Crystal Throne

                                                                                 By Bert McKenzie 

                                                                                  Copyright 2010


Disclaimer: This story is a work of fiction.  Any resemblance to any real
person alive or dead is coincidental and unintentional.


     The sensation was like falling from a very high cliff.  He tumbled for
what seemed to be hours without ever reaching the bottom.  Opening his
eyes, all Scott could see was a swirling mass of colors.  Everything was
smeared together and blended, like looking at an extremely magnified view
of an artist's paint palette.  Unfortunately, it all kept moving.  He
quickly shut his eyes and tried to fight back the vertigo.  After a time,
he knew no more.

          * * *

     The sun was shining brightly on his face.  Scott could feel the gentle
breeze brushing over him.  He was lying on his back in what felt like
grass.  He thought he must have been asleep for hours and had awakened in
his own back yard.  He slowly opened his eyes, but was blinded by the
bright sunlight shining down on his face.  Squinting against the light,
Scott tried to raised his hand to shield his eyes, but realized that he
couldn't feel his arms.  At first panic set in, then he realized they were
asleep from being pinned under the weight of his body.  His hands were
still cuffed behind his back.  Trying to sit up was extremely awkward and
painful.  His entire body ached, as though he had been through a great
physical ordeal.  The use of his hands to help push was out of the
question.  Scott rolled onto his side and finally managed to work himself
into a sitting position.  Slowly, he could feel life coming back into his
shoulders with shooting bolts of fire coursing down his arms.  He looked
around and tried to survey his back yard.

     For the first time since waking, Scott began to realize that he was no
longer in his familiar back yard.  He appeared to be sitting under a large
oak tree, similar to the one he knew from home, but the tree was located in
the middle of a grassy field.  He was sitting under the only tree for miles
around, an oasis surrounded by gently rolling hills covered with prairie
grass.  In the far distance he could make out the shadow of mountains on
the horizon.  He might have been in eastern Colorado for all he knew.
Scott managed to move back into the shade of the tree and prop himself
against its rough trunk.  He thought back on the events of the preceding
night.  Slowly he remembered the bizarre happenings at his house, the
glowing statue, the struggle with the police, Robin holding the statue up
in the middle of the fairy circle, his being pushed into the circle by the
policeman who was trying to apprehend him.  Robin!  The thought suddenly
occurred to him that he must have followed Robin into another world.  But
if so, where was his friend.  Scott managed to stand up and look around.
He was the only living being in miles, and there was no sign that anyone
else had ever been there before him.

     Dropping back down heavily onto the grass, Scott began to feel the
fear of his isolation.  He was lost and alone in a strange wilderness with
no food or shelter.  He was also handcuffed so that he couldn't even use
his arms.  This was definitely not his idea of a fairy land.  His first
goal was to make himself more comfortable and to gain at least a partial
use of his hands.  Trying a technique he had once seen in a cops and
robbers movie, Scott worked his hands down beneath his bottom and pulled
his wrists below his legs until he could step over the handcuffs and
through his arms.  Once successful, he at least had his hands in front of
his body instead of behind his back, and the muscles began to ache with
relief from this more natural position.  His next goal was to find food,
shelter, or help to obtain these, and he wasn't going to get it by sitting
under a tree.  Rising again to his feet, Scott started off in the direction
of the mountains for lack of a better place to go.

          * * *

     Clive had been out foraging for hours.  He had successfully filled his
basket with edible roots and berries, but it was not the kind of food he
was craving.  What he wouldn't give to have some of his mother's home
cooking now.  Unfortunately, she was a long day's journey away in the
western edge of the great wood.  He had left his comfortable home to search
for adventure in the wilderness.  Now all he longed for was the peace and
quiet of home, but he couldn't go back in defeat.  He had to have at least
one adventure to tell.  He had to have a tale that would impress the girl
that would be his mate.  She wouldn't fall in love with the story of how he
found berries to sustain himself.

