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|A usual boy stolen from his world||
On the outskirts of the capital of a small country rather close to Europe lived a boy named Steve. Like all his coevals, he went to school, didn’t do his homework, played computer and read books. But his distinction from the others was that he felt that he doesn’t belong to this world, and he dreamed about foreign countries, travels and adventures.
Somehow it turned out that the first books he read were fantasy, and from this moment he was doomed, because he plunged in the imaginary worlds of the books and his own dreams, but he forsook the world he actually lived in. He was not interested in playing with his mates anymore. The school was boring and unpleasant for him, because he was a clever boy, and it’s always difficult to be the clever one among “normal” people, all the more that he was introverted into himself and the others saw this as arrogance.
A long time Steve tried to find his style and his own tastes in music. His parents heard different music, but mostly the famous groups of 80-ies and 90-ies like Beatles, ABBA, Time Machine, Joe Dassin etc., so Steve grew up with these melodies and they took a special place in his music tastes. But when Steve became older and heard, what music the others were listening, he became more interested in modern music styles, such as rap, and later – rock. After three short and unfortunate relationships the boy gave up attempts to find a life’s companion who would understand him. The misfortunes in love threw him down into a kind of permanent depression. When Steve heard on the TV some gothic-rock compositions, he understood – this was the way he felt. The first gothic song he heard was “Everybody’s Fool” by Evanescence. In this song he liked mostly the melody, but after this he found earlier songs of Evanescence and Seether and liked them very much. Then he also discovered for him other, “harder”, gothic performers, like Marilyn Manson or HIM. At that moment Steve knew – he was a goth, both in worldview and music tastes. He started to wear mostly black clothing, sometimes used make-up, wore jewelry with gothic symbols.
This is the story of the adventures Steve fell into.
* * *
This day was the morning of the first day of spring holidays. Steve went for a walk in the park, where he found a serene meadow and lay down in a shadow of a maple, intending to dream a bit. As usual he dreamt about what he would like to change in this society and in which world he would like to live. Suddenly he noticed that somebody neared him. The strange was that he noticed that without seeing or hearing this somebody. He just felt the presence of somebody on the meadow. This somebody sat down near him and said “Wake up, Steve!”. Steve opened his eyes and met a look of a young man with long light brown hair and clear green eyes. He looked just like the imaginary dwellers of the made-up world. The young man smiled and introduced himself:
“I’m Gurteb, your new instructor.”
Steve shook his head and asked:
“You’re my what?” – Steve was puzzled. The man must have mixed him up for some one, but he knew Steve’s name...
“Your might and mind training instructor. You should have been given notice of my arrival.”
“Well, I haven’t. So, who are you?” – It was starting to get a bit annoying. Steve was a calm person, but it meant only that he didn’t act impulsive while getting bored or annoyed during the conversation what he did fast.
Gurteb closed his eyes and seemed to fall in thought for a moment. Then he took a deep breath and said:
“You really don’t know what’s going on. Our messenger didn’t reach you to describe the situation. Let me show you a small part of it.”
After these words Gurteb laid his hand on the forehead of Steve and closed his eyes. Steve twitched but didn’t remove Gurteb’s hand – it wasn’t so unpleasant after all.
He was flying high over the ground, looking on the town beneath him. It looked like a medieval castle with some suburbs outside the walls. And this castle was besieged by a huge army of awful creatures with short legs, wide shoulders, small heads and primitive weapons.
The castle was defended by the Elves. Steve didn’t understand how, but he knew that they were Elves. The situation didn’t look good for the castle. The defenders were too few and the attacking creatures (Orks, as he later learned) had lots of siege towers and catapults. Steve flew lower and suddenly he felt how he was becoming a body of flesh and blood. Now he was one of the Elves.
The battle began. Orks were storming the castle recklessly and hundreds of them died under the hail of precise elven arrows, but they were too many. Steve’s own quiver was already empty and now he was going down to fight with a sword on the walls.
A huge burning projectile from a catapult hit the wall straight under Steve and he fell down in the yelling crowd of the attacking Orks. The last thing he saw was a dark blade of an orkish knife flying towards his head...
Suddenly the nightmare ended and Steve felt again the meadow under him and saw the strange young man sitting before him.
“What was that?!” – breathed out Steve
“It was my world” – answered Gurteb – “and it was my instructor, with whose eyes you saw the castle of Miran fall. My instructor, Monar, died on this day, with an orkish knife in his eye. And now, we need your help.”
“My help?” – Steve was rather puzzled, but after the mysterious vision he was becoming excited.
“Yes, your help. We have discovered you few years ago, you have big magic potential and you could really turn the war to our own advantage. But I need to take you with me to my world to initiate you and give you basic knowledge of our life and history. Then you will be taught by our best mages and warriors, to become a great warrior or even a powerful wizard. Will you do it?” – Gurteb looked into Steve’s eyes, as if he tried to read his mind. Steve didn’t know what to think. It was just like in a fantasy book, and it was said in such a serious tone, that Steve could be sure that it was no joke.
