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Elfquest => Writers' Gallery => Topic started by: Jeb on April 21, 2018, 10:04:25 AM

Title: Displaced - The resurrection of One-Eye
Post by: Jeb on April 21, 2018, 10:04:25 AM
There was a discussion on another Elfquest site about the nature of Timmain's split to become Cutter and whether when she did that, was another spirit that was the true child of Bearclaw and Joyleaf's Recognition displaced? That started me thinking about that poor spirit wandering around, and imagining a story where that spirit found and claimed One-Eye's "empty shell".

When I started this, I kind of forgot about the whole wrap-stuff business and how he would need someone to help him get out of it (how was that going to work originally, I don't know. Leave One-Eye all wrapped up in hopes he'd return to his body and...lay there?).

I looked back at the times when One-Eye was unwrapped, but none of them worked with the story as I had started to map it out, so I decided to heck with it. We will ignore any canon ideas of wrapstuff and just let it conveniently disappear when needed here.

The story begins...

Part 1

There were only two events with any significance.

The first was the one that had called him out of the void and into existence. Something had pulled him apart from the Others and into a different world. He had gone from insensate darkness to the brilliance of two sparks meeting, joining in a shock of new sensations. Light, color, warmth, feeling - all exploded out of the joining and he found himself pulled irresistibly towards the fusing sparks. It grew closer every moment and he was on the point of being consumed.

Then, nothing.

It was almost as if he had been pushed away, as if something else had taken his place in the growing fire.

He returned to the darkness, but still kept his separateness. He was aware now that Others had been separate, too. They tried to explain this new separateness, but he had no understanding of what they tried to convey. Death, life, love, it was all meaningless.

He did find that in his separateness he was able to “go out.” He had a new concept of distance and he found that there were some like him, who were able to leave the Others. Each was a bright spark and he could travel from one to the other. Some, he could commune with, but others seemed surrounded by some barrier that made them faint and unapproachable. The travelers tried to explain, but they also spoke in the language of life and death and he didn’t understand.

The faint sparks drew him like the brilliance that had called him into separateness. He began to be curious. If only he could get inside one of the barriers, but each was full of its spark and had no room for him.

Then the second event happened.

A barrier was brought to the presence of the Others, but there was no spark inside.

He surrounded it, and as he got closer he once again became aware of the same senses that had been there at the two sparks joining. It was...painful. And...joyful. And bright, and cold, and warm and dark and hard and soft and so much, but he couldn’t stop, falling deeper and deeper into the blinding chaos. Turned around and spinning until finally, all was quiet.

The sensations stabilized. He was enclosed. No longer infinite and formless, there now were limits to him. He could feel edges of his awareness. Below him, there was a feeling of pressure. Above and around, something soft rested against him. Beyond that, nothing.

He opened his eyes. He tried to make sense of the new world he saw. He was vaguely aware of the presence of the Others around him, but they were far away. He was in a large, bright space, laid out on a soft surface.

He lifted his hand and stared at it, amazed at the feeling of muscles pushing, softness sliding over his skin. Somehow, as he saw each new thing, he was able to name it and it made sense as the knowledge he had gained from the travelers fell into place.

He could hear a noise. Voices, not far away, but muffled. The sound of them caused a tightening feeling in his gut and he knew the sound was not happy.

He swung his legs over and gingerly touched them to the floor. He tried to lift himself, but was too weak. He stumbled to the floor, gasping at the crushing sting as his splayed hands hit the hard ground.

The voices stopped. For a minute there was silence, then footsteps, slow and soft at first, then louder and faster as they raced toward him and abruptly halted. A gasp rang through the stillness.

“One-Eye!?”

He raised his head to find two figures in front of him. Their basic structures were similar, and similar to his, but in appearance they were quite different. The closer figure was of almost uniform thickness, slightly wider at the top, and gave an impression of overall darkness. Long hair was pulled back and fell in a straight line behind, rippling like the blackness between worlds. The whole body was covered in dark skin, but the eyes were a color like the heart of a star. The other figure that held back also was dark on top, a shaggy halo surrounding its upper half. This one though had a variety of thicknesses. Wide, then narrow, then wide again, with more complex contours than the other. And its skin was light, blending in more with the brightness around them.

He remembered the long ago decision to become beings that required two forms to reproduce and thought maybe that explained the differences. But which one was he?

