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Robert Sj÷blom

"Lesson 1: Happiness" by Robert Sj÷blom

SciFi/Fantasy text 6 out of 9 by Robert Sj÷blom.      ←Previous - Next→
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Just a little something I began to write. Outline is more or less finished
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←- Last day of the old ways | Darkness within -→
Lesson 1: Life

"Ah, what a glorious day!" I thought, as I slowly strolled through the forest. The leaves had just turned green, the new spring had arrived. Sunlight shone through, creating golden spears of light, illuminating the dust-specks, making them look as though stars moving slowly through a green infinity. Small birds above my head flittered around, curious at this human, this human that seemed to be so calm, so happy. Breathing in the fresh air, I hummed on a song I had heard the day before, at the king's court. A song about two lovers, lost to each other, lost to the world, far away from salvation. I didn't hear the entire song, though, since it was interrupted by a messenger, demanding the king's, and mine, attention. But that was yesterday. Today was a new day, a new beginning. Soft whispers in the leaves called for my attention, as the wind slowly made it's way through the forest, as if following me. The moss was green and soft, and I hardly made a sound as I walked there. A world within a world, a world of peace. Then I heard it. A soft sound, as water being disturbed by something. It wasn't anything out of the ordinary, yet I decided to investigate it, maybe because of curiosity, but it could as well be that my mind called for attention, demanding me to go there, as if fate itself had taken an interest in my actions. What I saw surprised me, astonished me, even.

A woman, sleeping beside a pond. Small, slender and dark-haired. And naked, I noticed after a second or two. After my mind had noticed all this, I noticed the wound. Red blood, flowing out of a deep gash across her left thigh, making the moss beneath her looking rusty brown. I rushed to her side, and saw that she was, indeed, not sleeping. She was unconcious, her breath ragged, her hair in a mess. I looked at the wound, all the while ignoring her more private parts. It was deep, but clean. Without thinking I took the knife at my belt, unfasted my cloak, and cut it down to manageable pieces, so I could bandage the wound. As I did, she began moving, and I spoke to her, in a soft, gentle voice. Words of comfort, of caring, and she once again became still. As I finished bandaging the wound I looked at her face, and our eyes met. Green eyes, golden specks making them look feral. And I saw that she was afraid. I took of my tunic, and handed it to her. Since I was taller than she, it would cover her quite well, but her thighs would still be visible. Alas, I would've handed her my pants, but common sense made me keep them on. She tried moving, but groaned out of pain, and I hushed at her, trying to keep her still. Yet she refused, and sat up. I turned my back on her, and I heard her pull the tunic over her head. Then I felt a soft touch on my shoulder, and, looking up, saw her standing beside me, looking at me. A soft smile touched her face, and it was as if I saw the sun coming across it. Ah, the beauty. Only thinking about it makes me happy.
"Ae'ts, doan ki." She said, her voice ragged, her breath deep. I noticed she had trouble standing up, but as she said those words my mind completely blanked out. She was speaking the language of the elves. Elves. The race that supposedly left this continent generations ago, taking with them their art and their craft, their techniques and their homes. The only thing left after them was their language, a language that had been studied for decades. Humans had first come across elves several thousand years ago, and, as is normal for humans, had immediately waged war upon them. The elves sent emmissaries and diplomats, trying to make peace, but our leader back then had been nothing short of a blundering, blabbing moron, hardly able to think of more than one thing at a time, and had swiftly killed them all. Ah, such a sad past we created, through our own foolishness and greed.

We didn't have scribes back then, since we weren't advanced enough to be able to write, but our runestones told us the story, in pieces and parts. The war had been a long one, with humans on the losing side. Then one day, a new leader among us emerged, uniting us and actually contacting the elves, offering them peace. After a few more years of war, the elves accepted the offer, and we began licking our wounds. Legends claim that the humans had been decimated, only a few clans emerging strong enough out of the war to actually be able to survive. But we adapted, and soon cities sprung up, as the clans began trading with each other. After a few generations the elves came to us, offering us knowledge of the written word, how to make pergament, how to work iron. They offered us knowledge, and we accepted it. We became stronger, and at the same time greedier. The peace held, though. The elves began trading with us, not much, but a little at a time. And thus it came to be. The alliance between elves and humans were created, but it took a long, long time. Several hundred years passed before the elves could trust us. Suffice to say, both races got something from the alliance. We were allowed to take trees, if they had died or fallen because of a storm, they could acquire items and materials that we had gotten through our vast trading network. The humans had created a nation without realising it. Religious activities sprung up, naturally, sects and cults too. Yet we managed to move forward at an astonishing rate, inventing things, learning things from nature. The few dissonant voices back then didn't have much to say, since the future was indeed a bright one. There's never a point in whining about how good things are, and how back in the old days things were much harder, more difficult.

