View Full Version : The Untold Story About Roe of the Forest People. Chapter 49 03/12 2013
2nd Nov 2010, 8:25 PM
This is a story that was originally inspired by Enayla's beautiful skins. As you may notice English is not my native language.
Very long ago, in the ancient times before the lives of elves and humans were completely separated, a series of events took place. These events were of such a magnitude that they were written down in the history books and remembered for several hundreds of years before they were believed to be just fairytales and finally completely forgotten in the flow of time. The complete story about why the lives of elves and humans became separate has, however, never been told before. Therefore it is time to tell the story about how a little insignificant creature named Roe came to change the history of humans and elves.
It was summer and Otter of the Forest people was happy. In the summer life was easy. The air was filled with the wonderful scent of flowers and grass and the birds were singing. She and Wolf had been very lucky to find this settlement with such good hunting grounds. It would probably take a very long time before either of them would have to be hungry again.
When little Roe was born next summer, Otter’s and Wolf’s happiness was complete.
“She's the most perfect little creature I have ever seen,” Wolf said enchanted. “We will take care of her and love her so that she will be the happiest girl in the world”.
When Otter hold her little daughter in her arms she knew that from now on her life would be completely changed. Everything would circle around little Roe. The thought that something dangerous could ever happen to her child was the most scaring thought Otter could imagine. Far from every child in the forest lived to see their first birthday.
Just as Wolf had said, Roe grew up to be a very happy little girl. Her bright laughter filled Otter’s and Wolf’s hearts with joy. The little family lived a life free from worries and full of happiness.
The same day that Roe was born another baby was born far away. No one could ever guess that the destinies of these two babies would be connected and that this would affect both the human kingdom and the elves’ realms. At this time humans and the forest people did not even know of each other’s existence. Queen Cecilia hold her son with tenderness. She and King Magnus had lost all their other children as infants and they had almost given up the hope to have an heir to the throne when Alexander was born. He seemed to be an unusually strong and healthy child so Cecilia started to hope that maybe finally she would be allowed to keep her baby.
“Now there is hope for our kingdom again” King Magnus said happily. “My brothers and their sons can stop their intrigues about which one of them that will take over after me. When Alexander becomes king there will be no wars that tear our kingdom apart”.
3rd Nov 2010, 9:55 AM
“I can see that you’re truly happy to have a new nephew, brother.” The irony in Karl’s words was very obvious. “I believe that you have to make new plans for little Erik’s future now that he cannot become king” Karl continued.
“Well we don’t know about that yet. Alexander is still very young and our big brother Magnus has not been very lucky with his children,” Birger replied quietly.
“I think you may be disappointed this time,” Karl replied. “I have heard that young Alexander is a very strong baby.”
“If you think I am disappointed, what about you?” Birger looked his brother steady in the eyes. “Don’t you think I know that you had your own plans for the future?” “I am older than you and I do believe that Erik has much more potential to be a real king than a son raised by our soft brother Magnus.” Birger kept his eyes steady on Karl and his voice was sharp.
Karl snorted, demonstrating that he did not agree about who the future king should be.
“Although I have had a pleasant time here in your county Karl, I think it is time for me to return home early tomorrow. Thank you for your hospitality. Good night brother. I think we will talk more about this subject in the future.”
Birger and Karl, Magnus’ two younger brothers were considered to be hard and cruel to the farmers who worked on their lands. More than once, Magnus had stopped them from taxing the farmers what he considered to be too hard.
Birger and Karl were not particularly good friends but they had a common interest that one on their sons would become the future king. Until Prince Alexander was born this future prospect was within reach. Although Birger and Karl did not support Magnus, they had never dared to challenge him because he was very popular and had the people on his side.
When Prince Alexander had survived his first year King Magnus arranged a big banquet to the honour of the crown prince according to the old customs. Many important guests were invited, including Birger and Karl. The most honoured guests were, however, the king and the queen of the elven realms and their suite. The celebration of a new human crown prince was an event of such importance that the elves would leave their realms to visit the human kingdom and once again confirm the ancient union between the king and queen of the light elves and the human kingdom.
Elves and humans were friends at this time, although it was not often they met. A banquet together with elves was something very unusual for the human guests.
“It is like it was only yesterday that I attended the banquet to honour your grandfather when he became one year old,” Queen Eliene said to King Magnus. “Your world is so changeable. There are very seldom births of new babies in our realm.”
”I understand that the birth your daughter less than two years ago must have been an enormous delight for all light elves,” king Magnus replied.
“Yes, princess Aliendre is a wonderful child” the queen of the elves replied her face lit up with a mothers pride. “I anticipate, that her powers will be great when she grows up.”
This made King Magnus feel a bit uncomfortable. The magic powers of the light elves scared him a little.
“Of course Aliendre is still much to young for such a long journey as to your kingdom but when she grows up I am sure that she will want to learn more about the human world that is so different from ours.”
“Of course Prince Alexander is more than welcome to visit us when he becomes older, just as his ancestors have before him,” King Eraldor continued.
Queen Cecilia knew that this invitation was a great honour but also expected, and one of the reasons that the elves always participated in the celebration of of a new human crown prince. It was a long tradition that the human heirs of the throne would spend some time with the elves during their education. This strengthened the ancient union between elves and humans but was also very valuable as the elves had deep knowledge about so many things that were not known by humans. Cecilia thanked politely for the invitation on staggering elvish language. She did not speak the beautiful elven language as well as her husband, who of course had visited the elves for some time when he was young. The elves both fascinated and scared Cecilia.
Sometimes during the banquet the older elves could sit completely still and quiet with their eyes looking at some distant place. With their supernatural beauty they looked almost like statues during these moments. The impression was strengthened by the fact that they did not blink and barely seemed to breathe while they seemed distant. The thought that many generations of human kings had visited the same elven king and queen was strange. Elves and humans were truly different Queen Cecilia thought.
Although Alexander was too young to attend the banquet that was hold to his honour he had of course to be shown and presented to King Eraldor and Queen Eliene. There were very few children in the elven realms and Queen Eliene was completely charmed by the little prince who was just a few months younger than her own daughter.
When Eliene reached out her hand to touch Alexander she was suddenly overwhelmed by a strong feeling. Dark clouds seemed to gather in the sky and she felt a grief deeper that she had imagined was possible. She quickly withdraw her hand from the boy and the feeling disappeared. There was something disastrous in this little boy’s destiny that would also affect her and the elves. Luckily Cecilia had not noticed the change in Elienes expression but Eraldor had seen and understood that Eliene with her powers had foreseen something fearful in the future. He could not understand how anything bad could be linked to this little prince, because his own powers told him that the boy had a good and honest heart.
The prince had a very thorough education. He had a staff of teachers in different subjects but his own father also participated actively in his education.
“I want to play instead,” Alexander complained.
“You can play when you have translated all the words on the sheet to elvish language,” Magnus replied merciless and Alexander sighed deeply.
“It is much more fun with riding lessons and lessons in sword fight than to sit at a desk.” Alexander’s horse Galaxy nodded and agreed as always with his little rider. “You are the best birthday gift I ever had. We will win every tournament as soon as I am old enough to participate. Mum says it is too dangerous for me but you and I, we don’t care.” The horse snorted which Alexander interpreted as a very obvious “yes”. His horse understood him better than anyone else. For a little while Alexander lost himself in dreams about future glory in the jousting field.
4th Nov 2010, 6:23 PM
Roe hold her breath. She was very close now and the wild boar did still not know she was there. If only she was older and allowed to hunt large preys for real! All she could do now was to practise her skills in tracking and moving without making a sound. Sometimes she could come so close to an animal that she could touch it. Of course some animals were better not to touch; she had learned this the hard way. In fact, it was best that this wild boar never realised she was close to it at all. She defied all her parent’s exhortations to be careful. Hunting in the way forest people did was definitely not without dangers but Roe enjoyed testing her own limits. It was inevitable that she would get smaller wounds every now and then but miraculously she was never seriously injured and she became more and more fearless. Although her parents constantly feared for their daughter’s safety they were also very proud of their skilful and brave child.
“What have you been up to today?” her father asked.
”Nothing, just walking around,” Roe shrugged her shoulders. She figured that it was best for her father to not know that she had been tracking wild boars. It was strange that this strong and brave man was so easily scared when it came to her. He should know that she could take care of herself.
One of Roe’s strongest childhood memories was the large Forest people meeting. She had only a few times before met others of her kind when she walked far away in the forest with her parents. Her parents taught her good manners and how greet other people. These spontaneous meeting were always very brief. After polite greetings the different groups parted and went in opposite directions.
"It is very rude to intrude on someone else’s hunting grounds. We forest people always respect each other,” Wolf told her.
The large meeting was something completely new for Roe. She had never seen so many of her own kind at the same time before.
Everyone ate and laughed together. There were different competitions. At night when everyone danced to the rhythm of drums in the light of the fires, Roe felt like she had been transferred to some other magical place far away from real life. She thought that she could feel the presence of the spirits closer than ever before.
Next evening an old man told stories by the fire.
“He is very old, probably more than 60 winters and has seen and heard many things”, Otter said to Roe.
“Worst of all creatures in the world are the cruel humans” the storyteller said in a dramatic voice. “They look similar to the elves but are completely different and mortal just like us. But unlike us they have many children so they spread everywhere. They destroy the forest so that our people have to flee from our hunting grounds. There are no other creatures that are as cruel as them. Animals are kept as prisoners and humans kill as often as they can, not only for food.” The storyteller told many stories about the humans’ cruelty.
“Do humans exist for real?” Roe asked her mother when she was about to fall asleep in Otter’s arms.
“I don’t know”, Otter replied slowly. “But you don’t have to be afraid. If they really do exist they must be very, very far away. I have never met anyone who has seen a human. You know, I think that the storyteller sometimes makes up stories just to entertain us.”
But Roe was not reassured. She had nightmares about humans who came to destroy her forest so that she and her parents had to flee from their home.
6th Nov 2010, 11:39 AM
A few days after Roe had returned home after the meeting she had a shock. She was following an interesting track from a group of deers when suddenly a pale boy stood right before her, like he had grown out of the ground. He was looking directly at her. This must be a human boy! Roe panicked. She was really scared but she knew better than to show her fear. Her father had told her over and over again that showing fear was the best way to get attacked. “Always act as you are in total control of things no matter how you feel inside,” he had told her so many times. Roe gathered herself. After all, the boy didn’t really look dangerous at all.
Roe remembered her good manners and bowed. She thought that being polite could never hurt, although humans probably did not know about such things.
“I am Roe of the forest people, Wolf’s and Otter’s daughter," she said politely.
The pale boy with the strange blue eyes smiled happily. “I am Thorundur and I’m a light elf. I'm on a fishing tour with my brother but he's so boring so I went away on my own for a little while,” he said.
The boy spoke so fast so Roe could barely get what he said. But she had very clearly heard that he was a light elf. Of course, she thought. She knew that elves sometimes walked in the forest although she had never met one before. Elves were not dangerous. How silly she had been to think that the boy was a human! Humans probably didn’t exist after all.
The boy had a funny but pleasant accent. Roe remembered that the storyteller had said that once in the beginning of times it was the elves that had taught the forest people their language. Roe was thrilled. Like other children of her kind she was not used to have a playmate.
“We can go tracking together she said," but felt suddenly a little shy. What if the elf thought she was boring?
“That sounds fun,” he said quickly with a bright smile. “But I have another idea, lets sneak on my brother. He's only fifty years old but so booring. I bet that he will not notice us until we 're really close." Thorundur told Roe that he lived far away with his parents but was staying with his brother for a while. “Mum and Dad think it will be good for me to spend a year with my brother and aunt. They think I will learn to behave better,” Thorundur said with a smile that showed that he had no intention at all to learn how to behave. “Hey, do you live here somewhere? Maybe we can play every day?”
Roe and Thorundur had much fun sneaking on Toraldor, Thorundur’s brother, who was fishing in a small lake not far away. But of course they couldn’t help giggling after a while and were revealed.
“You little rascal,” Toraldor said with a stern voice to his brother, but his smile showed that he was not angry at all. He hugged his little brother and Roe noticed that there was much love between the two brothers. They looked so much alike, even their clothes were the same. “Are you not going to introduce your friend?” Toraldor asked with a look at Roe.
“This is my friend Roe, she's from the Forest people,” Thorundur answered with a pride that made Roe feel very good.
“I didn’t know there was any of your kind here” Toraldor said to Roe. “I am pleased to meet you Roe. It will be good for Thorundur to have a friend here.”
Thorundur and Roe played almost every day. Roe taught Thorundur to track and to move silently but he was not as good as her. He often scared the animals before they got very close because he just couldn’t be quiet but Roe had more fun than ever.
Roe could talk with Thorundur about everything. He told her about his life with the elves.
“My brother’s wife is a distant relative to the King and Queen,” he said with some pride.
But Roe didn’t really understand what being king and queen meant so Thorundur had to try to explain but was a little annoyed when Roe laughed because she thought it was silly to have a king and queen. Then he agreed with her. Why didn’t the elves live like the forest people? he thought. Roe taught Thorundur about the life in the forest. She was surprised to find out that Thorundur had no idea that everyone was part of the forest and that spirits in the forest gave people food and shelter if you respected them.
"The forest is our mother," Roe explained.
When the winter came they couldn’t see each other as often as before because when the snow was deep it was difficult to move in the forest and if snow fall was heavy it could even be dangerous to go far away from home. But when the weather was fine they played and had more fun than ever in the snow. Roe had the best time of her life when she had Thorundur as a friend. Everyday was full of fun when they were together.
One day when they met in the forest Thorundur looked very sad. “I have to go home,” he sobbed and Roe thought her heart would break. Thorundur noted that Forest people cried without any tears.
“My parents have come to take me home again and they will not let me stay any longer even though I begged them.” The sorrow in Thorundur’s voice was heartbreaking.
“I will come back one day”, Thorundur said when he hugged his friend one last time. “It’s like you’re my twin sister. I have never had so much fun.”
“Neither have I,” Roe sobbed. “I will miss you so much.”
10th Nov 2010, 12:21 AM
This was extremely good. The pictures in particular impressed me. I would say that they have been the best pictures I've ever seen as an accompaniment to a Sim's story I've ever seen. Good to have some more fantasy here, and I hope you continue with your great tale.
11th Nov 2010, 3:43 AM
Hmmm....but isn't the elven child female? =3 Does that mean Thorundur is really a girl?!
11th Nov 2010, 10:50 PM
Thank you both for reading. Thorundur is definitely a boy but there is also an elven princess, Aliendre, but she has only been mentioned briefly so far. Next chapter is in progress and will be about Alexander.
14th Nov 2010, 12:48 AM
Alexander enjoyed his privileged life. He was popular and had a reputation to be handsome and charming.
Although Alexander had to spend much time on his education there was also plenty of time for pleasure. His favourite pleasure was sport games of different kinds. He was still too young to be allowed to participate in the games himself but he still dreamed about the day that he would participate in the competitions.
One day Alexander’s cousin Erik came to spend some time in the royal castle. Queen Cecilia was not thrilled over the idea to have the son of her husband’s brother in the household and close to her son. She did not trust Erik at all.
“What harm can it do to have him here? After all he’s family. The best that can happen is that Erik becomes Alexander’s friend,” Magnus said but Cecilia was still not convinced.
Just as Magnus had hoped, Erik and Alexander became good friends. They both enjoyed all kinds of sports that were considered proper for a noble man of this time. Erik was older than Alexander and the better of them when they practised the arts of fighting but Alexander was more dedicated in his practise and could spend hours polishing his technique with the sword.
They were both handsome and together they became the centre of social life for the young and privileged. Alexander’s friends had been carefully chosen from the most influential families in the kingdom. Together with Erik, Alexander spent more time than ever on pleasures together with his friends.
I think they are looking at us,” Erik tilted his head in the direction of a group of young maids that were whispering and giggling together. Erik stretched himself with a self-conscious smile on his lips.
It was obvious that the young girl’s eyes were hooked on Alexander. When he looked in their direction they started too giggle hysterically.
Alexander’s cheeks turned slightly red. Although he was born a prince, too much attention sometimes made him feel a bit uncomfortable.
“I guess being a prince increase your attractiveness.” It was meant as a joke but Erik couldn’t completely disguise the underlying bitterness in his voice. Although Erik also was popular and older than Alexander, it was always Alexander who got most of the attention and admiration.
“I don’t think I like the influence Erik has on our son.” Cecilia said to Magnus. “They spend too much time on pleasures and Alexander must think about his future duties and spend more time on education.”
“I wouldn’t worry,” Magnus replied. “I’m happy that they are such good friends. My brothers have only caused trouble for me but perhaps it can be different between Alexander and his cousins. But you may be right that Alexander spends too much time on pleasures and too little on education and duties. I'm also afraid that a little more humility wouldn’t hurt Alexander. Maybe it’s time for him to visit the elves for a year or so.” Cecilia didn't like anyone criticising her son, not even Magnus.
“There is nothing wrong with Alexander,” she said sharply, “and he's still too young to go away for a year.”
“No, he’s the same age that I was when I visited the elves. He will grow up whatever you do.”
But Cecilia didn’t want to hear about sending Alexander to the elves yet and if Alexander didn’t behave as she might wish, it was Erik’s fault. Her son couldn't do anything wrong according to Cecilia. “Alexander is just a young boy, there will be plenty of time for him to visit the elves later,” Cecilia finished the discussion.
I was in the middle of the night and everyone in the castle except the guards on duty were asleep. The dark figure moved silently looking around his shoulder every now and then. He didn't belong to the castle and was heavily armed. The guard didn't hesitate for a second when he saw that the intruder was trying to open Alexander’s door. There was a look of total surprise in the intruder’s eyes when the sword went into his chest.
Too late Robert, which was the guard’s name, realised that killing the intruder maybe wasn’t the best option and just as he had feared king Magnus was angry.
“Now, we will never know who sent him.” Although Magnus was very happy that the attack on his son had been stopped, he was displeased that the intruder had been killed and couldn't be interrogated. He was convinced that one of his brothers had sent the intruder to kill Alexander but now nothing could be proved.
The next days were turbulent. Magnus had never expected an attack on his son in his own castle. Although Alexander also was a little annoyed by the incident, he stated that the guards had done their duty and he hadn’t been harmed after all. It was obvious that the safety was good in the castle according to Alexander.
Cecilia was deeply chocked. She changed her mind about sending Alexander to the elves and decided that he would be much safer in the Elven realms for a while. I was hastily decided that Alexander would leave as soon as possible. It was spring and a good time to travel.
“I don’t want to stay with the longears for a year,” Alexander protested unhappily. "I have heard that all they do is singing and reading poetry. I want to stay here with my friends."
“Never, ever call the elves longears again.” Magnus said angry. “You must show them the deepest respect. You have to travel and that’s the end of the discussion.”
When Alexander had left the room Magnus chuckled for himself. “Longears, haha.” Sometimes the king was easily amused.
It was time to leave. A few guards would accompany Alexander. He needed all his self control to not cry in front of everyone. Cecilia thought that is was almost unbearable to see her son leave although she knew that he would be back next year.
When Alexander was ready to mount his horse he began to feel that maybe this would be a good adventure after all.
19th Nov 2010, 7:52 PM
As the years went by without Thorundur showing up again, Roe realised that he probably had forgotten about her and was busy with his life with the elves. She would never forget her best friend even if they only had spent a short time together. But that year had been the best time of her life. There was not a day that went by when she didn’t think about the elf and the good times that they had shared together.
Roe was, however, not unhappy. It was not in her nature to be unhappy for a long time and she still enjoyed her life with all the small adventures in the forest. One day she made new friends. A couple of dark elves, Ondina and Orm, had moved to a place in the mountains not very far from Roe’s family’s hunting grounds. Their blue eyes reminded her of Thorundur. At first she had thought that Thorundur’s eyes looked strange but very soon she’d started to like his blue eyes that were so vivid. Ondina and Orm were much older than her and she didn’t share the same kind of familiarity with them that she had with Thorundur but she enjoyed spending time with the elves.
Ondina smiled friendly. “You know everything that is worth to know about the forest Roe. Would you like to help us to collect some of the ingredients that we need for our potions? Perhaps we can help you sometime in return.”
Roe was flattered. The dark elves made her feel special when they thought that she could help them with their magic. Some of the ingredients that Ondina and Orm had asked for were extremely poisonous. It was the kind of plants and mushrooms that she had been taught to carefully avoid. Roe figured that it was logic that strong magic required strong ingredients.
“I used to have a friend who was an elf just like you. He’s name was Thorundur.” Roe smiled sadly.
“That sounds like a light elf name.” Ondina’s eyes met Orm’s.
“Yes, of course. Thorundur is a light elf.” Roe was puzzled by the strange expression in Orm’s and Ondina’s faces.
“I’m sure that he was a nice person if you chose him to be your friend.” Ondina didn’t sound as if she really meant this. “But you should know that light elves cannot be trusted. There are things in the past that we will never forgive them. They started a cruel war against the dark elves and we will never forget our terrible losses. It’s probably better for you to keep away from light elves.” Ondina’s face hardened when she talked about light elves.
This was a lot more information about the elves than Roe had wanted to have and the new knowledge disturbed her. Forest people had no enemies and treated everyone with respect. How strange that dark elves and light elves who were of the same kind did not get along with each other! She didn’t talk more about Thorundur and didn’t ask about the differences between light and dark elves because she really didn’t want to hear any bad things about light elves.
“I don’t think you should spend so much time with the elves,” Otter’s ears twitched slightly and Roe had to look down to hide her smile. She didn’t want her mother to believe that she was being disrespectful. It was always so easy to tell when Otter was uncertain. Her ears revealed her. “We Forest people proud ourselves to be polite and kind but we don’t socialise with other species and only rarely with those of our own kind that are not family. I know that you had much fun with the light elf when you were a child but you are growing up and should follow the ways of our people.”
“Why don’t Forest people socialise with others?” Roe couldn’t understand this. It was so fun and interesting to be with the elves.
Otter’s ears twitched again. She really didn’t know exactly why she thought that Roe shouldn’t spend time with the elves. It just felt strange and wrong. She worried because it became more and more clear that maybe Roe was different from other Forest people, and according to Otter being different meant trouble. “Because it’s not how we are. It’s against our nature.” Otter realised that the answer was insufficient for Roe who just looked more questioning.
Roe hugged her mother. “Don’t worry about me mum. I’ll be fine.” Otter gave up. Maybe being different could be something very good sometimes, she thought hopefully.
Wolf sat down by the fire next to Roe. “It’s time for the Forest people meeting next summer. You’re now old enough to participate in the competitions, and I think that you will enjoy that.”
Roe was thrilled. She still remembered her first and only meeting as a very special event in her life. She would indeed enjoy competing with other hunters of her own kind.
Roe had seen a colony of bees in a tree some days before and had decided that she would surprise her parents with honey today. She was thinking about how happy Otter and Wolf would be when she came home with the honey when her sharp nose picked up a very familiar scent that she had not felt for many years now. The scent brought back so many memories from the past, but it was not possible, she must be mistaken.
She was not mistaken. Suddenly he stood there in the forest looking straight at her, just like the first time that she’d met him.
“Hi Roe, I think that you have grown since last time I saw you.” The familiar smile made his eyes glitter.
22nd Nov 2010, 7:09 PM
”Thorundur!” Roe threw herself around Thorundur's neck. “I’ve missed you so much!”
“I missed you too Roe. My parents wouldn’t let me leave home until now. I was so afraid that you might have moved so that I wouldn’t be able to find you again.”
It was like they never had parted. They could still talk about everything and spent almost all time together. Thorundur enjoyed hunting and was more than happy to learn from Roe who had improved her skills during the years that had passed.
“I have such a good time with you Roe.” Thorundur said and Roe felt warm and happy. “You’re the best sister I could have.” Somehow these words didn’t make Roe as happy as they used to.
“I met two dark elves who became my friends.” Roe worried about how Thorundur would react to this information considering what the dark elves had told her about the relations between light and dark elves. But Roe didn’t want to have any secrets for Thorundur.
“Dark elves!” Thorundur looked upset. “Dark elves are evil. How could you be friend with such people?” he asked accusingly.
Roe was hurt and angry. “They were nice to me and they are my friends. Ondina and Orm said that light elves are cruel. I can’t understand why elves cannot get along with each other.”
She got up and walked away.
“Wait, Roe. I didn’t mean to be angry at you. It’s not your fault. You couldn’t know how cruel dark elves can be. Please don’t be angry at me. Do you still see the dark elves?”
Roe hadn’t seen Ondina and Orm for some time before Thorundur showed up. She didn’t know if they kept away because they knew that Thorundur was here or if they just were busy with other things.
“I won’t see them again as long as you’re here if you don’t want me too,” she said.
“I better stay then,” he said with a smile.
Thorundur was upset to learn that Ondina and Orm had settled down in the mountains not very far away from his brother’s home. But Thorundur and Roe didn’t talk more about the dark elves.
“Father you can’t be serious!” Princess Aliendre was upset.
“You’re the only elf here who’s about the same age as Prince Alexander,” King Eraldor said. “I think that it’s more than reasonable and polite that you spend some time with him. He’s going to be treated as an honoured guest in our palace.”
“But a human!” Aliendre was not happy. “Am I supposed to be a nanny to a human?” She could think of thousands of things that she’d rather do than spend time with a human.
“Humans may be mortal and different from us but they are our allies. We have not forgotten the help that they gave us when the evil dark elves started the war hundreds of years ago. You were not born then but most of the light elves are old enough to remember how the humans helped us to win the war when it looked hopeless. Our numbers were seriously reduced and never has there been a sorrow worse than what we experienced because of the war. The human king who supported us was an ancestor to Prince Alexander and therefore the prince must be treated with respect.”
