Jason Richard

The Ageless One: His Beginning


            What am I?  I am a Twyla. Dont know what a Twyla is? Thats fine, I can explain.  We,
the Twyla, ordain all magic.  We are
supernatural beings who live on a higher plane of existence, and it is we who
decide what incantations or rituals cast which spell.  We give magic order and purpose to protect
the mortal realms, otherwise there would be chaos. 
            But this story isnt about us.  Its about a young boy called Doelan, a
mortal Ive been observing for some time. You see we, the Twyla, try not to interfere in the affairs of mortals,
but sometimes, to prevent darkness from destroying them, we have no
choice.  There are times when we must
give mortals a fighting chance, and one of the best ways we can do that is by
watching certain people whom we know have a great destiny.  Whether they devote their lives to fighting
evil, or just happen to be at the right place at the right time, we make
certain they have everything they need to fight the good fight.
            This young boy, Doelan, is one such person.  You may ask what was so special about him,
and why the Twyla would watch him.  You
might wonder what great destiny could possibly be in store for him.  My answer is simple.
            I do not know.
            You see sometimes not all Twyla can foresee a particular
future.  As it stands only our esteemed
queen, the greatest of all Twyla, knows exactly what this Doelan will do, or
try to do.  She is the queen of the
Twyla, and of magic itself, and she is convinced that this boy is destined to be
more legendary than any hero before him. However, there are some who would question her judgment.
            Why?  Well, there
are a few reasons.  For starters, the land
Doelan has called home for the first few years of his life is Halhor.  Not that theres anything wrong with that,
but Halhor is home to the gislers, who are not considered a very strong people,
owing to their eternal youth.   That might not seem such a bad thing, but other
races grow up big and strong while the gislers are locked in the bodies of
children throughout their entire lives. They do not die of old age, but as weak as they are no one has ever
wanted them as allies during wartime.  War,
it has been said, is the work of men, not boys. 
The
gislers tried many times, most notably during a council with the eagle men, who
were waging a war against snake-like monsters called slefah, one of the evilest
dark creatures of their world.  The gislers
wanted to help, but the eagle men Chieftain said, it would be dishonorable to
bring children onto the battle field.  I
am sorry young ones. 
At
the time, the gislers were still under rule of the Ciniceros Empire, where the
human emperor declared, I understand you want to help, but you must stay under
our protection.  Its for your own good.  However, some gislers at the council believed
that the other races merely envied their youth, and one mayor of Halhor infamously
declared, Too bad we cannot fight against time itself, then youd be
scrambling to be our allies.
            It didnt go over well.
            Whatever the reason, most other races view the gislers as
weak or in need of protection, while the gislers disagree.  They view themselves as just like any other species,
and this is the race that Doelan was born into, an eternally young species
called the gislers, also known as the Ageless Ones.
            Or so it seemed.
            What Doelan saw for the first few years of his life
wasnt exactly true, you might say. However, he will not discover this for some time, so for now, lets
pretend everything he saw was as it seemed so we can focus on Doelan himself.
            The second reason one might question the Twyla queens
interest in him is quite simple.
Doelan
grew up in an orphanage, the kind of place you dont expect someone great and
legendary to come from.  He was raised
under the care of attendants, not parents, in a stone building with many rooms
for the various orphaned children.  Not
that Doelan knew what stone was when he was young, but the building was made of
it all the same.  Actually not knowing
about stone caused him a bit of confusion once. Only a few months old and just learning to walk, older gislers (boys and
girls who looked no older than fifteen) would pick him up and take him to the
window to let him look outside.  He
couldnt go there yet, but they let him look and he saw the gisler houses;
richly decorated marble cottages with impressive looking columns holding up the
porch roofs.   They were pretty to look
at, unlike the drab stone building Doelan lived in, but he didnt really know
that.  Since he had never seen the exterior
of his building, he naturally assumed that it looked like the marble ones on
the outside.
