Challenge #02443-F253: The Mystery DeepenssteemCreated with Sketch.

in fiction •  last month 


I read one of your short story of how how the rarity of humans and elves are swapped, and thought this:
A: “Based off these texts this Human is of the European breed.”
B: “But that’s impossible the closest Human gate is in a-siá I think.”
A: “Blonde hair, blue eyes and pale skin like elves. Shorten the ears and lifespan you get a European Human.”
B: “Still how would it even get here, it takes days to get here from the gate.” -- Anon Guest

[AN: This prompt harkens back to this thing ]

In an Elven village somewhere reasonably close to Omnidale, and Elf named Klimantyne is attempting to raise a small, probably intelligent being he has named Ham. So far, Klimantyne has learned that Ham is omnivorous, a fast learner, and an absolute little devil for getting into anything and everything. The best news was that Ham knew what a privy was for. The worst was that the little dickens had figured out how to undo quite a lot of locking mechanisms.

Ham picked up the Trader Tongue a lot quicker than they could manage Elven, so that was the primary means of communication. Especially when Klimantyne was trying to make things clear.

"This is no," said Klimantyne. "No Ham room. Much danger, yes? No want Ham be hurt."

"Pretty," argued Ham.

"Yes, they are very pretty," agreed Klimantyne. "They are also very heavy. They could squish you flat. One wrong move and no more Ham."

Ham whimpered and zoomed in for reassurance. Klimantyne scooped them up in a warm embrace. "There, now. Just stay safe, eh? Stay away from the very big things."

"...m'kay," Ham murmured, not letting go.

Klimantyne thusly had to keep carrying his charge as he answered the door. It was far too early to receive new goods from his cadre of artists. As it became evident, his visitor was not a tapestry artist, but rather a friend and neighbour, Pohmgranaat. He had a book.

"I found Ham," he said, grinning from ear to pointed ear. "I've been scouring the library since you brought them home -hi, baby... and I couldn't find any evidence in the scientific texts or compendia of intelligent life. Instead... I found him in Lymontrii's Fanciful Tales for Small Children." Frantic page flipping to a specific entry... and there was Ham. Dappled skin, pale hair and eyes. "These are the kind from the distant lands of... Eh'ur'opeh. Far to the north. A ridiculous land where it snows for half the year and monsterous animals roam."

Ham, turning to look at the brightly-coloured illustrations, pointed to an illustration of a Human wearing a bear skin and carrying a sword. "Ham," they said, excited. "It's Ham!"

"It looks a lot like you, yes," agreed Klimantyne. "This one is a lot older. Were you bigger when you were younger?"

Ham thought this amusing, giggling, "No-o-o-o... Silly Papa."

'Papa' was a word that came with Ham. Something they had said to describe a caregiver in the days before some people in the Underdark managed to trap them for their vile trade. Ham's use of it for Klimantyne made the Elven trader feel oddly warm inside.

"Well, this has to be someone else then."

The ritual of bedtime -Ham could not achieve Elven meditation- that evening included some stories of the Humans until the little being fell asleep.

E'ur'opé sounded like an unlikely place for any kind of intelligent life to exist. Snows for half the year. Wolves the size of bears and bears the size of elephants. Houses that walked on chicken legs, and wildlife that could converse like intelligent creatures[1]. Considering the hazards inherent in taking a walk through the woods, it was no wonder that creatures like Ham were scarce.

...there was also that seemingly large self-destructive streak, which was closer to home and far more likely than walking houses or talking birds.

Wherever they had come from, Klimantyne was certain of one thing - it was not worth the risk to find out how to get there.

[1] I'm taking a chance and figuring that some stories told by Humans would spread further than the Humans themselves.

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / outsiderzone]

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