Maxwell Grantly

Magical stories from an independent author

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.

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3 thoughts on “The Search for Kris’s Gift (Part 5)

  1. thisboysslife on said:

    I’m at a loss for words. You write so well, brother.
    What a journey the three of us have shared, and now we know Kris’ gift. But I guess we knew it all along.
    And now we have another constellation to look towards during our nights when we’re both together and when we’re apart. Thank you for that.
    Thank you both Maxwell and Kris for our life.

  2. thisboysslife on said:

    Also, I love the way you presented the images in this chapter.
    Such an inspiring story and storyteller. Thank you for documenting our adventures, Maxwell.

  3. I had a bit of a problem with the three recollection images. I wanted to make the three recount pictures seem dreamy and I did this by adding a blur to the edge of a sepia reprint. Sadly, the second of these (where we are camping at night in the Lonely Plains) was so dark that it would not show. Ah well!

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