Page name: EPC: For Love, Sky-Chaser [Logged in view]
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EPC: For Love, Sky-Chaser
, entry for Elftown Prose Contest
Also with conventional pronouns for your convenience.
Feminine: EPC: For Love, Sky-Chaser (f)
Masculine: EPC: For Love, Sky-Chaser (m)
For Love, Sky-Chaser
Valorior was pleased with emself. Everything had gone according to plan and ey had gotten what ey had asked for. Now it was the faeries' turn to complete their deal with Agon. Agon the Navigator, the silly human who threw away eir gifts and accomplishments for an imagined chance at something that was impossible.
Agon, then again, felt rather numb. Ey had no clue how to come to terms with the loss of everything. They were sitting in a plain room in Valorior's home complex. It was one of the rooms highest up in the mountain, the pike, The Scope of Skies and Starfallen Lands. Agon's trusted animal companion and ride was nervously standing next to Valorior who had promised to take care of the animal, for it could not follow Agon where ey would now go.
After a while, a bird on magical winds arrived with a message for Valorior. The short humanoid mage read the message. "It is time to go. Are you ready?" Agon nodded. Ey did not dare to speak for some reason that ey did not even understand emself.
Valorior summoned a flying device that looked almost like a bird. Two years ago, Agon would have been enthralled by such a device because surely it would have helped em to get closer to the sky, eir beloved sky. Now ey knew it did not work that way and the device's genius escaped em. Only the faeries mattered now. Agon and Valorior got on the device and the machine started moving its wings, rising into the air and the violent winds. Agon held on to Valorior with eir one remaining arm while the mage steered the device toward – nothing. After a while, Valorior seemed to remember something and dug out a pair of goggles from eir robes. Ey put them on, changed eir course a little and continued flying.
After only a few minutes, Valorior flew through a small fluff of a cloud and the world suddenly became dark. The device touched the floor and stopped. A short time passed before Agon could see that the place was not completely lightless: oddly shaped mushrooms and spiky looking moss illuminated what seemed to be a cave of some sort.
Suddenly Agon saw a figure coming at them, flying with fluorescent wings. It was a faery. Agon had seen one before, but it had been very obscured. Now ey could see that the creature had huge blue eyes, no nose, sharp teeth, multi-coloured wings, hair of black and white and magenta skin. The faery wore what seemed to be a toga but wrapped so that it did not obstruct the wings which were attached approximately at the level of the ribcage. Other faeries came after the first, adding more to the mix of eye and skin colours: bright colours of every kind. Only the hair on each of them was always black and white.
"Alas, we must part now, Agon the Navigator," said Valorior. "I will not leave my home. The faeries will take care of you now, won't they?"
The faery who had first arrived spoke, mischievously and with a high voice. "Yes, we will, won't we?" The other faeries giggled. "Come down, Agon the Sky-Chaser!"
Carefully, Agon climbed off the device. Valorior stayed on it. "Why yes, I suppose that is a more suitable name for em now," the mage said. "You will not be able to navigate the world the same way as down there in the Starfallen Land." Valorior turned eir device around. "Farewell, Agon the Sky-Chaser!" With that, ey left. Agon would never see em again.
Agon looked down. Ey missed the Moon already and wondered whether it would look the same on the other side of the Sky Barrier.
"Now, follow!" said the faery and started flying. Some of the other faeries left while others started following as well. Agon had tremendous difficulty keeping up with the little creature because the caves were not made for walking and the fact that ey only had one arm made things that much worse. The other faeries sometimes giggled and gagged at em and but ey could not tell why. Ey thought that it was rude but at the moment, ey thought that ey deserved it. Everyone ey knew was dead because of em, so surely ey should suffer. In eir mind, eir suffering made the deaths just a little bit more justifiable.
After the grueling hike that had mostly been upwards, they arrived in a cave that seemed almost decent. It had a level floor, more illuminating mushrooms, a bed, a chair and a table. The faery spoke again. "This will be your home for quite a while! Don't mind the holes, you won't be able to drop through them. We sometimes use them, don't mind that either. Sometimes it rains and water runs through those holes, but the bed isn't under any holes."
Agon looked at the ascetic place and tried to look grateful while in truth ey disliked it. "What... what will I eat?"
"Why, the mushrooms of course!"
Another faery laughed. "They're ours! Lousy humans will die if they eat them!"
Then the first faery corrected emself. "You'll eat them when you can. For now we will bring you food now and then. Also water if it doesn't rain in a while. But now the water container is full!" Ey pointed to a surprisingly large barrel that was over a hole. "And it isn't a dry season so it's not going to run out any time soon."
