I had barely finished greeting the sun when the Van Halen record began to play, and Cousin Eddie was off to the Sacred Pub to retrieve the remote control patrol jeep Olga the bartender fairy had confiscated the moon-greeting before. Cousin Eddie didn't tell me that much, of course, but my heart held no doubt about that. I considered briefly that Cousin Eddie had grown accustomed to that remote control patrol jeep much in the way I had grown accustomed to his company. Except Cousin Eddie required no batteries or servo, of course. Then I became fully aware that peace and silence had found its way back to my Sacred Garden (if there were a clock in my garden, surely I would have heard its tick-tock). It felt like a proper time to check in with my lovely gatekeeper.
Edwin the Bee, seemingly ever upon His lotus flower, opened one eye toward me just a bit when I approached Achilles' Last Stand near the garden gate, but He said nothing at all, and quickly closed it. My lovely gatekeeper, Raven, of course, was pecking away upon her laptop and greeted me warmly. She kindly confirmed for me that Captain Leo the Starmapper and my children had safely arrived at their destination and were enjoying themselves. It was bittersweet to hear that, but of course I was grateful for the update. I didn't say as much. In fact, I nodded subtly and said nothing at all, and looked off into the distance.
Then my lovely gatekeeper raised her voice in a perky sort of way and said, "Oh!...and Caesar Emeritus stopped by while you were sleeping and asked if you might meet him at the Library Tree at your earliest convenience. It seems he's stumbled onto a book that has him highly intrigued, and he believes you might be able to help him better understand it." Then, before I could reply, Raven concluded, "And you don't need to bother with work today. Madeleine is off shopping in Lemmington, and there is no work to be done in the county clerk's office anyway. She did say, though, that you should feel welcome to go there and play with the costumes and makeup if you like...but she wanted you to know she wouldn't be there."
I sort of shrugged my shoulders and thanked my lovely gatekeeper, and concluded with, "Well, then it looks like I'm off to the Library Tree." And so I was.
Dear Caesar Emeritus, the baloo-eyed Akita, greeted me most warmly when I entered the Library Tree near the center of my beloved Xanadu Forest, "Ahh, so nice to see you, Kev." Then he embraced me and continued, "And thank you for coming so soon." I told dear Caesar it was my sincere pleasure, and sat down comfortably upon the Love Seat, crossing my legs as though I were about to meditate. Dear Caesar retrieved a book from his desk and sat down next to me, showing me the book's cover, and adding, "This book has piqued my interest tremendously. I found it while perusing the 'books that haven't yet been written' section. Try as I might, I can't begin to translate even a single word of it!"
I took the book gently from Caesar's paws and began to thumb through it casually. "You know I hardly even understand the basics of the Xanaduvian language. I'm not sure how you believe I can help you in translating this book," I finally said to him.
"Well, I found an illustration in it that seems to greatly resemble you," dear Caesar replied, and his paws helped guide my fingers to a page near the end of the book that hadn't yet been written. "See, there?" he asked, "Doesn't that look like you?"
I smiled and perhaps even chuckled a bit, and said to him, "Yes, that is me. That is Glampire me." A thousand memories flowed through my heart and mind as I said those words. I felt and absorbed the thousand memories and thumbed through more of the illustrations in this mysterious book that hadn't yet been written.
"Glampire you?" dear Caesar asked, of course.
"Yes, dear Caesar," I answered, of course. And I continued, "It's a long story. But I know what this book is now. You see this picture? That's the planet Gliridesceta--and that there is its heart-shaped moon. This is the book of the Gliridescetan Chronicles."
Dear Caesar's baloo-eyes got very large, and I could nearly hear the gears churning inside his massive Emeritus head. Caesar took the book gently from my hands and began flipping through its pages quickly. Then he closed the book and tossed it aside, and spoke, "See, see, I just knew you could help me with this! If you don't mind, Kev, I would very much like to hear the long story."
I lie back comfortably upon the Love Seat, and patted my hand upon it a few times as I said to dear Caesar, "I would very much like to share it with you. This is the perfect sun-greeting for such a story." Caesar lie down next to me and nuzzled warmly. So comforting. And so the story went:
The planet Gliridesceta lies on the other end of another galaxy, both close to us and also far, far away. You've seen of course that the planet has a heart-shaped moon, and you might have noticed how it sparkled in the illustration. Many ages ago, two humanoid races (though technically they were each separate species by Earth's reckoning) dominated Gliridesceta:
First, there were the Fahrenheitians who dwelt exclusively in the northern hemisphere, where the lands were lush and adorned with many resources. Water was a bit more than abundant, and their mountains sang out loud. It is said in many parts of the universe that the technology of the Fahrenheitians is unrivaled, and this is due in large part to the abundance of their resources.
