“We have been living together happily without conflicts here, you are very welcome”, said the girl that they called Enco. “But wherever I have been to, I only found rejection and failure”, said Dou, the frail looking boy. “He must have gone through a lot of trouble…”, whispered the Gossi sisters, “but he doesn’t seem like-worthy”, they spoke in hushed voices. “Tut tut! We’ll help you, Enco can fix ya up flat”, said Cour, Enco’s brother. Dou was welcomed into the cozy looking tavern by the inhabitants. Enco quickly understood that Dou needed friends. She requested Quiro and Konfy to help him let go of his fears. Especially Quiro was instructed to teach Dou to let go of his difficult manners and learn to make friends.
“It appears that the virus is wiping away the nearby taverns! Have you heard that Cour?”, asked aunt Susi, “…and wherever it goes the place becomes willfully lifeless! it loses connection with the other taverns and they can’t get help from outside either”, she added with a muffled voice.
“Well, it will be taken care of, that’s why our oldies Acceto and Contena are touring the places, as much as they can and you know they could heal anything!”, replied Cour. “But they are not here right now, doesn’t that make you worried”, whimpered Susi. “As long as I am not infected, I can take care of this tavern, be with me Streno and Skella?”, Cour lifted his arms asking for resonance from the two most dexterous inhabitants of the place that kept it running. They nodded in unison as Enco kept a watchful eye from a distance. “Looks like everyone wants to impress Enco, such a beautiful girl she is, Streno dotes her, doesn’t he?”, winked Susi. “Huh! Streno has to work with me first”, Cour was decisive.
As the inhabitants spent some more days keeping the tavern without conflicts, news kept coming in, “…by the slippery Gossis, they can’t contain themselves and will spread the infection one way or the other”, cried Aunt Susi. “I told you not to let the Gossis go out of the tavern and bring back horrendous stuff to aunt Susi”, Cour yelled at the guardian of the tavern they called Restraino. “Eh, ekksyoozme sir, they were very persuasive, they pleaded with me to let them out just once…”, replied Restraino in his usual apologetic tone. “Now look at the melodrama! This is needless work for me, hey sis, calm her down will ya? Confy, do you have some of the potion uncle Acceto gave you last time she got these fits?”, Cour spoke loudly to keep up the spirits of everyone and not let aunt Susi cause a panic attack in the tavern. “Look at his muscles…”, the Gossi sisters kept giggling at and distracting Streno. “Yo Streno, stay focused please”, chided Skella.
“Btw what’s with the drama? What petrifies aunt Susi so much?”, asked Quiro a couple of days later. “Ever since she started her fit, even Dou started behaving weird, he has hurt Konfy twice already and didn’t even apologize”, added Quiro. “Ah it’s nothing, the Gossis came back with a disturbing news that the nearest tavern has been taken down by the new virus, and it has turned the inhabitants against each other.”, he then lowered his voice and said, “…this virus seems to draw its energy via conflict and spreads itself via the Gossi kind! Susi thinks one of them has already caught the infection. Acceto never liked the Gossis, but he was too kind to drive them away completely”.
They heard a loud thud on the door, and to their dismay Acceto and Contena walked in, badly wounded. “We visited the other taverns to help further our kind, but Gredo was too strong to tackle. We were badly wounded in our nearest tavern, Cour. We couldn’t draw power from our tavern to give it to them, have you taken in a new entrant that poisoned the place?”, Acceto paused as Cour looked at Dou suspiciously. “The virus was attacking everyone else but kept nourishing Gredo. Gredo attacked the connecting channels of the tavern and kept telling the inhabitants that they don’t need help from outside. But also he slowly ushered in conflict, poor souls!”, Acceto was barely able to catch his breath, whereas Contena lay unconscious. “Enco, Konfy scan the tavern one more time and secure all the doors, take Streno along, quick, quick!”, Cour ordered deliriously.
“Before I pass out…”, Acceto spoke with difficulty, “…we never die, you know that. Tell Enco and Konfy to take special care of us and nourish us back to fullness, Streno needs to hold up too. It is only a matter of time that the virus would infest this tavern. Look over there, one of the Gossi sisters have been infected, they will start to assume the Gredo nature inviting the virus to step in as well slowly. You can’t stop it now, Cour. The name of the virus is Versuis, it will put you also to test”, said Acceto before he passed out.
One of the Gossi sisters soon turned in to Gredo and killed the other sister as soon as he appeared, “we don’t need you anymore, I am enough for the house”. The same night when Cour was kept busy taking care of the other inhabitants, Gredo let Versuis slip in. “He bribed me and offered a vacation”, said Restraino with his head hung in shame, to the utter dismay of Quiro and Cour. Gredo killed Quiro with an effortles slice of his blade. He then addressed Dou who was beginning to look at Gredo with devotion, “boy! Don’t let anyone tell you that you are weak, you have the right to question anybody in this place and have whatever you want”, he laughed rudely.
