What Happened to the Clichés?

An alternative fairytale from the memoirs of Eleri

The sound of resettling wings pierces the tranquil silence and shadows shifted in the darkness. An overwhelming feeling of power emanated from the creature, possibly from the size of the treasure it rested upon, or the way it's immense bulk filled the cave, but its effects were clearly seen in the lack of life scurrying, climbing of screeching in that particular stony neck of the woods.

Oblivious to any potential danger, Llangwidh climbed towards the almost undetectable cave high up on the mountain, leaving mini-catastrophes in his wake, in the form of pebble avalanches, upturned bushes and horrendous singing. Mumbling something sounding suspiciously like a soppy ballad, including such phrases as 'my dear Jacqueline… such beauty on a star-filled night… upon sweet lips tender kisses fall' and other such drivel, Llangwith continued on his epic quest to fill his basket full of berries.

A hideous, unavoidable tune filtered through the twisted passages in the cave, waking the beast from its restless slumber. It sounded… happy. If the humungous creature had any sentient, mental capacity, it would be thinking along the lines of 'this will not do', followed by flashes of a childhood filled with cruel and malicious humans, numerous too-small cages and the feeling of pain and unfairness swirling throughout.

Unfortunately for the health of our happy little human, his steps were taking him ever closer to the lair of this seemingly evil, but really misunderstood, nightmare-material beast. Whose annoyance was increasing with the volume of the song.

Llangwidh paused to catch his breath and gaze at the majestic view. It really was top-grade; wide ledge outside a mysterious cave, near the top of a forbidding mountain? Check. Huge half-circle of mountains, surrounding a beautiful white castle in the distance? Check. In fact the only bad points one might consider about this stunning piece of real estate would be the swamp at the bottom and the other, huge mountain, bigger than the one in question, blocking said breath-taking view.

However, Llangwidh was really an unassuming fellow and was happy with his lot, not like some of the young pups you come across these days. Just because they're orphans left on the doorsteps in the middle of the night as a baby with no note and only a ring to guess their inheritance by, doesn't mean that they are really the missing heir to a throne run by an evil uncle and must leave their dreary farming life for adventurous quests, heroic danger, beautiful maidens and a pretty, but rundown castle, that costs more to maintain that to rebuild completely.

No, Llangwidh was happy with his bland quest to harvest some simple blackberries found only at the top of the forbidding mou… sorry, Forbidding Mountain dun, dun, dun!!! Where no animals dare to stray and no one has returned from. He would then return his prize, not to a beautiful, pretty, or even cute, adoring maiden, but to his old, spinster aunty who would use it to create a cure for his mother, who had a bad case of the squits.

As Llangwidh continued his search for blackberries around the mouth of the cave, he also renewed his ghastly off-key singing, however this time it was at full volume and punctured with wild gestures, seemingly to do with the words. Now Llangwidh was known around his quaint, little villages as a person always considerate of others, which is why you never heard him sing when someone was around to hear him. So when he heard a beastly, anguished cry, he immediately headed into the cave, where it originated, not stopping to light a torch, consider the advisability of going into a dark cave without said torch towards a possibly dangerous creature, or even to check whether his shoe laces were untied.

Llangwidh advanced deeper into the cave, through illogical twists and turns, all the while humming a song about the beauty of spring. Not to keep from running away himself, but to hopefully calm and reassure the beast, as well as letting it know where he was.

However, contrary to Llangwidh's hopes, the creature was not lulled by his humming. In fact, the knowledge that the one creating such a disturbance dared to enter his home sent it into a seething rage. As the two hastened ever closer to their fate, we interrupt this story with a commercial break.


*'What the hell?' The muse glares angrily at the author and throws popcorn at her. 'I became a muse specifically to get away from the temptation of dial-up advertisements and this is what I get? See how you like it when you don't have any ideas for a new story.' The author hugs her muse apologetically, showing him her sad face, complete with adorably cute eyes, brimming with tears. 'Okay, okay, I didn't mean it, now get on with the story.' The muse says guiltily as tears start trickling down her face. Upon hearing this, the author jumps up beaming, tears mysteriously disappeared, and goes back to writing the story. 'Crocodile tears, I knew it.' Mutters the muse, sulking in the corner. *


Eherm, right, now where were we? Oh yes… The two hastened towards their fate; one skipping obliviously and swinging a basket willed with strangely coloured berries, the other staling angrily, tail swishing and dramatic music in the background.

As Llangwidh hurries obliviously to help a creature that was certain death to anyone not a hero, his mind fumbled through shadowy memories of what to do to help injured animals. Frustratingly, they all seemed to hinge upon the theme of putting it out of its misery and having a feast to celebrate.

