The path was long, but pleasant – no rocks or roots to make the young man stumble. He recognized many of the plants by their smell from his childhood with the elves and could name each one. He had asked his tutor once, “Why does every flower have a name, but I don’t?” “It is because,” the tutor explained, “everything receives its name from the Great King. He gave you a name but you don’t remember it and we did not learn it when you came to us. Someday He will tell you.”
For all the wisdom the elves possessed, the freckle-faced lad was a mystery to them. They had found him alone as a baby on the border of their colony. He was nearly dead, and they nursed him back to health, but the strength of his legs was never recovered. No medicine, spell, or song could heal the weakness.
The laughter of the streams that flowed down the hill reminded the boy of the only home he had ever known, and he missed it. He missed his friends and all the laughter and music. But he knew he had to take this journey, and as weary as he was, he finally found himself at the large front gate.
“Yes? What do you want?” the doorman asked directly, but not in a harsh tone.
“I- I wish to speak with the Great King,” Rusty said, suddenly very unsure that this was a good plan.
“Right this way,” the doorman responded and led him into the throne room. It was not large, but very elegant, with golden candelabras glistening light that reflected off the polished marble floor and a crimson red velvet carpet that led straight to the throne of-
“The Great King!” Rusty gasped. “Your Majesty! If you please, I- I have a song to play for you!” Quickly, before any protest could be spoken, he fumbled for his whistle, put it to his lips, and began to play the Elvish song.
But curiously, when he blew the first note, it wavered, then screeched, then plunged, then weakly warbled, and then choked. He stopped in embarrassment, licked his lips, and tried again, but again the noise that ensued was coarse and vulgar, painful to both the ears and the soul. His cheeks burned with shame, and he stood silently with his gaze on the carpet under his feet, waiting for the King to cast him out.