Saturday, 18 January 2014

Gate Keeper

Lord Marius leaned against his motorbike looking at Steve with mocking eyes.  "Are you sure you want to trade with the elfen?"
"I've done some trading already with the elfen over the last months." Steve said with false assurance.   "It's an obvious step."
"It's a dangerous step." Lord Marius smiled lazily.  "I am happy I am here to watch.  Lord Haron does not do much business outside his realm.  Why him?"
"I know he has a feast coming up, and I know he has a hoard of snake stones.  We can do business." Steve took a deep breath.  "Is this where we enter?" He looked down to the pool of water beside the country road.  "I can't see a gate."
Lord Marius could taste the uncertainty in Steve and savoured it.  "Let me tell you of this pool.  There are legends in this area about Wicked Jenny.  I was here when they started, years ago." Lord Marius loosened his leather jacket.  "It must have been at the time of the legions, before there were paladins to protect the people.  This pool was covered in waterweed, thick and clinging.  I watched a child drown here."
"You watched a child drown?" Steve asked incredulously.
"You see us elfen quite tamed and trammelled." Lord Marius sighed.  "You have protectors now but then was different..." He trailed off at the sight of Steve's face.  "I told the locals that a monster with huge green teeth had come and pulled the child beneath the water.  They believed me, of course.  So they left offerings to keep Wicked Jenny from stealing more children.  The fear and intense belief attracted one of the nature spirits and the legend became a useful fact." Lord Marius waved a hand and an apparition rose from the water.  Steve took several involuntary steps back and stared at the awful, weed draped shape with crooked, algae covered teeth that seemed to shamble onto the land .  
"Lord Marius, I did not realise that you had company." it hissed.  The monster shimmered and in its place was a young girl, about seventeen with an innocent smile and wearing cut-off shorts and a skimpy top. "I nearly got three teenagers last month, " She told Lord Marius.  "Such a shame I must behave these days, just keep the gate to Lord Haron's realm."
" Jenny, this is Steve Adderson who wishes to trade with the elfen."
"A brave man." Jenny commented "And what do you bring to trade?"
Steve waved a hand at his car.  "Fourteen kilos of white sugar, ten kilos of California raisins, seven litres of rose water and this." He shook a small pot and Jenny and Lord Marius were both suddenly transfixed.  "Edible glitter.  You may make food that sparkles!"
Without taking her eyes from the jar of green glitter, Jenny nodded.  "That is great treasure indeed.  I am sure Lord Haron will be glad to see you."

This is a story based on a prompt from Write on Edge using the prompt "Sometimes legends make reality, and become more useful than the facts." Salman Rushdie.  I also used a legend from the county where I grew up, although some distance from my old home.  You can find the Wikipedia reference here, and here and there are a lot of references in literature to this legend.   As you can tell, the faerie or elfen in my stories are bloodthirsty creatures more in keeping with older folklore and easily entranced by mortal music or sparkling things.  I have a lot of fun writing them.

I have told the story of Steven Adderson over a number of prompts, and you may find them here if you wish.  I am incredibly flattered if anyone would like to read my writing.  Thank you.  

Snakestone, or ammonite, image from stockfreeimages.com


   

18 comments:

  1. I really liked this :D I enjoy faerie stories of the darker variety.

    Only one critique, the first words that Jenny says should start a new paragraph, as there's a new speaker talking.

    Thanks for the wiki references! I have more reading to do, now...

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    1. I welcome con-crit, but while I am never going to complain but I may niggle. I know I should start the next paragraph with the words, but I am awkward and have deliberately chosen to start a new paragraph with the new speaker, rather than the new speech. I do this because I think it helps define who is speaking and makes it easier for the reader to 'go with the flow'. I can't remember where I picked up this deliberate bad habit, but at the moment I am hanging on to the hope that it makes things easier to read.

      I am glad that you enjoyed this, and thank you for the comment and the con crit - I do really appreciate it and I hope you don't mind me defending my error. LM x

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    2. Actually re-read properly the dratted thing - you are so, so, so right! I grovel for niggling! LM x

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  3. White sugar and glitter… the elfen are a bunch that would be so welcomed by my daughter :)

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    1. Thank you for commenting. I like to think of the elfen as entranced by glittery things, and I had so much fun writing this. LM x

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  4. Legends aren't teachable unless there's a gruesome component! I remember reading about Steve before--glad you brought him back!

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    1. I like my faerie gruesome! I am really flattered that you remembered Steve. I have kept his story in the side bar as I think he could still keep going. Thank you for commenting. LM x

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  5. I will go check out your other stories about Steve, as I was transfixed by this one. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Thank you for commenting. I am glad you like the story. I am hoping to turn the challenges into full chapters in the future and self publish, because I have just had so much fun! I hope the rest of the stories live up to this one! LM x

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  6. Having not read previous installments, I still found this bit interesting. I like the idea of a legend becoming reality by the mere belief in it.

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    1. I'm really glad that you like this, I'm trying to make sure that each challenge can stand alone. I can't help feel that belief ought to make things true - like wishing really hard for something! Thank you for commenting LM x

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  7. That edible glitter twist made me chuckle. Seriously scary people, and they show their weakness--and it's edible glitter! LOL

    Concrit: your POV could be stronger; when I started reading I expected to be in Steve's; then I thought we were in the faerie's POV but with the twist, it seemed to revert to Steve. Hope that helps!

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  8. Concrit - very welcome! I hadn't picked that up. Thank you for the concrit and thank for the comment - and I am glad I made you chuckle. LM x

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  9. I like how you're advancing the story. And I agree that the edible glitter is a nice touch. My concrit would be to watch the use of -ly adverbs. Every time you use one, it detracts from your writing a little bit because you're telling us instead of showing us. Use them very, very sparingly, and challenge yourself to find other ways of painting the picture. It's just something to be aware of. Other than that you did an excellent job moving the plot forward. Well done!

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    1. Thank you for the concrit. I'll keep an eye on that. I'm glad you liked the story. I am interested in seeing how things unfold, I'm discovering more each challenge. Thank you for commenting. LM x

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  10. Here is where you snagged me in a good way:
    "Lord Marius could taste the uncertainty in Steve and savoured it"
    What a fantastic line!

    Plus I am so happy you decided to use a legend that you know, knowing that and then reading it again, made it that much more interesting.

    The glitter was a great add, knowing that they are entranced by human things that mean nothing to us is like a fishing reel to catch a Shark, but it works!

    and I like how you used the Legend part of the prompt, showing us that telling a lie makes its own story.

    I liked it.

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  11. I am really glad you liked it, thank you for such a great comment. I like the idea of the elfen being caught by twinkly stuff, like magpies! I had so much fun writing this. Thank you again for the comment. LM x

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