Aliendre sighed and bowed her head.
Although Aliendre had no other choice than to do as she was told, she didn't look forward to the visit by the human.
2nd Dec 2010, 6:15 PM
Alexander had looked after his horse Galaxy and was walking back to the camp fire when he heard that the guards were talking about him.
“I would very much prefer to be at home with my family instead of looking after a spoiled brat prince in the middle of nowhere” Robert said.
“I know, but the payment is good,” Roland answered.
Alexander was chocked and sad. Was that how people thought of him, as a spoiled brat? He realised that lately he had probably deserved such an opinion about himself. But he would change that. He walked slowly to the camp.
“Where is the axe Robert?” Alexander said.
Robert looked puzzled. “Why?” he asked.
“Obviously we need some more wood for the fire.”
Alexander grabbed the axe and walked away. It was harder than he had thought but finally he had a nice pile of logs. Satisfied with the result he decided that he would show everyone that he was a lot more than a spoiled prince.
“We’re not very far away from the elven palace now,” Roland said. Can you see the mountains over there?”
Alexander looked in the direction Roland pointed and nodded.
“Never go to close to the mountains. It’s said that dark elves dwell there,” Roland said. “They can put a spell on you so that you’re lost in the wilderness forever.”
Alexander shuddered. He had read about dark elves and their black magic and had no intention to have any closer contact with them. It was good the light elves’ palace was in a completely different direction.
7th Dec 2010, 12:40 AM
Here is chapter 9. The story is getting longer than I first had thought. Even if the general storyline is finished the details between the major events seem to live their own life and are growing. Roe and Alexander will meet their destinies sooner or later but it will take longer to get there than I had planned.
Alexander had never seen elves before except at the banquet that was hold to his honour when he was little. Of course he could not remember that. All elves looked like they were the same age with one exception, a young girl about his age. She must be Princess Aliendre he thought. The princess looked steady at him with her large blue eyes and an expression that indicated that she was bored. Alexander thought that she was the most beautiful girl that he’d ever seen.
Aliendre’s bored expression did not change when it was her turn to greet the guest.
“I am pleased to meet you Prince Alexander.” Her voice was soft and graceful but her facial expression did not match her words. There was not a trace of a smile on her lips.
The guards only stayed to get a couple of days rest from the travel before it was time for them to return home. When Roland bowed and said “Goodbye Alexander it was a pleasure to escort you,” he sounded sincere and when he looked at Alexander it was with a respect that hadn’t been there before.
The guards left and Alexander was the only human left. But the elves were friendly and kept him busy. There were always new and interesting things to learn. Alexander worked hard, determined to make a good impression and to improve himself.
The palace garden was magnificent. Pleasant flagrances from colourful flowers filled the air. Bees and butterflies drank from the nectar. Archways, fountains, footpaths and statues added to the beauty. Most fantastic of all was the statue of the elven queen. It was perfect with real clothes and hair.
“I hope that you have settled in and that everything is to your satisfaction.” The friendly voice made Alexander jump because he had thought that he was alone.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you Alexander. I was lost in the past. Sometimes we elders forget the present and loose ourselves in past times.”
Now Alexander realised that it was not a statue at all. It was actually the queen herself who had been completely still in the same posture for a long time. He could swear that she hadn’t even blinked.
Despite all new things to explore and learn Alexander felt a bit lonely and missed his friends and family. He had hoped that he and Aliendre would become friends. After all they were the only teenagers here. She did, however, seem to avoid him. He greeted her every time they occasionally met but she answered shortly and did not stop even to exchange a few polite phrases. Usually girls were more than happy to talk with Alexander, but on the other hand he had never met an elven girl before.
To Alexander’s surprise and delight Aliendre approached him one day.
“Would you like to come with me on an excursion?” she asked. There was still not a trace of a smile in her face.
They went by horse to a place close to the palace. All colours were more intense than they were at home in the human kingdom. The grass was greener and there were colourful flowers that Alexander had never seen at home. It looked almost like an enchanted landscape. He said this to Aliendre in an attempt to open a conversation.
“Of course,” she said. The king and queen use their powers too keep this place as we like it.”
Alexander was dumbfounded. He hadn’t really expected magic to be involved although he had known that some of the elves from the oldest families had strong powers. It was one thing to read about magic powers and another thing to see evidence of it.
“Would you like to practice archery with elven bows?” Aliendre said.
“Yes, I would love to.” Alexander had always enjoyed archery. Aliendre provided him with a bow and arrows.
The first arrow hit the target in the bullseye and the next was not very far from it. Alexander found that his results were better than ever. He had never used such a good bow.
“Has this been prepared with magic?” he asked Aliendre. It seamed reasonable that the bow could be enchanted if the landscape was.
“No,” she said as if he was stupid to ask such a question. “We have very skilful craftsmen.”
Alexander shot some more arrows and was satisfied with the result. Aliendre picked up a bow and started to practice on another target and Alexander noted that she was skilled. Obviously she had done this many times before.
“Would you like to compete?” Alexander asked.
Aliendre nodded. Although Alexander couldn’t deny that she was very talented he was satisfied to note that he was better. He was too competitive to consider letting her win just to be polite.
A small wrinkle formed between Aliendre’s brows and her otherwise full lips narrowed to a thin line. “Let’s increase the distance,” she said.
Okay, she’s a bad loser Alexander thought amused and accepted the challenge. He felt confident about his skill with the bow. All the hours of practice had given result and with the elven bow he was better than ever. But when he saw how far away Aliendre had meant he protested.
“I can hardly see the targets there. How am I am supposed to be able to aim?”
Aliendre smiled content. “Do you give up?”
Although Alexander did well Aliendre won this time. I was clear that elves had better vision than humans. Aliendre was not only a bad loser she was also a bad winner. Although Alexander could tell that she tried to hide her content she did not succeed very well.
Alexander picked some flowers nearby.
“These are for the beautiful winner” he said with smile. “I will carry them back home for you.”
To Alexander’s surprise and delight Aliendre’s lips formed bright smile that made her look radiant. For once the imperious princess was amused. “You shouldn’t have picked those flowers,” she said.
“Why, is there a law against picking them?” Alexander looked horrified and threw the flowers on the ground.
“No, there’s no need for a law. No one would be stupid enough to pick them,” Aliendre said with a laugh. “Almost no one” she corrected herself with a look at Alexander. “You will understand very soon what I’m talking about.”
Before Aliendre had finished the sentence Alexander felt how his hands started to twinge and he could see vesicles popping up.
“The flowers have a poisonous sap,” Aliendre said. The tone of compassion in her voice surprised Alexander. “It’s not dangerous but will hurt for a while. You’re lucky though. I have something in my saddle bag that will help.”
She got an ointment and salved Alexander’s hands that started to feel better immediately. Aliendre’s hands were warm and soft.
“It was worth it to see you smile” Alexander said when Aliendre met his eyes for a moment. It seemed to get her out of balance for a short while.
When they rode home Aliendre smiled a little when he joked with her. She told him about the places they passed and asked a couple of questions about his family. In the short ride home they exchanged more words than they had since Alexander came to the light elves.
Alexander smiled. He had known exactly what plants that he had picked. They grew at home also and he was well aware that they would cause a rash. It had been worth it to break the ice between him and Aliendre. An extra bonus was that Aliendre had had a healing salve so he didn’t even have to suffer much. He thought about the softness of Aliendre’s hands. It had been a very good day on the whole.
14th Dec 2010, 10:43 PM
Alexander studied his image in the mirror for a long time while he combed his hair without being completely satisfied with the result. Maybe he should let his hair grow long like the elves, he thought. He changed clothes a couple of times before he was ready for breakfast.
When he got out of his room he saw Aliendre and she was looking at him. She looked puzzled as if she tried to figure out something.
“Good morning,” Alexander said, and for the first time the princess returned his greeting with a friendly smile.
Alexander found that Aliendre smiled often now. They spent more and more time together. Aliendre wanted to know everything about the human word, something that she recently had seemed to consider being below her dignity. Alexander was cheerful by nature and his jokes made her laugh.
Alexander woke up. It was dark and the moonlight trickled through the coloured glass in his window. Upset voices reached his room. There seemed to be several elves in the courtyard who talked about something that they were clearly not happy about. Alexander went out to find out what was going on.
Between two light elves in armour was a teenage boy who Alexander thought must be a dark elf. The boy was obviously a prisoner and did not seem to be any older than Alexander.
“It’s outrageous. We found him close to the palace,” one of the light elves said.
“Don’t you know that this is forbidden area for dark elves?”
The boy’s jaws were tense and his eyes filled with pride. He kept silent and did not answer any of the questions that he was asked.
Everyone’s eyes turned as King Eraldor came out from the main door. The situation was quickly explained for him.
There was a grim expression in the elven king’s face. “Lock him up for the night and we’ll have the trial here in the courtyard tomorrow.”
Alexander was already awake when the sun rose. He hadn’t been able to get much sleep. The tribunal was going to be held in the courtyard and Alexander was expected to be in the audience. The expressions in the light elves’ faces gave him a bad feeling about what to expect. He did not envy the boy who was going to be judged by this crowd. The dark elf was pushed in front on the light elves. He still refused to answer any questions and looked steady at the light elves with pride and hatred.
When Alexander for a short moment met the boy’s eyes he could tell that there was fear behind the pride in them. Some kind of conviction seemed to be made after a very short trial.
Eraldor stood up to announce the sentence. “Your memory and your sense will be taken away from you before you will be released in the forest far away from here.”
This was a sentence Alexander had never heard in any human trial that he had attended but it did not sound good.
The boy’s jaws became even tenser and his face paler but he kept his eyes steady and did not say anything. His name was still unknown as he had not said a word since he was caught. Eraldor lifted his arm and the silence was compact. The power of the words coming from Eraldor’s mouth was obvious even for Alexander who did not understand them. A light bolt went from Eraldor’s fingers and hit the dark elf whose face became totally blank. He was dragged away by two light elves. No one spoke. Alexander met Aliendrie’s eyes and could tell that she had also been deeply shaken. To be released in the forest without memory or sense could be nothing else that a death sentence Alexander thought. What had the boy done to deserve such a destiny? All Alexander knew was that the dark elf had been too close to the light elves’ palace.
Eraldor sat down looking tired and worn as if all his energy had been drawn out of him with the spell. He went slowly into to the palace, supported by his wife, and stayed out of sight for three days.
19th Dec 2010, 11:33 PM
Roe waited at the usual place. She loved early summer mornings and the sensation when the rising sun started to warm her skin.
When she saw Thorundur her heart started beating faster and all colours became brighter. She loved how the sunlight made his blond hair shine. Everything was so much more fun when she shared it with Thorundur.
“I’ve never seen you use any magic,” Roe said. “Don’t all elves have magic powers?”
“It’s mostly the oldest elves and sometimes their children. I don’t have much power but there’s something that I can do. Look!”
Thorundur closed his eyes and concentrated. He reached out his fingers and started to say some strange words that he repeated many times under deep concentration. After a long while Roe could see a small flame of fire coming from his fingertips. With a last effort he lighted a fire.
“That’s fantastic Thorundur. You’re so skilled.”
Thorundur had to sit down to rest. The spell had drained him of energy but he looked very content. Roe didn’t have the heart to tell him that she could have lit the fire much quicker and with less effort without magic.
It was getting colder each day. Roe took a deep breath letting her lungs fill with the fresh autumn air. She took a new breath but this time only with her nose.
“I can smell the boar here. It must be in this direction,” she said. She could feel the adrenaline running through her veins, sharpening her senses and making her feel really good.
“You’re right. Here’s the track. It looks fresh,” Thorundur whispered.
“Are you ready?” Roe nodded in the direction of the wild boar that was drinking from the lake.
Thorundur raised his bow and aimed. Just as he was about to fire the arrow the boar looked up and ran away. The arrow went through the air and hit the ground where the boar had been half a second before.
“I can’t believe it! I had him! Something scared him.”
There was a movement in the bushes by the lake and a dirty skinny figure appeared. He looked ragged and his eyes bewildered. When he saw Roe and Thorundur there was a look of total terror in his face before he turned away and ran through the forest in an amazing speed as if something horrible was hunting him. Soon he was out of sight.
“What was that? Surely that was an elf but he looked as if he had no sense at all,” Roe said.
“He was a Dark elf so of course he wouldn’t have any sense. He made us loose the boar.”
Despite the harsh words from her friend Roe could see that the strange behaviour of the boy had disturbed Thorundur as well.
“If he acts like that he will get himself killed really soon.” Roe shuddered at the thought of the boy who had seemed so lost in the forest. There had clearly been something terribly wrong with him.
“Next summer I will go to a Forest people meeting,” Roe said.
“Can I come with you?”
Roe hesitated, not knowing how to tell Thorundur that only Forest people could go.
Thorundur laughed. “I was joking. I know that your people would be shocked to se an elf at their secret meeting. Besides I’m going to visit the King’s and the Queen’s palace with Toraldor and his wife. It’ll probably be about the same time as your meeting. As I told you before, my brother Toraldor’s wife, Liandra is a very distant relative to Queen Eliene. We’ll have so much to tell each other when we meet again after I have been at the palace and you at the big secret Forest people meeting.”
26th Dec 2010, 2:36 AM
Toraldor was relieved. His constant worry might soon be eased. His wife Liandra was so wise. “I think it was a brilliant idea to ask Thorundur to come with us to the palace. My parents are constantly asking me to stop him from running around in the forest with the creatures there, but you know Thorundur. He doesn’t listen to anyone.”
“At the palace I think he will start to think and behave more like an elf. We have probably given him too much freedom,” Liandra said.
“Yes, I know, but it’s not easy to control Thorundur. I didn’t mind when he played with the forest creature as a child but he and the girl are growing up and I’m getting more and more worried about how it will end.”
“I know,” Liandra said. “But spending more time with elves will probably do him good.”
Thorundur shook his head. “Forest creature!” Was that supposed to be Roe? He didn’t mind to visit the palace, but if his brother and Liandra thought that he would stop seeing Roe they were mistaken. “There’s no need to worry dear brother”, Thorundur said silently to himself. “Roe is my sister.”
Roe had arrived to the meeting place late last night. She looked forward to the competitions that would start tomorrow.
“Hi, I’m Bear, son of Squirrel and Wolverine”, the boy bowed to Roe and she answered the greeting.
He sat down next to her and Roe felt a little annoyed. She was thinking about the competitions tomorrow and Bear was disturbing her concentration.
The first competition was to throw a spear at a target. Competitors who hit the target passed to a new round. For each round the distance was increased further until only the winner hit the target.
“Bear is the winner and Roe is second,” they judges announced.
Roe felt that she hated Bear when she saw his content smile. She had tried so hard to win and he had just been lucky.
Next competition was to run through an obstacle course. In the end of the course the judges had hung a foxtail in a tree. The one that first grabbed the foxtail would win. Roe scratched her hands and knees so that her blood left a track behind her. Normally she would never be so careless but this was not a normal hunt. This was a competition where the winner would be the quickest competitor, not the wisest. Roe felt as if her lungs would explode when she triumphantly grabbed the foxtail.
“Roe is the winner,” the judges announced.
That should show Bear who’s the best hunter, Roe thought. To her annoyance he didn’t look disappointed. Instead he looked admiringly at her.
Wolverine approached Wolf. “Your daughter is a very good hunter,” he said.
“Yes, I’m very proud of Roe,” Wolf agreed.
“It will soon be time for her to think about getting a suitable mate. My son Bear is also a good hunter. I think that they would be a good couple. Maybe they could be joined at the next meeting?”
“We’ll see,” Wolf said. “Roe is still young, but I will consider your suggestion.”
Wolf had avoided thinking about Roe getting a husband although he had known that it would inevitably happen some day not very far in the future. He had hoped that Roe would find a mate that had a sibling but there were not many young Forest people with siblings. It was too much to ask that a young couple would support four aging parents. The future could be grim for aging Forest people without children. Bear would be the best husband that he could wish for Roe. He was strong and a good hunter. It would probably be good if Roe got a husband soon so that she stopped running around with the elf.
When many of the Forest people were gathered together the presence of the spirits of the forest and the ancestors were always closer than ever. The flames of the fires, the rhythm of the drums and the dances made the spirits approach the people and everyone was part of an entirety, joined in the passed and the present. That was how it was supposed to be, but Roe’s mind played tricks with her tonight.
She didn’t feel the presence of the spirits at all tonight; instead images of Thorundur’s face filled her mind. If only she could share this night and experience with him! Then her mind played a new trick with her and another image filled her brain. A toddler was asleep in a hut. It was a child of the Forest people. The child woke up and opened the eyes. Roe could see that the eyes were as blue as the sky.
Roe woke up. It was still dark and everyone was asleep after the dance with the spirits yesterday. Her throat was terribly dry. She felt an irresistible urge to go to the creek in the forest near the camp. It was full moon and fog was covering the damp ground.
When she came to the creek there was a woman standing on the other side. The woman was obviously not one of the Forest people.
“Roe of the Forest people I have been waiting for you. We missed you yesterday. Everyone but you joined their mind with us.” The voice sounded distant although the women stood there right in front of Roe.
“Who are you?”
“Don’t you know, I’m your mother.”
Roe thought that she must be dreaming a very strange dream. The woman in front of her didn’t look anything like her mother, Otter.
“Is this a dream?”
“Look into your heart and you will know.”
Roe concentrated but her heart didn’t tell her anything. She could feel the cold of the night touching her skin but maybe that was possible also in a dream?
“You will have to make a choice in your future and that choice will affect many people. Be careful to make the right choice.”
“How will I know the right choice?”
“Your heart will tell you. Keep your mind open and follow your heart. But remember that your heart can also delude you.”
This was really not very helpful, Roe thought. Was the woman joking with her? Roe didn’t think so.
“The dawn is getting closer and I have to leave, but remember my words, Roe with the brave heart. This is a gift from me to you, my favourite child. It will keep your spirits up when times are difficult.” The woman put something on a stone besides the creek. The mist became denser and the woman turned around and disappeared as if she had been absorbed by the night and the fog.
Roe went back to sleep. When she woke up together with everyone else in the morning she didn’t know if she had dreamt a very strange dream or if she really had met the incarnate Forest people’s mother during the night. She touched the necklace around her neck, the necklace that the woman had put on the stone at the side of the creek.
26th Dec 2010, 2:47 AM
Exceptionally well done. This is one of the best stories I've seen put up on this site.
1st Jan 2011, 9:10 PM
“One of the songs I heard yesterday seemed to be about life after death” Alexander said to Aliendre. “Do elves go to the same place as humans?”
“No, of course not, only immortals can go to our place. We cannot die by age, but yet many of us have already left this world. I don’t know what happens to mortals. It seems so sad to have such a short life,” she said thoughtfully.
Alexander thought that maybe this last part had been a bit tactless of Aliendre but he didn’t say so. He wouldn’t have minded to live forever like the elves did.
“Humans who are brave and give proper sacrifices will go to a place where there are no sorrows,” Alexander said. “There will be joyful games and banquets all the time. All wounds from the fighting games will heal before the night falls. We will meet our beloved that went before us and we will be together with them forever.”
“And humans who are not brave?” Aliendre asked.
“Humans better be brave,” Alexander said.
“My parents had a son, my brother, who died hundreds of years before I was born. He was killed by the Dark elves during the war. Don’t think too badly about us because of what you have witnessed here. There are reasons for our actions”
Alexander didn’t know if he agreed that a war hundreds of years ago really could be a good reason to take away the memory from a teenage boy and let him perish in the wilderness, but said nothing about it. After all, what did he know about Elven politics? "I would have had two brothers and three sisters if they hadn't all died as infants before I was born," he said. "Probably that's why my mother is extremely overprotecting."
There were always visitors that came and went in the Elven palace. One day a teenage boy arrived. He was only the third elf that Alexander had seen who was not an adult. There was something about the boy, except his age, that made him differ from all other elves that Alexander had seen.
Somehow the young boy made a more human impression than other elves but at first Alexander couldn’t figure out why. Then he realised! Elves usually moved very smoothly and never did these small and unnecessary movements with their hands that humans usually do. They even blinked much less often than humans. But this boy seemed to talk constantly and lively, underlining his words with gestures. Alexander had never seen such a lively elf before.
Thorundur heard the rhythm of a heart beat. The sound was load. No, it was not a heart beat ..... it was drums. Who could be playing drums in the middle of the night? The rhythm was primitive and suggestive, and there was a fire. He saw the flames dancing around him but they didn’t burn him because he was one of them and he couldn’t resist moving with the rhythm. Soon he was dancing wildly together with the flames of the fire with his heart beating with the same rhythm as the drums.
Sweat covered Thorundur’s body when he woke up from a disturbing and strange dream. He remembered that there had been a child in it. Something had been strange with the child but he couldn’t remember what it was. The room was really warm; no wonder that he had dreamt about fire. He needed fresh air.
The summer night was peaceful and refreshing and the moon was full. He wondered if Roe was looking at the same moon as him. She would be at the Forest people’s meeting by now but she was probably sleeping at this time of the night. Thorundur had arrived to the palace two days ago and liked it. Everything was beautiful here. Most beautiful of all was the Princess. He hoped that he would have the chance to get to know Princess Aliendre better.
6th Jan 2011, 11:09 PM
Thank you for your very nice comment PinkGraffiti.
6th Jan 2011, 11:33 PM
“This is Thorundur. His brother’s wife is a distant relative to the Queen.” Aliendre introduced the boy.
Alexander bowed and said “It is nice to meet you Thorundur.”
Thorundur’s bow was almost imperceptible. There was a wrinkle between his brows and he did not say the expected polite phrase in return.
“Where are you from Thorundur?” Alexander tried to converse with the boy but Thorundur only murmured something inaudible while he thoroughly studied his shoes. The Elven boy was not as lively and talkative when Alexander tried to talk with him as he’d been with the elves.
“Thorundur will be our tracker on our hunting excursion,” Aliendre said. She looked as if she was embarrassed by Thorundur’s behaviour.
Alexander was excited about today’s hunting trip. According to Aliendre they would have an excellent tracker. Although Thorundur had not made a very good first impression Alexander decided to give him second chance. Maybe he’d just been shy.
“Thorundur has learned how to track from his friend,” Aliendre said. “She belongs to the Forest people and has horns on her head.”
Alexander didn’t know if Aliendre was joking or if there really existed a people in the forest with horns on their head. He had never heard of such a people, not even in the fairy tales.
Alexander couldn’t deny that Thorundur really knew how to track. They found all the game they could wish for and the hunting party returned home in high spirits. Alexander had proved his skill with the bow when he struck down a deer and had enjoyed the elves’ admiration, especially Aliendre’s.
“You’ve been a great help, Thorundur.” Aliendre thanked the boy when the hunting party got home after a successful day.
Alexander was astonished. He hadn’t known that elves could blush but Thorundur’s cheeks turned deeply red when Aliendre thanked him.
“I think the boy has a crush on you, my dear princess.” Alexander knew that it was mean of him to tease Thorundur but he couldn’t help himself. Thorundur needed to be put in place.
Thorundur’s cheeks turned even redder while he turned his head to look steady at Alexander with lowered eyebrows and an expression that could not be mistaken for embarrassment. If it would be possible to fire arrows with the eyes, Alexander was certain that he would have been hit by one.
Alexander often found Aliendre together with Thorundur but the boy always left with a sullen face without acknowledging Alexander’s presence when Alexander arrived. Thorundur’s behaviour was really getting on Alexander’s nerves. After all he was a prince and was treated with respect by all the other elves. He felt relieved when Thorundur left the palace a few weeks later.
Alexander and Aliendre were never alone. There were always elves from the court accompanying Aliendre. Alexander suspected that they constantly were keeping an eye on him too. As a prince he was accustomed to have a suite following him, but sometimes it could be really annoying to never be left alone.
“I see that you and my daughter go along well together,” Eraldor said.
Alexander agreed and Eraldor asked about what Alexander had learned the last week. “You speak our language very well now,” Eraldor said. Then he changed subject again.
“Elves and humans are very different. Therefore a human and an elf can never marry and live together as man and wife. This has never happened because it would have disastrous consequences.” Alexander felt as if he shrank under Eraldor's gaze. If he only would blink!
Alexander nodded to show that he understood and Eraldor told him about what the consequences would be if an elf and a human fell in love and decided to share their lives.
Alexander was depressed. It was clear that Eraldor thought that he’d fallen in love with Aliendre. Maybe Eraldor was right Alexander thought. But after what Eraldor had told him he knew that such a love would be hopeless and disastrous. It was also obvious that Eraldor would never approve and Alexander couldn’t blame him.
Alexander couldn’t believe how fast the time with the elves had passed. He had been with the elves longer than the year that had been decided and had to return home before the winter when travelling would be more difficult. The human guards that would escort him home had arrived. He said goodbye to everyone and felt like he was about to leave a lovely dream and return to real life.
It was the last afternoon before Alexander would start the long travel home. He saddled Galaxy, his faithful friend, and rode to the place where he and Aliendre had practiced archery for the first time more than a year ago.
Aliendre was already there and for once she was alone.
“I hoped that you would come,” she said.
They sat down and talked about numerous pointless things. It was getting dark and they should return home. They started to walk slowly towards the horses without speaking.
Suddenly Aliendre stumbled on a root and Alexander caught her swiftly before she hit the ground. Before any of them knew how it happened their lips found each other. Alexander didn’t know how long they kissed because it was like an eternity and a fraction of a second at the same time. They parted, both knowing the hopelessness in the love between and elf and human.
They didn’t speak much on the ride back to the palace and said goodnight with heavy hearts. Soon Aliendre would be like an unreal dream Alexander thought. He hoped that Eraldor would never find out what had happened. Although the Elven king had always been kind to him, Alexander hadn’t forgotten how scaring Eraldor’s powers could be. The Dark elf that had been caught too close to the palace was probably dead by now.
