Thomas and Maria Rose
In a tiny village in Ireland, Tommy Rose and Maria Oâ€™Shea were childhood sweethearts. Maria grew to be the prettiest girl in the whole village, and they knew that theyâ€™d be together someday. That day finally came when Maria had turned 19, Tommy, also 19, asked for her hand in marriage. The wedding occurred shortly after, and they couldnâ€™t be happier. Tommy worked as a carpenter in the village that they lived and Maria stayed home and tended to the matters of the house. Theyâ€™d been blissfully wed for three full years when Maria gave Tommy some very happy news â€“ she was with child! The pregnancy went perfectly, until the 7th month. Maria fell ill with an ailment no one could explain. Doctors tended to her and could diagnose nothing; holy-men prayed over her, but no change was seen. Three weeks had passed and she showed no improvement. Tommy sat at her bedside as she lay sick; she was too weak to speak or eat. He feared not only for the life of his love, but also the life of their unborn child. Very late one night, Tommy, exhausted with grief, began to weep; watching his wife struggle so much was more than he could bear. A crisp knock on the door startled Tommy, but assumed that it was a neighbor stopping by for a visit. Tommy wiped his eyes and opened the door, but was surprised to see a figure he did not recognize. Standing there was a very tall, rather young-looking manâ€”perhaps in his mid-twentiesâ€” in a dark cloak with bright green eyes.
â€œMay Iâ€¦come in?â€ He said in a rather low, soothing voice.
Tommy, unsure of what to think or do, said, â€œUh, yessirâ€¦um, câ€™mon in.â€ The tall man stepped inside past Tommy and went over to Mariaâ€™s bedside. Tommy closed the door and approached the man, â€œHow can I help ya, sir?â€ The man lowered the hood of his cloak, and Tommy could see the manâ€™s face; he had a very handsome face, but had white hair. Odd for such a young lad Tommy thought to himself.
â€œIâ€™ve been hearingâ€¦whispersâ€¦about a young lady with child who has fallenâ€¦ill. I believe I can help youâ€ the man says in a slow, paced manner.
â€œOh sir, I wish it were true,â€ Tommy said, â€œbut nothinâ€™s been able to help Maria. Every doctor within a weeks ride has come to see her; none can identify whatâ€™s been ailing her.â€ Tommy said as he seated himself in the chair next to the bed and picked up her hand, holding it as he rested his elbows on his knees, looking at her with a heavy heart.
â€œI can help you, Thomas Roseâ€¦open your eyesâ€¦and let me help youâ€ the manâ€™s hands began to glow with a warm light, and he put them over Mariaâ€™s face.
â€œWait, sirâ€¦â€ Tommy stopped the man, â€œIâ€™ve no money tâ€™pay you; Iâ€™ve not worked in days. And what little money we have is not enough to pay you should you succeed. Thereâ€™s nothinâ€™ I can offer ya.â€
The man stops what heâ€™s doing and puts a hand on Tommyâ€™s shoulder and looks him sternly in the eye, â€œIâ€™ll heal your wifeâ€¦and then, tomorrow, youâ€™ll leave this place and come with me. Understand?â€
â€œLeave? Butâ€¦to where? This is our homeâ€ Tommy says as he looks around this house that the two had made a home.
The man closes his eyes and slowly inhales the air, almost frustrated, and opens his eyes again, looking at Tommy â€œI will do my work to heal her; if I succeed, you both come with me; if I fail, you stay in yourâ€¦happyâ€¦home.â€
Tommy looks at Maria and sighs, â€œAnything ya can do; whatever it takes.â€ The man grins and starts to chant something with his hands glowing again; he holds his hands over her head and then her breast. Tommy stands aside watching with a skeptic mind, thinking that there truly is no hope for saving his Maria.
The man stops chanting and his hands stop glowing, â€œIt is finished. She will wake up in 5 hours and she will be well. I will return then to transport you.â€ And with that, the man disappeared, like a ghost.
Tommy turned in every direction, looking for the man, but didnâ€™t see him. He fell to Mariaâ€™s side and put his hand on her forehead and his head to her heart. He had no way to tell if she was better; he lay down beside her and fell asleep.
Tommy woke up with a sharp knocking on the door; when he opened his eyes, Maria was up, walking to the door to answer it. Tommy sprang up, â€œMARIA?!â€
â€œYes, love?â€ She said, turning to him.
He flew over to her and embraced her lovingly, being wary of not pressing too hard on the tummy. â€œI thought I was gonna lose you! Iâ€™m so happy youâ€™re awake. How do you feel?â€ Tommy asked Maria.
â€œI feel wonderfulâ€ Maria said, resting a hand on her belly. There was another knock on the door.
â€œLet me get that! You just sit down.â€ Tommy threw the door open and, just as heâ€™d promised, the man returned.
â€œAre you ready to go, then?â€ Tommy was so ecstatic; he didnâ€™t know what to say.
Tommy clutched the manâ€™s hand and enthusiastically started shaking it â€œOh sir! Youâ€™ve no idea how happy youâ€™ve made me!â€
Once Tommy was finished, the man pulled his hand back and put it in his pocket. â€œWell, thenâ€¦we shall be on our way.â€
Tommy clamored around a moment, opening a small, hidden chest, and pulled out a pouch with jingly contentsâ€”one could assume it contained gold pieces. â€œOn our way? Tommy, whatâ€™s he mean?â€ Maria inquired.
â€œNo time to explain, love; we have to leave with this man. He saved your life.â€ Maria, looked somewhat confused, but started to pack a bag of clothing for the two of them.
â€œHow long will we be gone?â€ she asked.
