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I Want My Tears Back


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December 7th 2018

7 PM

Royal Arena, Copenhagen


The Danish winter was, as it almost always was, cold, windy and wet. Still, it was December! Christmas lights were hung all over Denmark, celebrations had started. Gifts were being bought, Santa was visiting stores. Advent calenders were being opened, and Christmas trees bought. And Christmas dinners and parties were as popular as ever. Almost every business, office or shop held one. Those had not prepared far in advance were left with little luck. Almost everyone went to one such party.


And yet, on this day, December 7th, a Friday, which would usually be one of the busiest days for Christmas dinners, they were left empty. For on this day, the Royal Arena was absolutely packed. Every single seat in the arena was filled, with children and adults of all ages. For Zombo! had come to town, to put on his frightfully spectacular Christmas show! One night only, this night only! 16.000 seats filled, all excited, all waiting for Zombo! to begin!


And something else was watching. Something older.

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The Void was hungry but not ravenous. It could be sated, and sated well, by feeding of the joy of the audience, and yet Luther LeGrasse was loathe to do so. Aside from the putrid nature of feeding on innocent joy, it would do his reviews not one shred of good. Quite the reverse, in fact. 


He put on the final touches to his Zombo! costume, adjusting the dinner jacket, smoothing down the white goatee, and putting a few dabs of make up on. He always preferred to do his own make up. Got him in character. 


"BEHOLD! ZOMBO!" he said in a deep rumbling tone to his reflection, getting into the spirit of things. 


"Tralalalalala---laaaa!" he gargled down some whiskey to help his vocal cords. "Tra-la - la - la -laaaa! BEHOLD....ZOMBO!" he rumbled in an even deeper, melodramatic, and shakespearian manner. 


Satisfied with his appearance and voice, he gave one final check of the cards and gimmicks up his sleeves, and walked to the stage. 


"BEHOLD!!!! ZOMBO!!!!" he boomed into the audience, as the flashlights and music hit him. 


"BEWARE! FOR THE CHILL OF THE DEAD TOUCHES THE NIGHT!" he rolled, his body contorting to some faux-voodoo beat stretching out of the speakers. It was meaningless garbage of course, but he delivered it well. "THE VOODOO AND HOODOO MAY HAUNT YOUR DREAMS TONIGHT...AND FOREVER!!!!"


"YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!!" he said ominously, as some dancers came on dressed as skeletons, and the beat intensified...

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The audience was dead silent, as the show began. The flash hit Zombo! on the stage, as the music played. The beat was thundering, and the flashes of pictures being taken on various smartphones were quite clear, yet not enough to disturb. Everyone was enthralled, as the music boomed and Zombo! put on his great performance.


And something else was watching. Something stranger.


He was known around the world, and for good reason. There were scares, there were laughs. A few lucky kids got invited on the stage, taking part in card tricks, or trying to escape "zombified" dancers. All a part of the act, all a part of the scare and the fun. They all returned safely to their seats, to the safety of their family.


And something else was watching. Something weirder.


Finally, with thunderous applause, the show came to a stop. With a final, thundering beat, the entire hall went dark. The great Zombo! had put on a performance that would be remembered by the attendees for a long, long time. They had been frightened, they had been awed, they had seen sleight of hand, they had heard music, seen dances, seen magic and all the strange things that happened when Zombo! was around. And as the darkness remained and the thunderous applause echoed through the great hall, something else happened. Another reason that they would all remember the evening for time to come.


For something else had been watching. Some older. Something stranger. Something weirder. Something that had taken what it wanted in the darkness.


As the lights came on, the screams began. All over the arena, children were missing. Not all, far from it, but enough. With an audience of almost 16.000 souls, it was hard not to notice several missing kids.


As riot threatened to break out in the arena, would the great Zombo! take action, or leave it to the security? The happiness that had filled the room mere moments before had turned to despair. And the Void would go hungry.

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What the dickens is that? thought Luther as he exited stage left and heard the screams. He was basking in the applause, of a show gone well, and trying to ignore the metaphysical salivation of the Void, whose appetite he knew he could not ignore for much longer. 


But now, where a feast had been laid out, famine was on the menu. He could already feel, deep down, the despair that permeated the building. 


"What happened? What happened?" he seized the nearest stage hand by the lapels and demanded. He was driven maybe by his star status and arrogance, but more pressing, a sense of horror that thundered through the atmosphere of the building. 

