From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

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Fiction

Mirage-Stories

Dear Jojober,

I hope this finds you well, old friend.

I write to you from the deserts of Akosa, from a place so dry and far inland that the natives simply laugh at my tales of the sea. They call them eb’yore. Mirage-stories. I am the silly man who speaks in riddles, whose memories are dreams. Ha! If they only knew how true my stories are. If they only knew what kind of man I used to be.

You’ll notice this letter has many blank pages beyond this one. You’ve no doubt heard of it by its many names: journal, diary, dreambook, among many others. Here in the desert, they call it a dakon. By our tongues it means toward stillness. The people here write in their dakons in much the same ways we men of the sea write in our journals. But here it is more. Here it is a way of life. Here, all children of the desert write in their dakons.

I began writing in mine a few months after I settled here. There was no other choice, really—the people of the desert do not move like we do. They find their treasures in the quiet. In the stillness. It was once I had a good look around that it all began to make sense for me: Here in the desert, only the things that are still remain. The sand, the cacti, the snakes; those who expend as little energy as possible thrive in these barren wastes. Those who are frantic do not last long here. We pirates are a frantic people. Always on the move, always on the drink, always on the hunt.

But there was something else here I could not see, something that had eluded me with mere sight. There is a deeper stillness here. One that cannot be brought to you, only sought. It was when I began writing in my dakon every day that I found it for myself. It’s hard to explain, old friend. Here, it is in the quiet, in the stillness, that the desert folk find their gods. It’s strange, really. It’s as though our gods speak the same language as theirs. For it was only ever in silence that I felt a closeness to our gods. Perhaps that is the way of all gods, in the end. Or perhaps we’ve been fighting over the same ones after all. Who could ever know these things? Wouldn’t that be some bloody shame, after all our fighting?

I remember you spoke often of peace, and how undeserving we pirates are of such a thing. You had told me once that death is a pirate’s only peace. For a long time I believed you. But ever since the Howl sank to the depths, and our captain along with it, I’ve been out to prove you wrong. You joined another crew, and I left it all behind. You said you looked forward to seeing me again, for men who abandon the sea are destined to return to it. But I have been here in the desert since we parted ways at Actyr’s port. And I plan on staying.

I’m happy to say that you were wrong, my friend. I have found a bit of peace here. Some small measure of stillness. Sometimes I still feel the wobble of the sea in my legs, but always it fades. I credit my dakon for this.

Consider this a gift from an old friend. Write in it every day. Talk to it. Sit with it. Sometimes all it takes is your mere presence. I hope one day you’ll find what I have found here. Whether men like us are deserving of such things, I cannot say. That is for our gods to decide.

In the meantime, should you ever find your way here, far from that roiling sea, come find me. Ask for the silly man who speaks in riddles. I’ve no doubt you’ve more mirage-stories to tell.

In this life or the next,

Tenolo

Ernesto Fuentes

Ernie Fuentes. A young Hispanic man with short black hair and a trimmed but full black beard, looking straight ahead with a pair of mischievous brown eyes. He is sitting in front of a full bookcase and a fake plant because he can’t seem to keep real ones alive, much to his dismay.

Ernesto is a science fiction and fantasy author based out of Seattle, WA. When he’s not writing or reading, he’s usually watching cooking videos, FaceTiming his mom, trying not to let his girlfriend cave to their dog’s every wish and desire, shooting down his friends’ horrible sports takes, dying a lot in FromSoftware games, or staring longingly at the mountains surrounding Seattle. You can find him judging movies by how many beers it takes to enjoy them on his YouTube channel, Nerdy Ernie. If Twitter is more your jam, you can find him there @nerdy3rnie, where he occasionally retweets memes or, more likely, something involving the Tampa Bay Rays.