A Time and a Place

The baby was born at the peak of a major celestial event that was foretold ages upon ages ago. The Elders of the town passed it around, hand to hand to hand to hand to hand to hand to hand to hand to hand, and each held it up strongly to night’s vast black belly. They shouted and hooted and hollered and did all sorts of other loud and fairly obnoxious things, and while they did so the nursemaid came and stole the babe away for its own safety.

But what of the mother? She crawled away ever so quietly, ever so silently into the mouth of the night and was never heard from again. Perhaps. We may hear from her again, or maybe at least catch a small glance. Not in this story though. we think. Let us check. Ok, looking through later on, it is confirmed that we don’t hear from her again.

Nursemaid Abeline took the child to the smallest house of the town. Obviously. She washed and swaddled the child, who looked up at her with wide eyes, seemingly already filled with vast knowledge.

“Now stop that, that look ye’ve got. I’ve only got ye for the three nights, then it be said that a dark stranger will come for you, to teach ye of the hidden ways, and to prepare ye for what’s t’come.”

The baby started bawling.

“I know… I know. Hush now. I’ve still t’name ye. Quiet while I think. Oh, you’re a hungry one now, aren’t ye.” 

The baby hushed happily. Abeline pondered for a time.

“Ye’ll be named Evane. Your teacher will give ye your title. What d’ye think of it? Evane. E-v-a-n-e. I like it, I do. Do ye?”

Evane hiccuped and spat out milk and made a face that could have possibly been a smile.

Sure enough, three nights passed, and even most of a morning, and then right at that point where most of the morning had certainly passed, not quite lunch time but far past breakfast, there was a knock upon the door of the smallest house of the town. It was a quiet knocking, but firm, as if it came from one who doubted nothing and had a purpose that was overflowing from one’s every orifice.

Nursemaid Abeline came up to the door and eyed it firmly. Little Evane toddled up behind.

“Oh, ye can already walk then, can ye?” Abeline spoke such that words could not be heard through doors. “Don’t be such a show off, right? Ye must keep some of your talents to yerself.”

Another knock upon the door, One that was patient, yet filled with none other than purpose.

“Ay! Keep yer pants on out there! Who’s it, then?”

A voice came from outside the door that was—

“Ay! Ay! I get it! Enough o’that. Come in, then, it be unlocked, take Evane to–”

The door flung open widely; the sun shone in upon Abeline and Evane, temporarily blinding them to all but the silhouette of the dark stranger.

“Ooh, yer hotter than I imagined ye t’be…”

The dark stranger knelt down and scooped Evane up in one arm.

Once she could see well enough again, Abeline looked the stranger up and down. “So, eh, you’ll be back soon, then? It’d be right rude to just come and take the babe without coming back to conduct some proper… business, yeah? And nevermind what I said earlier… about yer pants…”

The dark stranger winked, then turned and flew off into the mysterious day.

Twenty one years passed as though they were two dash marks on a page.

Evane Silverstar – because what a title for a main character, right? – rode into the town of their birth upon the whitest of horses, in the finest of armor, with the sharpest of magical, glowing, intelligent-but-quite-shy-until-she-got-to-know-you swords. The leaves in all of their glorious colors shush-shush-shushed about the sidewalks while the trees were bare. Small groups of children in various gaudy Halloween costumes gallivanted about.

Esmerellenabethalynnestra the Sword spoke directly to Evane’s mind. Is this the place?

Yes, Esmerellenabethalynnestra. This is the place. 

Were this conversation had out loud, Evane might have called their sword ‘Ellie’ or ‘Emma’ or ‘Beth’ or ‘Nestra’ or, well, we understand. But it wasn’t, so it was a lot easier to, eh, say.

Esmerellenabethalynnestra shimmered in excitement. When?

Soon. When I see my nursemaid Abeline once more, and speak the words of the prophecy aloud for all to hear.

Oooh. I like that, those words, they are so very sexy. When you were memorizing them, and whispering some of them out loud, I just–

Esmerellenabethalynnestra. Not now.

