The Elven Heritage Legacy 1.2: Off to See the WizardPresentation Transcript
Off to See the Wizard An Elven Heritage Legacy chapter 1.2
“Oh, we're off to see the wizard....” Hello, and welcome to part 2 of the Elven Heritage Legacy, hosted by the lovely Eluisa Fairmaiden. In episode one, our founder, Haldir Elvensong, met the elf of his dreams, Viridia, introduced himself to the other four elven immigrants (as well as some humans) and proceeded to have, in short order, a phenomenal wedding, an adorable (if slightly mean) baby, and a series of promotions. But with the second little one on the way, disaster struck as Viridia was diagnosed with a virulent human illness... One that could very well kill both her and the baby if it isn't treated soon. Before we proceed, I would like to offer my profound apologies to L. Frank Baum and everyone who was involved in making the movie "The Wizard of Oz," for my shameless parody, particularly stolen lines and references.
At her cottage by the lake, Eluisa was living the quiet life. Though she enjoyed her friends and could often be found seeking the company of people from many walks of life, she had felt the need for some peace and quiet – things that were often in a short supply when she had shared a house with three other women. Now that Chalimyra had packed her bags and gone off to her own house, and Midina had begun to spend the majority of her time downtown, or out and about with various men, Eluisa had believed that she could settle quietly into her lakeside cottage. If she ignored the modern conveniences, and the cars that passed by on the road, the red-roofed beach house reminded her of the tiny house where she had grown up.
Eluisa spent her days in search of memories. Though the others were content to live life where they were, and forget for a time the land that they came from, she continued to be haunted by it, actively avoiding the mist of time that had settled over many of her memories. Elphemerea had been a beautiful land, one that she was sorry to leave, even if leaving had been the only way to ensure her freedom. Though she didn’t regret her decision, nor her role in bringing her three friends to Riverblossom Hills, she couldn’t help but be wistful when she thought of her former home. More often than not, she found herself building half-remembered castles in the sand. She went to see the others often, but all save Midina were often too busy to come to her cottage. Chalimyra and Talon had been dating for quite a while, and Viridia of course had a baby to take care of. It came as a surprise to Eluisa when Haldir turned up on her front porch.
“Haldir!” she exclaimed, “I haven't seen you in forever! What brings you to the middle of nowhere?” But the raven-haired legacy founder was in no mood for chitchat. “Eluisa, your father was a wizard," he said, "Did you, by any chance, inherit some of his power?” “I... well, I've never been sure,” Eluisa replied, “why do you ask?” “I need a miracle,” he replied shortly.
"Oh, Haldir, I had no idea!" Eluisa exclaimed, once he had explained his family's situation in terse detail. She had managed to convince Haldir - and Talon, who had accompanied him to provide moral support, given that he had suggested that Haldir approach her in the first place - to come into her lakeside cottage for lunch. The spaghetti was a little too firm, and the meatballs slightly overcooked, but neither of her guests noticed. Haldir was only toying with his food, while Talon was wolfing it down automatically, hardly noticing what entered his mouth. “I...I never thought that this could happen,” Haldir replied with the quiet frankness of a broken man, “Is there anything...?” Eluisa sighed.
“I'm sorry,” she said, putting down her fork, “I can't save her.” Haldir looked away, but not before Eluisa saw the pain in his eyes. Though she had drifted away from Viridia since her marriage, she was devastated by the news. She liked Haldir, would have approved of him even if Viridia hadn’t married him… The prospect of loosing Viri must be even more awful to him than it was to her. If only Viridia had stayed behind, perhaps she would have been spared. The type of miracle that she needed just couldn’t be found in Riverblossom Hills… in that moment, she remembered something vitally important. Something that just might be able to wipe that look of quiet pain from her friend's face forever. “No, I can't save her, Haldir,” she repeated softly, “But I might know someone who can.”
