by Jason McIntosh
The sun set slowly on the edge of the valley. Davar and his family had
farmed this land for generations and grew the rare gwala fruit for the
neighboring lands. The family worked year round harvesting the delicate
fruit to survive harsh times that had left his once-prosperous family deeply poor and in debt. While watching the setting
sun go behind the bottom of the hill, he slipped into a deep, coma-like
trance and the vision began, again.
The visions began at the age of fourteen. They were of a beautiful
woman in white with long, flowing blonde hair. She presented him with a
golden platter. Upon the platter was a heart-shaped stone that seemed
to cry out in loneliness and pain. Each time the vision would end, he
would be left with a feeling of emptiness inside and a feeling that
someone somewhere was waiting for him. He never knew when they would
occur or for how long, but they came more and more
frequently the older he got. How long he sat there he didn't know, but
he was finally awakened by a hand on his shoulder.
"You dreaming, again?" Came the angry voice from his brother Shankle
behind him. Shankle was much older and had little patience for Davar or
"Oh, sorry," Davar claimed, startled.
"Hurry up. We need to get back before the storm hits," his brother exclaimed in disgust.
When the two arrived back at the house, their father was waiting.
Shankle explained how he had found Davar dreaming in the field, again,
and made sure his father understood how tired he was of Davar's
dreaming and the time he wasted everyday. This harvest had to be carried
to the neighboring village the next day and Shankle made his opinion
known about his doubts about Davar's ability to accomplish this,
especially with the frequent storms. His father assured him his
worries were unnecessary and that Davar would complete the task in
"It's the vision again, isn't it son?" His father asked, placing his hand on Davar's shoulder.
"What do you think it means?" His father responded.
"I don't know, but right now all I need to worry about is getting the harvest delivered tomorrow."
Davar arose early the next day. He barely made it to the next
village and sold the harvest before the full brunt of the next storm set in.
He stood under a ledge of a roof waiting for the storm to pass when the
vision occurred, again. This time it was stronger than ever and he
didn't know how much time had been lost when he came to. When he awoke,
he was startled to see an old woman standing a few feet away from him.
Her clothes were worn and tattered and he couldn't even
begin to guess her age which seemed to be an infinite number of years
"Can I help you?" He asked, a bit startled and feeling uncomfortable at her stare.
"No," she said, "but I believe I can help you."
"What are you talking about, old woman?"
"I can feel it," she said in amazement. "You have Loelie."
"I could feel your vision. It's you. It's really you," she said, her
excitement growing. "I've waited for you for over a century and now
you've finally come."
"You could feel my vision?" he asked. A small amount of fear began to grow inside of him.
"Yes. Come in out of the rain and I will tell you ."
* * *
She led him to an old, seemingly-abandoned shack on the outside of
the village. Even for someone as poor as Davar it seemed unbelievably
run down and miserable. She lit a lamp and used it to light her pipe
then motioned for him to sit at a table that seemed like it would
collapse with the slightest touch. The smoke from her pipe began to
almost choke him as she stared at him in amazement for what seemed like
"It's really you," she said in unbelief after finally breaking her silence.
"Yes, it's really me," he responded rather impatiently. "Now what's this all about? Please, tell me why I'm here."
"I've waited for you for a long time, Davar. Longer than you will ever know."
"How do you know my name?" He asked, rather taken aback.
"The visions you have they are of Loelie, the fairy queen," she
responded. "The visions you have are of her calling out to you. It is
your destiny to find her. You are the one, Davar. You are the one."
"The fairy queen." He laughed. "My father used to
tell me stories about my grandfather running around the forest
looking for her."
"Yes, I knew your grandfather," she responded, almost making him
fall backwards out of his already-brittle chair. "He had the hand, but
he didn't have Loelie."
"The hand?" He asked.
"Yes, the hand. The hand reaching down through his bloodline
searching for you, Davar. Only the purest of hearts can find Loelie.
