Story and pictures by Jackie Mondalimare
Once upon a time, decades after humans first set foot into the jungle of Nu Orne, there lived a wizard in the light house on top of the cliffs. He started out as nice as a man can be, watching over the lands and the bordering sea to aide anyone in need. But as the years went by, he grew lonely in his tower – and the loneliness made him bitter.
When he first began his task up on the cliffs, he invited the ground-dwellers to feasts and tea parties, but soon the people living in the jungle began to cancel their dates as the everyday life grew harder and they lacked time and strength to climb up to the light house on a regular basis.
And thus the wizard began to think and tinker, collected random seeming objects from the jungle and the sea, drew blood from those that allowed it – and after months managed to create new life in his cauldron. Tiny little figures stretched their limbs as they awoke from what seemed to be a long sleep – with no memory of ever having been born, no recollection of how they got their. Long fingers grabbed them carefully and placed them on the ground. Tiny little houses and food cut into pieces so small, a human eye could hardly see them, was already prepared for them.
They lived their lifes, conversing with the wizard, keeping him company – what he desired most. But soon they grew suspicious of their restricted little world. They could only walk into one direction for so long until everything around them was so big, they had to be scared to be squished or trampled. And while the wizard grew old, the tiny people grew tired of their little kingdom. After a few weeks, the old wizard passed away. He died happily, mind you, with his companions around him, but left them to theirselves.
That was the time when they first planned their escape. With who they had seen as a god dead, they tried to appeal to other gods, there had to be some out there. They built little boats and wrote their wishes on them to set them free in their tiny lake, hoping the gods would hear their prayers.
Nobody can prove whether or not they were in the Gods’ favour, but the tiny creatures kept building boats, more and more, until they ran out of resources. And on one fine day, when they had packed all their belongings into little pieces of fabric, they united all their strength and pushed the boats to the shore below the light house. Of course, this wasn’t as easy as one might think. Not all of the little creatures could live without water. They had to fill some of the boats with water from their little lake and put the tiny mermaids into that.
Once they had reached the shore, the mermaids hopped out of the boats and right into the waters, to see if they were save, the others impatiently waiting by the shore. As the mermaids couldn’t see any danger, they pushed for a few last meters until the boats were on the water – the mermaids constantly swimming underneath them to make sure nobody would get close enough to do any harm.
Astounded by their mighty surroundings, they set sail. Where were they going? Nobody knew. All they did know was that there must be a place for them, somewhere, maybe close, maybe far away. A place where they could live without the fear of being squished or trampled, a place that wasn’t designed for giants. A place to call home.
Special thanks goes out to the creators of the outfits and props, the creator of Nu Orne, Elicio Ember, and Ember Farina and Dagmar Haiku who volunteered to be in the pictures!
Also, I’d like to use this space to advertise a great challenge going on at Fantasy Faire right now, you can find all the information right here. It’s about painting little paper boats (The ones you can see in the first picture) for a good cause – to support American Cancer Society – and it’s a LOT of fun, trust me!