Dreamed 1995/7/18 and 1995/8/6 by Chris Wayan
I've been wandering Faerie freely since birth, slipping across the borderlands every night. I'm human and I shouldn't be able to enter their land, but I do. Over the years, I feel I've proved I belong--as a beast of the border, at least. But many of the Fair Folk resent us wetback mortals. One group starts a campaign, with all the glamour and mockery that only the Folk have, against me and all mortals who dare to enter their realm. They call for purity.
They call their movement Elfism. A nice word for an ugly old attitude. Elfism is racism.
ELVES VS. ELVIS
I unfold a map of the race war. The main campaign is in the Other World's version of Java and the Malay Peninsula. Cities are color-coded by the dates when they surrendered (or went over willingly), to the liberating army led by a human singer. The people who told me weren't sure of his name, but as soon as they imitate him for me, it's obvious. Wow, the cultists were right all along! He wasn't dead--he was over there. General Elvis!
North of Java, the anti-racists took Singapore first, then the tip of the Malay Peninsula, then pushed the front north one or two hundred miles. Then they sailed north to the isthmus (near the Thai border in our world) and landed troops who marched south, catching the demoralized Elfists in a pincer. Shades of the Korean War! And rather than pushing north through Southeast Asia, General Elvis lands a force near Hong Kong, circles the city's landward side, and takes it easily. He's aiming for the economic dynamos of Asia--and the Elves living in great trade-cities are more likely to favor trade with the human world, too. Clever!
MOLD A HARBOR
The southern Malay Peninsula looks bare though, especially the tip. Humpy mud hills. Defoliated by the war? Or does my map just ignore vegetation? I'm worried. I grab the map, which now seems to be made of mud and sand and water, and I shape bays and a harbor and river and flood plain, trying to create something useful and stable. I mold some natural bridges more or less by accident. Someone advises a stronger sea-wall on one side. True, it needs one to be a safe harbor.
Now I'm on the Malay Peninsula, on a tropical beach. Lush forests inland--it was never defoliated. During the period of Elvish occupation, the scattered humans here were pushed down through the jungle to the sea. They went into the water, and the elves assumed they'd drown. But the slope here is very shallow, so they waded out hundreds of yards and found sand bars--shifting, but always there, even at high tide. The humans lived for days out there, standing knee-deep, waist-deep, neck-deep, until Elvis's army liberated the area. Now they're drifting cautiously in, unsure if it's safe. It is--the front's hundreds of miles north now. I swim and wade, tell the last stragglers it's safe to come ashore.
STRAND AN ELVISH SHIP
A wooden ship of an antique type sails in close. Part galleon, part Polynesian dreadnought. An Elvish man o' war! I'm scared, but I swim over to it and grab the steering oar, hang on in the water! Force the ship aground on a sandbar, prevent an armed landing.
CRASHES MAKE A MELTING POT
Later, in a thatched meeting hall, I ask a ship-captain "How can Faerie have mostly familiar life--like the pines, palms, and mangoes all around us--yet be sprinkled with utterly unearthly creatures and plants? The place just isn't a consistent ecological web." The Captain is neither human nor elf, but some strange insect-reptile-fishy creature. It offers me ritual guest-snacks of its people, including chips and a deep-sea shell full of blue-violet dip with a tiny live squid lurking down deep. I dip to be polite, but I squeamishly try not to scoop the squid... I'm sure that wiggly, chewy feeling is the very best bit if you're a bug-lizard-fish, but I'd feel guilty.
The captain explains "Our world--Faerie, as the you-know-who so modestly call it--was settled by quite a few separate starship crashes. Nine to my knowledge, and each from a different planet! So each introduced a few of their native biota. They've had to coexist as best they can. That's why Elfism is so absurd--this world was never pure Elf, or pure ANYTHING. As bad as your Anglos ranting about 'illegal aliens' when they invaded and stole everything in sight!"
THE GREEN CRONE
I'm hiding in the bushes, looking out at a city park in the human world. Near me is a gate to Faerie. I have a little phaser, a palm-size weapon. I'm looking for enemies before I risk going through the door, but my eyes have trouble focusing--either the bright park lawns and streets beyond are sharp, or the undertree shadows around the Gate, but not both. A party of elves, pushing their Glamour and thus almost certainly racists, come down the street, enter the Gate. They walk our world freely enough without passports!
As they pass I hear them discussing me.
I wait a long time after them. At last I skulk into the borderlands. Empty halls, like a deserted conference center; room after room piled with spooky equipment.
In a side hall, I meet an old, old green woman. Greet her courteously. "I have no quarrel with you." She has knowing, mocking eyes--but is it racist mockery or just the irony of life? Will she betray me? I won't fight her, go on my way.
In a room deeper in, I find a strange female, of uncertain species and age. Teen gawkiness and bewildered look, but she has a boy of nine or ten herself. Looks like my friend Cecy, half-transformed into an elf! Or a moon-calf, a changeling of some sort. Such wide vague round eyes! Not sure if it's Cecy, or just a similar aura. I invite her along, say "You're in danger here so near the Gate--racists may attack you."
She follows meekly as I stalk my way through aisles and shelves--the border-maze is like some huge, empty library now. Where are all the books?
GREEN RAY? SING!
