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Subject: my cousin
Chapter one

Looking out over the cliffs, he pondered one of his many questions again. “Who am I really?” he said softly to himself.
Now at twenty-four years, he knew he was fully grown physically, but he felt as if he were still a babe for some reason.
He was of average height, standing at five feet and ten inches. He wasn’t husky like the other young men in the village, being sleight of build and about twenty to thirty pounds lighter than the rest at only one-hundred forty pounds.
Even though he was smaller, he could out-do his counterparts in tests of strength, which baffled everyone. It seemed muscle need not be large to be strong.
His looks were also striking. He was a nice looking young man. The girls began to swoon when he passed them on his errands. He had not gotten too close to any of them, which added to the attraction as far as he could figure. He took another look at himself in his minds eye. His hair was a light brown with a silvery tint that fell to his shoulders. He had a narrow face with high cheekbones, a small sharp nose and chin, and an ever so slight slant to his
blue-green eyes. One of his most striking features, and his biggest secret, was the shape of his ears. He kept them hidden with the way his hair fell to the sides of his face. When his hair was pushed back, his ears were visible to all. Not because they were large; on the contrary, his ears may have been small when compared to the average person, but the top of both ears swept upwards into a point, instead of being rounded like everyone else’s.
As a child, these ears had caused him a lot of heartache. Children can be so cruel to someone who is different. He used to cry often. His family had moved from place to place trying to avoid the problems that arose because of his features.
He thought back on his youth.
The new faith had risen quickly, and their beliefs were strong. What was most disturbing, was that all of the evil demons they described had ears like his. Just another reason to keep his secret. To half hide among everyone he knew was frustrating. His hearing was sharp, and he would often catch the whisperings of others as they grew suspicious.
The older stories he had heard all of his life were more compelling. The stories of fairies and elves. He could always see them so vividly when the stories were shared by the elders of all the villages in which they had ever lived.
Once he was of age, he questioned his parents
intensely on his differences. Other than everything he already knew, they confessed to him that they were not his true parents. He was a foundling. They loved him as one of their own children, but he had been left at the edge of the wood near the village his parents originally lived in. It was there that his mother picked him up for the first time. They formed an immediate bond. To her, he seemed to radiate love. His father knew that she would never give up on the child, no matter what was said about the baby’s appearance, And being a common man, he could always do with another son. The strangest thing about the baby was the fact that he never cried. Later they found out that he was also a very fast learner.
“Tonight...,” he thought to himself, “tonight I will tell them.”
“YES MOTHER?” he called back.
He pushed his thoughts to the side and sprinted back from the cliffs. He ran to the home they had for the past seven years. “Longer here than anywhere else,” he thought and smiled. They had actually found a home. Then his smile faded. “Well, it will always be home, no matter where my travels take me.”
After dinner Blasphin sat with his family outside the house, as they did every evening. “Always relax after your evening meal,” Father would say.
Farell slowly came down the path, which was really the main street for the small village. Farell was one of the elders in the village council. Blasphin had come to admire this man. He was a kindly old man with the wisdom of ages showing in his eyes. What Blasphin enjoyed most, were the old tales that Farell recited . They were the best stories of any he had heard in his entire life.
Blasphin moved from his chair so the old man could sit down, and he sat down cross-legged on the ground before him. Then Blasphin’s brothers and sisters sat down all around Farell, eleven children in all, including himself.
He was sure it was this large audience that always brought Farell by to tell his stories. The family
always had to drag it out of him; that was part of the game. Farell would always act as if they really didn’t want to hear him, and they would have to convince him that they did.
Blasphin had often thought it made Farell feel needed. Farell had no family of his own and was almost a part of this large family. After his first story so many years ago and the way the children were taken with him, he was made an honorary grandfather in their hearts. They all loved him very much and couldn’t imagine life without him.
Tonight Farell’s story would be Blasphin’s last in this village, so he listened intently. Farell went on for almost three hours. He talked about a time when elves had lived in harmony with men. Elves and men always had separate villages, but they had a very active trade. They worked and played together for as long as any could remember.
“No one knew what started the rift between men and elves. The elves went into the woods and simply disappeared,” Farell concluded.
The family sighed, they knew those times would be relived tonight in their dreams.
Instead of going to bed with his brothers and sisters as he usually did, Blasphin stayed outside with his parents and Farell after the goodnights were said.