The other dominant race upon Gliridesceta were the Drakkarians--and you might have already correctly supposed they dwelt primarily in the southern hemisphere. Resources in the southern hemisphere were much more limited--especially water. Despite this disadvantage, the Drakkarians were genetically adapted to survive and even thrive in such conditions, and their species developed what you might think of as 'magic powers' over the ages. It is said in many parts of the universe that the magic of the Drakkarians is unrivaled, and this is due in large part to the lack of their resources.
Though both races that dominated Gliridesceta (separate species, mind you) knew of each other, they rarely interacted with one another, and never did either race mate or marry with the other. They coexisted peacefully this way for many generations. Both the Fahrenheitians and the Drakkarians shared a deep fondness for the glittery heart-shaped moon that orbited them, and that was a source of unity for them for many ages. But as technology advanced, that very moon would become their undoing, and eventually gave birth to many ages of war and darkness that would forever plague the once beautiful Gliridesceta. You see, both races would learn to build crafts that could fly them to the heart-shaped moon (each in their own ways) and they all discovered that the moon glitter was in fact an element that could be mined, and it became precious. But for different reasons to each respective race.
Dear Caesar had been breathing softly by my side as I told him this story, then he interrupted me briefly to ask, "How is it you came to know this story, if you don't mind me asking?"
I replied, "Well, Styvendrake the Gliridescetan river wolf told me most of it, but Princess Mydnite explained a bit of the story too. And Styve's river wolf wife, Duchess, as well. You will hear about them more as the story goes on. They both lived with me in my Sacred Garden for a season you know." Then I lie my head back again upon the Love Seat peacefully, and scratched gently behind dear Caesar's ear, and he nuzzled. And the story went on:
So for the Fahrenheitians, the moon glitter became precious because of its glimmer and shine. They mined it in tremendous quantities and used it for decoration. At first, the glitter was a symbol of status--only for the most wealthy. But the Fahrenheitians' technology continued to advance through generations, and the moon glitter made its way into the lives of all their citizens. The glitter was no longer used just for jewelry and clothing, but it would become added to nearly everything that was manufactured. Eventually it would be nearly impossible for a Fahrenheitian to purchase an item that didn't contain glitter. Except for food. Never did the Fahrenheitians consume the glitter.
The Drakkarians, however, began to taste the moon glitter almost as soon as they first mined it. The glitter tasted sweet to them, and they began to mix it into their food, and they became stronger, and their magic increased through the generations. It prolonged their lifespans immensely, and by the time wars and darkness befell Gliridesceta, it was not uncommon for a Drakkarian to live for a thousand Earth years or more. Their bodies adapted to the regular consumption of the moon glitter, however, and it became essential to them for survival. This was their downfall when the heart-shaped moon's resources were eventually depleted from over-mining (by both races).
Yes, the inability to mine the heart-shaped moon's glitter ultimately caused the ages of darkness and war between the Fahrenheitians and the Drakkarians...though technically (and most sadly) it became more genocide than war. You see, when the Drakkarians were dying due to their lack of the heart-shaped moon's glitter, they became desperate, and rightly supposed there would be traces of the glitter still in their bloodstreams. In fact, it had become a part of their genetics through the generations. Unthinkable as it may seem to us, as we lie here in the comfort of our beloved Xanadu Forest, they began to feed on one another. No, they did not become cannibals, but they became what earthlings think of as "vampires." They would bite into the necks of their fellow species (always with permission, mind you) and draw their glitter blood for sustenance. This developed into a form of sexual passion for many of the Drakkarians.
When the Fahrenheitians learned of this Drakkarian behavior, they became horrified and disgusted, and passed planet-wide laws forbidding the feeding of glitter blood--even if it was mutually consented. The punishment was death, and the execution of Drakkarians became a regular occurrence throughout Gliridesceta. Many Drakkarians were peaceful and law-abiding, but they of course died much younger than they should have for lack of sustenance. Their population dwindled rapidly.
