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06/25/18 06:16 am
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06/20/18 07:49 pm
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Shout Archive


They Paved Paradise by Narya

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Story notes:
This old-ish piece of mine has a slightly complex history. It started life as a birthday present for my brother, who is Joni Mitchell crazy, hence the threads of Big Yellow Taxi running through the text. It became a little too depressing to use as a birthday present so I decided to tie it in with another story I was working on at the time - a Robin Hood adventure story, since my brother and I were obsessed with the Kevin Costner film as kids. That story got parked for a while as other projects took over, but it's never completely left me alone, and just lately I've come back to it. I think it will make an appearance on this site at some point.

This story functions as a kind of trailer-fic, so I decided to post it, since it was sitting all sad and unloved on a memory stick. I hope you guys enjoy it as it is - apologies for any references that don't yet make sense.
Oh, great Eru Ilúvatar.

The last time I was here, the fields were green and lined by bare curling trees. It was dawn in early winter. A rolling mist rose from the frost on the ground; the morning light lay pink and fresh on the whitened grass, and hills sloped down to a blurred horizon. One lone bird chirped shrilly from its perch. The air tasted of smoke and ice, the clouds wisped and twisted in the wind, and the sun, though weak, smiled with the carefree pleasure of a babe in arms.

I, Maglor Fëanorion, thought that I had found paradise.

Then, as now, my soul and spirit still yearned for the woman I had left, yet I felt that the world itself was offering me comfort – a strange thought for one who has suffered as I. Now, though, I perceive fate’s design. It was not comfort or succour that nature tried to give me on that morning almost a thousand years ago. I was merely being shown a vision of perfection that could not endure. I swore to myself that I would return to those fields when I needed reassurance that all the world had not fallen into darkness and corruption and decay, but the Secondborn have paved over my paradise and replaced it with a monstrosity.

Grey concrete cuboids tower above row on row of scowling reluctant houses. Acrid fumes snake upwards from a nearby power station. The people of this terrible town go about their business with their heads bowed and their faces set, paying no heed to the long-haired stranger in their midst, and I wander the streets in a haze of revolted fascination. In the main square, the window of a clothing boutique displays a poster of a girl who cannot yet be fifteen, posing in garments barely fit to be used as underwear. Down a little side-alley is a hotel painted a garish shade of pink. Feeling nauseous, I move on.

I find a park. True, the company there is far from choice – a few youngsters injecting themselves with concoctions it makes me shudder to contemplate, and fretful children whose harassed mothers keep a close eye on their watches as their offspring play – but at least there is some greenery to be found in this drab and cheerless place. The grass, I find, has a sickly yellowish tinge to it, and the flowers cast their heads downwards as though they lack the energy to seek the sun. It is poor recompense for the wild yet welcoming beauty that I shared that morning with only one solitary bird.

The sound of a flute drifts across the air. My lips quirk upwards. I know that tune – I would recognise it anywhere. Only natural, I suppose, given that I wrote it.

Curious, and anxious for a thread of hopeful familiarity to cling to, I follow the melody along a gravel-strewn path. It leads me to a thin, middle-aged man huddled at the foot of a statue. His instrument case is open at his feet, dotted with stray copper coins.

I reach into my pocket and withdraw a ten pound note. Any more, I reflect, and he would most likely use it to fund an addiction to illicit substances. Any less would not suffice. At the very least I wish him to be able to buy a good meal.

About to turn away, I cast a cursory glance at the statue that hulks over him, and am suddenly struck with the desire to laugh. Though the features of the face are alien to me, the name on the plaque is as familiar as the one I was given at birth.

Robin Hood, the Prince of Thieves
A true local hero
Stole from the rich
Gave to the poor
Born here c. 1160?


The clouds part. The sun strikes the statue’s blackened form, frozen in position, knelt with his bow drawn taut and ready to fire.

I throw another ten pounds at the homeless flautist’s feet. What is money to me, after all? I, who have lived through so many Ages of this Earth...1160, indeed! I cannot help but chuckle to myself.

I decide to head south. There is nothing left for me here. It is time to move on.
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