A Faerie Tale: Ice-Cream


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7. Explanations, explanations

It was a good thing he was sitting down because at that moment Bill felt as though, if he was standing up, he would have collapsed. You must save the world. The words kept swimming into view in his mind. He could almost feel the collective weight of every living thing in the world – every world in fact – pressing down on his shoulders, threatening to crush him. “ Me? What good would I be? I fly planes; I don’t lead armies.”

“Not now but you will. When the time comes and the worlds are at war you will lead an army. We have time; time to teach you, to train you; time to make you into the greatest leader man-kind has ever seen, and you will not be alone: we will be there, as will your friend…”

“Ben!” Bill exclaimed. “Where is he? How is he? Is he here? I demand that you take me to him!” Bill jumped off the altar.

“He is not here.” Bill sat back down on the altar. “He is still in your world. Shortly after you left he was apprehended by the police. Thankfully…” Senex said quickly before Bill had the chance to interrupt him. “We were able to… convince them to release him fairly swiftly and he is now preparing for your return to Earth. However you must not concern yourself about that just yet: we have many other things to discuss before then.”

“O… K… then.” He pinched the bridge of his nose again. “Well at least he’s alright.” Just then he remembered something. “That thing in the rubble; just before I came here: what was it?”

Senex floated over to the head of the altar; Bill turned around and for the first time he saw it properly: rising about three feet from the pure white stone of the altar was an elaborate carving – made of the same ochre metal as the shields on the door – which resembled a mass of strange plants, stems intertwined, and at the top sat the item he had seen, perched inside a silver nest. It was a golden orb – perfectly round – covered with a halo of multi-coloured light. Senex picked it up and brought it over to Bill. On closer inspection he could see that the multi-coloured lights formed ever-changing images – like second-long snippets of hundreds of thousands of films being shown one after the other. In these images he saw a multitude of different creatures, plants, buildings, things he couldn’t even name; some recognisable, most completely alien.

“They are images from all across the many worlds.” Bill snapped out of the trance he had been in. “This is the Onerabis-Terra: Terra-Insula’s transporting orb. It can take one anywhere they wish to go; that is how you came here.”

“Before… you said something about plane shifting and that it was harder with someone of my size; what did you mean?”

Senex placed the orb back in its nest. “The worlds lie within eleven different planes; stood side by side in the universe,” he explained. “This world and your world are in two different planes: to travel between them requires the act of plane shifting.” He looked at Bill’s confused expression and sighed.

“Imagine, if you will, a row of giant dominoes: these are the planes.”

Bill nodded, “OK. I can picture that.”

“Now imagine if a person were to stand atop one and then try to travel across them to a domino at the other end.”

“Like in Takeshi’s Castle!”

Senex sighed again. “Yes… now think what happens to the dominoes as someone tries to cross them?”

“They all fall down, usually.”

“Precisely. Now with enough effort it is possible for one to travel across without knocking them over, but it isn’t easy. It is the same with plane shifting: it takes a great amount of energy to accomplish it without causing the entire universe to collapse in on itself.”

Bill thought for a moment. “I think I understand now what you meant when you said about my size being an issue, ‘cos, for a human it’d be pretty tricky to cross the dominoes but for something small – like a mouse – it’d be pretty easy.”

Senex sighed again, only this time with relief. “That is correct. Now while the Onerabis-Terra is powerful, it was only ever designed to be used by Faeries; that is why your journey here was so unpleasant: the orb had to focus all its power on transporting you; ergo, it didn’t have enough energy left to make travelling here more comfortable.”

“So does that mean I have to go through all that again going back?” Bill asked worriedly.

“That depends.”

“On what?”

“On you,” said Senex mysteriously. “Now then,” he went on, completely ignoring Bill’s questioning look. “Have you any other questions before head outside?”

“What, besides: ‘what the hell are you on about?’?”

“Yes besides that.”

Bill looked towards the centre of the room. “Those creatures,” he said pointing at the five plinths. “What are they exactly?”

“Their names are Quisignis, Aquahomin, Homglacia, Arisinis and Terrainem. They are the sons of the creator of this world: the great god Luxvir. For millennia they have resided on their respected islands to watch over and protect the Faeries. Unfortunately a great event in our history caused them to go into a deep sleep. Over the years knowledge of what happened was lost; all that is now known is that one day when they are most needed they will reawaken and guard over the Faeries once more.” Senex suddenly turned and headed over to the great doors. “But enough about the past we have the future to think about; it is time we leave this place.”

Bill stood up and started to follow Senex… then he stopped. Senex turned to face him. “Yes?”

“My plane? Why wreck it?”

“Let me ask you this: if that event had not have happened would you have turned around after walking away from the policeman?”

Bill thought about that. “Good point. You know you seem to see a lot for someone who looks like they’re blind.”

“Hmmm…” hmmm’d Senex, then he laughed for some unknown reason. “Well what did you expect from a leader of Faeries?”

“Yes… well anyway, while I kinda understand it, I don’t particularly appreciate what you did. I mean I could’ve been killed!”

“Nonsense,” laughed Senex. “There were thousands of invisible Faeries there, guiding the plane to safety; you were never in any danger.” He turned and continued towards the doors.

“Ahh… well that’s OK then.” He started to follow again, then he realised something and his eyes widened. “Say what now!”

Senex turned and sighed. “This is going to be a long day,” he said to no one in particular; then to Bill he said tiredly: “What is it this time?”

“You mean to tell me that the one time I thought I’d actually done something well I’d actually done absolutely nothing? And now you expect me to lead an army? Really?

Senex sighed for about the seven hundredth time. “Please stop with the italics. There are plenty of things you have done well.”

“Oh yeah? Name one.” Bill yelled at him.

“Well there’s…” he paused for thought. “OK. Maybe there is nothing yet but there will be. Now can we please leave this place?”

Bill nodded begrudgingly. “Fine. But just so’s you know I’m not happy about all this.”

“I had gathered as much.”

Finally the two of them made it across the room to the great doors. Senex pointed the palms of his hands towards them and Bill watched in awe as the two giant stone blocks slowly began to open. Sunlight burst through the ever-increasing gap and he was momentarily blinded. When his sight returned he looked out of the now fully open doors… and his jaw dropped.

“Welcome,” announced Senex. “To Terra-Insula.”

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