"Hello?!" Parcen called into one of the little world-windows at the bottom of the crystal cave. "Hello! Can anyone hear me?!" he called into another.
"Who is it?" came a booming voice in response.
Parcen tried to locate which of the cave holes the voice had come from.
"What was that?" he asked. "Who's there?"
Three holes over from where Parcen knelt, a face came into view. It was a huge face, and Parcen could only see one of its beady, red eyes searching about the crystal cave for whoever was calling for its owner.
"Who is it I ask?!" the huge face in the portal asked again.
"It's me, Parcen Ellt. I seem to be trapped in this cave. Do you know anything about how I might get out?"
The big eye winced and squinted at Parcen.
"What business do you have here?" the giant asked.
"I have none," Parcen admitted. "I'm merely fallen into this cave, and onto these strange islands, and I'd really like to get back to Proterse, and to call my mother. She's probably worried about me."
The giant's hand tried to come through its portal, but got stuck. Parcen watched the huge fingers wriggle and manage their way through into the crystal cave, and then the giant pincered Parcen's shirt and pulled him out of the dim crystal cave, into another new world.
On the other side of the portal, Parcen saw that the giant wasn't a giant there. Rather, Parcen was tiny, no larger to the giant than a doll to a child.
"Where am I?" Parcen asked, after the giant had set him gingerly on the ground. A tree towered over the little visitor to the strange land, up to impossible heights.
"You're in the Virvi Archipelago," the giant, or rather, normal-sized person answered. His beard was crusty with old food, and when he spoke the cracked teeth within it glittered like wet stones in the sunlight.
"But..." Parcen stuttered, "but, I've been to the... This can't be the... Why am I so small?"
"I don't know," the man said. "I don't think I've ever found a tiny little person before. Do you live in the ground here, with your family?"
"With my family?" Parcen asked, confused. "I don't live in the ground. My plane crashed on the way to the Undiscovered Lands, and then I fell through the floor of the island, and into the crystal cave, and there are myriad worlds on display through these rock portals, see, and you just pulled me through one of them."
The giant stranger sat back and thought, with a deep hum that shook Parcen where he stood.
"Well," he said after some thought. "That's all very strange. Here I was just thinking I had lost my mind. Well, I've certainly lost my mind in any case. But you're insisting that you're real?"
"I think so," Parcen admitted.
"Hmmm...." the man wondered, his low exhalation knocking Parcen onto his backside. "Sorry, little friend!" he said," picking Parcen back up. "Didn't mean to knock you over, there. My name is Hill. What is your name?"
"Parcen Ellt," the aviator said. "Do you know of any way of returning my to my proper size?"
"Is it you or me that is out of shape?" Hill asked. "Do I dream you, or you me?"
"I don't know," Parcen said, growing despondent. "I just don't want to be so small, though..."
"Well, would you rather be lost?" Hill asked.
Parcen thought for a moment, as he observed a relatively massive bird hop and poke about some pieces of grain that weren't much smaller than he.
"I think I'd rather be lost," he finally said.
"Couldn't I show you to my friends first?" Hill asked.
"No," Parcen said," I'd like to go home as soon as possible."
"Well that's okay," Hill laughed," I don't have any friends anyways! Back home with you, then."
Hill picked Parcen up gingerly, and then began to shove him back into the little hole in the ground that he had plucked him from.
"Ouch!" Parcen roared. "Be careful, you're smooshing me!"
"Sorry, little buddy," Hill said. "Now, hold tight..."
The giant squeezed Parcen right through the hole in the ground like a carrot in reverse. Parcen fell out into the floor of the crystal cave.
"Now," said the giant's rot-filled mouth through the other side," you call for me if you need any more help, okay?"
"Alright," Parcen said. "Come check on me, will you?"
"Of course I will!" Hill said. As he stood, and Parcen watched the giant begin to leave, he heard him mutter something about needing more brite.
"I wonder if I'm a giant at the end of any of these holes?" Parcen wondered aloud, as he searched through the other portals for an acceptable world. "If I can't get home, I'd like to at least get somewhere interesting."
The fifth hole Parcen explored showed a miniature world through its rock, and so Parcen decided he'd try his hand on the other side of the scale.
"Here goes nothing," he said to himself, as he stuck a shoe through another portal, hoping not to crush too entirely the tiny city on the other side.
TO BE CONTINUED...