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|The past that Vatia does not know she has. Best read AFTER reading Vatia's snippets.||
“Come on, you can do it, I know you can!” the elven woman cooed at the teetering toddler who bobbled on unsteady legs before her. He had been attempting to walk for days now, but was still unsure as to whether or not he was up to the challenge. Her kind, crystal blue eyes were warm and promising, and her soft hands were just within his reach. He knew that she was so close, but for his wee little steps, still so far. Even so, she beckoned him, and at last, he moved one tiny foot forward and shifted his weight to it. After what seemed like forever, he made the three painstaking steps it took to get to her loving arms. Instantly, she scooped him up and held him tight, forcing him to giggle as he flew through the air.
“Tavarro -- he did it! Come see!” she called over her shoulder.
A slim, elven gentleman came rushing from the back of the cottage to see his sister, Tavia, holding his little son proudly as he tugged at her dark tresses. Pulling her hair away from him, she waved her finger at him in a scold, but the excitement on her face showed that he was in no real trouble. As she turned to her brother, she kissed her nephew’s forehead and hugged him tightly once more.
“He walked?” Tavarro questioned.
“Three whole steps,” his wife, Corrah chimed in from across the room. “I took my hands away and Tavia coaxed him into trying. I think he would do anything for her.”
Smiling, Tavia sat the baby down and helped him balance on his little feet. As she spoke soothing words to him, she removed her hands from his sides and urged him on to where his father knelt down before him. He looked over his shoulder at her, still unsure that he could do it, but again, those kind blue eyes forced him to find courage within himself. He could still sense that her hands were close, should he fall, and so he moved his tiny foot again, this time toward his smiling father.
The first step was wobbly, but true, and he found himself one step closer to his father, but one step away from his aunt and her guiding hands. Turning to look at her one last time, he lost his balance and fell on his little bottom. Tavia rushed to grab him up, and his tears turned to laughter as she cradled him close.
Corrah watched the scene from behind teary eyes. Moments like these were so important to her: moments spent making memories that she would one day look back on with pride. It had been nearly five years since she had wed Tavarro, an elf, and in that time, she had been able to come to terms with the fact that his life would long exceed her short years, and had begun to look at her life in a dramatically different way. She and Tavarro shared a love that could not be contained within the walls of time, and she knew that regardless of her short time with him, her life would be as good as any life could ever be because of him. She would gladly share that time with him, bear him a family and die one day knowing that the love they dared to have was more than enough to fill the long years Tavarro would some day face without her at his side.
It had been a hard beginning for them...many within Tavarro’s village had scoffed at the idea of an elven man marrying a mortal woman, but Tavarro ignored them all, and brought his bride to live in his cottage, that he may share her years with her, and do all within his power to make those years splendid. In a sea of people had doubted their love, Tavia had been the one to never question it. She and Tavarro were quite different in age, Tavia being many years younger than he, as is often the case in elven families. Perhaps it was her youthful fancy and idealism that shaped her opinions and beliefs, but whatever her reason, Tavia supported her brother’s choice completely and welcomed Corrah with open arms. The fact that at least one elf within the village overlooked racial differences soon spread throughout, and Tavarro and Corrah were welcomed by all. Elves are loving beings by nature, and the obvious love that the two of them shared was more than enough to endear their marriage to all who knew them.
It was a little over a year ago that they had been given a son. He was darling with his delicate elven features, and Tavia had already fallen in love with him. She had chosen before his birth to begin training as a ranger with her grandfather, but she put all of that on hold the first time she held her brother’s child. The rigors of training would take her far away for long lengths of time, and she decided that she would miss too much of his growing up. His eyes seemed to light up more than ever when she was in the room, his little hands reaching up to her from wherever he was. She doted on him as if he was her own child, and Corrah was ever-thankful that her son was not shown the superstition and disdain that half-elves often endure in many places. To Tavia, he seemed no different than her own little brothers and sisters, and she always treated him with that respect. Corrah thanked the gods each day that her son would grow in the light of acceptance, a thing she had secretly feared he would not know.
The cottage now was beginning to quiet down, the baby was exhausted from his walking about, and evening was fast approaching. As Corrah headed to the back of the cottage to put him down for the night, she stared at the tiny face of her sleeping son and smiled. Her smile soon turned to a look of fear as she stopped short of his room to listen...
The sky grew suddenly dark, as if night had fallen that very instant, and above the lull of the forest, an enormous rush of wind could be heard. Corrah held her son tightly to her breast and rushed back to the front of the cottage. There she found the door flung open with no sign of Tavia and her own, dear Tavarro grasping the hilt of the sword he had long ago laid to rest by the door. She knew what was happening -- the Great Green one had returned. For months now, they had been lived in fear of the large green dragon that periodically raided their settlement, hoping to catch a few solitary elves for his dinner. It was no secret that green dragons considered elves a delicacy, and this one was no exception. He was ancient and massive, and their scouts and archers, some of the most skilled at their arts, seemed poor defense against him.
“Whatever happens, do not leave this cottage,” Tavarro ordered her, and rushed out the door to help Tavia, who was already battling the intruder.
