The Legend of Erosia
Some people believe Erosia doesn’t exist. Some believe the only way to get there is to find it in a dream. Others think the only way to see it is to believe in it, and that a non-believer could sail their boat right through the islands, while a believer might see the Erosian islands in the same spot. It is up to you to decide what to believe, and you may call me mad if you wish. All I am doing is recounting Erosia the way I remember it and sharing my memories with you.
In Erosia, there is no such thing as marriage or divorce; only love. There is no such thing as money; only giving and receiving, which are equally fulfilling. There is no such thing as heterosexuality or homosexuality; only love and passion. Children bear the surname of their mothers, because a mother carries a child for nine months. The royal family is the Valentines- therefore, every day is Valentine’s Day, and every moment is a chance to explore passion and celebrate love.
The Valentines were known for their lust for life, passion, and artistic sensibilities. It was rumored that the Valentines descended from vampires. The ethics of responsibility were culturally instilled in all Erosians, so that all Erosians took it upon themselves to contribute to the flourishing of their people; but it was up to the Valentines to organize, to make sure all necessary duties were being fulfilled, and to provide counseling and make education available. Most Erosians built small cabins or slept outside- the land was the property of all; but the Valentine palace, and the nearby Valentine castles, were the permanent residence of the Valentines. Although the Valentines saw to it that there were warm quarters throughout Erosia with fireplaces available to all Erosians to sleep in the cold winters, the Valentine castles themselves were available only to the Valentines and their guests. This was essential: the Valentines needed space to remain organized, harness their special powers, and talk amongst themselves.
There was a magical wall around the mainland of Erosia. Few could pass through it. Erosians from the outer islands could not penetrate this magic to get to the mainland. Only magical gypsys and the elderly Olivia Valentine could pass through this gate. Olivia’s castle was located on the edge of the mainland, with one side inside the mainland and one on the opposite side, so that Erosians from the outer islands could knock on her back door and Erosians from the mainland could knock on the front.
The greatest Queen Erosia ever knew was Queen Onyx Valentine. She was beautiful, powerful, and intent upon being just and fair. She was beloved by all people as well as her family. When she gave birth to her first son, Prince Ruby Valentine, she died in childbirth.
Since royalty could only be passed down through the mother, and only a woman can rule Erosia, there was no successor to the throne. Women in Erosia were not expected to announce who the fathers of their children were; and Onyx had never announced who had fathered her son before she died. Many men claimed to be Prince Ruby’s father.
Ruby’s family hated him because he had killed the queen. Erosians threw stones at him and mocked him, chanting “Ruby killed the queen” when he was a child. Ruby was born with lighter hair and a thinner, smaller frame than many of the Valentines. As a result, he always felt left out of society and sought solitude. Paradoxically, he was expected to prove himself worthy of his royal heritage- as the only child of the Queen, he was supposed to be an example of organization and power; however, he was also mocked and belittled. He grew up with a deep sense of shame, addicted to freedom, obsessed with evading his royal duties and escaping expectation, terrified of needing anybody because he would inevitably be abandoned, and worse, inevitably bring ruin to those who loved him as he did to his mother. He decided early on that he would not speak, except in poetry, writing and letters. Words in conversation only gave people ammunition to make fun of him, and revealed thoughts that were too dark and lonely for others to accept. Words that were worth saying were better kept in writing, where they could be spoken most thoughtfully, and presented to a worthy recipient of a meaningful letter.
As Ruby grew into manhood, he began to harness his special power, which was to draw the soul out of people and things through his touch. When he touched a guitar with his hands, the musical dreams of the musicians who played that particular guitar seemed to soar through the strings. Guitarists from all over Erosia allowed Ruby to play their guitars so that they could hear the music of their dreams. Ruby could also tap into the dreams of the people around him, and play them on his guitar. His music was a reflection of the deepest dreams of those around him.
