Requiem for an Elf

The Continuum Cafe is open! Pull up a stool in the one place where writers, readers, and characters interact. Courtesy of your Bartender, Eldric, and the Piano Player, Dylan, and the Delivery-man, Jake.
(Readers are encouraged to write themselves in any time!!!) Note: The Continuum Cafe is even open to non-registered guests!

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Requiem for an Elf

Postby eldric on Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:33 pm

"You are a coward," Eldric, the Continuum Elf faced a female of his species, who resembled him strongly, "and the Continuum Café is dead because of you."

She watched him without speaking, debating whether she would respond.

"Because of your cowardice and self-absorption," Eldric announced loudly, gesturing in her direction, "Dylan Clearbrook has left this place. Even Jake rarely visits anymore. And no one else has crossed that threshold anytime recently!"

She ignored him, stepping away from him and walking around the café. She stopped at the bar, glancing at the neatly stacked glasses, pulling one down to inspect it for cleanliness. Satisfied, she put it back. She stepped towards the fireplace, checking it for damage and adjusting the damper.

"Dylan knew just what you are!" Eldric crowed as she stepped away from the fireplace, walking towards the piano. It had not been played in some time and the dust had accumulated. She grabbed the dust rag that hung behind the piano, making quick work of the dust. Stepping towards the front door, she unbolted it long enough to shake out the rag. She debated whether to tune the piano, but realized that was part of its charm. She tried to visualize a trained pianist playing it. The image brought a smile to her lips. No...some things were meant to be the way they were.

"Get out of this place!" Eldric bellowed. "You have no right to be here! Even your own mother won't talk to you, you freak!"

She let him rage while she continued her inspection. She stepped towards Hipkarma's kitchen. Even she had never been inside...a very wise move on her part, she considered.

"People like you are mentally ill and completely misguided!" Eldric charged. "You don't exist; you just think you do!"

That last brought a smile to her lips.

"Wasn't it Descartes who said 'I think, therefore I am?'" She turned to walk through the door that led to the private rooms on the lower level. They were all open, vacant, abandoned. She shook her head sadly as Eldric approached once more.

"You caused this!!!" Eldric charged, angrily. "These rooms are empty because of what you did!"

"Are they?" She asked.

"Even Jenny and Linda left because of you," Eldric announced angrily. "Everything that happened here happened because of you!"

"Yes," she responded with a touch of pride, "that is absolutely true. This place is my responsibility and my actions helped birth its existence. And I am at least partly responsible for its future."

"You little bitch..." Eldric howled. "Dylan was right to say that you can't are just a delusion."

Her eyes narrowed with annoyance. She turned back to her task, using her powers to open all the windows across the level at once, bringing sunlight into the rooms. She focused the wind, using it to clear out the cobwebs and the dust. The rooms appeared clean and livable once more.

"I do believe in clearing the air," she announced confidently. "I have lived too long in the shadows. I am done with that; I am the child of day." A stray thought brought a chuckle, "...even if I believe a sunrise is the last thing I want to see before going to bed!"

"You have no power here!" Eldric bellowed. "It is time for you to leave, to return whence you came!"

Ignoring him, she flew up the stairs, opening the doors and windows of the upstairs rooms, allowing the clean air and sunshine to bring new warmth to the rooms as she used the wind to clear the dust and debris from those rooms.

"Sometimes," she spoke as he reappeared, "things and people are not as they seem or as they, themselves, believe." She stepped down the corridor, remembering the residents; Jake the adventurer, Stee the historian, Hipkarma the Amazon, and of course Dylan himself. She shook her head, sorrowed by their absence. "You are right," she announced, "so much of this is my doing." She glanced at him. "Had it been truly your doing, the lead characters of our Realms would have been Superman, Batman, and a litany of other male characters. Instead, Linda, Faith, Kara, and Lannie lead so many of the stories. Why? Because I can't write male characters worth a damn."

"The first of so many of your crimes!" Eldric accused, but not as loudly as before. "This was meant to be a place for real men!"

She ignored him, continuing with her thought.

"Instead, my heroes were Kara Zor-El, Linda Danvers, Helena Wayne, and Jennie-Lynn Hayden Scott," she emphasized. "Why do you think that Kara called to me? She knew what I was, even if I did not want to believe it."

"She called Dylan Clearbrook and me!" Eldric retorted.

