Medievia Mudslinger

December 2nd, 2001

The Reason Most Grandfathers Donít Tell Stories to Their Grandchildren Anymore - By Kuzziqix

"Grandfather!" a small boy with red hair and a devilish smile screamed with zeal. He ran towards the graying, yet still nimble, man seated in a chair that had been passed down through the family for generations.

"Padakax!", the elderly gentleman yelled out with genuine enthusiasm as he held out his hands to accept his grandsonís embrace.

"Tell me a story, Grandpa!" the boy said in a slightly less lively tone.

"Very well, I will. But you have to promise not to fall asleep in the middle of it. Or I will never tell that story again and you will never know what happens next," the grandfather said in a stern manner.

"Oh gramps! That only happened twice," the young boy paused, "And only because I was really tired when you came. I am up for a story today!"

"So you promise?", the elderly man asked, looking into his grandsonís eyes.

"Yeah gramps, I promise," the boy replied.

"All right then, letís see. Once upon a time, the land of Medievia was inhabited solely by evil creatures and things that go bump in the night. The gods were flesh and blood then, and took out their frustrations on the poor defenseless creatures that inhabited the world. They were mischievous and cruel, the gods were, or so some scurrilous sages tell us. Then, in the cruelest joke of all, they created us in their image and put us on this..."

"Grandpa?" the boy interrupted.

"...world. What is it Pad?" the grandfather said with disapproval, as he hated being interrupted.

"You already told me this story," Padakax stated bluntly.

"I did? When was that?" the grandfather asked in honest ignorance.

"About three months ago. This is the one where the gods eventually settle down and start to help the humans. The creation of the land, right?" Pad said with a squeaky hiccup.

"So it is. Okay, let me think," he said as he furrowed his brow in thought. "Have I told you the story of how Baenlyrs came to be?"

"No grandpa, but that sounds good," the boy said zealously, as if suddenly the prospect of hearing this story brought instant joy to his life.

"Good! Letís see, how to start. Long ago in the land of Medievia, a simple man became the king. His name was Darrius, and he was favored well amongst the people. All the land praised his name, for he was good and just. Yet for all his wondrous charm and wisdom, his life was unfulfilled. For you see his wife, Queen Alaisia, was barren and unable to conceive. He consulted with all of the wisest and noble clerics in the land, hoping to find a way to make his wife fruitful. But to his dismay, his effort was for naught.

"Seeking clarity, he climbed to the top of Mount Vryce, hoping to ask the gods for an answer. While he was there, an evil witch..."

"Evil witch sounds good," the boy spat out with fervor.

"Are you going to let me tell this story or not?" the grandfather asked as a look of disappointment and impatience overcame his face.

"Sorry grandpa," the boy replied.

"May I continue then?" the old man queried in disdain.

"Yes. Please do."

"Ok where was I. Oh yes. While he was there, an evil witch who lived on the west face of the mountain approached him. She gave him a simple apple and told him that if he fed it to his wife she would become pregnant within a few days. Excitedly, he ran back to the castle and to his wife."

"So King Darrius actually listened to the witch?" the youth asked innocently.

"Yes, he did," the elder rejoined.

"Why would he do that. Didnít he know that she was an evil witch?," Padakax asked in simple naivety.

"Not all witches are evil. Take, for example, your mother. Do you think your mother is evil?," the grandfather posed in order to prove his point.

"When she cooks those Lyryanothian mushrooms I hate, yes," the boy said with a smirk.

"She only does that because she knows they are good for you," his grandfather replied, vainly attempting to repair the damage he knew he had caused.

"How can something so good for me taste so bad though?"

"Okay, do you want to hear the rest of the story or not?"

"Yes Gramps, I do."

"Then your mother isnít evil. Anyway, Darrius gave Alaisia the apple and she ate it eagerly, wanting nothing but to please her husband. And within a few days, her stomach was round and distended from pregnancy. Knowing that something was wrong, he once again consulted upon the wise men. They were perturbed that he would take advice from a witch, and said that the child was ready to be born. Thus, they induced labor and the child was born into this world.

"The boy was freakishly disfigured, having the upper body of a normal human child and the lower torso of a snake. The wise men thought the child was an abomination, and that he should be killed. But Darrius refused their advice again, and decided instead to hide him away in the mountains of Ruellia. For even though the child was a oddity of nature, he was a part of him and he loved him.

"He named him Baen..." the grandfather began.

"What does Baen mean Grandpa?" the young boy interjected.

