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No matter what he must run on. They came persueing him, closer and nearer. A peal of trumpet, laughter echoing off the walls. What irony! Here he runs desparately between those two beautiful walls: delicate mosaic, immortalized beauty while above him was that wide empty space where clouds wonder at a leisurely pace. He thought and dreamt while he run. The fatigue would kill him soon, he thought, and it would be better if it does. For once in his life, he would welcome death rather than life.
Those creatures were right behind him now, he can taste their acrid smell, that odour of decay. "Will it ever end? He cried breathlessly, "Anything for the helping hand of divine Providence." Yet no help came, the patterned flowing robes caught up, and he saw their gleaming jewel-like eyes. Exhausted beyond measure, he falls amidst the softness of the throng's raiments.
Oh, if he would have woke up, he would have died that moment. Those creatures, delicately pale and remarkably strong, gently lift his tired body and put it on a golden bier. They carried him back through all the useless leagues he had run, and entered through the crystal gates into a brillian palace of many doors and latticed windows.
"He would not agree."
"That is only because he does not know yet."
"Why don't you just let him be, it is clear he does not want to stay here."
"What about us? Us! Why are we forced to stay here if he is cleared to leave?" One of th voices said bitterly.
"Shh..you'll wake him up."
"No I won't, even if I scream in his ear."
"What did you give him?"
"Nothing, no, not I nor anyone of my command for that matter. Don't eye me like that in such a suspicious manner, Zypheri. I swear by the Paradise yonder, I have nothing to do with it."
"What then Windmore? I know you know something." Zypheri asked, "Surely..."
"Of course I know something, I know everything in fact, every incident and accident that happens in this little realm of ours."
"Enough self-flattering, tell me now." Zypheri demanded, "Or your vain head shall soon be forcefully reattached somewhere else."
Windmore paused for a second, looked at Zypheri eyes and found it redder than would have liked.
"The dragons." He whispered, barely audible, "The dragons did it."
"How did they get involved?"
"You did not notice them?" This time, it was Windmore who is suspicious.
"No I did not, now tell me."
"Give me something."
"The position of your neck as it presently stands."
"Very well," Windmore managed to look disappointed and bored at the same time, "They saw him, and his dreams, and..."
"And what?" Zypheri demanded."
"They pitied him." Windmore's voice grew suddenly soft and fearful.
"What?!" Zypheri suddenly stood enraged, "They pitied him? Him? The dragons pitied him because they saw his dreams?" His voice was loud enough to draw the servants over in hurried quiet steps only to be dismissed by the furious wave an elegant hand. Windmore took the chance and fled.
Now there was only Zypheri and that boy in the room. He slowly walked over, paler than usual containing a controlled rage and looked intently upon that sleeping face, tear stained, though with laughter hanging near the corners of the mouth. He must had a dream, doubtless a dream of passions. Maybe it is better to sleep forever than to be forever awake in a hated life, Zypheri thought. What can he possibly dream that the dragons pitied him, this human boy, they had never interfered with their affairs before? The dragons, who valued courage and wisdom above all else, why would they desire someone to dream forever, living it seems, in a lie?
They had chosen the boy because he was unlike the others, he was more delicate, more in love with the good things in life than others. Why did he run so madly away from it when they offered it to him? Why does he wants to go back to that world of coarse things and rude people? Zypheri can remember with distant disdain of the ugly details. The boy loved no one, they would never be cruel enough to tear a dearly loved away from its bonding attachment.
They had given him a lifetime of bliss, they thought he would embrace it. They had offered him a reality, a truth most beautiful. For the first time, they were wrong. He had tried to explain it to him, but no one understood. He spoke of it in front of the council for ten minutes, but they made merry of it, a mistake. Later that night, he lowered himself out of the window with the knotted silken tapestry arrayed inside his room.
Zypheri continued his train of thought for an unknown time until a tentative voice interrupted. "The elvish ambassadors, Sir, they had arrived." Zypheri looked out of the window, and sure enough, here they came in their vibrant ballons. Two, four, six, seven, ten, twelve, why are there so many? Why can't he think without "whys"?
In the high halls, the elves awaited his presence. They were woodland elves, dwelling not far from the mountains.
"Your Serene Majesty Zypheri, we come bearing you ill news." There was a low murmuring in the court, but soon silenced as the elf continued. "As disagreeable as it sounds, the orcs have overwhelmed the High Pass and as our spies reported, certainly sought to over run the elven realms that line the shores of the Calma Lake. As before, we do not ask of you to participate which is so out of your nature, but only to give us to pass over your land unhindered." The court exploded. Clearly, they guarded their kingdom jealously, however, the elves had never abused their privilege and their request was duly granted despite the unsound arguments of new courtiers. The elves are protectors, without them, their bliss would never be.
For six months the elven warriors fought the fell hordes, the dragons joined them and hurled mighty jets into the enemies’ formation, scattering their ranks. But somehow, this time, it did not prove enough. First, the aerial advantage was lost as small, strange batlike creatures ripped across the sky, shattering the silk balloons of the elves and cutting through the wings of the dragons. They fell, into spiky swords held in gnarled hands. The dark days grew closer, and finally when all the fair kindred are slain, the orcs marched for the first time into Zypheri’s realm. The enchanted mosaic did what feeble magic it could, useless against the brute axe and black armor.
Finally they saw the crystal citadel in the distance, that place of fabled delicious riches. With greed hurrying them on, they marched even under the sunlit sky, they marched under the night. A multitude of torches was lit, and each carried it. From afar, it looked like a host of hideous fireflies.
Unpracticed skills met them, easily broken. When the first walls are broken, the boy woke for the first time in a long time, and seeing the hellish fire drawing near, gave a cry of joy and ran once again. In the flurry of the battle, no one noticed a silver blade flashing quickly to and fro, cutting through black flesh. Zypheri knew this is the end, and his old friend Windmore was beside him, fighting with a remembered skill. Yet, it will be to no avail, they were being defeated by this fiendish horde. None gave thought to the awaking boy, who suddenly appeared by their side, his face lit strangely by a radiant glow, and filled with ecstasy.
“Why are you happy now?” Zypheri asked, shocked at his appearance while Windmore warded off a blow for him.
“Glory.” He replied, quickly jumped off again into chaos.
Windmore returned to Zypheri’s side as the attack gradually abated. For a while, at least, they were free to taste the pain.
“What did he say?”
“Do you think he will live?”
“No one will, we will all be killed.” And Zypheri was right.
“It is kind of funny isn’t it? It was the dragons that gave him pure joy, not we, though we sought to. It might have been that they applauded our efforts after all, they pitied us, not him.”
“It might be. I think I’ll die thinking about it, so would you. Look, they had let out those flying claws.” In the horizon, they could see the blackness, filling the sky and approaching at an astonishing speed.
“Would you fight it Zypheri, now that all of our happiness are disappearing and doom seem inevitable?”
“Yes I would, Windmore, and the motivation would be….”
The conscious shape reality.