Traveler’s timeline journal.
This one has spent a great deal of time, immeasurable by any standards, exploring every event that has happened in history, from the beginning of time to its end, by traveling through the timestream. This one is amazed by everything this one has seen so far, including mysterious events such as how the Smurfs came to be in the history of the world. Also being able to observe it all in the form this one now inhabits – as an energy-based lifeform who can appear invisible, intangible, and undetectable by anyone else unless this one willed himself to be so – makes such exploration more of a hands-on experience than just simply trying to imagine what those recollected events would have been like. This one has completed the task of having to give this one’s great-grandfather Empath, in a time when he was around 150 years of age, the knowledge of events that were to happen from that point in time to when he alone was left in the world having to raise this one in a tree stump in what was left of the Smurf forest. This transference of knowledge has admittedly caused Empath to experience “time jumps” in a sense when his active memory would switch from being in the Smurf Village in his present time to whatever event in his future – this one’s history – the “time jump” would take him. The events in each of these “time jumps” included such things as his eventual marriage with Smurfette, the discovery of a Smurfette Village in another part of the world, the daughter he would father through Smurfette, the death of his father Papa Smurf that caused the mantle of leadership to be passed onto his son, the death of his wife Smurfette, the death of his friend Polaris Psyche and all the Psyches he would be in charge of as the new Psyche Master, and last but not least, the death of his half-brother Brainy as he was swallowed up by the earthquake that forever destroyed the village. Empath, realizing that he could not retain such a vast amount of knowledge in his memory without physically harming him, had since transferred all this data into a memory crystal that he then left buried in a ground as a sort of “time capsule” for others to find when the Smurfs would be all but a memory. Great-Grandfather Smurf can now rest easy knowing that the task he wanted this one to carry out is now complete.
This one is now exploring the Smurf forest, noting that for such a place that exists in this world, there are a number of portals and gates that would take one from this world unto others, such as the mysterious fog that transports one into the world where the Pussywillow Pixies and the Wartmongers existed, constantly locked in a struggle with each other. Some of these portals also lead to places that exist outside the normal realm of time and space, where beings such as Father Time monitor all events that occur in the timestream. One of these places is where this one’s great-grandfather has experienced an alternate history – a history where Empath never went to Psychelia to learn about how to control his powers, but which also resulted in the Smurf Village being in constant struggle with the Psyches who now wanted the Smurfs dead because Empath’s presence among them now represented a great potential threat to the Psyche Master. From this experience Empath learned to appreciate the actual history that he lived where he was forced to live most of his first 150 years of life in Psychelia. This particular place in question has now peaked this one’s curiosity about the exploration of possible alternate histories. How would the history of the Smurf Village differ from that which this one knew unfolded if a variety of different choices were made?
Traveler, a rather unique-looking Smurf who had flaming yellow “hair” and wore a reflective gold uniform, had just emerged in the Smurf forest at the time that most of his greatgrandfather’s fellow Smurfs’ adventures took place after travelling at incredible speed through the timestream. Totally invisible, intangible, and virtually undetectable by any being unless he willed otherwise, he floated around the forest, riding through the air as if he were riding a surfboard, observing everything there was in the Smurf forest, noting every particular detail. It was incredibly amazing to him to see firsthand how beautiful the Smurf forest looked in a time centuries before human progress had diminished it greatly. He looked down at the Smurf Village and saw all his forefathers – and foremothers Smurfette and Sassette – going about their business in their daily routines, apparently happy with their lives, and for the most part, unconcerned about what fate had in store for them. He felt somewhat jealous that he wasn’t born and raised among this particular generation of Smurfs. Yet he knew that if it weren’t for them, his existence as the last surviving Smurf in history would never come to be.
Then as Traveler moved on from observing the Smurfs, he came upon a place hidden in the Smurf forest that he remember his great-grandfather told him about – the place called the Temple of Alternity. It somehow seemed to exist outside the normal realm of space and time. Inside the temple, there was a wheel that looked like a circular weaving loom with myriads of threads all going in and out from the center.
“The wheel of infinite possibilities,” a voice broke out of the silence as Traveler got a closer look at the object in question. “Each thread in that wheel is a possible reality, a timeline that sprouts from every possible decision and choice made, whether that decision is made by us or not.”
