Born on the 12th day of Hatred during the month of Anger, Alicia seemed doomed to a spirit of unpleasantness. One would think with the ills that Alicia was dealt in this life, he would be a most vile creature. First off, what male child is born to the name Alicia? That in itself doomed the poor lad to many trials and strifes. The day and month of his birth did not better the situation. Neither did the fact that his mum took one look at the rather small, oddly colored boy and let out a scream that was heard for miles and for years to come. With this sort of entrance to the world, one would think vileness of heart would be the only outcome possible. Never was anyone more wrong.

Alicia was the only son I raised. I raised up many daughters, but Alicia was the only boy I was to be blessed with. He was a lovely son. I know that others took one look, and terror seized their souls, but they weren't looking hard enough. It wasn't just the fact that his skin had a "glow" to it, or the fact that his eyes were of a color none had ever seen before, there was just a "difference" to the boy that was very hard to explain, as though he were not of this world. I didn't care what world the boy was from, he was my son and I loved him as such. I raised him to the best of my ability.

When Alicia was still a young lad, around 12 summers gone by, he was out running and playing in the forest near our town when he heard something crying. He investigated the sound for it seemed to him someone or something must be in trouble. How right he was. What he found was a poor little unicorn. It was so starved you could see it's bones outlined under its fur. An evil ogre had built a cage of magical fire around the unicorn so it could not escape and so none could save it either, for they would be burned. Alicia felt he had to try, so he leapt through the ring of fire. Amazingly, he was not burned. He tied a bandana around the small unicorn's eyes and picked her gently up and carried her quickly through the ring of fire. Again, Alicia was unharmed. The wee unicorn did get a bit burned, but not too badly, and she felt that escaping the evil ogre was well worth a bit of singed fur. Alicia brought the unicorn to our home for us to heal it as best we could. Alicia became rather fond of the baby and named her Taru. Taru healed under the tender care of Alicia, growing more plump and healthy every day.

Time passed as it always does, and neither Taru nor Alicia were youngsters any longer. Alicia was now a young man. The villagers still shied away from him, although most would stare in awe when Taru accompanied him into town. They found the magical beast to be a rare sight indeed, though none would approach for fear of Alicia. Alicia had never lost the "glow" about him, in fact, if anything it had intensified. His eyes were still the brightest gold. Unfortunately, the shy smile he always wore did nothing to make him appear friendly. It was perceived as snide or sarcastic. Having only Taru and me for loved ones did not settle well with Alicia. He wanted more: he wanted to be accepted, to be a part of something, to belong. He decided to find a place for himself. Taru felt she could help him with this, for she had memories of a wonderful place that "glowed" just as Alicia did. She offered to take him there if he would be willing to ride upon her back. Once Alicia was settled upon her, Taru pranced about and suddenly seemed to be running upon the air currents. Higher and higher they climbed up into the clouds. Then suddenly there were clouds no longer. There was a deep, rich forest. A waterfall glistened in the sunlight as it pooled in a spring before them. Everywhere Alicia looked was glistening, bright and beautiful. This was a land that seemed almost make believe.

Taru told Alicia that this land was her home, that her sire lived here with their mistress. She started down a path between the trees. At the end of the path, Taru let out a cry of happiness and she started running. Once Alicia had caught up to her, he saw Taru nuzzling another unicorn. This much larger unicorn looked up at Alicia and seemed to appraise him. He then walked forward and gently nuzzled his arm in thanks. Drom was very grateful to Alicia for saving his young child from the ogre so many years before. Taru started explaining to Alicia that this was her father and that they had lived here with the immortal Joysinger. This was her realm. Taru had brought him to the "glowing" land of the immortals. Alicia started really seeing this enchanting and curious place. He began wondering around with a glazed look in his eyes. The wonder of this realm seemed to hypnotize him. In one room he picked up a lovely sparkling bottle, in another, a piece of odd-looking fruit. Entering a third room, he found a frothy mug of ale beckoning to be drunk. Thirsty from the voyage, he reached out for the mug, only to discover he still held the bottle and the piece of fruit. At first he went to place the bottle on the table where the mug sat; however, the sparkling vial seemed out of place there, so he placed it in his pocket, thinking surely he would return it to its rightful spot later. His hands now empty, he drained the ale quickly and left the room. He found his way back to Taru and Drom, but he was becoming fearful that Joysinger might soon return and would be unpleased to see him there. However, he didn't want to leave without proof that he had come, so he plucked two apples from the tree growing there. Taru said goodbye to her beloved father and, together with Alicia, started their journey home.

