The Old Elf Teacher Tries to Explain

The Old Elf Teacher Explains It All, Part 1

     by Ken St. Andre

The Old Elf settled on a comfortable hummock of moss and made the tongue cluck that meant, “Pay attention now”.  His ancientness showed in his long long nose, his long long ears, and his long long white beard.  The younger elves gathered in front of him and waited for him to speak.

“Today, younglings, we will learn about the gods.”

“But Grandfather, there are no gods, just Great Wizards.  That is what we have always been told.”

“And I ask you, what is the real difference between a Great Wizard, and a god?”  No one had an answer for that.  “These are the beings in Trollworld who have made themselves into gods.  Listen and learn!”

They waited expectantly.

“Greatest of the gods is Ohtariel, the God of the Sun (called Bhanu in Old High Elven). He brings life and warmth to the world, and frightens monsters and destroys them. In the morning, he rises to glory; in the afternoon, he sinks into defeat, and retires to an island in the west where he sleeps, recovering his strength to fight the great battle again on the following day. Those well versed in the lore of the sun associate him with Khazan-Ohtariel-Khazan, the great Elvish wizard who united the Six Good Kindreds and formed the Empire of Khazan. For centuries, Khazan reigned in his city in the Dragon’s Mouth, bringing a golden age to the land while the monster kindred hid in the wastelands. He overthrew the Ogres of Tharothar. He organized the wizards into a great guild that regulated the working of magic in the land. He defended the land from the depredation of Zweetz, the evil bird-serpent god. But in the end, he grew weak, and was defeated by Lerotra’hh, Goddess of Death and Night, and the monster kindred. Then Khazan withdrew into the hidden island in the sea where he now sleeps, leaving the land in spiritual darkness. One day he will rise again to bless the world with a new morning of hope. In the meantime, he shows his power and love in the daily light of the sun, which fights many battles with darkness and with storm, and always sets and leaves the world in shadow, yet always rises again to bring new hope to it. This is the legend of Ohtariel, also known as Khazan. ”

The setting sun symbolizes the temporary victory of the Monster Kindreds.

 

“But Grandfather, that is just a short version of the story of Khazan, a great elven wizard, but no god.  The world existed before he walked these lands.  And it still exists now that he is gone.  How can you call him a god?”

“Did it?” asked the ancient elf.  “Does it?” 

They did not understand.

–The End

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Bio:  Ken St. Andre lives a life of infinite power in Trollworld as Trollgod–not so much on Earth.

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Late One Night In An Empty Bar

     by Paul Ingrassia

“Johnnie Walker Blue, neat,” a deep voice said.

Joe jerked and dropped the glass he was wiping.

“Holy shit, you scared the hell outta me, man. I didn’t hear you come in…”

“Johnnie Walker Blue, neat. Please.” The short man looked in his mid-thirties, and his suit was torn and filthy.

“Let’s see the cash, little brother. That stuff’s forty bucks a shot.”

“Make it a double,” the stranger tossed a handful of damp, crumpled one-hundred-dollar bills onto the bar.

“It’s your paycheck, pal.”

The stranger downed the drink in two gulps.

“Another double, please.”

The second disappeared as quick as the first. The stranger waved his finger at Joe.

“You know, pal,” Joe poured the whiskey, “you keep slamming ’em like that, I’ll have to take your keys or cut you off.”

“I don’t have a car anymore, so keep ’em coming.”

“You okay, man?” Joe poured again.

“Can I talk to you,” the stranger had tears welling in his eyes.

“Sure, man. I’m a bartender, it’s part of the job description.”

“Listen, please… I have a confession to make.”

“You’re not gonna tell me you killed someone, are you?” Joe thought of the .45 next to the speed well.

“No, nothing like that,” he motioned for another drink. This time he sipped it. “I left my wife and kids today. I got up, went to work, and I’m never going back. They will be totally shocked.” The stranger started crying. “God, I love them so much.”

“So why don’t you just go back, man?”

“I can’t. It’s impossible.”

“Nothing is impossible,” Joe said. “Shit, between you and me, I’m a sober junkie. I was spiking it for fifteen years, every day, stealing for it, in and out of jail. I’ve been clean for two years now. If a scrub like me can kick the shit, anything is possible.”

“You don’t understand. I just can’t go back. Ever.”

“Well, buddy, if you can’t go back, then I guess you gotta do what you gotta do. Look out for number one now, move on, head off to the next adventure.” Joe poured him another.

“You know something,” the stranger downed the fresh drink in one swig, “you’re absolutely right. I can’t do anything for them anymore. Mary and the kids will just have to get over it, get on with their lives. I can only worry about me now. Thanks for your help. It’s time for me to go.”

The stranger slowly faded away to nothing.

“What the fuck!”

The bar door swung open and Sheriff Franklyn walked in.

“Hey, Joe. Gimme a beer and a shot of rot-gut. There was a nasty accident up the road a bit. Poor guy was killed, thrown from his car. He was only thirty-two. God!”

Joe stared at the sheriff wide-mouthed.

“What’s eatin’ you, Joe? Come on, I need a drink. I just got back from telling some poor woman and her kids that daddy aint coming home anymore.”

Joe collapsed.

end

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Bio: Paul is a Pushcart Prize nominated poet and a fan of cinquain, prose poetry, flash fiction, RPGs, and tabletop skirmishing.

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Paul also writes a great short ghost story, and we hope to see more of his work here soon.

end

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2 Comments

  1. Posted February 5, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Great tales, both. I personally wish the image with its giveaway caption for the second story had come after the story, not before it, or that it hadn’t mentioned ghosts.

    • atroll
      Posted February 5, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Fixed it. Removed the comment on the picture. I think the bottle works best at the top of the story though.

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