When the humans left early in the next morning Aliendre looked after them until they were out of sight.
13th Jan 2011, 8:44 PM
Roe felt refreshed after the swim in the lake. The late summer days were very hot this year.
"How was your time at the palace?" Roe asked.
“It was good. Princess Aliendre is magnificent. She’s beautiful and kind. But there was a rude human prince visiting the palace. He constantly tried to flirt with Aliendre as if an Elven princess would care about a human.”
Roe’s eyes became wide and she jumped up. “Did you say human?! Do you mean that humans exist for real?! Did he try to kill you?”
Thorundur laughed. “Roe, of course they exist. Why would he try to kill me? After all it was only a human.”
Roe was upset. Her worst nightmare was true. Humans might come and force her people to leave their homes just as the storyteller had said when she was a child. But Thorundur didn’t seem to be worried or frightened. Maybe the storyteller had exaggerated?
“What do they look like?”
“They are not very different from elves but much uglier of course. Their ears are small and the adult males have hair in the face. Some of them remove the hair from the face while other let it grow.”
“Hair in the face, ugh.” Roe laughed.
“How was your meeting Roe?”
“I won three competitions.”
“Wow Roe! Of course I knew that you would do well. And more?”
“There was a boy named Bear who was really annoying. Dad thinks that I should take him as my spouse at the next meeting but I don’t really want to think about getting a spouse already. I can’t imagine how depressive a life with Bear would be.”
Thorundur was quiet for a long while which was something very unusual. “I don’t want to grow up,” he said finally. “I want everything to always be like it’s now. When you have a spouse you won’t have time for me.”
Roe knew that what Thorundur said was true. She could hardly run around in the forest with Thorundur when she had a husband and a family.
“I don’t want to grow up either,” she said.
“Elves don’t marry until they find the love of their life, even if it takes several hundreds of years, but I know that your people are expected to have a family as soon as you grow up.”
“It’s warm, I want another swim,” Roe said to change subject. She didn’t want to think more about the time when her happy days with Thorundur would come to an end.
If anyone had seen them he would probably have found the sight very odd. The young Forest girl and the Elven boy were playing like children in the water, laughing heartily as if there were no worries or dangers in their world.
They were lying in the sun letting the warm sun beams dry them after the swim.
“Did Bear give you that necklace?” There was a strange sharpness in Thorundur’s voice.
“No, You’ll never believe this!”
Roe told Thorundur about her meeting in the forest with the Mother. He looked at her with large eyes.
“If it wasn’t for the necklace I wouldn’t believe it myself. You’re the only one that I’ve told about the meeting with the Mother. To everyone else I said that I found the necklace in the forest.”
“I believe you. You’re the most incredible person I know Roe. That necklace is clearly not Elven handcraft. It looks very old.”
“I didn’t even know that the spirits could show themselves as people. No one that I have asked has heard of such a thing.” She didn’t tell Thorundur that she hadn’t felt the presence of the spirits during the dance because she’d been thinking about him. If he knew how she felt she was afraid that their friendship would change. There was no sign at all that he thought about her as anything else than as a very dear friend.
20th Jan 2011, 5:20 PM
If the pictures in this chapter look a little different from my previous pictures it’s because I have experimented a little with the light in my game and finally installed Gunmod’s Radiance Lighting Hack. Just when I had installed this, Almighty Hat uploaded “A World Lit by Fire” which tweaks the Radiance Lightning Mod to give the impression of fire instead of electric light. Of course I couldn't resist downloading that as well. This chapter is, however, only outdoors during daytime so you wont see the "Word Lit by Fire" effect here but maybe in one of the next chapters.
Although Alexander would rather die than admit it, it felt good to be in his mother’s arms again. He had really missed Cecilia’s loving care even if she often tended to exaggerate. It was good to be home.
“Tell us about the longears now, Alexander!”
Alexander took a gulp of his mead while he thought about what to say. It was as if everything had changed. Or rather, he had changed while everything else remained the same. He would for example not use the word “longears” about the elves after he had met Eraldor and Aliendre. It seemed so….inappropriate. A gap had developed between him and his friends but they didn’t seem to notice.
He put down the goblet and swallowed. “Their world is like a dream where time has stopped,” he said, feeling that he could not find exactly the right words to describe what he had experienced the last year.
“I believe that Alexander has become a poet. Have some more mead old friend,” Arne said and laughed. “Were there any pretty girls there?”
Alexander didn’t want to talk about Aliendre with his friends and thought quickly. The tribunal against the dark elf should distract them and give them something to think about. He did the most he could of the story, dramatizing all the spectacular details. Arne and Stig were enthralled.
Autumn was followed by winter and things went back to normal even if something within Alexander would always be changed after the visit in the Elven realm. He studied harder than ever and practiced martial arts with even more enthusiasm than before. Spring came early this year and the jousting tournaments started again.
Excitement and anticipation filled the air. Bookmakers were busy. The unknown knight, Stigbert, and the popular knight Sigvard were still undefeated and today’s victor would be settled in the final fight. Banners swayed in the wind and people were shouting their favourite champion’s name. Stigbert and Sigvard spurred their horses and approached each other in an appalling speed. The well known sound of shattering wood was heard when Stigbert’s lance hit Sigvard’s shield and threw him off the horse. Stigbert was thereby today’s winner. A short silence was broken by the people’s ovations.
When “Stigbert” removed his helmet and was identified as the Prince the ovations increased to a deafening thunder. It was intoxicating and Alexander wished that this moment could last forever. He was finally old enough to participate in the games at the jousting field. It had, however, been a bit complicated in the beginning. As soon as it became known that he was one of the participants, other participants usually withdraw because of the risk to injure a royalty. He suspected that the few participants that had courage enough to meet him didn’t do their best but gave the victory to him. Therefore he often chose to compete under disguise as he had today. Although he had done well in previous tournaments this was the first time that he had won a final under disguise. It was one of the best moments of his life and he wanted to remember the feeling forever.
Queen Cecilia was not very enthusiastic about Alexander’s participation in the jousting tournaments. King Magnus was, however, of the opinion that it was important for the future king to demonstrate his bravery. There was no doubt that Alexander’s success and sportsmanship increased the royal family’s popularity.
As people became more and more adjusted to see Alexander as a competitor he found that the fear to harm him because of his royalty diminished. It became possible to compete under his real identity. Today he wore his family’s colours. His cousin Erik would participate in the same tournament. The rumours about Erik’s success in the jousting field and his popularity had reached also Alexander but he had not seen Erik since he went to the Elven realm.
“Hi cousin nice too meet you, Alexander said.”
“Hi little Prince. Nice to see you too. I’m glad that you haven’t turned into an elf. I look forward to look down on your face when I throw you out of the saddle in the final.” Erik laughed and patted Alexander hard but friendly on the back.
“I’m sorry that I have to disappoint you cousin, but you will look up to my face.” Alexander smiled. He liked his cousin best of all his friends. People were drawn to Erik because it was almost always fun to be around him. He could often be found in the centre of a laughing crowd. Not everyone liked Erik unreservedly, however. Father’s and husbands who had heard about him kept an extra eye on their daughters and wives when he was nearby.
Erik had been at least partly right. They both made it to the final. Although Erik had won several glorious victories in the jousting field they had never met in a tournament before. Erik had always been the better of them when they had practiced martial arts together. For a fraction of a second Alexander saw the surprise in Erik’s eyes when his lance hit hard against Erik’s shield. Erik was thrown out of the saddle and hit the ground with a hard thump.
“You did well, congratulations, little Prince.” Erik bowed for Alexander. He moved stiffly. Luckily he had not been seriously injured but he had hit the ground hard. There was something in Erik’s eyes that disturbed Alexander despite the polite phrases and the wry smile.
23rd Jan 2011, 12:40 AM
“Thorundur seemed to enjoy the visit to the palace but now he’s running around in the forest with that girl just like before.” Toraldor felt helpless. He loved his brother and therefore he also worried very much about Thorundur’s behaviour.
His wife Liandra looked thoughtful. “I think I might have an idea. Thorundur seemed to like Aliendre very much. According to what I have heard Aliendre would like to travel a little to look around in the realm. Maybe we could ask if she could stay here with us for a while. It would be a great honour for us of course but I think that it might be possible that our offer would be accepted.”
“I have good news Thorundur. Aliendre will come and visit us.” Toraldor smiled when he saw his younger brother’s enthusiasm. Thorundur was so lively and his feelings were always so easy to tell. Once again Toraldor felt very lucky to have such a wise wife. If Toraldor would have had the gift to look into the future he would probably not have felt the happiness that he felt today. It is often true that ignorance is a blessing.
Wolf looked up from the skin that he was preparing. His eyes were large and his mouth wide open. Roe turned her head and looked in the same direction as her father. Bear, Wolverine and Squirrel were approaching their home.
“We were just passing by and thought that Roe might like this basket that Bear made.” Squirrel said.
Forest people never “just passed by”. It was obvious that Bear’s family had walked all the way from their home just to give Roe a gift. There was a skilfully prepared deer skin and a hunting knife in the basket. This was a very generous gift indeed. Too generous, Roe thought. The elders sent Roe and Bear to get some roots to eat with the meat that they would share for dinner. Obviously they wanted Bear and Roe to spend time alone together.
When the visitors had left Wolf sat down to speak with Roe. “Bear thinks that it’s too long to wait for the next meeting to be joined with you. He would like you to be joined already this autumn, and I cannot see any reason to delay.”
Roe looked down. “I don’t know if I really want to have Bear as my spouse at all”
Wolf lowered his eyebrows and looked as if he tried to understand such a strange statement. “You cannot expect to get a better husband. He’s an excellent hunter and strong. You’re old enough to start your own family.”
Roe knew that there was really nothing wrong at all with Bear. He was kind and skilful. He had only one fault, but that fault was very big… he was not Thorundur. As if he had heard her thoughts Wolf hesitated and said, “I should probably have talked with you about this a long time ago Roe, but I hope that you don’t have any fantasies about the elf. He can never be your husband.”
“Why?” Roe wished immediately that she had not asked. She had not meant to reveal her feelings about Thorundur.
“An elf can never be happy with one of our people and you would never be happy with an elf. They are different from us in many ways. Most importantly they are immortal. You will grow old while he will remain the same. The elf will never choose you. He will marry an Elven girl one day.”
Roe was hurt. She needed to be alone. Thorundur liked her. She was his best friend. Somehow it had to be possible to make him feel about her as she did about him. She couldn’t accept what Wolf had said. Her parents, Bear and his parents expected her to be joined with Bear before winter but her heart felt as if it would break when she thought about a life without Thorundur.
Thorundur had decided that he wanted a bear skin. I was early spring but he had seen fresh paw prints outside a male bear’s den and figured that the bear had wakened early. Roe thought that the idea to hunt a bear at this time of the year was stupid. It would be skinny and hungry but she had more important things on her mind and had not objected. Roe was walking in her own thoughts because she had decided that she would tell Thorundur about her feelings for him. It frightened her but she couldn’t see that she had much to loose anymore. Suddenly a deep roar broke the peacefulness and Roe realised that she had been unforgivable careless to get lost in her own thoughts like this.
Thorundur was running with an angry and wounded bear after him. His eyes were glowing, and there was a big smile on his lips. It was obvious that he was enjoying himself. Whatever strange plan Thorundur might have had to get himself a bear skin was ruined when he fell over a root.
The enraged bear rose on its hind legs. Thorundur was lying helpless on his stomach and Roe realised with horror that there was no chance in the world that she would be able to get to him in time. Her scream echoed in the forest.
27th Jan 2011, 9:36 PM
The short time it took for the bear to turn its head to look at the screaming Roe was all that Thorundur needed. Quickly he turned around, and when the bear bent over him the spear went deep into its body. Blood and saliva splashed over Thorundur and the bear fell down dead as a stone.
“That was fun Roe.”
The joy Roe had felt when she realised that Thorundur hadn’t been harmed gave way for another feeling when she saw the stupid elf’s glowing cheeks and bright smile. She had almost been scared to death and he sat there smiling as if it all had been something very fun. “How could you be so stupid Thorundur?!”
“Come on Roe, everything’s all right. I have my bear skin.” He was still smiling.
“You’re completely crazy Thorundur. You know that, don’t you?”
“That’s why you like me so much Roe, because you’re just as crazy as I am. You know exactly how much alive you feel after having almost faced death.”
Roe understood exactly how exhilarated Thorundur felt now. She also loved to test her limits and danger did make her feel alive. But she had not enjoyed the feeling when Thorundur had been in danger. The few seconds when she thought that he would die had been the worst time of her life.
“You could have died and then you wouldn’t have felt anything at all.” Roe wasn’t going to let Thorundur get away easy.
“But I’m alive, very much alive. You should have more confidence in your big brother Roe.” He was still smiling and now he was teasing her.
“You’re not my big brother.”
“I’m older than you Roe, so yes I am.”
Roe picked up a cone and threw it as hard as she could at Thorundur. He swerved and laughed. “I like you too Roe.” She gave up and laughed with him.
“I think my tunic is ruined.”
“That serves you right, you crazy elf.” Roe smiled but then her face became serious. “We must not forget to thank the Forest,” she said. She did the ceremony with great consideration and Thorundur accompanied her. For once he was serious and he performed the ceremony thoroughly. He made Roe feel proud because he had learned well.
"I will not be able to see you for a while. Princess Aliendre is arriving tomorrow and I’m supposed to accompany her.”
Roe thought that it wouldn’t have hurt if Thorundur had looked sad about not seeing her for a while. She would have to tell Thorundur how she felt about him later because she did not have enough courage today after all. This day had already been frightening enough.
“Maybe I can bring Aliendre with me to visit you. I don’t think that she has met any one from the Forest people before. You will like her, everyone does. She’s so beautiful and wise.”
Roe had a feeling that she might not like Aliendre at all.
28th Jan 2011, 9:03 AM
I really like the pictures and the way you're telling the story. Please, keep up the good work. *impatiently waits for a new update* :)
5th Feb 2011, 10:22 PM
“Two large beers please,” Ragnar slurred.
The maid hesitated, it was obvious that the two guests had already had more than enough but she also wanted the tip she might get so finally she came back with two large well filled goblets.
Ragnar took a gulp and put down his goblet on the table. He was not very steady on his hands so beer slopped out of the goblet forming large puddles on the table but he didn’t seem to notice. “I think you’re just making this up,” Ragnar said to his newly found friend.
“No, I swear, I have just returned from Hrafninlandi. It’s a vveerryy secret mission for Count Birger.” Valdemar waved his hand in the air to emphasize his words while he tried to keep his gaze steady at Ragnar.
Ragnar laughed. “Sure, and I’m the King’s counselor.”
Valdemar looked hurt. “Look here’s a letter with King Knut’s seal.” He concentrated hard to pronounce the words right but didn’t succeed very well. Valdemar had barely finished the sentence when his head fell down on the table and he started to snore loudly. Ragnar put money on the table, got up and went out on surprisingly steady legs. The maid though that she’d never seen a guest sober up so quickly before. When she picked up the money Ragnar had left she found that the tip had been generous enough.
While Alexander enjoyed his victories in the jousting field, his father was busy preparing for Alexander’s succession to the throne. Although the throne was usually inherited by the son of the last king this was not always granted. People could choose any king they wanted if they decided that they didn’t have confidence in the king’s heir and there was always the risk that someone could become powerful enough to dare to challenge the current king. This had caused several armed conflicts in the kingdom’s history. Therefore it was of utmost importance to have as much support and as strong allies as possible. “People” in this aspect of course only meant free men, and in reality only the most powerful families could really influence the choice of a king. The election of the king as such was mostly a formal ceremony where the candidate already one way or another had gathered enough support to ensure the outcome.
A knock on the door disturbed the silence in the study. Magnus raised an eyebrow and said “Come in.” Ragnar one of Magnus’ counsellors stepped in looking worried.
“There’s no doubt about it anymore,” Ragnar said. “According to our spies and my own investigations Birger is increasing his contacts with King Knut of Hrafninlandi. I saw Knut’s seal with my own eyes.”
“We cannot just sit and watch them become allies. With King Knut’s support Birger and his sons might very well dare to challenge Alexander when it is time to elect the next king. We have to do something about it to ensure Alexander’s succession after me.”
“Luckily King Knut’s daughter, Alde, is in a suitable age. If Alexander were to marry her King Knut and his sons would most likely support Alexander and neither Birger nor Karl would dare to challenge his right to the throne.
“I want you to start negotiations immediately.” King Magnus wasted no time for considerations.
Ragnar twisted his hands and looked down. “Don’t you think you should talk to Alexander first?”
“Why? We have no time to loose. I don’t want one of Alexander’s cousins to marry Alde first. Maybe that’s already Birger’s plan. Alexander will understand that his duty is to do what’s best for the kingdom. A conflict about the throne would cause much harm.”
“You look worried; let me massage your back to ease your tense.” Queen Cecilia looked tenderly at her husband.
“Oh please, you’re so good to me. I hope that Alexander’s marriage will be as happy as mine.” Magnus smiled warmly but then he made a grimace of pain and he clenched his teeth while he bent forward with his hand on his stomach.
“Is it bad?” Cecilia tried to keep calm but couldn’t hide that she was deeply worried.
“It will pass soon.”
“Don’t you think you should tell Alexander about this? It has been often lately.”
“No, he shouldn’t worry about me. He has other things to concentrate on. We must not show weakness. I’m fine now.”
“Princess Alde is said to be charming and very beautiful. You will be lucky to have her as your queen.”
Alexander looked down at the ground. “What about love?”
“What did you say?”
“I said I’m sure that she’s lovely.”
“I expect you to do your best to find her lovely. This match is very important and can be the difference between war and peace in this country. Needless to say it can also be the difference between life and death for you one day in the future.”
Alexander felt trapped. How good it must be to be an ordinary person without the duties of a crown prince. His duty was to marry a suitable princess and to hopefully have a son who could inherit the throne one day. Maybe Aliendre would come to celebrate his first son’s first birthday? It would be nice if he could see her again. How odd that the only happiness he could feel about his future marriage was that he might see Aliendre again. Maybe the princess that had been chosen for him would make the memory of Aliendre fade away. But he doubted that. His youthful and naïve imagination that he would one day fall deeply in love and marry because of this love had been completely dispelled. How stupid it had been of him to have such fantasies. Hadn’t he always known that his life would be dedicated to fulfil his duties?
19th Feb 2011, 12:19 AM
Birger smiled to his younger brother. “I’m glad that you could accept my invitation with such short notice Karl. We have a lot to talk about considering the recent events.”
Karl turned his head up and shaded his eyes from the sun. ”Your new stone keep looks impressive Birger. I guess your guards can see very far from up there. But you know that no matter how we strengthen the defense of our homes, Magnus’ stone castle will still be much stronger.
“I know, we grew up there together, remember. But the strength in the defense of a keep or a castle is not only about stone walls and towers, it’s also about the bravery, loyalty and skill of the men. However I would like to replace my palisade with stone walls if I could.”
Karl looked skeptical. “Neither you or I will be able to build walls in stone as long as Magnus interferes with our tax collection. It’s just not right.”
“No, it’s not right but there’s nothing we can do about it right now.”
“I know that there is nothing that we can do .That’s why I’m so frustrated about this situation.”
”We have to be patient Karl. We’ll talk more about this matter but now I believe that it’s time to eat and drink in my hall.”
Eskil’s voice trembled with indignation. “I can’t believe that king Knut let father down. Princess Alde should have married you Erik.”
Erik smiled. His younger brother had always looked up to him and was the most loyal brother anyone could wish for.
“I think that she would have if it had been her choice but you can’t expect a king to turn another king down, can you? It’s a shame though, not only because of Alde’s connections but the one time I met her made be believe that I would have liked her.” Erik laughed. “Don’t worry Eskil, there are other women, and actually I’m in no hurry to get married. Now it’s time to eat and drink with our cousins.
There was plenty to eat and to drink and soon the atmosphere was relaxed. Erik told hilarious stories that made everyone laugh. Finally Karl put down his knife and cleared his throat. “Since Knut’s daughter Alde is now betrothed to Alexander King Knut and his sons are likely to support Alexander. I believe that it would be wise of us to not challenge Magnus. Our best option is to be loyal to the royal family.”
Birger nodded. “Yes, I agree. For now that will be wisest. But anything can happen. They are not married yet and Alexander may still die without an heir. Erik may still become king. I hope your family would support Erik if things were to change. We would not be alone. There are others who are not completely happy with our brother Magnus.”
Karl picked up his goblet and bowed his head towards his nephew Erik. “I would like to toast for Erik who would not interfere with his relatives’ rightful collection of taxes.”
Erik returned the bow and lifted his goblet. “Indeed I would not, but as long as Magnus or Alexander is the rightful king with strong support I will be their loyal servant.” A lot of things could probably be said about Erik but stupid was not one of them.
27th Feb 2011, 9:58 PM
Roe could feel their scent long before she could hear them or see them. The wind was blowing against her, bringing the well known scent of Thorundur together with the scent of an unknown elf and an animal that she couldn’t recognize.
Roe dropped her jaw when she saw them. Thorundur looked as he always did, with a green tunic and a smile. But the Elven girl was sitting on the back of a snow white animal. Roe almost forgot her good manners but pulled herself together and greeted the two elves and the white animal.
“This is Aliendre, Princess of the Light elves,” Thorundur said.
Aliendre dismounted the animal. Thorundur did a gesture towards the white animal and said, “This is Aliendre’s horse.”
Roe had never heard of horses before. How could that be? And why did the horse carry Aliendre on its back. “Is she a prisoner?”
“No, she’s a …… servant,” Aliendre said, uncertain by the unexpected question.
“Servant” was a word Roe didn’t understand. Thorundur was looking down on the ground. Wrinkles had formed in the corners of his eyes and his shoulders were shaking slightly. He cleared his throat and looked up. “Aliendre meant that the horse is her friend,” he said.
Roe was doubtful. To her the horse looked like a prisoner. Why else would it accept to carry someone on its back? When she was a child a storyteller had told her that humans kept animals as prisoners but obviously elves also did so.
“Her name is Moonlight,” Aliendre said.
Roe put her hand on Moonlight’s neck. She could feel the warm breath from the horse’s nostrils when it turned its head toward her.
“I am pleased to meet someone from the Forest people. Thorundur has told me so much about you Roe.”
Roe turned her attention to the Elven princess. The appearance of the horse had almost made her forget Aliendre. Thorundur had told her that the Aliendre was very beautiful but to Roe Aliendre looked like all other elves. Although Aliendre had the same kind of blue eyes that Thorundur they lacked his liveliness.
When Roe’s parents, Wolf and Otter, saw the horse they were just as marveled about it as Roe had been. Aliendre was friendly and nice and gave compliments to Roe’s parents. Apparently they must have been charmed because Otter invited Aliendre into their home. Roe was almost certain that she could see a small wrinkle on Aliendre’s nose when she looked into their hut.
When it was time for the elves to leave Aliendre said, “Please come and visit us tomorrow Roe.”
Roe felt hesitant. She had visited Thorundur’s home before but not often. Although Thorundur’s brother and Liandra had always been polite and friendly, Roe had a feeling that they didn’t really like that Thorundur was together with her. “Thank you that’s very kind of you,” she answered finally.
Aliendre seemed delighted to see Roe and insisted that she would share lunch with them. The elves treated her like a respected guest. Roe did her best to behave like the elves but all the furniture and the cutlery confused her. Why did elves complicate everything so much? The looks Toraldor and Liandra exchanged when they thought that Roe didn’t see made her feel that they were amused by her.
After lunch Aliendre told a story for them. It was a story about Human and Elven kings and queens during the war against the Dark elves. Aliendre was a good storyteller and Roe couldn’t believe how fast the time had passed when she realized that it was getting dark and she had to return home.
Aliendre had brought a completely different world to Roe. Roe had been shocked to learn that elves had killed each other on purpose during the war. Her own people were hunters and killed for food but she had never heard of Forest people killing each other. When she was a child she had been horrified by the stories about the humans’ cruelty but the more she learned about elves the more they seemed to be like humans. Apparently Thorundur hadn’t told her very much about his own people. Despite the shocking details, or maybe because of them, the story had been enthralling and left a strange yearning feeling within Roe.
Aliendre showed up alone early next morning. “I hope you don’t mind me coming alone Roe, but I asked Thorundur to stay at home so that you and I could spend some time together.”
Roe was a little annoyed because she always looked forward to seeing Thorundur but she was also intrigued by Aliendre’s wish to spend time alone with her. The princess seemed to really enjoy Roe’s company and asked her about the life in the forest.
“Tell me more about humans,” Roe said. “Is it true that they have hair in their face?”
Aliendre closed her eyes and smiled. “I have only met one human myself. It was Crown prince Alexander. He was very young then so he only had very light stubble. I think it makes them look …. stronger.” Aliendre’s smile was sad now.
Roe remembered that Thorundur had told her about the human prince who according to Thorundur had flirted with Aliendre. Was it possible that the Aliendre had feelings for the human prince?
“Tell me more about the prince,” Roe said.
It was as if Aliendre had waited for that question for a very long time. She described every little detail about Alexander. “He always made me laugh with all his crazy jokes. But he was also very kind and considerate. He will become king one day because humans don’t live forever like elves do, and he thinks a lot about his future duties and how to become a good king.” There was no end to all positive details that Aliendre could tell about Alexander. From what Aliendre told it was difficult to believe that Alexander could belong to the same species that the storyteller had told so many scaring stories about at the Forest people meeting many years ago.
“Do you know that Thorundur actually behaved very badly towards Alexander when he visited us? Sometimes it made me a little angry but as you probably know it’s impossible to be angry with Thorundur for very long. He speaks very warmly about you Roe. He even calls you his sister. I think that Thorundur is very fun to be with. You’re lucky to have him as your brother.”