     He had just turned to retrace his steps back to his temporary shelter
when there was a tremendous crashing of branches.  Something was falling
through the tightly packed trees, falling from overhead and coming down
directly on the spot where he stood.  Clive quickly jumped out of the way
of the dark object that bounced off a nearby limb and crashed into the
thick underbrush.  He paused in frozen stillness until he was sure that the
object was not moving and not going to attack him.  Then overcome with
curiosity, he gingerly picked his way toward the tangled vegetation into
which it had fallen.  Upon closer examination, the object appeared to be a
body.  It was dressed in a peculiar fashion in dark blue cloth and was
lying in the weeds face down.  Clive waited a moment to make sure that it
was not going to move, and then he reached out to turn the body over.
Gasping in astonishment, Clive discovered that the body was his boyhood
friend Robin, apparently in bad shape after falling through the trees.  As
gently as he could, he tried to arrange his old friend's body in a more
comfortable position, and then hurried off to find some water.

     Returning as quickly as possible, Clive found Robin in the same
position, and apparently unconscious or dead.  He felt for the life tide at
the throat, and detected a faint pulse.  At least his friend was alive for
the moment.  He ripped a piece of cloth from the oddly fashioned jerkin
Robin was wearing, and moistened it with water from the flask he had just
filled.  As gently as possible, he bathed the scrapes and cuts on his
friend's face, and wiped the dirt from him.  Having cleaned what wounds he
could see, he placed the damp cloth across his friend's forehead and waited
for life signs to return.  It was becoming dark in the forest and still
Robin had not stirred.  Clive was beginning to grow apprehensive.  There
were several forest cats that hunted by night, and they would enjoy finding
such easy prey.  As gently as he could, Clive picked up his friend and
started down an old game trail in the direction of his temporary shelter.
Upon reaching the tree in which he had constructed his den, he had to drape
Robin over his shoulder in order to be able to climb.  The dead weight of
his friend combined with the fact that Robin was quite a bit larger than
he, made the simple ascent a difficult challenge.  The den that Clive had
constructed was little more than a large platform caught between two sturdy
parallel limbs of an old forest giant.  At one end was a small area holding
an A-frame structure built from branches and covered over with large
leaves.  It was just barely large enough to hold one person lying down.
Inside this, Clive positioned Robin on a bed of soft ferns, and replaced
the moistened cloth on his head.  He then retired to the porch of his
shelter to meditate as the stars coursed their spiral journey through the

     The morning brought Robin on a return to the world.  His mind journey
finished, he opened his eyes and saw the inside of the crudely fashioned
den.  He lay still for a time to gather his thoughts.  At last he heard
someone moving quietly nearby and decided to call out for help.  "Water,"
was the only word that managed to escape his lips.  Clive was instantly at
his side with the small flask.  Partially refreshed by the life giving
fluid, he attempted to communicate again.  "Where?" he managed.

     "You are safe.  You are in my den in the great wood," Clive reassured
him.  "Do you know how you reached this place?" he asked as he offered
another sip from his flask.

     Robin looked up into two emerald green eyes set in a pleasant face.
The tousled hair and nut brown skin slowly took on a familiar shape.
"Clive?" he said as recognition of his boyhood friend filtered into his
still clouded mind.  "My friend," Robin gasped as he tried to sit up.

     "Stay still," Clive ordered.  "You have injuries, many of which I may
not be able to know.  I shall find a healer for you."

     "No," Robin said, grasping his friend's wrist.  "I shall live.  Leave
me not."  The effort to speak had drained what little strength he had,
causing him to fall back on the soft ferns.

     "I shall stay if you wish.  But you must rest.  I shall go find us
nourishment and drink.  I shall not be gone long.  While I am away, you
must not move."  Clive picked up the empty flask and crawled out of the low
roofed den.  He rapidly set off on his newly marked sky trails toward the
nearest forest fountain.

          * * *

     The hours seemed to last forever.  Scott had walked for what must have
been miles in the heat of the day.  He had lost sight of the tree quite
some time ago, but the blue shadows on the horizon appeared no nearer.  At
first the activity of walking brought him some comfort, just for the fact
that he was taking some action.  But as the day wore on, and he was
assailed by thirst and exhaustion, it became more and more difficult to
keep going.  Forcing his feet to take one more step took his entire
concentration when all he longed for was to lie face down in the tall grass
and sleep.  Scott marked his progress by the movement of the sun in the
sky.  It was rapidly approaching the horizon on his left.  He had kept a
constant focus on the distant mountains and knew that he must be traveling
in one direction, north.  With the coming of the evening, the heat of the
day dissipated and was replaced by a chill breeze from the east.  It did
much to cool him, but nothing to assuage his hunger and thirst.  Finally,
certain that he could make no further progress, Scott collapsed on the
ground and sat watching the magnificently colored sunset.

