Heavenly was the kingdom of the Elves, a golden sylvan realm thriving in its wonderful shades of green enchanted emeralds, perpetually glowed with magical torches. The blue of the beguiling streams gave the shores a turquoise ecstasy, as intense as it was the light of the trout of Pan, huge and fast fish, which whilst passing strongly illuminated the crystalline and violet-scented waters. The violets at least six times the size of the inhabitants of the forest filled the skies overlooking the houses, thanks to the warmth of their intense color.
Everything in Lhetan, the land of the Elves, had a magical and infinite flavor where the Fairies of the Sun and the Elves coexisted harmoniously. The fairies, thanks to their butterfly wings, used to clean the leaves, making them shine and placing lanterns filled with small fragments of the sun on their stems, illuminating the kingdom wrapped as it was in dense vegetation.
The paths, the houses built with sticks and rush leaves, and those violets, the sacred flowers in the kingdom which used to reflect the intense light needed to illuminate the great temple of Ahlstrom, the Divine Lord of Light, Joy and Elven Christmas. The temple was made of colored stones and served the Elves and the Fairies as a place of worship and to defend themselves from the evil presence of the Trolls, the villains of the night and their merciless commander: the terrible Uldrecht.
Often, the magnificent fields cultivated by the Elves among the centuries-old oaks, where shrubs of sweet bread and rose water mushrooms used to live, would suffer the attacks of the trolls who, frightened by the wonderful light of Phoebus’ lanterns, would flee without harming the hard work of the inhabitants of the kingdom which used to work every day for four micro stars, about six hours of our time, with no break until the end of their shift when they walked towards their homes, always without ever forgetting to thank Ahlstrom by giving him a piece of sweet bread.
The elderly would stay longer in the village to account for the day before King Soth, who from the top of his wonderful glass house would have greeted them and invited them to enter, offering little sweets of sugar and dew.
The youngest used to join their families where their wives and children would welcome them with impatience. Among those families, there was also the family of Arst, with his wife Pole, the youngest daughters Gesh and Feth and Tsar, already at the end of his course of study at the great school of Lethan and almost ready to follow in his father’s footsteps as a farmer and carpenter.
But Tsar did not show great enthusiasm, his ways were quite unfriendly lately.
He looked so far away, spending many hours on the canopy of the veranda of his house, wrapped in mysterious and sad thoughts.
Arst and Pole were very worried about this.
So, one evening, Arst, after asking Pole and his two daughters not to wait for him on the door as usual, decided to climb the ladder made of pistils of flowers and reached Tsar on the roof of the house.
He did not say a word and since the son seemed not to notice his presence, he slowly approached and sat down next to Tsar.
There was a long silence, broken only by the shouting inside the house, then Arst opened the conversation.
“What’s wrong, son? – I haven’t recognized you for days, I can’t see you in the joyful Elf you have always been.”
His words whirled in the silence as if they were abstract thoughts external to the void. Tsar remained hermetic, alone in the thoughts that were afflicting him to the point of closing into that reserved silence.
Arst, realizing that answering was not his son’s intention, got up to go back inside, when Tsar in a thin voice like silk replied: “I have nothing wrong father, just a few thoughts. I’ll be alright.”
The following days passed with the usual laborious vitality when one day, at the end of the work, the flying elf secretary of King Soth, flew over the crops releasing small flyers printed in maple ink on scrolls made of bark.
It certainly had to be something serious because rarely, even the oldest in the village had a chance to see Rat the Flying Elf delivering a proclamation from the King in such haste.
So, the Elves promptly collected the scrolls and one of them ended up in the hands of Arst, who read the anguished proclamation: King Soth invited all the villagers in the square in front of his castle that same day, for a very important communication.
The Elves hurriedly put their tools back into the great oak shed and hurried off in Sten square, where, after a few seeds of micro stars, the King appeared from the main balustrade of his glass castle.
There was a thunderous applause, soon interrupted by a gesture from the King, which was pale and very serious. He immediately began his speech: “Dear Lethanians, we are gathered here today to learn together what happened during the micro star of rest. While we were all in our dwellings for dinner and rest, a Troll legion led by Commander Uldrecht and the black sorceress Disher has taken possession of the Key to Christmas. As you know it was safely stored in the kingdom of the Fairies of the Sun and has been subjected to a spell by Disher only to be thrown into the territory of No-Return. I therefore conclude that this year we won’t have Christmas.”