However Llangwidh was not to be discouraged, although it was a unnerving to be unable to see your hand when its toughing your nose, and for the only noise you hear to be yours echoed eerily through the tunnels. Well, the sound of your heart beating seems to quicken and your singing unconsciously lowers to a mumble. But enough of that; isn't the knowledge that you're doing a good deed enough? I mean, someone is in here all alone and hurt and, and… Why aren't they making any noise? I could hear them perfectly from outside the cave. Wait; maybe there isn't anyone else in here? "Hello. Hellooo?' Oh, god! I'm all alone in a dark tunnel with no light. Are the walls getting smaller? What happened to the light? WHAT HAPPENED TO THE LIGHT??

The creature moved silently through the maze of tunnels, its hot anger changed to calculating fury as it stalked its prey. As its steps brought it closer to the panicking human, it noticed the pungent smell of Everberries coming from the same direction… Sweet, luscious, mouth-watering, delectable Everberries. Prey forgotten in the rush of memory sensations, the creature left the hunt and went in search of a forgotten, over-turned basket filled with 'simple berries' and memories of happier times.

Unfortunately, poor Llangwidh was not so lucky as his panic-fuel dash through unknown tunnels brought him to a dead end; and feelings that could only be described as lost. When Llangwidh had calmed down enough to think logically… well enough to think anyway, he realized that not only was he lost, totally in the dark and had lost his basket, but that it wasn't his stomach making those sinister growling noises, as he had previously thought.

Yes, today just wasn't his day, as, with yet another stroke of bad luck, the 'dead end' Llangwidh was leaning against actually felt rather warm? And, and furry? And, and… moving?! Oh no! Like bicarbonate soda was the catalyst for a model volcano erupting, Llangwidh's shriek of terror was the catalyst for his preceding chase, yet again through all manner of tunnels till he could no longer touch both walls at once.

Llangwidh had come to an inner cavern, deep in the heart of the mountain, filled with large objects in the enveloping darkness, one of which he promptly tripped over. There came a sharp 'Oof', and an ominous number of 'Crack's, as it seemed that Llangwidh had somehow managed to find the most fragile items in the room and break them.

Poor Llangwidh, with all this misfortune it seemed as if the fates themselves were against him. When the creature behind him had caught up and investigated the disturbance, it let out a heart-wrenching cry of despair. Her beautiful children, dead, killed... no MURDED!!!!! Turning to face Llangwidh, who had hastily skittered away upon her arrival, she pounced and tore him into pieces.

...Wait, that can't be true, we can't continue the story if the not-so-heroic hero b dies! /b Let's try again:

Turning to face Llangwidh, who had hastily skittered away on her arrival, she pounced. Llangwidh barely had time to squeak before 'x' tons (well you should never ask a lady how much she ways ^.^) of feminine fury landed on top of him determined to rip him to shreds.


*'Dun, dun, dun, dun' the muse's head whirled round to look at the author hovering over his shoulder, "Enough with the dramatic music already, I can't think with you going jaws on me and I'm the one doing all the work here." The author chuckled at her annoyed muse and patted him on the head. Before he could respond she grabbed the storybook from under his hands and ran away to hide.

½ an hour later

From the corner of his eye the muse saw a flash of movement before the chair he was sitting on suddenly fell over. Looking down unabashedly at her previously sulking muse, the author hopped off his stomach and held out the storybook demandingly.

"No way, you can write it yourself if that's the way you're going to treat me. I'm as real as you are so I deserve to be treated with respe-oof" Hopelessly trying to pry off his newfound limpet, the muse glared up at the general direction the narrators voice was coming from, "I suppose you think it's funny to give my poor mistress the mental development of a 5year old but we have a story to write here so grow up!!". *


Despite the desperateness of the situation, Llangwidh still had a trick or two up his sleeve and this was definitely the time to use them. In the split second before impact Llangwidh pulled out his herb-bag and upended it, hoping the contents (or at least the smell may confuse the creature enough to give him a chance to escape.

Well that's what he'd like you to think, in actual fact the bag had fallen out of his pocket and landed upside-down. Unfortunately this had no relevance to the story (or any effect on the creature) and Llangwidh sustained serious injuries.

The author couldn't in good faith kill off our loved character,


*The muse looked up from the storyboard and snickered at the irate author chained to the chair away from temptation. *


So he was miraculously saved by the Coconut God, as he tripped on his way to the equator, which knocked the creature out silly.

As you probably tell, a falling coconut, in a cave, inside a mountain, in a country that actually has seasons instead of year-round sunshine and coconuts isn't exactly logical. However there is a practical, illogical answer to this conundrum; Reality has given up on this story and went to poke fun as Ever After, who had been in a century-long sulk for being denied his Happily.

Unfortunately Ever After deemed him a worthy sacrifice and had numerous unsuccessful attempts of sacrificing Reality to bring back his Happy. Poor Ever After, after his messy breakup with Happily fairytales were never the same, giving birth to poor quality ramblings like this one.