“I don’t know. You must understand it’s not easy to forsake my whole world just like this. I have a life to live here” – as Steve spoke these words he admitted to himself that his life in this world was far not the best... Still it was too weird for him to follow somebody after such, easy to say, hardly believable story. – “However, how would we get there? If I understand right, there are no “open doorways” from our world to yours, otherwise it would have been discovered long ago.”
“Actually, there are doorways, at least a kind of. There are places in your world, which are physically connected with our world. It means, when you are in such a place, you will be “shifted” to our world, or the other way around. The problem is, this “shifting phenomenon” is permanently changing its site. With a big deal of counting you can foretell, where it will be in a certain moment, but it is a very hard and long work. The place-time coordinates of the “shifters” were counted 88 years ago for 1 century in the future by a great elven mage Axonil. These coordinates are written in the Gray Book together with his Prophecy. Every time we are visiting your world, we must know when we are going back and have a “connection-plan” for this duration.”
“And do you have such a plan now?”
“Yes. Unfortunately, the next “shifter” will appear hereabout only in 3 hours.” – Gurteb stood up and looked at the sun – “the sun is already high. Do you want to eat? Let’s go to the next pizzeria and buy us something to eat.” – he smiled – “I pay”
Steve asked himself mentally “Why not to dine at the expense of another?” and found no counter-arguments. He stood up and together with Gurteb they headed towards the boisterous streets of the city, where there were many fast-foods. Suddenly Steve felt giddy and his eyelids became heavy. He felt like the world around him was disappearing. Several seconds Steve tried to fight the dizziness, then he gave up, closed his eyes and sank into the darkness.
If somebody in this moment would watch the strange pair on the meadow, he would see them becoming transparent, their silhouettes shimmering in all rainbow colors and disappearing at last.
* * *
Steve woke up with an awful headache and with a feeling, as if his bones were filled with sintered lead. Besides of the pain, his back felt also a narrow bed with an almost-soft mattress. In the air there were smells of leather, vegetable oil and unrecognizable herbs. He opened his eyes with difficulty and saw a dark wooden ceiling with deep cracks. The ceiling was to all appearances very old. Steve tried to remember, how he has got there. Slowly the memory came back to him. After few minutes he collected most of his memories back in the active part of his mind and cursed. The situation was unpleasant in all views; Steve didn’t even understand where he was and how he got there. He could only assume that Gurteb lied about the “shifter” being 3 hours in the future and decoyed him to his world through an earlier one. During his life Steve became quite thick-skinned, but this was a hard blow to him. As a rather passive person by nature, Steve didn’t jump up from the bed at the same moment to discover where he were, but he wasn’t uncurious about his state, so he sat up and asked loud:
“Hey, anybody here?” – After this the boy ceased and listened.
In few moments Steve heard somebody walking behind the door and then opening it. He turned his head and saw a young elven girl entering the room. She startled him with her beauty. She had long fair, a bit reddish hair reaching down to her waist, serene brown-green eyes, thin figure and pointed ears. Steve just sat there and watched her. After several minutes of mutual examining the girl smiled, took a deep breath and said:
“Hi, my name is Rona. I found you in the woods two days ago. You lay near my hut, unconscious. Who are you? What has happened to you?” – with these words Rona walked towards the bed and leaned against it. Steve lay down again and said:
“I’m a human from a uhmm... parallel world, as you may have understood because of my clothes. I don’t really understand what has happened to me” – Steve sighed and told her his whole story. At last, she was to all appearance the one who cared for him during the time he was unconscious, however long it may have lasted, so he could trust her.
“Your shift must have been hindered. I think you should have been brought to our capital, the stronghold of Morrowwood. But you have landed deep in the rear of the Orkish army. This land has been captured by the Orks years ago. By the time they just appeared we didn’t know what menace it was to underrate their force. They came from the swamps in the south-west of our continent. Once upon a time a small detachment of them just came from the swamps and burned down an unprotected peaceful village. Since then, more and more Orks keep coming from the swamps to die in the battles trying to conquer our land.
This small hut I have built with my own hands, preparing for a partisan warfare. Here I have a reserve of provisions, some weapons and equipment. Unfortunately my kinsfolk didn’t agree with this way of warfare, so I stayed here alone with some other young warriors. They live in similar shelters hereabout.”
“Well, if I understand it rightly, we must be glad to have at least a shelter and enough to eat. But what do you mean with “deep in the rear””? – asked Steve.
“There are more than 30 day-marches between us and the battle-front, as far as I can guess.” – Rona closed his eyes trying to concentrate. – “Yes” – she said after few moments – “If we’d go afoot, it would take us over a month to get to the nearest castle under elven control.”
“Yes, an unpleasant situation, I must admit. And how can I get back home again?”
“Your only chance would be to get to the nearest elven castle, where you can find a copy of the Gray Book. But I myself would recommend and ask you to go to our capital and learn, why you have been summoned...”
