Last night we went down to the lake and found one of the Elderfaeries sitting there. He invited us to sit with him and said we can ask him one question. The Elderfaeries are very wise. They’re probably the wisest of all the wee faeryfolk living in these realms. It’s because they’ve been living here for so long. For thousands and thousands of years in fact, which is why we decided to ask him about just that…these realms.
He didn’t answer us right away. Instead he sat quietly for a while, while trying on a few different frowns and when he finally found one that fitted, he looked down at something he was holding in his hand. Something that wasn’t quite there. Something only he could see.
“Aye…reality” he said eventually. He repeated the word a few more times to himself as if to see if that might change its meaning, and once he was quite sure it wouldn’t, he went on…
“It’s a pretty peculiar place, isn’t it. I don’t think it was ever intended for anyone to live here, but here we all are nonetheless.”
He nodded his head slowly, eyes still fixed on the unseen object in his hand, giving the worlds he just spoke a moment to find their place among us.
“Reality” he said once more. “The real-realms we used to call it back home. The strange fringes of the dreamworlds, where the seemingly endless possibilities of dreams finally lose their momentum and settle into their final from for all of time. Becomes…real, as the locals might say.
That’s is the definition of reality you know…when a thing is a thing and can nevermore be another thing. It’s just that one thing. Nae more. Nae less. Always and forever. The exact opposite of a dream in a way…or at least that’s what they say…”
For the first time in what seemed like an eternity, he stopped looking at his hand and turned his gaze up at us, his frown slowly relaxing.
“But it’s not as bad as it might sound” he said. “Because you see…”
He stopped talking and held out his hand as the object that was never there slowly began to take shape. It was becoming more and more…real. For just a moment it could have been (and probably was) absolutely anything, and then it settled into the form of a small grey pebble.
Without a word he turned his gaze towards the lake, it’s surface was smooth and dark. The moon was slowly rising over it and painted a thin white line across the entire surface, all the way to the edge of the water where we were sitting. Then, just before the moonlight touched our toes the Elderfaerie threw the pebble out across the lake. It skipped on the surface three times and disappeared, but it left a wee ripple every time it touched the water. These ripples grew into wee waves, weaving the most intricate patterns across the entire surface as they travelled to and fro, bringing the lake to life. The moonlight joined in and danced between the lines, scattering its light across the forest canopy. Water touched our toes as the waves reached the shore with a soft rhythmic murmur. It lasted a mere moment but it was beautiful.
We all sat there staring at the lake as it settled back into silence. Into its reality. The Elderfaerie turned back to us and spoke once more.
” ..there’s also that” he said and smiled.