Clark Gillian

The Enchanted Deer and the Dreams of the Fool


Chapter 21.
Surely this can't be it.

Two decades prior, amidst the emerald depths of the Elvenwood, the Enchanted Deer paced his watch by the veiled gateway. As summer's warmth bathed the forest, a peculiar sensation rippled through the barrier, a gentle push against the invisible curtain. Curious, the Deer ventured forth, hooves silent on the moss-carpeted earth.

At the forest's edge, bordering the human realm, he found a sight that made him pause. A young child, barely more than a whisper in the vastness of the woods, played amongst the wildflowers. Butterflies danced around their head, frogs basked in their open palm, and rabbits, usually skittish, peeked from their burrows, drawn by an unseen connection. In the child's innocent eyes, the veil separating worlds seemed nonexistent.

"How wondrous," the Deer mused, captivated by the scene. "They move within the forest with the grace of an Elven child."

But the moment was fleeting. A gruff voice shattered the peaceful tableau. A man, the child's father, emerged from the trees, scooping the youngster into his arms and whisking them away from the magical edge. Years of shaping, molding, and teaching the ways of human life began.

Later that night, under the cloak of slumbering villages, the Deer met with the Seer, an ancient being wise in the mysteries of the world. "The child," the Deer stated, eyes reflecting the moonlit forest, "they caused the ripples in the veil."

The Seer nodded, their gaze distant. "A rare soul, indeed."

Through the moonlit window, they observed the sleeping child. Sorrow clouded the Deer's eyes. "The deeper they sink into this charade of half-selves, seeking wholeness through another, the farther they stray from true self-acceptance," he lamented.

The Seer, her voice wise and ancient, replied, "They are merely sacrificing completeness for the lessons offered by this human game of incompleteness."

"I understand," the Deer conceded, yet his brow remained furrowed. "But unlike others, this child comprehends the very incomprehensibility of it all." He shook his antlers in frustration. "Surely this wasn't the intended purpose for this world."

The Seer's expression softened with sadness. "It is their choice, and there is indeed wisdom to be gleaned from this experience."

The Deer's gaze lingered on the child, his heart heavy. "But at what cost? I long for them to return to the fairy world, your greatest wish as well, is it not?"

"A noble dream," the Seer sighed. "However, like any addictive game, humanity finds perverse pleasure in perpetuating this cycle of separation. They are reluctant to relinquish the perceived wisdom within it."

The Deer straightened, his resolve hardening. "No longer. Ages have passed, empires risen and fallen, but this child…this child was on the cusp of breaking the veil by itself. I cannot, will not, stand by and allow this charade to continue."

The Seer shook her head, her voice firm. "They are born whole, Deer, like in our realm. It's one world, merely veiled. Few dare gaze through the folly."

"But this 'game' consumes the forest," the Deer countered, his voice heavy with concern. "More stone, mud, misery...where will it end?"

"I understand your pain," the Seer empathized, "but interference is forbidden. True wholeness, theirs to reclaim. We offer the catalyst, not the solution."

The Deer stood tall, resolve replacing despair. "They choose, yes, but the lost part of this won't simply vanish."

"And what do you propose?" the Seer inquired, her gaze thoughtful.

With a flick of his head, the Enchanted Deer gathered the child's fading spirit, its vibrancy captured in the golden glow of his antlers. "Tell me where it can live, where this fragment can find a home."

Panic flickered in the Seer's eyes. "A body is needed, Deer!"

"Where can it go, to exist within the human realm?" he pressed, urgency echoing in his voice.

The Seer squeezed her eyes shut, searching the tapestry of human lives. "The child molds into a dutiful boy, far from the kingdom's heart. The missing piece belongs elsewhere...amidst its opulence, within the palace walls. The Empress gives birth tonight."

Understanding dawned on the Deer. With a powerful leap, he carried the playful spirit, a beacon of lost wholeness, across fields and meadows, over cobbled streets and towering mountains. Finally, he reached the slumbering palace, the Emperor and Empress bathed in moonlight.

"Here," the Seer's voice resonated in his mind. "Deliver it."

With a gentle nudge, the Enchanted Deer placed the child's missing spirit within the slumbering princess. A flicker of light danced across the unborn child, a silent promise whispered on the wind.

"We have crossed a threshold," the Seer murmured, her voice tinged with unease. "Our vow to remain unseen, broken."

"The choice remains theirs, to reunite and reclaim their wholeness," the Deer countered, his gaze unwavering. "In their eyes, a spark of recognition will ignite, as it does for all of us in the Elven realm."

The Seer wiped a glistening tear. "It will not be an easy path."

"Why?" the Deer inquired, his brow furrowed.

"To find a vessel for this fragment," she explained, "I chose a life that could offer completion upon their meeting."

"They will find each other," the Deer vowed, his voice resonating with conviction. "I promise you."

The Seer shook her head, a hint of sadness lingering in her eyes. "Her journey will be fraught with challenges, a constant yearning for something undefined. A hollowness they cannot explain."

"They deserve their wholeness," the Deer insisted, his voice firm. "It is their birthright. The trials they face will be outweighed by the joy of rediscovering themselves."

The Seer offered a hesitant nod. "May your hope be their guiding light."

They watched in silence as the Emperor and Empress slept peacefully, oblivious to the destiny woven into their unborn child's fate.

Suddenly, a chilling presence enveloped them. The Black Rider materialized, his obsidian armor gleaming under the moon's pale light. His gaze, sharp and piercing, fell upon them, instantly comprehending their actions.

"The fragility of human lives, a truth you seem to have forgotten," he boomed, his voice echoing in the stillness of the night. "They revel in complexity, weaving intricate narratives to give meaning to their existence. Alter a single thread..."

He paused, his stare burning through their souls. "...and you unleash a torrent of chaos, work fit for a thousand lifetimes."


The Fool and the Witch, hands slipping apart, watched the blinding light that had enveloped them recede into the gentle moonlight.

"One wonders," the Enchanted Deer's voice echoed down from above, "what ripples that 'little change' will set in motion."

The Fool and the Witch, thrown backward by the retreating energy, found themselves submerged in the cool water. They looked up to see the waterfall cascading through the magnificent antlers of the Enchanted Deer, as it peeked down at them from the small cave entrance.

The creature held their gaze for a moment before withdrawing, and the curtain of water resumed its flow. The first rays of dawn, soft and hopeful, crept through the clouds above.