Memoirs of Father Shiron
Part 4 - Home Truths
crossed the narrow belt of hotels and beach bars and soon found themselves
in gently upward sloping open countryside which stretched out before
them. They walked Briskly, Presto's pet dog, who suddenly winked
into existence out of nowhere at the start of this sentence and was
immediately accepted by the entire party like he had been there from the
beginning ......... Sorry this really is far too silly, even for me!
Let's see how convincingly I can write him out again ............ Dick
picked up the well chewed stick which the playful hound had dropped at his
feet and hurled it in their direction of travel as hard as he could.
The stick sailed through the air and disappeared over the lip of the low
hill they were climbing. Briskly eagerly tore after it and also
disappeared from sight over the hilltop. At the instant they lost
sight of him the entire party immediately forgot all about him, just as if
he had never existed, which he hadn't before 8 lines ago .......
As they marched briskly along they passed the time with talk, relating tales of
past exploits, discussing the adventure before them and having a laugh
about what happened at the beach, all except for Feanar who was singing
along tunelessly to his Walkman. They had been traveling steadily
uphill and before long had covered quite a respectable distance and so
when they decided to stop for a rest, sat down and surveyed where they had
been, the whole scene spread out below them. The grasslands, the
built up area behind the beach and beyond that, the blue sea shimmering and
sparkling in the hot noon day sun. It appeared to them that they
were surveying a giant map rather than real terrain, at least that's what travelers
in a similar position in other fantasy stories think isn't it?
They carried on after their
short break and made their way up further towards the crest of the hill
they had been climbing steadily since they left the resort.
Eventually they reached the top at exactly 2:15 pm and collapsed from
exhaustion and lack of Carlsberg.
commanded Erendil in a leaderly way. "I'm famished.
Break out the sarnies and the booze." Everyone in the party
apart from Shiron and Falamir produced a box of lovingly prepared
sandwiches and a can of chilled Carlsberg lager from out of their packs.
"My Mum makes lovely
sarnies," munched Presto, tucking in.
"So do ours," agreed
the others in unison, apart from Shiron and Falamir who had neither
sandwiches nor liquid refreshment of the alcoholic variety.
"All we've got is a
plastic beaker of warm orange squash each," said Falamir sadly.
"And I'm starving, have been since we started 'cos Shiron here was in
such a hurry to get going he wouldn't let me get anything to eat before we
"All together now .......
Aahh," said Erendil mockingly. Multiple 'Aahhs' followed from
"And anyway I haven't got
a Mum to make sandwiches for me. I haven't got a Dad either.
Come to that I didn't even have a childhood at all." Falamir's
eyes began to water as the situation hit home. "I'm no good at
chatting up girls. I'm tired, hungry and fed up." Tears
welled in his eyes and he began to sob pitifully. Shiron tried to
comfort him but he knew all to well how he felt as he had no parents
either and had even less of a missed childhood than Falamir.
Erendil ceased his mocking
laughter along with the others when they saw Falamir break down in
tears. A lump came to his throat as the painful memory of his own
similar experience surged to the surface.
He turned to the others and
said quietly "I think we all know the problem this young lad is
having don't we guys?" They nodded soberly. "I'll
have a quiet word with him, I suggest one of you do the same with
Shiron." They nodded in agreement.
In an unfamiliar display of
compassion Erendil went over to Falamir and put a brotherly arm around his
shoulder, taking him aside away from the others to make it more
private. After all it was a very personal problem and one that they
had all had to overcome in their early years. It had been the same
for all of them.
"There's something very
important you should know lad," said Erendil in an unusually soft and
caring voice. "I have a pretty good idea you are miserable and
jealous because you think we all have parents and that our Mums make
sandwiches for us and we have brothers and sisters waiting to hear of our
adventures when we return home."
Falamir sniffled and nodded in
"Well, this may come as
something of a shock but we don't actually have any parents, or brothers,
or sisters. None of us do. It's all a pretence."
Falamir looked up blankly,
trying unsuccessfully to comprehend what Erendil had said.
"None of us adventurer
types have parents. None of us have childhoods to look back on
either. It's all pretend. We make it all up."