Traveler looked at the being who appeared from behind him, a friendly sort who seemed to be all-knowing. “You are Alternis,” he stated, remembering him from his great-grandfather’s recollections. “How are you able to see this one?”
“You are a being who, just like me, exists where time has no meaning, so it is easy for me to spot you,” Alternis explained. “This place you are in, my temple, exists in a place called Infinitude. In this place I can exist for ages, unaffected by what happens in the world where people live in time. Days, months, and years mean nothing to me here.”
“This wheel that this one’s great-grandfather used to see an alternate history he could have lived,” Traveler began to ask, curious about the device, “would it be possible for this one to see what kind of alternate history would have unfolded that could have prevented this one from ever having existed?”
“There’s nothing the wheel of infinite possibilities cannot do, Traveler, if you are willing to seek out the answers for yourself,” Alternis answered. “Just touch a thread and give the wheel a spin.”
Traveler touched Alternis’ wheel of infinite possibilities, and instantly he found himself bombarded by too many images, seeing so many different kinds of timelines all at once. It was like being everywhere, and everywhen, all at once. He couldn’t handle the overload of information, so he concentrated his thought on one single timeline to appear in.
Soon the images of multiple timelines all faded, and Traveler found himself standing in the Smurf Village…but it was a Smurf Village that barely resembled anything that he recognized through his recent time travels as of yet. He looked around, and was astonished by the sight of what he was seeing. There were bodies of both male and female Smurfs – most of the male Smurfs being recognizable as his great-grandfather’s fellow Smurfs – all strewn about, most of them dead, and some barely living, though none of them were aware of his presence. They all looked rather sickly, their condition probably worse than the unknown incurable disease that destroyed Papa Smurf’s fellow Smurfs back when Empath and his fellow Smurfs were young Smurflings. Traveler touched one of the bodies, and immediately he knew what had caused this to happen – a disease that called itself “the blue plague” that had managed to spread to every Smurf present in the village.
He looked around the village and saw the same condition everywhere, though strangely he could find no trace of his greatgrandfather Empath anywhere in it – if he was even there to begin with. Then he came to the outskirts of the village and sensed some sort of protective energy shield that surrounded the whole place. Apparently whoever made this shield appear must have done so to prevent this disease from spreading beyond the village’s boundaries.
Then Traveler saw what appeared to be Hefty, Brainy, Baby Smurf, and the Smurflings accompanied by two female Smurfs he couldn’t recognize from his known history, plus a female baby Smurf. They were approaching the shielded village with Puppy dragging along behind them, looking as shocked as he was at the sight that was before them.
And then the voice of Alternis called out to Traveler, and the next thing Traveler knew, he was back in the Temple of Alternity, standing before the wheel of infinite possibilities. He was stunned by what he had experienced.
“You have just seen one of many alternate histories that the wheel allows one to experience firsthand,” Alternis explained. “Everything in that history is a result of many different choices and courses that were taken from the beginning of time until when the timeline reaches its end. Even the slightest single choice made could make a whole world of difference between one alternate history and another.”
“Those Smurfs in that timeline – are they the same Smurfs as the ones this one knew from actual history?” Traveler asked.
“Yes and no,” Alternis answered. “Even if you knew the faces, the histories behind them in that timeline would be so different, you couldn’t tell that they would have been the Smurfs you knew from actual history. The female Smurfs you saw would be far different from the ones you knew the male Smurfs had found and married.”
“But what happens to them in that timeline?” Traveler asked, curious to know about what he had experienced.
“Their fate remains unknown and unanswered,” Alternis answered, shaking his head. “But given what power you have to travel through time, you could possibly have seen for yourself what the outcome might be. Perhaps those Smurfs who came to see the devastation that awaited them in the village would have survived, confronted whoever was behind this, started their lives anew, built a new community that would thrive elsewhere. Or perhaps they would have perished, either by this ‘blue plague’ that devoured them or by whoever caused it to happen. Such are the mysteries of the timestream.”
“How can this one have the power to see those alternate timelines for myself and be able to travel through them?” Traveler asked with some disbelief.