However that is beside the point, having yet again strayed from the plot, we find Llangwidh in a different location from where we were previously following his footsteps. The mystery of how he got there, since he had multiple bone fractures; intensive skin and organ damage; was bleeding copiously and missing the top knuckle of his left pinkie, is easily solved: cue the hermit healer entering stage left (and not through the window as Llangwidh's aunty tended to do).

The stereotypical assumption that a healer who lives by his/herself is a dirty, wild-haired person with a strange taste for clothes made out of leaves and mud, and has almost forgotten the tongue of man is, in this case, uncannily accurate.

The healer, who was hopefully human under all that mud, pottered around the shelter, humming under its breath. The shelter itself being so badly constructed, that even the ramshackle huts in Llangwidh's village would turn up their, proverbial, noses at being associated with it… sort of like the aristocracy at poor, low-born, distant cousins who wanted to pay a visit.

When Llangwidh awoke from his unconscious slumber and his nerves reconnected with his active mental stats, he let out a constant wailing from the sheer amount of pain running through his system. In fact, not only did his impressive vocal performance send the healer scurrying away hands over ears, but it also caused a stampede of poor, innocent animals to move as far away from the noise as possible; namely a long drop over the side of the mountain.

Finally as his cries changed to constant whimpering, from a lack of energy and a sore throat, his caretaker hesitantly decided to return to its shack. Poor Llangwidh watched through a delirious haze as, what seemed to be a shambling pile of earth, tried to spoon feed him watery gruel through the spasming of his throat. The healer emitted a soothing, chiming warble, temporarily leaving the shelter to gather more mud, and applied another coating on the patients unresisting body. Llangwidh looked on uncomprehendingly, thoughts jumbling through his head in a whirlwind of confusion, too fast for him to pin them down.

That the creature as a healer was undeniable, that it was human was still in question. The 'healer' had splinted Llangwidh's bones, stitched deep injures, covered bleeding patches with mud to stop leaking and hoped for the beast with the internal damage. However did the healer really have Llangwidh's best interests at heart? Or was it something else that motivated it to step that delicious liquid leaking from its patient's body? That maybe bones taste better still encased in meat and with the marrow still inside? And that maybe the meat cooks better, and with a richer flavour, close to the carcass rather than hanging off in chunks.

It seems there is no hope for Llangwidh; even when good luck comes his way, it's for all the wrong reasons. Although the healer may once have had a genuine desire to help others, living on the Forbidding Mountain changes people. Feeling and emotions become harsh and jagged, bonds are broken and relationships torn. Any smidgeon of compassion and goodwill towards others is pulled out by the roots, leaving a gaping hole of mistrust and deceit in its place.

Then why, you ask, did Llangwidh agree to such a dangerous journey in the first place? Well, as I said before, there was a job to be done and Llangwidh was the one chosen to do it. Of course it couldn't be because trouble always seemed to follow him around or that said trouble affected everyone but Llangwidh himself. No, no, that couldn't possibly have been the underlying reason to send him on such a dangerous, and hopefully life threatening, goose-chase. I mean, the Forbidding Mountain to so dark and evil and gloomy, there is no way something as pretty and innocent as tasty, non-poisonous berries could possibly grow there. And if such a thing did happen, they must of course have some sort of magical properties; his aunty would then sell them on to mages for huge profits.

The situation looked grim and the mud was getting higher. Poor Llangwidh


*"Hey, stop that laughing, this is a desperate situation, not a comedy show!" The muse glowered at the unrepentant author doubled up with spasms of silent laughter. "That's better," he said when she had managed to get a hold of herself, "now as I was saying, poor Llangwidh lay there in horror and…. Wait, where did he go?"*


Due to the inadequacies of my dearest author and her well-meaning muse I, the narrator, have taken matter into my own hands. Recruiting a pack of 3-feet malicious, pillaging pixies, with a desire for vengeance against the monstrous creature we know as the healer, I, in all my glory, single-handedly rescued Fates Child from yet another unfortunate demise. I... Ouch! Ouch! Stop that you miserable cretin. Fine *godly sigh* I masterminded the plan to rescue The One, which was then bravely carried out by the noble pixie clan McIre… Happy now? I... hey give me back my narrator's microphone, the audience needs me!!

A shrill cry resounded in the echoes of WriterSpace. "Mi!Hehehe! Finally ze control is all maane! Now we can conquer ze world!! Mi!Hehehe!"

Llangwidh woke to find his body surprisingly intact and yet again in a new location. His eyes were drawn to the middle of the cave where a small creature was jumping up and down on a rocky protrusion, cackling to itself. What made it stranger was the disembodied hand coming from the cloud of smoke near the cave ceiling, trying to remove an unusual black stick from the creatures possession.