"No," she counseled. "I am Dylan's natural counterbalance," she assured him. "That was why things worked...we kept each other from going too far off the deep end."

"You killed off 'Dark Earth,'" Eldric accused.

"The good gardener tends the garden," she smiled. "Dylan taught me that. And I did not kill 'Dark Earth.' I simply wrote its epitaph."

"And you destroyed me, destroyed the Continuum Cafe!" He trumpeted. In an earlier day, he could have successfully baited her. But now she felt only a certain calm.

"We have been through all of that," she addressed him without emotion. "I have been through years of counseling to resolve who I am. Why do I not let you continue to take the lead for our life? Because it doesn't work. It never did, not really. I may not be what you or anyone else wants me to be. But I am for the first time, at least, a real person."

"You use drugs to make you what you want to be!" Eldric argued.

"True," she agreed. "But those drugs are properly and thoughtfully prescribed by medical professionals. As well, I also must use lenses to correct my vision. We are not young, my friend. But now I can see and think clearly."

"Ella, you were born a man!" Eldric accused. "God doesn't make mistakes!"

"God allows diversity," Ella stated flatly. "And I was never quite a man. I have a failed endocrine system to thank for that. But thankfully, Hormone Replacement Therapy has, at least, provided what I needed for my body to heal, even as it puts me through the opposite puberty."

"You look like a girl!" Eldric sneered. "Stop this idiocy and obey me!"

"And do what?" Her left eyebrow rose. "What dreams do you have? What would you do with our life?"

He glanced at her curiously, puzzled.

"What drives you?" Ella pressed. "How about that atrocious suicide rate among transgender people? The astronomical murder rate, especially against transwomen of color, and the violence against those who can't pass?"

"You think you are so privileged!" Eldric accused her. "You are not real! You are nothing but a..."

"Passing transwoman?" Ella nodded her head. "That I am. And I know that not everyone is so lucky or can find the strength and resources to transition safely. Very few have the resources of a Caitlyn Jenner. One of my friends once said that 'Trans is a club no one wants to belong to.' And that is true. But I am indeed a member of that club and I can only go forward with my life." She stepped out of the private area and onto the part of the balcony that oversaw the main room of the café. Calling her power once more, she flew down towards the fireplace, lighting the logs that awaited her. As the flames began to burn, she smiled with satisfaction.

"I know you don't like this," Ella assured him as he watched. "It's probably a bit like the Twilight Zone episode, 'The Man in the Mirror', where the reflection in the mirror took over the body of the man who glanced into the mirror."

"But in that case," Eldric recalled, "the reflection was a far stronger person, much more able to take on the world."

"Yes," Ella agreed confidently, "exactly! And I will."

"Then why didn't you before?" He posed a question to which they both knew the answer.

"I was born into a world that did not allow me to exist," she related with sadness. "I was treated for my 'personality disorder' by mental health professionals who felt I was 'too sensitive'." She shook her head with regret. "Drugs, behavior therapy, and instruction to withdraw at the least sign of conflict. They submerged me and created you. But you were never able to fully function because you were never real...You were Pinocchio turned back into a puppet."

She glanced at him sympathetically.

"You functioned well enough for their purposes, I suppose," she conceded. "You went through the motions, but you never lived. But, you functioned well enough for society and, had it not been for Kara, you would have remained in control. But, you see, she knew who I was."

"Ella," he protested, but not loudly, "that isn't true."

"Isn't it?" A sparkle came into her eyes. "I started off trying to write Alan Scott. How long did that last, before Linda Kyle broke loose and took over the stories? And then Faith? While you remained the surface personality, I was growing stronger, more focused, and far more able to script and write a story. And then came the relationship with Vena that could never last because you were not real."

"That was my life!" He protested.

"That was the beginning of your surrender," she proclaimed, frowning, "as you struggled to submit yourself to a relationship that you were not strong enough to withstand. And then it all came crashing down. And, for the first time in far too many years, I knew who I was."

She saw sorrow in his eyes as he seemed to accept what he had not wanted to admit to himself. She glanced at him, nodding with appreciation.

"I do thank you, Eldric. You shielded me until I could take care of myself and find the help I so desperately needed." She nodded gratefully towards him. "But this life is now my journey and my responsibility." Ella glanced away from him, looking around the Cafe. "I do hope our friends will come back. I believe we still have a lot we can do. And I will be sorry if they don't. But either way, I must move forward. And I do have plans for my life! I am not done."