“This is the time,” Blasphin thought to himself. “Mother? Father?” he said. “Do you feel as I do about Farell?”
“What do you mean, son?” asked his father.
“I mean, do you consider our wise old friend here as one of our family?” Blasphin said in a tone more serious than his parents had ever heard from him.
“Of course we do, dear,” replied his mother. “He’s just like a father to me.”
“Then we should have no secrets from him,” Blasphin said.
“Secrets?” Farell said with a slight smile. “What secrets could you possibly have from me, son?”
Blasphin knelt in front of the old man’s knees. “Tell me what you know of the elves’ appearance,” Blasphin said.
Farell studied the young man’s eyes for a moment. “You are interested in another story?” he asked the kneeling young man.
“Another story, if thats all it is,” Blasphin replied. “Although I have always wondered how much truth could be found in the stories.”
Farell paused for what seemed like an eternity to Blasphin, then spoke ever so softly. “Well, son,” he began, “it’s always been just a story to me. Actually, of all I’ve ever heard, I never really believed a word of it until you and your family moved into our village. You see,” he continued, “you have a strong hint of what had been in my stories all these years.”
“Tell me,” Blasphin said, almost pleading.
The old man smiled down at his needy audience. “Ok.... ok,” he said. “A true discription isn’t known... but of all that I’ve heard, there is a line that is always followed.” He closed his eyes for a minute as he visualized and sorted through all of the stories. When he opened his eyes again, they had a far away look. “Elves,” he began, “are probably the most beautiful of all the gods creations. Standing no taller than five feet, slim and agile they are, and as strong as the strongest man in all the world. They have sharp faces, similar to yours, with a slant to their eyes, an upswept thin eyebrows, instead of the thicker brows you have. They can see clearly at night, even without a moon. They have light hair, which has been said to look like flowing silver. And they are also said to have ears that are sharp of point and sharp of hearing.” The old man focused on Blasphin again. “You see,” he said, “you reminded me of all my stories when I first met you. I could almost see a truth in the stories I’ve shared over my lifetime. You’ve helped me to visualize my stories, even though you have so many differences from the elves in them.”
“Not so many differences as you might think, Farell,” Blasphin replied.
“NO!” Blasphin heard his mother almost sob, as his hands started to move from his knees.
“It’s alright mother,” he said, not looking away from Farell’s eyes. He brought his hands up and pushed his hair back behind his ears...
Farell’s eyes grew as large as the silver pieces carried in his pouch. Then they filled with tears as his smile touched the hearts of his three friends.
After a moment, Blasphin asked him, “ Am I an elf, Farell? I seem to have so much of those stories built right into my life and soul. Could the stories be wrong? I mean, maybe elves are taller...? Maybe their hair really isn’t silver?” his voice trailed away as he watched the man.
With a slight tilt to his head, he started to shake it from side to side. “It may have been people like you, that were the cause of such stories rising, but there are too many differences to make you a true elf, if there is such a thing.”
Blasphin then shared his story with Farell, his parents filling in scant details here and there. “So you see,” Blasphin was finishing, “that’s why I decided to leave.”
“WHAT!” his parents cried in unison.
“ I’ve made up my mind,” Blasphin told them. “I have to look for answers to my questions.” He set his hair back over his ears and stood up.
“Where can you find these answers?” Farell asked him.
“I don’t really know,” Blasphin said softly, but I figured I would start where it all started for us, back in the village where my parents found me.”
Farell looked at the young man. “ Perhaps I can help,” he said. “I have many friends all over this land. I can travel with you. We can stay with people I know for the price of a story.” He smiled. “That was my life before I settled here, a wandering story teller. It was a good life, I just got to too old to travel as I once did. So I decided one day to stop. I was in this town on that day, so this is where I’ve been ever since.”
“How is it now, that you can travel?” Blasphin asked him. “You just said you were too old.”
“I said I was too old to travel as I once did, not too old to travel,” he said with a smile. “I shall put my affairs in order. I will make up a new story for this town about our trip and promise to tell them of our adventures when I return,” he chuckled. “And they might not be stories after all, eh? Do you suppose you could take care of two homes while we’re away?” Farell asked Blasphin’s parents.
“I’m sure we could,” Blasphin’s father replied. Then looking at his son, he asked, “Are you sure this is what you want to do?”
“Yes Father,” Blasphin replied, feeling the pangs of homesickness already.
“Then you have our blessing son,” he said. “And return to us, after you have found your answers.”
“I will Father,” Blasphin said, almost in tears as he embraced both of his parents at the same time.
“It’s settled then,” Farell said. “We’ll leave tomorrow at mid-day. You better sleep now,” he added. “I believe it will be a long journey to the land of answers.” Then he bid them goodnight, and slowly headed back the way he came.

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Time Posted: May 27 2009 01:48 pm EDT
Last updated: September 14 2009 10:16 pm EDT


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