Trying to ignore the sudden hope that briefly lighted Haldir's surprised face like a camera flash, Eluisa laid out the sparse details of what she knew. It was certainly a gamble, but it was a gamble worth taking. “There is a wizard who has recently set up shop in the mountains,” she explained to the grateful Haldir and incredulous Talon, “I can tell that he has been working some strong magic, but nothing further. I would guess that since he has chosen this seclusion, he is a wizard of considerable age and skill. There is a possibility... perhaps not a great possibility... that he can be convinced to help you.” There was a long moment of silence, which Haldir broke decisively. “I'll do it.”
“Excellent!” exclaimed Talon, his normally buoyant spirits returning in full force, “We're off to see the wizard!” Eluisa shook her head fondly. “It's not quite that easy,” she reminded him. Haldir had no emotion to spare besides determination. He looked at her with steady eyes and asked, “How will we find him?” With a smile, she replied “That's the easy part. As the daughter of a Wizard and of an elf, I can sense magic being worked. All we have to do is to head in the general direction of the mountains and triangulate him as the feeling grows stronger. Piece of cake.” “Then what are we waiting for?” Talon asked, jumping up, “Let's go!”
“This,” said Talon, some time later, “Is beyond strange.” Eluisa sneezed violently. “Thidib *hetchoo!* the place. My sinuses are going nuts.” “But... Look at that!” Talon exclaimed, “In the middle of nowhere, the road just ends!” “You're sure that this is the place?” Haldir asked Eluisa. She detected nervousness in his voice, but even though the allergic reaction that she was rapidly developing to whatever spells they were heading into was making her nervous as to exactly what type of wizard they were facing, she could not allow herself to feed his fears.
“Positive,” she replied, “Follow the road to the place where the sidewalk ends.” “What?” asked Talon. “Never mind,” she replied, “only... *kerschew!* There's definitely some strong magic further on, but I *nyachoo!*... Ew, anyone have a kleenex?” Haldir pulled a napkin out of his pocket. “Will this do?” “Yeah, but I don't think I can go much further without sneezing my brains out,” Eluisa admitted, accepting it gratefully and blowing her nose vigorously. “Looks like you boys are on your own.”
“You're sure?” asked Talon, “I don't like the thought of leaving you here all alone...” “It's either stay here or go back, Talon,” she said firmly, “And I'll be just fine. I'm just going to sit here and meditate, and hope that I don't break out in hives.” Haldir was looking down the dirt track which replaced the road, which disappeared into thick pine trees not far ahead, “I can't see anything,” he told the other two, “How will we know which way to go from here?” Talon looked at his friend helplessly. “Loo- *Hyetchew!* Look up,” Eluisa instructed them.
“Oh.” Far off in the distance, clinging to the peak of a small mountain, was an extremely odd-looking house. Not the sort of house an elf would build, but far beyond the ability of any human. It looked as if it maintained its perilous perch through magic... Actually, it probably did. It positively reeked of magic, and it sent Eluisa into a hacking, coughing, sneezing, eye-watering fit of allergies. After offering more kleenex, and reassuring themselves that their friend would be fine once she retreated a little from the source of her magically-induced distress, Haldir and Talon had no choice but to set off up the dirt track towards the tower... and the wizard that awaited them there.
As Talon followed his friend deeper into the forest, he could not suppress a vague feeling of unease. Some of the trees seemed to be floating, rootless, above the ground. If you looked at them from one angle, you could swear that they were perched upon the hillside...
But take two steps to the right and they were hovering ominously above the road. Haldir seemed entirely unaffected by this strange phenomenon. In fact, Talon was sure that Haldir could see nothing but the goal ahead: the wizard who could cure Viridia.Talon, however, was beginning to be thoroughly creeped out by the place. Those floating trees were probably following them. And some to them didn't seem to be quite real, turning transparent when you got close enough to look at them properly...Only one thing was certain.
The path that they were following dead ended against a forbidding rock wall.
As they walked closer, a small sign appeared, propped against the nearest boulder. It read: No Soliciting. No Loitering. No Scarecrows, Lions, or metallic humanoids. And NO REFUNDS! “That doesn't exactly help us get in,” Talon complained, once he finished reading it. Wordlessly, Haldir pointed to the words appearing across the bottom of the sign.
" ...Turn Back." Talon read, "Well, if that isn't the most useless..."