"Itís Trellorian for ímiracleí, Pad. Darrius visited his son every day bringing food and water. He would stay for several hours each time, talking to his son. Telling him stories, like I am doing with you right now. The boy was a good child, despite his obvious physical deformities. Every year on Baenís birthday, Darrius brought him wondrous gifts and spoke at great length with his son. But he grew ill with remorse over time for what he had done, for he noticed that every year on his birthday, Baen lost some of his human torso to the snake-like extremity. Thinking this was from lack of understanding to the human race, Darrius sent many teachers and scholars of the arts to teach his son the ways of the gods. Baen was a quick study, and particularly apt at the ways of the Mage. But every year without fail, Baen lost some of his humanity.

"During this period another child was born to the house of Darrius, a daughter with the same disfigurement as his son. Though Darrius loved his wife still to this day, he had not conceived this child. After Baenís birth, they had decided that should the witchís magic still be overwhelming within her it would be in their best interest not to attempt to conceive again. So in essence she was born without a father. He named her Lyrea, and hid her away with his son."

"What does Lyrea mean, Grandfather?" the boy queried as he gave off a faint yawn.

"It is Medievian old proper speech for Ďdevil snakeí," the aged man said calmly.

"So what does Lyryanoth mean?" the boy asked through a yawn.

"Lyryanoth is Medievian old proper speech for Ďsnake towní. That kind of takes the mystery out of the name, doesnít it?" he replied with a wink.

"So mom makes me eat snake mushrooms?" Pad asked suddenly wide-eyed.

"Thatís one way of looking at it. Another way would be that those mushrooms are on the menu tonight. And for dessert, apple pie!" grandfather said as he grinned evilly at Padakax.

"Iím not hungry anymore. Last thing I need is for snakes to jump out of my belly!" Pad retorted adamantly.

"Wonderful! That means more pie for me. So let me finish the story before it gets cold. Unlike her brother, Lyrea was a violent and hateful person. Baen thought that maybe his camaraderie would soothe her fiery spirit. So he, though almost fully serpent, went to calm his sister. Instead, her way of behaving rubbed off and soon became his.

"Darrius, now in his old age, made his trips to the mountains of Ruellia less and less frequently due to his failing health. Although it had nothing to do with him, Baen saw this as a form of rejection. He had grown used to having his father around, and to suddenly have that ripped from him was painful to him. He became spiteful of his father, and renounced him on his eighteenth birthday. As soon as the malicious words crossed his mouth, Baen lost what remained of his humanity.

"Believing himself and sister free from his delusional torment, they fled from the mountains of Ruellia. But his father still sought them out, attempting to make reparations the lack of attention he had paid to his first born son. Baen had once loved his father, but was now more animal than he was ever man. His anger at his father became fear of him, and from that fear became a fear of all humans.

"As the wheel of time spun, Darrius passed on and Baenís fear of all humans became an intense emotional hatred towards all humans. His brain long since shriveled, Baen became unable to speak the language of man. The only knowledge he retained was that of the ways of magic, which had became natural to him. Eventually, Baen fell in love with Lyrea..." he started.

"Icky! Love between brother and sister?" Pad broke in.

"You have to remember that though they were born of the same womb, they were not in fact actually brother and sister in that sense. They were born of magic, and magic alone."

"Itís still icky," the boy said in a candid fashion.

"Sometimes love can be convenient for the survival of a species, Pad. It may be Ďickyí, but it is something you have to accept.

"At any rate, he took his sister far into the depths of the wilderness, where it is presumed that the two of them still live today. And their children, who wander the wilderness preying upon the humans of the world, came to be known as Baenlyrs. A couple of other mutations have happened within the line due to the relation of Baen and Lyrea, producing casting snakes from the likes of moon serpents all the way up to the twelve-feet tall forest snakes of Wittermark. But Baen is still the most powerful of all of them. Most people think that to kill Baen and Lyrea would undo the magic set upon them. Thus setting free the spirit of Darrius, damned these one thousand years for giving the apple to Alaisia," grandfather said, ending the story on that note.

"So what happened to the witch?" the boy asked of sheer curiosity.

"Glad you asked, I almost left that out. She still lives to this day as well. Wandering from city to city in disguise out of fear that she be discovered. It is rumored that she and she alone knows the location of Baenís secluded alcove. And should someone find her, she may divulge the information in exchange for her life and a few coins," the grandfather offered with a smile.

"Thank you for the story Grandpa. Now if you will excuse me, I am sleepy and need to go to bed," Pad said with a large yawn as he slid down his grandfatherís leg to the floor below.

"No dinner or dessert?" the grandfather posed as he reached mockingly for the slice of apple pie his daughter had put on the table for Padakax just five minutes ago.

"I think I can live without it tonight," was his simple reply as he made his way to his bed.

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