Elf Salon ~ featured elf

The Elf Salon spotlights different elves from the Gallery and tells the stories of my encounters with them. It will be updated periodically, so please check back the next time you're in the neighborhood. The Salon is now featuring:

Snike & Auralis

Air Dancer (Expanding)    Air Dancer (Contracting)

Snike & The Goblin Princess

Snike (pictured left) and Auralis came to me on successive nights, followed by Snary (who, it turns out, is Snike's cousin) on a third. I painted them one at a time and received more than the usual amount of information about them. I learned that all three were Nordic elves. Auralis has a slightly more greyish cast to her skin than either of the others, and this, combined with her own quiet reserve, and her mother's tendency to associate freely with the non-elven races had contributed to her nickname of "The Goblin Princess." It was the only name I had for her, at first. I was disappointed to find the elves so much like humans in this unfortunate way. I didn't get the impression that she minded the nickname all that much, but Snike was quite indignant about it. I knew as if I had been told with great emphasis ~ that no matter what anyone said, she was neither a goblin, nor a princess. Snike was a studious young elf with an ardent sense of justice and fair play.

He objected to the treatment the Goblin Princess and her unconventional mother received in the elven community and appointed himself her defender.

At first this embarrassed Auralis, but she was also grateful. She agreed to let Snike walk her home one day to ward off the jeers and cutting remarks of the others. Then she began meeting him secretly in the woods, at first infrequently, then more regularly. Soon they were more than friends. It was an elven romance. At the point when I met them, they were still slipping off to be alone in secret. They didn't want their relationship generally known ~ whether from a desire for privacy, fear of opposition, or some other reason, I didn't know.

Since I felt that I already knew so much about Snike and Auralis, Snary was the first visited of the three that I visited. From him I learned that his cousin and Auralis had long ago gotten over their reticence about the relationship and were now a happily wedded couple.

(Look for Snary's story when he next visits in the Elf Salon.)

Here is the story of my journey to visit with Snike:

An Old Friend

It is a warm Summer day, and Snike is fishing with rod and line in a mountain stream. A couple of medium sized fish are already in a bucket beside him. He is lazily enjoying the day, using the time away from the house to think, and dream, and make stories in his head, which is a thing he likes to do.

He feels like an an old friend I just haven't seen in a long time, and greets me with a warm smile and an invitation to join him. I sit down beside him on the bank of the stream and we begin the process of "catching up."

I congratulate him on his marriage that I learned of from Snary. He laughs, shaking his head a bit at the mention of his cousin's name. "We don't have very much in common, you know."

"So I gather," I tell him, laughing. I ask him how he likes married life.

He tells me that he likes it alright but sometimes feels that he has become too settled. His life is so quiet, and predictable ~ he wonders if all his adventures are now behind him. "Like coming to see you," he says. "That was a great adventure."

"How did that happen," I ask. “How did you find me?"

He says that he had been apprenticed for a time to a local Loremaster (no, not my Loremaster) and had found some intriguing bits in the old elf's library, about discovering “gateways to other worlds." It had mentioned a certain "magical trail" that could be followed.

Snike said he recognized the description of the trail as something he'd encountered on his many wanderings through the wooded hills. He followed the trail ~ which, he says, was like following a smell ~ until he came to a place where the light was strange and “sound just fell off into nothingness, like the opposite of an echo." He sat for days near this spot ~ meditating, chanting, trying different techniques to find the exact altered state of consciousness needed to perceive anything more. Then all of a sudden ~ "Snap!" he was under the bright lights over my drawing table, watching me paint his portrait. Once he had the trick of it he was able to teach others ~ like Auralis and Snary ~ to see it too.

"I watched you paint them, too"' he tells me, "and we all talked a lot, and told you a lot of stories." He says he couldn't understand why I never responded to anything they said. "It was like you didn't really know we were there, even though you were painting us!"

Yes, I tell him, that was pretty much the case, but I do remember some of what they told me ~ like the story of how he and Auralis got together. "Except that I didn't know her name at first." I say with a laugh. "I just called her The Goblin Princess."

Snike grimaces and then laughs "It used to make me so angry," he says, reflectively, "'But you know, that nick name is what brought us together."

We sit by the stream for quite a while, talking and telling each other about our lives. Snike catches a fish every now and then and tosses it into his bucket. The sun had been high in the sky when I arrived, and is slowly settling into the west when he decides he has enough fish. He packs up his rod and says he hopes I will come back and see him again.

"Come to the house, next time," he invites. "Auralis would love to see you!"

I agree eagerly and we part as friends who know they will see each other again.