Sunday, July 11, 2010

Forsvik and the Legend of Lille Valle

Once upon a time there was a little village in the forest that was hard to find. No roads or signs led to it. Only the driftwood knew the way. Steeped by lakes and rivers the little village was called Forsvik. The people of Forsvik were all children of the river. The Water Strider taught them manners. The Beaver taught them their craft. The fiddler taught them their music. The made many things. Famous for an everlasting iron bridge, a magical powder, a legendary steam boat and other mysterious contraptions. Their work was highly sought after throughout the kingdom. Even the king of Mantle himself wanted their goods. But to reach Forsvik remained a problem. The king sent men of all trades to the forest to find a path to the village. Woodsmen, hunters, map makers, rune readers and star gazers. None was ever heard from again. Frustrated the king sent men of all trades along the rivers to find the shore of the village. Seamen, fishermen, ferrymen, chart readers and kresniks. None was ever heard from again. Crestfallen the king was about to give up when a man by the name Baltzar von Platen came with a suggestion. It was a bold idea with a high prize to pay but the king was desperate. 22 years and 58.000 men's hard work later Baltzar von Platen had built a safe passage to the village. The passage was to be known as Göta Kanal. At long last Forsvik was within the kingdom's reach.

By this time there was a little dwarf in the village. His name was Lille Valle and he played the violin. Never before had such great beauty come from someone so small and ugly. His music moved Boulder-Giants to tears, dry wells to overflow and calmed the heart of the wild beast. Spellbound by his music Baltzar von Platen escorted Lille Valle to the capital where he would play for the king and his court. The concert that followed would go down in history as the time when the Northern Lights took the shape of five maidens. They swooped down to the land, kissed the lips of the little dwarf and then danced their way back up into the sky until out of sight of the weeping people. The performance was of such celestial beauty that lives of all men was fulfilled and they could happily embrace death. Baltzar von Platen did so that night. Afterward the king had Lille Valle living in the castle and playing for the court every day. But the rich life of the royals did not impress the little dwarf. He knew only one life and that was back in Forsvik. So one early morning he packed his belongings and left the castle. When the king found out that Lille Valle was missing he was furious. The dwarf couldn't have gotten far on his short legs so the king sent out his Soil-Scouts all over the capital to find him and bring him back. The king was right that Lille Valle had not gotten far, on foot, but by wings he was already halfway to another country. Just outside the castle gate the little dwarf had run into some friendly creatures. Lille Valle was after all known to both men and beasts. And the beasts this morning happened to be a flock of civil geese just about to return to their homeland. They urged him to come with them. He was entertained by the idea of a little detour on his way back to Forsvik and jumped up on the goose named Jalden.

A vain man was putting stilts in his daughter's shoes. He had her wear neck-shaped hats. When she was sleeping he had her dreams visited by three old hags pulling her hair. No matter what he did his daughter remained petite. In fact she was not petite at all. She was a dwarf. Just like the strange little man who entered their court one day. He bowed deeply and started playing the violin. When she heard his music and he saw her beautiful eyes love struck them. His name was Lille Valle and her name was Frann. Her father was was also under the soothing musical influence but still not pleased with what was happening to his daughter. As he was about to disrupt the concert with his now somewhat dulled senses Lille Valle grabbed Frann by the waist and fled the mansion. First shocked and then enraged by the little violinist's fearless and sudden move Franns father, who just happened to be the Lord of Strata, sent terrible tremors after the fleeing dwarfs. The ground quaked under their feet and started to crumble. Then it so happened a swarm of moths was released from their earthly hollows. They saw Lille Valle and his bride in distress and came to their side. Once again Lille Valle received unexpected aid from the beast kingdom. The friendly moths carried the dwarfs on their backs through the hollows towards the subterranean kingdom Äatal HÅyÅk.