Falamir looked at him more
closely through his tearful eyes as Erendil explained how it was.
"You see Falamir, all of
us are created from THE BOOK, just like you. Maybe not the very same
BOOK but from THE BOOK all the same."
"You mean there is more
than one BOOK?!" exclaimed Falamir.
"Yes, there are
many," answered Erendil.
"But I thought there was
only the one BOOK," Falamir said looking puzzled.
"Try to imagine it a bit
like The Bible," Erendil explained. "There are countless copies
of it in existence around the world and it also exists in several slightly
different versions. This can lead to confusion and disagreements,
some quite heated and long running. However, fundamentally they are
all the same book."
"I see," replied Falamir. "But why do you pretend about parents and childhood
and all the other things you never had?" he asked sadly. He
could feel the tears coming back. "It's all just lying to
"Well," said Erendil
as they both sat down on the grass. "If we all went around
feeling sad and sorry for ourselves because of all the stuff we missed out
on, we would become manic depressives and that's no way to carry on is
it? No-one would ever get anything done or go out on adventures,
they'd just sit around moping and feeling miserable and the world would go
to wrack and ruin."
"I, I guess so,"
"And so to maintain our sanity
we all make up fictional parents and siblings and a whole imaginary
childhood. It gives you a past you never had. Something to
'look back on' where really there is just a gaping hole. Ask anyone
here and they'll give you a full account of their childhood, teenage
years, parents, brothers and sisters, family pets. The good along
with the bad, in infinite detail and infallible completeness as if it were
all perfectly true but it's all in their minds. It keeps us all, I
suppose you could say, content with our past. We know it is all
pretence, a lie, but we believe it so strongly, so completely, that to us
it becomes reality and solid fact. It's not easy and takes a long
time to formulate and collate the many 'memories' which make up our
imaginary past lives, relatives and their imaginary pasts too. But
it is something that must be done and you too must now begin the process
for yourself. It is vitally important that you spend long
hours creating your missing identity to provide yourself with a valuable
part of your equipment - peace of mind. Not only that but it's in
the rules! We all of us know that our respective backgrounds are
a work of fiction but it is an unwritten rule between adventurers that we
hold to our own and believe in each others."
"I think I understand
now," said Falamir beginning to feel better about things.
"But then where did you and the others get your sandwiches and
drinks? I didn't see anyone buying them earlier on at the
"From THE BOOK of
course," answered Erendil. "Everything comes from THE
BOOK. It provides all we need and use."
"But what about the
lagers? It's a hot day and yet they're lovely and cool straight out
of the packs?"
"A simple 1st level wizard
spell called 'Chill Touch'. Child's play for Feanar."
"I see," said Falamir. "But I'm still hungry, hot and thirsty and THE BOOK's
not around to provide me with anything so what shall I do?"
"Never fear," said
Erendil with encouragement. "We'll sort something
out." He clapped his hand on Falamir's back and then stood up. "Come on. Let's get back to the
others. Shiron will be older and wiser now just like you are."
"Well Falamir. Quite
a lot to take in at once isn't it?" said Shiron as they met up
"It sure is," agreed Falamir. "But I feel a whole lot better for it now."
"I agree. It sounds
a bit daunting but you never know, we could really have fun making up all
that stuff. We can think up all sorts of stories as long as they're consistent and not too silly as to be totally unbelievable," he said
with a grin. Falamir swore he could hear the cogs grinding
away in Shiron's head already.
"What about something to
eat then?" asked Falamir. "I'm starving. It
only took us 1 line at the start
of the first chapter to get through the resort so I didn't have a chance
anything. A Big Mac or a Whopper and large Coke would go down a treat
right now but we're nowhere near a fast food restaurant all the way
"I don't recall seeing
McDonalds or Burger King but I did spot a Kentucky on the way
through," suggested Dick helpfully .
"And I found this lying on
the pavement on the way out of town," added Presto. He handed Falamir
a small piece of card which was a token entitling the bearer to 2
regular chicken meals for the price of 1.
