Treason!

Then, Poxig of Excelsior got a premonition that for some reason, the orb might be in danger. He decided on a whim to bury the orb behind the graveyard in Marginalia. The stars were out, and the moon was high and round. Poxig left the company of Er. Seljuk and took a spade behind the graveyard. It was quite terrifying, even though Poxig was not superstitious, he was still very much afraid in his mind. The barn owl hooted in the distance. He could feel on his shoulders the weight of the dead who had passed through that gateway from which nobody ever returned. He buried the ORB and now sure of his safety, returned to the Inn.

As he opened the door, he saw a detachment of soldiers sneak up beside him. They pointed their halberds toward him. “Halt where you are you elvish scum!” said one of the guards. Poxig knew that he could not resist such military force.

“Where is Er. Seljuk? He will vouch for me,” shouted Poxig

But Er. Seljuk was nowhere to be found, and Poxig was at his wit’s end. The soldiers put heavy manacles on him, and led him away to the town prison.

“what have I been accused of?” asked Poxig.

“Thou hast been charged with dissembling against the king!” one police officer shouted.

“You must stand trial by noon tomorrow.”

“This is all some mistake!” said Poxig. They brought him to a clay-brick building, where a shadowy jailer with a hooded cloak stood guard nearby. He looked all around, and the suzukibs were a-chattering in the trees. They seemed to mock him and his fate. Poxig tried to focus his energies on the trial.

Staring into the void

There was a lull in Poxig’s mail the following two weeks. He looked in vain for a response to his letter, but he held out hope that he would eventually reach the ear of the king. This started a very dark time in Poxig’s career. He could no longer verify his status as a wayward soldier of fortune. In fact, he was thinking of simply going back to singing as a bard and earning his bread as an entertainer.

It became an issue once he decided that the king’s response was rather unlikely. Ought one to hold on so tightly to one’s dreams when their likelihood of occurring was so slim to none? There are some dreams that dissipate in the air, others that are forgotten after waking, and still others that have yet to be realized. Poxig had the sacred orb, but his mission still eluded him. How he wished for the time when he slew vampires with Lakfi.

He felt that there were fewer options nearer possibility. The king would probably not grant him an audience, and if not, he would have to take action. But he was not yet motivated. His brown study continued into the next week. He would need to gather multi-colored stones to assuage his feelings of failure. Different red, blue, green, and yellow ones were his moods today.

He remembered a bistro that he had eaten in in Proxima across the Sillionage mountain range. He was ready to eat his bologna and cheese sandwich which was his very favorite when a thought occurred to him. What if destiny was simply a feather in the wind, rather than a waterfall coursing into the riverbed? This he thought on his way back from Eyrrf. He had always thought that events led to a penultimate happening, but now he was beginning to doubt that philosophy.

No matter his rhetorical questions, something bothered him. What would he do if he didn’t have a mission from Releven? He would continue to ignore that possibility, and seek his fate among the wicked banshees in the Marsh cave. Perhaps there he would find a purpose beyond his own trivial preoccupations. There were things known only to Releven that he could not decipher with his limited powers of perception.

Poxig doubts his destiny, but endures.

The letter

Poxig could no longer toggle with his emotions. He had to reach the ear of the king. So he sat down and wrote a few paragraphs with all his might. (Not that he was feeling better, but that necessity implored him to try.) He sat down at the emissary’s writing table, and began to compose.

“Dear Most Glorious King Charles the First,

It is with great adulation and much fanfare that I solicit your help on a problem that besieges the kingdom of Marginalia. The imp population is swelling, and time is growing short. With each day, the ranks of Garlang’s army grows stronger. But there is a cessation to this waking nightmare, which is the arrival of the ‘light warrior.’

You may have heard of the prophecy foretold. “Four warriors will arrive, each carrying an orb.” I am one of the warriors who is to come into the world, for I bear the sacred orb. Harnessing the power of this orb can, in the hands of the right sage of wizardry, reverse the effects of the rotting of the earth, which is coming on our land due to the increase of wickedness.

Grant me the audience that I desire, and I will fight to erase this evil from Marginalia for good. I come from Elvira, but I have lived here for a long duration. I have traveled long and now return to my homeland. I am from Excelsior, the village of the jack-a-boots. Now I return home for one last mission, should I get the ear of the king.