Many other Drakkarians formed a rebellion and fought back to the best of their abilities, but with their population's dwindling numbers, they were forever overwhelmed--even with their magic (which was also weakening with each generation). Within that Drakkarian rebellion was born a child--a girl--whose parents were the king and queen of the Drakkarian rebellion...parents that were murdered by the Fahrenheitians while she was an infant. That small girl was raised by the priesthood, and she grew strong and powerful in the magical arts, and beautiful to look upon. Princess Mydnite, she came to be known as. Yes, the very Princess Mydnite I mentioned earlier that lived with me in my Sacred Garden for a season.
About the time Princess Mydnite grew into adulthood (for Drakkarians), the king of the Fahrenheitians, Kraiden, was in power. His reign was particularly cruel, and he took great pride in knowing he was responsible for more Drakkarian deaths than any kings that came before him. Word of Princess Mydnite's power and leadership among the rebellion reached King Kraiden's ears, and he soon devised a plan to destroy the Drakkarians once and for all. Ultimately, the cruel king sent word that he would bring an immediate end to the slaughter of all Drakkarians if Princess Mydnite would surrender herself to him, so that he could offer her as a wife to his son Kraos.
Unhappily but willingly--and against the advice of the priesthood--Princess Mydnite agreed; for she desired peace above all things, and valued the lives of her people more than she did her own. Though she was held captive in King Kraiden's palace, she was treated well, and never lacked any form of luxury--even glitter from the heart-shaped moon to sustain her, which Fahrenheitian kings had been storing away for themselves long after the moon had been depleted.
A Gliridescetan river wolf was by Princess Mydnite's side at all times...a guard to make certain the princess could never escape the palace. But over time that guard became a guardian, and eventually a companion and ally to Princess Mydnite. The guardian's name was Duchess, and she was large of heart, and felt pity for the princess and her people. Now Duchess' husband (also a river wolf, of course) was named Styvendrake and served in the king's army. Duchess and Styvendrake were never allowed to be in contact with one another. The river wolves themselves were technically captives of the Fahrenheitian kings, but that is a story for another time. The important thing to note now is that they never served the wicked king by choice, but were forced to do so. River wolves are powerful and immortal warriors, but they are peaceful, loving, and compassionate beings by nature.
What King Kraiden did not know about river wolves is that they can communicate with one another telepathically. And Styvendrake, being in the king's army, of course knew that the slaughter of Drakkarian people was continuing even as Princess Mydnite had trusted the king's word and believed it had come to an end. One night, Duchess expressed her pity for the princess and the Drakkarian people as a whole (through telepathy, of course) to her husband, and Styvendrake's heart compelled him to tell Duchess that the slaughters continued. Husband and wife river wolves wept, and vowed to rescue Princess Mydnite and as many of her people as they could. And they did so.
Through telepathy, all the river wolves under King Kraiden's command--I believe there were only 4 or 5 others besides Duchess and Styvendrake, but they are very powerful creatures--plotted a rebellion against the wicked Fahrenheitian king, and a means of escape for as many Drakkarians as could be gathered. It was understood that all the river wolves and Drakkarians would have to flee the planet immediately by way of stolen spaceships; for any left behind would surely be slaughtered in the cruelest of ways. Their only safety would be in leaving their home galaxy, far from the reaches of King Kraeden's wrath.
In all, about 400 Drakkarians were rescued during that rebellion, including Princess Mydnite. Sadly, all the Gliridescetan river wolves died during the rebellion, save Duchess and Styvendrake. They traveled the universe for many ages as fugitives, and I like to think that some of them still do. I know at least that Princess Mydnite does...for she was my lovely companion here in our beloved Xanadu Forest for a season...as well as her guardians, Duchess and Styvendrake.
I had been so wrapped up in the story I was recalling and telling, that I failed to notice dear Caesar Emeritus was snoring deeply--but gently--by my side. I'm not sure at what point in the story he fell asleep, and I wondered for a moment how much of it I would have to retell. Then I turned to my side, draped my arm gently across dear Caesar's back, and began snoring deeply and gently myself. Or so I imagine.
There are so many my heart misses, but it will lack nothing tonight. Tonight there is only peace. No longing, no sadness. No pain.
Thank you dearly for joining me on my journey. You know who you are.
Lovely of lovelies.