Alicia had not been the same since the journey to the immortal realm. He would look upon the apple daily, mesmerized by things only he could see. The trip had given him a yearning Alicia could not explain. The sudden appearance of the great Joysinger took us all by surprise. Taru ran to her lovely elven mistress with obvious happiness and nuzzled her. Joysinger petted the dear unicorn and lovingly stroked her mane. To Alicia she said, "It would seem you have taken good care of my small pet. Her father was even pleased with the job you did raising her. 'Tis a shame I missed your visit to my realm. I would have enjoyed meeting you there rather than having had to search this lowly plane for you both. I have come to take back my pet. I have brought you a gift to show my gratitude to you for having saved her from the ogre. I do hope that is satisfactory compensation for your trouble." Joysinger then noticed an apple sitting upon the hearth and walked towards it. Picking it up, she asked, "Where did you get this?" Alicia seemed tongue-tied but managed to reply, "umm, well, I believe, an apple tree." "I see," said Joysinger, rather annoyed. "I believe there were two apples taken from my room upon your visit. Could this be one that was stolen?" Alicia's face went from the golden glow it always held to a reddish hue. "Stolen? Why, I, Never!" At that moment, a sparkling ray of sunlight caught Joysinger's eyes. Walking towards the glittering source, she spied a bottle of Kiri's tears. Picking up the decanter, she peered closely at Alicia. "And this would be?" "Appears to me a vial of perfume. It is an heirloom, been in the family long has it been missing?" Alicia shrugged. Joysinger began looking more closely at the small shack and the contents therein. A rather large silver mug sat upon the table. Alicia noticed her questioning gaze and started searching his thoughts for explanations. Just as Alicia drew in the breath to start the tale of how it came that he owned a dwarven mug, the regal elf found yet another piece of unexplainable stolen property. A half-eaten bright red yoshi fruit. Standing before her, mystified at the property he knew he clearly owned, yet thinking that maybe there was more to the picture than he was realizing, Alicia decided he should try to better explain how he came to own such wondrous items. "Well upon my visit to your realm, there seemed to be things that...." Joysinger held up her hand. "There is too much here for just me to sort through. I believe it is time to call the other immortals here. You can explain to us all just exactly how you came to the possession of all these 'heirlooms'."

One by one the immortals appeared. First the rumpled, smelly dwarf Brodgar. Looking around the shack he spied his used and dirty silver mug. "Ahhhhh, here you are!" He picked up his cup lovingly. Next Roshi came to the small hut. Small and curious Roshi seemed to be brethren to Alicia, for Roshi to was of the kender race. Last to appear was the powerful and immensely beautiful Empress Kiri. Her gaze fell upon Alicia who was trying desperately to fade into his surroundings. "I have been told you "found" some items while visiting our realms," Kiri said. "Did you partake of any of the food?" Kiri asked as she looked knowingly at the half-eaten yoshi fruit. "Err, well I did happen to find myself a tinge hungry and a whole lot thirsty. It was a long journey," Alicia replied in his defense. Kiri nodded; "do you not know the repercussions for eating of immortal foods?" Alicia looked a bit bewildered, "repercussions? You mean like the bubbly feeling in my tummy?" "Not that I mind sharing a bit, but me ale is for other immortals. Those not of immortal blood tend to die after tasting the sweet liquid," Brodgar stated rather sadly. Alicia looked even more bewildered. "Yes 'tis a shame I can't share my fruit with mortals, for it is mighty tasty, is it not?" Roshi asked Alicia. Alicia nodded his affirmation of the fruit's tastiness. Kiri looked sadly at Alicia, "You have two choices now, young Alicia. You can stay on this plane and suffer the fate that your curiosity held you to, or you can return to us the items you stole during your visit. I shall heal you and you may live through this experience, but I will have no choice but to take the memory of us and of your beloved friend Taru." Alicia, torn between the two choices cuddled his loyal friend. Their friendship had been the one thing that had given him hope. Without Taru's companionship all those years, Alicia's existence would have been dim and bleak. Alicia stood up and looked at the immortals. "I believe I would rather suffer the fate here on this plane with all my happy memories intact than be healed and live without my dear friend." Alicia gently stroked Taru's cheek lovingly. Seeing the love that flowed between the two of them, Joysinger cleared her throat. " My dear Empress, is there not a third choice we might give the young kender? He did save Taru's life so many years ago. Although he tends to have sticky fingers, I believe he is good of heart and would make a loyal companion." Kiri nodded solemnly and looked towards Alicia, "There is one other choice I shall give you now. You may choose to come home to Valance with us and live. I believe it is the place you have ever yearned for." Disbelief and joy filled Alicia immediately. He couldn't say yes fast enough. Taru started prancing around happily as everyone started talking at once and smiling. Tears came to my old eyes, as I knew that my boy had found a home, a place where he truly belonged, even if it meant my own sadness at his departure.

After all those years, some of the new people can only contact our precious Alicia by his e-mail...


Story by: DevilsAngel>
Page by: Anakin>

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