This is a story about three children whose names were Evan, Gabrielle, and Graham and something unbelievable that happened to them. You see, unlike common children, concerning themselves with clothing and courtship and such things that cause a bore in life that lasts too long even if it just began a moment ago, Evan, Gabrielle, and Graham filled their heads with fantastic ideas like secret ways to other worlds, talking animals, elves, dwarves, and kings and queens.
Their friendship began when Gabrielle and Graham went to the country on holiday with their Aunt Daisy. Daisy inherited a large estate there after her brother died and that estate was right next door to Evan and his father.
On this visit Gabrielle and Graham became wonderful friends with Evan and he fascinated them with fairy tales only read about in books these days (and this book is really being read in a time where fairy tales are thought foolish, and I won’t be surprised if you never finish it and find yourself returning to that bore I was talking about earlier). And though Evan knew the tales well, it was really Graham who believed them and enjoyed them most of all.
“Tell us more about Narnia Evan,” Graham would beg.
“Come now Graham, haven’t we had enough for one day?”
But Graham never had enough, no matter how many tales he heard and it was the hardest on him when holiday was over and he and his sister returned to London.
“Do you think we’ll see you again soon Evan?” Gabrielle asked hopefully, as if Evan had any better idea than she.
“I know it,” said Evan.
Graham just said nothing at all, but stood afar off with a few tears building up in his eyes. And I won’t say that there wasn’t quite a bit of crying on all three sides by the time all was done for Evan grabbed his two new friends at once and hugged them tightly just as Aunt Daisy was shouting from the automobile, “Come now children, we’ll miss our train.”
But this visit to the country was not the beginning of the adventure. No, the adventure started one year later at the window of a study. Evan sat with his forehead resting on the cool glass as the rain cascaded down the outside like a paper-thin green waterfall. These days were always the hardest for Evan, because it was on days like these when Gabrielle and Graham would sit and listen for hours as Evan told tales (he knew so many because of the books he’d read). And sometimes, Evan would read the books alone on rainy days, but lately this hadn’t soothed the ache in his heart for someone to sit and live in that fairy tale world with him.
His father’s study was a very tidy place, with about fifty or sixty books, all about history, on various shelves and always arranged from tallest on the left to shortest on the right. The rest of the shelves and tabletops were sparsely dotted with very old things, many of which were so obscure that visitors often envisioned Dr. Buckston thieving the tomb of a mummified pharaoh or digging for Native American artifacts in the blazing sun with dust swirling around so thick he could hardly see.
Neither of these, nor any other guesses, even came close to reality, for Dr. Buckston had many people who worked for him and these were the kind of men and women for such jobs as getting dusty in the sun or damp in a tomb. No, Dr. Buckston spent most of his time on conference calls, visiting digs, or lately visiting Gabrielle and Graham’s Aunt Daisy in London, for Evan’s mother had died when he was an infant and Dr. Buckston had been quite taken by Daisy when she visited last year. Dr. Buckston actually did very little work commonly associated with archeologists.
In fact, the artifacts scattered about the study were not even discovered by Evan’s father. The dinosaur bone was a gift from a just recently successful archeologist whom Dr. Buckston had mentored, the arrowheads were found on a dig in America, and Graham didn’t even know where the old cracked clay pots came from (he only knew that his father hadn’t personally dug them up).
It was the horn over the fireplace mantle, though, which fascinated Evan more than all the other artifacts combined. It looked to be made of a whole, hollowed elephant’s tusk, completely ivory and carved so the mouth of a lion was the mouth of the horn. Evan recalled stories with horns that led armies into battle, horns that called down mighty eagles from the heavens, and even a horn that would summon help at desperate times. “Of course, this is just an ordinary horn, probably African by the looks of it,” Evan always reminded himself before his mind got too carried away.
But he longed so much for the stories to be real, like they always felt when Graham had listened. “How I wish that Gabby and Graham were here now,” he thought. And whether by some magic in that study, or that his sense of reason left him for a moment, Evan began to dance around pretending to clash swords with giants and evil men. He jumped from the brown leather sofa over a small table into the middle of the room where he spun around and faced the fireplace. And presently his eyes connected with the horn and three things happened at once.
First, he felt that he simply must sound that horn. Secondly (and mind you it really happened at the same time) Evan grabbed the horn from its resting place and blew with all his might. Finally, just as the sound of the horn came forth, a peal of thunder crashed and lightning flashed. Then there was only darkness in all the room except for a faint glow coming from behind the leather sofa.
“Now I’ve done it,” thought Evan as he felt the crunch of clay pot beneath his feet. “Father is going to skin me.” But the power had gone out, and perhaps he would be able to explain it as an accident. “Wait, if the power had gone out, why isn’t the fire still aglow, and why is there a glow behind the sofa?” At this point, I hope you won’t blame Evan if he got a little scared. “Hullo, is there something there?”
“LilyWind! No!” shouted a voice, and presently Evan saw something that not only cast light upon his face, but also on his heart. The glow from behind the couch had gracefully hovered to about eye-level with Evan and stood still as could be about eight feet in front of him. The source of the glow was only a little larger than your fist. Evan knew it was no trick and that there was simply no logical explanation (remember he had read many books), but yet he felt as though he must be dreaming for in the real world there’s no such thing as fairies.