            It was when he turned one year old that he discovered the
truth.  By that time he was allowed to go
play outside.  It wasnt so bad at first.  The grass felt cool and soft beneath his
feet, and he had tons of fun chasing bugs and stomping on flowers, until he
noticed that his building was as unpleasant to look at on the outside as it was
on the inside; just a block of stone with windows.  When he saw other children playing around
those shiny marble cottages, and with their parents no less, he realized he was
different, but he couldnt be certain how.
            Now Doelan didnt remember this, as he was too
young.  But he kept seeing those
buildings and making that same conclusion, so when he did start remembering
things he would look at those buildings and just know it.  To him, it was as if he had always known he
was different.  However, it wasnt until
he started talking at five years old that he learned how.  He was being tucked in by a gisler who was
twenty, but of course looked fifteen, when Doelan decided to ask a few
questions.
            Why do we live here and not with our parents in the marble
buildings?  And why are there more children
here?
            Well Doelan, said the older gisler. This is an orphanage.  We take in children whose parents cant take
care of them.
            Why cant they take care of us?
            The gisler answered, but Doelan was still at that young
age when older people, especially adults, felt the need to protect him from the
truth. They had to go on a journey, he said.  This of course meant they had passed
away.  In Doelans case, however, the
circumstances were a little different, but he wouldnt find out how until lateras
I understand it.  At this point, the
older gisler just covered him up and said, now go to sleep.
            So now he knew.  He
didnt have parents to watch over him, and thats what made him different.  However, that wasnt the end of it.  You see Doelan was expected to show respect
for his elders.  He learned this by asking
questions about people that visited Halhor. He would look out the window, see the cyclops people in their huge suits
of armor and ask, Is their armor really indestructible?  Or hed notice the eagle men with wings on
their backs and would absolutely have to know, Can they really fly?  He also saw that the eagle men had feathers
instead of hair.  The only hair they had
was for beards, and Doelan was tempted to ask if they had feathers in their
armpits too.  However, he knew he would
probably just get scolded for asking rude questions, so he kept that to
himself.
However,
he would still ask a dozen questions and the elders would respond in one of two
ways.  They would either remind him of
his manners, telling him to say yes sir, and no sir respectfully or they
would send him off with, Doelan, Im busy. But still, Doelan learned to use manners with his elders.
Now
his elders were eternally young, so by human standards they looked
fifteen.  This didnt bother him at
first, for he knew the taller ones with deeper voices (more so than his own at
least) were the ones to say yes sir and no sir to.   Therefore he could always tell who was of a
greater age, and with whom he should show respect.  But one day, something happened.  Doelan was seven by this time, and the mayor
of Halhor came to the orphanage.  He was
said to be forty-six, but he looked like a fifteen year old, skinny blonde boy
with blue eyes.  His clothes were fairly
regal; a sort of scarlet cloak compared to the normal brown cloaks most wore,
but that was it. 
Erid,
the head of the orphanage, was supposed to be thirty-two years old, but of
course he didnt appear to be.  Before
this day he had always looked like the oldest person in the room, and acted
like it as well.  This day he looked like
the oldest, if only by a little, but didnt act like it.  As Doelan looked back and forth between the
two of them he could not tell what made the mayor older than Erid, who bowed to
the mayor as if it was so.  Erid was dark
haired, big for a fifteen year old and even taller than the mayor.  He said yes sir and no sir, the way all
of the orphans were expected to, and Doelan just didnt get it.
            He went up to Erid later and tugged on his shirt,  Erid, is the mayor really older than you?
            Of course he is Doelan. Why would you ask that?
            He doesnt look any older than you.
            What do you mean?
            Well, Neron looks older than me, and thoseumeagle
people who came here had grownups who looked oldbut you dont.
            Oh the eagle men arent gislers Doelan.  We stop ageing, but we really are adults.
            How do you know?
            Erid sighed in irritation, We just know, now please stop
bothering me, Im busy.
            Erid walked off, and speaking of Neron, that very same
boy was listening.  He, a dark haired and
freckled boy who was seven at the time, came up to Doelan and grinned.