Time is of the essence. You must accord the light warriors with their sacred mission, and thus restore the right with the people of Marginalia. Without the aid of the circle of sages, no good will come of this mission. But if we are to have their support, then even the ire of a zombie dragon would not stop our intrepid search.

Yours sincerely,

Poxig of Excelsior”

Poxig was forced to wait for the king’s reply. Each day he would wait by the river canyon and glare at the castle in hopes of reaching the king. But for now, he would have to wait. Only Er. Seljuk’s work would bring his message to light.

Only Poxig and the three heroes could conquer the wretched of the earth.

Poxig is ill

Poxig was not feeling well. Ever since he went to Er. Seljuk’s tree house, he felt ill. Fortunately, there was a bed where Poxig could recover. He knew that he had to write a letter, but he did not know how. Er. Seljuk was supposed to teach him. The emissary was convinced that Poxig was a hypochondriac.

“I’ve had a doctor come by and examine you, and there’s nothing wrong!” noted the scholar.

“My head aches, and my feet hurt, and I can’t get out of bed,” said Poxig. “At least, not today.”

“We really should get started with your letter to the king…” Seljuk noted, almost as if to himself.

“Well, it can’t happen today, because I’m sick…. Maybe tomorrow,” Poxig said while moaning.

“Take some my herbal medicine,” said Er. Seljuk. “We’ll start in the morning if you’re feeling better.”

“I feel like my head is a swarm of angry bees,” replied Poxig.

That night it was almost impossible to sleep. The clockwork owl was hooting outside, and Poxig was suffering from insomnia. He knew that he was close to his goal. But sometimes the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Poxig could not bear to lift his hand to put pen to paper, but he knew that he had to. It was a race against time, and there was no certainty that his letter would reach the king. Yet, if he didn’t get up nothing would happen.

“Time is not your ally,” said Seljuk, “The king’s next audience is soon.”

Poxig couldn’t help but believe that Releven had put this burden upon him in order to test his will. If he were to write to the king, he would need to make the most assiduous efforts to get his attention. The king had not stepped outside his chamber in 20 years. This did not inspire Poxig’s confidence that he would get an audience with the king.

However, he remembered the Latin phrase from his time with Jongleur: “Qui annuit manu fortissimum est.” He who winks has the strongest hand. He would need to play his strongest hand if ever he could reach his goal of becoming the guardian of the orb.

pox

“Je l’ecris pour votre bonheur!” 

-Andrew

Going to meet the man

Poxig had reached an impasse. He had to reach the king’s attention and be granted a royal audience in the king’s chamber. But the only way that he could get there would be to see the royal envoy, the king’s messenger Er. Seljuk. He had to leave the messier mental space in order to see the man.

He walked up to the loft where the man lived. He saw a clockwork owl floating around overhead. “Whoot hoot hoot! Who are you? ” screeched the owl. Obviously, this was some sort of machine answering service. The loft was a sort of treehouse, and there was a rope up to a landing. Inside, hopefully, he would be able to meet the king’s envoy.

Poxig did not feel like talking to a machine, so he kept quiet. He ignored the unruly bird’s mechanical cries, and ascended the ladder rope that led to Er. Seljuk’s tree house.  He made it about halfway up, and then saw Seljuk peering down at him through the trap door.

“Who goes there? Why I haven’t seen elven folk since the religious wars! Who might you be?” said a surly old man.

Poxig demurred. He wasn’t used to meeting someone vertically. He much preferred horizontal relations in general. He sat beside the clockwork owl, who was now perched on a limb.

“I have to see you. Rumor has it that you have direct access to King Charles. I have to see him with an urgent request,” Poxig intimated.

“I serve the king. But no one has been able to access the king’s inner chamber since he was locked inside some 20 years ago,” replied Seljuk.

“I must see him. I have the sacred orb that belongs to the light warriors,” Poxig returned.

“Why should I listen to you?” asked Seljuk.

“I am the son of Realto, the chosen warrior of the Elven diamond!”

“So, you are the son of Realto. You do have his likeness.”

“Then, you can tell me how to get an audience with King Charles…”

“Not with the king, but I might be able to help you reach the king’s gaze, if you are the best letter writer.”

“Any way I can get there is the best.”

That night was a sultry one in Marginalia. They talked over the details of the letter that Poxig would write in his own hand. The night turned into day as the two acquaintances sealed what would become a lasting friendship. They shook hands and then agreed to meet in the evening to discuss the next step.