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What had happened? The stage hand was panicking, just as much as Luther was himself. His awe at the great Zambo! what all but disappeared, and he rattled something in Danish, almost completely incomprehensible "Børnene! Børnene er væk! Der var noget som tog dem!" He paused, shaking his head. This was Zambo! Of course he didn't speak Danish. "There's about 20 children missing! They just disappeared when the lights went out, nobody saw where they went, nobody saw them being taken! They were just gone!" 


There were little joy for the Void to feast on here. It would starve.


And yet, at the corner of Luther's eye, there were something. A small measaure of a joy. He just managed to see a small glowing figure disappear into one of the exits from the arena itself, in the direction of the exits to the great building. 

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"Children?" this was a horror beyond what he had steeled himself for. And who was that mysterious glowing figure?


Whatever the case, this was something not for Luther, nor Zombo!


He dashed into his dressing room, and in the blink of an eye (or faster) changed costume. 


Not Luther, no. Nor Zombo, even. 


This was a case for the Sultan of Sorrow!


A case for the Duke of Despair!


A case for....Lament!


His top hat was magnificently tall and purple, his eyes red, his beart long and hite. Bones adorned his black costume. Lament was much much more fearsome than Zombo. He was Zombo, squared!


He pushed the mindless Void to his skin, and faded...not completely from view, but he was faint, hard to see, blurred and obscured. The living darkness that was Lament then dashed into the building, to find out what the dickens was happening. And the first place to go was by following that mysterious figure!



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The exits to the building were not far from the exit to the arena. As the Duke of Despair chased, he saw the faint light outside the glass doors, which were slowly closing. It was already far away, but in the relative darkness outside the royal arena, the light stood out all the more. It was heading South, towards the apartment buildings that stood between the Royal Arena and the great nature area called Fælleden, other the Commons in English. Wherever it moved, the street lights would turn off, leaving behind a path of darkness.


Maybe the Sultan of Sorrow would be able to catch up, but unless it changed direction, its course was clear.

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Huff Puff...huff puff!


The Void granted Lament many esoteric powers, both mental and physical, but unfortunately not flighth or super speed. He himself was in good shape, but he was not an athlete. 


By dickens! I am a showman not a sprinter!


At least he could spy where the thing was going. But really, he wasn't going to catch up on foot, not without giving himself a hernia and busting a lung. That, darlings, simply was not how the great Luther LeGrasse did things. No!


It was time to hail a cab. 


Or any car!


The Void shrank inside, an he became quite visible again. He stopped in the middle of the road, and dramatically indicated by magnificent gesture, that assistance most urgent and serious was needed. 


"Halt! For the sake of the chidren! Halt!" he called out in a booming voice to the approaching headlights, attempting to look both important and goodly. 

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The light moved over the small construction yard near the Royal Arena, as Lament stopped the car. As it just so happened, it was a cab. Very dark blue, with the word TAXI written on it in a few places, as well as the company's slogan and number to call. "Hvad fanden!? Er du sindssyg, mand!" the driver shouted after rolling down his window. He paused, looking over Lament. "Hvad fanden skal du forestille?" The driver was a man in his 50'es. He had a full beard, which was once a dark brown, but was now dotted with grey, almost silver streaks. His hair was thinning on the top. He was wearing a dark jacket, but now he seemed to realize what Lament had been saying, and that he was talking English.


"Wait! What children? What are you talking about?" His Danish accent was heavy, but Lament could understand him, at least. 

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"Dear Sir, I must be swift as as a sparrow!" said Lament, dramatically. "Some villain has abducted children! I am in pursuit!"


He pointed down the street to the dimmed lights. 


"There! A tunnel of darkness! Pray, we must follow!" he said. "Into the mouth of despair! Please, good sir! I need your wheels and your hands...or if you would not give chase, then your wheels!"


It was a bold move, of course, and dramatic. And rather crazy. But Lament was a master of the art and craft of theatre, his voice rumbled deep, his brow communicated desperation and nobility, and his voice was full of righteousness. 


Mayhap he might succeed!

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The light was past the more or less open construction yard now. On the other side, it was moving alongside a number of rather artistically designed apartment buildings, the lights shutting down as it moved. It was almost to a small lake that separated the Ørestad area from Fælleden. Lament would not have long to pursue, before it was gone.


The taxi driver blinked once at the costumed madman before him. Perhaps Lament's words were a bit too flowery for someone where English was his second language, or perhaps he was just staring at the crazy man, but the end result was clear: The passenger door opened, and the driver yelled "Get in! Der er ingen som skal kidnappe børn når jeg er her!"