“Brought by ruse!” – interrupted Steve
“...brought to our world. Please, understand that nobody would do this just for fun. We really need you, maybe you’re not as important for us as Gurteb may have told you, but still very important!”
“I do understand. But do you think I would appreciate such efforts? If yes, you’re wrong” – said Steve. Rona frowned and Steve calmed down – “You also should understand how... unpleasant it was for me to be “persuaded” in such a way... I don’t know. However, I’m forced to rely on somebody now” – Steve shrugged his shoulders – “Let it be you.”
Then Rona smiled and said:
“Thanks for confidence. I think you should stand up now.” – She pointed at some clothes lying on the bed – “Put on the clothes I laid for you on the bed. Those, which you had on, you can’t wear here – they’d be too uncomfortable. I’ll bring you your meal and then I’m going to have some sleep. In the meantime I suggest you walk around the hut and gather some brushwood to make fire in the oven.” – Rona turned around and went out of the room.
Steve let his head fall back on the cloak, which served as a pillow and tried to put in order all the information he just got. It was not easy to realize that his life changed so suddenly and so radically. He has just changed from a common boy into a stranger in a foreign world, without any possibility to make a life of his own. They wanted something from him and it bothered hardly anybody what he wanted. Maybe he really should become a great warrior “No, not a warrior” corrected Steve himself, “a wizard, Rona has said something about a ‘big magic potential’ ”. “Well, anyway I must now do something, and as I don’t know what to do I’m forced to follow someone’s advice. And now I had the advice to make it towards the next elven castle. Let’s hope it’ll be fun.” thought Steve. Then he stood up from the bed and took a view at the clothes he was offered by his instructor.
The clothes were brown trousers with a wide bent, black shirt and a dark-green jacket. There were also shoes with hard rubber sole and leather gloves. The trousers were of leather and they were very flexible, but somehow also hard. The bent was very long; it had, to all appearances, to be wrapped around the waist twice. On the bent there were many eyelets to hold some kind of equipment. The shirt was of a material unknown to Steve, but it felt like silk. Both garments suited Steve, as if they were done specially for him. The jacket was also of leather, but it was harder than the trousers and thicker. It gave Steve a feeling of safety, somehow he knew, no common arrow and no usual knife could pierce through this stuff. The buttons of the jacket were on the left side under the arm and on the shoulder, as on the fencing-jackets.
While Steve was doing the last button of his shirt, Rona came in with the meal:
“Here you are. I’m now dog-tired. If you need something, I’ll be in the next room. But try to manage without waking me up. Bon appetit!”
“Thanks! Good night!”
* * *
The meal was rather tasty, but there wasn’t anything that was known to Steve. The main course was some kind of saline animal meat with bitter-sweet vegetables as garnish and a cup of a sweet drink of a dark-golden color. Besides there were a salad with cheese and some vegetables resembling tomatoes. Steve ate up all this in five minutes. He couldn’t fancy how hungry he was, before he took the first bite. After the sleep and the meal Steve was ready to have a walk. He was overfilled with a longing for doing something, what must have come from the 2 days of inactive recreation. So he did what he was asked to do.
Steve put his new jacket on and stepped out of the hut under the shadows of the heart of the forest. Smells of old leaves, resin and blossom hit his nose and he breathed in deep, enjoying the chastity of the forest. There was much brushwood around the hut and Steve had soon enough to stoke the oven for over a month. He piled the brushwood up in the corner of the small backyard and took a look on the weapons lying on the table at the wall of the hut. There were two swords, one of them straight and double-edged, about a meter long, the other a katana. There were also two bows, quivers lay empty under the table. On the wall there was a crossbow hanging. The warrior-to-be took the katana and gave it a twist. Suddenly Steve felt he knew how to use this kind of weapon, though he never held a sword in his hands before. He made a step forward laying his right hand on the hilt, during the next step he drew his sword and with his third step he stroke horizontally an imaginary enemy. Then he drew the sword behind his back and stroke vertically, cleaving the imaginary enemy in two parts. With the last step Steve twisted the katana and sheathed it.
Steve heard claps behind him and turned around. He saw Rona staying in the doorway and applauding.
“I was told you have a potential, but I’ve never thought you could use a sword so easily. Have you done it before?”
“No, I haven’t. I don’t know how I did it.” – Steve wasn’t really surprised, it seemed he exhausted the limit of his astonishment for this day.
“Nobody knows, but it so: some people from your world get unusual talents here. So do you. Now, do you want to have the first lesson in sword fighting right now? I’d really enjoy training you” – the elven girl smiled when asking Steve, being eager to see what Steve can do by now and what he could learn in the nearest future.
After the three-hour training that day Steve could already fight with the sword rather well, but he had much more to learn. Rona was going to spend a week with Steve in her hut training and then move on. She couldn’t know that they would be forced to leave their shelter much earlier...
26th-28th June, 19th-21st November, 2004
To be continued...
|A day in one's life||Steve's adventure ( part II )|