 

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A revision of history

When Poxig returned home, he was surprised to meet his former childhood companions, Smeedle and Popnose, who had not moved from their house upon the dale. Of course, everyone knows that it is impossible to return to being a child, but meeting his former friends actually got him closer to doing so. Perhaps he would attain his sense of wonder again.

He couldn’t believe his luck. He was sitting in the dale beside the old manse, and Smeedle came from behind the corner. He dusted off his tunic, for he had been riding his pony and had just tied it to a tree. The man, now fully grown, recognized his childhood friend instantly.

“Poxig, is it you?” asked Smeedle.

“How do you know me?” asked Poxig.

“You old plart! What are you doing here?”

“It can’t be! Smeedle?”

“Guilty as charged!”

“Well, sir! It has been a long time.”

“Certainly. Are you staying here for long?”

“Yes, while I await the king’s reply. I have since gone on a quest of expansive proportions. But you could say that I’ve been there and back again.”

“Ah, you don’t mean king Charles? You have very little possibility of seeing the king’s face. He has locked himself in a tower since you left 20 years ago.”

Poxig hadn’t counted on such a situation to arise. He remembered Marginalia as a quiet place that was ruled by the old sages. But that time had now passed, and the country had become as lawless as a horse caught in a firestorm. They chatted like this for some time, until it grew late. The subject of conversation varied from Popnose, who had married and had 8 children, to the imp infestation, which now had begun to terrify the denizens of the small village of Excelsior, to the misty weather, for which Marginalia had always been known.

Popnose trailed behind the two as they walked down the road from Excelsior. Poxig began to feel a sense of impending doom, as it was unlikely that his missive should reach the king’s view, and this idyll with his former friends seemed to continue into oblivion. Although it was impossible to retain all of this memory that he had had with his friends, he could relive his childhood to some extent, and likewise to learn the great wisdom of the ages, that you had to become childlike in order to be able to become a light warrior.

Poxig had to leave his friends behind. After the first passing words, he found that he had hardly anything to say to either one of them. They were too enmeshed in the hackneyed ideas of fatherhood and the doldrums surrounding them; they had no place for adventure in their hearts. They looked forward to a safe bed and plenty of food, and for Smeedle and Popnose, this was the pinnacle that they aspired to. Poxig went in search of another means to reach the king’s ear. He would have to find the king’s emissary Er. Seljuk.

Poxig & SP

Poxig returns home

The dust had settled on the country road. Poxig was ambling down the road and thinking of his boyhood on these streets. Mom had long since passed away. But the mere approach of these prerequisite to glory irked him somewhat. He could no longer return to the past. Why should he try to become a child again? What was the point?

There was something in the child Gabriel that he had lost. What was Sir Binural talking about? Wasn’t it that sense of wonder? When we become adults, we no longer have awe at the mysteries of life. We think that science and philosophy explain it all. Poxig actually no longer believed in childish things, but more than that, he didn’t believe that the adventure was an end in itself.

To remember what it was like to be a child, that was the difficulty in itself. To not trivialize the struggles of the child to accept his parents’ authority, that was truly difficult. And so Poxig returned to Excelsior with trepidation, he truly did not know what to think. But in time, he would be able to seize upon his goal: to become worthy of the title of “light warrior.”

He found his childhood home to be abandoned, and the area desolate and depopulated. He tried to imagine what it might have looked like in his memory, but could not recall those pleasant hours he spent as a boy going to and fro the nearby creek. There was nothing to recommend this place, whoever had once lived there was gone. He found out the difficult truth that it is all but impossible to return to your youth.

If anything could be gleaned from this, it was that the child’s wonder must become his own. He too must allow for the adventure of his circumstances to become greater than the irrecoverable past. He would wait on the King’s reply: therein, he would find the key to the ineffable Latin phrase ” Puer magnum est.”

Poxig nearing home

Now that he had left the Gorgola woods, Poxig was nearing the border of Marginalia. He had little to his name, having bartered it all away for food to a certain little gnome. But just when he thought he was out of the woods, he saw a familiar face.

“Hiyo!” said the gnome.

He knew instantly that it was Sir Binural, who had somehow found him in  his predicament. Sir Binural had a way of doing that to his general chagrin.

“Did you see the boy?” asked the gnome.

“I did,” replied Poxig.

“I see. And the boy?” asked Sir Binural.