Your visions tell me that it is you, Davar. You have the purest of
hearts and it is your destiny to find Loelie. "
"Destiny?" He shouted, jumping up from the table. "The only destiny I have is to get home before the next storm hits."
"No, Davar," she shouted while grabbing him by both arms. "You must go into the forest of Zearth and find Goegoth."
"Yes, Goegoth," she continued. "That is the castle of the fairy
queen Loelie, but heed my words. Goegoth is not only a physical place, but a
spiritual one as well. You must search in both places to find it. You
are the purest of hearts, Davar. The chosen one. It is your destiny."
"Foolish old woman!" He shouted while pulling away and walking away out into the storm once, again.
"You cannot fight your destiny, Davar!" she shouted out into the storm as he walked away. "You cannot fight it!"
* * *
When he arrived back at the farm, his father and brother where waiting.
"You're late!" Shankle shouted as he walked through the door.
He didn't respond. Instead he placed the money from the harvest on the
well-worn table and walked away to his ramshackle bedroom. From this
point forward he swore he would never think of the visions. Again he
vowed to put them completely out of his mind, and that's just what he
Another harvest came and he didn't have a vision during this time.
Then, as the harvest was about to end, another vision occurred. It was
entirely different. The golden platter had been dropped on the floor and
the stone heart had been shattered into a million pieces. The woman was
also different. She now had her back to him and what appeared to be an
ocean of tears surrounded her along with an unbelievable feeling of
rejection that came over him every time the vision occurred. Finally,
on the last day of the harvest, the vision occurred again, stronger
than it ever had before.
He was standing in the field when it occurred
and was awakened by a piece of gwala fruit hitting the side of his head.
Shankle, showing his impatience with his brother, again, had thrown the
fruit at him when Davar had stopped working because of the vision.
After waking from being hit, Davar dropped his
tools and walked out of the field with obscenities from his brother
following him every step of the way.
When his brother and father arrived back at home later that night
they found Davar in his room packing his bags. After a few minutes of
verbal abuse from his brother for leaving the field, his father walked
into Davar's room and shut the door. After his father asked him what was
wrong, Davar began to explain everything to him, including his visit
with the mystical old lady.
"I knew this day would eventually come," his father explained. "Yes,
your grandfather did go in search of the fairy queen without luck.
After you were born, he told me that he knew that you were the one."
"Yes, the chosen one," his father continued. "Whatever your destiny is, my son, you should follow it."
"So, you think I should go?" Davar asked.
"That, my son, is a choice only you can make," his father concluded.
He left the room and returned with a brown leather bag. He opened the bag
and removed a large, silver sword.
"What's that?" Davar asked.
"This was your grandfather's. He told me when you began your life's
journey, whatever that may be, to give this to you. He said you would
know when to use it."
* * *
In the early morning light, Davar set out on his journey to the
forest of Zearth. The path would take him through the village where he
had encountered the mystical woman the year before. Following the
street to the place where her shack was he noticed that it wasn't
there. Instead, a nicely-built, tall building was in its place.
Thinking that the building had been torn down, he asked a few people he
met on the street who claimed that the building had always been there
and that no one knew of the old woman in which he spoke. He was afraid
he had been tricked and he almost turned back, but something pulled him
forward. After several days journey, he reached the outskirts of
Zearth. It had long been known as a forest of mythical powers and a
place where strange unexplained occurrences often happened. People were
reported to have gone in and never returned, but still he pushed on,
something drawing him deeper and deeper into the forest.
seventeen days of wandering in the forest he collapsed under a huge
tree, exhausted. The heavy sword that he carried had made traveling
almost impossible, but he forced himself to push on until he fell
asleep against a tree. When he awoke, it was late at night and a thick
fog had descended into the forest. The wind began blowing and another
big storm was coming into the area. He knew he had to find some shelter
from the storm, but the fog made it almost impossible to see. Then the
lightning came. Every few seconds, huge bolts would litter the sky and
light the area up like it was in the middle of the afternoon. A
lightning bolt struck near him and about a hundred yards away he could
see a castle. It was enormous in size and he couldn't believe his eyes
as he looked upon it. He knew it wasn't there before when he had sat
down to rest earlier, but it was right in front of him now. Goegoth?