The nearer figure had knelt next to him and moved to support him back up to standing. He focused on where they touched, and the contrast he saw there. So he was light, like the other figure farther away. Did that mean they shared biological function? But as he pulled up he realized his build was top-heavy and narrow, more like the one helping him. He seemed to share characteristics of both. It was very confusing.

The darker one helped ease him back onto the platform from which he had fallen.

“One-Eye? You’ve come back!”

He raised his hands to his face and felt that he indeed had space for two eyes like the ones watching him, but one had been covered with a scrap of material. He lifted it, and where the eye should be, only felt thickened and twisted skin. It disturbed the others to see it, he could tell, so he lowered the fabric back down.

He took a deep breath, registering the novelty of the sensation of filling his lungs, expanding, contracting, feeling the air rushing in and out. He focused on this as he steadied himself before finally attempting to shape his mouth and coordinate the release of air to make the correct noises.

“No.” it was little more than a breath at first. He drew another breath in and tried again.

“No.” It sounded rough and ripped through his throat. He cough and swallowed, pressing his lips to bring moisture to his dry mouth. “I am not the one you call One-Eye.”
Title: Re: Displaced - The resurrection of One-Eye
Post by: Jeb on May 19, 2018, 09:59:49 AM
Kahvi watched Rayek help the One-Eyed elf to sitting and felt the distaste ripple her skin. She had had only two glimpses of him before. One, lying in the blood splattered snow as his life-mate keened over him. The other…

Laid out next to Vaya, heart beating, skin flushed as her daughter remained cold and still, wrapped in the metal shell that was too late to do her any good. Kahvi blinked before the wetness in her eyes could grow enough to trickle out.

Dead was dead, Kahvi had said before, and that was how it should be. Vaya had joined the circle and they had danced for her, her spirit was free.

But this one, holed up here with the rest of the ancient, useless things. She never thought there was any chance of him coming back, yet here he was. This was magic, and it wasn’t right. This was why she needed to get Rayek out of here, before everything got so turned around it lost any meaning.

She turned to encounter Ekuar just now catching up to them in their race to the chamber. “The wolfrider...Is he…?”

Kahvi shrugged and spit on the floor. It felt good to know that she’d sullied this puffed-up place. Power over life and death, but all the powers of the High Ones wouldn’t clean her filth off the floor. “Bring both of them for some food and warmth when they’re ready.” She shot a quick glance over her shoulder as she breezed past him. “I’ve had enough of this place for today.”
__________

As Ekuar hobbled over to where Rayek knelt, he heard the other elf’s declaration. “I am not the one you call One-Eye.” They exchanged glances.

“What do you mean?” Rayek asked.

But the other elf only shook his head, and looked from one to the other with eyes wide. How could he explain this?

Ekuar sensed his difficulty. “Well.” He nudged Rayek. “Kahvi kindly reminded me that it’s been a while since we’ve eaten.” He tightened the scarf wrapped over his shoulder. “And these old bones could do with some warming by the fire.” He put on an encouraging smile. “Let’s take our guest here back to the lodge.”

Rayek nodded and helped One-Eye to rise. He grabbed one of the fur blankets from the pallet and draped it over One-Eye’s shoulders. “You’ll want this.”

Slowly, they worked their way through the palace, One-Eye’s feet slipping on the smooth floor as he worked out the movement of his legs. Muscle memory took over quickly, and by the time they reached the door he was walking well on his own. Rayek opened the door and One-Eye followed them out.

He had no response to the shock of it. It was as complete, as blinding as the darkness of the spirit world he had left, but brightness. And instead of the unfeeling ether, sensation bit at every part of him. The brightness stung his eyes and prickled every exposed bit of skin. He blinked against his watering eyes, and slowly the world began to take shape around him.

The smooth sides of the palace rose above them as far as he could see. Even with the biting wind tearing at him, he could still feel the faint warmth emanating from it. But they did not stay with the warmth long, heading out into further coldness and swirling white. One-Eye found himself having to learn to walk again as his feet pushed through the blowing snow drifts. Ekuar held to his side, stabilizing him as he glanced around at the cliff sides and trees surrounding them. He could make out holes in the rocks where Rayek was guiding them.

As Rayek pulled apart the hide draping the doorway, warm air hit them along with smells of juicy meat sizzling over the fire. One-Eye stared down at his stomach as a strange gurgling emerged from it, accompanied by an odd tightening sensation. He looked up in bewilderment and was met with Ekuar’s twinkling smile. “I suppose it has been a while since there’s been any food in your body. We will remedy that right away!”

