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|The first in a series of Short Stories centering around three characters and their destiny to save a strange land.||
As he ran through the forest, he could only see small patches of light where the sun broke through. The wind rushed against his face, and he laughed, enjoying his freedom. His frame was a bit more built then the others, but that was only because he was part human. As he continued to run, he neared the waterfall. Without out even slowing, he dived over the edge, into the white abyss of the flowing waters. His body seemed to melt as he hit the ever-moving wall, and only a small outline could be seen. Finally, after what seemed an eternity, he emerged from the river at the bottom, unharmed, and laughing wildly. Yes, this is truly what he was made for, to enjoy life. As he walked, or as it appeared, floated, out of the water, you could see he stood around 5’9, with light skin that almost seemed white. His long blue hair, which hung down over his shoulders, was tied back, with just a few strands falling towards his face. His pointed, and slightly elongated ears were pierced with small hoops. The cloak that hung loosely around his shoulders, as well as his shirt and pants, did not appear to be even slightly damp. He walked slowly along the bank, breathing deeply the spring air. He pulled out the thin, double-edged blade he carried on his back, and began hacking away at the wind. (Contrary to popular beliefs, most elves prefer blades to bows. They believe that only a weak elf needs to peg off enemies at a distance. They hold steady to this belief up until the point they see the arrow from an enemy protruding from their own chest.) Suddenly, he was startled by a voice singing a beautiful song. “A nymph”, he thought slyly, “Wonder how close I can get before she notices me?”
She was sitting by a small pool slightly to the left of the path. As he drew near, he realized she wasn’t a nymph at all, but a human. He sat and watched her for a few minutes, entranced. Suddenly she saw him, and a scream broke his train of thought. “Who are you?!” she asked. “I‘m sorry!” he stuttered, and took a step back. “My name is Elias. And I, I didn‘t mean to scare you, I just haven‘t seen many girls up close” She laughed. “It’s ok. What do you mean you haven’t seen many girls? What are you, a monk or something?“ He looked down. “No, I just have lived alone most of my life.“ he said. “You mean out in the forest? You can’t be serio...“ She broke off, and he saw fear fill her eyes. He was about to ask her what was wrong, and then he saw it. A large wolf had wandered into this part of the forest, attracted by their conversation. The wolf now stood roughly 10 feet from the girl; just close enough to pounce. Without a second thought, Elias tackled the beast. The wolf lunged back at him, tearing the elf‘s shirt. Elias to jumped back, and looked at the wolf, his eyes glowing slightly. “That was my best shirt!“ he growled, drawing his blade. He attacked again, this time slashing the wolf across the face. The wolf leaped on him, knocking him on his back and the blade from his hand. The wolf then looked intently at the disarmed elf. Elias looked at his blade, a few feet out of his reach. If he could just reach it… Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the wolf leap at him again, and then get knocked aside by a large branch. “Get away from him!” the girl yelled. The wolf then turned to jump at her, and fell dead as Elias stuck it with his recovered blade. He stood over the fallen beast, panting, and replaced his blade to its sheaf. He then turned to look at the girl.