Aliendre’s blue eyes met Roe’s. “I was born in the shadow of my brother. He was killed by dark elves and his death was a great tragedy for all light elves. My parents will never forget the sorrow and therefore I will always walk in his shadow. I wish I would have met him because everyone speaks so warmly about him.”
Roe thought that although Aliendre’s large blue eyes were not as vibrant as Thorundur’s they expressed her feelings in a very touching way. Aliendre’s smile didn’t reach her eyes that were filled with sadness. How sad it must be to always walk in the shadow of someone who had been dead for centuries.
Roe was surprised when Aliendre spontaneously hugged her when they said goodbye. It seemed to surprise Aliendre too because she looked down and seemed slightly embarrassed by her own spontaneity. She lifted her head and looked at Roe with large blue eyes. “I’m so happy to have you as a friend Roe. I’ve never had a girl in my own age as a friend before.”
Roe was moved by the sincerity in Aliendre’s voice. Thorundur had described Aliendre as a magnificent Elven princess, but the princess that Roe had met today was just a lonely girl with sad eyes and a longing heart. “We’ll meet soon again,” Aliendre said and mounted the beautiful white horse. Soon Aliendre and her horse Moonlight were out of sight in the twilight.
15th Mar 2011, 11:24 PM
Roe waited in vain for the elves to show up. It was not until the third day after Aliendre had visited her that she saw Thorundur again. His blond hair bounced around his head, the most beautiful sight that Roe could imagine. She resisted her impulse to throw herself around his neck. To Roe’s disappointment the horse, Moonlight, didn’t accompany the elves because Aliendre was walking by foot. The dress that she was wearing looked very unpractical in the forest. Roe couldn’t understand why anyone would want to wear clothes like that. It must be extremely difficult to run after a deer or climb a tree with all that cloth around the legs. Aliendre smiled warmly when she saw Roe. “I’m so happy to see you again Roe.” Roe realized, slightly surprised, that she was happy to see Aliendre again.
But this day didn’t turn out to be as good as Roe had hoped. Thorundur’s behavior was strange. All his attention was directed towards Aliendre. Sometimes he didn’t ever hear what Roe said because he was following Aliendre with his eyes.
When they crossed a small stream Thorundur hurried to help Aliendre by offering his hand as support. Roe felt deeply annoyed whenThorundur ignored her and let her cross the stream by her own without any help.
But then she had to laugh when she pictured herself in Aliendre’s stupid white dress crossing a stream with the support of Thorundur’s strong arm.
“You look happy today Roe,” Aliendre said. Roe didn’t answer. She had thought that Aliendre was her friend but now she wasn’t even sure that she liked Aliendre very much. How hard could it be to cross a stream anyway?
The day got worse and Thorundur’s behavior more ridiculous. He smiled stupidly as soon as Aliendre turned her eyes towards him and seemed to forget completely about Roe. Aliendre did her best to include Roe in the conversations, but Roe didn’t have a good time at all. The elves talked about common acquaintances and other things that made Roe feel excluded.
“Thorundur is so fun, don’t you think?” Aliendre said. “He’s such a good friend. I really like him. He knows so much about the forest.”
“He has learned about the forest from me. I’m Thorundur’s best friend.” Roe said. She had to use all her self control to hide the rage that filled her when Aliendre looked at her with eyes filled with compassion. Roe was relieved when the elves had to return home early this day.
Next day Roe's heart was filled with joy when Thorundur showed up alone. “Aliendre had other things to do today,” he said.
At last it would be only her and Thorundur, like it should be. “What do you want to do today Thorundur? We can take a swim in the lake.”
Thorundur’s eyes seemed absent and were looking somewhere far away. He didn’t answer Roe’s question. Then he turned his head towards her and started to talk. ”Don’t you think that she’s beautiful, Roe? Do you think that she likes me? Has she said anything about me?”
“She said that she was angry when you behaved badly towards the human prince,” Roe said. She knew that this was not what Thorundur wanted to hear. If she had been nice she would have told Thorundur that Aliendre thought that he was fun to be with, but she didn’t want to be nice.
Thorundur looked down and bit his lip. “I know I should make an effort to behave better. From now on I will really do my best to behave like a normal elf. Roe you’re my sister and best friend and I need to tell you something.” He looked up and swallowed before he continued. “I think that I have fallen in love with Aliendre but she’s a princess and I’m just a common elf. Do you think that it would be possible that she could love me?”
The ground opened under Roe and she was falling. This couldn't be true! “You’re so stupid Thorundur, she screamed. Aliendre is not right for you!”
“You’re my best friend! I thought that you of all people would understand and support me Roe.” Tears filled the corners of his eyes.
Roe couldn’t take more. She had to get away. “Leave me alone stupid elf!” she screamed and turned her back to Thorundur. She ran through the forest with branches hitting against her face without noticing it. Through the noise in her head she could hear Thorundur calling her name but she kept running. She ran faster and faster but no matter how hard that she tried she couldn’t run away from her feelings.
When she finally returned home exhausted late that night her parents were very worried. “Thorundur was here looking for you, he waited until he had to return home. What has happened?” Roe only shook her head.
“Thorundur wanted us to tell you that he will go away with Aliendre for two weeks to visit some other Light elves. He really wanted to see you before he left.”
Next morning Roe got up early and went out into the forest just in case that Thorundur would show up at her home to say goodbye. She didn’t want to see him when she knew that she had lost him. Roe sat down. How could it be possible to feel so miserable? She was sure that she would never be happy again.
Roe closed her hand around her necklace as she often did when she had to think. The Mother had told her to listen to her heart. Her heart was screaming loudly. She tightened the grip around the necklace and closed her eyes. Yes, maybe there was something that she could do. Roe ignored the small voice within her that tried to hold her back. The mother had also said that her heart could delude her but Roe had already decided what she had to do. When Roe had set her mind on something she wasn’t going to let anything stop her. Now that she knew what she had to do there was no time to lose.
27th Mar 2011, 11:48 AM
The breeze ruffled Alexander’s hair and he took a breath of the salt sea air. He loved the sound of the sea gulls and the sight of the horizon. Somehow it always made him feel so free, but today this feeling was only an illusion. Soon he would meet his future wife and his youth would be over. At least that was how he felt.
Princess Alde arrived together with her suite. Her father, King Knut would not come for the wedding but had sent generous gifts. Even more generous gifts had of course already been sent to King Knut.
Finally Alexander met the woman that he would share the rest of his life with, Princess Alde from Hrafninlandi. The rumor of her beauty was wide spread. Her back was straight and the aura of self confidence told Alexander that this was a woman who was used to command and to be obeyed.
Alexander bowed and greeted his bride to be.
“I am honored to meet you Prince Alexander.” Her language was not too different even if she pronounced the words differently from what he was used to. Alde’s smile was sweet but didn’t reach her eyes. This couldn’t be very easy for Alde either Alexander thought. She had been sent from her home to a foreign country to become his bride.
Alexander had a short time of freedom left. Banquets and celebrations would supersede each other for weeks before the actual wedding. But first Alde would have to rest a few days from the travel over the sea. Alexander had decided that it might be a good idea for him to show Alde around in the castle. Hi raised his hand to knock on her door when a scream of anger from the room made him jump and lower his hand. There was a sound as if something was thrown and broken against the wall. He could hear every word of Alde’s high-pitched voice through the thick stone walls. “You stupid cow, you’re worthless. Are there no serviceable maids in this country? Get out of my sight!”
The heavy door opened and a young girl with a tearful face ran out of Alde’s room. She looked away embarrassed when she saw Alexander and ran away in the corridor with bent head and her face hidden in her hands. Alexander recognized the girl as a gentle and diligent maid that was well liked by everybody as far as he knew. He knocked on Alde’s door.
Alde opened and her hard face melted into a sweet smile when she saw that it was he who had knocked.
“Are there any problems?”
“No it’s nothing, just a clumsy servant. I’m glad to see you though. What do you think of my dress? She turned around and gave Alexander a self confident smile.”
“The dress is very nice.”
She didn’t seem pleased by his reaction. “You look beautiful as always,” he added and smiled admiringly, hoping that this was the response that she expected from him.
“I look forward to our wedding, don’t you?” Alde said.
16th Apr 2011, 12:04 PM
Roe decided that she had to travel lightly. Speed was important. She took a sling and wrapped under her clothes. A small flint knife would also be useful. She put the knife in a small pocket inside her loin cloth. That should be enough to get the food that she would need.
“I will accompany Thorundur and Aliendre on their travel,” she told Otter and Wolf. It felt as if the lie was burning under her skin.
Wolf and Otter looked doubtful. “I don’t think that this is a good idea at all Roe. It would be better if you stayed at home, or even better, visited Bear,” Wolf said.
“I will be home soon enough. Don’t worry. This is probably my last chance to travel with elves.” If she had been an Elven or a human girl her parents would probably just have told her that she wasn’t allowed to go. But that wasn’t how Forest people brought up their children, and in addition Roe was adult now. Children of the Forest people were allowed much freedom which usually was not a problem since they always were eager to do what their parents told them and to learn everything that their parents knew. But Roe was different. Her independence and curiosity was not typical of her people and her parents felt helpless.
Roe hoped that Orm and Ondina were still living in the mountains. It was several years ago since she the last time that she had seen them. Actually she hadn’t met them since Thorundur showed up again. Maybe they wouldn’t be happy at all to see her even if they stilled lived in the same place. But Roe had no choice. Ondina and Orm were probably her last hope.
She felt relieved when she saw the Dark elves’ home. They stilled lived in the same place. Orm shaded his eyes and looked surprised when he saw her approaching their home. Roe hoped that he would welcome her.
“Ondina, you will never guess who’s here!” Orm called and Ondina came out. “Roe we have missed you. What brings you here?”
After all the usual polite phrases Roe explained her situation to the Dark elves.
“The kind of magic that could help you is very powerful and requires great skill. Luckily Ondina has this skill. Are you sure that this is really what you want to do? I think you deserve much better than a Light elf.”
“I'm sure. I’ve never been more certain about anything in my entire life.”
Orm lifted an eyebrow and smiled as if he thought that it was cute when a very young mortal talked about its entire life. “We will help you Roe. Not only because I and Ondina like you but this would also be in our interest. We already have almost all ingredients that are needed. Stay with us until tomorrow when your potion will be finished. ”
The door opened and another Dark elf came out. When he saw Roe he seemed afraid and went back in, closing the door quickly behind him. Something about this elf was familiar. “Who is he?”
“We found him in the forest some years ago. He was in a very bad shape and wouldn’t have lasted much longer if we hadn’t found him. Clearly a spell had been cast on him and obviously it must have been Light elves that did this. He’s much better now but can still not remember his name or where he is from. I have not yet been able to break the spell although I have tried vere hard.
Next day Ondina finished the potion and handed a small flask to Roe.
Roe was ready to continue her travel.
“You will need to get the last ingredient yourself and that will be extremely dangerous. Are you really sure that this is what you want to do?”
“I am,” Roe answered without any hesitation.
“Are you sure that you will find your way and not get lost,” Orm asked.
Roe smiled and nodded. She had never heard of anyone of the Forest people getting lost. The travel would be long and dangerous but she would find the way.
“We have probably sent that sweet girl right into death,” Ondina said, her eyes following Roe leaving their home. “Although their lives are very short it makes me sad because I liked her.”
“Me to,” Orm said. “But if she succeeds it will be a very big success for all Dark elves after all the years that we have suffered. However, I must admit that it’s most unlikely that she will survive and I don't think that she would have wanted to do this if we had told her everything.”
24th Apr 2011, 1:52 AM
Roe was shocked to realize how close to her home the humans actually lived. She hadn’t been travelling, for much more than a week, although at high speed, before she could see the first humans’ settlements. She had never seen anything like it. Trees had been cut down so that there was very little forest left where the humans lived. Their houses were big like Elven houses but still very different.
The smell from the human settlements made her feel slightly sick. When she got closer she could see that it was true that animals were kept as prisoners. She also saw horses carrying humans on their back.
Roe discovered that humans seemed to live very close together as she approached the town. There were buildings everywhere. Suddenly an attack of laughter overwhelmed her. She had to bite her lip keep quiet. A male with his face full of hair passed under the tree that she was hiding in. It was hilarious and exactly as Thorundur had told her. Humans were really very funny looking.
Constantly aware of the extreme danger Roe enjoyed herself. This was the best adventure that she’d ever had.
It didn’t take her long to locate the castle that looked exactly like Ondina and Orm had described. It was a huge stone building almost resembling a small mountain. Inside the castle she would be likely to find the last ingredient but she would have to wait until darkness before she could go there. This would be the most dangerous part of the travel.
The castle was surrounded by water. A bridge over the water led to the main gate. Roe realized that the bridge would be a very dangerous route as Ondina and Orm had told her that the castle would be guarded and she could also smell the humans at the gate. She would have to swim over the water, which was not a very appealing thought because the water smelled really bad.
She tied back her hair with a leather strap and hesitantly she got into the water. The smell made her feel sick and she was very careful to not swallow any water as she swam to the other side.
She looked up at the walls of the castle and realized that it would be extremely difficult if not impossible to climb over the even wall. There had to be another way into the castle.
Suddenly her head exploded with pain and darkness overwhelmed her as she fell to the ground.
When Roe woke up again the smell of the humans filled her nose. Her head was aching really badly. It was with great difficulty she managed get on her knees. Her hand felt wet when she touched her head and she realized that she was bleeding. A stone on the ground that smelled of her blood made Roe realize that the humans must have thrown it at her from above. How could she have been so stupid to let this happen? The pain made her clinch her teeth when she lifted her head. With horror Roe realized that three humans where approaching her. She couldn’t see them very clearly because everything was blurry but it was no doubt that they were much too close. She rose on unsteady legs with pain thumping in her head. Her sight was starting to get clearer which at least must be a good sign. But it was too late. One of the humans was already close enough to take a grip on her arm. He made some sounds that didn’t make any sense.
Panic filled Roe when she couldn’t shake the man off her arm. She turned her head and slit the man’s cheek with one of her horns. A roar was heard before the grip on her arm loosened and she could see that blood was dribbling from a deep wound on the man’s cheek. But then her other arm was caught but another human. Roe turned around and dug her sharp teeth deep into the wrist of the man who hold her arm and the metallic taste of blood filled her mouth. The grip was released for a short moment but the humans just wouldn’t give up.
The fight was short. Roe was a hunter and not a fighter and three strong humans were too much for her to cope with. In addition her head ached and she felt dizzy. Her hands were tied so hard that her fingers felt numb. The humans pushed her roughly before them and soon Roe found herself to be on the inside of the castle walls.
2nd May 2011, 9:32 PM
The humans pushed Roe roughly down a stair and with horror she realized that they must be under the ground. A door was locked behind her and she found herself to be trapped in a small space. There were no windows and the dark stone walls seemed to get closer, squeezing Roe so that she couldn’t breathe. She had always been afraid of enclosed spaces where she couldn’t see the sky. “Don’t be silly Roe,” she said to herself. “You can’t panic know.” She took a deep breath and then another one. The terrible headache made it harder to concentrate but somehow she managed to control the panic. The small flint knife was still tucked in a small pocket on the inside of her loincloth. With great difficulty Roe managed to get it out and freed herself from the rope around her wrists. The concentration the task demanded helped to keep the panic under control.
Roe could still feel the taste of the guard’s blood in her mouth and it disgusted her deeply. Her parents had told her that the spirit of every creature that she ingested would become a part of her so that every creature in the forest would be joined. Roe really didn’t want to be joined with humans so she spat and did her best to get rid of every trace of the blood in her mouth but she had swallowed some of it. The thought of human blood in her stomach made her feel sick. In addition the foul smell of the water in the moat still clinged on her skin and hair. A wave of nausea overwhelmed Roe and she threw up in a corner. There wasn’t much in her stomach anyway but she hoped that she had got rid of every trace of human blood.
There was a pot of water in the dungeon and Roe rinsed her mouth before she took a deep gulp. It didn’t taste good. She realized that she was very likely to die in this castle and her parents would never know what had happened.
She was angry with herself. In her eager to travel fast she had neglected to eat and sleep properly and this had weakened her and made her senses less sharp. She had underestimated the humans and this would cost her life. A horrible thought hit Roe. What if the spirits of the ancestors and the forest wouldn’t be able to find her if she died so far away from her forest! No, surely her spirit would find the way home even after death. But the horrible thought wouldn’t completely leave Roe. This wasn’t a good place to die at.
The feeling of panic gave way for an overwhelming feeling of guilt. She hadn’t been a good daughter and would die because of her selfishness. When her parents got older they wouldn’t have anyone to take care of them. It was unbearable to think about Thorundur. He would never know how much she loved him. Would he miss her or would he soon forget her as he went on with his life with the other elves? The time that he had spent with her would probably soon just become a very short moment of his eternal life. How good it must be to have tears like the elves. She would really have liked to be able to let her sorrows leave her with fluid from the eyes but Forest people didn’t have tears.
The Mother had given Roe a necklace that would to give her courage when times were difficult and she had never experienced more difficult times than now. But she couldn’t get any comfort from the necklace, because the humans had taken it from her.
5th May 2011, 9:15 AM
I just logged in to say,
I read this story from start to finish.
It's absolutely so beautifully done - the pictures and the writing.
I absolutely hate those dark elves
Only praying and wishing Thorundur helps Roe.
Can't imagine if her dreams come alive.. i hope they don't.
Keep the stories coming ;)
6th May 2011, 3:39 PM
Thank you Myshia. Your feed-back is very encouraging :)
I'm sure that Thorundur would hurry to help Roe if he only knew that she is in trouble.
9th May 2011, 8:24 PM
The knock on the door made Alexander feel quite irritated and even angry. It had been a long day because he was in charge in the castle while his father was on a short travel to another part of the kingdom. There had been an endless line of people that Alexander had to receive and listen to. He had just finished today’s’ work and the thought of his soft bed was very appealing. When he saw the face of the guard, whose name he couldn’t remember, he suppressed the impulse to scold the man for disturbing. There seemed to be something very important on the guards mind.
The guard was upset and talked fast. “We have caught a very strange animal and locked it up in one of the dungeons. I saw a movement outside the wall and shot a stone with the sling and had a lucky hit that took it down. We caught it alive because we’ve never seen anything like it before and thought that you would like to decide what to do with it. The horns and the skin might be really valuable. Be careful though. It hurt Torfast with its horns and bit Styrbiorn very badly in the hand. Torfast is likely to be scarred for life. It has enormous fangs”
Alexander strapped his sword belt around the waist as he went out the door with the guard whose name he now remembered was Kvig. When he saw the two other guards that had been together with Kvig, Torfast and Styrbiorn, he could see that Kvig had not been exaggerating. The wounds looked bad indeed and there was no doubt that the young Torfast’s would get a large scar on his cheek.
“Don’t say anything about this to anyone,” Alexander said.” I want to see this creature myself and decide what to do about this before we stir up more people. Take care of your wounds and stay here until I come back.”
The sight that met Alexander in the dungeon was not what he had expected. Crouched on the floor was a creature that very much looked like a young woman except that he had never seen a woman with horns on the forehead. She had painted a delicate pattern on her skin. Soft brown hair fell over the face. Could this really be an animal?
The humanlike appearance disappeared when the creature looked up. The eyes were clearly not human at all and when it lifted the lips, showing its fangs and made a fearful hissing sound it looked even less human. Alexander backed. Although the fangs were not nearly as enormous as Kvig had given the impression of, they were deterrent enough. Maybe he should call the guards? But then the creature lowered its head and again it looked very much like a young and very sad woman. It had clothes, although very little, but he had never heard of any animals that used clothes.
“Aliendre talked about a people in the forest with horns on their foreheads,” he said silently to himself, trying to remember exactly what Aliendre had said.
“I’m Roe of the Forest people and the Elven princess Aliendre is my friend.”
Alexander jumped. The words had been spoken in perfect Elvish language although with a strange accent. The prisoner was standing in the dungeon making a perfect courteous Elven bow.
“You can speak!?” Alexander was astonished and realized that the creature found the question ridiculous when he could see a small wrinkle on the prisoner’s nose and a small movement in the corner of her mouth.
“I don’t think the Elven princess Aliendre would be very happy to hear that you have treated her best friend like this. If you free me I can bring a greeting from you to her.”
Alexander hesitated. Obviously he shouldn’t even consider releasing the prisoner but the creature that called herself Roe said that she knew Aliendre. He didn’t want Aliendre to find out that he had treated one of her friends badly.
“How do I know that you really know Princess Aliendre?”
“She told me that you, Prince Alexander, once picked flowers with a poisonous sap just to make her like you.”
Did the prisoner sound slightly amused or was it just imagination? Anyway the creature had guessed his name and it was obvious that she must know Aliendre. “You hurt my guards, how do I know that you won’t hurt me?”
“Why would I hurt you if you release me? Besides I can see that you have a sword and I’m unarmed.”
Alexander didn’t really agree that the prisoner was unarmed. He had seen the damage her teeth and horns had done on his guards. “You hurt my guards really badly.”
“They hurt me first. I didn’t want them to catch me. I think Aliendre likes you Prince Alexander. Do you want me to send her a greeting from you?”
“Listen, I will release you, but you have to promise that you won’t hurt me. All I want you to tell Aliendre is that I think about her every day.” As he spoke the words he knew that they were absolutely true. The memory of Aliendre had not faded at all. Alexander could hardly believe that he was really doing this. He opened the door and backed with his hand on the sword hilt when the prisoner went out.”
“They took my necklace. I want it back.”
“Don’t push it. You are free to go now but you will have to leave without your necklace. Don’t forget that you promised to give Aliendre my greeting.”
Roe took a step closer and Alexander couldn’t back any further because he was standing against the wall. With Roe so close he could see that the pattern on her skin was not painted at all. The red stones on her horns and forehead glistened in the torch light. She looked him steady in the eyes. He had never seen eyes like hers. They were shifting in all kinds of shades of yellow. He was drawn into her eyes and felt as if he was drowning in the depth of them. A humming sound from the creature made him realize that he had been starring into her eyes for too long and he looked aside.
“I won’t leave without my necklace. The Mother gave it to me.”
“This is absurd. I can call the guards and have you locked up again. I’m sure that your mother can give you a new necklace.”
Roe lifted her upper lip, showing the tips of the sharp fangs. “I need my necklace. It’s mine and they took it.”
Alexander sighed and nodded. “Alright I will get your necklace but this is really absurd. Wait here for me.” He went up the stairs. Probably he should bring the guards back with him but he decided against his better knowledge. Besides, how would he explain that the prisoner was no longer locked up?
He jumped and turned around when Roe whispered his name when he came back and was about to open the door that led to the dungeons. She hadn’t been waiting downstairs as he had told her but had gone out and hidden just outside the door. Obviously she was too clever to wait where she could have easily been caught again and he had been distracted enough to forget to lock the door. Alexander gave the necklace to Roe. He had been surprised when the reluctant Styrbiorn had handed over the necklace. It was heavy, made of solid gold. Nine large sapphires were attached to it. Although the handcraft looked somewhat primitive this was not what he had expected a creature like Roe to wear. He was also annoyed because the guards had really no right at all to keep a treasure like this to themselves and it had been obvious that they had not intended to let Alexander know about the necklace.
Roe looked much more relaxed and even happy when she fastened the necklace around her neck.”Please let me thank you like Forest people do.”
She spread her arms and embraced Alexander who held his breath. He felt relieved when she loosened her grip and he hadn’t been harmed. Her skin had felt much warmer than human skin.
Alexander realized that he had a big problem. He didn’t know how to get Roe out of the castle without anyone noticing her. Her strange appearance would certainly stir up people and he would never be able to give a satisfactory explanation to why he had released Roe from the dungeon. Finally after much hesitation he decided to show her out through the secret passage that had been built in case the royal family ever would have to escape from the castle. This was of course not a very optimal option. A secret passage is supposed to be secret and he certainly didn’t want the castle to be invaded by hordes of forest creatures. But the main gate was clearly out of the question and there were no other options.
When Alexander lit the torches in the damp corridor he could see that the walls were covered with spindle web. It must have been a long time since anyone had been in this part of the castle. He found the hatch that he was looking for.
Roe tilted her head and smiled. The smile made the tips of her sharp fangs show, making the effect of the intended friendly expression somewhat dubious.” I will never forget your kindness Prince Alexander and I’m sure that Aliendre also will appreciate your kindness.”
Alexander was astonished when she bowed like a human to underline her politeness. He was certain that she couldn’t have taken after him because he hadn’t bowed for her. The realization that a wild creature from the forest had behaved more civilized and showed more politeness than him, a human prince, made him feel slightly embarrassed. He showed Roe the passage and the strange creature from the forest disappeared into the dark tunnel.
Alexander sighed. This had been a very strange experience and he would have to think of something to keep the three guards quiet. His father would no doubt find it very strange if he found out that Alexander had released such a remarkable prisoner. He couldn’t even explain his strange behavior to himself. When he had found out that Roe knew Aliendre he just couldn’t resist the opportunity to send a greeting to the Elven princess. He could have told Aliendre that he was about to get married but somehow he had chosen not to. Then Alexander hit his head and moaned. “Oh you’re so stupid Alexander!” He had forgotten to ask the prisoner the most important question of all! Why had she been outside the castle wall where she was caught?
5th Jun 2011, 12:13 AM
Roe’s pulse was starting to slow down to a more normal rate. The fresh night air was soothing and the sky was a very welcome sight. When the human prince had shown her the tunnel she had almost refused to go down but she had realized that she didn’t really have a choice. She had almost lost all her self control when the hatch was closed behind her. It had felt like an eternity before she reached the hatch that led to her freedom on the other side of the tunnel. But it was still dark outside and she wasn’t very far from the castle so it couldn’t have been that long after all. She was ashamed to admit that she had never felt more afraid than she had done in the dark tunnel. The moat was between her and the castle so the tunnel must actually have been under the water. It was a good thing she hadn’t known this while she was down there in the darkness. Roe promised herself that never again would she be enclosed in a space under the ground.