"I think we're done here!" With that, all the faeries left, giggling and gagging.
Agon stood around for a moment and then sat on the bed. With nothing to keep eir mind occupied, ey started thinking about eir family and people. They were all dead. And just because Agon wanted to leave, to be closer to the sky. Ey had lost eir arm, but by the all-seeing sky, ey would give the other one too if it would mean em being closer to the sky. Agon tried to see the sky through a hole, but saw only darkness and a couple of mushrooms. The thought of not seeing the sky while being in there made em very anxious, but ey had no idea if it would be too much to ask for a room with a view.
Agon had to wait for over half a day. Ey did not receive any food and was very hungry when a group of faeries arrived. They were more mature-seeming but just as small as the ones that had escorted Agon to eir cave. They looked at Agon disdainfully and said nothing. They had brought with them a collection of small glowing objects and some kind of tools of which Agon only recognised a knife.
The faeries began to set their equipment in an orderly manner on a glowing piece of fabric. Agon was so hungry that ey had to speak. "Did you bring food? Please... I'm very hungry."
The idlest one of them turned at em and stared at em sternly. "You can't eat! We will perform an operation and then you can eat when you're able."
"...When I'm able?"
Agon sat on the bed, shunned and a little embarrassed. After a moment, the faeries were done and walked over to Agon. "Remove your clothing and lie on the bed." Agon hesitated but did not even have time to speak before the faery spoke again. "What's the matter? Undress already! We don't have all day!" Agon then proceeded to undress and expected more giggling and gagging but received only disturbing looks. When ey was done, ey lay on the bed and saw how one faery prodded at eir clothes with a stick and pushed them through the largest hole in the floor. Agon did not dare to protest.
The glowing piece of fabric on which the faeries had set the objects floated into the air, split several times and formed and oval over Agon's body.
"What is going to – –" started Agon.
"Quiet! Let us work. And don't scream while we do." Having said that, the faery grinned.
Another faery let a pile of ribbon loose from eir hand and the ribbon somehow wrapped itself around Agon and lifted em into the air. Then, while Agon screamed helplessly, the faeries implanted a collection of 42 glowing objects under eir skin.
Agon thanked the sky many times over the following days as eir memories of the operation and pain became hazier and hazier. The most agonising pain was in eir missing left arm where the faeries had put a very large glowing object and what seemed to be a collection of faery hair in the shape of an arm that was too small for eir body but too large for a faery body. Agon had no idea what it was but the faeries had told em to be extremely careful with it. Agon assumed that it would transform into a new arm, but it did not seem to be doing anything except hurting a lot. Ey had also been told to be careful with the glowing objects under eir skin which ey could still see glowing where they had been put. It was very difficult to be careful with them because no matter what ey tried, ey could not get into a position where ey would not have been pressing some object.
Agon did not sleep for days, and when ey finally did, ey dreamed of eir home and people. Ey could feel their spirits haunting em, and even the destroyed forest plains of eir home hated em. Ey had sold eir people, homeland and everything ey was except eir love for the sky. Still, Agon thought that it was well worth it.
Slowly Agon became well enough to eat. Ey even managed to inquire for a place where ey could see the sky, and was shown a spot near eir cave where ey could look through a small, long tunnel upward to the sky. Agon then spent over half of eir time just gazing through the small hole while the faeries ridiculed em. They even seemed to come up with a new sport of who could touch the most of Agon's small glowing implants at the same time. Agon hated it and still thought ey deserved it.
Agon barely got any food and eir body wasted away. Ey asked for more food but was only told that ey shouldn't eat so much and that ey shouldn't drink too much either.
A few months passed, or that was how Agon felt. Ey was miserable and thought ey had lost almost half of eir weight. At least the pain had mostly gone away, though eir odd new arm was still useless and hurt.
A couple of the faeries who had performed the implantation returned one day with an oval that seemed to be made of crystal. The oval was almost large enough for Agon to fit in. Again, the faeries did not explain much. They tied small and very tight ribbons around Agon's body and told em to stuff emself into the crystal oval.
"But... I don't fit in there. It's too small."
"Yes, you will."
Agon looked at the faeries confusedly but started getting into the crystal oval. It was extremely uncomfortable, but after quite a while and some shouts of being careful with eir hair-arm, Agon had managed to stuff emself in. The faeries then closed the oval so that Agon had no way of moving and placed it firmly in place over a hole.
Agon had no clue what would happen. Ey was in the crystal oval for hours and eir body hurt because of its twisted state. The small ribbons burned where they had been tied. Ey reasoned that this would probably be the last phase and after this eir hair-arm would be functional and ey would come out as a faery. Indeed, the oval had seemed like it was sized for a faery. Eventually, ey just fell asleep.