Eldric glanced once more at the Café, considering her words as she watched patiently. Her sense of purpose was evident to him and he had to admit that he believed in what she stood for. He envied her confidence, sorry that it had never been his. Finally, he glanced at Ella, nodding with certainty.

"I envy know who you are, Ella. I never really did," he admitted, before smiling mischievously. "But you really are a bitch!"

She broke into laughter.

"Absolutely!" She agreed, "I have to be, to hold my own around here!"

"You do, and you will," he nodded with a smile. "Just do the one thing I could never figure out how to do. Make this life count for something you can believe in!"

"I will," she assured him. And then he was gone.

She considered him, remembered their life together. And she appreciated his final words of wisdom. Then she turned her gaze towards the Café. It had been closed for so long. Just what could she do?

Well, there would likely not be much entertainment or food, but she could at least open the bar. That would at least be a new beginning. And then? Only tomorrow would any case, it would be her tomorrow. And she could ask for no more.
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Re: Requiem for an Elf

Postby Nomad on Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:39 pm

"Hey!" came the voice from the kitchen. "The soup ain't ready yet! I'm still perfecting the recipe."

Jake stuck his head out and took a look around, seeing only Ella and the dusty stools. The apron he wore was stained badly, some fresh, others not so much. A wooden spoon in one hand and a well used carving knife in the other.

He grimaced as he looked out the front window and saw the sun rising...another new day in the cafe'. He pointing the spoon at Ella before motioning to the rest of the place.

"You might wanna get those chairs dusted and put out some new tablecloths. We got customers coming."

Ella looked around, knowing that it had been quite some time since anyone had been here, but then was equally surprised when she looked out the front window and started seeing people congregate. Something was starting to draw them closer and closer. She looked back at Jake who just huffed in amusement at her confusion.

"What is it?" he asked, confident that he already knew the question.

"How?" she pondered, near flabbergasted as people drew nearer. "Why are they coming?"

"Sister, you got a lot to learn. This place was never supposed to be bar. Ya go to a bar to drown your sorrows. People dont wanna remember the times where they had to do that. But you cook 'em a good meal, well, people remember that. They remember that good taste, that feeling of being full and satisfied. They remember the conversation. They remember the people they were with."

"But everyone has been gone for so long..."

"Oh, horse crap! None of us were ever gone. I've been in the kitchen cooking and Dylan is out back bottling up what he has been fermenting all this time. I think he just got confused on how to label it, is all. Too strong to be a beer...maybe a nice ale or even a good stout. I guess we will see, huh?"

Ella grinned and started to tidy up the place before a thought hit her. "Do you think people will understand? Ya know, about me?"

"What's to understand? It aint whats on the outside that counts. Only a fool looks at just the surface. They are gonna recognize who ya are deep down. Thats what really matters." Stepping behind the bar, dusted off the portraits of those that had been memorialized here: Michael, Jason, Hipkarma, Bob, Chip, Andrew, John, DTO, Brian, Kyle. Pondering for a moment, he pulled down two of the three pictures that were in the center: Himself and Eldric.

Tossing the ancient picture of himself to the side, he hung up a new one. It showed the lines etched into his face, the greying of his beard, the lack of innocence so apparent in the original.

"There we go. I dont think the old one shows me anymore. Too damned naive I think."

"It still looked like you though," Ella said as she replaced tablecloths.

"Gotta look deep down, remember?"


Jake pondered the picture of Eldric for a moment, wondering if he should place it now with the others memorialized. Instead he put up a picture of Ella in the old spot, symbolizing the change and not a retirement. Satisfied, he adjusted the apron and headed back for the kitchen.

"Looking good out here, girl," he quipped. "I gotta stir the soup some more, then we can start serving the customers. If ya got the time, maybe you can whip up some of that dessert your famous for. I think it would go great with dinner and a drink..."
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Re: Requiem for an Elf

Postby Nomad on Wed Aug 08, 2018 12:04 pm

"Dammit! Who's been eating the Prime Rib?! That was for the guests!" Jake hollered out from the kitchen. ""And now i'm out of horseradish as well!"
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Re: Requiem for an Elf

Postby Hipkarma on Mon Aug 20, 2018 5:17 am

The tall woman hugged an even taller man in the clear morning light, kissed his cheek and turned back to their chariot. Well, to be fair their ship, it only looked like an ancient Greek chariot. An immortal with a modified TARDIS was allowed a little old world sensibility after all.