The headache was still bad but after a few breaths of the fresh air a feeling of joy was starting to fill Roe. She couldn’t believe her luck. After the hopelessness that she had felt in the dungeon just a short while ago everything had turned. It was lucky indeed that she had heard the prince say Aliendre’s name and it was also very lucky that the prince had come down to the dungeon alone. She smiled triumphantly to herself. It had been so easy to tell that the prince had been afraid of her. Although Roe knew that self control was important she gave way for the feeling of invincibility that filled her. After all she deserved to feel this good after this night’s experience. The last ingredient was in her pocket. Against all odds she had succeeded. The prince hadn’t noticed that she had taken a hair that had fallen on his shoulder when she embraced him. Now, that golden hair was attached to a piece of resin in her pocket. She laughed silently when she thought about the prince’s surprised expression when she had bowed just like Aliendre had shown her that human’s bowed. It was always good to be polite.
Dawn would come soon and she needed to find a safe place to sleep. The feeling of invincibility mixed with weariness made her bold enough to dare to hide in the soft straw in a barn not far away from the castle. She clinched her teeth. The head hurt so much that it was difficult to think. She hadn’t more than lied down in the hay before she fell into a deep sleep. It was afternoon when she woke up and it worried her that the distant sounds from the farm hadn’t wakened her sooner. She must have been really exhausted to sleep so deep. Her head was still hurting, but not as much as yesterday. Now the hunger was a more acute worry than her head but this was a problem that was very easy to solve.
Roe found more food in the barn than she could eat and was filled with new energy. Full and content she waited patiently in the barn for the darkness to fall. There was one thing about this expedition that worried Roe. She had accomplished the most difficult and dangerous part of the task but there was one weak point that she hadn’t given enough thought. The elves might come home before her and she was supposed to be travelling together with them. If they came to her home and asked for her she would have a very big problem. Darkness fell and Roe climbed down the ladder and went silently out of the barn.
A soft neigh caught Roe’s attention. She had already felt the smell of the horses without paying much attention to it but a new plan was beginning to take shape in her aching head. A horse could run faster than she could and they accepted to carry humans on their back. If she asked nicely maybe a horse would carry her. It was an exciting thought. Silently she approached the enclosure where the horses were grassing. A big black stallion came to greet her. He accepted that she put her hand on his cheek and nudged her friendly with his soft muzzle.
She opened the gate, took a firm grip in his mane and swung herself swiftly on the back of the horse.
The horse stepped nervously and tossed his head but he didn’t try to get rid of her. Actually he seemed to be filled with anticipation. Roe leaned forward and the horse started to trot. She found that it was not difficult at all to communicate to the horse the direction she wanted him to take. He was sensitive to every movement of her body.
Soon Roe was flying over the ground on the back of the black stallion. This experience alone was worth everything that she had been through. She would never know the uproar the disappearance of the human knight’s best stallion would cause next morning.
5th Jun 2011, 7:15 AM
Oh, finally, the update I've been waiting so long for! Thank you, I really like your story :) . I wonder what will happen next.
29th Jun 2011, 1:45 AM
Update! D: I have to know what happens to Roe - does she end up with her friend?
29th Jun 2011, 8:55 PM
Thank you for your comments Kyrie12 and LovethMia, I appreciate them. It's more fun to write when there are comments :). I'm sorry for the delay in updating, I have been a little distracted lately but here finally is chapter 29.
Thanks to the horse the travel home went much faster than what Roe would have accomplished by foot. Sooner than she could have hoped she got to the place where she had hid the bottle that the Dark elves had given her. With her bare hands she started to dig and felt relieved when she touched the smooth and hard surface of the bottle. The horse was grassing next to her. He had always kept close to her on their travel together. Reluctantly she realized that it would not be a very good idea to bring the horse to her home. She could not always take responsibility for the horse and her parents would probably see him as a food reserve. But it was hard to say goodbye. The horse followed her wherever she went. Silently she sneaked away when he was concentrating on finding the juiciest grass and felt like a betrayer when he neighed and waited in vain for her reply. Roe felt confident that the horse would do fine, he seemed to be an intelligent and capable creature but she was his friend and now she had to disappear and leave him alone.
The smell from the cooking fire spread a homelike feeling long before Roe could see her family’s hut. When she could see Otter and Wolf preparing a meal together a sting in her heart made her realize how much she had missed her parents.
“Look! Roe is back,” her father shouted overwhelmed with joy and Otter looked up and ran to greet her daughter. When Roe finally could relax in her mother’s arms she realized just how exhausted and hungry she really was. She had been injured and had been very close to death. Suddenly the feeling of invisibility was completely gone and she felt like a small child again. She would have liked to tell her parents all about her difficulties during the last two weeks and to be comforted by her mother as she had been so often when she was a child. But of course that was not possible. She could not share her experience with anyone.
“How was your trip together with the elves?” Wolf asked.
Roe swallowed. One lie just built upon the other and all she wanted now was to rest and be close to her parents.
“It was good, an adventure, but I’m so glad to be back home,” she said. Obviously the elves hadn’t been here already which at least was a relief. She quickly changed subject and started to ask about everything that her parent had been doing while she was gone to not have to make up lies about the travel with the elves.
“I will miss you so much when you leave us to move to Bear’s family,” Otter said, her voice almost breaking. “It was almost unbearable to be without you during this time but I better get used. I can’t believe how fast you have grown.”
“What do you mean? I’m going to take care of you even after I’ve been joined with Bear. Surely you will move with me?”
Wolf shook his head. “No you cannot take care of four old parents, we will manage. And besides, moving to another couples hunting grounds is never done, how could you even think of such a strange thing? Of course we will visit you as often as possible, at least once a year. We will be very happy just to know that you’re doing well.”
Roe felt as if a trap was slowly closing around her. The feeling was almost similar to what she had experienced in the dark tunnel when she escaped from the castle but this time she wasn’t sure there would be a hatch that led to her freedom on the other side of the tunnel. She hoped with all her heart that the solution to all her troubles was within the little bottle that the Dark elves had given her and that it wasn’t too late. The thought of Thorundur travelling together with Aliendre worried her more than she liked to admit.
The next few days Roe slept like she had never slept before and when she didn’t sleep she waited. She waited for Thorundur to come back but the days passed and he didn’t come. Maybe he wasn’t her friend anymore? Or maybe he had forgotten her and was only thinking about Aliendre.
Finally, after six days the elves showed up and Roe felt exhilarated when she saw them. Thankfully her parents had gone for a long hunting trip. Roe had stayed home, partly because she hoped that the elves would show up, and partly because she still needed to rest from her adventures and head injury. She studied Thorundur and Aliendre closely as they approached. There didn’t seem to be any difference in the relation between them. Thorundur and Aliendre walked at the same distance from each other as usual and they didn’t look at each other more often than usual. On the other hand Thorundur didn’t smile at her as he usually did. When they had last seen each other she had yelled and ran away from him so she couldn’t really blame him for not being happy to see her. Aliendre on the other hand looked happy to see her.
”Roe I’m so happy to see you,” Aliendre said with a bright smile and stretched her arms towards Roe.
Aliendre’s friendliness made Roe feel guilty.
“Hi, Roe,” Thorundur said with just a hint of a smile and without meeting her eyes.
"I’m so happy to see you too, both of you, “Roe said and smiled brightly. “I’ve been on a long hunting trip on my own and returned just a little less than a week ago. Please tell me everything about your travel”. She talked heartily and smiled but it was all a charade. It was not possible to feel happy if she and Thorundur weren’t friends. How she wished that she could tell Thorundur everything about her adventure in the human realm. He was always such a good listener and no one would understand her like he did. But of course she couldn’t share the biggest adventure she had ever experienced with him. He looked a little more relaxed and happier though after they had greeted each other.
“Please let me give you some food and make you some tea,” she said.
Roe hoped that the spirits and The Mother where not watching when lifted the bottle to pour the potion in the mug that she would give to Aliendre. Somehow she had a feeling that they might not approve of what she planned to do. She had sent the elves to get some herbs on the other side of the hut so that they wouldn’t see what she was doing but she knew that she could not hide from the spirits. Aliendre had showed her nothing but friendship and acceptance. Secretly pouring magical potions in your mug was not something a friend was expected to do. She lowered her hand again. There was still a choice; she didn’t have to do this. But on the other hand, the potion would only help Aliendre to follow her heart Roe tried to convince herself. Probably she was just doing Aliendre a favor. After all was it not The Mother herself who had told Roe that she should follow her heart and the Dark elves had said that this could help her to get what she wanted. She put some extra herbs in the tea in case the potion would have a strong taste.
“It smells very good,” Aliendre said and looked appreciatively at Roe.
“Taste it, it tastes even better than it smells,” Roe said trying to not stare intensely on Aliendre.
“Oops, I spilled my tea,” Thorundur said. “I’m terribly sorry Roe.”
“No problem I can get you more,” she replied quickly, trying hard to hide her irritation.
“You can have some of mine, I have plenty,” Aliendre offered.
“No,” Roe cried sharply as Aliendre lifted her mug to pour some of her tea in Thorundur’s mug.
The elves looked up at her surprised by the sharpness of her voice.
“It means bad luck to pour tea from someone’s mug,” Roe said quickly. “I will get you some new tea Thorundur.
Aliendre seemed to accept Roe’s explanation and lowered her mug again but Thorundur looked skeptical. They had eaten many meals together and he had never heard this before.
Roe hold her breath as Aliendre lifted the mug to her lips and sipped. “It tastes very good Roe.” She took another sip and another. Nothing particular seemed to happen but maybe it would take some time for the effect to start working.
The elves chatted with her, telling her about their trip and Thorundur seemed to become less and less tense and more and more like he used to be towards her. It became time for them to part and they said goodbye. Still there was nothing unusual with Aliendre as far as Roe could tell. What if nothing would happen? Then all the dangers she had gone through would have been for nothing. But even if the potion had the effect it was supposed to have, how could she be sure that she would get what she wanted. The Dark elves had not wanted to give her a potion to give to Thorundur. It was not in their interest to do so and the potion was very complicated and demanding to make they had explained. Although the Dark elves were her friends Roe would never have dared to do anything against their will. Their magical powers scared her. All she could do now was to wait and see if something would happen.
30th Jun 2011, 12:55 AM
:( I'm sad that Roe gave up the horse and doubly sad that she er.... poisoned? Aliendre. Poor Roe... she's so naive. ._. Great update! Glad to see you back!
2nd Jul 2011, 9:02 AM
I feel a little bad about abandoning the horse myself. Therefore he will probably be back in the story at some time. Roe is only used to wild animals and probably just believed that she did the horse a favour by giving him his freedom. I agree she's naive.
2nd Jul 2011, 4:52 PM
Ah I see! I should have remembered that about her.... now I can understand how she could do it, she isn't completely human -- she wouldn't have become attached as any human girl might. xD Can't wait to see what happens next! I'm bouncing up and down in my seat!
4th Jul 2011, 12:47 AM
I've been reading this story greedily from the very first episode. I love it very much, even though it appears things are going to get bad soon. But then, it was already said at the very beginning. Love can be a very dangerous thing. I'm not going to elaborate on my guess as to the drink, except that poison would not have required Alexander. ;)
Glad to hear there are good plans for the horse.
5th Jul 2011, 8:07 PM
You are right Garambola. The potion is not exactly poison as poison would not have required the last ingredient :)
The sunlight that already trickled through the window warming the floor told Alexander that this would become a very hot day. It was only late spring but it felt like high summer. He turned around in his bed and tried to fall asleep to delay the beginning of this day but it was pointless.
Instead he lingered in bed and started to think about the strange prisoner that he had released almost two weeks ago. Sometimes he didn’t know if it had been real but every time he saw the healing wound on the guard Torfast's cheek he couldn’t deny that it really had happened. How could he have acted so strange and released a creature that didn’t look like anything that he had seen before, and without even questioning her? As often when he thought about this, he came to the conclusion that the Forest creature must have put a spell on him. There couldn’t really be any other reason for his irrational behavior he decided. The guards had been threatened and bribed to not talk with anyone about that night. Besides who would believe them anyway?
Finally he rose from his bed. There was no point in trying to avoid the inevitable. He would have to play the part that was expected of him today. There were going to be festivities for everyone because of his soon to be wedding. First there would be markets and jesters, and tonight there would be tournaments on the jousting field.
“There is still time for you to change your mind about participating in the tournaments,” his father said when they sat at the table together for a quick breakfast.
“You wanted to set me up against knights I have defeated easily before. Everyone knows their skills are much below mine, it would be pointless.”
“Is your pride more important than to give the people a show that would strengthen their support to our family?”
“I have done everything you asked of me, even agreed to marry a princess you chose but please don’t expect me to go up against knights who have been told that they must let me win.”
“We will not talk more about it then. Don’t you agree that Princess Alde is very beautiful?”
Alexander shrugged. “I can’t deny the truth in that. It will be a warm day at the market today I believe.” Then he looked worried. “Do you feel well father?” he said.
The king did indeed look very pale and there was a tension around his cheeks.
“I’m fine but I think I will need to get some rest before the tournaments. If you show yourself at the market there’s no need for me to go there to. I’ll see you tonight then.”
Alexander strolled around at the market, chatting with friends and receiving the people’s reverence. It was a beautiful day perhaps just a little bit too warm to be perfect. He enjoyed himself for the moment. Alde had taken her chambermaid with her to the market stalls.
“How can a woman smile and frown at the same time?” Alexander thought when Alde approached him.
It just doesn’t seem possible to find nice silk anywhere in this town,” she said displeased.
“There are some merchants here that have silk I believe,” he said.
“But not the quality I would like,” she replied. I need to have some new dresses made.”
Alexander couldn’t understand why this woman needed more dresses. He couldn’t recall having seen her in the same dress twice yet. Not that he paid that much attention to dresses of course, so he could be mistaken there.
“Talking about clothes, the thralls and serfs in your country must be very well dressed,” Alde said looking around at the market.
“Most of the people you that see in this part of the country are actually not thralls or serfs but free farmers. My father believes that it’s better to let people own their land and pay reasonable taxes. He believes that they will produce better if they own their farms.” he answered.
“How odd!” There was a wrinkle of disapproval between her brows. “Maybe that’s something that we can change when you‘re king and I’m your queen.” Her sweet smile gave him shivers.
Before Alexander could think of a reply dizziness overwhelmed him. Everything became blurry and he felt like he might faint. He leaned against a column for support and hoped that no one would notice his weakness. What could be wrong with him? He closed his eyes and opened them again.
A face was forming in the blurriness before his eyes. It was Aliendre. She was even more beautiful than he could remember and she smiled at him. She seemed to be in a in a forest and her lips formed his name.
“Are you well Alexander?” Aliendre’s face disappeared and he was looking into Alde’s sharp green eyes. She looked concerned.
“I’m fine.” It was a lie though. He was not fine at all. Although he realized what he had seen must have been his imagination caused by the pressure that he felt lately he couldn’t get rid of the feeling that Aliendre was in some kind of trouble.
It was strange. First the oddest looking creature that he’d ever seen showed up in his castle and claimed that she knew Aliendre. And now he had a strong vision of Aliendre. He had tried so hard to convince himself that his infatuation with Aliendre had just been a youthful and naïve love that he would grow out of but he hadn’t succeed very well at all. How could it be possible for him to go through with the wedding with Alde when his heart was filled with another woman? He had to go through with it. There was really no other choice at this point or else King Knut and his sons would become their enemies. Besides, Aliendre was an elf and he was human. Elves and humans couldn’t marry and were not supposed to fall in love with each other. A life together with Aliendre had always been out of the questions so he really needed to stop thinking about her.
“I look forward to the tournaments tonight. Everyone will see the beautiful princess that will become their queen,” he said, doing his best to play the part that was expected of him. He seemed to have convinced Alde at least. She looked very pleased to hear his words.
5th Jul 2011, 10:16 PM
I am disliking the princess more and more, which I suspect is how things are supposed to be. What a spoiled, little, conceited brat. Probably not untypical of princesses.
Yet, I have to admire her for being so candid. She could as well have hidden all her opinions until after the wedding. Maybe that means she is stupid. Or maybe it just means she isn't totally macchiavellian.
13th Jul 2011, 12:01 AM
The weak flickering light from the candles fell on Aliendre’s desk. She had returned home yesterday. Almost everyone but she was asleep. It was late night or very early morning and still very quiet. Not even the birds were awake to fill the air outside with their singing. Only the guards would be up now. Aliendre carefully folded the letter that she had been writing and let it lie on her desk. She went to the other side of the room where a beautifully ornamented box was standing on a small table. She opened the box and pulled out a chain with a pendant. Swiftly she got dressed and picked up a pack that was lying on her bed. After turning out the light she went silently out from her chamber.
The peacefulness of the early morning was broken by a sharp horrifying scream that echoed in the Light Elves palace. The scream came from Princess Aliendre’s chamber. King Eraldor hurried and found his wife with a horrified expression holding a paper tight in her hand. Trembling and with eyes filled with tears she handed him the paper. “Not again, not another child,” she said.
Although carefully printed, the thrifty formulations made it obvious that the letter had been written in haste.
“Is it the human prince?” Eraldor asked.
“She has never expressed any such feelings for him,” Eliene said. “But who knows what she might have hidden from us. What else could it be that would make her change irreversibly?”
“Isn’t he going to marry a foreign princess?” Eraldor asked.
“Maybe Aliendre doesn’t know. What else could it be? Do you remember at the celebration of Alexander’s first birthday? I could feel that there was a disaster in his destiny, a disaster that would cause grief in the Elven realm.”
“If Prince Alexander had anything to do with this he will regret the day he was born.” Eraldor’s eyes were narrow and there was no doubt that he meant what he said. Then his face softened. “But somehow I find it difficult to believe. He has a good heart and although he had a crush on Aliendre when he was here I doubt that it was more to it than that. Aliendre seemed to like his company but I find it hard to believe that an elven princess as mighty as her would fall seriously in love with a human.
Eliene looked absent minded with her thoughts far away. “What good is it to see the future when there never is anything I can do to change it?”
“I may not be to late yet. If the Prince is involved I will know soon enough. I will start looking for Aliendre too, but with her powers I doubt that I will be able to find her. If I didn’t know better I might have believed that the Dark elves could be involved. But there is no possibility that they could reach us here, and even Aliendre on her own, outside this palace, would be quite a match also for the most powerful of them.”
Eraldor went to his study accompanied by his wife. He pulled a cloth from a crystal ball. As he put his palms on the crystal ball it started to flicker and soon there was a forest in it.
“Most likely she has shielded herself. I cannot focus on her; the crystal ball just shows me random irrelevant scenes and I can feel it bouncing against the resistance of her shield whenever I try to focus. But if the prince is involved maybe I can see something in the human realm.”
Eraldor concentrated again and a picture of a room filled the crystal ball. There was a bed in the room and on the pillow was Prince Alexander’s blond head. He was still sleeping deeply but started to move around and yawned while they were watching him.
“Maybe he isn’t involved at all but I will keep having an eye on him,” Eraldor said. “After all, Aliendre has always been very dutiful, I find it difficult to believe that she would let her feelings determine her actions in such a way, even if she would have had such feelings. We must send out riders that will search everywhere for our daughter. But I doubt that they will be able to find her if she doesn’t want to be found. Maybe Toraldor and Liandra know something. Aliendre might have said something when she visited them that can give us a clue. We must send a herald to them to”
Eliene’s white skin was even paler that usual and her large eyes filled with tears but the usual gentle expression was completely gone. “It is unbearable if we are going to lose another child,” she said. “We must do everything that is within our powers to find her. And if the human prince has anything to do with this, not even his gods will be able to protect him.”
13th Jul 2011, 1:51 AM
=O More, please! You totally left it...hanging....from the cliff.... ;_;
xD Great update!! Mind-numbingly, insanely, crazy and tortuously(!) suspenseful update, but a great one nevertheless! =D
16th Jul 2011, 5:59 PM
Thank you LovethMia. The next update will be very soon (today).
16th Jul 2011, 6:14 PM
Alexander yawned and stretched and was suddenly aware that he was not alone. Someone was in his rooming watching him sleep. At once he was awake. Alarmed he watched around while he tried to figure out how to reach his sword as quickly as possible but he could not see anyone at all. It must have been a dream or imagination. His mind had played tricks with him lately. With his heart still beating quickly he leaned back against his pillow to calm down.
Should he worry that maybe he was turning mad? No, surely it was just the pressure that he had felt lately. Maybe the lack of sleep could also be a contributing factor. He had found it very difficult to fall asleep lately. Now he would definitely not be able to sleep again. He felt slightly irritated because he had been dreaming about Aliendre and would have liked to dream a little longer. It was still early and the castle was wakening up. Servants would be lighting fires, preparing the meals for today and all the other tasks he knew very little about.
As he put his feet on the wooden floor he decided that it would be a good time for outdoor exercise, still not too warm to work hard. Alexander pulled his chainmail over his head and grabbed his sword.
Except for the guards that were on duty he could only see one person in the courtyard, a young girl. When he realized that she had a wooden sword in her hand he almost dropped his jaw, such impudence! A servant had no business being in the exercise area with a wooden sword in her hand? He took a deep breath as he prepared to harshly reprimand her. Then he realized that she only had put the sword up from the ground where it must have fallen. She grabbed her broom again and moved it with regular strokes while looking down at the ground so that he could barely see her face but he had already recognized her as the young maid that had been sent out from Alde’s room. Obviously she was on outdoor duty now.
He started to warm up with some routine exercises with the sword. After a while he noted that he could not hear the sound of the sweeping anymore and looked up.
The girl was closer now and when he looked at her she looked down quickly and started to sweep with very determined strokes. Alexander smiled for himself; the girl had obviously been watching him. He started his exercise again, now showing of a little, and soon enough the sound of the sweeping stopped.
This time he waited a while before he looked up and had the satisfaction to see the girls cheeks turn red as she dropped the broom when he caught her eyes. Quickly she picked up the broom and started to sweep again. Although she had been caught it didn’t seem to stop her from watching again because he could hear the sound of the sweeping disappear after a while and he knew that she still was there. This time he didn’t look up. She could watch if she wanted, he didn’t mind to have an audience.
Alexander went into the great hall pleasantly weary. The exercise had done him good and now he longed for a heavy breakfast. Craftsmen were busy as the King had decided that the hall needed wooden panels before the wedding.
“Hi, there you rose early today little Prince”, he heard from the shadows.
“Hi, when did you arrive, Erik?”
“I came late yesterday night. You had already gone to bed. The rest of my family is staying in town. Looks like you have been up exercising already.”
“Yeah, there’s nothing better to wake you up.”
“Wonder what good all this exercise will do you. There seem to be little chance to die an honorable death in the battle field nowadays.”
“That’s true and I hope it will remain so,” Alexander replied. “Hand me some beer will you please.”
“So, when will you introduce me to your beautiful bride?”
“You can probably meet her very soon today.”
“I look forward to meeting Princess Alde. You’re a lucky prince Alexander. A rich wife with influence and beauty, what else can a man wish for? Erik patted Alexander hard on the back. Alexander had just raised his goblet to have a sip of beer and as Erik patted him on the back bear spilled all over his face.
“Nothing, I suppose,” Alexander replied with a strained smile while he wiped beer from his face with his arm.
18th Jul 2011, 2:49 PM
Things are really getting heated. The girl with the sword sounds like a promising character. Hopefully she'll appear more. Excellent updates, thank you. :)
22nd Jul 2011, 1:57 PM
“Are you enjoying yourself Alde?” Alexander asked. He thought that Alde was more beautiful than ever. There was an eagerness and sweetness in her face, a face that otherwise had a tendency to look a bit too sharp. Maybe she wasn’t so bad after all. He realized that he hadn’t really given her a fair chance.
“This feast has overtrumped all my expectations. I told your father, his Majesty the King, that I’m very honored by all his efforts for our wedding. Can you believe that we finally will be husband and wife tomorrow? We must travel to visit my father soon after the wedding, don’t you think?”
“I look very much forward to meet King Knut and your brothers.” He didn’t add that after all the most important purpose of their wedding was to tighten the bands between the two kingdoms.
He took her hands in his. They were small and soft with long slender fingers and he realized that he had barely touched Alde at all during the time that they had spent together. They had never been alone of course, but except for courteous and gentle kisses on her hand he had never touched her. He could feel that she smelled like roses when they were standing close to each other.
“I must not keep you all to myself tonight,” Alde said. “There are so many people here who want a word with you and we will have plenty of time to talk after tomorrow”.
He saw her wander off to a group of Ladies who were delighted to have her attention. Alde was the center of the hall and was obviously enjoying herself. Wherever she went eyes were following her and she seemed to charm everyone.
As Alexander followed Alde with his eyes, thinking that he should be proud to have such a wife, a well known feeling overwhelmed him. It was a very strong feeling of someone watching him. But he knew that if he turned around no one would be there because this had happened once or twice a day for some time now. Of course there would be people watching him in this room but not with that intense stare that he felt touching his very brain. Maybe he was turning mad after all.
Before he had regained control over his own mind he almost fell forward as Erik patted him hard on the shoulder.
“Hi, there little prince, you look pale and tense. Are you nervous about tomorrow? Would you mind if I speak with Princess Alde for a while?”
“Of course not,” Alexander replied, still confused by the feeling of being watched and by almost losing his balance.
“She has charmed all the nobility I believe,” Erik continued. “That girl was born to become queen.”
