One of the more interesting things about the Planescape is the fact that not only can you travel around, up, and down within the planes, but one can also travel sideways, though it tends to be a rarer thing.I was reminded of this when Orlandu and I were in the Café and a local was reading “Lord of the Rings.” She didn’t seem very interested when Orlandu plopped down and read a bit behind her shoulder and then told her that Arda was a real place, and we had been there. Actually… the girl wasn’t very interested in anything that didn’t involve her in any way… and her “pet” snow leopard she claimed to have gotten from a zoo that was going out of business shared the sentiment… but that’s besides the point, and a totally different story and rant.
The truth is, that Arda is its own place, its own universe; Eru, the Ainur, hobbits, elves, dwarves etc, exist just as you and I exist. You see, with the multitude of different possibilities that sprung from the beginning of time, along with all the choices every one of us has ever made, there are splittings and rejoinings of different universes all around us. But again, I digress… the interesting part is how often stories and slices of these other universes cross each other, it is as if the authors and artists somehow see across borders to see what things could have occurred in their own reality. The funny part is how a woman sitting in a nexus of the multiverse could possible not believe that anything had a possibility of existing.
However, that being the way things are, it is a fact that Orlandu and I did, by chance happen upon Arda.
It is an interesting place, the little bit of it we saw, the forest… Eryn Lasgalen, Wood of the Greenleaves it was called, reminded me much of the forests that surrounded the palace I lived in as a child on my own plane. We wandered those woods for quite a while, passing ruins of campsites and … battlegrounds. There was a sadness to that world, scars of a taint that had been fought off within the last fifty years. I don’t know how long we wandered before we came to an abandoned fort. It was housed in one of the largest and oldest trees I had ever seen. Dusk was coming and it seemed to be a good enough place to camp for the night. The entrance spiraled below the large roots of the tree and we descended carefully, it was true enough that there was no one there at the time, but it had definitely been occupied sometime in the last few weeks.
There were many passages in those catacomb, some laced with crystals and precious metals, others plain rock. I did not doubt that one could get lost extremely easily in those caves. Orlandu did not lead me astray however, his nose knew where elves and now a man tread frequently and he led me through the caves to a set of stairs built into the tree that spiraled up to a flat. The first stars had started to come up whilst the sun had begun to set and hundreds of small butterflies danced in these higher limbs. It was truly beautiful… the whole world was. Neither Orlandu nor I heard the man come as we gazed upon the beauty of the stars of the world. To this day I do not know if it was his elven blood that made him inaudible or if it was a spell woven by the song that the sky of the world sang.
“Who are you that trespasses here?” He asked to my back, his voice was quiet, but stern… but I thought I heard a touch of regret in his words.
I turned to look at him, and he inhaled sharply a name barely escaping from his lips.
He came closer now, dropping his knife and looking at me closer.
“No… The eyes are wrong… and she left for the undying lands a quarter of a century ago… Who are you?”
Orlandu stepped out of the shadow then. “Perhaps you should sit down.” he purred slightly.
He almost fainted then, but managed to contain himself as I explained as gently as I could… in turn he told me of the war of his world that had passed in the last 50 years, and departure of the elves, and then some of the history and stories of the place. He was one of the few that came from the joining of elf and human…His mother an elf, his father a knight of a place in the south called Dol Amroth.
It might seem insignificant to some, but this ex-knight… ranger… Cliffton Pathor helped me realize more about the planes then some of my travels ever did, the significance of the multiverse, and alternative versions of myself. There were many similarities between myself and Kamara Firalkar called Olwana, but differences as well… she was no princess, but she was a lost orphan, she was a soldier, a magic user, a protector, patron of the earth. I imagine that if Kamara Firalkar had met me, we would get along, circumstances only partly make the person. I am sure there are other versions of myself out there, and I’m sure that not all of them are elves, we are reflections of one another, but none are exactly the same, they made a different choice, or grew in a different way, weren’t offered the ability to planewalk, didn’t lose their mother, stayed and was slain with her family, or became the murderer herself…
My choices should perhaps not burden me then, or rather my inability to save my family… somewhere out there… they live… and I still wander.