The power of Ruby’s hands did not stop with his guitar. Ruby’s touch was a danger to women. The moment he touched a woman, he became the man of their dreams; turning into everything they wanted from a man. Ruby, however, lost interest in women quickly. He constantly yearned for inspiration so that he could have someone to give him dreams to fulfill. Once he had fulfilled a person’s dreams, he would move on to the next, and in turn, the person whose dreams he had fulfilled could think of nothing but him; because nobody else seemed as perfect and true to their dreams. It was as though his touch robbed people of their soul vampiricly; and he digested their soul to feed his hunger, and then needed more and more. In the rare instance that a woman was enough of a dreamer to find new dreams and recover from obsession with Ruby, he would then be drawn to her again, because she had new dreams for him to swallow; and the cycle would repeat. Every time he touched a woman he seemed to reenact his mother’s murder; although the women did not physically die, some part of their soul became his forever, and was lost in the sea of broken dreams.
One morning, Ruby heard a lovely voice singing through the trees in the forest, and he responded by imitating her melody on guitar. They played and sang back and forth for hours; eventually, Ruby completely dominated the exchange, and had her imitating him. To his shock, she managed to harmonize with him, so that the Music belonged to both of them equally. When they finally saw each other, they were on opposite sides of a stream in the forest.
The singer, Erica Xenne, was a young, virginal Muse dressed all in white, reflecting the moods and emotions of others, presenting them back to the world in song, but never absorbing anything. She had lived on an outer island of Erosia. Her parents did not make love, but played music together and harmonized so beautifully that a baby was born from the power of their music. Once she was born, they decided to start making love, but never had a child again.
On the outer islands, people did not learn the manners and etiquitte which those who were acquainted with the Valentines on the mainland of Erosia had learned. Erica was like an animal, climbing trees, sleeping in muddy caves, running around barefoot chasing tigers and singing to birds. She met a gypsy named Oriana one day, who loved her singing. Gypsys could pass through the magical wall around the mainland of Erosia; so Oriana took Erica through this wall, believing that the Valentines and other Erosians would love her beautiful music.
Ruby, who absorbed all inspiration, digested it and sent it to ruin, admired Erica’s ability to remain pure. And in turn, Erica admired Ruby’s depth and range of emotion, and his dedication to art that was so deep that he refused to cheapen his thoughts with words. They spent much time together playing music, harmonizing, inspiring each other. Ruby had finally discovered his endless sea of inspiration that he had sought for so long. He was afraid to touch her, because he did not want to pull the dreams from inside her, leave her empty, and lose this source of inspiration which he had grown to need. However, he longed for her so deeply that he found himself making love to more women than ever, trying to fill the void in his heart that only grew as he became closer to Erica and they did not make love.
Erica felt hurt that Ruby was more attracted to other women, yet rejected her. She kept trying to be with him, and he kept turning her down. She did not know why, since he would never speak except in song. She tried to interpret the pain and lust in his guitar lines that answered her singing and piano playing; but she could not make sense of why he would not touch her. Finally one day she found him making love to Oriana, who was her only friend on the mainland of Erosia. She disappeared.
Ruby was devestated, and begged Oriana through passionate letters to help him find Erica. He also made his own notebook and filled the entire book with a long letter to Erica, explaining his heritage, his problem with touching women, and his undying love for her. Oriana lead him through the magical wall to the outer island of Erosia, as she was sure that the Muse had somehow found her way back there. Sure enough the Muse was there.
Ruby sneaked into Erica’s sleeping chamber, which was a small room in a cabin she slept in during the winters. He seduced her with his guitar and left the letter in his guitar case. They made love. While they were making love, Erica passed out, feeling drained, as Ruby had sucked the energy from her. Meanwhile, Ruby felt empty and bored; needing more inspiration, feeling the usual sense of urgency to escape and feed on something new. This was the worst devestation Ruby had ever felt. If he could not love Erica Xenne, he could love nobody. He ceased to believe in love. At that moment, when his faith in love escaped him, he suddenly disappeared.
Erica woke up alone, with nothing but Ruby’s guitar. She hugged the guitar in agony for weeks, assuming he had left of his own accord and purposely abandoned her, and hoping he would return. Finally, in anger, she decided to hunt Ruby down and tell him that he broke her heart. She grabbed his guitar and paraded through the snow to the house of Olivia Valentine; the only gate between the outer islands and the mainland of Erosia.