The spirits of eir people and eir land continued to haunt em, but unlike during the last few months, Agon could not push them away just as easily. Ey kept and kept telling emself that eir chance at being with eir beloved sky made it all reasonable. The tormented spirits would see it and bask in the love Agon felt and they would truly understand em, one day.
Agon felt disturbing things happening to eir body but could not say anything certain about it for ey did not feel like ey was very connected with eir body. Ey thought it was being twisted, compressed or invaded.
When Agon finally thought ey was getting used to the strangeness of whatever was happening to em, ey woke up. Ey still remembered what waking up felt like, even though ey thought years had passed. Ey was drowning. Ey saw glowing water. In panic, ey felt around and touched a wall with several small holes. Ey pushed it but only moved backward and eir back hit the wall behind em in a small space, but not as small as the crystal oval had been. Ey felt the wall behind em and it was also full of holes. Now terribly out of breath, ey pushed eir feet against the opposing wall and started punching on the wall. After a couple of strikes, the wall gave in and the structure collapsed.
Agon found emself in a pile of soft goo, some crystal shards and running water. Ey heard the familiar voices of the faeries giggling and gagging. Ey opened eir eyes, struggled upright and stepped out of the water that was running from a hole in the ceiling.
Agon was in a cave larger than eirs and ey saw a huge water barrel, large bed, large table and large chair. They seemed oddly familiar and Agon realised that it was indeed the same cave, eir cave. Ey was smaller. Ey looked down and paralysed out of shock. Eir original body was changed but it did not look like a faery's body. Eir limbs seemed short compared to eir torso and the glowing implants had dissolved, leaving only odd glowing patches in eir skin which was now a dullish green instead of its original brown. Eir originally brown hair was now dark blue. Eir eyes felt huge but ey still had eir nose and eir teeth were flat.
Agon's hair-arm looked much more arm-like and actually moved when Agon thought it, though it did not feel much. The new arm was longer than Agon's other one and was considerably brighter in colour and sharper in features.
On the sides Agon's slightly elongated ribcage were two sprouting wings. They were rounder than faery wings and white.
While Agon gawked at emself, the faeries did as well, commenting on every single strange bit. "The wings! Look at them!" "Ew!" "I guess someone misjudged the size change based on that funny arm!" "So dull! Doesn't ey have any colour?" "Eir eyes are duller. Too small." "Eir torso is grotesque!" "What's that?"
Just after Agon had started noticing the unsolicited comments, a faery of authority arrived. Ey too stared at Agon with quite an expression on eir face before giving em a toga. "I see you've come out. Does the arm work? Hmhm. Well then, now you can eat the mushrooms. Eat your earlier food only if you have to; you'll find out yourself you can't eat too much of it anymore. You'll learn to fly soon so practise as much as you can."
Agon started practising flying arduously. The other faeries actually talked to em now but clearly thought that ey was not one of them. They did not like how Agon looked and thought ey was slow. Now, once the faeries had gotten used to em, they stopped inconveniencing em and treated em like a poor disabled child. Agon soon stopped eating human food and the mushrooms started to sustain em, though eir body still wasted away and made eir torso seem at least a little smaller.
Agon was still haunted by eir dreams but now ey could access better tunnels where ey could see much more of the sky. Ey was warned to not go outside because ey might not find back. The faeries tested Agon's sight and concluded that it was bad but ey could see a little better than before.
After weeks of practising, the time came when the gap between worlds would open. The faeries and Agon gathered in a spot where they would begin their trip toward the area of violent winds to leave the plane of Starfallen Lands behind. The gap was higher up the mountain that housed the caves Agon had been living in. They started their slow and stealthy way upwards. At one point they stopped and waited around a couple of hours. Suddenly, the plants started glowing much brighter and air moved through the tunnels so that some drifts went down, some up. The faeries sought upward streams of air. Agon went with them, watching as the glow of the plants faded.
They came to a large open area that seemed to span as far as Agon could see everywhere except up and down. Ey could see large monsters emerging from larger tunnels. They were long, spindly and snaky dragons. The faeries flew as fast as they could and miraculously managed to get into the smaller tunnels before any of them were caught. One faery shoved Agon toward a dragon, but Agon thought the dragon actually wrinkled its nose at em, which gave em enough time to flee after the faeries.
Agon followed the faeries through the tunnels. Ey had left eir destroyed home behind and ey had no more ties to that miserable place with its unreachable sky. The spirits of eir people would see it was all worth it.
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