            You dont like it when we stop growing up!  Oh!  You
dont want to stop growing up!  You want
to grow old!
            No I dont.
            Yes you do.  You
want to grow old.  Hey everyone!  Doelan wants to grow old!
            Stop it! cried Doelan.
            Neron! cried Erid from across the room, Stop!
            Neron stuck out his tongue at Doelan and ran off; from
that moment Doelan knew once again that he was different, even in the orphanage.  Little did he know that it was just going to
get worse.
            Neron started talking to the other orphans, and wherever
Doelan went they would make fun of him. Doelan hadnt exactly made a lot of friends before this.  The other orphans had always seemed more
interested in playing soldier than learning about the strange visitors, so he
didnt have much in common with most of them, but they had never treated him
cruelly until now.
            He couldnt walk anywhere without a child saying, should
I get a cane for when you get old? Or Dont you know youre not allowed to be
older than the mayor!  And then there
was the chanting, You want to grow old! You want to grow old!  It was
more than Doelan could bear.
            You might not think it such an insult, but then again,
youre not a gisler.  Eternal youth is what
makes a gisler a gisler, so Doelan not understanding it was like a bee not
understanding honey.  It was almost as if
he was a wasp raised in a beehive by mistake, and unfortunately for Doelan the
other gislers words stung, just like a swarm of bees.
            Eventually most of the orphans lost interest, being told
off by the elders for their behavior, but Neron and a few of his friends kept
tormenting Doelan.  He learned to avoid
them, and those boys were scolded, but for a long time Doelan had no friends
while Neron continued to be a nightmare. He was the gisler who didnt understand eternal youth, and he was alone.
            Then, one day when he was ten years old, Doelan couldnt
take it anymore.  As the orphans were
playing outside in the gloomy evening twilight, Neron said something worse than
anything he had said before, and then began chanting with his friends, You
want to grow old! over and over.  And
this time Doelan snapped.  He hit Neron
and jumped on top of him!  They attracted
a crowd of children, some of which werent orphans, and eventually, Erid showed
up.
Thats
enough! cried Erid. Stop!
But
he could barely be heard over the screams of children shouting, yelling and
surrounding two fighting boys, one on top of the other.   They were in the grass field, not far from
the marble Halhor cottages, and some people among the cottages were looking
towards the scene.
Out
of the way! Erid called again. Move!
He
seemed more like an adult now than ever before as he came up, pulling Doelan
off Neron.  Doelan struggled in Erids
hands while Neron got up and made a move towards both of them.
Enough!
cried Erid, making the boys freeze and the young crowd silent.  Despite his deceptively young age, he had a
commanding presence. Neron, he said to the boy across from him. What is
this?
Neron
had a hard scowl on his face as he spoke. He hit me!
Is
this true? Erid asked Doelan.
He
said I wasnt a gisler, Doelan shouted. He said I was a freak, he...
That
isnt what I asked Doelan, Erid said sternly.
Doelan
didnt answer right away, but he did, reluctantly. Yes.
Erid
released his grip a little but Doelan didnt run at Neron again.  Instead he turned around to look at Erid, keeping
his head down.
You
see, said Neron. He did hit me.
Neron,
said Erid. Did you call him a freak?
But
he...
Neron!
Erid looked the small child in the eye.  Neron
didnt answer, but fidgeted.
Neron,
answer me.
He
did call him that, said another boy, about eleven years old. And he started a
chant with some other boys.
Doelan
didnt recognize this boy, which meant he probably wasnt an orphan.
You
heard him?
Yes.
The boy nodded his head quickly.
Neron?
The
guilty child swallowed. Yes sir.
Why?
Neron
still hesitated. Well he...he...he keeps going on about how the grownups here
dont look grownup.  Its...hes just
weird.
So?  Ive heard this.  Its a little strange maybe but hardly
grounds for this kind of behavior.
Doelan
wasnt feeling any better.
He
was teasing him sir, said the eleven year old. He kept saying that he didnt
belong in Halhor because he was different. He said he wasnt a gisler, and that he was a freak.