With both the King of Mantle and Lord of Strata in hot pursuit above the little dwarves deiced to stay in Äatal HÅyÅk for a while. After all they were love-struck and in no rush to get back. The kingdom of Äatal HÅyÅk was a vast mineral reef and a safe haven for exiles and other beings in moral or dimensional flux. A mellow place that allowed even the shadows to have shadows. Even here Lille Valle was well known and the mayor of Äatal HÅyÅk was honored to have such a fine visitor. The mayor arranged a splendid room for Lille Valle and Frann in the finest inn of the capital. The inn was carved out of a enormous rauk of solid obsidian, reflections of shiny animals danced over its black surface as they swam in stone above. From their balcony Lille Valle and Frann could see Coral-Wolves roam the distant steppes and Katta-Falkons soar the rocky skies. It was magnificent. The little dwarves fell even deeper in love and all was fine. Lille Valle soon started playing his violin at the inn and his concerts became the highlight of Äatal HÅyÅk, completely filling the seats every nights. Some of the audience had to swap in and out of existence as they had to share the same space. Deep in the bellows of the mineral reef, where the ocean have it's second surface, an ancient turbulent mass had finally fallen to sleep. Protozo, the father-navel, had heard, if ever so vaguely, Lille Valles music from the mineral lands and taken it as a lullaby. Finally, after an eternity of insomnia and spasms it was embraced by deep slumber. A pleasant sigh was released across the reef. This was a prosperous time for Äatal HÅyÅk and it's residents. Happiness and music was all around and the capital glittered as the populated mineral rivers coated the animals with a new luminous shine. A love-child of Lille Valle and Frann was declared by the vagabond doctor known as the The Invisible Turk as he removed his stethoscope from Franns belly. A celebration was held for five days and 14 nights. As time went on and Franns belly got bigger thoughts of Forsvik came to Lille Valles mind again. While the vast reefs and halls of Äatal HÅyÅk was of near celestial beauty it still couldn't be compared to tall trees and subtle splendor of Forsvik. He wanted the child to be born and raised back in his village. As the little dwarfs prepared for their journey Lille Valle stopped playing at the inn. This caused a great sorrow across the mineral lands and also caused a great terror to awaken beneath them. The precious sleep of Protozo had been interrupted by the lack of it's soothing lullabies. Confused, furious and rabid the father-navel hurled itself against the foundation of space with such might that those with undefined characteristics ceased to exist. A terrible pain was inflicted on everything present. Buildings collapsed, roads were torn apart, hanging mineral-clusters swooped down by a disturbing and rapid growth before rushing against the mountains and shatter in million pieces, the mineral rivers melted to sticky globulian streams. Animals and beings were crushed, consumed by the minerals or fell towards the ghastly bellows below. Lille Valle ran out of the inn holding Frann close. They made it out of the inn just before it fell and grow into an shape not meant for human eyes to witness. Beings where running and screaming everywhere. Just as they where crossing a narrow street a sudden rift in the ground tore them apart. Lille Valle had barely come to his senses again when the ground crumbled and he fell into a hidden and wild globulian stream below. The sticky fluid clinged to his clothes and pulled him further down as he tried to swim against the stream towards Frann. He screamed her name and fought the stream with all his strength, accidentally swallowing some of the awful orange liquid. A mineral-cluster high above Frann started jitter and pop as it was about to expand. Having heard Lille Valles voice The Invisible Turk saw Frann standing helpless and ran towards her. The last thing Lille Valle saw before being pulled down was The Invisible Turk trying to shield Frann with his lean body from the minerals. They were both engulfed by them before they all crashed together into the mountainside. Shattering them into small glittering shards tumbling down the abyss.

By sheer luck or a twisted destiny a little dwarf washed ashore in Forsvik one early morning. He was found by a craftsman going to work. The people of Forsvik could not believe their eyes. It was Lille Valle, their long lost little fantastic dwarf. By the state of his condition they could tell he had been through something horrible. They tended his wounds and repaired his violin. He remained unconscious for four weeks. When he woke up the first thing he did was staring into the ceiling for three hours with an empty, lifeless look in his eyes. His caretakers understood that though his injuries had almost healed he carried yet deeper and more severe wounds in his heart. For the next three hours he stared onto his newly repaired and shining violin which rested on a chair close to the bed. His eyes were grim. Later that day he walked down the stairs, limping into the kitchen where his caretakers were having dinner. They had prepared a seat and plate at the table for him and they would have urged him to come join them but his mere presence called for unsettling silence. Lille Valle just stood there in the dark, clothes hanging as if they tried to get away from him. A dead opaque shark-like haze in his eyes glinted in the candlelight. A feral silhouette, hat in one hand and the violin in the other. With a sudden strange and jerky string of moves that frightened the children at the table he placed the hat on his head, turned around and walked out of the house.

The people of Forsvik were saddened to find their little dwarf to be broken. They made careful quiet wishes in their hearts that he would pick up the violin again and play all his sorrow away. But Lille Vallle was not the same anymore. Just as he once were struck by love he was now struck by grief. A grief that had sucked out his marrow and replaced it with a gray, cold and heavy liquid, keeping him low to the ground on all four. With what little human reasoning he had left in him he was able to find the culprit for all his suffering. It was himself. It was his music. It was his curse. It had taken Frann and their baby away. Sickened by himself he lunged towards a shed, grabbed an axe and cut off all his fingers on the right hand. Now he could never play the violin again. He filled his violin with blood and the gray marrow that seeped out him and hurled it into the canal. It sank like a stone. He remained on the iron bridge above cursing and howling like a wounded dog. Travelers and timber-men that used the canal were frightened by his appearance. The people of Forsvik was devastated by the sad fate of their little dwarf but could not have him blocking the canal. They gently removed him from the bridge to a house not far away but in his frantic attempts to return to the canal he only ended up hurting himself. They soon found out that he didn't need to be on the bridge, he just needed to be near the canal. They placed him in a little room under the iron bridge. That way nobody had to see his horrendous figure. But nobody could avoid hearing his chilling cries from within the canal walls.

Time moved on and muffled the cries. People forgot. Forgot about Lille Valle. Forgot about Forsvik. The little village in the forest that was hard to find. No roads or signs led to it. Only the driftwood knew the way.

This is the village I'm from.
If you ever find yourself in Forsvik please enjoy the scenery, have an ice cream, go to the theater or visit the museum. But when standing at the canal, near the old iron bridge, then hold your breath and listening very very closely. Perhaps you will hear the sad cries of Lille Valle?