Stories

Tectonic Llamas

‘What… What are these things?’ Ollie whispered, his voice shaking, as all his sister could do was gape at these creatures. And what a sight they were, too. Truly worth taking a few seconds out of your life just to be astounded by the wonders of this strange world.

Massive, no, absolutely monumental beasts with thick green moss like fur that looked to be covering what were great slabs of rock, making up some sort of an armour – overlapping in most places, yet leaving gaps in others. And the way they moved, it was like watching Time itself in slow motion. Their faces didn’t look too menacing though, Ollie noticed. And as the animals were grazing along, nibbling on the plentiful lush plants growing around here, rather than charging onward to attack them, he thought they ought to be rather safe.

Hearing a rustling of leaves behind them he turned around in alarm, but saw it was only Bel who didn’t seem to be surprised in the slightest by the gigantic beasts, who were now all slowly turning to face the same direction for reasons unknown to Ollie. ‘Oh, so you’ve seen the tectonic llamas,’ she said and then added with a sigh ‘Magnificent, aren’t they?’

‘Tectonic llamas? So the leaves we had for dinner weren’t poisonous and I’m not seeing things right now? That’s a relief I guess. What exactly are these llama things though? You know, if you care to share any more, or do you just expect us to know everything like you do?’ Ollie said, words coming out rather faster than usual, with a hint of fear showing through is sarcasm.

‘Well, they’re quite hard to explain,’ Bel said and seemed to drift off in thought for a bit, before carefully choosing how to phrase what she wanted to say ‘To be honest, we’re not actually sure what they are, we just know why they are. For most of the time anyway. Take a closer look at them. As in, close your mouth and actually use your wits rather than just gawp like you’ve never seen creatures resembling floating islands before,’ she paused, looking at the llamas ‘Erm, furry islands? Regardless, look at their sides and backs. Do you see anything?’

Ollie looked, and his sister, who had still failed to say anything, looked as well. ‘I don’t see anything?’ he said, sounding bewildered and slightly disappointed. ‘Ah, not to worry,’ chirped Bel. ‘What about you, Lily?’ she asked, but looking like she already knew the answer. ‘I see it,’ Lily said in a quiet voice. ‘I knew you would! See, I told you. You’ve got more magic than I’ve seen in anyone in a thousand years! And oh boy do I wish I was exaggerating. Being on the lookout for you for a millennium has been exhausting!’

‘Bel, you’ve still not explained,’ Ollie complained, trying to sound curious rather than confused, for he still didn’t know what he was supposed to have seen. ‘Oh, yes. I’m sorry, one can be entrusted with the most important of tasks for several aeons and still have the attention span of a flutterpuff. Anyway, these tectonic llamas represent our solar system,’ she said simply, as if hoping this would explain everything. Seeing the confused looks on her companions faces though, she rolled her eyes and continued ‘I know you don’t have quite as much magic as Lily does and that’s why she can see it. As you know, my magic depleted a very long time ago so I’m just digging around in my memories now but what a sight they were – where you can see their armour plates not quite touching, there’s magic shimmering through, flowing as an eternal underground river, golden and diamond flecked. And where they’re overlapping or forming ridges, which are actual coast lines and mountain ranges by the way, there you can see it bursting out as if a display of fire wonders. Ever so beautiful and something you’ll never be able to forget,’ Bel drifted off as if looking at it all in her mind’s eye.

‘In any case, like I said, we don’t know what they actually are. Whether they’re alive and breathing or whether it’s all just a sort of a game they’re playing – pretending to be peaceful furries so they wouldn’t be considered a threat and hunted down. But for why they are, there’s a rather simple explanation. Like I already said, they represent our solar system. So it’d be a really safe guess – one that no-one has dared to question or test so far – that keeping them here, hidden and away from any dangers, is how our planets are protected from the Athlore folk,’ her face turned grim as she said it, remembering stories from the refugees of other planets. The remnants of them at least, for not many escape Ahtlore warriors once they’ve targeted your home.

Lily turned to face Bel, tears falling from her eyes, but her voice steady when she spoke ‘You tell me all this hoping I’ll go along with your mad plan, aren’t you? Trying to soften me up and hoping I’ll have some stupid heroic nerve somewhere you can touch by showing me what you’re all fighting for and hoping that I’d take over?’ her voice had risen a bit when she said it ‘Well that’s not going to work. I know how this is meant to go – you find the destined one and she’ll pick up a sword and go chop the dragon into bits and everyone will live happily ever after. Well no. I’m saying no. I’m not the one you’re looking for. I don’t know what you see in me, but it’s not magic. And definitely not anything to make me believe I could make a difference. Not going to happen!’ she shouted, turned around and walked away, wiping tears from her face.

Ollie looked at Lily’s retreating back, shocked to see her sister fall to pieces like this, then shot an apologetic glance towards Bel and trotted after Lily.

Bel looked at them both going, and incredibly there was a small smile playing on her lips. She spread her wings and flew off in the opposite direction.

*Right, so. Tectonic llamas, eh? English is really missing out there. I was so surprised to discover that what we in Estonia call ‘tektoonilised laamad’ (literal translation tectonic llamas), are called ‘tectonic plates’ in English. I mean. What a let down.

Like I said – everything’s a story.

G.

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