Maxwell Grantly

Magical stories from an independent author

Archive for the month “September, 2012”

The Journey Home

Kira the Wolf

(Note: This story was written for a Second Life script reader story-teller that is designed to read separate lines at 10 second intervals. So, please excuse the fact that each sentence is on a unique line and no one line exceeds 256 characters in length.)

The elven trio set off from the Southern Oracle on their long trek home and soon they had left the Valley of the Wolves behind them.

“It’s late afternoon and we must hurry,” announced Maxwell anxiously, “We have a long journey ahead.”

As he spoke, a double clap of thunder rang out across the darkening skies and the first of a multitude of tiny raindrops began to fall.

“Did you hear a cry of help?” asked Kris with an air of alarm, pricking his ears up to catch the very faintest unspoken sounds.

The two other elves both shook their heads in disbelief and continued with their long journey home.

“I think we’re heading into a storm,” Skippy announced with apprehension and, as he spoke, tiny raindrops fell upon his face and trickled into his mouth.

“The rain tastes salty!” he exclaimed with an astonished cry to his brothers, “Something’s wrong!”

“I’m sure I heard an unspoken cry of help,” Kris repeated and he held out his hand to catch the falling raindrops.

Maxwell did the same and the two of them raised their hands simultaneously to their mouths to taste the fallen rain.

“You’re right!” they both exclaimed together, “This rain is salty. Something’s very wrong indeed!”

The three elves turned back towards the Valley of the Wolves and quickly followed their steps, from back where they had once came.

With a heightening sense of alarm, they traced their path into a shaded wooded area to discover four large sinister-looking men standing over two grey limp masses.

As they stepped closer, they made out that the two grey shapes were the dead corpses of two adult wolves; one male and one female.

The four men looked up together at the approaching elves and one of them gave a warning shout.

“Beware! Stand Back!” he called out, “There are dangerous wolves in these woods. This pair nearly killed us all!”

The three elves surveyed the wooded area to see the four men hovering suspiciously over two dead wolves, their guns propped up on a nearby tree.

“You cowardly thugs!” Kris yelled out in anger, ”You liars! Those wolves didn’t attack you!”

It was obvious to Kris, who could hear the unspoken word, that the men were deceitful and could not be trusted.

One of the men turned and reached for one of the guns that was propped vertically against the tree while a second rushed forward and grabbed Kris firmly by his shoulders.

In anger, remembering his elven oath, Maxwell screamed an ancient elven spell and waved his hands in the air.

As he did so, a vine sprung from the tree and wrapped itself around the four guns, securing them firmly against the tree.

Skippy followed suit and called another olden spell. A nettle sprung from the ground and whipped its serrated leaves across the face of Kris’s adversary.

With a painful shout the man released his grip on Kris and dropped him to the ground with a thud.

The remaining three men closed in, formed ranks and ran towards Maxwell and Skippy, clenching their fists threateningly and menacingly.

Kris stood up, raised his hands in the air with an air of authority and called upon the trees using an enchanted magical charm.

The ancient trees creaked and groaned and bent their branches down to the ground, shedding their leaves and exposing their bare harsh brushwood surfaces.

With a defiant slash, the trees whipped their branches firmly across the buttocks of the hunters, causing them to scream in pain.

The four men looked around with disbelief at the swaying branches of the trees and again, the branches slashed through the air, to flog them again and again.

With a scream of wild panic the four men turned on their heels and ran in disorganized retreat away from the scene leaving the three elves safe in the security of the woods.

Kris, Maxwell and Kris looked reassuringly at one another and then down to the ground at the dead bodies of the two wolves.

“We can’t leave such noble beasts here in the woods,” sighed Kris with great sadness, “It would be such a disrespectful way to treat such a magnificent animal.”

The other two elves nodded in unison and the three of them searched the woods together, searching for falling logs and branches with which to build a funeral pyre.

Within hours they had gathered sufficient timber and they built one large pyre on which to place the two dead bodies.

The afternoon was turning into night and the sun gracefully bowed its head below the distant horizon; the first shafts of darkness crept into the wooded glade.

Then, with great respect and reverence, the three elves dragged the first body (the male) onto the timber mound and carefully arranged his limbs spread-eagled across the wood.

As the three elves returned for the second corpse, the body of the female, Skippy gave an astonished yelp and pointed down at the dead grey mass of fur.

“I’m sure I saw something move!” he cried out in excitement and pointed down to the underside of the carcass.

There, hiding in the folds of the fur was a tiny wolf cub, barely a few days old.

Kris removed his cloak, bent over and carefully scooped the tiny creature lovingly into his arms.

