Elias Crowe


Part I:  How Elias Came to Understand his Blood Heritage

Elias Crowe was one year, eight months, two weeks, five days, sixteen hours and forty-six minutes old (give or take a few minutes), when his mother was taken by the “big C.” That’s right; consumption.  And although he had little knowledge of this, other than wondering where his Mum had got off to, he was quick whisked away by his grandparents to a tiny place in Wales called Llanon.  They lived in a cozy but modest farmhouse, on the edge of a beautiful rolling moor, with a small brook (or “nant” as Grandpapa called it) cutting through the bottom of the property beside the sheep pen.

It was there that they lived very happily and quite unremarkably for five years.  Each day, when he was old enough, Elias went to school, gaining friends and good marks from his teacher.  Each night, Grandpapa would tell Elias stories before tucking him into bed.  These were wonderfully fantastic tales about the olden days of knights and damsels, and of animals and dark men who lived in jungles far, far away.  So it was no wonder that one night, as Elias slept, he began to dream of a beautiful, lush jungle inhabited by beautiful large beasts.  He kept above them by swinging on the vines, but watched the large cats skulk below him and the colorful birds scatter before him.  In his dream, this seemed like hours upon hours of pleasure, but ended abruptly when the jungle ended at a large stone wall.  The top of the wall was as high as the highest tree, and stretched as far as the eye could see to his left and right.  Am I not lucky to be right in the middle where there is an opening in this wall? Elias thought to himself (as people so often do in dreams).

And into the large opening he went.  It took much longer to get through the wall than he’d imagined it would.  It was much more of a tunnel than a wall. As he walked through the dark tunnel, he noticed that his feet were wet and very cold.  He looked down to see that he was walking through an icy stream running through this tunnel.  He looked back at the jungle, but somehow the wall had closed.  He made his way out of the tunnel, and had to squint until his eyes adjusted to the overwhelming whiteness surrounding him.  He was high up on a paved hill, overlooking a vast, open valley below him, that rose up into a string of cloud-covered mountains.  The ground all around was frosted with a light snow, but because this was a dream, he was not cold, but simply in awe.  He began to make his way down the path to see where it led, but stopped when he saw children playing not far away.  He watched the children play, all dressed in grayish white, their skin the color of snow.  They were playing but their faces remained slack with boredom and they were silent.  And while Elias was pondering the oddity of these things, he spotted a small figure walking towards him down the path he’d just come.  To his surprise, it was his school friend Henry.  As he drew close, Elias was startled at Henry’s eyes.  Where there should be only one pupil, Henry had a second small one beside it: like a small bird’s eye interrupting the colored iris.  Henry did not speak but continued to draw closer.  Elias backed away, and from the corner of his eye, he saw the other children walking towards him, their eyes like Henry’s too.  Elias ran, the children ran after him, and from over the children’s heads came a large black, faceless shadow.  “Your soul is mine,” the shadow pronounced in a calm and breathy tone.  It came close to his face, a shadowy hand came toward his eye and as it touched, the shadow recoiled and disappeared.

Elias awoke.  He’d sweat through his sheets.  He stood, and as he did, he saw that his Grandpapa was sitting in the chair near the door.  “You met the stealer of souls, did ye not, boy?”

Elias nodded his startled and confused little head.

“A frightful one isn’t he?” He asked again.

Elias nodded again, shivering to think of that cold, faceless shadow that had touched him.

“I’ve been wondering when you’d meet.  Your time has been long in coming.  So long in fact, I thought you might not be your father’s son.”  Elias thought he might possibly still be dreaming, so he pulled up his wet sleeve and pinched his arm.  No, he was most certainly awake.

Elias sat back on his soaking sheets and his grandpapa walked over to him and put a hand on his damp shoulder before promptly removing it and wiping it off on his pants.

“Elias, my boy, you’ve just met your foe and you’ve just seen the true faces of those he’s robbed. Did you know them?”

“One was my friend Henry but it was not Henry—his eyes were wrong.”

“That is what Henry looks like in truth.  And it is your blood heritage to find his stolen soul and the souls of others and restore them to their rightful owners.”

“How do I do that?” Elias asked, still feeling both confused and terrified.

“Your dreams, of course.” His grandpapa said with a chuckle.  If Elias had been older and sarcastically minded, he would’ve thought, Of course, it only makes sense.  To which he would’ve meant exactly the opposite.  But Elias was not older, and in fact, still only a sweet naive child, so he nodded his head bravely, knowing very little what all of this meant.

“Your dreams will be trials that you must overcome to find the lost souls.  It will be difficult and you must be brave whenever you close your eyes in sleep.”

“Grandpapa, can’t you come with me to help me?”

“No Elias.  I did the same as you when I was no older than you are now.  But when you are ancient as I am, you no longer dream such dreams.  As I guided your father, I will guide you as I can whilst you are awake, but you will be on your own in your sleep.”

For the remainder of the night, Grandpapa explained many ways for Elias to find and rescue the children’s stolen souls. He listened with his brave little heart and his mind was saturated in trepidation.

“You are a soul seeker now, Elias Crowe,” Grandpapa so named him.

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