They led him to a soft sitting spot and a round object was placed in his hands. Whatever it was did not react well with the coldness still in his body from outside. He struggled not to drop the thing he’d been handed but it bit into him worse than the white world outside had. Luckily, the pain didn’t last long and soon calmed into a pleasant comforting feeling. He found that his fingers moved more easily now and the little shivers running across his skin began to subside.

He looked around to see others with similar objects, bringing them up to their mouths, then dropping them. Cautiously, he raised it to his lips. Instinct took over and he tipped the thick liquid inside into his mouth. The burst of flavors and involuntary swallowing that resulted caught him off-guard and he choked a little before he managed to get some of the liquid down smoothly. The comforting feeling that holding the object had caused spread down the center of his chest, then slowly spread outward through the rest of his body, chasing the cold from outside away.

He greedily drank some more.

Ekuar chuckled. “Like that, do you?”

He barely stopped to nod and raised the bowl again, but Ekuar pushed it down with surprising force. “Ah ah, slow down.”

He was about to object when a stabbing pain in his gut had him doubled over. His bewildered eyes met Ekuar’s for an explanation.

“Your body is not used to so much food all at once.” A sad look crossed his face. “Believe me, I know.”

Ekuar patted his shoulder and took the bowl. “Rest now. Have some more in a bit.”

He did as Ekuar suggested and leaned back against the fur-covered wall.
Title: Re: Displaced - The resurrection of One-Eye
Post by: Jeb on June 17, 2018, 10:18:27 AM
As the warmth of the fire and food seeped into him, his eyelids began to slip down, but snapped open again. The creeping darkness that waited was too much like the between world he had just escaped. He feared he would leave this world as quickly as he had ended up here, and wasn't ready for that.

He looked around to watch the elves around him. Some were talking, eyes glinting and hands moving. He was amazed at the variety of sounds they made and how their faces changed. They communicated with their whole bodies. Even without hearing the words he found emotions welling in him as he caught the curl of a lip, the tilt of an eyebrow.

His eye stopped on another pair, looking back intently. It was the third elf who had been there when he’d awoken, the one who had left. Green eyes bore into his from across the fire pit and he found he could not look away, as if something of himself would be diminished if he were first to break the glare.

His gaze faltered as he was rocked by the weight of someone sitting next to him, and when he looked back, she had turned away.

The long black-haired elf that had brought him from the palace settled next to him and offered him the warm drink that had been taken away before. Knowing better now, he sipped it slowly.

“Are you feeling better?” The dark elf asked.

He nodded between sips.

“What you said before…” The elf looked concerned. “Do you not remember? Anything? Who you are?”

He held the warm liquid in his mouth for a moment, savoring the sensation of it singing on his tongue before letting it slip down his throat.  There were so many dimensions to this existence, not like what he had known for so long. “I remember…”

He laced his fingers around the bowl and faced the other elf. “I don’t know how... I’ve never been here before. I’m not who you think.”

There was concern in the gold eyes focused on him. “Clearbrook...Scouter...Cutter...these mean nothing to you?”

He shook his head. He knew the other elf didn’t believe him, but he had nothing he could say to explain what had happened.

The other elf looked away with a sigh and stared thoughtfully at the fire before turning back. “If you are not One-Eye, then who are you?” Seeing his confusion, he re-tried, “What shall we call you?”

A single word floated to the front of his consciousness, a word that he felt himself in, it seemed to somehow encompass everything he was. And even as it felt so right, he found himself hesitant to share it. Maybe later, when he learned more. His hand rose to the patch that covered his eye. “One-Eye is fine, for now.”

There was a glimmer of a smile from the other elf. “I am Rayek.” He gestured to the other elf that had come with them from the Palace, who stood over a large pot beside the fire, filling more bowls and laughing as he passed them out. "And you've met Ekuar."

One-Eye, as he now named himself, again felt the pull of eyes on him, and found the same elf from before watching him. Rayek followed his gaze, causing the other elf to narrow her eyes and look back to her companions. “And that is Kahvi, leader of the Go-Backs. Welcome to our lodge.”
Title: Re: Displaced - The resurrection of One-Eye
Post by: Jeb on August 18, 2018, 09:03:08 AM
There was no sound as the spear flew past to pierce the snowbank to the side of and far behind the target. No sound except the growl from the one-eyed elf as he grabbed another missile and gamely raised his arm again, undeterred by the obstacle of his lack of binocular vision, even though it was obvious he was making no progress despite repeated attempts.