Could it be? He tried to run closer toward it, but discovered a deep moat
surrounding it. It was impossible to cross on any side of the castle,
but he knew he had to cross it and get into the castle. As the
lightning began to further intensify, he noticed the sword lying on the
ground. He picked it up and a stone lying on the ground and
began to climb the huge tree he had rested under only moments before.
Climbing half way up, he jabbed the sword into the tree and hammered it
with the stone into the massive trunk. Just then he heard a voice,
"Climb, Davar. Climb." He recognized the voice of the mystical old
lady, urging him onward. When he reached the top of the tree, a
lightning bolt struck the sword. The lightning cut the tree in half and sent him
crashing down on top of the castle wall.
When he awoke from his fall, he began circling the top of the castle
until he came to a door. It was a tall door that looked inviting, yet
appeared to have never been opened, or even attempted to be for that
matter. As he reached for the huge handle, the door opened by itself
and he was pulled in by some unexplained force. On the inside of the
castle, there was a long hall of seemingly over one thousand doors on
either side, and from each door he could feel and hear the sounds of
love and happiness filling the air around him. As he walked down the
hall, he felt a warmth of love and happiness that he had never felt
before come over him. Somehow he knew whoever or whatever were in these
rooms had to be the most loving and happiest creatures in the world,
but when he reached the end of the hall there was one door in the
middle that he felt no happiness from. This door made him feel only
utter and complete sadness, a depression so deep that it could easily
kill all of the happiness ever produced in this wonderful place. As he
reached for the handle to enter the room the door opened by itself and
the total feeling of despair overcame him for a minute.
"Enter, Davar," the female voice called from inside.
Davar entered the room and noticed one small ray of light coming
from a window in the corner where the voice came from. Even the light
itself seemed to be filled with distraught and despair. Suddenly, the
chair in the corner turned around, seemingly by itself, and the
beautiful blonde woman from his visions suddenly appeared. As she rose
and came toward him the whole place seemed to stand still and all of
the happy voices from the other rooms suddenly stopped.
In an instant she was upon him, forcing him to take a startled step
backwards. "Many have come before you, Davar, but none have succeeded,"
she said in a lovingly low whisper.
"How do you know me?" he asked with his voice trembling in fear.
"I've waited for you for an eternity, Davar," she answered. "Many
have searched for me for power, wealth, and all other kinds of selfish
material things, but none only for the sake of love and happiness like
you, Davar. I could have given all of them their deepest desires, but
none would carry my burden. None would take my pain as their own. None
would take my suffering and make it their own."
As soon as she finished speaking, the love and happiness in all of
the other rooms suddenly began, again. She noticed his reaction to this
and said, "The love you feel from the other rooms is the love that
escapes this room, Davar. The burdens that escape those rooms are all
pulled here. Are you the purest of hearts, Davar?"
"Loelie?" he asked, trembling.
"I don't understand what you want of me," he responded, almost afraid to ask the question.
Suddenly, they both appeared in the desert. It was a lifeless place
with death and misery rolling through every crook and crevice in this
heartless place. Then, as if riding on the wind, Loelie appeared in
front of Davar in all of her beauty and life.
"Do you see this place, Davar?" She asked while extending her
outstretched hand seemingly to infinity through the land of endless
doom and death.
"Now look over there," she said while pointing her hand at a small
and very fragile plant sprouting up out of the desert wasteland. The
plant appeared to be completely out of place and clinging to life with
last ounce of energy. "That is my heart, Davar," she continued,
"destroyed and trampled throughout time with no care whatsoever. The
last hope in this once great land of life, love, and happiness is about
to be crushed under the weight of my burden. Will you carry my burden,
"I will, my queen," he answered.