Olivia explained to Erica what had happened. Ruby had been exiled from Erosia for failing to believe in love, and he had disappeared. Erica resolved that she was going to chase him down and bring him back to Erosia. Olivia warned Erica that once she stepped outside the gates of Erosia, she would lose her magic powers. Also, she told her that nobody had EVER left Erosia and managed to return, because out in Dystopia (the terrible, frightening world outside of Erosia), nobody believed in love for long, and all hope and faith was destroyed. Once a person had been corrupted, they could no longer return to Erosia.
Erica insisted she did not care and had to be with Ruby, and her love was powerful enough that she would be able to restore his faith and return to Erosia with him. Olivia reluctantly agreed to transport her to Dystopia.
Erica found herself in an overgrown forest filled with poison ivy and fallen trees, carrying nothing but Ruby’s guitar, cold, barefoot and alone. She tried to sing into the trees, but her voice was gone. She could speak only in a whisper. She had lost her magic power.
Nevertheless, Erica continued on, searching for her Prince. She found him in a Dystopian town called Nyack, in a bar. He was drunk, smoking, stoned, and wrecked. He stumbled on to the stage, with a dirty, disheveled guitar. It was clear that he could no longer magically pull the dreams forth from a guitar. However, in the short time he had spent in Dystopia, he had mechanically began to learn to play the instrument from scratch, and his agony, passion, yearning, lust, and loneliness still sang through the strings of the guitar.
Erica tried to give him back his guitar from Erosia, but he would not accept it. She managed to make love to him, but he would not commit to her, and kept sleeping around. She watched him play whenever she could. She slowly began to deteriorate along with him, drinking and staying up all night and flirting with other men to try to get attention. One night, drunk and wrecked at a party, Erica was singing through her whisper and pounding at an old piano. She had not even realized she was doing it; but her agony and heartbreak shone through and caused music to come out of her, just as it had inspired Ruby to play despite losing his magic power. An aspiring music manager, Riki Jane Wild, heard Erica singing through her whisper and took her on as a project. She gave her a room in her apartment, bought her nicer white dresses, and encouraged her to put her songs together. Erica didn’t want to, because she sang only for Ruby. Riki insisted that if she made a CD as a letter to Ruby, and gave it to him, he might begin to believe in love again. It might remind him of Erosia.
Erica began to write songs, taking bits and pieces of songs they had played in Erosia, trying to capture what she could remember of his guitar lines, and writing them as a dialogue with her voice and singing. She asked Ruby to play the guitar lines she had written on the album, but he refused, saying he would never join a band, or rehearse music. Music was meant as a momentary true expression of emotion, and he would not “corrupt” this one pure thing in his life by “trapping a song in a cage.”
Erica’s music began to gather some interest. Riki helped her put a band together, and she recorded the first CD with revolving band members, meanwhile playing shows with various lineups. Although Erica’s whispery vocals were difficult to hear, audiences responded well to the passion behind her voice, and the drive to keep on making music in spite of the loss of her magic power.
The CD told a story of Erica’s love for Ruby, beginning with her disenchantment in Dystopia, then backtracking to their meeting in Erosia, the disappointments of their emotional love affair, the way she had been corrupted in Dystopia, her thoughts of becoming a famous singer and leaving Ruby behind, and finally, the resolution that nothing mattered but her love for him, and that she would stop at nothing to express her love.
Their story continued, and Erica is now in the midst of organizing a second CD, which will tell the story of her relationship with Ruby in Dystopia, and how they resolved in the end to keep their romance as a momentary beautiful thing, and not try to tie it down; yet never cease to be inspired by one another’s music.
***** Meanwhile, back in Erosia, Ruby’s letter to Erica was discovered inside his guitar case, copied many times, and distributed throughout various Erosian libraries as a relic of his legend. Erica Xenne never got a chance to read it, and consequently never felt certain of the nature of his love for her. She was doomed to always question whether he had ever loved her at all.