Page name: EPC: For Love, Sky-Chaser (f) [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 herself. Everything had gone according to plan and she had gotten what she had asked for. Now it was the faeries' turn to complete their deal with Agon. Agon the Navigator, the silly human who threw away her gifts and accomplishments for an imagined chance at something that was impossible.
Agon, then again, felt rather numb. She 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 she 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. She did not dare to speak for some reason that she did not even understand herself.
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 her to get closer to the sky, her beloved sky. Now she knew it did not work that way and the device's genius escaped her. 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 her 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 her robes. She put them on, changed her 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 she 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 her 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 her device around. "Farewell, Agon the Sky-Chaser!" With that, she left. Agon would never see her again.
Agon looked down. She 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 she only had one arm made things that much worse. The other faeries sometimes giggled and gagged at her and but she could not tell why. She thought that it was rude but at the moment, she thought that she deserved it. Everyone she knew was dead because of her, so surely she should suffer. In her mind, her 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 she 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 herself. "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!" She 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 her mind occupied, she started thinking about her family and people. They were all dead. And just because Agon wanted to leave, to be closer to the sky. She had lost her arm, but by the all-seeing sky, she would give the other one too if it would mean her 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 her very anxious, but she 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. She 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 her 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 she had to speak. "Did you bring food? Please... I'm very hungry."
The idlest one of them turned at her and stared at her 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 she was done, she lay on the bed and saw how one faery prodded at her 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 her hand and the ribbon somehow wrapped itself around Agon and lifted her into the air. Then, while Agon screamed helplessly, the faeries implanted a collection of 42 glowing objects under her skin.
Agon thanked the sky many times over the following days as her memories of the operation and pain became hazier and hazier. The most agonising pain was in her 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 her body but too large for a faery body. Agon had no idea what it was but the faeries had told her 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. She had also been told to be careful with the glowing objects under her skin which she could still see glowing where they had been put. It was very difficult to be careful with them because no matter what she tried, she could not get into a position where she would not have been pressing some object.
Agon did not sleep for days, and when she finally did, she dreamed of her home and people. She could feel their spirits haunting her, and even the destroyed forest plains of her home hated her. She had sold her people, homeland and everything she was except her love for the sky. Still, Agon thought that it was well worth it.
Slowly Agon became well enough to eat. She even managed to inquire for a place where she could see the sky, and was shown a spot near her cave where she could look through a small, long tunnel upward to the sky. Agon then spent over half of her time just gazing through the small hole while the faeries ridiculed her. 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 she deserved it.
Agon barely got any food and her body wasted away. She asked for more food but was only told that she shouldn't eat so much and that she shouldn't drink too much either.
A few months passed, or that was how Agon felt. She was miserable and thought she had lost almost half of her weight. At least the pain had mostly gone away, though her 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 her to stuff herself 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 her hair-arm, Agon had managed to stuff herself 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. She was in the crystal oval for hours and her body hurt because of its twisted state. The small ribbons burned where they had been tied. She reasoned that this would probably be the last phase and after this her hair-arm would be functional and she would come out as a faery. Indeed, the oval had seemed like it was sized for a faery. Eventually, she just fell asleep.
The spirits of her people and her land continued to haunt her, but unlike during the last few months, Agon could not push them away just as easily. She kept and kept telling herself that her chance at being with her beloved sky made it all reasonable. The tormented spirits would see it and bask in the love Agon felt and they would truly understand her, one day.
Agon felt disturbing things happening to her body but could not say anything certain about it for she did not feel like she was very connected with her body. She thought it was being twisted, compressed or invaded.
When Agon finally thought she was getting used to the strangeness of whatever was happening to her, she woke up. She still remembered what waking up felt like, even though she thought years had passed. She was drowning. She saw glowing water. In panic, she felt around and touched a wall with several small holes. She pushed it but only moved backward and her back hit the wall behind her in a small space, but not as small as the crystal oval had been. She felt the wall behind her and it was also full of holes. Now terribly out of breath, she pushed her 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 herself in a pile of soft goo, some crystal shards and running water. She heard the familiar voices of the faeries giggling and gagging. She opened her 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 hers and she 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, her cave. She was smaller. She looked down and paralysed out of shock. Her original body was changed but it did not look like a faery's body. Her limbs seemed short compared to her torso and the glowing implants had dissolved, leaving only odd glowing patches in her skin which was now a dullish green instead of its original brown. Her originally brown hair was now dark blue. Her eyes felt huge but she still had her nose and her 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 herself, 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 she have any colour?" "Her eyes are duller. Too small." "Her torso is grotesque!" "What's that?"
Just after Agon had started noticing the unsolicited comments, a faery of authority arrived. She too stared at Agon with quite an expression on her face before giving her 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 her now but clearly thought that she was not one of them. They did not like how Agon looked and thought she was slow. Now, once the faeries had gotten used to her, they stopped inconveniencing her and treated her like a poor disabled child. Agon soon stopped eating human food and the mushrooms started to sustain her, though her body still wasted away and made her torso seem at least a little smaller.
Agon was still haunted by her dreams but now she could access better tunnels where she could see much more of the sky. She was warned to not go outside because she might not find back. The faeries tested Agon's sight and concluded that it was bad but she 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. She 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 her, which gave her enough time to flee after the faeries.
Agon followed the faeries through the tunnels. She had left her destroyed home behind and she had no more ties to that miserable place with its unreachable sky. The spirits of her people would see it was all worth it.
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