     Darkness rapidly covered the landscape causing the mountains to
disappear.  Scott knew he could go no further until the next morning for
fear of wandering in circles in the dark, now that he had nothing to focus
on.  He looked at the sky, trying to recognize the north star as a guide,
but none of the constellations looked familiar.  Of course, he had never
actually studied astronomy, but he could at least spot the Big and Little
Dippers, if they were there.  But they were not to be seen.  The fact that
the stars were different seemed to indicate to Scott that he might indeed
be on some planet other than Earth.  For if surely he was on the same
planet, then the same stars must be overhead.  Suddenly he came to the
realization that the overhead sky might actually be the southern
hemisphere.  He was totally unfamiliar with the way it looked.  That
thought was at least reassuring.  He may have only been transported
thousands of miles instead of billions.  As he pondered these questions, he
noticed a brightness in the east.  Gradually the full moon rose above the
horizon.  It appeared just the same as it always had, even down to the
human-like face depicted in its shadowed crater patterns.  Scott laid back
in the grass and gazed at the brilliant night sky.  He had never seen one
so full of stars.  Their light even seemed to rival that of the bright
moon.  He had never had an opportunity to see such a spectacular view from
inside the city.  It was truly a glorious work of nature.  He allowed
himself to relax as he gazed up into the limitless depths of space.  Soon
he felt totally calm and at peace, and drifted into a sound sleep.

     The singing had awakened him.  As he opened his eyes, he first thought
it was still a part of the beautiful dream he was having.  He and Robin
were sitting on a grassy hillside listening to a group of oddly dressed men
singing in a strange language.  It gave him a profound sense of peace and
security.  As he sat up, he realized that the music was real.  It was
coming from somewhere close by.  Looking around, Scott spotted what
appeared to be a ring of greenish golden light on the next rise some
distance away.  He could see movement and shadows silhouetted against the
glow and heard the voices coming from that direction on the wind.  They
were singing, but he could not make out the words.  Scott stood and began
to walk in the direction of the light.  His body resisted his attempts to
move, but gradually the pain in his legs subsided and he headed down the
sloping ground and into a small valley separating him from the rise on
which he had spotted the moving shadows.  As the rolling landscape began to
rise again he glimpsed the light much brighter and much closer.  He
quickened his pace and started up the hill toward the music.

     As if someone had turned off a switch, the light vanished and the
sound faded to silence.  All he could hear was the buzzing hum of crickets
in the night.  He stood quietly for a moment and wondered if he had in fact
dreamed the whole event.  Suddenly he fell to his knees, something having
impacted on the back of his legs.  He tried to stand again, but was pushed
face down into the grass by an unseen weight on his back.  It was a person
who quickly wrapped a strip of cloth around his head, blindfolding his
eyes.  He was then dragged into a standing position and pushed forward.
Many voices were talking excitedly close by him, but he did not recognize
the language.  It had an odd, musical lilt to it, but it didn't sound like
anything he had ever heard before.  After a time he was shoved back onto
the ground, and many more voices surrounded him.  The voices gradually
faded, as if the people were moving away from him.  Then the singing
returned.  He must be a prisoner of the group of people he had first
spotted in the distance.  He sat quietly in the darkness and listened to
the relaxing music for a time, and then finally drifted back again into

     The sun was up and had been for some time when Scott woke to the
sounds of strange voices.  They seemed to be addressing him in an
interrogatory manner, but he still could not understand the words.  Someone
grasped the short chain on his handcuffs and pulled him up from the ground.
He then felt hands pulling at the material wrapped around his eyes and soon
the blindfold was tugged away.  He was dazzled by the bright sunlight for a
moment, but as his eyes rapidly adjusted he saw that he was in the middle
of a large group of oddly dressed men and women.  They all wore what
appeared to be Roman or Greek tunics, all of a uniformly red color.  As he
looked about he saw they were breaking camp, taking down tents and packing
large bundles on a group of horses that stood nearby.  One of the men was
apparently attempting to communicate with him, and was asking him questions
in the same foreign tongue.  The man was shorter than Scott and much
stouter in build than any of the other tunic clad folks.  His skin had a
slightly reddish tinge, as if he might have American Indian blood in his
ancestry.  The man's soft brown hair was shaggy and chopped off just above
the shoulders.  As he addressed Scott he seemed to get more and more
frustrated by the lack of response, but Scott could only shake his head in
dismay.  The man that had questioned him finally turned away and called to
another of the strange group.  This one appeared taller and fairer skinned
with long, flowing, golden hair.  He was an inch or so taller than Scott
and seemed to tower over the short, stocky little man who had been
questioning him.  The tall one's thin frame compared with his partner made
the two men resemble an other worldly attempt at a comedy team.  Actually,
the pale skinned features of the tall blond reminded Scott of Robin except
for the eyes.  They were an intense blue that almost bordered on
aquamarine.  Scott had never seen eyes that color before.  He suddenly
remembered the stories that his friend had told him, and realized that he
must be in the middle of a caravan of merchant elves.  He had indeed made
it to the other world.  But where was Robin.  He should also have been

