[Story] Story a Week 35

[[ Prompt: A story that features a real recent newspaper article.

I looked for “weird” news stories for this one, and I certainly found one:

https://www.yahoo.com/news/iceland-unearths-rock-appease-angry-elves-195326271.html ]]

“Something must be done,” Terberis thundered, his voice rumbling the ground beneath the elves’ feet. “They have gone too far.”

Murmurs of assent made their way through the gathering. Valanche frowned, raising a slender hand. The other elves fell silent, awaiting his words. “While it is true,” he conceded, “That the humans have over-stepped their bounds, they may simply be unaware of what they are doing.” More grumbles at that, and glances between elves. “Their memories are hardly very good, after all. Maybe they simply need a gentle reminder.”

Terberis grunted, folding his arms, but he would not defy the words of the King. Perhaps to appease him, Valanche assigned Terberis to this task. “Gentle,” he reminded the elf, as he retreated to his quarters.

Though he would have preferred to punish the humans more thoroughly, in his heart Terberis knew that the King was right. Humans were short-sighted and foolish, but that wasn’t their own fault. It was simply the way of things. You would just as well be angry with the wind for blowing, or the birds for singing. Many of them had forgotten that the elves existed at all, how would they be expected to recognize a sacred rock? He had watched the humans at work at the site. They were stout and lumpy, and though they worked the earth, they did it crudely and roughly, their huge metal machines belching black smoke into the air. Terberis wondered how they could hear anything at all over the enormous roar of their engines. It was their clumsy digging that had defaced the sacred stone; tearing at a cliffside, an avalanche of soil and rocks had tumbled down over it, burying it. The elves had felt it at once, a shudder deep within the ground, a wrong-ness that must be corrected.

Terberis tried simple things at first, disabling the noisy machines or equipment around the site. This worked for a few days, but then they were up and running again. It seemed that the humans had endless supply of them. Another time he nudged boulders over the edge of the cliffside, onto the site. He knew Valanche would not approve of this, but really he only meant to scare them. Terberis was surprised that the humans always noticed the rocks and shouted to warn each other in time. He had expected that humans would have been much slower than that. Hiding tools didn’t work, either. They either brought more, or borrowed from each other. One morning, Terberis hid every tool on the site, but they were eventually found in a nearby stream. The humans were puzzled, but that was all. They had to be reminded.

It was forbidden for an elf to be seen by a human, but there was no such rule about being heard. Besides, Terberis reasoned, they would have no idea who he was. He chose one worker, gruff with cropped hair and an untidy beard, and he began to speak to the human as if he were the earth itself.

I don’t want you here, Terberis whispered, from below the rocks. You aren’t welcome.

At first, Terberis was afraid that he couldn’t hear him at all. Maybe humans had forgotten how to hear elves, as well as believe in them. Or maybe he simply was partly deaf from all of the clamor and noise of the site. But once Terberis saw the human pause, mid-swing, and look uneasily at the scar in the earth. But nothing else came of it. He never told the others, nor did he stop working.

More would be needed. Terberis recruited several other elves, and they each whispered to one worker. Leave this place, they whispered from beneath the earth in unison. Leave us be. Each human was afraid, but once they began to talk to each other, the fear spread like a rising wildfire. Within a few days, the worksite had been shut down, and Terberis saw the humans releasing the sacred stone from its earthen prison. All was well, and Valanche would surely be pleased with him.

 

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