Taking stock of his injuries, Llangwidh carefully moved his aching body till he was sitting up; shoulders hunched up against the sloping roof, and watched the mud flake off him in impressively think clumps. He was quickly becoming used to the state of pain and confusion he was regularly finding himself in and…wait a minute! Why am I not in pain? How can I be sitting up like this when I could barely breathe before? Well that's what Llangwidh would have said if he were a normal, well-adjusted person. Instead he turned to face the middle of the room from where he lay in a shadowy back corner of the cave.

Smiling at the mass cuteness of 3-feet pixies going about their day-to-day activities, he called out, "thank you for rescuing me pretty fairies, I was sure I was going to die that time!! Did you use some sort of magic potion to make me all better? I, ggnahh..." From what we have observed, the education system in Llangwidh's village is severely lacking as her violated yet another unspoken rule of dealing with foreign species.

The first major 'oopsie daisy' he made was to say thank you to a creature of magic, which would include all fairies, pixies, brownies, gnomes, etc. This is a big no, no as it implies you are in their debt and these creatures have malicious ways of evening out debts.

The second, and his last, major 'oopsy daisy' was to call a Pixie a 'Fairie'. Pixies absolutely, positively, without a doubt HATE to be mistaken for their 'lesser cousins'. To this war-like race it was the ultimate insult to be compared to a fragile, temperamental, egoistic, winged, waste of space.

Llangwidh's stupidity score skyrocketed as he nattered on to an audience that stopped listening at the word 'Fairie'. While the rest of his clan were reaping physical violence upon their rude guest, the leader, Trais McIre, finally gained complete control over the narrating microphone and used the power it contained to change the story. "The insult this mortal human gave was the last straw. The McIres used his corpse to power a height spell strong enough to make the whole clan 8-feet tall."

Llangwidh looked up from his defensive curl and screamed, seeming to collapse in on himself, hands scrabbling on the dirt floor for something to anchor him from the merciless pull of the spell. As he disappeared from sight, morbid crunching noises filled the air. The grotesque sight of thousands of years of evolutionary growth squeezed into seconds was accompanied by screams of pain and bursting armour. Trais McIre watched in horror as his fellow kinsman filled the rapidly shrinking cave, quickly realizing what was comfortable enough for beings 3-feet high was nowhere near cosy for beings more than double their height.

The narrator, previously forgotten up to this point, grabbed the microphone from the hand of the shell-shocked pixie and, using its power, quickly concocted a tale of flesh and limbs bursting through stone like it was water. As the naked, 8-foot pixies tried out their new shapes; the narrator tried every trick he knew to get our unfortunate hero back, however it started to look like Llangwidh's disappearance was permanent.

A few busy days later, the author and her muse appeared, just in time to have completely missed the party altogether.


*"Oh Inspiration!! What happened here? Where did our hero go? He must be here somewhere; it's where the tracking device brought us. But that doesn't make sense; it says Llangwidh is that… giant pixie? Ant that one, and that one and… he's in all of them!!" As her panicking muse was furiously monologing to himself, the author added a firefly-sized ball of light to the story, through which she could watch events unfold. The smugness of her body language spoke words, something along the lines of 'this is so convenient, I should have done it pages ago'. Finally the author heaved a sigh, snapped her muse out of his rant… damnable duties and muse, insisting she never leave a hero behind (but doing the same to side-kick is quite acceptable). *


Meanwhile the no-longer-able-to-be-classified-as-Pixies were gradually realizing that things happened around them. Gaining the essence meant they had also gained his heroic stature, and all the danger and protection that come with it. Each 'hero' was hit with the instinctive need to help others and, without a life of dealing with these pressures to support them, was defenceless to stop it taking over their lives.

The first incident was the Lone Knight aspect of this 'gift'. One hero cannot abide the presence of another hero for very long and the not-Pixies slowly broke apart until Clan McIre was no more. This resulted in WriterSpace, designed solely for the adventures of one hero, becoming stretched and stretched. In fact every step the 8foot heroes took away from his clan, was just that extra little ground the WriterSpace had to cover. Eventually Imagination was stretched to its limits and… snapped!!!

The whip-like CRACK!! Of its recoil was heard throughout the land, as flash of sound before everything shattered into millions upon millions of pieces. Time swam immeasurably in a whirlwind of chaos. If there was light in the Nothing it would have glittered an infinite number of floating Imagination fragments, however, since there was none, the sight passed unnoticed in a majestic, intricate dance.

With no way of knowing if time was going forwards, backwards, sideways or other, it can only be described as a different point in time in which something happened. A new race was created, each being born with a fragment if Imagination embedded within its center. Created from the Life to Nothing and Nothing to Life, these beings would be ensnared within this cycle for eternity. But it was not just those who were born there that were caught within such a fate, those the HigherBeings cannot place in other categories lose their previous identities and become known as "Hu-Mans"…