As he turned away in a huff, he caught sight of the path which snaked its way through the woods behind him. “Come on,” Haldir instructed him impatiently as he strode quickly into the woods. Talon ran to catch up, and together they abandoned the dirt road, headed into the unknown.
What had looked like a deep, dark forest on the outside was actually quite open. Many of the trees disappeared as Haldir and Talon approached, and there was no underbrush to speak of. There were also no sounds of birds - or of anything living. Save for the crunch of two pairs of feet on pine needles, the two could have been stricken deaf. Talon was again troubled by the uneasy feeling that the countryside around them could be nothing but illusion...
The winding dirt path lead to a set of iron stairs, which clung to a track carved out of the mountainside. With single minded determination, Haldir started the climb, and Talon had no choice but to follow.
“These stairs must lead to the tower,” Haldir said to himself as they climbed, “And according to Eluisa, wizards always live in towers.” Talon wondered, but didn't ask, what they would do if the wizard wasn't home - or if he slammed the door in their faces. But he couldn't think about that - his first priority had to be to help his best friend save his wife and child.
The stairs continued up an improbable distance, giving them views of the ground far below: the dead end, the dirt road, and the place where the sidewalk ended, where they had left Eluisa, who was now visible only as a small colored blob in the distance.
“Why all the stairs?” Talon grumbled to himself, “You would think that this wizard didn't like visitors.“ As the full meaning of what he had just said struck him, he experienced a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. What if he was right? They could very well be headed into danger, and without Eluisa, meeting a powerful wizard felt decidedly unsafe. At least he, Talon, had little to lose if the worst came to the worst, but what would happen to Haldir's little daughter, Aranel, if they failed to return? Grimly, he pushed the thought out of his mind. They had to succeed, because no matter what happened to them if they failed, Viridia would almost certainly die. But, as he panted up the steps, he resolved that if the wizard proved to be of the evil variety, it would be him, and not Haldir, that took the blow.
“Oooh,” he panted a moment later, looking down at the sheer drop below, with it's vertigo-inducing view of a pond nestled between the lofty treetops, “That's really far down...” he swallowed audibly, then glanced up the next flight of steps. “And a really long way up.” “Come on, we're almost there,” replied Haldir inexorably, and they doggedly mounted the next flight.
When they arrived, panting, at the tower doors, they pressed the doorbell. There was no answer. Talon pressed it again. And again. “Why won't this Wizard answer his door?” he asked in exasperation. Haldir spotted a small sign attached to the wall just over the side of the parapet. “It says; ‘bell out of order. Please knock.’”
A sharp, insistent tapping startled Zaliander the Wise from his studies. It was repeated loudly. With a sigh, he slipped a bookmark between the pages of his spell book, and shouted: “If you're selling anything, clear off before I transfigure your nose!” The knocking sounded louder. “Oh, all right, all right,” he grumbled, heading towards the door, “If it's not transfigured princes, talking animals or little girls with dogs, it's someone selling magic rings and stolen beans. As if a wizard wouldn't know better than to buy a magic ring if he didn't know where it had been!”
"Eh? Who are you?" he asked once he had gotten a good look at the two men standing on his front porch. Surely he would have known if there were elves in the district, but these two clearly could not be humans. The one in the brown coat stepped forward. “We have come to ask for your assistance,” he began.“Oh, no,” Zaliander replied, before he could get any further, “I don't do quests. Or dragons. Or miscellaneous organs and personality traits.” “Please,” cut in the dark-haired one, “You're the only one who can save my wife, Viridia.” Something about the urgency of his manner caught at Zaliander's interest, and despite his personal vow to never take any more charity cases, he decided to invite them in, “Well, I suppose you're going to tell me all about it,” he conceded gruffly, “Advice is free. Anything else is negotiable.” “Thank you!” the dark-haired man said fervently, his face breaking into a smile. Zaliander couldn't be sure how he knew that it was the first real smile that his face had held in days.