“The wheel has already enabled that power in you, Traveler, the moment you touched it, as I have already sensed,” Alternis replied. “With a single thought, you can now direct a course that will take you into the other life of the one you wish to explore. The one whom you explore it with will only experience a brief lapse of time, and may even see brief images of that other life. But other than that, they will not even know what you are doing.”
Traveler looked at himself, contemplating what this newfound ability means. Apparently, being able to travel through time by his own power – the power given by the remnants of the Psyche Master who resided in his great-grandfather Empath – was just the beginning of this new life he had as the last surviving Smurf. So also was his doing so in order to let the younger self of his great-grandfather know what kind of history would unfold for him and his people – a history that his great-grandfather wanted to see preserved at all costs. Now he must decide what he was going to do with this new additional power he had somehow acquired.
Traveler entered into Empath’s house that evening and watched as he wrote everything that happened in his day in his personal journal, even recalling the conversation he had with Papa Smurf that evening at Tapper’s tavern about his father’s spoken wish that Empath would have been born a normal Smurf. His great-grandfather told him countless times about the loneliness he felt having such great power thrust upon him even at birth, that at times he even felt like Papa Smurf, wishing that he would have been born as a normal Smurf instead of one who possessed these “minds-eye” powers that Traveler himself inherited down through the lineage of marriage. But just as Papa Smurf had told Empath earlier, Traveler also knew from his greatgrandfather that with having such great power comes the greater responsibility to use it for the greater good of others. From the history Traveler knew about his great-grandfather, Empath used that responsibility well even when the time came for Papa Smurf to pass on the mantle of leadership to his son on the day of his passing away, never using his powers for personal gain or even in the same manner that the Psyche Master once tried to use them when he was a Smurf living among his own kind. Empath since then passed those lessons he learned from Papa Smurf and from being in Psychelia on to this children and grandchildren, some of whom became the leaders of the village up until the day when the Smurf Village was forever destroyed and the surviving Smurf community was scattered to the four winds, eventually leaving Empath with only his great-grandson in the early years of the twenty-first century.
Traveler watched as Empath finished his journal entry, got himself undressed for bed, blew out the candle, and settled himself to sleep in his bed. He traveled briefly into the following day, passing through the hours as if they were mere seconds, stopping when Empath had woken up and put on his Smurf clothes for the brand new day – a point when Empath’s mind would be the most lucid. It was then that Traveler – without being seen, heard, or even detected – placed his hand inside Empath’s head and linked with his mind, allowing himself to travel back in time to when Empath was born with just a single thought.
It was like watching a movie of somebody’s life rewind at incredible speed as Traveler journeyed into that time when the Smurf Village was so much different from how Empath knew it during his lifetime. During that time, the Smurfs didn't have any Smurf leading them except themselves, and every Smurf wore their own colors, which it was how they were able to tell each other apart, while only the children wore white. Also during that time, Papa Smurf’s own fellow Smurfs were starting to have children of their own, with Hefty and Handy, the twin brothers, being born first. Papa Smurf himself, who at the time was called Culliford, wanted to have a child of his own with his late wife Lillithina, and several years later that wish became a blessing when Lillithina became pregnant with Empath.
As Traveler continued to watch, he saw Culliford, wearing a brown beard and moustache, pacing around nervously outside a house, waiting for his child to be born at the day of Empath’s birth. Soon came the sound of a baby crying, and then another Smurf wearing a green hat and pants, a thin graying beard, and a white smock came out smiling.
"Congratulations, Culliford, my Smurf," the older Smurf beamed, shaking Culliford's hand. "Your wife just gave smurf to a bouncing baby boy."
Culliford couldn't believe the news. "Smurfeka...I'm a Papa Smurf! I'm a Papa Smurf!" he cried out in excitement. Traveler then followed Culliford as he went inside the house less than a minute later. He saw his wife, a female Smurf with short brown hair wearing a red cap, who looked almost as beautiful as Traveler’s great-grandmother Smurfette, holding their newborn child in her arms, smiling at both of them.
"We really made magic happen this time, Lillithina, my dear," he commented, kissing his wife on the forehead.
"I think you made most of the magic happen, Culliford," Lillithina remarked. "He smurfed his way into the world without any problem. If he's a special child, there's no doubt about whom he smurfs after."
"Then that must make you a special Mama Smurf," Culliford said with a slight tease in his voice.
