A peaceful tribe
The Tolfies were residents of a village in a desolate part of the Planet Elfia. They lived on a small foot, minding their business for most of the time, and were as such not much heard of outside of their immediate sphere. Those who knew them were few in numbers, mostly traders who had passed through their town on one of the long hauls from the provincial power center of Zymbiad in the north to Coltapole, the southern capital, which had direct links to other parts of the galaxy.
These little folks were rich in more ways than one, although they seldom bothered to think about that let alone talk about it. Only two miles west of the town lay the hardened granite reservoirs, which were oftentimes referred to simply as “The Caves,” even though this was a truth with modification. The known passages into this massive stone and granite complex were few, and there were always those in government and commerce that toyed with the idea of blowing new ones. Monster Mountain was the official name, and since the rumor had it that a real monster resided in there, no one had dared blow their way further inside of the interior.
Tolfies have always been goodhearted, trusting, and good-natured in every
respect; showing complete trust in strangers, and even demonstrating a
surprising willingness to forgive those who had crossed them. Anyone who wanted
to learn about how to gain access to The Caves merely had to lodge with them for
a few nights, ask for a guided tour, and soon enough a team of 5-6 willing
Tolfies would volunteer to accompany the treasure hunters to the
Another source of wealth
Their second source of wealth was a large lake situated about 8 miles due east, and still within their jurisdiction. So still and silver shiny was this lake that it might as well have been filled with oil or some other such thick substance than water. Princess Xayon, at the age of 12, had gone swimming down there many years ago, her long black hair down her back as she walked from the shore towards the center, suddenly to disappear. The Tolfies, which cannot swim, had been panic-stricken, tears streaming down their compact faces as they hoarsely gasped their prayers for her reemergence, her survival.
The Princess was no Tolfie, of course, she wasn’t even of this planet. Accompanied by her entourage of some 70 servants and representatives, she had been visiting the planet from Ombion, which was the 3rd closest neighbor in this galaxy. The stop in the village had been a spontaneous decision on her part, the lake had so hexed her that she insisted that they stop and that she, accompanied only by the Tolfies and no one from her entourage, go for a swim in it.
“I’ll be your Princess forever, your lake will always be in my blood! It’s for intergalactic friendship, comradeship will take precedence over war.”
“But Princess,” the alderman had cautioned in a whisper. “It’s completely unprecedented, no man or woman ever swam in that lake before.”
“I’m neither woman nor man, I’m the Keeper of Ombion,” Princess Xayon had
giggled, as she undressed and started running towards the lake, soon to be
followed by 50 Tolfies, which aren’t particularly good runners. Sport was never
in their blood, as they have always preferred to ponder upon things – as opposed
to actually doing anything.
In memory of which…
Today, and this is some 125 years later, there are two annual delegations coming in from Ombion each year. They reside in hostels within the village for two days while paying homage to their beloved Xayon, the loss of whom they are yet to recover from. All day, they spend by the lakeside, praying and singing songs in her honor, so that she not be lonely down their in the abyss. At night, the Tolfies light up a huge bonfire, and then everyone who can walk, drive or crawl will gather for a large meal, shedding a few tears while thinking about what they have lost and won.
“Your Princess sacrificed herself for peace in our time,” a Tolfie once remarked. “We are low, bearded people, someone whom you – in all of your well-deserved smoothness – would normally view with the utmost apprehension. Xayon showed the way, she undressed right in front of us and ran down to swim in our lake. So now you are here, if she hadn’t died that day, none of you would have been here, and – who knows, our planets might have been at war?”
“Hear!” the people from Ombion would then shout, as soon as the translation went through. “She died for our sake, we know that, it is just that we miss her so very much.”
“As do we,” said the Alderman’s wife, who was the prettiest of the lot. She showed no sign of aging, which was a bit peculiar given that Tolfies in general tend to age pretty quickly and then stabilize in middle age, until they suddenly crumble to their death at the age of 80 or so.
“Which is why I go down there every morning, about 6 a.m.,” she continued.
“You do?” the alderman said with a grin. “I didn’t even know that.”
“”That’s when you are snoring away in your tent,” she said. “You are supposed to be in command around here, but your own wife is too bright and too quick for you, no?”
As she said this, one of the men from Ombion – a trade representative – stood up, went over to her, and put his right hand on her head. “Your hair,” he said softly, “it’s different.” He bent forward to touch her face, and then he frowned. “Your face, it’s too smooth for a Tolfie, with all due respect. What is your secret?”
“It’s the lake,” the Alderman replied. “She goes swimming in it every morning crack of dawn. She has Xayon’s youth.”