Iris opened her beautiful brown eyes and then closed them again. She opened them again and was convinced that the forest around her was real.
Everything had happened very quickly, first she was in his room playing with her dolls and the next moment she was in a beautiful forest of very tall trees. She only remembered a white flash, like the flash of a photographic camera, that forced her to close his eyes and when she opened them again his room had disappeared.
A sweet spring breeze caressed her long brown hair, making her smile. The flowers covered every patch of ground illuminated by the rays of the sun that filtered between the tops of the trees. There were all colors, green, red, yellow, blue, there were even some very beautiful ones that had, in their petals, the seven colors of the rainbow. The girl took one and put it in her hair, fastening it with a buckle. From that moment on, that would be her favorite flower.
The trees had very wide trunks of colors that ranged from green to blue, with small leaves of reddish and golden colors and among their branches hundreds of birds sang, with splendid voices, making their different melodies intermingle creating the most wonderful symphony.
She walked around the trees, marveling at each new color she saw, each new sound she heard, and each fragrance her nose caught, making her heart race with joy.
So when she got distracted looking at some kind of purple squirrel, he tripped over something ... or someone.
"I'm sorry I didn't see you," She apologized.
At first, she had thought it was a young man leaning against a tree, but when she looked at it carefully, she realized that it looked more like a wooden doll dressed in dark gray clothes. There was a great mess made of threads that seemed to hold some of the parts of his body and next to it a kind of cross made of three pieces of wood that had other threads tied at their ends. There was no doubt, it was not just a doll, it was a marionette.
Iris wondered why someone would go to the trouble of building a human-sized marionette and then abandon it. Despite the fact that the strings were cut and tangled, it appeared to be in very good condition. It shouldn't be much of a problem to swap them for new ones.
"Help me," a voice pleaded.
The girl, startled, looked around trying to find the person who had spoken.
"Help me," the voice repeated again.
Iris caught her gaze again at the marionette lying in front of her and found that the marionette's eyes were open and it was staring at her.
"Please help me," came the sweet voice of the marionette. "I know it's wrong for you to do it, but I can't bear to go on like this anymore."
"As well as?" She asked intrigued.
"Like this, motionless," the marionette replied.
"I'm sorry, but I don't think I have the height and strength to move you," Iris apologized. She was sorry that she couldn't do anything for her.
The marionette looked at her confused.
"I would never ask you that," he remarked seriously. "I can move on my own... well, at least I could before they cut my ropes."
The girl thought for a minute.
"Then I think I can help you," she told him as she sat down next to him and patiently began to untangle, one by one, the strings of the marionette. "I don't have ropes to change but I suppose a few knots will do."
"I will appreciate any help you can give me..."
"Do you have a name?" Iris asked him.
"Everyone calls me Markius," the marionette replied.
"Nice to meet you, Mr. Markius, my name is Iris," she introduced herself.
"You are a girl. right? A human girl" –he asked with some shyness.
"Yes, sir," she replied as she finished releasing one of the ropes.
"You are... different," he observed thoughtfully.
"Okay, yes. I don't need ropes to be able to move."
"I do not mean that. What I mean is that you are much kinder than the other child," he explained.
"Another child?" She asked, intrigued.
"Yes, his name is Francisco and he is the king of our people."
"So there are more people like me in this place?" She asked, glancing around him.
"No, just our king."
"And why do you say it's not nice?" She asked curiously.
"Well, look at me," he answered simply.
"Are you telling me that that boy did this to you?" She asked surprised, "what kind of spoiled child can do this to you and call himself a king?"
"Well, you tell me, i only know one," Markius replied with a half smile and they both laughed.
As Iris finished untangling the ropes and tied them with a strong knot as Markius instructed, Markius told her about his people and that nasty little boy they had made king.
In the kingdom of Lariún there had always been peace and the Lariunis, the name given to the marionettes themselves, had been happy since immemorial time. The city of the seven colors was their capital and was in the vicinity of the forest where they were.
In the center of the city there was a large white tower and in the main room of the tower there was a small altar on which was a book with a symbol engraved with the seven colors of the rainbow.
There it said that only a human could be named king and only him could create or change the laws. That was the oldest Lariuni law and the most sacred to the people of Markius.
The city of the seven colors was built around the tower of the law, but it was not remembered to have had a king until a few weeks ago, when a boy named Francisco arrived in the city.
The Lariunis did not hesitate to name him king, as the laws dictated it, but as time passed many of them repented. Francisco was not the good king they expected. He was very selfish, he cared nothing more than satisfying his own whims and did nothing for them.
"The circle of the seven sages chose me as the king's advisor."
"What is that of the seven sages?"
"The seven sages are the guardians of the book. They know from beginning to end each of the laws that are written in it. I was one of his students, the best in my class. That's why I was chosen as a counselor, to teach our laws to the king. Needless to say, I failed in my task. Francisco does not listen to anyone, it becomes impossible to deal with him."
"And why don't they just kick him out of the kingdom?"
"Well, because our law prohibits it. Once crowned a monarch cannot be removed from the throne by any lariuni."
"What a problem..."
After an hour of wrestling with the ropes, Iris tied the last knot.
"What do you think?" She asked, quite satisfied with her work.
Markius waved his arms.
"It seems good."
With extreme agility he rose to his feet.
"Well, more than good!"
"You know? There is something that intrigues me. How is it that you can move by yourself?" She asked.
"What are you talking about?"
"Well... it happens that where I come from, the marionettes only move if someone controls them."
"Yes... Francisco told us something similar when we saw him for the first time. We assume that it is because the lariunis of your world do not have a lónada like ours."
"Lónada," he said, taking the double cross to which it was attached.
"Well, yes, they do."
"But they must not be magical," he pointed out.
"Uh... no, I guess they haven't."
"For me the truly incredible thing is that you can move without one," Markius exclaimed and Iris didn't know what to answer him.
There was a short silence before the girl asked:
"And is this how I got here? With magic?" -At this point, it seemed the only possible explanation.
"Well, yes, or at least I think so... but it would be better not to entertain ourselves with that, first we must seek refuge before nightfall."
Iris looked around her and noticed that it would not be long before night fell.
"Is the forest very dangerous at night?"
"Well, yes, if you're not careful, the arboreos could crush you with one foot."
"Walking trees, they like to walk at night and as they are quite short-sighted they tend not to see anything smaller than a Rilenuil."
"Rilenuil, is a herbivorous animal of three meters in height. Anyway... follow me. I know someone who will shelter us in their home."
Iris took a new look at the forest and could see that the shadows were slowly beginning to spread, so she hurried to follow Markius. She didn't know where it was leading her but she thought it couldn't be worse than getting crushed by the foot of a walking tree.
Thank you for reading!