Thursday, 25 January 2007

City of Elves and Dragons

Dear Governor Shang,

It would appear that Oolon and Miss Lightfoot have no intention of letting me brood on Alfonso’s absence, because they took me out for another jaunt last night. It’s just as well that pixies are renowned for their stamina and determination, or I’d have to admit I was feeling a bit pooped after the Isle of Nightmares episode.

Terry must have really liked my outfit last night, because this evening found us attired identically. We have very similar taste in clothes, despite being from such different worlds (it’s another reason I like her). Oolon despairs of us both sometimes, but that’s just because he has no eye for fashion, poor man.

Tonight our destination was to be where Oolon tried to take us last night. At first, things appeared to be going smoothly, but it didn’t last for long (it never does). No sooner had Oolon declared that we had arrived and walked out of the door than both myself and Terry found ourselves unable to leave the ETD. A powerful force appeared to hold us within it’s confines and forbade us to enter the land of Svarga. Something began to tell me that I might never get to see this place that had Oolon so excited.

Then, as suddenly as it had begun, our enforced exile was ended and we both found ourselves on a small island before a gigantic stone doorway. Oolon was waiting for us, with the charming mix of impatience and concern he always has when things don’t quite work how he expects them to. You’d think with all the travelling he does, he’d be used to the occasional delay at his age.

We made our way through the carved doors and into what could easily be mistaken for Paradise. Oolon explained that Svarga had been a city of the Elves, before they left this reality. Terry was most interested in the relationships between elves and pixies, so I explained that as long as they don’t pat us on the head, we don’t kick them in the shins. Apparently, this counts as “getting along”. Still they know how to build, you have to give them credit for that. But why would they want to leave here? Typical of them, makes absolutely no sense; but I suppose that’s the sort of thing you have to do if you want everyone to remember you for being mysterious and ancient and wise and inscrutable.

A native was resting beside a fountain, so we approached and spoke to him (loudly and slowly, just to be on the safe side), but he didn’t seem to be aware of our presence. Oolon became convinced that either they or we appear as ghosts, which would go a little way to explaining why no-one ever talks to us on these expeditions.

Not long after that, I found a shop. Needless to say, Oolon was very impressed by my ability to locate retail opportunities no matter where in the world I appear (especially after I found a sale on at the retail temple in Bora Bora last night). I told him pixies can smell a good deal - it’s a gift (and Terry agrees with me).

We wandered a little until we came upon a wonderful polygonal building (I’ve been hanging around with Oolon for too long, because that’s a science word not a pixie one). Inside there were many musical instruments, so we picked them up and began to play. It was a great deal of fun, even if we did occasionally hit the wrong notes.

An odd side effect of our harmonic exertions was the attraction of more “native ghosts”. Despite their inability to speak to us they picked up the spare instruments and began to play along, which lead Terry and Oolon to postulate (see, that’s another big word) that the vibrations from the music where bringing our resonances in line with each other. I have no idea what that means either, but it sounds good.

But something distracted me, something I hadn’t felt for a little while, something ancient and venerable touching my heart. It’s the same feeling I get in the presence of the Lady Fledhyris and Mr Webb, so I knew what was waiting for us outside the building: Dragons!

Pixies like dragons, simple fact. Dragons are wise and venerable without being smug (like elves), have generous natures and are very good at looking after smaller, younger, less wise creatures. Or at least, all the ones I have ever known have been. But they don’t tolerate bad manners, so always be polite. And they like having their chins tickled, but don’t kiss their noses unless they’re in their true form and you feel that it wouldn’t be too presumptious.
And that was how we met Miss Tamura and Miss Andalso, two wonderful ladies of dragonkind. They were taking the air and had heard our music, so they came to investigate, luckily for us. Did I say how much I like dragons? Miss Tamura has three heads called Order, Balance and Chaos (they all like their chins tickling). Miss Andalso appeared first as a beautiful red and black dragon, before showing us her magnificent rainbow incarnation. She has sparkly green breath, which pixies are very ticklish to and I’m afraid I got a fit of the giggles when she exhaled in my direction.