“I’ll just get this mess organised, then I’ll meet you there.” She said, as she turned back and disappeared into the slightly incongruous chariot in the middle of a dusty Wild West style street.

Smiling slightly, the man turned and headed toward a once familiar haven. Broad shouldered with an easy, measured stride, his steps ate up the distance to his destination. His plaid shirt and jeans at home in this place. Some grey tinged his dark hair and anyone who had known him before, would note more lines on his face, those of a man who lived life, smiled often, even laughed.

He noted that some of the store fronts were boarded over, others still traded and sighed. This place and the souls that came here had saved him. He wanted it to not just survive, but thrive. There was so much heart, experience and just plain magic in this special space, he thought. It was needed.

Now, it was up to him to do what he’d done so often for so many. It was time to make sure souls were safe.

Arriving at the doors to the Continuum Café, Kal-L formerly of a now vanished Earth-2, stepped through and gazed around.

There’d been changes since he’d been there last. New pictures on the wall, cloths on the tables, it was spotlessly clean. A strangely familiar woman with delicately pointed ears stood behind what had once been the main bar, now adorned with a vase of flowers. What? The piano was familiar though, if currently unattended. He sensed others as they moved about in the building and scents that would it other circumstances have enticed, wafted from the kitchen.

As he slowly moved further into the café Kal-L noted surprised recognition and the beginnings of a smile on the woman’s face.

“Kal-L? Is that really you? Where’s Hip?” she queried as she glanced behind him. Her face fell for just a second, the smile now slightly forced.

“Hello! Yes, I’m Kal-L,” he affirmed, “Do I know you? I feel like I should know you.”

The elf smiled and brushed a lock of hair behind her pointed ear. “Let’s just say that I’m Ella, I’ve taken over from Eldric and yes, I probably do seem a bit familiar. Long story, best told over tea or strong liquor.”

The last son of Krypton smiled briefly, shuffled slightly, and wasn’t THAT a strange look on him, before he began,

“Well, to answer your question, Ma’am, Hip’s here. We just arrived and she’s still ‘getting things organised’ in our ship. She’ll be on her way here in just a few moments, but I thought it might be, ah, prudent, shall we say, if I gave you all fair warning that she’s on her way back."

His blue eyes glanced briefly to the doors which led to the kitchen before he continued, "Particularly prudent for anyone who may have been or currently is in Her Kitchen?”

Ella’s eyes widened. A smile burst across her face as she listened to Kal-L relate his news. This was swiftly followed by dawning horror at the implications.

“Oh shit. Jake!!!!!”
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Re: Requiem for an Elf

Postby Clay Clearbrook on Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:50 am

Dylan Clearbrook stoppered the last bottle of berry...and gently lowered it into the case. Twelve bottles per case and he had six cases already stacked up, ready to be stored.
It was make work...something to keep him busy while he turned all that had happened over and over in his brain.

The Cafe had lost some of its luster and, he knew, part of that was his fault.

When he had first started the bottling process, he could hear Eldric yelling his head off at Ella. The Elf was right, in a way. He would probably never be fully comfortable with Ella. Be that as it may, it wasn't his battle.

"Penny for your thoughts?"

He turned, half expecting to see Kara leaning in the door way...only to find Linda Danvers.

"Not worth a penny." he mumbled. "You wouldn't like them anyway."

"Let me guess." She stepped out of the doorway and, in that instant, transformed from Linda Danvers to Supergirl...and then wings of fire spread behind her. "I think it is a problem of acceptance."

"What makes you think that??" Dylan grumbled, turning back to his work. "And what would you know about it anyway?"

"You have to be joking, right?" Once again she was plain Linda Danvers. "Shall I recount how many times through the years that you called ME an abomination? All because I wasn't Kara Zor-El?"

Dylan stood, folding his arms across his chest, and glared at the woman. He did not respond.

'Your problem, Mr. Clearbrook, is that you don't like change! You resist it, if you can. You walk away, if you can. And you bull up and become an ass if you can't do either of those!"

"This isn't the same thing, and you damned well know it!" Dylan grumbled. In his mind, however, he was wondering what the hell was going on. As far as he was concerned, He and Linda had made peace long ago. Of course, it was true that only happened after Kara Zor-El's Rebirth! "I could care less if Eldric suddenly proclaimed he was a Kumquat! That is his business...not mine. Of course it still would not make him a Kumquat."