She stared up at him wide-eyed, not sure what to make of him. “What are you?‘ she asked. “I’m an elf.“ he said simply. She was instantly afraid, but also strangely drawn to his eyes. She has never seen such eyes… She quickly looked away. “Thank you.” She said. He looked again at the wolf at his feet. “You’re were pretty good with that stick yourself.” he said, and added “Even though it almost got you killed.” She his ripped shirt, and the cut on his chest. “You’re, you’re hurt.” She said. He looked back at her. “I’ll be ok, I heal quickly. You best get your things together, you have a long journey ahead of you” he said. As she gathered up her bag and asked, “What do you mean?” Elias looked towards the noonday sun in the sky. “A strange wind is blowing. Though it looks bright now, clouds will soon form, and it’ll rain. The nearest town is Eiro, I assume that’s where you’re from, and it’s quite awhile from here.” He looked back at her. “And you do not want to be caught in a storm.” She stood up, with her bag on her back and asked, “How do you know?” “I know.” he said simply. She looked down. “I’m not going back.” she said in a quiet, almost whispered tone, “If I do, my father will force me to marry this blonde blowhard who is supposed to be a hero…” Elias looked at her and laughed. He had his own problems, why should he worry about her? She was just a human girl, granted more beautiful then any elf or nymph he had seen, but still, just a human. “What is your name?” he asked. “Breanna.” she answered simply. “Well, Breanna, I would love to help you.” He said, “But, you could never survive here in the forest.” She laughed. “I was not planning to live here.” She said, “I was planning to go to the town on the other side, Eoin.” You’ll never make it by dark,” he said looking around impatiently, “much less by the time the storm hits.” Breanna looked at him stubbornly. “Then I shall find a cave to stay out the duration of the storm,” she said, “and if needs be, the night as well.” At this, Elias laughed. “You do not know your way around this forest,” he said, “and you could never survive the night. Too many creatures come out at night, and I am sure they would love to find one such as you to snack on.” He motioned all around him. “No, these are dangerous parts, as you saw by that wolf.” He said, “You best go back to where you came from” “NO! I refuse to go back!” she said, almost yelling. “Then you’ll die.” he said simply as he turned away. “I always heard that you forest folk were evil and uncaring about anyone but yourselves.,” she said, “I guess what I heard was true.” He stopped suddenly, and turned to face her. “You do not know who I am, nor what problems I have to face.” he said quietly, “So, please, don’t blame me because of your own refusal to listen to reason.” Her face softened. “Could you please help me?” she asked, “At least take me to Eoin?” He thought to himself, “Why not? Might be interesting to be in the company of a human.” He dared not tell himself it was only because she was beautiful. He looked back at her, and with feigned annoyance he replied, “Ok, I‘ll take you to Eoin.” She jumped at him and hugged him. “Thank you Elias!” she said joyfully, “I take back what I said about elves.” He withdrew from her embrace, with an almost pained look on his face. “I’m sorry,” she said, “I did not mean too…” “It’s ok,” he finally said, “I just have not had anyone hug me in a very long time.” He quickly changed the subject. “Well, we should get started.” he said.
It was strange for him to walk slow enough for her to keep up. He was used to moving on the wind, not walking as a mere human! He sighed and looked back at her. Poor girl would have died out here if he hadn’t found her. Most humans didn’t respect the forest, and that was why it was so dangerous. It had to defend itself against their ignorance. He sighed again. He had heard stories about times past when all creatures, from the valleys to the mountains, the rivers to the seas, and all in between, lived peacefully. (The world in fact did live in peace, for a few days at least. Then someone had a fight over an orange, and that was the end of that.) Before his time of course, but it would have been easier for one such as him to live in that time. At least he would know what it was not be thought of as a freak… “So tell me about you.” Breanna said, interrupting his thoughts. “What do you mean?” he asked. She looked up at him. “Well, I have never actually talked to an elf,” she said, “Only seen them around town sometimes. I am fascinated by you.” Elias laughed and looked away. “You’ll have to keep wondering.” “Why?” she asked. Elias stopped, and looked straight into her eyes. “You ask too many questions. I agreed only to lead you out of the forest, not to satisfy your curiosity!” Breanna looked down. “I‘m sorry. I was only trying to make conversation.” Suddenly, a bolt of lighting, followed by a crack of thunder echoed across the sky. “Moving in faster than I thought…” Elias mumbled as he looked around, “We best find shelter fast” “But we haven’t been walking that long,” she said, “We have a while yet to go” He looked at her intently. “Do you want to die?” he asked. “It is just a storm,” she said, “and we can walk in the rain.” He looked around uneasily. “Storms here are different.” he said softly, “It is the only time certain creatures venture out of their hiding places. They come out to stalk and kill whatever unknowing creature may be out in the storm.” Her face turned white with fear. He laughed slightly. “No worries, I know of a place where we’ll be safe” he said with a smile, “Follow me.” She followed him until they came to what seemed to be a rock out cropping from the ground. “Here we are,” Elias said, “My home.” Her eyes grew confused. “You live on a rock?” she asked. He chuckled lightly. “No, I live under it, in a cavern.” he replied. With a wave of his hand, the rocks seemed to melt and turn to liquid, as a large opening appeared. He looked at her and smiled. “Don’t be afraid , it’s safe,” he said with a smile.