He stroked its head with great affection and a tear welded up in the eyes of each of the trio – there was no way that they could leave this vulnerable creature alone in the woods to fend for itself.

Delicately and with great care, Kris wrapped the wolf cub in the soft warm folds of his cloak and then the three of them continued with the respectful cremation of its two parents.

Finally, the three elves sat at the edge of the pyre as Kris held the bundled wolf treasure securely and tenderly in his arms.

As the flames of the pyre sprang and danced into the darkened woodland air, tiny orange sparks flew up and danced in the swirling smoke.

The twirling eddies of smoke carried the glowing orange cinders into the night sky and they vanished within the thousands of twinkling stars.

As the rites determined them to do so, Skippy played a haunting dirge upon his flute, Maxwell sung the words of a sorrowful lament and Kris spoke the words of a deeply moving eulogy.

They had shown the proper respect to the passing of two great noble beasts and had performed the due rites with correct reverence and honour.

The Thousand twinkled in the blackened nighttime sky, looked down at the three elves with the sleeping wolf cub and bestowed a silent nighttime blessing on them all.

Tomorrow the three elves would finish their journey home but they also now had the responsibility to care and nurture the tiny wolf cub too.

Kris’s special gift has proven its worth twice that day and the three elves knew that the power to hear the unspoken word should never be underestimated.

The Search for Kris’s Gift (Part 5)

The sun begun to set and it was becoming darker as the three elves stepped forward into the temple Southern Oracle with a sense of joyous relief. It had been a long and treacherous journey but, after many trials and tribulations, they had finally arrived at their destination. At the far end of the temple, nobly and alone, sat a single lone she-wolf, wearing a splendid and colourful Japanese mask, a pure ceramic white mask etched with bold red and black markings. This was The Southern Oracle. On her right, lay a single crystal of translation upon the bare surface of the floor.

Kris, Maxwell and Skippy stepped forward with trepidation. Despite being very attractive, the Japanese mask made them apprehensive and doubtful as to her true identity and they hesitated in their final steps towards the Southern Oracle.

The Southern Oracle greeted the three elves with a welcoming blink of her eye through a hole in the mask and then carefully and precisely she softly growled a wolfish salutation.

“And how might I help you?” she asked with a soft and friendly canine growl.

As she spoke, the crystal glimmered and sparkled, throwing it’s light onto the darkened interior walls of the temple, causing a multitude of dancing shadows to etch themselves into its nighttime walls.

“We’ve tr-travelled from the Northern Forests to ask you a qu-question,”  stammered Maxwell, afeared from the solemnity of the occasion.

The Southern Oracle smiled softly and her eyes sparkled in the light of the glowing crystal. She bowed her masked head respectfully and nudged it gently into the chest of Maxwell.

“Have you anything to fear from me?” she asked warmly and comfortingly.

She tenderly raised her masked head, looked into the elf’s eyes and brushed her tail affectionately across his face. It was evidently clear that the Southern Oracle was a warm and gentle creature and that she was as placid as the soft breeze that tenderly stroked the rustling leaves upon the trees outside.

“Of course not, we can trust you totally and utterly” said Kris; for he had, up to then, been reading the unspoken cues that the Southern Oracle had given them all, “Please excuse our hesitancy for it is the first time we have travelled to these parts.”

Skippy interjected with his youthful energy, “We’ve come to find Kris’s gift. We have travelled many miles, across snows and plains, through winds and swamps to find you. Can you tell us what Kris’s gift is?”

The Southern Oracle turned towards the smallest of the three elves and spoke with soft dulcet tones.

“How did you know where I live? she asked the small elf.

Skippy thought back to the start of the journey and answered, “We asked one of Santa’s reindeer.”

“But how did you know which reindeer to ask?” questioned the Southern Oracle.

“It was me,” interjected Kris, “I spotted the unspoken word that told me which one we should trust.”

“… and then we arrived at the Plains of Loneliness …” added Maxwell, “… and we had to survive the three winds in order to pass through the gate.”

“But how did you know how to survive the three winds?” questioned the Southern Oracle.

“It was me,” replied Kris, “I spotted the unspoken word that told me we should rally ourselves with stories, music and chants.”

“ … and finally we crossed the swamps and solved the riddle of the Guardians of the Gate.” concluded Skippy.

“But how did you know the answer to the riddle?” quizzed the Southern Oracle.

“It was me,” replied Kris, “I spotted the unspoken word that told me the two wolves had swapped positions.”

“And so, my precious one,” concluded the Southern Oracle, looking directly into the face of Kris, “what do you think is your gift?”

Kris thought for a few seconds and pondered upon his words.

“Do you think it is that I can hear the unspoken word?” he wondered aloud.

