the ground, she almost kept flying straight, as she was admiring the field of daisies off in the distance. She had to dive hard and fast to get back into position, and she caught up to the Wish just inches before it touched the ground, only to shoot right back up toward the sky. Loulouthi, tried desperately to swoop back up and avoid a collision with the ground, but her speed was too great and the angle too steep and she flew straight into a giant spider web. The Wish’s flight made sure that Ylika and Anixi were long gone, and any screams for help by the littlest fae, would do nothing but alert other creatures that she was trapped.
Ylika and Anixi were far too absorbed in trying to keep up with the crazy, joyous flight path the Wish was taking, to notice that Loulouthi was no longer on the mission and that she was indeed missing.
All Loulouthi could do was watch her friends, the Wish and her hopes, fly off into the distance.
The dark, dank grotto smelled of rotting. Flesh or fermentation, whatever it was, made the air thick and the pungent odor was sickening. It was sticky and slimy and no animal would even want to die there, but Mootro lived there, alone.
Not more than three feet tall, he was covered in a thinning coat of black fur where as more hide was visible than hair. His only clothing was a pair of leather half pants he had worn for decades. His face was wide and pitted and grime had embedded itself in each pit. Warted and scarred, he was covered in souvenirs of violent struggles with animals and other goblins. He was by far one of, if not the, ugliest and vilest goblin that ever lived. He was the first Goblin ever created, when the seed of the poison Gobe tree was given life by the evil Warlock Gragalon, over nine hundred years ago. Mootro and his two sisters, both of whom had disappeared ages ago, created the legend of the ‘Gob’, one of terror and fright. Many a human knew of the goblins and their ways. They knew best to keep their children safe from the likes of them.
Self sentenced in his solitude, he would relive the time oh so long ago when his fingers were bloodied and he had lost all but two nails as he clawed away at the earth. Each handful prying away eons of settled ground free from the lock Mother Nature had sentenced it to. For months he contorted himself into the tunnel he started over two miles back, and tore away at the bowels of the earth to get closer to greatness. In the confines he toiled, un-phased by the darkness, un-affected by the mountainous rocks that obstructed his path. He was driven by greed and nothing was going to stop him from getting to the Elpitha Tree.
He knew of the legend, how the Fates of Olympus created the Tree millennia ago. He knew how the Druid mystics stole it from the mountainous slopes and replanted it in the deep and mighty forest of Faerin in Northern Scotland and how the Vikings had killed all the Druids to steal it once again and bring it to the new world. All this stealing had given him the right to steal it once again. All attempts at trying to overtake the faeries proved unsuccessful and had led him to that subterranean passage that he lengthened every waking moment.
He had seen the schism in the walls years ago and was certain even the Carthyans had no idea it was there. Wide enough to allow him access within and close enough to the Tree to grab the lone seed it bore. That seed was the key to greatness. So he had labored, with every clump of dirt drawn back, he got closer and when he had finally broke through the ground, he was a mere thirty feet from the wall. The sun was setting over the western mountains and without even thinking of the consequences, he had bolted from his hole and grabbed the lone seed of the Elpitha Tree and was back in his underground passage before he was even noticed.
He looked at his hands now, warty and withered, millennia old. It was those grimy hands that clawed away at the earth to get to Carthya. It was those hands that stole the seed those many years ago from the Elpitha Tree. How could he have known it would do nothing for him, but still he took it to the land of humans and planted it there, hoping that life would come to it.
Weeks passed as he watched and watered it, tended to it as lovingly as a Goblin could, but in this land of humans, it grew not as the enchanted mystical Tree, but ugly, a weed and upon seeing that it was not a beautiful Elpitha Tree, he had stomped off back to his cave and left it alone forever. He had been humiliated and ridiculed by the other goblins. He told them that he would have the magic of the Tree, become King of the enchanted land with the glory of the Elpitha Tree as his source. But the seed failed to give rise to his dreams and thus cast him into hiding for centuries in shame.
The milk thistle was a poisonous plant, spawned from the evil that lived within the goblin, but its seed was still of the enchanted Carthya.
From that day on every seed from the milk thistle plant tried to make it back to where it belonged, in enchanted soil to once again be beautiful. But many years had passed and no seed had made its way back to Carthya. Pringipsa, Queen of Carthya, an elegant and kind ruler, would send out Guardian faeries to ensure the safe passage of the each seed back to enchanted soil.
Mootro hated the faeries. As all goblins did, more-so because they reminded him of his failure. He had caught two since the time they'd come to the Americas and although very thin, they didn't taste so bad. They were very hard to catch though, so he lived on insect life from the forest floor, the occasional dog or cat that would venture out into the forest, rats and fox's as well, but how he dreamed of another faery.
His hunger pulled his gaze away from his hands as he tried to shake off the failure from his mind yet again. He rose from the chaos that was his home and moved to the mouth of the cave and surveyed the surrounding. Nothing stirred; the air was still as if it too was afraid to move the funky odor to anywhere else.
He peered past the trees and out into the open farmland. Mootro lived almost too close to the humans. Even with one farmhouse within a stone’s throw, the chances of finding him were slim. The dogs stopped coming his way, his appetite ensured that. So he lived alone in the forest, secluded and without having uttered a word in several years. And even though he knew where the brownies lived, he never bothered with them. The leprechauns and a swarm of pixies lived a way into the forest and although they looked like faeries, the pixies tasted nothing like them and the leprechaun’s were too tricky to catch.
Alone, miserable and hungry, Mootro spent every day planning, scheming, thinking of that day when he stole the seed of the Elpitha Tree, of his wish to be king of the underworld creatures, and to have all kneel before him, to be the law. To dress like a king, to be treated like a king. But the laughs and ridicule he got when the seed grew and became milk thistle, still rang in his ears. That was why he lived a life of solitude all these years. It had been hundreds of years since he had seen another goblin. All the underworld creatures knew the story. It became fable to all and there was nowhere Mootro could go. The last goblin that laughed at him, tasted horrible.
It was only four years ago that he dismissed Mixxa, an underling that he had captured eons before. Mixxa was a Goob, a race of French underworld creatures that had gotten stalled in the evolutionary chain, who had not formed into full goblins.
Their problem was they could not be as evil as true goblins. Cast out of the goblin world and not allowed in the world of faeries, Goob's faced the miserable fact that their submissiveness proved to be the thing goblins needed... Slaves. And so Mixxa stayed as Mootro’s slave for many years, until the day he planted the seed of the Elpitha Tree. Mixxa paid the price for the weed’s spawning, instead of the Elpitha Tree. Mootro nearly tore him apart, threw him out of the cave and broke many of his bones. Mixxa was thankful Mootro did not eat him.
Even after many years, Mixxa lived in a hollow log far enough away from Mootro's cave, but close enough to watch over his master's activities. It was this day the Goob watched and finally followed Mootro out into the dark forest.