     The tall, fair skinned elf came over and discussed something with the
shorter merchant.  He then turned to Scott and reached his hands out,
grasping his head and placing the index and middle finger of each hand on
Scott's temples.  Their eyes locked together and the elf's burning stare
seemed to reach to his innermost thoughts.  Scott could feel questions
forming in his mind.  At first he thought they came from his own
imagination, but gradually he realized he was being contacted by some
strange form of telepathy.  "Who are you and why are you spying on us?" the
question flashed through his conscious.  He tried to speak, but could not
move.  "Relax and think of the answers to my questions," the inner voice

     Scott tried to relax and form the words in his mind, as if speaking
inside.  "I am lost in your world and am trying to find my friend.  I did
not mean to spy on anything."

     "You are from the land of humans.  You are forbidden to enter this
world.  Why have you come?" the thoughts continued.

     "I am looking for my friend.  He is from this world and has just
returned.  I tried to follow him."

     "Who is your friend?  Think about your friend."

     Scott tried to conjure up a mental image of Robin.  He imagined his
face, the gentle smile, the golden curls, even the glistening tear that
trickled down the side of his face as they lay in bed together two days
before.  Scott realized that tears were coming to his own eyes at the
thought of his missing companion.  The elf who was touching him quickly
drew back, as if shocked by what he saw.  He turned and rapidly spoke in
the strange language to the other man who was standing nearby.  They
grabbed Scott by the arms and quickly headed for the one tent that was
still standing.  Inside the tent were a number of large woven baskets.  The
taller of the two elves began rummaging through the contents of one of the
largest of these containers.  Finally finding what he had sought, he
returned to Scott's side carrying a small vial.  He motioned for Scott to
be seated on a small folding stool.  Then taking the vial, the elf removed
the cork and sprinkled the contents into the palm of his hand.  It appeared
to be some form of oil that glistened and sparkled with prismatic colors.
Dipping his index finger into the pool of oil, the elf reached out and
anointed the side of Scott's head, directly behind his right ear.  He then
dipped his finger in the oil again and repeated the process anointing the
left ear.  He then stepped back and spoke.  "Can you understand my words?"
he asked in fluent English.

     "You speak English?" Scott asked in surprise and relief.

     The fair skinned man only shook his head.  "If you understand what I
tell you, I must explain my actions.  This is the chrism of communication,
a rare and priceless liquor.  It contains powerful magic from the olden
days," he explained.  "You shall understand the speech of Tuatha.  However,
for us to understand the speech of your world I must anoint your lips."  He
then dipped his finger for a third time in the glistening oil and touched
it to Scott's mouth.  On the sides of his head the oil felt only like cold
water, however, when it touched his lips it stung like thorns.  Scott
flinched at the feeling and started to reach for his mouth to wipe away the
offending fluid.  "Touch it not," the man commanded, intercepting his
hands.  "The unpleasantness shall pass.  It only burns because our language
is so much more complicated than yours.  Try to speak."

     "What should I say," Scott asked in English.  He realized that he had
not used any strange words, but spoke the same way he always had, only now
the two elves seemed to understand what he was saying.

     "Who was it that shackled you?" the shorter of the two asked him.
"Did you meet any of the blue guard?"

     Scott realized they were referring to his handcuffs.  "I guess you
could say it was the boys in blue," he replied.  The taller of the two
reached out and tapped the metal bracelets in much the same way Robin had
two nights before.  Once again they opened and dropped to the ground as if
never locked.

     "We are breaking camp for we feared you were a spy and may have
revealed our location.  Come, we shall talk while we search for a new
place," the tall one said.  With that, the two elves escorted Scott from
the tent and out into the sun.






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