The moment that Lament had entered, he pressed his foot to the floor. The taxi screeched to a start, as the driver turned violently, almost flying over the construction yard. He was obviously not about to waste any time, and in moments they had crossed the construction yard, flying down the road after the light that was nearing the water.



Translations, including previous post, in order (sorry, forgot):

"What the devil! Are you crazy, man?" 

"What the devil are you supposed to be?"

"Nobody is kidnapping any children when I'm around!"

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"Aha! The Chase is afoot!" roared Lament as the Taxi hurled itself through the street. 


"You sir, are bold and brave! Neither craven nor coward! May you hold your head high when telling this tale to your Grandchildren by the fireside!" he said graciously to the taxi driver who was, as far as Luther was concerned, a good man. 


He leant his head out the side of the taxi, holding on to his fantastically tall and fantastically splendid tall hat. 


"HALT!" he shouted at the...well, whatever it was. 


He hoped he did not have to swim! Brrrr! The water would be icy cold, but the Void would at least sustain him from the chill. Or the need to breathe, come to that....

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"Jeg aner ikke hvad du siger, men i lige måde, kammerat!" the driver roaded, his car responding with a roar of its own as he shifted gears. The approach was quick, even as the light darted out towards the water, stopping just shy of it, looking back as the taxi came to a screeching halt, sliding to a stop a few meters away from the light.


Now that they were close, Lament could see it clearly. It was a young woman, almost impossibly beautiful, incredibly light and almost glowing. She was turned towards them now, but then, with a small laugh, she turned away, and ran across the water. With her back turned, Lament could see that her back was hollow. Clearly, she was not human.


"Elverfolk!" the driver gasped, pointing at her. "That's just a myth! Just what's going on here?"



"No idea what you're saying, but likewise, buddy"


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Now, Luther LeGrasse knew a little about occultism and myths; he had to superficially scan the wikipedia entries in order to get his act together. But...the real deal was something else. 


Still, he kept his cool. It would simply not do let anyone know of his shameful ignorance. 




Now, a more immediate problem presented itself. Namely, she was running across the water with gaity, and taxi's tended to sink in the water. 


Still, damned if Lament would give up the chase...


He jumped out of the car and dived into the water...It was not cold to his skin, for the Void warmed his bones, and he did not need to breathe, for the Void fed his blood. 


He dived down, down...perhaps if the Elf did not see him, she might stop. For he surely would not match her speed by swimming. 



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"Go get it!" the driver shouted after Lament, as he dove into the water... only to find that it was only about half a meter deep.


The Elf has slowed down considerably. It had not seen Lament diving into the water, did not expect the humans to follow it, as it danced across the water. It was not far. There were maybe a hundred meter from one side of the small man made lake to the other, the sides of the lake covered by square grey stone about half a meter above the water's surface. 


So, the Elf danced, and Lament snuck closer, moving under the water if he could. Would he make it in time? Would he be discovered?

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Lament had been expeting a few feet of water at least! He found himself on the bottom of the not very deep lake with a surprised look on his face. 


Oh well...roll with it!


He stayed an inch from the bottom and swam towards the Elf as quickly as he could. The...Elf? I still can't believe it! But appearances can be deceptive! was dancing and distracted, so the chase was not over yet. Not if he had anything to do with it. 


He did not need to breathe; he had that advantage - he could stay underwater as long as it took. He wished the lake had been deeper, given him more cover, but...as he knew from the stage, if misfortune happened, you had to improvise from the script!

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The Elf danced across the water, on her tip toes, stopping and standing for moment, before moving on. At first, it seemed that she did not even notice Lament. The water was dark, after all, and he was moving with as much stealth as he could. And she was distracted by her dance. Even below the water, Lament could see the Elf's almost impossible beauty. It was not an Elf like something from Dungeons & Dragons or a Lord of the Rings, or most modern media that would showcase such beings. No, this was something else, something older, something pure


And then she stopped, clasping her hands to her mouth as she finally spotted the Sultan of Sadness that lurked beneath the water, stopping her dance, she took some steps away. But, she appeared curious. She did not run. Not yet.

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Lament judged that sudden movements would only make her move as suddenly, or more so. She was fast as lightning! At least, faster than he was. 


So he stood, slowly, dripping wet. He had, to his annoyance, dropped his purple hat by the lakeside. 


I must pick that up!


"Verily and forsooth..." he said, dramatically, stroking his damp wet (and false white beard). "What manner of creature are thee? and what theft have you begat this evening?" he asked. 


"Children have gone missing, and you flee from the scene of the crime!"