Erik strolled off to speak with Alde and Alde’s giggles were soon mixed with Erik’s loud laughter. Erik was very much like Alde, Alexander thought, he filled a room with his presence. It was good, Alexander thought, that Alde and Erik seemed to get along so well together. Maybe she could help to unite their families.
Alexander said good night. He had already stayed longer than he was expected. After all, tomorrow was his wedding but he knew that he would probably not be able to fall asleep anyway. Alde had already left with her entourage a long time ago and it was obvious that the party was not the same without her presence. She was like a light that the other guests cirkled around, eager to have her attention. He could hear giggles from different corners of the castle mixed with the music coming from the great hall. Some young couples had obviosly been able to sneak away from their guardians he thought with a smile.
Alexander passed Alde’s door in the long corridor as he went to his room. This was the last night that he would not be alone in his bed and he didn’t really know if that was good or bad. Although Alde had been like a light in the center of the party he had not been able to avoid thinking about Aliendre. It felt like he had a hole inside. He opened the door and entered his empty room.
He couldn’t sleep and it wasn’t because he was thinking about the wedding. As soon as he closed his eyes he could see Aliendre’s face and he felt so empty that it hurt. Suddenly he jumped out of his bed. There had been a strange sound in the corridor outside his room. A sound that he couldn’t really identify, some kind of buzzing that he had never heard before.
He opened the door and went out in the corridor just to find a cat with a mouse in its mouth. He breathed out and realized that he must really be tense if he overreacted like this because of the cat.
But as he turned around he froze. In the end of the corridor was a slender figure with a hooded cape. He remembered the intruder that had been killed outside his room many years ago and cursed himself for not bringing the sword. The figure was small and looked like a young boy rather than a man, but it must be a really cunning boy to be able to pass all the guards. This night would of course be one of the best occasions an intruder could wish for, because there were guests everywhere and he suspected that even the guards might have sipped a little too much wine. He looked around to see if he could find something that he could use as a weapon or maybe throw at the intruder to get some time to get his sword.
“Alexander, it’s just me.” The voice was clear and soft like music. It was the voice of a woman and it sounded almost pleading. It could not be possible, indeed he was turning mad. He took step closer and saw two large wide open blue eyes looking pleadingly at him.
“It’s me, Aliendre, don’t you remember me?” She threw off the hooded cape and her long brown hair fell over her shoulders. The years had made her even more beautiful than he could remember.
“How is this possible?” He could hear his voice trembling as he didn’t really trust his eyes and ears. He closed his eyes and opened them again. She was still there.
“I couldn’t forget you Alexander, so I had to come here to see you.” she said quietly.
Still not knowing if this was real or not Alexander asked “How could you pass the guards?” He could hear his voice coming out more sharply than he had intended.
“Oh, I have shielded myself and I teleported here,” she said as if there was nothing more to it. “Are you angry that I came?” Her voice trembled and her eyes were wide.
“Aliendre I can’t believe that it’s really you. I have not thought about anything else but you lately.”
At his words her tense shoulders relaxed and she threw herself in his arms. She felt real enough. The hole in his body was gone and he was complete and happy.
“Aliendre, how could you believe that I wouldn’t remember you? How would it be possible to forget my one and only love?”
Her laughter was like sparkling water.
Reluctantly she backed slightly from his firm grip. “We must hurry, she said. They cannot see me but I don’t doubt that my father is keeping an eye on you.”
Not even her mentioning the powerful Eraldor could diminish the happiness Alexander felt.
“Yes, we must hurry,” he replied and smiled foolishly without knowing exactly what Aliendre had in mind.
22nd Jul 2011, 3:49 PM
I have just finished reading this from the begining to the most recent update. I love it! Both story and pictures are wonderful, great work!
22nd Jul 2011, 5:22 PM
^Me too, I love both the story and your game, you have such wonderful clothes and objects! I wish I had a medieval 'hood, but I'm way too lazy to collect so many things. Anyway, can't wait for your next update. :)
28th Jul 2011, 9:32 AM
Thank you Kathleen Anne and the Creeper. Downloading medieval content is actually one of the fun parts with a medieval hood but definately not good for the downloads folder.
28th Jul 2011, 9:39 AM
“Here, you need this shield so that my father cannot find you,” Aliendre said as soon as they got into Alexander’s room. She slipped a long chain around his neck. The chain had a pendant with a snake on a gemstone.
“I suppose we’re talking about magic here, because I am very familiar with shields and this doesn’t look like one,” he said.
“This will protect you from magic. My father will probably try to find you with his crystal ball but if you wear this he will not be able to see you because I have put my magic into it. Father will of course notice that his magic will bounce from you and therefore he will understand that I’m with you. Therefore we must hurry.”
She talked very fast and eagerly. Now that she was less tense he could see how tired she looked. There were dark shadows around her eyes.
“I believe that King Eraldor has already been watching me,” he said. “That would explain the uncanny feeling I’ve had several times lately. It’s a very strong feeling of being watched. I felt it this night not long ago. “
Aliendre looked very pleased to hear what he said. “It is good that he watched you so recently”. “That means he will not try again for a while. It is very demanding to use magic against another person’s mind, and especially to find another mind so far away. He will need to rest before he can use it again.
“You look tired Aliendre. I cannot let you travel before you have rested.”
She shook her head. “The reason that I’m tired is that I used magic to get here as fast as possible. I have walked, run but also teleported over large distances. To get into the castle I had to teleport through the thick stone walls and I will not be able to use much more magic for a while. Father might try to find you already tomorrow morning. After all he is very powerful. So you see we have no time to rest. I will rest later. But I cannot teleport both of us so we will have to travel without magic nonetheless.”
“That is how I usually travel so that will be fine. But will we not be seen and people wonder about us?”
“They will see us, we are not invisible,” she laughed as if the thought of being invisible amused her and then she continued, “but unless they are very concentrated and look specifically for us they will not pay any attention thanks to our shields. Their thoughts will bounce away from us.”
For a second Alexander thought that maybe he should be considering that it was his wedding day tomorrow and that escaping with Aliendre was not very responsible. There was also another important detail about elves and humans that Eraldor had told him. But these thoughts just touched his mind very briefly. It seemed so obvious and right that he was meant to escape together with Aliendre. There was really nothing else he could do. Aliendre did not even ask him, she seemed to know exactly what they should do.
They could hardly let go of each other now that they were together a last but Aliendre was nervous and restless. She made him pack the most necessary items and hurried him out through the door.
No one tried to stop them or even seemed to notice them as they went to through the castle, passing the wardrobe and the kitchen on their way out to the courtyard and to the stables. Silently they saddled two horses and put all their packing on a third. They took the horses out of the stable and went to the main gate. Although the guards at the gate looked a little skeptical they did not ask any questions about him leaving the castle in the company on an unknown visitor and a lot of packing in the middle of the night. Alexander could see that Aliendre were moving her lips as she looked down and figured that she might be using some kind of magic to affect the guards' minds in addition to the shield he was wearing. He had no idea where they were going but it didn’t matter as long as he was together with Aliendre.
The sky was clear and the stars bright. He could feel the cool night air against his cheeks as he and Aliendre were galloping silently next to each other, heading for the forest. He had never felt more happy and free.
28th Jul 2011, 9:51 AM
I just hope nobody catches them! They're so cute together. :)
28th Jul 2011, 11:42 PM
:beer: You so rock I love it thanks for sharing
10th Aug 2011, 9:07 AM
Roe inspected the piece of flint to figure out how to best hit it to make a flint scrape. She grabbed the hammer tool to hit the core stone and thought about Thorundur. Obviously he had forgotten all about her because he was too occupied with Aliendre. He had not visited Roe since Roe had used the magic potion. She hated all Elves. Roe grabbed the hammerstone and hit it hard against the flint. Satisfied she inspected the result and prepared to grab the hammer stone to hit the flint again when she heard her mother calling her name quietly. She looked around and saw Otter and Wolf hurrying into their hut. They seemed to be alarmed by something. Roe turned her head and gaped.
She was dazzled by the creature that was approaching her. It shone in the sun and she could not feel any scent from it because the wind was blowing from her. Could it be one of the spirits coming to punish her for what she had done to Aliendre? When the figure came into the shadows of the trees it didn’t shine anymore and she could feel the scent of a horse. Otter called her name silently from the hut to make her run away and hide. Roe realized that hiding would be the most sensible thing to do but her curiosity was much greater than her fear. Now that the creature had stopped shining she realized that it was an armored rider that she was looking at. The rider looked exactly like Aliendre had described the Elven warriors in her stories. What could a mighty Elven warrior be doing here? The horse was black like her old friend and looked very much like him. The wind turned and she caught another well known scent, but that scent didn’t make sense at all.
“Roe I have much to tell you,” the rider said with Thorundur’s voice. He took off the helmet and tried to make the horse stop which took him a while. Amazed Roe realized that the horse he was riding was the same horse that she had found in the human realm and that she had given the gift of freedom. How could this be? Thorundur jumped down from the horse that was stepping around so that Thorundur almost lost his balance. He did not smile at her.
“What are you wearing Thorundur, and where did you find, she paused because she had almost said the name that she had called the horse, “where did you find this horse?” she continued.
“Aliendre has run away together with the human prince,” Thorundur said and it was clear that he was upset. “I think I know where she might be and I’m going to take her home,” he continued.
Roe gaped. The potion must have worked after all but Thorundur’s armor and the expression on his face made her fear that something had gone terribly wrong with her plans. She had never seen Thorundur like this before. Although he had been upset and angry before he had never before looked like he did today. Of course the strange outfit made him look different but there was also a grim expression in his face that made him seem like a completely different person. “I don’t like this at all Thorundur,” she said. “If Aliendre ran away she probably wants to be where she is now and why can’t someone else go and take her home if you think that’s a good idea. What are you wearing by the way? It looks very uncomfortable.”
“This was my grandfather’s armor. He died in the war against the Dark elves and Toraldor has kept this armor in his house.” There was pride in Thorundur’s voice. Toraldor and I found this horse running around in the forest and we caught him, although it wasn’t easy. He has a lot of temperament this horse. His name his Night-sky”
Roe snorted. She found the name that they had given the horse ridiculous but she chose to not say anything about it. “Does your brother know that you have taken the armor and the horse and are going to take Aliendre home?”
“Of course not, he would only want me to tell the elves from the court were I think she might be but I am going there myself. Besides I don’t know for sure that they are there.”
“Is that a sword?” she said at pointed at Thorundur’s side. The first time she had heard about swords in Aliendre’s stories it had disturbed her very much. As far as she could understand swords were not useful for hunting but were only meant to hurt other people with. “Would you really be prepared to use a sword against another person?” She couldn’t help the accusing tone in her voice because she had never understood how elves and humans could kill or hurt other people on purpose.
Thorundur snorted. “I think it will be enough that I show the human my sword and tell him to let her go.”
“I think you underestimate humans. It may not be that easy.”
“What would you know about that Roe? After all I have actually met one human and how many humans have you seen?” There was a scornful tone in his voice that he never had used against her before.
She couldn’t really admit that she knew much more about humans and their ferocity than she would have liked. Instead she changed the subject to the horse. “Do you really think that it’s a good idea to ride the horse? It looks like you don’t really get along with each other?”
Thorundur’s eyes were narrow when he looked at her. “The horse is faster than I would be without him. Besides it isn’t that easy to ride a horse. This is a very wild horse and I haven’t much experience of riding but I’m sure I will manage.”
“I thought it was just to sit on their back and let them carry you wherever you wanted to go,” Roe mumbled and patted the horse on the neck. She called him the name that she had used before, a name that was a sound that she had heard horses do when they were friendly. He seemed happy to see her again and pushed his head against her arm.
“No, riding is much more complicated than that,” Thorundur said and for the first time since he came he was laughing. But it wasn’t a very friendly laugh Roe thought. She had to bite her lip to not tell Thorundur that this horse was her friend and that they had travelled together. This was no time to argue with Thorundur about less important matters. She had a feeling that she was on the edge of a disaster.
“Please don’t go Thorundur. The human may also have a sword and you could get hurt or even killed. You don’t have to do this.”
“You don’t understand Roe.” Thorundur’s voice sounded desperate. “If Aliendre gives her heart to a mortal she will die! She will also become mortal. The prince is killing her. You must understand that I have to save her if I can.”
Roe gasped. She hadn’t known this. Thorundur put on his helmet again and with great difficulty he mounted the black stallion who was stepping around. Soon Roe could only see the back of Thorundur as he disappeared into the forest with the armor shining in the sun.
It was not the prince that had killed Aliendre, it was she. She had killed her with the love potion just as surely as if she had poured poison into the tea. Death would not come immediately of course, but Aliendre would age like mortals and like mortals she would not escape the fate that other elves did not have to face. Suddenly Roe realized the total extent of the horrible truth. She could never have Thorundur unless she wanted to kill him and she loved him too much to let him die. It was also obvious that he had never loved her and never would. He was even willing to risk his own life to save Aliendre. Roe’s parents found her sitting on the ground moaning with her face buried in her hands.
11th Aug 2011, 1:29 AM
Oh...wow. :( Poor Roe! Great update ~ glad you're back. :)
17th Aug 2011, 12:00 AM
Hi! Came over here from PBK to read your story beryllium - I just finished up. :) Have to say I like it a lot. :D It's so ambitious too! And very lovely.
Although Thorundur is really PO-ing at the moment! He's so blind to Roe's affection. And won't stop meddling in Aliendre's life, where he has no business. Not to say I don't understand the whole find-her-or-she-will-loose-her-immortality angle, more just his personal involvement. ;) Thank you for your story, though - I look forward to seeing more!
11th Sep 2011, 12:16 AM
Thank you LovethMia and Dominiquex. Thorundur isn't a person who thinks before he acts so he makes bad choices sometimes. After a long delay I have finally finished chapter 36.
11th Sep 2011, 12:32 AM
Sweat trickled down Thorundur’s face. Even in the shade of the trees the metal helmet made it feel like his head was boiling. One good thing about the warmth was that at least it seemed to calm the horse down. He hadn’t admitted it to Roe but he was scared every minute that he was on the hot-tempered stallion’s back. Everything was wrong and he missed Roe so much. He didn’t know what he had done wrong but she had been so scornful and angry at him lately.
When he had told Roe how he felt for Aliendre she had make it clear that she didn’t find him worthy of a princess. He had never thought that Roe of all people would make that kind of difference between people. Lately she seemed to despise and dismiss everything that he said. He would show her! Everyone would praise him when he brought Aliendre home and Roe would understand that he was not as worthless as she believed.
In the mirror at home he had seen a mighty elven warrior. He felt embarrassed when he remembered how he had looked forward to the impressed look he had been so sure that Roe would have when she saw him dressed in armor. Roe had only found him ridiculous. Now he felt nothing like the elven warrior that he had seen in the mirror. The old chainmail was warm, heavy and chafed but he figured that the human would give up easily when he faced an elven warrior so he endured the uncomfortable outfit. If the human would be stupid enough to fight him, the armor would probably be useful. Aliendre had once shown him a place that he thought would be ideal if she wanted to keep away together with the prince. He hadn’t really planned what to do if he found her but he figured that the human would give up and that Aliendre would realize the foolishness in running away with a human and come home with him. The king would praise him and everyone would be impressed. He would be a hero and Roe would admire him. Thorundur’s imaginations were interrupted as the black stallion jumped aside when a bird flew from a bush. He almost fell to the ground. Maybe taking the horse hadn’t been a very good idea after all but there was no doubt that he could travel much faster on the back of the horse. Actually he sometimes felt that they travelled a little too fast as the horse didn’t always listen to him when he wanted to slow down the pace. I shouldn’t be far now.
Confused Thorundur looked around and then down on his own chest. He was dressed in armor and was riding a hot tempered stallion. How could this be? He was all alone in the middle of the forest and he couldn’t remember what he was doing here but somehow he knew that he was riding in the wrong direction so he turned around. Maybe Roe could tell him if he went to her. There was something that didn’t feel good when he thought about Roe. Of course, now he remembered. Roe was angry at him but he couldn’t remember why. Or maybe it was he who was angry at Roe. There was someone else he should remember too. Then suddenly it all became clear. He should bring Aliendre home but he had forgotten. He shook his head and smiled. Obviously there was magic working here. Aliendre must have put a spell around her hiding place. He turned back and concentrated hard on the destination. Again he could feel a wave of confusion when he approached the place where he had turned back, but he spurred the horse to make it run forward. For a while he couldn’t remember why he was on the back of a galloping horse but then the trees thinned out and he could see the glade. The fence surrounding a pasture had been mended and there were three horses grassing there. In front of the cabin he could see the human chopping wood. He had been right, they were here.
Suddenly Night-Sky neighed and the horses in the enclosure responded. The prince looked up and the chance to surprise him was lost. The fright in the human’s face made Thorundur feel very content. He tried to make the horse stop but it wasn’t easy because it stepped around and was more interested in the other horses than to listen to Thorundur. This moment wasn’t exactly as he had planned and when he finally reached the ground on unsteady legs Alexander had already put on a chainmail and had a sword in his hand. Stupid horse, Thorundur’s chance to surprise Alexander was gone.
“Stay where you are”, Alexander shouted.
Thorundur stretched his back. He couldn’t see Aliendre. “I’m here to rescue Princess Aliendre. She will come back with me and escape the fate of the mortals” he said doing his best to sound like a mighty elven warrior.
“How could you find this place? It’s shielded.” The prince seemed more worried about the fact that Thorundur had found him than about the sword in Thorundur’s hand.”
“Give up, or you will be sorry,” Thorundur said, making his voice as dark and threatening as he could.
The prince didn’t seem impressed. “It’s Aliendre’s choice to be with me and I will not give her up as long as she wants me. This is ridiculous. Go back.”
Thorundur swallowed. This was not going as he had planned. He had no other choice than to raise his sword to demonstrate that he wasn’t going to give up. The prince didn’t wait for the first strike. Before Thorundur could blink he heard the sound of metal meeting metal as the prince parried his sword with his own. The strength in the blow made Thorundur lose his balance for a short while. He realized that Roe had been right, he had underestimated the human. Every time he moved his sword to strike at the prince, Alexander parried easily. It almost seemed as if he was playing with Thorundur. Not once did he try to strike back. It was like an absurd dance, and Thorundur found that the sword was becoming heavier and heavier while Alexander’s strength didn’t seem to diminish at all.
A sharp cry echoed over sound of metal meeting metal. Thorundur looked up and saw Aliendre’s terrified face. She had raised one of her hands. For an instant he could see her hand being lit up and then there was a sharp pain in his own hand when the light bolt hit him. He dropped the sword and fell backwards.
What are you doing here? How could you find us? Aliendre shrieked. He had never seen the calm princess so upset before.
“I have come to bring you back. The King and Queen are very upset and everyone is looking for you. This is not right Aliendre and you know it. Our kind is not meant to live with the mortals. You will die. The prince is killing you.”
“How dare you believe that you can make choices for me? Do you think Alexander could keep me here against my will? Actually he begged me to leave him when he realized what it will do to me to love him. But this is my choice. I’m happier than I’ve ever been before. Who are you to judge me? You’re only truly happy when you’re with Roe and she’s mortal just like Alexander.” She raised her head high and looked triumphant. “Besides it’s already too late for me.”
Thorundur looked down. Aliendre’s last words were horrifying but she was right, it was none of his business what she did after all. This had been one of his worst ideas ever. He should have listened to Roe. Aliendre was wrong to compare Alexander with Roe though. Roe was not a human and she was his friend, not the woman that he would give his heart to. He knew that elves were not supposed to live with mortals.
“Go away now Thorundur. I do not wish to move from this place so I beg you to not tell anyone where to find me.” She didn’t sound as if she was begging. “If I find out that you have told anyone, you can trust that I will make you regret it.”
“I would not, he said with head down. “I’m sorry Aliendre. It was wrong of me to come here but I would never betray you.”
He picked up the sword and walked slowly to his horse who was standing outside the pasture looking as he was talking with the other horses. Thorundur grabbed the reins and swung himself up in the saddle. Night-Sky took a jump forward when he felt Thorundur’s foot touching his haunch and Thorundur fell headlong to the ground. He tried to get up but found himself stuck to a thick branch that had wedged between the plates of his chest armor. There was no end to his humiliation. He pulled hard to get loose. Finally he managed to get up on the back of Night-Sky and started his ride back home with a hanging head.
It was a somber ride back. Not only was he humiliated but also very sad about Aliendre’s choice. It was unheard of that an elf would chose mortality for the love of a mortal. Everyone knew that elves were not supposed to live with the mortals. Aliendre’s sad fate would no doubt be told in stories thousands of years from now. Life used to be so easy and uncomplicated and now everything was a mess. Everything had been a total disaster. He felt dizzy and weak and his chest hurt where the branch had hit his chainmail. The armor was too warm and heavy. He stopped the horse and jumped down to the soft ground. It felt so good to get rid of the weight of the plated armor but every breath hurt. He pulled the chain mail over his head and felt how his hand got wet from the sweat on his chest. The effort it took to bend down to strike the hand against the grass to get rid of the sweat made him feel even dizzier.
He stretched out his hand and saw that it was soaked in blood. It was wet from blood, not sweat! There was a large red patch on the tunic on his chest. He knew that it was too much blood and then he realized something else. Oh no, grandfather will be angry because I have ruined his silk tunic, he thought. No of course not, how silly he was. Grandfather had been dead since long before Thorundur was born. Then Thorundur realized the logic in his thoughts. Of course he would also be dead soon, and then he would meet his grandfather. He would leave this world and he would never meet Roe again. Would she find his bones eventually or would she always wonder why he never came back to her?
Then everything went black and he didn’t think more.
11th Sep 2011, 11:16 AM
Oh, poor Thorundur! Being a huge fan of George R. R. Martin, I'm quite used to dying main characters. I really hope that Thorundur will survive, though. Great update!
24th Sep 2011, 10:28 PM
The even breaths told Roe that her mother and father had been sleeping for hours but every time she closed her eyes to try to sleep troublesome thoughts whirled around in her head. She felt sorry for her parents to have such a terrible daughter. Her father had been right; an elf could of course never love a mortal. She didn’t believe that her father had known that such a love would kill the elf but he had been right none the less. If she had listened to her parents everything would be fine now, but instead she had been selfish and now Aliendre would die because of it. Maybe there was still a chance that Thorundur could save Aliendre and that he and the elven princess could be happy together. There was no point in trying to sleep so she sneaked out of the hut and sat down under the clear sky.
Her fantasies had been so childish and selfish. She had believed that she could somehow just borrow Thorundur while she lived. When she died he would continue his everlasting life with the elves. Now she knew that it wasn’t possible. She tried to imagine what it must be like to be immortal and not have to think about the years that passed. Immortality must be the greatest gift that had ever been given to any living creature in the world and if it had been her gift she couldn’t imagine that she would ever want to give it up.
Roe promised herself that from now on she would be a very good daughter and do everything that her parents told her. She would take Bear as a spouse and live a normal life like she was supposed to. After all, any girl would consider herself very lucky to live with Bear. She had been very ungrateful to not appreciate her parents’ care. Of course she wanted to have a family and she was not getting any younger. If she waited too long Bear might chose another girl and she would probably never find a spouse at all. It was time to grow up.
When she thought about the children that she would have she felt some happiness but she couldn’t conjure a feeling of happiness when she thought about the rest of her future. Obviously there was something very wrong with her. Her parents always patiently corrected her and explained things that they seemed to take for granted. She always did things that worried and surprised them. The life that others of her people lived seemed so suffocating and limited but she would do her best to be like them. After all she was a child of the forest and she should be grateful for everything that the forest gave to her people. She would have to give up being Thorundur’s friend although it was almost unbearable to imagine a life without him. It would be even harder to try to live like the Forest people as Bear’s wife if she would continue to meet the person that understood her better than anyone, the person that made her heart beat faster and the colors become brighter.
“Roe, why are you sitting here? The elf needs you. You must go and find him.”
Roe flinched. The voice sounded distant and familiar. She looked up. In front of her was The Mother!
Horrified Roe fell to the ground. “I’m so sorry, I didn’t know. I never wanted Aliendre to die. Please forgive me.”
“ Roe, I am not angry at you. How could I be when I love you so much? You must find the elf before it is too late.” The Mother’s voice was gentle.
“Too late for what? He doesn’t want me, he hates me and I don’t blame him because I’m a terrible person. But I will try very hard to improve. Please forgive me. I will honor my father and my mother and I will always listen to them from now on.”
The Mother put a finger over her lips and smiled a gentle smile. “Hush Roe, where is my brave girl tonight? This is not like her. The elf does not hate you and he needs you more than ever. I know you can find him if you try but I’m afraid that it might be too late. Remember that my love will always be with you no matter what happens.” The Mother started to walk away from Roe and soon she was absorbed into the night like she never had been there, just like the last time Roe had met her.
Did Thorundur really need her? Then he must be in trouble. Roe felt the panic rising in her. Was it not enough that she would be the cause of Aliendre’s death? Had something bad happened to Thorundur too? She would do her best to find him and save him if he needed to be saved. Then she would not cause any more troubles. She would move to Bear and be a good spouse and raise children of the Forest people and she would never see Thorundur again. It couldn’t be too late, it just couldn’t. She looked up at the sky. It was clear enough so the moonlight should be sufficient to track Thorundur.
She strapped a hunting knife around her thigh, rolled some things that might prove to be useful in a skin, and went out into the night.
10th Oct 2011, 1:38 PM
A race against time now.. they need to confess their feelings for one another <3
I hope Roe can make it with her awesome skills, can't wait for more
23rd Oct 2011, 10:58 PM
Thank you Myshia. We will have to wait for an update about Roe because there are complications in the human kingdom.