"Could be," Lillithina laughed, holding the baby so that they could both examine him.
"Well, he's certainly got your eyes and your smile," Culliford pointed out.
"And he's got your ears and your nose," Lillithina added. "But I wonder who's hair color he'll smurf when he grows his first beard?"
"That we'd have to wait 300 years to find out," Culliford reminded her.
“Well, until then, I still have your handsome furry face to smurf at, my love,” Lillithina laughed as she stroked her husband’s beard lightly. "I'm sure that our little bundle of joy will smurf after his own Papa Smurf." Then she lifted the baby's hat and noticed something that surprised the both of them. "Well, I wonder who's smurf of the family he smurfed this from...a yellow smurfmark shaped like a star on his forehead!"
"Well, I'll be smurfed...!" Culliford exclaimed, noticing the smurfmark as well. The baby opened his eyes and saw his parents for the first time, smiling at them. "There's no doubt about it that he's a special baby!"
Traveler noticed that Culliford was curious about the yellow star mark, though. He followed Culliford as he entered the village’s house of archives and looked through its many books to find out something he only heard about as a Smurfling as just folklore. He found what he was looking for in a book about smurfmarks, written in ancient Smurf text: "He who is smurfed with the mark of a star is truly blessed by the stars, for it is this smurf who shall possess abilities beyond all imagining, beyond all the five known senses...abilities that only the strong of minds can harness."
Culliford was lost in thought, trying to figure out at that point what that could mean – these abilities "beyond all imagining", "beyond all the five known senses", and "that only the strong of minds can harness”, as the text had said.
Traveler continued to watch as the life of Culliford and his new family unfolded. Over the following days, Culliford and Lillithina were showing their newborn child to their fellow Smurfs, and they were impressed. Culliford's friends toasted with him over brewed sarsaparilla, while Lillithina's friends gave her advice about baby care as well as recipes for baby foods and some clothing they thought would look good on her child. The only thing they couldn’t figure out at that point was what they could name their child. For Culliford and Lillithina, having a child with a visible smurfmark on his forehead was more than enough of an indication. In any case, the couple took care of their child without any problem except for the occasional diaper change or feeding time. But even those times never felt too trying for them, and their child rarely raised a fuss at all.
Then a day came when Traveler saw Lillithina rush to Culliford after he came home from a hard day’s work, looking like she had seen a ghost…or worse. Lillithina swore that she saw her son just sitting around and making things float around in midair, and even making himself float around as well. Culliford said that she was just seeing things, but she insisted that what she saw was for real. Culliford decided to find out for himself. He looked into their child's room and saw the infant playing with his toys on the floor. Apparently he saw nothing out of the ordinary here. He told his wife not to worry, that he will take care of their son while she got some rest.
But after Culliford was left alone with the child, he started to notice it for himself. He reentered the child's room and saw all his toys floating around, moving as if they were planets in orbit, and his son in the center of the room, giggling as his watched. Culliford swore he could see his son's yellow smurfmark glow. Then before he knew it, Culliford found himself floating around the room as well, turning around upside down as his son watched on, squealing in delight. Culliford yelled out to his son in a panic, and then instantly, everything in the room that was floating around in orbit now dropped to the floor, including Culliford, who landed on his stomach.
Picking himself up, Culliford felt angry enough to scold his child when he realized that something incredible has happened, and his anger was replaced by curiosity. He now asked his son to show him how he was able to move the toys around the room without even touching them, and his son did so by simply looking at the smurf-in-the-box until, slowly and without him ever touching it, the toy rose into the air high above Culliford's head.
"Amazing...simply amazing!" Culliford finally stated, excited by what he saw. "You certainly didn't inherit this ability from your Papa Smurf, and I'm not certain your Mama Smurf gave you that, either. You must truly have those of the legend, my son...the abilities beyond the five known senses!"
Traveler watched Culliford continue to test out Empath’s abilities, even as far as hiding Empath’s toys on him to see if he would be able to find them, and with each of those tests, his son performed them flawlessly. But what amazed Traveler was Empath’s infant perceptiveness of his father’s emotional state. He just somehow knew what his father was feeling at any given moment and responded to it without any fuss. Culliford himself was amazed to the point where he surmised that his son was full of empathy, and so named him Empathy – a name that, despite the loss of a single letter, would forever stick with him even in his life in Psychelia. His friends Seamus and Angus, though, had decided that he should have the combined name of Eamon Dunbar, which is what was recorded in the book of records.