"Thanks Presto," said
Falamir gratefully. "But don't you want to keep it for
doesn't really agree with me. I'm more of a kebab man."
At that point Feanar approached
from behind and laid his hands on Falamir and Shiron's shoulders with a mischievous
glint in his eye. He leaned in close between them.
"So are you hungry then
lads?" he asked. They both nodded.
"Well now, what shall we
do about it?" he asked again. They both shrugged.
"No-one wants to give up
any of their sarnies or beer and you certainly don't want to walk all the
way back down to the resort do you?" They both shook their
"Do you fancy a Kentucky?". They both nodded
vigorously. "OK then, here's what
we'll do. I'll do you a favour and get in some practice in the
process. I'll magically transport you down there and back again. How's that?"
both said. "We've never seen any real magic before."
"It'll just take me a few
moments to prepare it so make it easy for me by standing close together
and in contact with each other to produce a single transportable
'unit'. I suggest putting your arms round each others shoulders. It looks a lot better than holding hands!"
The pair obliged accordingly as
Feanar rummaged around in his bag of tricks for the necessaries.
"All magic spells require
a combination of up to 3 components to work properly - verbal, somatic and material," instructed
Feanar academically. Magic was Feanar's chosen discipline and by the sound of it he obviously knew what
he was talking about.
"Eh?" said Falamir, who obviously didn't have a clue what he was talking about.
"Spoken words, physical
gestures and some sort of item." answered Feanar in a muffled sort of
way with his head halfway into the bag. Ah, here it is."
He pulled out a small colour fan club photograph of Scotty from Star Trek
and placed it at the feet of the pair who were growing more excited by the
"This will act as the
focus point for the transporter spell. You will de-materialise here,
re-materialise out of sight round the corner of the Kentucky and then
after a set time period you will de-materialise from the same spot and
re-appear again safely back here clutching a box of hot chicken and chips
and a large drink of your choice, subject to availability of course."
"Sounds finger lickin'
good," chuckled Shiron. Falamir sniggered too.
"You'll have to buy it
yourselves of course. I can't magic up the money for you as that's
dishonest and against my alignment - and the rules. I'll give you 15
minutes from when you disappear from here to when the return beam fires. It's 2:45 now and so the lunchtime rush will be over. You
should have plenty of time to get what you want and get back to the return
focus point. Make sure you don't miss the beam as it's a long
walk back up here."
"Message received and
understood," said Falamir."
"Get ready then. Oh,
one more thing. Don't be eating or drinking when you step into the
return beam as it will probably make you violently sick."
The pair tensed with
anticipation. Shiron tensed with cramp as well. That left leg,
he'd have to get it seen to.
Feanar in a strange, slightly Scottish accent.
A little circle of light
appeared briefly both above them and under their feet and then Shiron and Falamir
wavered and then faded into nothing as their individual bodily particles
were transmitted to a point just round the corner from the Kentucky.
Squelch!.... "Oh shit," exclaimed Falamir. "I've landed in a
It was so. Feanar had
managed to materialise them right next to the dustbins. More precisely, Shiron materialised right next to a dustbin but
materialised right inside the dustbin, and a particularly smelly one it
was too. Shiron could not help but burst out laughing.
"Oh dear. That's a
spot of bad luck," he managed to get out.
"Very funny - I don't
think. Quit your laughing and help me out of here," said Falamir
not amused. Shiron helped him to clamber out and saw that he
had stuff all over his feet, what it was he dreaded to think.
"Oh hell. Look at my
nice new white trainers, they're ruined."
"Maybe Feanar can magic
them clean for you when we get back. I certainly wouldn't try
chatting anyone up at the moment, your charisma just hit an all time
low," he chuckled.
"OK Ok no need to rub it
in. I'll stay here out of sight while you go in and get the
grub. I'll have 2 pieces and chips and a strawberry shake."
Shiron disappeared round the
corner and went into the Kentucky.
The shop was empty of
customers so he got straight to the counter, put his order in and paid.
"We're waiting for fries
at the moment. Be about 5 minutes," said the lad at the till.
"OK, but I'm in kind of a
hurry," replied Shiron. The lad grunted something and then went
about getting the other things ready.