Tommy looked at the man for an answer, but the man just stared back at him. â€œIâ€™m not sure, Maria. Weâ€™ll find out soon, though.â€ Tommy gathered the last of their savings and Maria packed the bag as full as it could be.
â€œAre youâ€¦ready, then?â€ the man asked.
â€œYessirâ€ Tommy said as he put a loving arm around Maria. They stepped outside, Tommy looked around for horses or a carriage or some form of transportation, but saw none. â€œBy what means are we travellinâ€™, sir?â€ Tommy asked with a confused twinge in his voice.
The man slowly turned around to face them, â€œPerhapsâ€¦.a proper introductionâ€¦is in order.â€ The man gave his head a slight bow and spoke â€œI am Koravelâ€¦I amâ€¦notâ€¦originally of this world. I am an elfâ€¦.aâ€¦gray elf.â€ Before Tommy and Maria can respond to what heâ€™s said, a bright light shone around them, and then, darkness.
Tommy stirred and jumped, blinking furiously. The darkness had dissipated and there was sunlight. He looked around him and saw that he was lying under a tree in a wooded area; Maria was lying next to him sleeping. He searched for the pouch with their savings, and it was placed next to the bag containing their clothes. Tommy sighed, confused, but relieved. Tommy lightly nudged Maria, until she started to wake. Maria woke up, also confused; â€œTommy? Where are we?â€
â€œI dunno, Maria; thereâ€™s no trace ofâ€¦.Koravelâ€¦anywhere.â€ Tommy helped Maria to her feet and then picked up the bags of their things. They began to walk and soon came to a village. They passed a sign that said â€œKohlingenâ€ and assumed that was the name of the town. They passed a man carrying a sack of bread and Tommy asked â€œSir, might you tell us where we are?â€
The man nods and says â€œYouâ€™re in Kohlingen.â€
â€œYessir, but whereâ€¦um, exactlyâ€¦is that?â€
The man looked very perplexed and said, â€œWhy in Domaâ€¦the grandest country in all Gaera. Of course, thatâ€™s just my opinion.â€
â€œGaera?â€ Tommy said, â€œSir, how far are we from Ireland?â€
The man gave an even more perplexed look at Tommy and said with an almost disgusted tone, â€œIreland?â€ Then the man let out a huff and continued on his way.
Maria looked at Tommy with a worried face, and saw that Tommy had an equally worried expression. Tommy just pulled Maria close to his side and continued to walk, keeping an eye out for an inn. They found an inn run by a young couple and stayed the night. That night, they discussed what they should do. They decided that making the best out of the situation and trying to settle somewhere would be their best option, at least until they could get more answers out of Koravel. They bought a small cottage close to the edge of town and started to make it more like home. Tommy found work doing carpentry again, and Maria stayed home, caring for herself and preparing for the baby.
Theyâ€™d been there for about a month and a half when Maria gave birth to their child, Annie Rose. Soon after this, they befriended an old couple that took a very immediate liking to baby Annie.
A few months later, in the dead of night, Tommy and Maria were visited by Koravel. â€œI see the child hasâ€¦arrived safely.â€ He said to them, standing over the babyâ€™s crib.
Tommy and Maria both smiled proudly, â€œYes,â€ Tommy said, â€œOur baby girlâ€¦sheâ€™s a beauty.â€
â€œWe just canâ€™t express our appreciation fully, Koravel. I think, without your help, weâ€™d have both been lostâ€ Maria piped.
â€œYes, well, weâ€™ve a bit ofâ€¦businessâ€¦to discussâ€ said the elf with a stern look on his face.
â€œBusiness, sir?â€ Tommy inquired. Koravel then demanded that they give Annie to him (for reasons he didnâ€™t indulge), but they refused. Koravel became very angry and vanished, vowing to make them pay for their treachery.
Very frightened, they immediately went to the old coupleâ€™s home, and begged them to take Annie; the couple obliged and asked what they should do. Tommy and Maria gave them a large pouch full of goldâ€”every bit theyâ€™d saved since arriving to Gaeraâ€”enough to get them started somewhere far, far away. That very night, Tommy purchased a carriage with horses and took it to the old couple. The old couple took only what they needed and loaded into the carriage. â€œTake her awayâ€¦someplace secluded, please.â€ Tommy suggested that they buy a farm way out in the country, and at least a weeks-travel distance from where they currently were. They ended up somewhere in the middle of Riva and started the farm as thought appropriate.
Tommy and Maria traveled to Inustan and signed on to work on a pirate ship, hoping to evade Koravel. The new captain, Denny Burke, took a great liking to them. A great friendship was formed between Tommy and Denny.
Tommy and Maria spoke often of their baby Annie. Twelve years had passed with no sign of the gray elf. Tommy and Maria dreamt of finding the old man and woman and seeing their child again. Late one night, while getting ready for bed, a great wind blew through their cabin, forcing the window open and carrying a piece of paper. The paper, a folded note with a black spot on it, landed right in Mariaâ€™s lap. Curious, Maria picked it up and opened itâ€¦it was blank. Just then, another strong gust blew, this time forcing the door open, and standing in the doorway was the gray elf. He began to chant something and Maria started convulsing and then fainted. Tommy went to his wifeâ€™s side, but was thrust into the air and then thrown across the room. Denny, who slept in the cabin next door, awoke with the raucous. He ran to their room, but was surprised to find the room vacant of Tommy and Maria. All that remained of Tommy and Maria was a necklace that Tommy always wore, laying on the floor; next to it, written in blood, â€œDenny, find Annie
Edited by: Battle Accountant at: 2/5/06 23:37