The drawing in the book was the same shape that I had dreamt about on the flight to Pavidale, and maybe more times then I realized. I finally recognized the shape for what it was.
“Is that supposed to mean something to me?” asked Soy.
“It’s... what I was drawing that day in class when I saw Deli,” I told him.
“So, you’ve seen this book before?” he asked.
“No, never,” I answered.
“You are the first humans to see it,” said Tryt solemnly. "It is a great honor that I have bestowed upon you.”
“Well, we deserve to be bestowed,” said Soy (clearly not sure what the word meant). “So, what do the rest of the pages say?” he asked.
Tryt closed the book with surprising speed.
“All you need to know is that if you fail, the consequences will be dire,” said Tryt.
“Okay, but I feel like we’re missing something major here,” Soy stated.
“What do you mean?” asked Deli.
“So, Ream’s the villain and he’s the hero?” Soy asked as he pointed to me.
“Correct,” said Tryt.
“Yes,” said Deli.
“And I’m some kind of expert guide who helps the hero,” Soy continued.
“Nobody said that,” said Tryt.
“But what is the point of the fairytale? Like, what’s the thing we have to beat Ream at?” Soy inquired.
It was a question that I hadn’t even thought to ask. There was always a reason for a fairytale. Maybe a giant was terrorizing a village, or sometimes a kingdom was under siege by a witch, but it was always something. What was it that Ream wanted? Why was this fairytale happening at all?
“I’m curious too,” I said, “and that title doesn’t seem to help.”
Deli jumped on top of the book in a puff of shiny dust. Her head was low as she spoke. “Ream didn’t escape his fairytale by chance. He knew things that helped him. Things that he shouldn’t have known.”
“Somebody helped him, then?” I asked.
“We believe so,” said Deli.
“Some believe so,” said Tryt, glaring at Deli.
“What we know for sure,” she replied, “is that once he escaped, he set out to find the one thing that could make him more powerful.”
“What is it?!” asked Soy, “a magic wand?”
“No,” said Tryt. Then he turned to Deli and me. “Why do you let him guess so much. He’s terrible at it.”
“Hey!” Soy yelled. “I can still hear you. Regular-sized ears work, too.”
“How would you like it if I turned you into a newt?” said Tryt, staring angrily at Soy.
“Tryt!” exclaimed Deli.
“He can’t actually do that, can he?” Soy whispered to me. I shook my head, hoping I was right.
Tryt got back his composure and confessed, “Apologies. I just… he just, draws my ire.”
“Yeah, well you should really work on that,” said Soy.
I spoke up, “It’s the pen isn’t it?”
Soy look at me, puzzled.
“That shape in the book and the shape that I was drawing in class; it’s a symbol for your Fairytale Pen isn’t it?” I asked Tryt.
“Ah, now I see it!” said Soy.
“A pen,” Tryt answered, “but not mine.”
He lifted the pen up to show us more details. As he spun it, I saw the stonegold shimmer and dance like it was alive. It was mesmerizing.
Soy had done battle with a hypnotist once at a birthday party. She made the mistake of picking him to be the volunteer, and it all went downhill from there. By the time Soy he stood up, he was already convinced that he had learned enough to hypnotize the hypnotist. We watched them try to hypnotize each other for about a half-hour. Her, with techniques that she had learned over the years, and him with exaggerated movements and shouts of “sleep!” and “bark like a seal!”. When she finally gave up and asked him to sit down, Soy commanded her to sit down, instead. That lasted another five minutes.
But, even Soy was entranced with the stonegold pen.
Tryt explained as it spun, “Before time was time, there was a King of the Mountain. He ruled the world along with his brother, the King of the Valley, and his sister, the Queen of the Sea. But the King of the Mountain wanted to rule the world alone. His advisor, a fairy himself, told the King of the Mountain about two hidden wells of legend that could make this dream a reality. One held all of the good magic in the world: the ancient Well of Lore. The other held all of the evil magic, known as the Well of Rile. The fairy told the King of the Mountain that if he could find and control these wells, he would become more powerful than his brother and sister combined. That very day, the King of the Mountain enslaved his entire kingdom, magical and non-magical creatures alike, charging them all with finding the wells. Ultimately, it was a group of eight dwarves who found the wells deep within a mountain, since they were the most skilled at digging.”
“Eight dwarves?” I repeated.
“Yes, eight. Why?” Tryt inquired.
“No reason, go on,” I said.
He continued, “However, the dwarves did not go back and tell their king, as he had commanded. Because of his cruelty, the dwarves instead used the magic of the wells to craft two pens and a book. The first pen was made with the most powerful magic from the wells. It had the ability to create tales from nothing, and make them real. This pen is known as the Author Pen. It is the pen that you were drawing.”
“So, if you write something, it comes true?” I asked. Deli nodded, then gestured for me to keep listening, even though I had many more questions ready.
