Auston, Head Gardener at the FitzAdichie Estate, looked at the ruined statue with some dismay. Forged from bronze, it was pitted and scarred by time, as well as vandalism in the distant past: a half-melted hand, an axe blow to one leg. “Her Lordship will not be too pleased about this,” he murmured to the lawn elves, who nodded in agreement. After centuries of neglect, Auston had been charged with questing the back parcels of the Duchess’s estates, to find and restore ancestral memorials. With the assistance of the local elves, he had located several memorial obelisks and minor ruins.
Of course, Her Grace had led him to believe he’d be scraping away moss and washing marble, not rebuilding a half-melted bronze figure twice a man’s height. Auston shook his head and pulled away a vine twisted around the pedestal. As soon as his fingers brushed it, the statue spoke in a booming voice.
“Behold my works, O lesser mortals!”
The elves gasped and stepped back. Auston stood and stared. “By the Gods?” he said.
“I am His Lordship Baaolruith the First, the Mighty!” continued the statue. “Breaker of the Old World, Architect of the New!”
Auston blinked and fumbled out his pocket Ancestry of the Five Royal Houses. He scanned the pages until he found Baaolruith in Her Grace’s house. The entry was brief. “Well,” he said. “He’s definitely an ancestor, but there’s not much about him. Still, he must have some importance to have an enchanted statue.”
Whether the statue heard Auston or if this was a prerecorded speech was unclear, but it continued: “I led the armies of Man into the Bright Realms and put my boot on the neck of the accursed Fey! Humanity First, Humanity Now, Humanity Forever!”
“Oh dear,” said Auston. The lawn elves had recovered a bit and now looked indignant.
“Gone are the gossamer lies woven by the elfkin, gone are their false glitter and fake gold!” It was on a bit of a tear now. “Let this statue stand as a reminder to one and all: an elf is not to be trusted!”
Auston sighed, then went to speak with the angry elves. Quiet words and a bag of coins were exchanged, and a runner sent off. Uncomfortably they all waited, while the statue continued to rant. Eventually the runner returned with a small band of brownies and gnomes. They were a rough looking lot, armed with chains, saws, and a dragon torch.
The head elf nodded at the still-talking statue, and the workers began to cut and saw. As they worked, Auston made a note on the estate map: NOTHING FOUND.
When he related the tale that evening to his family, his son frowned. “Isn’t that destroying history?”
“No,” said Auston. “The history still happened. They still teach you about the Worldbreaking in school, yes? About the battles between humans and elves, and the building of peace afterwards?” His son nodded, and Auston smiled. “Then the only ones who should be sad about the destruction of a statue are pigeons.”
About the author:
Jon Hansen is a writer, former librarian, and occasional blood donor. His work has appeared in such places as Strange Horizons and Daily Science Fiction, and most recently been accepted by Martian Magazine. He currently lives in the Boston area with his wife, son, and three insistent cats.