But even as Culliford was proud of his son, Traveler could see trouble was beginning to brew. Lillithina was starting to feel estranged from both her husband and her son as Empathy became the center of attention in the village, and she wanted Culliford to see that what he was doing with their son and his abilities was turning him into a sideshow attraction. Her concern was for Empathy being able to live with his fellow Smurfs as he grew up, that his abilities wouldn’t isolate himself from the others as he learned to use them wisely. Culliford answered his wife confidently that he would make sure that Empathy would keep what he learns to himself, but he himself was unsure of even how to train his son to use them wisely. His dilemma led him into doing some research, and through that research he discovered that a Smurf who used to live in the village years ago, possessing the same powers Empathy did, had now founded a village of “white-toned Smurfs” who also possessed those powers – the group of people Traveler knew were the Psyches.
Culliford decided to chance going to this ‘Psyche village’ to find out whether these Psyches would be able and willing to train Empath in learning how to use his abilities properly. He took his son to the place called Psychelia under the guise that he and his son were going to go on a picnic, and late in the day he found their village that was beyond the mountain range. Upon arriving, Culliford was greeted by the Psychelian guards who wanted him to depart immediately, but somehow the Psyche Master sensed what Culliford wanted and allowed him to have a private audience in his chambers, to see if this Empathy truly had the same abilities the Psyches had. Upon probing Empathy’s mind, the Psyche Master was convinced and decided to train him, but Culliford had to leave his son behind in Psychelia. The father didn’t like this condition one bit, but the Psyche Master gave him little choice.
Traveler watched Empathy crawl over to his father and look up at him sadly, somehow knowing what his father was going to say to him. "I'm sorry I have to smurf you like this, Empathy, my son," Culliford said, holding Empathy one last time. "I can only hope that one day you will undersmurf why I had to and you will find it in your heart to forgive an old fool like me. I just wish you didn’t have to be born with these powers you have. I wish you could’ve been born a normal Smurf." He kissed Empathy on the forehead and set him down before the Psyche Master. "Until we meet again, I will always cherish you."
Empathy watched tearfully as his father turned and left the temple. Then he started to cry, wanting his father not to leave him. The crying got louder as the door closed behind Culliford as he left. Then Traveler saw that the Psyche Master projected an electrical field unto Empathy, bathing him in such a painful burst of energy that it made him scream. Traveler knew from his greatgrandfather’s memories that such was used to erase every memory Empathy had of being a Smurf up until that point, but watching it firsthand like he did now made Traveler’s stomach turn. Outside the temple, there was loud banging on the door of the temple as Culliford thought the Psyche Master was killing Empathy and tried in vain to stop this from happening.
Then soon the screaming stopped, as Empathy simply passed out from his memory being erased. Culliford at that point simply thought that his son was now dead, and ended up going home dreading what he now had to tell his wife. In the temple where Traveler was still observing it firsthand, the Psyche Master then summoned the medics of Psychelia to put the infant Smurf in a gestation chamber, where he would remain for 50 years, his mind being reprogrammed by the Psyche Master. By the time he joined the other young Psyches who came forth from their gestation chambers, the only thing Empathy – now renamed Empath – knew of himself was that he was a Psyche like all the others with him.
Traveler knew these were the events that set forth into motion the kind of life Empath would live for the rest of his life in the history his great-grandfather had relayed to him. It also set in motion the kind of life Culliford would live as the village leader named Papa Smurf. But he still wondered about what Empath had asked Papa Smurf in that day he observed – whether his father still thought, as he did in Psychelia, if Empath had never been born with those powers that had cursed him to a life being lived apart from his fellow Smurfs.
He froze the timeline in place as he himself wondered: What if Empath truly wasn’t born with those powers? How different would his life turn out from that point on? Would he be accepted by his fellow Smurfs? Or would something else happen in its place that would make him be so different from them?
Traveler decided to investigate that possibility. He made history in that timeline rewind again, only this time he went to the point before Empath was even conceived. Then with a single thought, he altered its course and allowed the following events in that course to unfold.