The King’s voice was broken with tears and his assistants took him by the arm to bring him back inside the castle after he apologized to the crowd.
This was the most chilling news the Elves could learn. The news had thrown the entire community into panic and distress.
The most holy “Key of Christmas” was a key composed of intertwined Hyacinth leaves and flowers, and it was kept in a sacred colored glass case in the kingdom’s heart of the Fairies of the Sun, on the top of the centuries-old trees overlooking the land of the Elves.
Every Christmas the Fairies of the Sun turned off the lanterns that illuminated the Elves’ country and, after a micro star of darkness, placed the key in the Holy Urn of the Ancient Oak and the miracle of Christmas would come true. The gigantic oaks would open completely, revealing to the Elves what was considered the Kingdom of Light, a magnificently clear sky and an immense sun in which the small inhabitants recognized Ahlstrom, the Divine Lord of Light.
During the royal proclamation in the square there was also Tsar, who hid to listen to the King’s speech, as it was reserved only to the fathers.
Tsar was particularly upset and as soon as he heard the terrible news, he ran towards the crops of the kingdom.
The place where Tsar was rushing to will appear new and unknown to us who read, but for him it was the usual meeting place for many micro stars.
In fact, he overcame the vast crops and arrived at the Immobile Lake which he passed along the muddy bank pushing towards the “edge of the night” or the black door of Nebulath, the kingdom of the Trolls.
The Trolls had been Elves once, but for rejecting the Kingdom of Light, they were locked up by Ratla, the Fairy Queen of the Sun and the sacred voice of Ahlstrom in a dark and hazy realm: Nebulath, precisely.
A sweet, long-limbed figure was waiting for him on the shore, playing with a water lily.
Tsar was livid, his eyes were swollen with tears and his hands were clenched in fists full of pain.
Approaching, he shouted: “Why did you do this?!?! Why, why??” – The sweet figure came up and whispered:
“Please don’t scream, otherwise the Black Door guards will hear us. Sit here and tell me what happened.” Lethith was a beautiful Troll girl from the Goblin lineage on his mother’s side. Tsar was madly in love with her for some macro stars.
Tsar told her what had happened and at the end of the story she shrugged, and a tear ran down her pretty little-nosed face.
“We absolutely have to do something, now!” Lethith said, while her warrior side kicked in.
She got up, took Tsar’s hand, and said: “Let’s go!”
“Where?” – Tsar answered, a bit worried.
“To the land of No-Return, we will retrieve the key and undo the spell.”
“But how??” – Tsar asked with his eyes bulging.
“Don’t worry.” Lethith answered confidently.
The two set off for the Middle Path, which, hidden by the vegetation, was next to the crops and at the crossroads of the Great Demand, where they had to answer the question with the secret password that would lead them out of the kingdom of the Elves.
Normally the younger ones did not know the right answer to give because they taught it only in adulthood, to prevent them from getting lost in the Land of No Return or, worse, in the Human Kingdom.
In fact, Tsar did not yet know the answer but trusted in Lethith who was proceeding confidently. After crossing the region of the Sound Plants and being overwhelmed by the singing of that realm, they forded the Bubbles Creek at full speed to avoid getting burned by its boiling waters. Finally, they reached the crossroad which was actually a very high wall of ivy.
A hollow voice rose out of nowhere: “Where are you going, you two on that path?”
“To the Land of No-Return” Lethith replied with a firm voice.
“So, dearest, what is the color of the pine in winter?”
Amazed at the simplicity of the question, they said in chorus: “Green!”
At that point, on the thick ivy, a passage opened, and the two lovers ran through. To their eyes, that place looked like another world.
The ground was coated with a strange white and cold material that under the grip of their hands would crumble. They kept playing for a long time until they noticed the same white matter was coming down from the sky in big flakes. Then suddenly they came in front of a huge green table and two equally gigantic chairs.
“The crossroad cheated!” Lethith blurted out.
“What?!?” cried Tsar trembling and terrified.
“This is not the Land of No-Return, this is the Land of the Giants, better known as the Kingdom of Humans. They teased us. The question was too silly.” Tsar paled; it was not only the cold to freeze his blood, but also the words just spoken by Lethith.
Trying not to show her his dismay “Now what do we do?”
Lethith moved synchronously her auricles and sniffed the frosty air with her small nose. “We must move now,” she said proudly.