"We shall see, Davar," she said while taking his face in her hands and gently kissing his lips. "We shall see."
* * *
He awoke once again in the forest. The sky was black and he assumed
that it had all been a dream. Thinking he had to continue his journey,
he tried to rise, but couldn't. Something was holding him down. When
he finally made it to his feet he discovered that there was a huge
stone strapped to his back. How did it get there? Where was it from? It
finally occurred to him that this was the burden that he must carry.
Loelie's burden had manifested itself into this heavy stone on his back
and that was what he had to carry with him until the burden was done.
Only able to move ever so slowly, it took him months to return to his
farm and home. Rumors of his mammoth stone made their way through every
village he traveled through on his way home until the stories arrived
home before he did. Kind passersby would offer to remove the stone or
help him on his journey, but he refused. When he finally made it home
it was late at night and he collapsed in front of the house and laid
there until morning when his family awoke. The first one out was his
father who helped him up without saying a word. There was an unspoken
understanding between them and a sense of unbelievable pride from his
father towards his son. When Shankle saw the stone he claimed it was
some sort of trick to get out of work and demanded that Davar remove
the stone. Shankle grabbed a knife and tried to remove the stone, but
his father forced the knife from his hand, sending him off in a rage
into the fields.
Davar continued his work the best he could, but was limited.
Passersby would make fun of him and he would be harshly ridiculed and
made fun of by people in his own and other villages. After a few years,
people that hadn't seen him in awhile began to swear the stone was
getting smaller, although he didn't notice. It was around this time
that his father died and as the eldest brother, Shankle became the head
of the house and farm. After that, he gave Davar one more chance to
remove the stone. Hearing his refusal, Shankle banished Davar from the
family home and told him to never return as long as he wore the stone.
* * *
After his banishment, Davar went into the wilderness and stayed
there until the end of his life. Rumors would come back to the village
over the years about how small the stone had gotten by people who had
crossed his path at some time in the past. Finally, thirty-three years
after Davar had been banished to the wilderness, word came back to
Shankle that Davar's health had taken a turn for the worse and he was
in his last days. Furthermore, the people delivering the news swore
that the huge stone he once carried on his back was now just a small
pebble that he wore on a chain around his neck. Fearing the worst,
Shankle set off into the wilderness to the place his brother had
supposedly made his home. After days of traveling, he came upon a
well-worn path with a small, makeshift house off in the distance. It
was around dawn and he could swear that he could see someone
approaching in the distance. As the light cleared the trees in the
early morning, he could make out the figure of a woman in the distance.
It was a beautiful, young woman with blonde hair and dressed in white.
She approached the small house and went inside. After shutting the
door, he could see a bright light coming out of the house which lit up
the whole area like the noon-time sun.
After the light died away, he
started to run toward the house as fast as his elderly legs would carry
him. When he reached the house, he opened the door and was in shock at
the sight. The woman was gone and his brother lay dead on the floor.
Shankle gasped in fear as he looked at Davar. He lay on the floor with
a smile on his face and looked exactly as he did over thirty-three
years ago when he first went into the wilderness to find the fairy
queen. Furthermore, the stone that he once carried on his back and
later wore around his neck was completely gone.
When word of this made
it back to the village, everyone knew that the purest of hearts had
been found and no one ever searched for the fairy queen, again.
© 2013 Jason McIntosh
Bio: Mr. McIntosh has been writing and editing his whole
life. He has a degree in English from Arkansas State
University. He began writing in grade school and his first
professional writing experience was in junior high school when he was
paid by several regional bands to write songs for them and some of them
were actually recorded. He has helped compile and edit several
reference guides and has been listed in some of the world’s most
respected record price guides as a contributor with all of them
currently being sold in some of the world’s biggest book chain stores.
E-mail: Jason McIntosh
Comment on this story in the Aphelion Forum
Return to Aphelion's Index page.