Yet, there she was right before his very eyes. The only light in the room was coming from her; it was a soft, blue light which was brightest around the fairy and gradually dimmed as it stretched out in all directions from her. The brightness of the light made it difficult to see the fairy, but Evan could tell she was fair-skinned with silvery hair and she wore a light purple and blue garment that might have been a beautiful dress at one time, though now had tattered edges and stains.
She did not appear intimidating, but if Evan could have seen her holding the tiny hollow reed she later called a “pipe” to her mouth ready to blow a poisonous thorn straight toward his neck, he would not have said what he said next.
“I won’t hurt you. Please...” started Evan, but he was interrupted by the voice that shouted.
“Hurt her!?” the Voice chuckled. “Now I’m quite sure there’s nothing to worry about from you.” And in saying this, the Voice stood up from behind the sofa and by the glow of the fairy Evan could see plainly that this was no ordinary boy.
Now, if you’ve read many books you probably think this boy was about the same height as Evan, dressed in green, and could fly with the help of his fairy, but this is not a story about pirates, ticking crocodiles, and never growing up. No, this boy was different; he was fair-skinned and very young in the face, he even looked younger than Evan, but with very bright eyes and pointed ears. And he was tall, a head taller than Evan if not two, and he was dressed in very sad colored clothes.
From his thighs up Evan could see, because of course he was still standing behind the sofa, that he wore a grey cloth tunic that was tattered some where his two long, thin, but solid arms jutted out the sides. He wore a dark shirt of mail underneath and a brown leather belt round it all. On his left forearm he wore a tattered leather guard and Evan could quickly see why, for the boy had a quiver of arrows on his back along with a bow. Placed tightly across his brow was a thin band of black cloth that wrapped around and tied a knot beneath his brown hair in the back. And if you’ve ever just barely muffed a hunt because a drop of sweat burned your eye the instant you let the arrow go, you know what the band was for.
“She was going to kill you, did you know that?” said the Voice.
“You’re an elf,” whispered Evan, more to himself than out loud.
“And you’re a boy?” the elf inquired with a very thoughtful expression, “only the second I’ve ever seen and both only in a month’s time,” he continued as his expression lightened and his tone came to that which most people use when beginning to tell a story. “In fact, you must be Evan the Storyteller, friend of Gabrielle and Graham?”
And at this moment, Evan’s eyes grew wide as saucers and his mouth fell open and you would think him rather silly looking, but believe me when I say you would look just as silly. So, the elf began to tell the story about his world and about Gabrielle and Graham, and Evan stayed standing during it all with that silly look on his face.
“Ensveria was such a beautiful country, with the greenest trees you ever saw cascading up and down every hill for miles, flowers and vines with colors so fresh that every day you’d think you’d stumbled across a kind you’d never seen. And the elf children would dance and play all day long chasing the stars (that’s what fairies are called in Ensveria, and if you’ve never played tag with fairies I hope one day you get the chance). Deer and rabbit were hunted and cooked over roaring fires to celebrate the end of every day. The only mining ever done was by the dwarves and they enjoyed it as much as the elves loved climbing trees, which a dwarf would simply never do.”
Then the story paused as the elf gave a deep sigh and his shoulder’s drooped. “But now, nothing is the same. The armies came upon us so quickly and within months the trees were gone, the flowers too, and when we thought it could never be worse, the very Light in the sky was no more. Now all light is against the law unless it’s controlled by the King of Goblins, Arróg-non. He uses the light of stars like LilyWind to mine precious jewels and he imprisons every star he catches in the free lands. The dwarves have all but vanished, hiding underground in their own mines, probably hoping that Arróg-non will not one day strike down a thin wall that separates their hiding places from his ever-growing tunnels and mines. My clan hides in the Stone Forest, one of the last free lands, and it was among those stones that the strangest thing ever occurred in Ensveria. LilyWind and I were gathering mushrooms when suddenly in the finest patch of mushrooms we’d seen in weeks, two figures appeared out of thin air. I was so startled that I fell backwards and bruised my rear, and LilyWind fluttered off behind a tree. Of course, without her light I could see nothing, so I called for her.”
Presently, Evan remembered LilyWind and began to follow her around the study with his eyes. She fluttered to the ceiling, then to the floor, and then a beautiful thing happened, for the room lit up all at once when LilyWind hovered just above the crystal chandelier. Muted greens, purples, and blues splashed over the walls and furnishings and Evan could not decide if he wanted to fly away or slip into the deepest sleep in the history of the world.
“‘LilyWind!’ I called, and she slowly emerged from behind a great oak. Her light cast upon the two figures and I was so entranced that I could hardly say a word.
‘He’s an elf!’ shouted the smaller, while the other just sat staring. ‘And that’s a fairy, isn’t it Gabby?’
‘W-what, who... I say, I am an elf and she’s my star but what are you?’ I asked. The smaller proceeded to tell me his name was Graham and that he and his sister, Gabrielle, came into Ensveria through a pool in a wood with the help of a magic ring.”
© 2007 Rocky Andrews