“We seem to have connected on a basic level. But the boy led me out of the woods in the forest of Gorgola. I actually have no idea where he went, but I assume he went home.”

“Now that you’re nearing home, do you think that there is room for childlike love in your heart?” asked Sir Binural.

“What do you mean by that?” asked Poxig.

“You have to return to Excelsior, where you will remember what it was like to be a boy,” he said, sniffing loudly. “Then, the king of Marginalia will bestow on you the quest that you are searching for.”

“I am here to restore the orbs and find the source of the earth’s rot,” said Poxig.

“I know, but only King Charles can help you. You possess only one of these sacred orbs,” returned Sir Binural.

“Simply show me the way to castle Marginalia, and I will fulfill the destiny of my god Releven.”

“But you must first return home…” said the gnome.Poxig Nearing Home

 

Gabriel the helper

Gabriel was able to guide the elf out of the wilderness of the Gorgola forest. It was a two days’ journey, but he was able to make it because of his familiarity with the woods. In fact, Gabriel had mastered martial arts, and so it was easy to fight off the remnants of Garland’s imp army. They almost had run out of food, but just at the last moment, they found a blueberry bush.

Gabriel lifted his knife into the air. “Onward!” said he. Now, it wasn’t about the amethyst. Gabriel had embarked on a new adventure, and nothing was going to spoil the fun. He asked Poxig about elves and their habits. After all, he had never encountered an elf, nor one so well-traveled as Poxig of Excelsior.

“Do elves ever laugh? I’ve never seen you laugh once!” he commented.

“We do laugh, but we elves never smile unless we mean it. We think that it is fatuous to smile if you are not happy,” said Poxig.

Gabriel asked many more questions about elves.

“Do you guys actually help Santa Claus, or is that a myth perpetuated by the commercial syndicate?”

“Actually, I’m sorry, my friend. We’ve never heard of this man,” said Poxig.

“Why do you have pointy ears?” asked Gabriel. “Are you from outer space or something?”

“If you keep asking questions like that, you’re going to get in a lot of trouble, I’m afraid,” replied Poxig.

“Say! Since you have amethyst, you must have some other type of gem. Can I see your collection?” asked Gabriel.

“I make it my business not to show anyone my valuables. It’s a bad policy that can get you robbed,” said Poxig.

Gabriel could sense the elf’s irritation, and so he decided to walk in silence for a while. He realized that he had not told his parents that he was leaving, and they would probably be looking for him.

“I should go now. Gorgola ends here. You should travel this trail to head to Marginalia.”

“Thank you, young sir. Please accept this as a debt of gratitude,” Poxig added, and handed him a pocket knife.

“Wow! Gee willakers! Thanks for this!” Gabriel could not help but smile.

“Bye!” and suddenly he disappeared into the woods.

Poxig finally understood the Latin phrase from Sir Binural: “Puer magnum est.”

Gabe1234

Poxig and the boy

Poxig encountered the worst that the woods of Gorgola had to offer. He had eaten some bad blueberries, and nausea had overtaken his senses. As for the gnome, he was nowhere to be found. But straight through the underbrush, Poxig observed an amazing sight. A young boy was there, dressed as a pretend knight.

“You there, boy!” Poxig yelled. “What’s your name?”

“I am Gabriel,” the boy replied. “And who might you be?”

“I am Poxig the elf from Marginalia,” he said. “I have been travelling for many days with no relief in sight. Do you know these woods?”

“I do!” Gabriel replied. “I was born here, and I have been wandering these woods my whole life.”

“Can you show me the way to Marginalia?” Poxig asked.

“Of course! But you have to give me something in return,” said the boy.

“Name anything!” Poxig said out of desperation.

“You must bring me an amethyst for my rock collection,” he said.

Poxig had no amethyst to speak of. But he took out a purple bauble from his belt, one that he had acquired from a gift shop in Eyrrf, which was made of glass.

“Here is the amethyst that you desire,” Poxig said.

The boy could not contain his excitement. “Give it here!” he said.

Poxig had fooled the boy. If it had not been for the gnomic pronouncement, he would not have trusted Gabriel. The boy merrily showed him the trail that would lead him back to Marginalia. Poxig could only think of the Latin phrase he had heard from Sir Binural: mirabile dictu. 

“What does that mean?” asked Gabriel.

“Wonderful to relate…” replied the relieved elf.

Poxig & Gabriel