"Bullshit, Clay!" Linda startled him by using his real name. A name that had never been uttered in the Continuum Cafe. Her tone softened and she stepped forward to lay a hand on Clay's arm. "Is that why you are standing here, all closed off to everyone?" She sighed as she pulled his arms down. "Look, I get it. You don't agree with with the decisions Eldric made. He went through hell and needed that you could not give him!"

"And I still can't!" Clay growled, turning to kick the boxed bottles of mead he had just finished with. Shattered bottles and splashes of mead now littered the lawn behind the Cafe. He hung his head and gave a sour chuckle. "I can write stories with lesbian heroes. My best friend before he passed away was gay. One of my High Priests was Bi....but this...." he shook his head. "Damnit Linda, I can't even bring myself to use the Elf's NAME....or use feminine pronouns...and I damned sure am not going to use those damned "gender neutral" crap."

"Why?" Linda cocked her head to one side, her eyes challenging Clay to really think it through. "Not the gender neutral stuff...I get that. But the rest? Is it because you are afraid?"

"What the hell would I have to be afraid of?"

"Afraid that Ella would not be reminded of your disapproval every time you call her Elf or The Elf instead of Ella?" Linda replied softly. "That is what happens, you know."

"That is not why I do it and you damned well know it!" Clay growled.

"Perhaps not. But that is what happens. Clay, Ella knows that you do not agree with the decisions she has made."

"See?" Clay pointed out. "Right there! I could never say what you just said!"

"No one is asking you to." Linda shook her head. "This isn't an all or nothing situation, Clay. I am sure if you bend a little will she." She got a twinkle in her eye and a mischievous smile. "It is a lot like marriage...both have to give and take."

"I swear, Linda, if you start singing a Diamond Rio song I will take you over my knee!" Clay warned.

"Drop the Elf crap once in a while, Clay." Linda smiled sweetly. "I am sure that Ella would forgive you if you call her a he or him every now and then. If she see's that you are at least trying to make an effort...she'll meet you in the middle. " She paused. "Time to get back inside....some one is arriving I think you want to see!"

She turned and headed back into the cafe....and once safely out of reach...began singing.

"We'd gain a lot of ground
'Cause we'd both give a little
And there ain't no road to long
When you meet in the middle"

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Re: Requiem for an Elf

Postby Ella on Mon Aug 20, 2018 3:50 pm

Clay turned back to face the results of his anger: spilled bottles of mead seeping into the ground behind the Cafe, with glass shards that would threaten the feet of passersby. The strains of Linda's words echoed in his brain as he struggled to come to terms with his anger. So much waste...

"Oh my," Clay heard the concern in the elf's voice as the elven woman took in the display of shattered bottles. Clay glanced at her, wondering if she was about to pour salt on his wounds. But there was no anger, no condemnation in her expression. Instead, she held up a basket of orange fruit, offering some to him. "Would you like to try some? There's an interesting secret to these."

"What are they?" Clay queried suspiciously as she wandered over to sit near him, the basket within his reach.

"Why, kumquats, of course!" Ella offered with a hint of mischief playing across her brow. "As you have so often mentioned them in the context of me, I realized that it was time for me to learn about them. And I thank you for the compliment!"

"Compliment?" Clay sat down near her, suspiciously. Eldric had been much more of an open book. This version of the elf was not nearly as predictable. She was a bit more deft; frontal assaults were not her cup of tea. But when forced into conflict...Clay shuddered at the memory. Elves were not quite human, after all. Or had he simply misjudged this one?

"Kumquats have a unique characteristic," Ella took one out of the basket, nibbling the top before holding the fruit out in front of her. She squeezed the fruit and the juice dripped on to the ground. Then she popped it into her mouth, winking at Clay.

"There has to be a moral attached to this," Clay groused, "and I am not sure I am going to like it! But I'll ask the question just to get it over with. So, why did you squeeze out the juice?"

"The juice in a kumquat makes it sour," Ella pulled a knife from her basket, trimming the top off another piece of fruit. "So, if you want it to reach its best potential, you put it under pressure. And, once you do, it becomes something worth having. And I feel quite complimented by the comparison!" She squeezed the juice out of the kumquat, holding it out to him. "Here! Try one!"

For a moment, he pondered whether this was a trick. But no, this version of the elf was many things, but petty was not one of them. He took the fruit and popped into his mouth, savoring the rich, juicy, sweet flavor.