Streno was the next target of Gredo and Versuis. “Once Streno is weakened, we will bring Cour to his knees and this tavern will be fully ours”, they schemed. “Let us release the full might of Dou on Streno, the boy doesn’t know how much destructive power he has within himself”, Versuis suggested and added, “…but you know better Gredo, you are my star”. Dou gradually started wearing down on Streno and the impact immediately started showing on Skella too.
Cour didn’t give up hope, but he was beginning to get tired of this ordeal. “Oh why did we let in Dou in the first place, why did we not kick out the Gossis before, and we should have taken care of the old man Restraino, may be Enco you didn’t give him enough attention!”, he wailed with his shoulder resting on Enco.
“I was willing to trust Dou to make him become like Quiro, but all is not lost. Now now! If the man of the house goes down, then there would be no hope for the rest of us, would there?”, Enco smiled genuinely as she recollected a happy memory. All inhabitants of the tavern paused in their tracks for a moment as if a pulse of inspiration swept past through them. “How beautiful you are sis, your smile radiates such power, and gives me hope!”, said Cour. “Thank you! Restraino is key. Acceto used to joke around in his healthy times…”, she said as she gently brushed the grey hair covering his tired face lying in her lap, “…’Enco, if the tavern gets taken down ever, befriend Restraino, give him nourishment. He will shield the others from negative influences, and Cour will gain some time to fight back, and in time, we will rise again…seek help from the channels too for gaining strength quickly’”.
“You are right! I will have to regroup our lads, let me start with Restraino. But before Dou completely kills Streno and Skella, please give them some cover”. So saying Cour rose and stepped forth with determination looking for Restraino. Dou fired a boulder at him, but Cour was still reverberating with the positivity from his sister Enco and the boulder smashed into pieces as it hit Cour. Dou ran for cover. Gredo asked Versuis to deplete Cour’s health before he sided with Restraino, but Cour held on.
A major battle ensued between the camp of Gredo, Versuis aided by Dou and Cour, Restraino aided by Konfy. With Restrino shielding the powerful assaults from Gredo and Versuis, Cour focused on helping Enco bring back Acceto and Contena to life. Enco also leaned to the remnant lively channels of the tavern connected to the other healthy taverns and drew in some energy to breath it into Acceto and Contena. After several days of persistence, Acceto and Contena finally showed signs of recuperation.
With Confy stepping up to take care of Acceto and Contena further, Enco walked daintily into the battlefield, shining brilliantly with new found energy and enthusiasm. Cour knew that the battle has been won and he signaled to Restraino, “watch my sister speak now”. Enco looked with kindness to Gredo and Versuis, “we have regrouped, our lifeline is back, and it is time that you drop your negative influences. Oh Gredo! face Contena with openness and you will be transformed into the kind that are known as the Aspiros!”. “You’re bluffing”, said Gredo, “the Aspiros are stories of the past, they are legend and don’t exist for real”. But he couldn’t resist the beautiful appeals of Enco and dropped his guard. “Oh Versuis! face Acceto with openness and you will help bring new light to this tavern”, she said.
As Acceto and Contena assumed their previous glorified forms, they started absorbing Gredo and Versuis painlessly. “Should he still have grey hair, is that a trend?”, Cour winked at Enco pointing at Acceto. “Do you think they are gone forever”, Quiro spoke cautiously appearing from behind. “For now dear, for now!”, said Acceto, “let’s take care of each other and help Restraino get Enco’s best attention going forward. Most importantly, let us keep our channels healthy, and this tavern will remain without any further conflicts. ”, he smiled at Enco.
Cast – in the order of appearance:
Enco – Encouragement & inner inspiration
Dou – (self)Doubt & Insecurity, inhibitors to one’s willpower
Cour – Courage & Faith
Gossis – Gossips, spending time in activities not aligned to one’s goal
Quiro – Wonder & enquiry – means to acquire knowledge
Konfy – Confidence
Aunt Susi – Suspicion
Acceto – Acceptance without judgement, being alive to reality
Contena – Contentment, the foundation for greatness
Streno – Strength
Skella – acquired skills
Restraino – restraint, will to focus on the right things
Gredo – greed, selfishness
Connections/Channels to tavern – interdependence with others and things around, taking (and giving) help & inspiration from (to) outside
Versuis – judgmental comparison (Versus), not living in the current moment
Aspiros – aspiration