“Next, they crafted the pen you see before you, using a strong, but less powerful magic. Then, the dwarves dipped a blank mining ledger into the wells, creating The Book of Lore. As I have said, only these two magical pens are powerful enough to write on its pages. And when a story is completed within the Book of Lore, it becomes known to all the kingdoms in every corner of the globe, so that the world may learn from them.”
I stared at the book and the pen with a new sense of respect (it’s not everyday you see magic stationery).
Tryt explained, “The dwarves used the power of the Author Pen to make sure that the King of the Mountain would never find the wells for himself. Unable to find them and use their magic, the king was not strong enough to defeat his brother and sister. He was banished, and the “Mountain and Valley” became known simply as the “Land”. All of the great leaders for centuries to come were descended from one of the two remaining, wise siblings.”
“What happened to the pens after that?” I asked.
“A fairy stumbled upon the dwarves at the wells. He had been hiding from the greedy king, deep inside the mountain, refusing to be enslaved,” Tryt said. "The dwarves decided to give the second pen to the fairy, to keep it safe, and to pay for his silence. But they charged him with much more than just protecting its magic. The fairy would have to be the one to record the tales and would use his brethren to watch these stories unfold. All would know the tales of good and evil, and the pen would seal the fate of villains defeated. They dubbed this pen the Fairytale Pen, and that is what it is used for to this day. This is how fairies became storytellers," said Tryt with pride in his voice.
“This all sounds a bit… made-up-ish,” said Soy.
“I assure you, every word of it is true,” Tryt stated firmly.
Suddenly the story took on a new meaning. I understood why Tryt was taking all of this so seriously.
“You’re the fairy in the mountain, then?” I asked.
“I am,” he said.
“The one who was hiding?” Soy asked me, the same way that he asked me about characters in movies (during the movies).
“Seems like it,” I whispered.
Soy looked triumphant when he whispered back, “Hmph...hiding.”
“And the Author pen, did they give that to you as well?” I asked.
Tryt shook his head. “I tried to convince the dwarves to let me care for both pens, but they refused. They said that no creature should hold both pens. They used the pen one last time to begin telling their story, the one you just heard, in the Book of Lore. The story is not yet completed, and it is blocked from being read, just as I am blocked from finding the wells again. Those pages will not open. Instead, they left this poem engraved on the inside cover."
Tryt flipped to the front of the book and pointed to the grey inside cover. As the words settled into English, we read:
One pen we place in fairy’s hands, lest history be lost.
One pen we keep inside these buried wells at any cost.
If ever there is dire need to find the Author Pen,
A hero true of mind and heart will hold it once again.
Find the hero’s mark, and you will make the quest begin.
He alone can reach the wells and find the pen within.
Two guides to aid: an expert on the foe they soon will face,
A second known for loyalty, nobility, and grace.
For such a heavy burden, beg the hero to beware.
To write more of their fate in ink, we dwarven do not dare.
I read the poem three times, trying my hardest to remember every word.
“Nobility and grace! It’s like they knew me,” said Soy.
“Yes, speaking of that…” said Tryt to Deli.
“It’s him,” she said immediately. “He’s the companion. I’ve seen the loyalty part. The rest will come in time.”
Tryt resigned himself and got back to us.
“So you see, the Author Pen was locked in the mountain; nobody but the hero can get to it. That’s why we need you.”
“Then there’s one thing that I still don’t understand,” I interrupted. “Where’s the dire need?”
“What do you mean?” asked Deli.
“If this hero is me, then I’m the only one who can find this pen, right? So why did the fairytale need to begin. Ream can’t get it without me. So, where’s the urgency?”
Deli’s face turned pale. Well, pale green.
“Ream is taking fairies.”
“What do you mean?” asked Soy.
Tryt replied with a purposeful voice. “For years now Ream has been taking fairies from us. Some he converts into spies, and others… well, we don’t know what’s happened to the others.”
“You see, that’s why we need your help!” said Deli with emotion in her voice. “If you don’t get that pen and stop Ream, soon there will be no fairies left at all.”
The fairies’ excitement at our arrival made even more sense. I wasn’t just a human to them, I was suppose to be their hero. At that moment, I knew that’s who I needed to be, whether I liked it or not.
“Let’s not waste any more time, then. If I’m the only one who can stop Ream, then I’d just as soon get to it,” I declared.
Suddenly the pen glowed brighter, and Tryt started flipping through the pages of the book again, settling back on the last story. My story. He scribbled down some words, but covered the rest of the page.
“Look at that,” Deli said looking over the page with an enormous smile, "it looks like the hero has finally taken his place in the story."
“There it is!” shouted Soy, “There’s your name!”
The line read: “Within Pavidale, the meeting of the four had concluded. So began Cal’s quest for the pen.”