Ah,
that explains it. Erid put his arms on his hips like an adult and looked at
both of them. Neron, remember when those human boys teased you about being an
orphan?
Yes.
Well,
next time you want to tease someone, imagine them feeling the way you felt when
you were teased.
Yes
sir.
As
for you Doelan, you should never attack someone in anger, because one of these
days that anger is going to make you do something youll regret, like hit
someone who will hit back.  I dont care
what that person has done, anger never solves anything.  You know what you act like when you attack in
anger?
Doelan
just gave a blank stare.
Doelan,
its dark creatures that act like that, and we are not dark creatures.  Do you understand?
Yes
sir, said Doelan.  That was one of the
ways adults talked to children, no matter what race they were.  They would tell them not to act like evil dark
creatures, such as ogres or slefah.  It
made Doelan feel worse.
Now
I dont want either of you to fight again or there will be consequences, and I
want you both to apologize to each other.
The
boys looked at each other and said reluctantly, Im sorry.
Good.  Now you should all be going inside.  It will soon be time for bed. Then Erid
raised his voice. And I do mean all of you, even the ones who are not under my
care.
He
walked towards the stone orphanage building as the children he was responsible
for followed.
Doelan
walked slowly, a little ashamed that hed been in trouble.  He was the orphan, the one who didnt get
what made a gisler a gisler, and now he was a troublemaker.  He was feeling more alone than ever. 
As
he walked a voice sounded in his ear.
Are
you alright? asked the eleven year old that had spoken earlier.
Im
okay, said Doelan gloomily. Thanks for helping me.
Youre
welcome. The boy smiled. Youre names Doelan right?
Yeah.
Doelan gave a weak smile.
Im
Liri.
            Hello.
            He kept walking, and wasnt going to speak since he
couldnt think of anything to say, but Liri kept speaking.
            Heyuhdid you know that the eagle men live in a nest?
            Doelan stopped, What?
            The eagle men live in a nest. He grinned.
            But Ive always heard they live in a palace.
            They dobut its made of wickeror something like
wicker.   Bits of wood woven together, so
it looks like a nest.  Its even been
called that on purpose.  The nest palace.
            How do you know?
            My family goes on vacationsIm not old enough to go
yet, but they tell me everything. Diddid you know that their palace flies?
            Doelan was getting more interested by the minute. It
does?
            Yeah, it
            Liri!
            They looked over to see an older boy.
            Is that your brother? asked Doelan.
            No thats my father.
            Oh.
            Its okay.  I
gotta go, but would you like to hear more about the eagle men later?
            Doelan thought about it, Yeah.
            Great, youd be the first.  Well, bye.
            He ran off, and Doelan watched Liri leave with his
father, a sight that still somehow seemed strange to Doelan.  He knew he should at least be used to it by
now, but it wouldnt stop feeling strange. Still, he decided he didnt care. As Liri looked back at Doelan, they waved Goodbye to each other, and for
once Doelan didnt feel quite so alone.
            Well, thats his beginning.  Perhaps you still wonder why the Twyla queen
would take such an interest in this boy. After all, hes done nothing legendary yet, but then again, no one ever
became a legend at the age of ten. Except maybe a few elves, but thats a different story. 
            This tale has hardly begun, along with Doelans trials,
for he still doesnt know that our queen watches him, nor does he know the circumstances
surrounding his parents, and how he came to the orphanage.  Finally, he does not yet realize that things
in his home, in Halhor, are not entirely what they seem.
            But that is a story I cannot tell.  One Twyla watching him is enough, but two
will definitely be detected by his enemies. I will have to leave Doelan alone and attend to my duties regarding
magic.  My queen will look after him for
now.  My part in the telling of this tale
is over.  If you want the rest, you will
have to observe him for yourself.
To be continued 

 

All rights belong to its author. It was published on e-Stories.org by demand of Jason Richard.
Published on e-Stories.org on 03/30/2011.

 

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