"Mmm...this is good!"

"It is," she agreed heartily, "Isn't it? I thank you for the idea, even if I did ponder whether this is what you intended. Still, I'll consider it another successful collaboration." She shrugged with a smile as she reached for another kumquat. Clay reached for another one as well, his fury with himself simmering on the back burner for the moment. He wondered if he should say anything, but decided to just enjoy the fruit, instead.

"I have appreciated the kindness you have shown me," Ella had nibbled the top off of another kumquat. "I know that I have precipitated a stressful situation for everyone. I was truly afraid of what could have happened. But, instead of being shunned," he could feel the warmth in her tone, "I find that I am welcomed into conversations and am treated as an equal partner. And instead of a Cafe that is devoid of of life, we have managed to come together again. And if you think I have become a better person because of the pressure I have withstood, then I have much to be proud of!"

"Elf, I still can't call you a girl!" Clay argued instinctively, "you just aren't!"

"But you've never objected when anyone else has referred to me as Ella and you never refused my friendship because of that part of my identity." She squeezed the juice out of the kumquat. "And you weren't the one who decided to play with Green Flame."

"What's that got to do with anything?" Clay watched her pop the kumquat into her mouth, watching her gestures with a chuckle before she swallowed it.

"It forces you to face your truth," Ella explained after she swallowed. "That's the price for its power. And the truth was that by denying myself, I had failed all of you. The Continuum Worlds was dying because I could not take responsibility for myself or say anything meaningful to any of you." She sucked in a deep breath, "and so, we had begun a death-spiral and I knew it. But even when I could do what I had to, it still took time for me to come together. And I am afraid my early lack of confidence only estranged us further."

Her words surprised him; this had not been what he expected.

"We have a responsibility, Clay," Confidence crept back into Ella's tone. "We make this a safe space and we guide and mentor those who enter here. That was Kara's vision and our charter. And it's our charge to nurture the next generation of writers as we hone our craft." She nodded slowly as she took another piece of fruit. "And I am pleased to say I think we are finally approaching the point where we can do that once more."

Clay had his demons, he knew that. But the elf's words rang true; this was about much more than the two of them.

"I'm proud of you, Clay," she offered him the last piece of fruit, "you have reached out to work with me, even if you don't always approve of me. And I am quite grateful." She shook the basket with a smile; he took the last piece of fruit.

"Elf," he held the fruit as he spoke, "I still can't call you by a girl's name."

"That's up to you," Ella replied cheerfully, "as much as you might want to deny it, I am confident in your friendship. And we'll work out the rest as we go along." She rose, chuckling. "But you might want to mind your P's and Q's."

"Huh?" Clay responded sluggishly to the deflection as he bit the top of the fruit.

"Jake is cleaning out the kitchen as we speak," Ella's voice rang with mischief. "It seems you and Jake aren't the only ones to give an elf a chance."

"Oh, no!" Clay traced the path of a blade across his throat, squeezing the juice out of the last kumquat at the end, leading Ella to chuckle at his gesture.

"I have always found Hipkarma to be quite pleasant!" Ella teased as he rose, biting the top of the last kumquat and quickly squeezing out the juice.

"She's never threatened to separate your head from your shoulders," Clay groused as he glanced over towards the damage he had done with his earlier outburst. To his surprise, the bottles of mead were filled and neatly stacked, as if they had never been damaged. "Thank you."

"Certainly!" Ella responded lightly. "While I would never cry over spilled milk, blueberry mead is quite another matter!"

He smiled, but then turned to munching the last kumquat.

"Now let's go do our best to keep your head attached to your shoulders!" Ella stepped towards the door to the Cafe. She thought she heard him mumble a protest, but eventually she knew he would do the right thing, despite his grumbling. She hoped he had the same confidence in her.

Re: Requiem for an Elf

Postby Ella on Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:37 pm

As Ella stepped towards the door, a sudden silence greeted her. She glanced around behind her, gazing at where Clay had sat just a minute before. He was no longer in view. How had he vanished so quickly?

She felt her guard go up as she walked in to the main part of the Café. It was once more deserted; the fire was not only out in the great fireplace, the fireplace showed no sign it had ever held a fire. And tables and chairs had shown no sign they had ever been used. Curious...She strode across the room, stepping towards the kitchen. She glanced inside, careful not to enter. But the kitchen was clean, with no food in view. She caught no scent of anything in the large food preparation facility, not even the smell of disinfectant. Even more curious...

