Amyann and I are survivors. We are not dead drowned under the underground wave, we are not dead burned by the rolling fire, good Samaritans at the orders of Yima have treated us, dried, fed and here we are. Relaxed, force-fed, serene, ready to celebrate as we should this best friend reunion.
“Amyann, my dear friend, tell me what happened when my poor body lay without a soul. Tell us about your adventures in the infra-terre. I am burning to know.
– About burning, does your arm still hurt you? The bite of the rolling fire is terrible, they say.
– I do not hurt anymore. Go, Amyann, go.
And my friend, without being asked more, has embarked on the most incredible story that can be imagined. I was only a child, I was lost in the middle of things, and I often listened to the sound of the wind. But the only wind that can be heard under the earth is the burning breath of bubbling lava sheets. But we’re not there. Let my dear Amyann tell us his story.
In the moments that followed your coma, Yima’s friends intervened. They bandaged you, strapped on a self-carrying stretcher, and the whole team set out for the Earth Center. The descent was announced long and difficult. The same evening, we encountered the first real difficulty, the crossing of the kingdom of the dwarves. Four of them are waiting for us. They do not look kind. These little beings are reputed to be suspicious, dingy, brawling and in bad faith. Yima’s men adopt a low profile, just like me. You sleep on your stretcher, you can not disturb them.
Well though. The dwarves stared at you, sniffed, probed, pinched. They raised themselves on tiptoe, they put their fingers in your nose and cried out: – We must warn the king!
On this they disappear as if by magic. Obviously you did not like them.
“I do not like that,” said Yimalin, our squad leader. When dwarves disturb the king, the worst is to be feared.
“Like six months of mold sitting in cages too small to lie down,” said Yimalotre, wincing.
We are tired, the story of the cages has broken, we lie on the ground to recover. Yimalin offers a guard tour, but no one pretends to hear his suggestion. He goes to bed. Tomorrow it will be light. Already others are buzzing like bellmen. But unlike yours, my dear Aorn, our sleep is short-lived. Unceremoniously, a troop of belligerent dwarves pulls us to sleep. They are seven, like the seven powers, like the seven Great Judges, like the seven executors of Vengeance. With their fierce expression, we can clearly see that they do not come to welcome us.
“Your sleeper is an insult to the Dwarves party,” said one of them, his eyes flashing.
“The whole Moria is seriously offended,” said another, spitting on the floor.
“Great is the anger in our ranks,” said a third, sharpening his cutlass.
“The King sends us to punish this insolent sleeper,” said a fourth, carrying an ax higher than himself.
The other three dwarves did not say anything. Prestes, they put themselves in charge of your self-mounted stretcher. And here they are who take you away, I do not know where!
“That sucks,” said Yimatri.
“It stinks of snouts,” said Yimakatre.
– Shut up ! said Yimalin. Keep your breath to run after them!
– As one man, the four Yima chase after them. They have taken the lead, but on their short legs, they tire quickly. Me too. Yimalotre caught up with them, but he caught an old satchel that left him on the floor. Yimalin is trying to revive him, but nothing to do. And here I see the dwarves stopping a little further beside a lava well. Before any of us could just cry out, the dwarves threw you into the molten rock! Farewell Aorn, farewell my brother, farewell my friend whom I love! Then I lose consciousness.
Shit! Amyann fainted! What about me ? Thrown in the lava pit? Am I dead? I pinch my hand to check. It hurts. Means I’m all right. Amyann continues his story. I will understand later.
– When I come back to me, I think I am you. The Yimas strapped me on a self-propelled stretcher, they embarked on a mad race and take me with them along a beautiful smooth-walled tunnel that goes straight down to Center Earth. The jolts of the race rock my heart with a monotonous languor. I feel pretty good, I do not have grief, I do not understand anything.
Neither do I. He should be sad, I should be dead. Amyann agrees. There comes a time when we have to give up logics. We surrender. If you can cut your head, live in your body, the old yourself is dead. We stopped the world. But Amyann, for the moment, strolls at any pump on the descent that leads to Center Terre. Indolent, it ripples at the syncopated rhythm jolts and shocks that the Yimas impose on his stretcher flying.
– How long have we continued this race, them on their legs, me on my stretcher? How many hours ? From weeks? I had lost the notion of time. Without sleeping, without eating, without drinking, without rest for a second, they ran, the valiant Yimas, they fled the curse of the Dwarves.
The moment arrived when we did not know where we were going, when and why. The moment has arrived from the world upside down. You were there, quiet on your stretcher, still asleep. But you did not rest on the ground. No. You were on the ceiling. Your skin was black. Your white clothes were black too. Near you, there was a hole in the ceiling that let in a dark light. And on each side of the hole, two dwarves stood. Head down. I could not believe it. The Yimas either. The dwarves looked at us for a long time without saying a word. And suddenly, the two together, they started laughing, laughing to no end.
– What does it mean ? You pay our heads? Is the child alive? What did you do with him? He is wounded ?
The four Yimas spoke together, which had the effect of doubling the hilarity of the ceiling dwarves. When they calmed down, they beckoned us to join them. But how ?
– Fly, they laugh. Fly, fly, you have not stolen.
That’s what we did. Without needing a gesture, our bodies floated and climbed to the ceiling where we sat laughing too. Joining the dwarves and you on your stretcher changed everything at once. Your skin was no longer black. The world upside down is not here. It is downstairs. It’s the world we were in that is reversed, not this one. The dwarves told us too. They are very different now. No more hostile. Jokes, facetious, I find them quite nice. Especially since they do not stop laughing. And I like it. The Yimas relax too. It seemed to me that you laughed just like us, shaking with hiccups in your sleep.
Hey? Aorn ? Do you hear me? Shit ! He felt asleep …