She followed him in slowly. As she passed the entrance, it became solid behind her. The air seemed a bit too fresh to be underground, which surprised her. The passage around her was dark, and she was scared of running into Elias. Suddenly, the room grew bright, blinding her, and she quickly closed her eyes. “Ah, that hurts!” she cried. “I apologize,” Elias said, “I should have warned you.” As her eyes adjusted to the light, she saw a simple, yet beautiful room. It did not look like a cave at all, but like a small cottage. It had strange pictures on the walls, which she guessed, were elfish runes. There was a small table, a pit of coals, which she assumed was for cooking, and a pile of pillows in the corner, which could have only been his bed. But, out of all of this, it was what was in the center of the room that amazed her. A shimmering waterfall, which seemed to flow from the ceiling above, emptied out into a sparkling pond, around which were more pillows, and a small desk for writing. “Welcome” Elias said breaking her trance, “this is my home.” “It’s, it’s… amazing,” she said. He smiled. “Thank you.” He led her over to the pillows in the corner. “This is where you‘ll sleep.” he said, “Please, make yourself comfortable.” As she sat down, she looked up at him. “Thank you.” she said softly. He turned and walked towards the waterfall. “I have things to do. Please rest, we have a long journey ahead tomorrow.” “What do you need to do? Maybe I could help.” She said, “It is the least I could do after you helping me.” He turned and looked at her. “No.” he said flatly, “These are things I must do alone.” She looked away. “I was only trying to show my appreciation…” He sighed lightly. He hadn’t meant to be rude; he was just unaccustomed to anyone showing any form of affection towards him. “I‘m sorry.” he said, looking away. “Now please, let me get to work.” She looked down. “Ok. I guess I‘ll go onto sleep.” She said quietly. She took one last look at Elias, and lay her head down. Breanna was surprised at how tired she was, and fell asleep quickly. Elias watched her for a few minutes admiring her beauty, before he turned and walked over to the small desk by the waterfall. He picked up a pen, and began writing in what appeared to be a journal. After a few moments, he put down his pen and yawned. Though it was still early, he had been up before the sun, and the fact that he had to walk, instead of moving with the wind, had tired him. Elias took one last look at Breanna, and went to sit in a chair in the corner. He closed his eyes, and let his mind wander from thoughts of tomorrow’s journey, to running through the forest. Before long, sleep had overtaken him, and he lay there, entering the realm of dreams.
The flash of steel! He rolled, pulling out his own blade, and facing the one who had attacked him from behind. He was amazed at the size of the creature. He stood at least three heads above the elf, making him feel like a small child. His attacker’s eyes shined demon red, as the large sword swooped down towards the elf. The elf ducked, and struck out with his blade, meeting the middle of the beast with red eyes. The elf jumped back, expecting the creature to fall, but was shocked only to find that his blade had no affect on his enemy. The Beast threw his head back and laughed. His eyes seemed to say, “Puny Elf, one as weak as you could never defeat me!” The creature ran towards the elf, his sword poised to strike a deathblow.
Elias awoke with a start, sweating. A dream? He looked around his home, and no traces of the creature remained. So it was a dream! He sighed with relief, and walked over to his desk. He wrote, “I have had another disturbing dream. Again, what seems to be some creature attacked me, and again I could not even harm him. This time it seemed so real. Is this a glimpse into the future?” He then put down his pen, and stepped into the waterfall. The cool water flowing down on him renewed his strength, and he felt peaceful. He would wake Breanna soon, and they set off again. But, for now, he enjoyed the water.