“Is that what you think?” asked the Southern Oracle, gazing through her mask into the eyes of Kris and touching his very soul with her glance, “Is that what you think?”

The three elves looked at the Southern Oracle and then to each other. Their eyes widened and their jaws dropped.

“You can hear the unspoken word,” said both Maxwell and Skippy with astonishment. “That is your gift.”

The three elves smiled contentedly and their eyes began to sparkle with the realization of what they had discovered. Kris was a Listener. He had the gift to hear the unspoken word; the unspoken word that could not falsified or untrue but one which was exact and just. Kris was indeed a Listener.

The Southern Oracle raised a paw to her face and with a very slight twist; she removed the coloured Japanese mask from her face. The three elves looked respectfully and carefully at the exposed face of the she-wolf before them – she was indeed a very attractive creature, despite being of advancing years. The Southern Oracle took the mask and passed it to the hand of Kris with a knowing wink of her eye.

“I am Lupus the Wolf, the Southern Oracle,” she announced proudly and stately to the three elves, “Please accept this mask as a gift from me to remember your visit to my temple. Kris the Listener – you have a wise, a special and a wondrous gift. Use it carefully and respectfully with those whom you meet. May this mask remind you that, despite the best efforts from some people to hide their words, their thoughts their deeds, if you look carefully and use your gift wisely you are able to hear the unspoken word and you can look deep into the very souls of those around you.”

With that, Lupus the Wolf, the Southern Oracle flicked her tail and she evaporated into the air with a cascade of simmering sparkling lights that hovered in the space where once she had occupied. The lights gently twinkled and one-by-one they extinguished themselves gently to be replaced by a corresponding set of twinkling lights in the night sky above. The three elves looked up at the southern skies and made out the faint twinkling stars in the constellation of Lupus the Wolf.

“You’re Kris the Listener” said Maxwell and Skippy together. “It’s late and we ought be making our way home.”

With that one small star in Lupus the Wolf winked its eye and a faint chuckling sound could be heard reverberating across the nighttime sky. Kris the Listener held the mask tightly in his hand and looked up to the darkened southern skies.

“Good night Lupus and thank you,” he whispered and, with that, he turned to join his brothers on their long trek home, away from the Southern Oracle in the Valley of the Wolves.

The Search for Kris’s Gift (Part 4)

The elven trio turned their backs to the Swamps of Sadness and continued their way with heavy weary footsteps along a dusty path that led to an arch in the distance. The sun drenched their backs and caused the powered surface of the baked path to throw up small swirls of dust with every footstep. Still onwards they trekked, step-by-step, until the arch of the gates came into clear focus and the silhouettes of two large wolves were made out, standing on either side of the entrance, like a pair of military sentries. One of the wolves was standing upon a stone on the left and the other was standing on the opposite side, on the right.

The three elves knew, from ancient elven folklore that the Gates to the Southern Oracle were guarded by two beings, the Guardians of the Gate, and they then realized that these guardians were the wolves that stood before them now. The one upon the stone, raised its head nobely  towards the three visitors and greeted them with a growl, by means of a translation crystal that laid resting upon the ground.

“Stop and identify yourselves, visitors to the Southern Oracle,” he snared between his clenched teeth, “I am Dyrth, The First Guardian of the Gate.”

“I am Sylumn, The Second Guardian of the Gate,” growled the second wolf, “And who may you three be?”

Kris, the eldest of the three approached first. He raised a flat empty palm as a gesture of peaceful welcome and hesitantly replied to the two wolves.

“I am Kris, an elf from the Northern Forests, and these are my two brothers, Maxwell the Whisperer and Skippy the Weaver. We have trekked through icy lands, The Plains of Loneliness and the Swamps of Sadness to get to the Southern Oracle. We need to ask a question, if you would be so good as to let us pass,” he replied with a hesitant tone.

“No one passes these gates without our consent,” growled Dyrth, standing erect and proud upon his stone “for we are the eternal guardians and it is our duty to protect her with our lives.”

“The Southern Oracle is a woman?” interrupted Skippy with a confused tone.

Sylumn turned his head slowly and powerfully, like a grinding millstone, towards the youngest elf and a faint grin spread across his wolfish face. He raised his head, chuckled to himself and howled upwards towards the skies. As he did so, the translation crystals glowed and shimmered with a cascade of a thousand dancing rainbows.

“She is no human woman,” Dyrth laughed, “You elves have so much to learn about this world and the legends of the Southern Mountains. The Southern Oracle is a she-wolf and has lived in these parts since the First Rift in the Great Peaks, that formed both North and South.”