23rd Oct 2011, 11:11 PM
The atmosphere was tense like a high-strung bowstring. Eskil knew that it would not take much for this bowstring to be fired. It was a good thing that courtesy demanded that weapons should be left outside a hall. Although Eskil’s confidence in his big brother Erik was unshakable he couldn’t help that his throat felt dry when he looked at the crowd that was gathered in his father’s great hall. Everything was at stake now and it all depended on if Erik could convince this crowd. There were families whose loyalty could be counted on, others that shouldn’t be too hard to convince but he could also see faces of men who made him feel uneasy.
Birger raised his hand. “I am glad to see so many of you gathered here today. It is my painful duty to confirm the rumors that most likely have reached you. Not only is it true that Prince Alexander has abandoned his bride and the throne but it is also true that the King, my dear brother, is seriously ill and bound to his bed. Although this is very sad we must plan for the future of our kingdom.”
The brawl that followed made it impossible to hear anything more.
Scattered words that Eskil could pick up confirmed that there were those who believed that the rumors about his family’s involvement in Alexander’s disappearance were true. He thought he could also hear someone whisper the word “poisoned” about the King. Deep down not even Eskil was certain that the rumors were not completely false. Erik looked relaxed and self confident as if he did not realize that his future might be at stake. It was only the firm muscles on Erik’s cheeks that told Eskil that Erik probably was just as tense as he himself felt. Erik’s self confidence was just an act.
Their father, Birger, looked at Erik and nodded. Erik raised his hand and the room silenced enough for him to make himself heard. “I think that now is the time for everyone to think about their own future. King Knut was not happy about how his daughter was treated by Alexander and would not support those loyal to Magnus. My uncle Karl has sworn his loyalty to my father and me. Thus we stand strong and would reward those who are willing to give us support.”
A deep and strong voice was heard from the back of the hall. “This is outrageous, the king is still alive and we don’t know what has happened to Alexander. Is there anyone else than me in this hall who would like to know what happened to the Prince? Is it not strange that first Alexander disappears and then Erik is going to marry his bride?” It was Torstein who had raised his voice. Torstein was a big experienced warrior, a man that people tended to listen to.
The murmur in the hall confirmed that Torstein was not the only one who would like an answer. The fact that Erik was going to marry Princess Alde was also news for many of them.
Erik smiled, but this time his smile did not look relaxed. It looked like a wolf’s smile and his eyes were narrow. “Torstein, we all know what happened. Alexander got cold feet and ran away from his wedding. The shock was too much for the poor old King. Even if Alexander would come back, which I find most unlikely, do you really think that he would be a suitable king after this?”
“Alexander is not known to be a coward. I find it highly unlikely that a Prince who is known for his bravery in the jousting tournaments would be afraid to face his bride. Maybe you think it’s unlikely that he will return because you know more than us about his disappearance.”
Erik’s cold blue eyes were fixed on the man who had spoken. “Torstein, I know the Prince well enough to know that he’s a weak coward who puts himself before his duties. I am happy though that you spoke your mind so freely because I will not forget your words.”
Eskil felt how the blood left his face. Erik was carried away and had taken everything much too far. It was too early for this, there were still people who hoped and believed that the King would recover and that Alexander would return.
Torstein did not turn his eyes away from Erik’s gaze. There was a murmur in the crowd when finally someone spoke and Erik could find an excuse to turn his eyes from Torstein to the young man who had raised his voice.
“I think that you have spoken well Erik. We do need to plan the future for this kingdom and you will have my loyalty.” It was Erik’s and Eskil’s cousin, Karl’s son, who had spoken.
The majority raised their voices to let it be known that they agreed. But there were also some that were silent with grim faces.
Torstein’s strong and deep voice was once again heard. “This will mean war and you know it. The farmers will not like your ideas about how this country should be ruled. They have always supported Magnus and if there is going to be a new king they would like to have a word about it too. They have always kept their weapons sharp. No one can deny that the kingdom has prospered under Magnus’ reign or that the King’s strategies have given his people peace and wealth.”
Erik did not even try to hide his despise. “Troublemaking farmers are the result of Magnus’ politics. Maybe they have grown too fat and wealthy under Magnus’ reign. If war is ahead of us, so be it. Our gods reward brave warriors who die an honorable death on the battle field. Only a coward fears war. After all, that is what all Jarls have been trained for since we started to walk. If a farmer believes that he can go into battle against us let the fool try. Let the gods send ravens to feast on those who are against us! Glory awaits those who are brave.”
Assenting ovations was heard all around in the hall but Torstein was not impressed. “Maybe the farmers will not be alone, and don’t forget that they by far outnumber the Jarls. There are those of us who have sworn fealty to Magnus and who believe that such a promise is sacred. Don’t fool yourself and believe that your keep and the stone walls that you are building will keep you safe. I value my honor more than my life. The gods know the hearts of men and reward those who are worthy.” With these words Torstein turned his back to Erik and walked out of the hall. A small group followed him.
The faces of the men leaving the hall were unmoved and hard as stone when Erik laughed and shouted after them “Look at those cowards fearing war against farmers!” Roaring laughter echoed in the hall. It seemed as if Erik had won this battle but he had also made enemies today.
Eskil didn’t like to think of himself as a coward but an honorable death on the battlefield was not something that he longed for.
25th Oct 2011, 9:37 PM
I absolutely LOVE this story! I'm patiently waiting for the next part :)
6th Nov 2011, 10:19 PM
Thank you Nixxy245 :)
6th Nov 2011, 10:29 PM
Thorundur was thirstier than he had ever been before and his chest hurt. That was strange! He would have thought that he wouldn’t feel pain anymore. It was a huge effort to open the eyes but when they finally were open he found that it had been worth the effort.
He was looking into the depth of Roe’s yellow eyes. Was she too dead? He felt happy that she was here too but he didn’t know if it was right to be happy when someone had died. But there was something that was wrong. Roe was mortal so she shouldn’t be here if he was dead. Obviously he must still be alive. That would explain the pain and the thirst that he felt. His head was resting in Roe’s lap. Her skin was warm and suddenly everything felt right. He studied the pattern that surrounded her eyes and the red stone on her forehead. He knew her so well that he would have been able to see every detail of her face even with his eyes closed. She was beautiful beyond comparison. Her smiled seemed so sad. He tried to tell her to not be sad but no sound would leave his lips.
“Don’t worry, just rest,” she said and stroke the hair from his forehead. It felt soothing and good. He tried to smile but didn’t know if he succeeded. She stopped stroking his hair and he tried to tell her to continue but still no sound would leave his lips. Roe lifted his head carefully and put a bowl with water to his lips.
“I thought I was dead,” he said and finally he managed to get the sound to leave his lips.
“You were not far from it when I found you,” she replied. She stroke his forehead tenderly and looked at him with a sad smile. “Don’t talk more now. You need to rest.”
But he didn’t want to be quiet. “How could you find me?” he said.
She smiled and he could see a hint of the glimpse in her eyes that she always had when she teased him. “That was easy enough. The track that you left would have been easy for a baby to follow. Don’t you know that you should never follow your own track when you go back? For once I’m glad that you did though, because it saved me a lot of time. ”
“I’m so glad that you found me. It was stupid of me to go after the human with a sword”.
Roe’s face hardened “I hate that human for hurting you.”
The words made him feel warm, but after all it wasn’t the human who had hurt him. He had been a total failure and even managed to get seriously injured without actually being hit by a weapon at all. What a lousy warrior he would be have been if he’d been alive during the time of the war. He considered the possibility to let Roe believe that he was a brave warrior who had been hurt in fight. But no, this was Roe, his best friend. There shouldn’t be any secrets between them. He wanted her to know everything about him. Embarrassed he told her how he had fallen off the horse and that the branch must have penetrated the old and rusty chainmail.
She stroke his forehead again and looked down into his eyes. “I’m glad that I found you in time. If you had died I would never have been happy again.”
Carefully Roe put his head down from her lap. He realized that he was lying on a bed of leaves that Roe had made over a skin that she had spread on the ground. Obviously she had also removed his tunic and put some green leaves under a bandage on his chest while he was unconscious. Instead of the silk tunic he was wearing a leather loin cloth like the Forest people.
Roe hesitated before she started to talk, “I have to get us some food because we have to stay here for a while until you get your strength back. I will be back soon. Don’t you dare die on me while I’m away!” She started to walk away but then she stopped, turned her head and looked at him. “Stupid elf,” she said and smiled tenderly.
He looked at her as she walked away. She moved gracefully and the slender muscles were tight under her dark skin. He had never seen anyone who could move like Roe.
Thorundur smiled and closed his eyes. Everything was fine now.
8th Jan 2012, 11:33 AM
Thorundur opened his eyes and looked around. He couldn't see Roe anywere. The panic started to rise within him. Maybe he had only dreamt that she had found him? But someone had put a loin cloth on him instead of the silk tunic. There were some green leaves under a bandage that covered his wound. It had to be Roe who had looked after him. With a great effort that made him realize how week he was he sat up. He looked around and realized that Roe had made a camp of this place. There were skins drying and baskets with food that she had collected. She had obviously been very idle and obviously he must have been here for a while. Why wasn’t she here? He realized that he was being irrational. She had told him that she needed to get some food for them. But the anxiety wouldn’t completely leave him. What if she wouldn’t come back? A wave of pain overwhelmed him when he tried to move to look around. Then he saw her!
She was sitting on the back of the black horse without any reins or saddle. Roe and the horse moved in perfect harmony as if they were the one and same creature. She was magnificent. Swiftly she jumped to the ground but when she saw him she looked alarmed.
“I told you to rest, you’re not strong enough to sit up yet,” she yelled at him. She rushed to him and looked at the bandage. Obviously she was pleased with what she saw because she relaxed and sat down next to him.
You have lost a lot of blood and the wound is not healed yet so you need to be very careful so it doesn’t start to bleed again. Please lie down and rest while I make you something to eat.” Thorundur didn’t protest. It was true that he was very week and the pain was really bad.
Roe must have seen the tension of the muscles in his face because she said, “I wish I could take the pain away. But I’m afraid that medicine that kills pain may be dangerous before your wound is more healed. I cannot risk that you would lose more blood.”
“I can stand the pain if you’re here to keep me company,” he answered. He could see that she smiled before she turned her head away. It felt so good bee friends with Roe again. They talked continuously with each other about numerous little things. She told him how she loved to ride on the back of the horse and how she had caught a rabbit with her sling while she had left him to get food. “If I had been as skilled as you with the bow I would have got us a deer,” she said. It was silly, but her acknowledgement of his skill with the bow made his chest burst with happiness.
She put his head in her lap and fed him a rich soup that she said would be good for his blood. “You might be well enough to be allowed to get up tomorrow considering how quick elves heal,” she said. “I doubt that any other creature would have survived the blood loss that you suffered but you are already surprisingly brisk.”
She slept close to him with her arm over his body to keep him warm. Not that he really needed any more warmth. The summer night was warm enough and he had thrown of the skin blanket that Roe had put over him. He knew that it would be natural for the Forest people to share their warmth with each other but he was an elf and not really used to such closeness. It felt good but this was dangerous. No matter how close friends they were he had subconsciously always kept their friendship to a certain limit. But he was wounded and her closeness felt so good. He moved even closer to her. After all he had almost died and returned to life thanks to Roe. Tomorrow he would put up the limit between them again. He put his hand over hers and felt the tight muscles under the warm and soft skin of her arm under his own arm. He studied the contrast between his pale skin and her dark in the week moonlight. He didn’t need to see her arm to know that it was completely smooth without a hair while his own arm was covered with fine almost white hairs. Her breaths were deep and even and he could feel her chest moving and her warm breath against his neck with every breath that she took. She was soundly asleep but he didn’t believe that he would be able to sleep much this night. Tomorrow is another day he thought as he squeezed her hand gently.
Roe had been right, Thorundur’s wound looked better next day and she allowed him to sit up and even walk carefully supported by her.
“I went home when I left you sleeping yesterday to tell my parents not to worry. They are not very happy with me but I will make it up to them,” she told him. “It’s amazing how fast the horse can travel.”
“I’m sorry to keep you away from your family Roe,” Thorundur said. “You’ve been so kind to me and I was so terrible to you before I left to go looking for Aliendre.”
“No, it is I who was terrible,” she said and looked down. “I’m so sorry that Aliendre chose the human. You must be so very sad.”
Thorundur chook his head, “No, I was stupid and confused. When I travelled together with Aliendre I realized how different we are. It didn’t take me long to realize that her company bored me. She’s wonderful and beautiful but I mistook admiration for love. Obviously I will still have to wait a very long time to find the love of my life.”
“But I thought that you risked your life to rescue her because you loved her so much.”
“No, that was not the reason. I like her very much and don’t want her to die of course. Don’t laugh at me Roe, but the real reason was that I thought that if I could bring her back home I would be a hero. It sounds really stupid now, I know. She has made her choice and there’s nothing anyone can do about that. But now that she has left, you and I will have much more time together. Think about all the good hunts we will have this autumn.”
Roe didn’t look as happy as he had expected. She looked down and swallowed and when she looked up her face made his throat thighten, and then she said the words that he had always known would come one day.
“I will not be able to see you anymore after this summer,” she said.”I’m going to move to Bear to become his spouse.”
Thorundur’s reaction took him by surprise. Of course he had always known that Roe would take a husband of her own people some day, but somehow it had always been something in a distant future. Now it was reality, Roe would not share his life anymore. It couldn’t be possible. He couldn’t stand the thought of Bear being more important in her life than him.
“But you don’t love him, you said so yourself. How can you take a husband that you don’t love? You said that this wouldn’t happen until next Forest people meeting.”
“I’m not an elf like you Thorundur. Forest people don’t think about love like you do. Bear will be a very good husband and we will share a good life together. It’s time for me to grow up.”
“I don’t believe that you don’t care about love. Everyone does. You’re not that different from me Roe. Do you truly believe that you will be happy with Bear?”
She looked like she was going to yell back at him, but then her face smoothened and she told him calmly; “I will miss you very much Thorundur and I will always remember you, but when you have healed enough to leave this place we must say goodbye forever. Besides you’re wrong, you and I are very different.”
This was even worse than he had expected.
“Roe, how am I supposed to be happy if we cannot be friends?” He didn’t try to hide the despair in his voice.
Her face was filled with sorrow when she answered. “You know that it will happen anyway. You’re immortal and I’m not. I will age and die and you will live forever and forget me.”
“Never,” he protested violently. “I would never forget you. But you’re just going to throw me away and replace me with someone better than me.”
She flinched when she heard the anger and accusation in his voice but her own reply was calm. “I’m of the Forest people and have to live with my own kind. Time is hunting me like you cannot not imagine. You have a great gift Thorundur but that gift is not mine. You cannot expect me to give up the chance to have a family just because time lasts forever for you.” She rose and walked away to prepare some food, but he suspected that it was just an excuse to leave him.
Of course everything Roe had said was true. He had no reason to be angry at her. But what would he do without her? They belonged together. It was impossible to deny any longer what he had always known deep down. He loved her more than his own life and a life without Roe was impossible to imagine. All his happiest memories involved her. One thing he knew, he would not let her know exactly how quick elves healed. He needed more time.
8th Jan 2012, 9:37 PM
So glad you're back! :)
23rd Feb 2012, 1:37 PM
I love this story, ca'nt wait until the next chapter!
30th Apr 2012, 2:28 AM
I LOVE this story! I wish that you would make the next chapter, but I shouldn't rush you.
4th May 2012, 10:41 AM
I'm loving this story so far. I hope you return to finish it eventually.
4th May 2012, 10:10 PM
Thank you for your comments. I didn't realise it had been so long since my last update. It has been a long break but I will not abandon you or Roe. Actually I'm starting to miss her more and more and have been thinking about the dialogue for the next chapter often lately. I have been playing a modified MCC challenge and trying to create some CC on my "Sims 2 time" but I hope it wont be to long before the next update.
11th May 2012, 9:24 PM
Roe thought that she could almost watch Thorundur’s wound close under her eyes when she changed the bandage. The speed of healing almost seemed unreal. She could still feel the panic and fear that she had felt when she found him deadly pale in a pool of blood and the desperate hope when she had noticed a faint breath. A deep wound in the chest was always bad and he had lost more blood than she would have believed possible to survive. But his wound had almost healed and his pulse felt strong again. Yet he was still extremely week and complained about pain. He felt dizzy when he walked on unsteady legs and had to lean on her for support. Maybe it was the blood loss that made him so weak after all, even if all physical signs told her that he had recovered. Elves were very different so perhaps their physics was not like other creatures’. She seated him comfortably near the camp fire and left him there to complete her latest task that would be a surprise for him.
The blue cloth was soft under her fingers. It looked alive in the sun, reflecting the light in so many shades of blue. The delicate embroidery had silver woven into the thread. But it was not all blue or silver. Shuddering Roe stroke her finger over a dark stain. Half of fabric had been drenched in blood and no matter how she had tried to clean it there was still an ugly stain. She closed the tear in the fabric with a final stitch and inspected the result. It didn’t look good at all. Roe frowned. Obviously stitching fabric was not the same as stitching wounds. Thorundur’s grandfather’s silk tunic had seen its best days.
As much as she wanted him to recover she feared the day when he wouldn’t need her cares any more. She must not let herself forget that these were the last days that she would spend with him. She had made a sacred promise to The Mother, the spirits and to herself. She would grow up, live with Bear and behave like a normal woman of the Forest people. But sometimes it was so easy to forget that everything would change. They were best friends again. Sometimes Thorundur seemed to have changed though. He had moments when he was quiet and thoughtful and sometimes she could catch him watching her intensely. Did he suspect that she had been involved in Aliendre’s disappearance?
Thorundur laughed when she placed one basket after another filled with delights from the forest in front of him. “This is enough food for a village. It looks delicious.” He took a handful of raspberries and tilted his head. “Roe, you look so sad sometimes when you don’t think that I see you”, Are you sure that you’re making the right choice? Will Bear make you happy?”
“There’s not much of a choice for me to make actually. What else can I do? Besides you’re wrong I’m happy to become Bear’s spouse. He‘s very strong and kind. We’ll have a good life together.” She put on a smile that she hoped looked happy.
“Does he make the blood rush faster in your veins when you think about him?”Thorundur smiled as if he was teasing her but there was a tension in his voice that contradicted the smile.
“I don’t want to talk about this. You will not understand anyway because you’re an elf. Tell me about elves instead. Has it happened before that an elf has made the choice that Aliendre did? I mean to live with a mortal and become mortal.”
He shook his head slowly. “No, that was unheard of and unthinkable. Aliendre is the first to make such a choice. When I first heard about it I was horrified and sad because I thought that she’d chosen death before life. I know better now. Her choice was actually quite the opposite, she chose life because she’s happy know and more alive than she was before.”
A slight desperate hope rose within Roe. “If no one has ever made such a choice before, how can you then know that she will become mortal and die?”
“Oh, everyone knows that. The elder told their children about the ways of the elves and the children in turn told their children. It is also written in our sacred books. The knowledge of the elders has never proved to be wrong so there’s no doubt that she will become mortal. You remember when I told you about why elves worship the sky and the stars? That is because our first home was out there.” Thorundur made a sweeping gesture at the blue cloudless sky above them. “There was a disaster and our people were stranded here. The first elders are now all gone and they were so filled with sorrow after the disaster that they could never speak nor write about it so today no one know exactly how we came here or why. It is known; however, that time is different here than in our first home so that’s why we became immortal. We don’t really belong here but if we would choose to share our life with a mortal we would become part of this world and become mortal to.”
Her last thin slice of hope died. Roe had never heard Thorundur talk so much about the beliefs of the elves. He had never been religious and had always seemed more interested to learn more about the beliefs of the Forest people than to speak about his own religion. She was not convinced that Aliendre was better off being mortal although it would have been such a relief to believe so.
“But how can you say that she has chosen life if she’s going to die? It must be wonderful to live forever.”
“Is it really, if you’re not truly alive? You know how everything freezes in the winter, but in the spring life comes back. Elves are like the winter, frozen, but in contrast to the earth we become more and more frozen with time. There’s no spring for us. Instead we become more and more distant from the world we’re living in the older we get. Except for Aliendre, she was like the spring when I saw her, much more filled with life and happiness than I’ve ever seen in her before.”
Thorundur was truly changed. He had never been thoughtful or philosophical before.
“You’re not like the winter,” she protested. “Frozen is the last thing I would call you.”
“Maybe that’s why I never seem to fit in among my own and maybe it’s thanks to you that I’m so alive,” he said. Roe had expected him to smile in that teasing way when he said the last words but he still looked very serious and thoughtful.
This was no good. She had to change subject before she forgot that she soon would have to part with Thorundur forever. Before she could think of something to say he leaned forward to help himself to some more food and his forearm touched hers. He leaned back and looked at her. Now his knee rested against her leg and she found it difficult to breath.
“Roe, I miss your smiles. You’re so pretty when you smile so that the tip of your fangs shows.”
Surely Thorundur must hear her heart beat. She mustn’t forget that it wasn’t possible that Thorundur could love her more than as a friend or a sister. Not that it would make any difference. She would never let him become mortal. Love between immortal and mortal was impossible, she knew that now. Why did he have to say such things?
She got up on her knees to rise to put some more wood on the fire. Not because there was any need to have more fire but she needed to have some more space between her and Thorundur. But as she tried to get on her feet she could feel his hand closing around her wrist holding her back.
“Please sit down with me Roe. If you’re going to leave me forever when I’ve healed at least you can give me some time with you.”
She sat down because she couldn’t think of anything else to do or say. He was even more beautiful than usual now when he looked so serious and his eyes were so intense.
“Roe, you never answered my question about Bear and don’t tell me that I don’t understand because I’m an elf. Am I your best friend or not?”
Why did his eyes always make her so weak? He was making everything so hard for her. “What question?” she said although she thought she knew.
“Does the blood flow faster in your veins when you think about him? Can you talk with him like you and I talk? Does he understand you like I do?”
These were new questions, if he had asked this before she would remember. What was she supposed to answer? Before she could think of a good answer to make Thorundur stop asking about Bear he continued to speak.
“Has it ever occurred to you that some people might believe that a woman and a man that spend time together like you and I are more than friends? Have you ever considered the possibility that we could have been more than friends?”
Oh, no! This was not fair. Why did he have to say such things!
“You’re an elf and I’m mortal so that wouldn’t be possible. We’re brother and sister.” She looked down because she could not bear to meet his eyes.
“Roe look at me. We’re not truly brother and sister. You always used to protest when I said that, and I always said it to tease you, but also because I was afraid to admit other possibilities. Roe I cannot not imagine life without you. If you have the smallest affection for me, please at least give me a chance. I’m sure I could make you happier than Bear would.”
The despair in his voice made her heart beat so hard that she couldn’t think. He loved her, he must love her but she loved him too much to let him die like she would. Besides she had made a sacred promise. She had told so many lies to so many people but she could not look Thorundur in the eyes and say that she didn’t love him. He knew her so well and they had no secrets for each other. But that was not true! She had a terrible secret, a secret that would make him hate her forever. It was better that he hated her than that he would become mortal. The time that she had dreaded for so long was finally here. She could not escape anymore.
“Thorundur, you don’t know everything about me. I’ve something to tell you. Something terrible that will make you hate me forever.” He started to protest but she put her fingers over his lips and continued. “This is a very long story and afterwards we will not be friends anymore.”
She told him everything about her travel to the Dark elves and the human realm. He listened and his expression became more and more grim. When she talked about the Dark elves he cursed and when she told him about how she got caught by the humans he even got up and kicked his boots at a tree. It was not until later that she realized that he had shown no signs at all of weakness then. When she told him about how she had poured the love potion in Aliendre’s tea she could not bear to look at him and her voice almost broke. Finally she had told him everything and hardened herself to look up and meet his eyes. They were narrow and his lips looked like a thin line.
“I cannot believe what I’ve just heard,” he said finally between clenched teeth. “You let me believe that you were my best friend. I have no words to tell you how disappointed I am Roe.”
14th May 2012, 12:21 PM
Awesome chapter :)
3rd Jun 2012, 12:24 AM
Wow I loved your story. How come you never updated it?
The story is beautifully done. You have a great style in building all of your sets. All of the scenes are well put together and create the perfect atmosphere. Wherever you download your stuff from is perfect. I definitely couldn't do such a good job. :)
Your characters are lovely looking too. And I love them! They're all amazing, especially Roe and Thorunder. They're awesome!
I particularly enjoyed the scene with Roe in prison. The suspense was killing me!
I like watching the characters interact. I love the forest people. I would love to see more of the dark elves. What makes them different from the light elves besides hair color?
I love your story. Thank you for creating it.
3rd Jun 2012, 3:24 AM
Wow I loved your story. How come you never updated it?
The story is beautifully done. You have a great style in building all of your sets. All of the scenes are well put together and create the perfect atmosphere. Wherever you download your stuff from is perfect. I definitely couldn't do such a good job. :)
Your characters are lovely looking too. And I love them! They're all amazing, especially Roe and Thorunder. They're awesome!
I particularly enjoyed the scene with Roe in prison. The suspense was killing me!
I like watching the characters interact. I love the forest people. I would love to see more of the dark elves. What makes them different from the light elves besides hair color?
I love your story. Thank you for creating it. She updated a few weeks ago. It takes her a while since it's pretty hard to makes all the scenes plus it's summer so there's vacations and stuff like that.
Anyway I agree with you. I love the story. It's beautiful and amazing.
17th Jun 2012, 9:56 PM
Thank you for your comments Artimis, Patmoose and Hladgunnr. It means a lot to have feed-back. I’m struggling with chapter 42 and it’s almost finished. I’m not sure I will write much about the dark elves although it’s a good idea. They are probably not very different from the light elves. I see them as two groups with slightly different cultures and slightly different opinions about things. These differences escalated and culminated in a war that the dark elves lost. Light elves are more positive to humans though. From a human point of view the dark elves can be dangerous (because they see the human expansion and population growth as a threat against elves).