But this woman spoke the language of the elves, a language that had been dead for a hundred years or more, which only true scholars spoke. Having been educated in the language, I translated it to "Thank you, kind one." I stuttered as I replied that it was the obvious thing to do. She looked at me, curiousity shining in her brown eyes, perhaps wondering why I could speak the language. She got something dreamy in her eyes, and suddenly she collapsed. She was unconcious before she hit the ground. I placed her beneath a tree, and began to look around for some herbs to use. Finding Wood's Bane would help, but it was a rare herb, seldom found. And I doubted I'd find any here, since all the trees in this area was healthy. I had to settle for a weaker herb, related to Wood's Bane. Finding it proved to be easy, since we were near a pond. I looked around, and found a small rock, the size of my fist. Grey with spots of white and black. It would have to do, I decided, and slowly called on my powers. The lesser educated called my powers magic, but I didn't think of it as such. Magic, in my eyes, was the passing of a day, the golden light of the sun, the seasons, the wind. Murmuring arcane words of dread and decay, I slowly formed the stone to a crude-looking container, enough to hold a mouthful of water. I disliked using my powers, since they left a bad taste in my mind, a taste of death, a smell almost like the soft smell of a newly-dug grave. It was foul knowledge, and people in general thought badly of it. Using the powers were strictly forbidden, mainly because of incidents that had happened in the past. A necromancer once turned an entire city into a grave, people died by the score, and was turned into zombies. A city of the undead. And all because of a single mistake. People were hunted if they were using the power. I had kept my powers hidden, of course, and I never used them, unless forced to by circumstance.
Filling the cup with water, I heated it until it steamed, and crushed the herb. Leaving it be, I sat down a few meters away from the woman, and waited.

When she woke up, a few hours later, I gave her the cup and told her to drink, which she hesitantly did. I could see the effect almost immediately. Her face regained its color, her eyes shone brighter, and her breath became calmer. She looked at me.
"Why did you save me?" She asked, eyes avoiding mine, voice trembling.
"It was the natural thing to do. A life is a life, and should be treated with respect." I said, unsure why she wondered such a thing.
"But you don't know me. How could you know that I'm worth saving? That I deserve to be saved..."
"Everyone deserves to be saved. That's a basic principle of life. Besides, wouldn't you do the same thing, were the roles reversed?" My confidence grew as I noticed that I was able to speak the language quite well.
"No. I wouldn't." She said, and looked at me. I could see that she spoke the truth. A soft wind rustled the leaves above us, and the sun was setting. Several hours had gone since I first found her by the pond.
"Oh. Right." I said, dumbfounded. "Why not?"
She hesitated, but eventually answered. "Because I was thaught that a person who cannot stand his own deserves nothing but death. A weak person can't survive on their own."
How odd. The legends about the elves were clearly wrong on several parts. Elves were said to be tall, with blonde hair and blue eyes, kind to nature and everyone. Everything the legends said had thus far proved wrong.
"Every living thing has a purpose with their life, so do you. I don't care about weakness or strength, and I'd do the same thing if I saw a bandit, wounded and bleeding." The word I had used, "bandit" wasn't really a true translation. It had a deeper meaning, the translation would probably be more "a creature of evil".
"Bah! You speak nonsense. But none-the-less, I thank you. Now, I must leave, I need to speak with the king."
"The king?" I asked, intrigued.
"Yes. The king. The human king." She pronounced the words carefully, as if I had trouble understanding her.
"I can take you to him." I said. She raised an eyebrow, as if doubting me.
"I saved your life. Had I wanted to do something to you, I'd done it without you not standing a chance." I said, irritated at her behaviour.
She shrugged, and then gestured that I'd lead the way. Thus it became that I entered the city with a short, dark-haired, half-naked woman. Late at night. "Oh, wouldn't the kitchen matron gossip about this?" I thought.

Getting through the guards at the keep proved to be no problem. Well, no major problem, anyway. They dragged on about not letting strangers into the keep late at night, and so on, all the while staring at the woman. Who could blame them, really? Making a beeline across the courtyard, we entered the kitchen, where the matron stood, looking angry as always. She noticed me, and headed my way. Then she noticed the woman. Eyeing me, then eyeing her, then looking straight at me, her mouth tightened.
"I need some clothes for the woman." I said.
"I can sure see that!" She said, and laughed.
Waving of my attempt at trying to explain it, she gestured for us to follow her.

After getting the woman some clothes, the matron eyed me. "I want to know all the details, you get that? And you know what? You owe me." Flashing a smile towards me, she trundled off towards the kitchen, leaving me with an elf who wanted to speak to the king. Chances were that he wasn't even awake at this ungodly hour.

Alas, yet again I was to be proved wrong.
But the evening has turned to night, and it's time for you to head to bed. Me? I don't need to sleep any more. I'll continue the story tomorrow evening, if you're still interested.

←- Last day of the old ways | Darkness within -→

27 Mar 2004:-) Jamie Foley
Enjoyed your story. It had a refreshing quality to it, and the descriptions were well drawn-out and thoughtful. I do, however, have a few comments. Hope you'll take them constructively.