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The Elf watched Lament with an amused expression. She stood her ground on the water, while keeping her distance from the dripping wet man. "Oh, you are not from around here, are you? Neither of you, I mean." Her response was evasive. She let out a small laugh at the dripping wet man before her, obviously amused. If Lament could feel cold, he would probably be shivering soon. He quickly realized that she was not speaking English, and yet he could understand her just fine.


"I am of the Elven people, milord." She bowed gently, before standing straight again. She still seemed amused by this interaction. "We are of the land, we have lived here long before man, and we will be here long after." There was a certain arrogance to her voice. She was completely sure of herself and her statement.


She shook her head. "I did not flee, milord. I had enjoyed the show, but now, I had to go home. But I could not resist this, the moon above the water, it called to me, it called to the dance." She seemed to evade the question of the children, for now.

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Neither of us? Well now, she's an astute one!


"Did not flee? Ah, so ye ran towards a new, brighter dance, did you?" he reorted. Somehow, he was rather irritated that moonlight on a lake would seem appealing after his own fantastic show. It vexed him. 


"Well, milady, I am sorry my performance was so meagre a meal!" he said, unable to contain the insult to his art. 


A meal? well now, I wonder what the food was...he wondered, inspired by his own words. 


"I wonder what you feasted on? Joy? Delight? The tears of children?" he jibed, trying to provoke a response. 



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The Elf looked offended. "I ran towards home, milord! The show had ended. I had no need for the misery of mankind!" She stepped back, towards the other part of the lake. "Your performance was exquisite, unlike any I have seen! But how could I linger, when man would weep at his loss?"


The pronounciation of her words were flowery, and yet, she edged further towards the shore. "I do not seek the tears of children, milord!" There was something in her tone. it was clear that she knew more than she was telling. Still, the Duke of Despair would have to act quick! To say the right words, to draw the right response! For the Elf did not seem willing to stay!

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"Then who did?" asked Lament, insistent and desperate. If the elf ran, he doubted he could catch her. 


"Please, I beseech thee!" he rumbled. "This is children we are talking about, innocent by any measure, full of delight and promise!"


And tantrums and tears and all manner of horrors too he added to himself, but kept his thoughts to himself. He was too young to have children. He wasn't sold on the idea at any age, if truth be told. 


"Please, help me! two dozen children went missing after the children, and I would seek them. They have homes and families to return to. If you know anything, anything at all, please help me!"

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The Elf paused. She looked up at the moon, following an unseen line to its reflection in the water. "... I will be punished." She was hesitating. She closed her eyes, looking down. Maybe Lament's words had an effect on her? Maybe he had said just the right thing? Or maybe it was something else? It was hard to say.


"I cannot tell you who stole the children. And I cannot tell you why. That is something you will have to find out for yourself." She looked up, the hint of a smile playing over lips. "But I can point you in the right direction." She turned, away from him again. She extended one arm, pointing out into the darkness of the commons. A thick fog was starting to spread in the darkness of the open meadows, hills, bogs and forest. "The bog wife is brewing tonight. A feast fit for a king, I wager. Go into her fog. Maybe you can find her. Maybe she can help you."

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Punished, eh? By whom, I wonder...and why? Luther clearly had a lot to understand about Faeriefolk. Providing, of course, that this was not some clever trick. He certainly knew enough about sleight of hand and showmanship to know that appearances could be deceiving. The art of deception was redirection. 


In any case, atleast he had a road to take...although it be quite the gamble!


What was this fog anyway? Where was this fog? Why was this fog? And who was the bog wife that knew all the answers?


"Verily and forsooth, and thank ye for thy aide, fair lady. I shall venture yonder!" he bowed, deeply. He wished he wasn't so wet, but at least the Void, in its grumbling hungry way, kept him warm. 


And, his course thusly determined, and so to his will, he ventured forth, into the yonder!

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The Elf stayed behind, watching as Lament moved into the depths of the fog that covered the Amager Commons. The smile had fallen from her face.


The fog was thick. Almost impossibly so. Lament could see maybe ten meters ahead, when the light of the moon fell just right. All he could do was search for this bog wife, that the Elf had mentioned. The ground beneath his feet varied between being solid, but covered in wet grass, to marsh that he almost sunk into. It was eerily quiet. This was a place of nature, all but untouched by man, even if Lament had not made it far from the buildings. And yet, not a sound. 


His search led to to little, and soon he was hopefully lost in the fog, and yet... he heard a sound. A woman's voice, humming in the darkness, humming a melody that he could not place.

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