The three elves nodded as one accord and understood his words. The ancient tales that they had heard in their youth resonated in their unconsciousness and they began to make sense of what lay before them.

Maxwell interjected impatiently, “So how do we gain your consent and pass the gates to see her?”

Both Dyrth and Sylumn turn to the middle elf and each of them pushed a single pebble through the dry earth with their paws. The pebble left a slight grove in the dry powdery earth and rested snuggly in the dust at the end at the end of the trail. As they did so, the two wolves spoke in unison as one.

“The arrival at the right destination only proves that the journey was a valid and just one,” they both growled together. “To pass the gates you must first answer our riddle.”

The youngest elf, Skippy, looked at Dryth, the first guardian upon the stone.

“And what is the riddle?” he asked with an inquisitive tone.

Dryth turned to the smallest elf and snarled between his clenched teeth, like a chained beast, “That is for you to find, my little fellow?”

“But …” asked Maxwell, “… how can we solve a riddle if we don’t know what the riddle is?”

Sylumn pushed his paw into the dry earth and kicked it up, creating a small cloud of dry dust that evaporated into the air.

“We did not say that the entry to the Southern Oracle would be an easy one,” he answered. “Many have gotten this far and have failed to pass these gates.”

Skippy looked down with confusion at the two pebbles that laid in the dust.

“Are these part of the riddle?” he asked aloud, desperately searching for clues and hints in any answer that the wolves may provide.

“The arrival at the right destination only proves that the journey was a valid and just one,” they both repeated together. “To pass the gates you must first answer our riddle.”

Maxwell studied the two pebbles and wondered upon the words of the guardian wolves.

“Does the shape of the pebble help us answer the riddle?” he asked, for he was completely baffled by the riddle and how to solve it.

“The arrival at the right destination only proves that the …” repeated the two wolves again.

But before they had a chance to continue, Kris stepped forward and yelped with excitement.

“I have it!” he cried with elated tones, “I have it! May you two wolves please swap places? Dyrth please step off your tone and take your rightful place as the Second Guardian. Sylumn, please take your position upon the stone, as the First Guardian to the Southern Oracle.”

The two remaining elves looked at their elder brother with complete bewilderment and confusion.

“What do you mean, Kris?” stammered Maxwell with bafflement and disorientation. “What is this all about?”

Kris turned to his two brothers and gave them a knowing smile, full of compassion and understanding.

“It is a trick and that is their puzzle.” he began to explain, “The two guardians have simply swapped places before we had arrived and the solution to their puzzle was to understand this.”

“But how do you know?” interjected Skippy with a disorientated tone to his question, “What makes you think this?”

Kris pointed to the two wolves, one-by-one, and began his reply.

“I spotted the flickered of the whisker, the tremble if the paw, the turn of the tip of the tail and the quiver of the lip. All these subtle clues are the unspoken words that told me that Sylumn is the dominant and more powerful wolf and Dryth is his underling.” he explained in triumphantly. “Always listen to the unspoken sounds for the words that are spoken can often be false and untrue but the unspoken word is always correct and the one to be believed.”

The two wolves bowed their heads in respect towards Kris and Sylumn took his position upon the stone whilst Dryth stepped down and crossed the path to the opposite side. When each wolf had taken their rightful position, they bowed their heads and nodded again and ushered the three elves through the gate with due reverence.

“Remember,” they both said in parting, “The arrival at the right destination only proves that the journey was a valid and just one.”

The three elves paced through the gates with lengthening stride, for they were eager to complete their quest.

“Thank you Sylumn and Dryth” they called back and then they turned to complete their final steps. Their words echoed and danced back along the winding path towards the two wolves. They had arrived at the Southern Oracle and in a few moments they would discover the true identity of Kris’s gift.

The Search for Kris’s Gift (Part 3)

The Crossing of the Swamp of Sadness

The three elves hunt around the inside and outside of a deserted house, for clues on how to pass through the Swamp of Sadness. Skippy finds a spider web in the corner of the house and it inspires him to tell his brothers that they ought to head out into the swamps. However, as they start, the three elves soon start to sink and move very slowly, feeling great sadness.

Kris looks up and reads the land and the sky. He sees some eagles flying overhead. Maxwell tells his two brothers that they need to head towards the eagles so that he can speak with them to find a way across the swamp.

Ultimately, the three elves reach the eagles and are told that, in order to get out of the swamp, they must stop walking through the sadness; the more they walk and stay in the swamps the sadder they will become. The eagles tell the elves to write what whatever makes them feel sad and let the sadness go.

Kris, Skippy and Maxwell hold their papers up high in the air. The eagles take the papers and the sadness high into the sun to burn them up.

The three elves can now cross the swamp safely and soon reach the far side.

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