1. Writing: I noticed a few things on your writing. First, you use the word 'and' to begin a sentence. This can be either a very strong method, or a very weak one. I think perhaps you've ended up with the latter in this case-perhaps you want to look at the previous sentence to help that? Also, there were a few changes in tenses (was/were) that should be addressed. Also, you have a lovely length to your sentences, and I think you would benefit a great deal by reading several pieces by Henry James. He is quite difficult to move through, however in doing so it may indeed strengthen your writing a great deal -- or at least teach you more than you want to know about commans, semi-collins, etc.

2. When you write your history portion I found that at some points you seemed extremely objective while at others you were subjective. Because you are telling the reader and not another character, perhaps you should simply portray it truthfully and input opinions on it in character conversation? Then we wouldn't be biased and could take the story more open-mindedly.

3. I don't know what 'pergament' is...perhaps you meant parchment?

4. You never mention what happens to the elves at the end of your history. If the language is dead and they left, perhaps you want to briefly mention when it happened? would make it less confusing.

5. Two last things. You mention that the elf isn't at all what your character imagined they would be...sounds like you are trying to get away from the cliche, but it actually becomes rather cliche by saying something like that. Perhaps let the reader draw their own opinions? And also, near the end your character takes the elf to the King...should he really be so trusting? I would feel that it shouldn't be the elf that is cautious at that point but rather your character. Afterall, you're placing a stranger before your soveriegn!

That's it, and I hope you didn't think I didn't enjoy readig your story. If I really didn't like it, I would never have read to the end. =) Good luck in the future!

:-) Robert Sj÷blom replies: "Woo~ A constructive comment! Rare they are, yet I applaud every one of them! I cherish them, I hold them, I... Ok, I appreciate them, at least.The "and" problem is part of my writing, actually. I make the same mistake in swedish, and I'm trying to re-learn how to use it properly. That brings us to the next issue10ergament, as you noticed, isn't an english word, it's a swedish word (whoops), and actually means "parchment". (heh, a little education along the way, as well 12 )The history portion will probably be rewritten, when I find the time for it. While the history won't change, the view on it will.What happened to the elves will be answered in a chapter (#3 is my educated guess, but eh...)About the clichÚ: Your point is valid, and I'm seriously embarrassed about that. 2Taking an unarmed woman to speak in front of the king wouldn't be that big an issue, I'd say, since he does have guards. And besides, what can a lone woman do? 12Thanks for the comment, I appreciated it!"
27 Mar 200445 Melissa <echoes52@hot...com&g
What are you talking about? It's not bedtime! I just got up!! And I would like you to continue the story. ^__^ Please? It's really a very good one.
27 Mar 2004:-) Greg P. Nelson
I agree with above poster, I wanna read more!

:-) Robert Sj÷blom replies: "There *is* more to come. I'll drop a comment in yer shelf when the 2nd chapter is uploaded. XD"
27 Mar 2004:-) Ray Valen
Lone Typo Discovered!;
"Because I was ***thaught*** that a person who cannot stand his own deserves nothing but death. A weak person can't survive on their own."

This story has such a simple clear quality to it. Nothing confusing, nothing hard to understand.
This means that you have a writing style suggesting you have a clear view of what is happening, imprting that into the story.

I noticed something. It says the story is called 'Lesson 1:Happiness'
While other places it is called 'Lesson 1:Life'

Ah, the tale with an alternating name...

Anyway. I am still interested. I suspect there is more to come?
(Oh, and fun ending!)

:-) Robert Sj÷blom replies: "Personally I didn't like the ending, but I couldn't continue writing chapter 1 like that. It got out of hands. Thanks for the typo alert. The alternate name is a mistake, actually. The whole collection of chapters will be named "Lessons of Life" or something like that (very clichÚ, I know, I know XD), but I think I'll reconsider that."
27 Mar 200445 Jenna
I'm still interested.

:-) Robert Sj÷blom replies: "In what? XD I get ya, I get ya, I'll put up chapter 2 when I get the time..."
27 Mar 200445 Anonymous
Nice story! Does it continue?

:-) Robert Sj÷blom replies: "Yes, it does. When I get the time for re-writing the second chapter."
28 Mar 2004:-) Simi Landau *Muffin Queen*
Very nice, I like the narrative. Keep it up, congrats on Mod's Choice!
~Muffin Queen

:-) Robert Sj÷blom replies: "Thank you!"
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'Lesson 1: Happiness':
 • Created by: :-) Robert Sj÷blom
 • Copyright: ©Robert Sj÷blom. All rights reserved!

 • Keywords: Elf, Elves, King, Magic, Magician, Scribe
 • Categories: Elf / Elves, Magic and Sorcery, Spells, etc., Romance, Emotion, Love, Royalty, Kings, Princes, Princesses, etc
Modpick •  Mod Pick at: 2004-03-27 09:28:23
 • Views: 945

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