Sadly it was at this moment that one of the natives decided to speak to us. He was very rude and particularly insulting to the lovely ladies, which made Oolon very mad (he can’t abide bad manners, either). Despite our best efforts to warn this fool of the precariousness of his situation he continued to be irksome, causing Oolon to produce his cricket bat (I still haven’t worked out where from) and shout a lot. And the Misses Tamura and Andalso became most distressed and even began considering chomping the silly creature (which means that they were really, really, upset). He even threatened to put them in a zoo!

Part of me would dearly have loved to see him try, but I have promised to be a good pixie so I attempted to restore order by pointing out that humans are like little children next to dragons and are apt to be foolish when confronting the unknown or when frightened (and he wouldn’t taste very nice and would probably get stuck in their teeth and give them indigestion). It seemed to work, for the most part.

It was about this time that Alfonso appeared, so we had to leave the lovely ladies behind. I don’t know if they did eat that man. I was quite surprised to see Alfonso, I must admit. Oolon had promised to be the baggage train for my brave husband’s foray into the wild and said he'd given him a way to let us know when we were needed, but I hadn't received a butterfly or anything (and I was expecting us to return to the ETD and go and find Alfonso, so I can only assume that something went a little wrong again and he ended up standing in front of us instead). It was lovely to see him again, even if he did look like he hadn’t been eating properly. I should have packed him extra cake.

Oolon’s hujamafercals started beeping then and he shot off into some catacombs (never a wise thing to do; things that eat people like to live in catacombs). Despite my protestations, Terry shot off too hotly pursued by Alfonso. I could hear Oolon getting all excited (rather than all in pain), so I thought it was probably safe to follow.

The reason for his excitement soon became clear – a pool of glowing energy, which he referred to as “galvanic”. Terry got all excited too and they began to make plans about refining it so that they could power the ETD. I got bored and wandered off.

They caught up with me eventually in the sky citadel at the centre of the city. I had found a sparkly thing that Oolon identified as an energy being and everyone started sampling the poor thing. Our time was running out again and we had a quick dash about to see if there was anything else worth seeing. There were mushrooms, perfect for Pixies to sit on (I've given a copy of this dageurotype to Alfonso for his journal).

Oolon ushered us all back to the ETD, just in the nick of time and we took off without any cowbells or clonks this time. But Oolon wasn’t happy, insisting that there was something, or someone, else in there with us. Oolon scared me, but Alfonso went to look and I knew he’d protect me if there was something odd in our little Cabinet.

Then I began to get that feeling again; ancient, warm, safe. Oolon started jumping up and down and shouting Miss Tamura’s name. Apparently she had followed us in one of her less conspicuous guises and had unfortunately become entangled in some sort of rotor when we took off. Still, she managed to extricate herself and was none the worse for wear.

Do you know that she has a glamour very like Terry’s fish lady? And apparently Terry is something called a Changeling. Now I know a few changelings and she’s not like our sort of changeling, so wherever she’s from they must have their own kind. And then we had a party (Lady Fledhyris and her friend Mr Darracq and Miss Rothschild all came along) and there was more dancing. I know I told you that Oolon likes dancing. And I have my Alfonso back, at least for a short while. I really must speak to him about that plank, but for now I’d rather give him a big cuddle.

Do you know, that city was so beautiful, but so full of sorrow. The flora are broken and twisted, cowering away from the world outside; the waterfalls weep for their lost civilisation. I don’t think Oolon is deliberately taking me to places that make me long for my glen, but he does seem to have a knack for finding them. I know he doesn’t mean to upset me, but it makes me very sad when such wondrous places are no longer loved by those who created them. Places need to be loved, just as much as people. That’s why Caledon is special, because it is loved. Don’t let it stop being loved, Governor Shang.

Your obedient (and sleepy) servant,

Fuschia Begonia

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