Ella walked towards the front door, opening it and gazing outside. As she suspected, there was nothing. This particular version of the Café was nothing more than a limited construct. But it seemed to be a perfect duplicate of the Café...

Ella had not willed this particular construct into existence; she was trapped in someone else's domain, at least for the moment. But the owner could not affect her physically; otherwise, it would have done so. But she knew that the author of the domain would soon reveal itself. She suspected that author would be none too pleased with her.

"Why aren't you dead?" She felt a male presence behind her. She turned around, but the presence remained just out of view. No matter; she mentally extended her sense of touch, letting it bound the presence...mostly ethereal. The presence remained stationary behind her; Ella realized that she had not actually turned towards it; the creature had rotated the café when she had tried. So she would stop trying, walking towards the representation of her favorite chair in front of her favorite table. She lowered herself into it, glancing at the fire place. The being was still behind her, as she expected. But at least she was more comfortable.

"Why aren't you trembling in fear?" She heard the voice again. Obviously not omnipotent, it did not know the answer. Definitely not a vestige of Eldric; he would have known better. It wanted information, which she clearly did not owe. But she was curious. Just what was this?

"Well," Ella finally spoke, "to what do I owe the pleasure? And I will admit to using that term loosely."

"Why aren't you dead?" The voice spoke once more. "I've taken away everything you've ever loved. I've even taken away your sense of identity and revealed just how much I have denied you in life. And this year I made sure you know just how much you've really lost."

"Yes, it's been an absolutely wonderful year," Ella admitted sarcastically. "But if this has been your plot, you've lost your power over me." She turned her head out of habit. No, he still remained behind her.

Had he expected fear from her? What more he could take or threaten to take from her? Had he tried to overload her, to add to her knowledge in ways that would overwhelm her, after so many years of his constant relentless interference in her life? To do what? Smother her tiny spark with his overwhelming presence?

She wondered if she should laugh.

She felt him pressuring her once more. And as he did, she quietly channeled his power, focusing it to light the fire in the fireplace, an act she knew would disconcert him.

And it did.

Ah...that had been his true mistake...he had not understood what happened when she had first bit the apple of knowledge, accepting who she was. The fog had lifted; Eldric's passivity had given way to Ella's rage. Those challenges that would have been out of Eldric's depth prompted a very different response from her. She could feel him tensing for another attack. Let him.

He attacked with all of his will and intent. But as he did, an aroma came from the kitchen...freshly cooked food. And voices coming from afar. She sensed his increasing confusion with satisfaction. Idiot.

"You did take something from me," Ella admitted, "my illusions. I had once thought if I could live a quiet life with no conflict, I would have all I hoped for from life. I was content to let life just pass me by. But that was before I knew who and what I was."

"Poor pathetic fool..." The voice spoke again.

"But what I've learned is that my actions do make a difference. My responsibilities to care for myself and others must come first," Ella turned towards the presence. But unlike previous attempts to face him, this time she added her rage-fueled force of will to her sense of touch. She felt him fight her as she forced him into her sight. Darkness...hellfire, she wasn't sure what she beheld. "Whenever I wallow in confusion and self-pity, I am not meeting those responsibilities. And that means you can go after others far more vulnerable than me."

"How dare you..." The creature shrieked as she channeled more of its power, illuminating more of the construct.

"Sorry...Eldric's not here any more," Ella retorted. "And I have work to do."

She wondered if the creature had yet realized its mistake. All the trials, the tribulations of her life were nothing more than fuel for the fire...the fire of her determination to move forward. That fire was endemic to who she was. She owed the creature for that, she supposed.

The entire Café construct now appeared to be burning; the creature had clearly lost control. He seemed to be screaming as he retreated from the heat of his own fire. And then, suddenly, the construct was gone.

Ella was back at the entry to the real Café once more. But she realized that Clay had not returned. And as she entered the Café, the quiet continued. Still, she could smell the food in the kitchen.

She stepped towards the front door, opening it. People walked down the sidewalks under a hazy sky...not unusual here. But what had happened to Hipkarma and Kal?

And Jake.

"Jake?" She called, heading towards the kitchen. Hipkarma would soon take command of the food preparation, but Jake would not turn over a messy kitchen. "Jake?"
The Continuum Elf
Mistress of the Emerald Fire!!!
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