"S'cuse me partner,"
said a voice from behind. Shiron turned round to see an elderly
gentleman with a neat little beard in Kentucky uniform standing there with
a floor mop in his hands. "Can I get t' that ol' bit o' floor
right there, it needs a moppin'."
Shiron looked around. The
place was spotless from top to bottom, in fact it was gleaming, he could
actually see his reflection in the floor.
"Sure," he said as he
stepped aside to allow the man access to the tiles under his feet.
The man diligently mopped the spot then looked at Shiron again.
"S'cuse me agin
partner," he asked politely. Shiron again obliged the old man
and stepped aside even though the tiles he was standing on appeared every
bit as clean and shiny as the ones he was standing on previously. The
old man diligently mopped the spot and then gave Shiron the look again.
"Oh for heavens sake man,
the floor's so clean I could use it as a shaving mirror. What's the
matter with you?" he asked in a rather irritated tone.
"Begin' yer pardon but
it's th' rules. We's s'ppos'd to clean where ever customers are a
sittin' or a standin'. No offence to y'all but customers make th'
place dirty an' we gotta keep it clean an' hygienic. It's a point of
"I see. So that's why whenever
you go into any fast food restaurant someone always wants to wipe the
exact table you're sitting at so you have to pick up your food and hold it
in the air like an idiot waiting till they're done?" Shiron
observed in a very cynical way.
"Yes siree bob, darn
tootin." answered the old man apparently oblivious to Shiron's
"Take a break for a minute
mate. I'll be gone in a moment and you can clean the floor to your
heart's content afterwards." It was then that Shiron noticed
the old guy's name badge and impressive array of gold stars. Instead
of the normal plastic badge with the maximum 5 gold stars on it this guy
had a treble row of 10 making an extremely impressive total of 30 gold
stars. His name was C. Sanders. Shiron made the connection
with the drawling deep south accent and took a stab in the dark.
"I feel really silly for
asking you this. But the 'C' in your name wouldn't happen to stand
for Colonel by any chance would it?"
"Holy moley in a cactus
patch. It sure as hell does. How on god's green earth did y'
know that? Are yer one o' them thar psychics?", the old man
exclaimed in surprise.
"Just a lucky guess,"
answered Shiron wryly.
The Colonel leaned on his mop
and told Shiron how he was doing one of those 'Back to the Floor' things
where top management go back to doing the menial jobs to get a better idea
what life is like for their staff.
Fascinating as the story was,
Shiron's fries were ready and he had to get going so he apologised for his
earlier abruptness and politely bid the Colonel farewell. Before he
left the Colonel fished around in his apron pocket and gave him a special
token. "I think I know what kinda business yer in partner so I
reckon this'll come in real handy later on when yer've got a bit more
experience under yer belt."
"Thanks a lot," said
Shiron in gratitude. On his way out he turned round and said with a
smile, "I think you missed a bit."
"Get outa here yer
varmint," answered the Colonel with a laugh.
Shiron made it back to Falamir with moments to spare before the return
beam sent their bodily particles scattering back to the others up on the hill.
"You only just made it. I wasn't going to wait for you if you were too late.
You'd have had to walk back on your own," chided Falamir.
"As you get to know me
you'll find I always leave things to the last minute. Time
management isn't my strong point." answered Shiron.
They sat and ate their Kentucky, which was really nice.
"Phew! What happened
to your trainers? They stink?", said Presto wrinkling his nose
up. Falamir explained and everyone was most amused. They
decided that along with his lack of chat up success on the beach earlier
he deserved a suitable nickname.
'Plonker'?" suggested Dick.
"I was thinking more of a
distinguished D&D type name like 'Falamir the Unfortunate', said
Presto. They all agreed that was an excellent title for him and so
Feanar felt a bit guilty about
ruining Falamir's trainers so he used a simple cantrip spell to clean them
up good as new, which they had been at the start of the day.
Fully rested, fed and watered, the party picked up their weapons and
equipment and marched off onward into the next part of their quest.
Here endeth Part 4.
Don't miss the next episode 'B & B'
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