The two continued along the icy land, the Elves did not know the snow, but the Trolls did, especially Lethith, who had seen the territories that stretched beyond the extreme border of the Kingdom of the Trolls, otherwise known as Sangerill, the hill of the Goblins, perennially covered with snow and ice, her mother’s homeland. Soon they found an immense stone building: The Human Giants home.
Lethith insisted on finding a hole to shelter from the freezing snow, and, climbing the icy wall, they finally reached a shelf on which they could rest.
Tsar turned his head and noticed the splendor: a transparent wall of glass, like an enormous window, from which he saw a family of Giants around an immense table. On the right a large pine and on the left a festive scene with statues, where everyone was around a newborn’s crib.
The joy of the two was great whilst witnessing a scene so full of love.
The Giants were celebrating loudly and exchanging strange gifts.
Lethith, who knew the story of the Giants, explained to Tsar that this was their Christmas and that the little one to whom the statues were facing was their Savior: Jesus Christ.
Suddenly, they realized they were unknowingly hugging each other, and their cold tears fell on their cheeks.
Their faces got closer and closer, and when the contact was near, two hands landed on their shoulders while a delicious warmth enveloped them.
“Come on guys, there’s no time to waste.”
A wonderful Fairy of the Sun was standing still, flapping its wings in front of them, immersed in a magnificent light. The two didn’t even have the time to say a word, and soon a second one arrived with a leaf of reed. Lethith and Tsar climbed on the leaf and took flight, warmed up by the two splendid creatures of the sun.
They asked no questions and soon left the Land of the Giants flying through a dark cloud. At the end of the black hole they saw a desert land, whose sand was of a purple color and a strong wind blew continuously, forming sparse agglomerations of purple fog.
Flying became more and more difficult, but the fairies were undaunted in their flapping while Tsar and Lethith laid down on the leaf to reduce the impact with the air.
The fairies knew they had to reach Eprom, the headquarters of the Rotars, the only inhabitants of the Land of No Return.
After endless efforts, they spotted the tower that stretched beyond the sparse courtyard filled with sandy mist. As they touched the ground, they had to face a very unpleasant surprise.
The Rotar tribe was a mixture of winged and non-winged beings, all descendants from the Goblins, which were expelled from Sangerill for rejecting the sacred deity of Nimb, the Goblin God. Therefore, they had to occupy this desert land without being able to go back to their homeland and forced to shelter from the wind in a tower where they lived in idleness and depravity.
Now that the fairies and the two lovers were in front of the tower, they immediately made acquaintance with the terrible troops of Garash, the lord of the Rotars’ souls.
The four were terrified and fearing the worst, when the Rotars looked at them with their watery eyes and hideous slobbering jaws and raised their spinning blades to the sky. They were waiting for the signal to attack. “What do you want? Go away!”
“We have come to take back what belongs to us!”
Tsar yelled indomitable, but the Rotars’ response was made up of giggles and horrible grunts in a mocking gesture.
Then out from one of the main balustrades of the Garash tower, their lord merely said: “You have come to occupy a land that does not belong to you, hence these people condemn you to death with immediate effect.”
After this, he let out a primal scream to the troops as a signal of attack. But moments before the fury of the horde came on the four unfortunates, another one even more powerful than the previous one came from their shoulders.
The four spun around and found themselves before a whole legion of Trolls with warriors lined up in the front rows and the men-at-arms with their large catapults in the back. Leading the dreadful battalion, Uldrecht with his two mighty axes hanging from his belt said:
“Blame us, Rotar barbarians,” and as Lethith broke into a wonderful smile, her father ordered the attack. The couple and the fairies moved over just in time and the apocalypse began. The battle never seemed to end while Tsar, Lethith and the two fairies were watching behind a rock, but suddenly, amidst the furious blows, one of the Troll catapults broke through the platoon arranged to defend the surrounding walls and changing its direction of launch hurled over the walls to the bone of contention! The Most Holy Key of Christmas!
The Trolls could penetrate the tower and regain immediate possession of the precious object.
As the battle was going on with furious blows, Uldrecht appeared standing on the surrounding wall and yelled: “Take the Key soon, there is no time to waste!!” The four were overjoyed to hear those words. They jumped to retrieve the Key and were back in the air. The key, which contained the magic of Christmas, had turned gray and dry, in need of precise and attentive care. They had to bring it to Queen Ratla, to reverse the spell.