As morning broke, Elias and Breanna continued their journey towards Eiro. The morning went by uneventful, with very little conversation between the two travelers. But, around noon, Breanna had convinced Elias to stop and break for lunch. They has found some berries and sat by a stream that ran through the forest. (In every forest of the world, you will always find a steam with a berry bush nearby.) “How much further do you think?” Breanna asked. “Maybe two hours…” Elias replied, as he looked around slowly. He stood up, and motioned for Breanna to stay quiet. There! He heard a noise coming from the direction they were heading. Suddenly breaking through the trees came a group of three elves. They stopped cold at the site of Elias, and drew their blades. “Well, if it isn’t the outcast,” said the first one, and at the site of Breanna he added, “And looks like you have a dirty human with you!” Elias stood there silently as the other two elves laughed. “Why don’t you just leave our forest, outcast?” Breanna stood up. “Leave us alone. We haven’t done anything to you!” she yelled. The first elf looked at her and spat on the ground. “You dirty humans,” he said, “Thinking you can come into our forest and take over. I’ll show you what I think of humans!” He rushed at her, slashing at her face with his blade. Breanna screamed and closed her eyes. Then, feeling no pain, she opened them to see Elias’s blade holding the other elf’s only a few inches from her nose. Elias pushed back the first elf’s blade, and stood in front of Breanna. “Just leave us be, Kema” he said, “We’re just trying to get to Eoin, and we don’t want a fight!” Kema smiled darkly. “Why not Elias? Scared we might kill you?” Elias looked intently at Kema. “You are forgetting,” he said, “I am the one who defeated you last time.” Kema laughed. “But now,” he replied, “I am not alone. Tona, Stolic, show him his own heart!” Before Tona and Stolic could even move, Elias had disarmed Kema, and had his blade poised on his neck. “You might want to rethink attacking me,” Elias said, “or I may just have to kill your friend. Now, put your swords away!” Tona and Stolic obeyed, and Elias returned his eyes to Kema. “Now take your friends, and leave us alone!” he said, as he withdrew his sword. Kema recovered his fallen blade, and looked up at Elias. “This is not over, outcast. Believe me.” With that, Kema, Tona, and Stolic disappeared into the forest. Elias then turned his attention to Breanna. “You ok?” he asked. She looked at him. “Yes,” she replied, “just shaken.” He helped her up, and looked up at the sky. “We need to keep moving.” He said. As they started back out, Breanna asked, “Elias, what did he mean when he called you an outcast?” Elias sighed. “I am part human,” he said bluntly. Her eyes grew wide with shock. “Part human?” she stuttered, “But, I how?” He looked down. “Ok, it is like this,” he started, “My grandfather, married a human girl, and the other elves felt like he was betraying his blood, so they exiled him. They had my father, who was a half elf. He looked human enough to live among humans for a while. He met my mother, who was an elf, they fell in love, and had me. I look too human for elves, and too elfish for humans, so I live alone.” “That must depress you,” she said thoughtfully. “No,” he lied, “I’m used to it.“ He looked away. “Now, no more questions. Lets get going!”
They traveled quietly for another hour and a half, until the came to the end of the forest. The landscape opened up before them majestically. To the north, there was the Huras Mountains, the largest mountain range in the country, and in the south, the land gave way to many towns, villages, and smaller mountains. “Well, this is as far as I‘m willing to go” Elias said. “You can make it from here.” Breanna turned to him. “Thank you, you have no idea how much you have helped me.” She said. She looked out and saw the road that would lead her on to Eoin. “Will I ever see you again?” she asked him. When she got no answer, she turned around, and found he had already disappeared back into the forest. She sighed, but wasn’t surprised. Breanna had a strange feeling the two would meet again. She stepped out of the forest, and headed for Eoin.