“Eh, just come in before I change my mind,” he replied gruffly, “Now what's wrong with this wife of yours? I warn you, there are certain things that are beyond my power.” “She has become sick with a human virus, which has begun to drain her of energy,” Haldir replied, “If the virus is not cured, it is likely that either she, or the baby, or both will die.” He broke off abruptly, and Zaliander frowned. “I don't know of many human viruses that could affect elves,” he began, slowly, “and you said that she's pregnant?” “Yes: our second child.” “And she is a full-blooded elf?” “Yes,” Haldir replied, “we both are. But what does this have to do with...?”
“Impossible,” Zaliander interrupted brusquely, “There is no way that a virus which has evolved to prey upon the human body could possibly have such an effect on Elves. Their immune systems are entirely different, not to mention their biochemistry.... unless..... impossible.” “What's impossible?” Talon demanded. “For you to stay quiet for over two seconds,” Zaliander snapped, his eyebrows bristling, “In the meantime, let us assume that this virus is, in actuality, one which has preyed upon elves before. I believe that it is possible for me to attempt a cure.”
“Really?” asked Haldir in delight. “It's not that simple, son,” Zaliander replied, shaking his head, “There's always the chance that it won't work. I shall have to conduct certain tests first, and then there is the matter of payment...”
“I don't really have much money,” Haldir began, “but I swear to you that I will repay you!” “The sentiment is very nice,” Zaliander replied dryly, “but highly impractical. However, I believe that we should talk about the price later. I need you to tell me everything you have observed about this particular disease....”
The old wizard listened thoughtfully as Haldir described his wife's affliction, but said nothing. He was beginning to suspect that it was a highly unusual virus - if, in fact, it was a virus at all - that was currently attacking Viridia. Finally, he cut the young elf off. “I've heard enough,” he declared, “I will attempt to synthesize a cure, but your friend will have to remain here, in the study. And if he knows what is good for him, he will stay away from the LaganophillisSimnovorii.”
Talon, who had been bending over to touch a very strange looking plant, snatched his hand away and put it behind his back. Then, looking at the strange instruments and vials that lined the shelves upon the walls, he resolved to find a safe place to sit while he waited. After all, a good wizard was not necessarily any safer than an evil wizard, and neither were the tools of his trade.
“So, this is it,” Haldir asked in a subdued tone, three hours later.“Yes: three doses,” replied the wizard, “one for you, one for your wife, and one for your little girl. We wouldn't want the infection to spread.” “No, we wouldn't,” Haldir replied. “Now we must discuss the matter of payment,” Zaliander continued, “I have no use for human money, but since you are an elf I am sure that you understand the concept of a debt of honor. There is nothing you can do to repay this, not in your lifetime. But your children and their descendants will be able, in time, to do a certain favor for me, once they are grown. All I am asking now is that you will give your blessing to their endeavors: when the time comes, you must let them go.” There was a long moment's silence as Haldir gazed at the blueish liquid in the vial. “All right, then,” he said, and they shook on it. Haldir tucked the vial securely in his pocket.
But after the two young elves ambled off into the afternoon with light hearts, Zaliander stood brooding, looking down from his tower. Was this really the right thing for him to do? To aid a desperate man in exchange for control over the fate of his descendants? But what other options were still available? Soon, soon he would return... It was too late now. Only time could tell the consequences of this day's actions.
Oooh, Suspense! This one didn’t need as much coaxing as chapter one. However, I have the opposite problem with pictures: decently staged and lit, but too small for my taste. This looked awesome on the exchange, given my inability to photo edit. The major things I had to fix, spelling and grammar and presentation wise, were a slide with no caption (unless you count “Insert caption here”) where I think I may accidentally have deleted the actual words. It’s the one of Eluisa on the beach. I then overcompensated, and had to make two slides of Eluisa on the beach, because what I had intended to say for that slide fit nicely on the exchange, but not so nicely in slideshare. The other one was Talon, who, due to my error in playing by rotation, does not yet know that Chalimyra is pregnant… even though Viridia is showing by now and the Elkthorn twins are the exact same age as Achenar. Oops. That said, of my three freshly re-formatted chapters, this one remains my favorite. It’s also the shortest. Is it because Eluisa rocks? Because Talon’s antics always amuse me? Or is it the ominous tendrils of plot beginning to encircle the Legacy? You decide.