Arriving near a long bending tree, the only one in the desert land, recalling the mechanism of the Trolls’ catapults, they used the tree to get hurled at high speed towards the sky. Providentially, the tree was the only exit door from the Land of no Return. After a space-time journey that almost made them faint, they landed on a thick vegetation composed of large green leaves: The Kingdom of the Fairies. Above, a magnificent blue sky dispersed visibly, and an immense, colored sun was warming up the pleasant, fragrant air. Lethith and Tsar were very lucky to admire the kingdom of the Fairies, which was almost impossible for any Elf and denied to any Troll.
The Fairies recovered in the blink of an eye and flew to the Grape Vines castle where the Queen was waiting for them. Lethith and Tsar could not enter the castle and so waited patiently, sitting on a leaf to observe the industriousness of the Fairies. There was a flash tearing the sky and soon the two fairies reappeared wearing a dress made of violet petals, as a sign of recognition and rebirth.
The key to Christmas was now shining with the magnificent pink of a hyacinth. The two lovers rushed down using the leaves as ramps followed by the flying fairies. Once on the ground, the Kingdom of the Elves was plunged into total darkness. Everything was static and cold, none along the avenues.
The fairies then hurried and placed the key in the Holy Urn of the Ancient Oak, after having happily determined that everything had happened in the right time.
After a few moments, the secular oaks came back to life, the birds joined in unison in a melodious song and slowly the dense vegetation opened more and more finally revealing a magnificent clear sky and a warm and radiant sun. The two guys started jumping for joy and didn’t notice the villagers were coming out of their tiny houses to witness the miracle.
A steady hand resting on Tsar’s shoulder interrupted his happiness; it was King Soth: “His Majesty!” said Tsar kneeling on the ground, but the King made him stand back immediately, expressing his joy in a cry, then he was called by his assistants and in a twinkling of an eye, Tsar and Lethith were surrounded by the whole village of cheering Elves.
The festive atmosphere had turned into a setting of tables and a joy of garlands and decorations. The King appeared on the imperial balustrade: “Lethanians, as you see, today we can celebrate our Christmas! You will think of a miracle, well we could even consider it as such, but this miracle has two main protagonists: our young Tsar, son of Arst,” – there was a roar of applause as Arst was gloating with pride- “and Lethith the young Troll, daughter of Uldrecht… Dear fellow citizens, from today we will have to revise many things.”
Then the King stopped, and smiling, addressed his gaze beyond the crowd. Everyone immediately turned in the same direction and could witness the incredible: an entire legion of Trolls returning from a battle and led by the mighty Uldrecht was lined up behind them. There were moments of terror, but the King promptly told them what the two guys and the Fairies, with the collaboration of the Trolls had done for them and delivered the final part of his speech: “The message of this Christmas is that loving is caring.
Everything done with love and with the strength that it can instill is an indisputable result that can only bring joy and peace to those who fight the good fight. Our kids have known love in all its forms and through other cultures, taking it here for us today to share, performing the miracle and reminding us that love has no bounds. Merry Christmas, great people of Lethan.”
Tsar and Lethith were wrapped in a tender hug, and the first kiss between them sealed their love.
For this Special Christmas the celebrations lasted a long time, and the Trolls were awarded the title of “Defenders of Christmas”.
From that day the kingdom expanded, including Nebulath, which became the Holy Land of Lethan and the training ground of the defenders of the kingdom. The sorceress Disher used her powers to heal the plants of the wood, and the kingdom of the Elves became the largest and most powerful of the forests. For the sake of love.
James Marchiori is an Italian born, Dublin based poet and writer. He wrote his first verses at nine years old, and since then, being part of prestigious cultural organizations, he has been collecting various literary awards across Italy, London, Barcelona, and Prague. He’s also been awarded at the European Parliament in Brussels for one of his poems. At twenty-one years old he published his first book of selected poems and, by his 28th birthday, other two poetry anthologies and short stories were out. His professional career brought him around the world from London to Los Angeles and New York, but he never stopped writing and studying philosophy and literature always taking tons of notes with him, no matter where his job experiences were heading to. His last novel, ‘To My Beloved Heart’ is a tribute to the master, Edgar Allan Poe, his primary source of inspiration, and 2019 will also see his first English collected poems anthology; he’s also currently working on a crime story set in Dublin, Ireland, with fragments of gothic, occult and supernatural elements. Bohemia incarnate, a soul devoted to Surrealism and Poetry.