Corrah trembled in fear, her tears coming quickly as she crouched in a corner far from the windows and doors. The child sensed her fear, and began to cry as well, and though she tried to comfort him, Corrah knew he would not stop if she could not first calm herself. She knew that was next to impossible -- her husband and closest friend were facing death, and she feared she would not see them alive again.
Outside, Tavarro surveyed the scene. The sunset, which would have proven to be the most beautiful in a long time, was blocked from view by the massive wings and body of the great serpent. Tavia had already fired a volley of arrows at the beast only to find that they bounced off of his hard scales and fell to the earth in a treacherous shower of sharp wood and rock. Her face showing panic as she realized what would have to take place, she threw down her prized bow and drew both her swords, one in each hand. With a look of hope at her brother, she nodded, and he returned that nod, and also the worry in her eyes. They both knew that this foe was beyond their skill, but they knew that if they were to die, they would die defending all they loved.
The dragon opened his large, toothy maw and released a noxious cloud of poisoned gas that encircled them in mere seconds. Coughing and gasping for air, the two tried to wave the cloud away as the dragon closed in for an attack. Tavia felt the wind off of the beast as he flew by her, and she heard the cry of her brother as he was knocked back from her reach. When the vapor began to dissipate so that she could see once more, she could see that Tavarro was still alive, but barely able to stand.
Suddenly, the seriousness of the situation hit her -- they would all die at the hands of this foe. Not just Tavarro and her family, but the whole village over time would be destroyed by this monster. She could see the dragon circling back for another plummet, and in his line of attack lay her brother, already injured too badly to defend himself. Over the noise of the fray, she could hear the baby wailing from inside the house. His screams were shrill and Tavia’s heart went out to him in his fear. Perhaps that it is what shaped her decision: the cry of the little boy she loved so much, but whatever the reason, Tavia sprinted from the house as quickly as she could in an effort to draw the beast away.
“Come for me if you think you are mighty enough to take me!” she cried to the dragon, and in his arrogance, he complied.
As the enormous brute came closer and closer to where she stood, she threw her arms into the air, sword blades erect and cried out in a loud voice:
“Oh great Chauntea, mother of all life and beauty! I, your faithful servant am in need! Please help me to defeat this foe that he may not destroy the fertile woodlands, nor rob anymore from the life that your hands bring forth to the land!”
And then she was silenced by the dragon.
The impact shook the land for miles and rattled the village down to its very foundations. A great cloud of dust covered all, and inside the cottage, Corrah’s heart pounded. She listened, and all she heard was silence. Complete silence. After a moment, the silence was maddening, and against Tavarro’s orders, she moved to the window to see what was happening. Not far from the cottage, she could see the beast on the ground, his breathing shallow and slow, and her dear Tavarro, trying to stand. She rushed outside to help him, and as he got to his feet, he made his way to the dragon, whose breathing had now ceased altogether.
“Where is Tavia?” Corrah questioned.
Tavarro’s response was a wail of anguish that rose to the heavens...
It took most of the village to remove the carcass of the Great Green one. They knew that they would find the body of Tavia beneath him, and in awe of her sacrifice, they planned to give her a hero’s burial. It took the better part of the day, but late in he evening, the belly of the dragon was lifted. To this day, each of the elves that witnessed it will recount the exact same story, the sight was so etched in their minds. They did not find Tavia’s remains beneath the dragon. All they found was a shallow imprint in the earth where her body had been. Both of her swords still remained buried to the hilts in the dragon’s chest, but there was no Tavia to be found. They looked everywhere, but never found the remains of the elven woman they owed their lives to...it was decided that Chauntea had heard her pleas and granted her wish to defeat the dragon. Then, the Mother Goddess had taken her from this world to honor her in a way that only the gods would know.
There story of Tavia the Selfless spread throughout the land, and she became a hero to all for a time. Soon, other stories replaced her heroism, and within mortal lands, the name of Tavia was forgotten. To this day, the elves of her village herald the elven maid who gave her life so that her family and her people might live, but none know the tale as well as little Tarossco...
Tarossco had wept the hardest over Tavia’s loss, unable to understand her absence. Tavarro and Corrah spent many nights telling their son of his aunt’s love for him -- a love that drove her to give her own life so that he could live instead. Corrah lamented over the loss of such a strong presence in her son’s life for a long time, and vowed to Tavarro that she would always keep Tavia’s spirit alive in their son, her precious Tarossco. Though he would not have any memories of her face, of her soft blue eyes or of the way he used to curl his fingers through her dark locks, he would know inside that his life was worth living. Someone who loved him dearly had believed in that so much that she had given her own life for it.
When his age permitted, he was allowed to take up the bow, and his father saw that he was trained with the same bow that his aunt had wielded when Tarossco was a child. His skill was remarkable, and it seemed as if he had a natural aptitude for archery. It was true that he was elven, and many would accredit his skill to that fact alone, but deep inside, Tavarro and Corrah knew something else shaped his ways. They knew that just as she had guided his steps when he first took them, somehow, Tavia still guided Tarossco’s steps. No matter where his feet would take him, they knew that Tavia would always follow. Though he might never behold or recall her face, a part of her would reside in his heart forever...
|Sun's Quest: Prologue||
Sun's Quest: Chapter One
|Beginning (Vatia)||Tre Pereldar|