Sorry, Evane. …Later?

Perhaps, Esmerellenabethalynnestra. When I have prevented the world as we know it from utter and total and full and complete annihilation, perhaps then.

Esmerellenabethalynnestra shimmered again, and put away that particular glow of hers – she had all sorts. She readied herself for what was sure to be a great battle.

Evane knocked upon the door of the smallest house of the town, quietly, but firmly.

A deep and gravelly voice answered from within. “Go away! Can’t you read?”

There was a note upon the door that read “NO CANDY HERE GO / HOME YOU LITTLE / HOOLIGANS”.

“Good sir, I am no hooligan, I–”

The door flung open widely. An old balding man in a flannel night shirt held up a rifle.

“Look– damn, you’re a big kid to be out on this nonsensical night! I said go away. There ain’t no candy here!”

“I do not come for candy. Is the fair nursemaid Abeline here?”

The anti-candy man lowered his rifle a touch. “Who?”

“Abeline?”

“Kid, you got the wrong house. I don’t know no Abeline.”

Confusion set in Evane’s face as though someone had just passed gas. And let’s be honest, the old man likely had, at least once since Evane knocked upon the door. “This is 23 Evergreen Road, is it not?”

Evergreen Road is a funny name for a street where all of the autumn leaves are down on the sidewalk shush-shush-shushing and the trees are bare, is it not, Evane? Esmerellenabethalynnestra laugh-shimmered.

Esmerellenabethalynnestra. Quiet.

Sorry. Esmerellenabethalynnestra still laugh-shimmered, but silently, as though we know what a laugh-shimmer might actually sound like were it not silent.

The old man answered Evane’s question as though he hadn’t heard their mental conversation at all, which he hadn’t. “It is, but kid, there’s no Abeline or nursemaid or candy or whatever the hell you’re looking for here. Now get lost!”

The door slammed shut.

Evane rubbed their nose. Esmerellenabethalynnestra, was he telling the truth?

Esmerellenabethalynnestra checked one of the many jewels of her hilt. Indeed, he was. What does this mean?

Evane was most certainly uncertain.

After some time of Evane sitting upon the sidewalk, where the autumn leaves shush-shush-shushed, and leaning upon their gloriously armored horse – yes, he was too – and convincing their horse that it’s ok, it’s ok that he’s just sort of a background character animal companion in this story, that perhaps he’d have his own story one day, where there’s plenty of hay and running and fine and sturdy mares abounding, and checking Esmerellenabethalynnestra’s various shimmerings, and stopping all of this for a bit of lunch… after some time Evane got up and made a decision to go see the Elders of the town.

Evane rode a few houses up the street to the largest house of the town. Obviously. They knocked upon the door, cautiously. There was a shuffling sound from within, and the door opened.

“Evane, it’s been a while! Come on in!” One of the Elders gestured kindly as the others watched from the shadows in the corners.

“Thank you, but no. I’m only here to ask a question of the Elders of this town.”

The Elder nodded. “Fair enough, ask it then and be gone on your way.” The other Elders nodded in agreement from the shadows in the corners.

“My prophecy…”

“Oh, that old thing! When you left, we found out it was a fake, written by some madman. Granted, he was a very convincing madman, but still. Totally fake.”

“So no grand battle? –”

Oh no, I was really looking forward to–

Hush.

“…No climactic scene, not even a denouement?”

“Not a one!”

The Elder closed the door. There was shouting and hooting and hollering and other loud obnoxious sounds from within.

Evane looked at the door.

The End


this was written for a discord writer server’s monthly prompt for october – “subvert a supernatural trope to use it as its opposite.” i hope it is at least somewhat obvious that i chose the supernatural tropes: it is always the end of the world, and the chosen one, but it is probably not. also maybe here in the after-notes Evane’s mother finally shows up. hmm. nope. also this is the most non-poetry i’ve written in quite some time. i apologize profusely.

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