Rayek absent-mindedly rubbed at his arm. He knew first hand the hunger to rise above a disability.

“You have a soft-spot for damaged fawns.”

Rayek frowned and turned slightly to where Kahvi had come to lean on the tree branch behind him. “After everything, you doubt Ekuar’s worth?”

Kahvi sighed. “No.” She watched the one-eyed elf critically. “But I won’t endanger the whole herd for one sickly fawn. Even your wolf friends know to go after the weak. Culling makes the whole herd stronger.” Kahvi shrugged. “That's the way it is.”

“The way…” Rayek’s eyes glinted with amusement. “I’d say the wolf chief had quite the effect on you.” He turned away from the rude gesture thrown at him and turned back to One-Eye. “And after seeing their passion in battle, I’d expect you to think better of one of his tribe. But we shall see how ‘damaged’ he is.”

Kahvi turned to see the next throw fly straight into the target, pushing the bag of hides up into the tree where it hung, before dislodging and falling to the ground in a hail of loosened snow. But her satisfied smile didn’t last long as the next spear again flew wide of the target.

Rayek winced as he prepared for the harsh comment sure to accompany her told-you-so smirk, but whatever she started to say was drowned out by the sudden ripping of tree branches. It was the only warning they had before the great snow bear was in their midst, reared on its hind legs, snuffling and bellowing as its gleaming claws slashed the air.

It was early in the calving season, and her scouts had reported that all the nearby bears were still in their dens. They had been careless in cleaning up the scent of the latest birth, and the warming moist air must have brought the smell to this one’s cave, enough to rouse it back to consciousness and awareness of its empty belly.

Kahvi would make sure those responsible would get their punishment, but first there was the penned herd to see to. Several of her tribemates already had weapons out and stood between the bear and the pens while others clanged together whatever implements they had to hand, both to shoo the animal away and alert other nearby elves of the danger.

The bear fell to all fours and took a step toward the pen. Hooves beat on the snowy ground as the deer pressed together against the rock wall at the far side, breath steaming hard out of their mouths as their eyes rolled white with panic.

Two elves stepped forward to stop the huge beast. The first poked its shoulder with a spear, and as it moved to swipe the spear away, the other elf moved in to with a sword to strike its unprotected ribs. The bear whirled at the pain and knocked the elf with the sword aside. The elf rolled to lay stunned with the air knocked out of him several spear-lengths away.

The bear reared up again, roaring, before dropping and charging at the frightened herd.

What happened next surely happened quickly, but the moment stretched out in Kahvi’s mind so she was aware of every passing second.

The bear was lumbering toward the pen and suddenly One-Eye was flying past her, gripping one of his practice spears. He ran right in the path of the charging bear, spear held low. Just as the distance closed and One-Eye was almost in reach of the slavering jaws, he swung the spear upright, the point nestling in the animals chest. It was only a superficial wound, not enough to even phase the animal as it carried them both forward. One-Eye strained to keep his feet under him and the spear butt pushed to the ground. Incredibly, he was able to glance behind himself to spot one of the upright posts of the fence, planted solidly in the frozen ground. With a heave of effort he directed the spear butt to the post, where they met with a solid crack. The bear’s momentum drove the stopped spear further into its chest. With a final roar, its arms wrapped around One-Eye and bear and elf both rolled to land still at the bottom of the fence.

For a moment all was quiet as the elves around tried to make sense of what had just happened. The quiet continued as everyone waited for some kind of movement from the bear. Weapons raised at the jiggling of a paw, then it was a rush forward as it was realized that the movement was One-Eye trying to work himself free and the bear was most definitely dead. They helped him up, clapping him on the back and congratulating him on a job well done.

“You’ve earned a new name for yourself!” One joked. “You could call yourself Bear-killer!”

“Or Bearclaw!” Offered another, holding up the animal’s impressive paw.

“I don’t think so.” One-Eye smiled and shook his head, embarrassed.

“That was quite impressive.” Kahvi noted with approval. “Done it before?”

“No.” One-Eye looked at the bear, amazed at his actions himself. “It was almost like...it was almost like something was guiding me.”

Kahvi stared at him a moment, then clamped down on whatever her opinion was about that. “Well, the tribe will have bear stew tonight, thanks to you. And the pelt is yours, by rights.” He looked so stunned, she couldn’t help having a little fun. “Wear the head as a hat, if you like!”

He shook his head again, excitement calming enough now to be able to think again and smile at her joke. “No, but a vest might be nice.”