Open space. I go ahead a bit. Suddenly the group of glamorous elves shows itself and fire red rays at me. I return fire with my green phaser--and the moment the beam flashes on, ice erupts around me, filling the hall! A spell triggered by my energy: I was set up. Caged in a cave of icicles, frozen in place!
They half-courteously mock me in Shakespearean snippets, and leave me to freeze. But they didn't notice the strange tag-along, the moon-calf. Cecy timidly wanders up to the ice-cave's door and stares at me silently. I say "If you sing, it will free me."
A voice outside the spell is best, but if she can't or won't sing, I will. It works for Elvis, it even worked on Earth for me--it broke the prison-spell of the Moral Kiosk! I'd bet my life--in fact, I have--that it'll eventually break even the combined magic of full-blooded Sidhe...
NOTES ON WAKING
DOCTOR'S DAUGHTER IN FAERIE
I'm a doctor's daughter. My father is an idealist; he wanted to serve somewhere that never had the benefit of modern medicine. So he moved to Faerie, when they first opened the border. I was born and raised there, though I spend lots of time in the mortal world. Bicultural.
My dad is more-Elvish-than-thou in some ways; he studies the old magic, and he prescribes (and follows, himself) the traditional Elvish diet, the herbs and nectars and cordials. Most Elvish kids I know would rather eat at McDonalds and play video games--Faerie is crazy for Western technology now. My father says they'll get over it, the pendulum will swing back. I hope so.
Because I notice my father doesn't get sick or show his age! I don't either. And my Elvish friends are getting pimples and cholesterol. Their immortality isn't genetic, it's the old lifestyle and diet! My friends are amused at my father and me, think our diet's a human weakness--succumbing to Glamour. "That High Elvish stuff's just a hype." While their craze for human high tech is merely good taste, of course! Vanity has always been a Fairy flaw.
If this goes on, they really could become mortal, even forget their ancestors were immortal, call the whole thing a superstition...
OBONO, MY DATING BUDDY
Now I'm his son, not daughter. I'm showing my parents the comics I've been drawing of my life in Elfland. My latest is about interracial dating there. I'm shy with High Elves, but nixies and dryads and naiads are just as cute and far more approachable. Most mortals think they're tricky and inhuman, most High Elves deem them foolish nature-spirits, but I've grown up with them and know that's just elfism.
Tonight I'm going to a party in Elfland with my friend Obona or Obolo, something like that. She's a trickster spirit. Obono has a woman's body and a round little chimp head. Not an attractive combination, at least not to me. Because apes aren't wired for grammar, she only speaks in brief pidgin phrases, so the High Elves condescend to her. But that's just her speech, not thought--she's quite intelligent. Both of us are looking for lovers, but we're pretending to be a couple just to get in, for single humans (or lesser fay) are frowned on at Faerie balls--too susceptible to Glamour. I'm not very, having been raised here, and folks here know it, but around strangers it saves time and explanations. And with Obono, it's pure prejudice. Monkeyheads are low-class; they only want pretty faces at their ball. But as my date, she can enter--and cruise.
The party's in an ancient castle with an Arabian Nights theme. But multicultural as always nowadays. A musician who talks to us on the balcony has four Hindu arms to play with. He doesn't mind Obono's monkeyhead--I wonder if it's because monkey people are an Indian tradition? She's even voluptuous and likes to lean with one hip thrust out sexily, just like all those stone Apsaras.
But he's not really a Hindu demigod--I think he just took that form for the arms! Every musician needs four hands, right? But his face and clothing and aura are classic Mayan. That too could just be glamour for the night; but it feels real. (The next day in the dream, I draw a comic book about our adventures that night, and I drew him in Mayan cartoon-style, with glyphs. Though I don't know why I bother drawing at all, in Faerie! I showed some Elf acquaintances the first page of this tale of the party, and they all mocked the artwork. I think what they really disapproved of is my going to their parties, openly seeking an Elvish girlfriend. So I won't show them page 2, 3, 4... about who I met at that dance, and what happened.
WHAT HAPPENED WAS JEALOUSY
I look under the Glamor, curious, and find the party-house is just a suburban ranch home. And half the High Faeries are dressed-up humans or half-elves. So many wannabes!
I watch sexual intrigue and jealousy growing to dangerous levels between two women. One's a human Anglo with glasses and light brown curls, physically attractive but with a slightly stodgy, stuffy aura--and here, half the guests can see it. Like wearing a blouse that seems modest in your bedroom but turns out to be see-through in bright sun...
The other's a black-haired Latina, lots of Indian, but part Fey, too, with their huge slanting cat-pupil eyes. A sexy but smoldering aura. I'm much more attracted to her. I think her dark fire is just exotic--not malicious.
But her cat eyes suddenly go milky, slit pupils disappear. Looks berserk, scary, blind. In this state, she can sling psychic bolts of great power.
WHAM! She slams her rival... but it hits ME, too. Ow!
Is she mean, or just blindly reckless?
Either way, I thought she was safe, and my judgment was flat wrong! As the fight grows, I realize I'm in real danger from their spell-bolts. I have to duck, back off... and quit trusting my intuition! With girls I find sexy, I overlook risks. Power's attractive--but deadly without empathy or ethics!
NOTES ON WAKING
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