18th Jun 2012, 12:13 AM
I love dark elves and it is rare to see them in sims stories at all.
18th Jun 2012, 11:14 PM
Thorundur’s face was white as he opened and clenched his fists. “Didn’t you say that you would keep away from the Dark elves? What made you believe that Dark elves would truly help anyone? All they wanted was to hurt my people and you let them use you. I’ve always told you everything about me and you lied to me! I hate the Dark elves and I hate the humans.” Thorundur started to walk around in circles as he spoke. As he walked he was kicking the ground so that dirt, small stones and grass were flying around his feet like a whirling cloud.
“You could have died many times. Actually you had no chance to survive and Orm and Ondina didn’t hesitate to send you to a certain death. How do you think I would have felt if you never had come back?” Then he stopped walking and kicking and a big smile spread over his face.
“This must mean that you love me Roe! You went through all these dangers because you believed that I loved Aliendre. You’re so incredible stupid for being a smart person. Why didn’t you tell me? Don’t you know that I’ve always loved you? I may not have understood it myself but I always did. You’re the smart one, you should have known.”
He was so beautiful and she wanted him so much. All she had wished for was within her reach. There was no doubt anymore, Thorundur loved her. Why was life so unfair?
Now Thorundur was his own self again. He talked fast and waved his arms while he talked. He had so much to say that he could barely finish one sentence before the next started. “We can stay here, or maybe even better, we’ll find another place further away from Aliendre and Alexander. I can build a house for us. You and I will always be together and we will grow old together”
Roe realized that she had failed. Had he not understood what she’d told him? She had killed Aliendre and he talked about growing old with her.
“You don’t really want to grow old. It will make you weak and you would hate me.”
He smiled like the old Thorundur who could never resist teasing her. “Are you telling me that you will not want me anymore when I’m old with wrinkles and grey hair?”
“Stop, don’t you understand? I killed Aliendre and we cannot live together because that would kill you!”
He still smiled when he looked at her but now his smile was gentle rather than teasing. “No, you didn’t kill Aliendre. She always loved Alexander. You only helped her to get what she already wanted. She would probably thank you if she knew. Why would you deny me the same choice that Aliendre made? Don’t I have the right to happiness just like her?”
“Aliendre didn’t make a choice, I made it for her. I’m a terrible person but do you really believe that I would be selfish enough to let you die just because I love you?”
Again he didn’t seem to get the point. He only smiled triumphantly and pointed at her. “Finally you said it! You said that you love me! Besides, I wouldn’t die. Don’t the Forest people believe that the spirits of the ancestors are alive in the other world? You and I would be together forever in the afterworld. What kind of life would I have without you, a frozen and lonely life?”
With two big steps he was next to her. He grabbed her around the waist and pulled her close to his chest. His breath was warm against her face and there was an expression in his eyes that she had never seen before, an expression that made her knees feel week. He on the other hand didn’t seem week or dizzy at all anymore. His arms were as strong as ever.
She was the one who felt dizzy when he pulled her even tighter to him and his lips met hers. The Mother must forgive her but she was happy and not strong enough to keep her promise.
It was still dark when Roe opened her eyes. Thorundur was staring at her with an odd expression and made a gesture with his head. She followed his gaze and realized why he looked so alarmed. He pulled her closer to him with his arms around her as if his arms could protect her from such a powerful creature.
The Mother held out her arms and smiled gently. “My children,” she said. “I am so pleased. You are a worthy child of the forest Thorundur.” Before Roe could answer mist started to slowly whirl around The Mother and her contours became hazy. She faded until she could no longer be seen.
Thorundur’s eyes were wide. “Did you see what I just saw?” he said.
Roe nodded. She had made the right choice after all.
This could have been the end of the story but it isn’t. There are still some loose threads that need to be tied together so there will be more chapters before you will meet the storyteller in the epilogue.
25th Jun 2012, 4:43 AM
God I just love this story!!!!
1st Jul 2012, 5:06 PM
Thank you Littleweirdo.
1st Jul 2012, 5:22 PM
Chapter 43. Unexpected Encounters
Alexander felt desperate. He really needed to find some game today. He had said goodbye to Aliendre early in the morning and left their little cabin to go hunting. Aliendre had felt so thin under her dress when he hugged her goodbye. The child in her belly seemed to absorb all nourishment from her. She should eat for two but the problem was that they didn’t have enough food for one. Alexander had also lost a few pounds during the winter and the hunger felt like a big hole in his belly. He had never known real hunger before. It was something completely different than what he had called hungry before he had left everything to run away with Aliendre. He had never regretted that choice, but he was worried about Aliendre. She would never admit that the lack of food was a problem though. Both he and Aliendre were quite skilled with the bow but without someone who could track the game it proved difficult to find enough wild animals. He knew that pheasants sometimes made traps but he had never learned how to do it because that was not how people like him were supposed to hunt. In his old life he had only hunted for sport, not to fill an empty belly. His pathetic attempts to make traps had been completely unsuccessful. The horses had barely survived the winter either so he had chosen to hunt on foot instead of risking overstraining the poor creatures. Maybe they should have eaten the horses before, when they had more meat on them but now it was barely worth the trouble as the horses were only skin and bone. He also feared that they would be in even worse trouble without horses.
“Alexander, what a surprise to see you here!”
Alarmed and startled Alexander looked up. The voice had come from above and spoke in Elvish with a different accent than Aliendre. Dark elves were known to hate humans and the Light elves probably didn’t have any warm feelings for him anymore either. The owner of the voice obviously knew who he was so he figured it must be a light elf who hid somewhere up in the trees.
The next minute the owner of the voice dropped down from above, just in front of him. It was not an elf at all; it was that creature that he had released from the dungeons last year. She was heavy with child but that didn’t seem to stop her from climbing trees and jumping down from them.
“Alexander, I’m so pleased to meet you here in the Forest. How are you?”
The bow and the words that she spoke with the elves’ language were polite but the laugh on her face made him feel like she was mocking him. Her sharp fangs showed when she smiled and he remembered how she had severed Styrbiorn’s hand with them when she was caught. Styrbiorn couldn’t work as a guard anymore because his hand would never be fully functional again. In addition to the fangs and the horns the creature had a long knife strapped on her leg but Alexander thought that he would have time to put an arrow in her heart if she would come closer.
She didn’t come closer though, instead she seemed to be just as cautious as him about keeping a safe distance between them. But apart from keeping the distance she didn't seem to be afraid of him at all. Instead the smile on her face made him feel that he that he amused her.
“You make a lot of noise when you walk, Alexander”, she said reproachful. “Please tell me why I owe this pleasure to meet you here.”
“Are there more of your kind here?” he asked. Then he realized that he already had the answer considering her condition. Of course there would be more creatures like her in the forest.
“No, I’m all alone in this big forest,” she answered with a mannered sad voice and giggled. “You look much skinnier than when I last saw you.”
The last words made Alexander’s skin crawl. Was she sorry that he was skinnier because there would be less to eat on his body? “Yes there is very little meat left”, he said, “so there is really no point in trying to eat me.”
A wave of disgust mixed with surprise went over her face before she started to giggle, almost hysterically. She looked at him with those yellow eyes that he felt were so hypnotizing and gathered herself enough to reply. “I have already eaten today so I think I will pass, but thank you for telling me,” she said politely and started to giggle again.
“Why did you come to the castle last year? Who are you?” Finally he could ask that question that he should have asked before releasing her. Aliendre had told him about the Forest people but this creature who called herself Roe didn’t make any sense. “You never gave Aliendre a message at all as you said that you would.”
“Maybe I did, kind off,” Roe said and looked thoughtful. “I went to the castle just because I wanted to see how the humans live and I’m a child of the Forest. The real question is, who are you Alexander?” She looked at him as if she was studying some interesting insect before she started to giggle again. “What I really came to ask is how Aliendre is doing. Is she as skinny as you are?” Roe didn’t laugh now but sounded as if she was genuinely concerned.
Something about how she asked the question made him want to tell her everything. It had been so long since he spoke to anyone but Aliendre. “She’s happy but I worry about her because we don’t have enough food to eat.”
The answer seemed to startle Roe. “But,” she hesitated and looked around. “There’s plenty of food everywhere, this is a very generous forest if you treat her with kindness and respect.” She shrugged her shoulders. “Wait here!” It looked like as if it couldn’t be long before her baby would be due but that didn’t seem to affect her at all. Easily she climbed up the tree and disappeared.
Alexander had no intention at all to stay and wait so that she could come back with more of her kind. He started to walk, hoping to find something to put an arrow in.
It was around noon and he still hadn’t found anything to eat when he heard Roe call his name again.
“I told you to wait for me”, she said reproaching, and threw two rabbits and some roots at his feet.
“What is this?” Alexander asked “and why?”
“This is food,” she said with the same tone as if she talked patiently to a child. “I told you that Aliendre is my friend and I don’t want her to be hungry.” She turned around to walk away when she seemed to remember something and turned back. “I almost forgot,” she said. “There is one important thing that I would like to ask from you. I understand that you are a Prince and that means that you can make decisions about other humans.” She looked at him to see if he would confirm this. Startled he nodded. “Could you please make the humans that have moved into to my forest leave again? They are not kind to her and that makes her less generous to all of us who live here. ” Having said what she wanted the creature who called herself Roe, a child of the forest, turned around and disappeared into the forest.
The food that Roe had given them had been more than welcome. He had eaten very little, hiding some of the food when Aliendre tried to make him eat more. She needed to eat more than he did. He almost hoped that Roe would show up again, with more food even if he realized that it depended on him to find something to eat to keep Aliendre, and the baby that they were expecting, alive. He found a brook and thought that he might have some luck there. Animals needed to drink and if he was lucky he might even catch a fish. How he wished that they had brought a net to catch fish with before they left the castle.
Suddenly he was standing eye to eye with an outlaw. This must be one of the humans that Roe had mentioned. The outlaw was dressed in chainmail and a helmet which was unusual for the outlaws as far as Alexander knew. Another oddity was that this man had a sword strapped at his side but no other weapons, when a bow or a quarterstaff would have been more likely weapons for the outlaws.
Alexander’s muscles were tense as he and the outlaw were watching each other on each side of the brook. He figured that he had an advantage as long as the distance was too long for the sword. If he aimed at the unprotected throat he might have a chance. Alexander cursed himself for leaving his sword at home as he stretched for an arrow.
1st Jul 2012, 10:48 PM
Love the update!
2nd Jul 2012, 12:20 PM
Love this chapter so much!!
24th Jul 2012, 10:11 AM
This story is as good as some of the best books I have ever read. I'm talking Lord of the Rings good.
25th Jul 2012, 1:11 AM
This story is as good as some of the best books I have ever read. I'm talking Lord of the Rings good. I agree. If she made this into a book it would be a bestseller as soon as it was published. I've read what people say are "The best books in the world" but this is so amazing I had to slap myself so I could make sure I wasn't dreaming.
7th Oct 2012, 5:29 PM
I was just browsing around MTS, and I thought this was an amazing story. I hope you continue soon. It's a thoughtful and wonderful story. :)
20th Oct 2012, 10:25 PM
Thank you Littleweirdo, Artimis, PsDuckie, LimesN'Peppers for your very nice comments. I have finally almost finished chapter 44 and will upload it soon.
21st Oct 2012, 12:00 PM
Something completely unexpected happened. The outlaw took off his helmet and kneeled. “Your majesty,” he said, with the voice of a young boy. With the helmet off he looked to be a lad of sixteen at the most. The chins were smooth without a trace of a beard. There was something very familiar about those freckles and that red hair.
“Some people believe that you’re dead, your Majesty but I’m pleased to find that they’re wrong.” The happy smile in the eyes of the outlaw surprised Alexander.
The young brigand slowly rose to his feet keeping his eyes steady on Alexander.
“Who are you? I didn’t know that outlaws dwelled this deep in the forest.”
“I’m no outlaw.” The lad snorted and wrinkled his freckled nose. “My name is Sigrid, the blacksmith Frodi’s daughter. I used to work in the castle after my parents died in the fever and then I joined the resistance.”
Of course, this was no lad at all but the girl that used to be a chambermaid in the castle! The same girl who had watched him when he practiced with the sword but with her hair cut short. What was she doing here deep in the forest dressed in chainmail? And what was the resistance? All the questions that rose in Alexander’s head were overshadowed by the fact that he had met the first human he had seen for almost a year and she seemed to be friendly. If he was not mistaken she was even happy to see him.
“Sigrid, can I come over to your side? I would like to talk with you.”
The girl nodded, and watched him carefully as he started to cross the brook that parted them. Cold water filled his worn boots. Alexander tried to keep his eyes on Sigrid’s eyes and sword at the same time as he tried to have control over where he put his feet.
"We can sit down there," Sigrid said and pointed on fallen tree log. Each step Alexander took made a splashing sound as water poured between his toes.
Alexander sat down and took off his left boot, turned it upside down to pour out the water and repeated the same procedure with the other boot. He would have to walk home with wet feet. Finally he looked up into Sigrid’s brown eyes.
“I still don’t understand what you’re doing so far away from home in the deep of the forest Sigrid. What resistance have you joined? ”
Sigrid straightened her back. “Your majesty, Torfast and me joined the resistance against Jarl Erik. Jarl Erik claims the crown but there are still people defending the castle and her Majesty the Queen. The castle still stands strong,” she made a short pause “or it did when I left. The rest of the kingdom is falling apart and people are suffering.”
Alexander opened his clenched fists and noted the trickling sensation of blood flowing back to his finger tips. He already knew the answer from what Sigrid had said but he still had to ask. “What about my father, the King?”
The gaze filled with sympathy that Sigrid gave him made his throat dry of fear. “Didn’t you know, the King died shortly after you’d disappeared? He was dying already before you left.”
“No!” Alexander shouted. “You lie. He was old but he was not dying when I left.”
Sigrid’s gaze didn’t give way for his anger. She looked steady but sympathetically at him and didn’t recoil. “I’m sorry this must be hard for you. Only the servants and maybe the Queen knew how bad his health was. He didn’t want no one to know and maybe he didn’t really want to accept the inevitable himself.”
“Why did you know and not me, his own son?”
“Because I was no one, like all the other servants.” Sigrid’s voice was matter of fact, without a trace of bitterness. “He didn’t want your enemies to know his weakness and he didn’t want to worry or distract you when you had so much on your mind with the wedding and all.”
She was silent for a long while, allowing Alexander to let the news sink in before she spoke again with a soft voice.
“The kingdom needs you sir. Why did you leave? There were so many rumors about your disappearance but most people believed that you had been murdered by Erik’s people. He married Alde, you know.”
Full of shame he told her the story about how he had escaped with Aliendre, the story about how he had failed his duty and the kingdom. Sigrid was the first human that he had seen for almost a year of isolation from the world. In the forest it didn’t matter that he was royal and she a chambermaid. Here she was a well fed warrior in control of the situation and he a lost hungry soul.
To his surprise the look Sigrid gave him after he had finished his story was not blaming but thoughtful. She had put the helmet back on her head. The warmth and the weight of the chainmail didn’t seem to trouble her at all. The young woman in front of him looked completely different from the little shy chambermaid that he remembered from the castle. Alexander was just about to ask how she could have afforded a chainmail when she started to speak.
“We have to make up a better story than that before you return to claim the crown. It’s all very romantic and all that but we need a story that doesn’t make you look like someone who has run away. We could say that Dark elves kidnapped you and that the Princess of the Light elves rescued you from them. You don’t have to lie or say anything about your disappearance just leave it to me and my fellows to spread this story and you will return as a hero. We’re not many in the forest camp but more are joining all the time and there are a lot of people back home who would join your cause. Erik ain’t very popular among the people but he has powerful allies. Many of the Jarls support his cause, but not all of them. What’s worse is that when he married Alde, King Knut became his ally.”
Alexander noted that there was no servility in her voice when she spoke about the plans and she didn’t ask if he was willing to go back. She spoke like a warlord who was making up a strategy and not like a chambermaid speaking to a lord. Of course Sigrid was right, he had to go back and take care of the mess that he had left behind. But first of all he had to return home to Aliendre before it got dark. He rose from the tree log and Sigrid followed his example.
“Sir, if you don’t mind me asking you this, but if you like I could get you some food from our supplies. We have plenty for the moment and -” she stopped talking and looked awkward.
The mention of food made the whole in Alexander’s belly ache worse than ever
"I think it’s better that I talk to the other fellows before you show yourself to them. We should decide a meeting place so we can keep contact and when the time is right you will be introduced to the fellows in the camp. Then we will march back to claim the crown for you.”
Alexander smiled. He liked the way Sigrid spoke those last words. Everything seemed so straightforward the way she put it. Then his smile faded. He hadn’t told Sigrid about King Eraldor and Queen Eliene of the Light Elves.
21st Oct 2012, 4:33 PM
*Jumps up and down over and over again* Yeah! I'm glad you did the next chapter! Amazing shots and storyline as usual.
4th Nov 2012, 1:55 AM
“’Guess what happened today”, Alexander raised his hand with the packet that Sigrid had wrapped the food she had given him in to show Aliendre.
She smiled at him but there was something that didn’t seem quite right. A used plate was lying at the floor and Aliendre looked strange. “You found some food.” Her voice sounded strained .
“I met a human, a girl from the castle, in the forest,” Alexander said with his eyes focused on Aliendre’s face. Her forehead was moist and if he was not completely mistaken there was fear in her eyes. She didn’t seem to hear what he was saying. Then her face was distorted by pain and she bent forward and Alexander understood.
She met his eyes and he could see the fear he felt mirrored in them. Now was the time to be braver than ever. Aliendre must not know how afraid he really was.
“The baby is coming,” she said. He could tell that she tried to sound brave and confident but she didn’t succeed at all. Aliendre had never even seen a baby in all her life, even less seen a baby being born. Elf babies were a rarity and although Alexander has seen his share of infants he had really no idea at all about the childbirth. All he knew was that both mothers and babies might well die in the process. He realized that he should have asked Sigrid if they had a woman in the camp that could help them but it was too late now. The fear in Aliendre’s eyes didn’t exactly make him feel any calmer but he had to do what he could to ease her fear.
“Don’t be afraid,” he said trying to sound normal. “The pain is part of the process and not dangerous at all.” At least he knew that much, childbirth was supposed to be painful. That knowledge didn’t make him feel much better though.”
Aliendre’s contraction ceased for a while and he rubbed her back and tried to comfort her. He had never realized the bravery of women before. Was it like this each time a child was born?
The next two hours were the most terrifying two hours of Alexander’s life. He had no idea at all what to expect or what to do and the fact that Aliendre didn’t have any idea either didn’t make him feel better at all. He felt helpless when pain overwhelmed her. Strangely enough she was calmed by his words and seemed to believe that he who was human would know exactly what he was talking about. After all, human babies were born all the time. Bravely she endured the pain and smiled at him. “Soon we will hold our baby in our arms,” she said between the waves of pain. He encouraged her and told her that everything was normal although he had no idea at all of what he was talking about.
When their son rested against Aliendre’s shoulder all the pain and fear was forgotten. He had never seen Aliendre looking more beautiful and surely their son must be the most beautiful and clever child in the world.
“I would like to call him Alex after his father,” Aliendre said.
“ Are you sure? You don’t want him to have an elf name?”
“No, Alex and I are both mortal. I want him to be part of the human world. He is your heir.”
Alexander felt happier than ever. When he played with little Alex everything else seemed so unimportant. “Look, I swear that was a smile. He is such a clever little boy,” Alexander said when he was playing with his son.
Aliendre smiled but didn’t look as happy as he felt. “We have to think about Alex’ future. The news that the girl named Sigrid shared from the human world are worrying and as a mortal Alex cannot be part of the Elven realm.”
“I will not be able to keep up the shield for much longer,” she continued. “My powers are getting weaker for each day and soon enough my father will find us. I am turning mortal and that means that my magic will fade. We cannot stay here another winter especially not with a child to take care of. The horses have grazed and are stronger and both you and I are stronger than we have been for a long time. I think that we should take control of our future before the future takes control over us.”
Reluctantly Alexander had to admit that Aliendre was right. Another winter might well kill them all and he was prepared to do anything to protect little Alex. “Do you have any suggestion?” he said.
“I think that you should leave and join Sigrid and her group. A couple of days after you have left I will remove the shield. I expect that my father and mother will be here very soon after that. Our only hope is that we make them find me and Alex before they find you.”
Alexander bent his head. He couldn’t even imagine how hard it would be to leave Aliendre and his newborn son but Aliendre was right. They didn’t really have much choice if Alex would have a future.
“Promise that I will see you soon again,” he said.
“I promise,” Aliendre answered, but Alexander knew that she also knew that it was not within her power to promise such a thing.
4th Nov 2012, 7:45 PM
Awwwww, this chapter is so cute! Next I wanna see Roe, Thorundur and their baby. I loved this chapter so much!
11th Nov 2012, 12:35 AM
I loved every chapter so far. Nicely done. I wanna see Roe's and Thorundur's baby now.
25th Dec 2012, 7:44 PM
Estrid tried to ignore the gnawing feeling of guilt as she sat down on the bench for a short rest. She was only 34 but felt old. Life had become so hard since two summers ago when her husband Ulf had died. The little wound on his foot had looked so small and innocent. Who could have expected that a rusty nail would be the bane of a strong and healthy man? But seven days later Ulf had started to complain that his jaws felt strange and not long after that the spasms and the fever started. It had been a painful and cruel death. The sorrow still felt so acute and painful. But at least until last spring she had had an almost grown strong son to help her with the farm. At the age of sixteen Brage was already strong as an oxe. But one day he had come home and told her that he was going away to join the rebels in the forest. The next day he was gone. Although Estrid didn’t know how she was supposed to manage the farm with only the help of her fourteen year old daughter and seven year old son she could not help to feel relieved that Brage had gone. Jarl Erik’s men were gathering boys of age for their army. Sometimes they would take girls to. Although a life with rebels didn’t sound ideal, at least Brage was beyond the reach of Jarl Erik. She wouldn’t allow herself to wonder if Brage was still alive and well. Surely a mother would feel in her heart if her child was in danger. Estrid shook her shoulders. The rest had been long enough, she couldn’t allow herself to sit and dwell on her worries when there was so much work to be done. As she rose the ache in her back reminded her that she was getting older from all the hard work. The door swung open and Estrid prepared to scold Ragnhild as so many times before for not open the door gently.
“Mother, there are men dressed in armor coming here.” Estrid could tell that Ragnhild had been running, little Gunnar was at her heals.
A chill went down Estrid’s spine. This was not good news. She thought as fast as she could. The men must not see her children. Ragnhild was only fourteen and Gunnar only seven so with some luck they wouldn’t be taken from her but she could not take any risks. "You must hide quickly." All possible hiding places went through her head but finally there was only one that would do. "Quickly you must go down under the floor." She pointed to the hatch that led to the small space under the house that they sometimes had used as a storage place.
“No, you cannot treat me like a little child, I refuse to hide.” Ragnhild gave her an obstinate look. Gunnar was quiet and looked thoughtful. Estrid suppressed an impulse to slap Ragnhild’s obstinate face. She had never hit her children but the panic of knowing that armed men were approaching her house made her more impetuous than usual. Ragnhild had been such a sweet girl until recently. Now she defied every word Estrid said and shook off every attempt of affection.
“You must, please; they will be here any minute.” The panic made Estrid’s voice high-pitched.
“They are closer now,” Gunnar confirmed. Estrid would have preferred that he wouldn’t have looked out through the window. What if Gunnar was seen?
To Estrid’s relief and surprise Ragnhild shook her shoulders and walked slowly to the corner with the hatch. Without a word she climbed down into the dark and fusty space. Then it was Gunnar’s turn. “Don’t be afraid mum, I’m not,” he said and went after his sister.
With all her strength Estrid draw a chest and the bench over the hatch to hide it as good as she could. She was moving the floor rushes to hide the edges of the hatch when the door swung open and she realized that her children would never be able to get out without her help.
Three men came into her little cottage, making it feel even smaller. It was like they were breathing all the air that was in the house because Estrid felt that it was difficult to get enough air.
“Good day Good wife,” the man in mantle said. He was the most costly dressed of the men and the first to speak so Estrid figured that he must be their leader. We are looking for good young lads that are willing to help Erik’s cause. Estrid knew as the man spoke that his words were false. They would not care if the boys were willing or not. All they needed were young men that would take the first arrows in the battle that everyone was expecting. Brage would rather have fought for the queen but they lived to close to the borders of Erik’s province to have that choice. She knew that Erik had confiscated farms belonging to free man to give them to men that were loyal to him already. Other farms had been burned.
“My son has already moved out to find his own luck in life. I don’t know where he might be now,” she replied, almost truthfully. She didn’t dare to deny that she had a son. These days no one could be trusted and some neighbors might have told these men about her family.
The men started to walk around in her cottage, touching her things, as if they were valuing them.
“The youth of today,” the leader said, “they never give a thought of their parents just thinking about their own luck. But don’t you have more children than just a son? We heard that you also have another son and a daughter.”
Estrid swallowed and concentrated hard to not look at the hatch under which her children were hiding. “I have a thirteen year old daughter and a six year old boy,” she replied, feeling that it should be safe to take at least one year of their real age. “They went away to collect wood and berries in the forest and I think they may stay the night over at an old widow that we try to help as much as we can.” She hoped that the men wouldn’t ask more about the widow that she just had made up.
The man in leather armor made a gesture with his head towards the torch on her wall and let his eyes rest on the fire place. Estrid’s throat went too dry for words to pass. How could she have made her children hide under the floor?! Hadn’t she heard about farms that had been burnt down by Erik’s men? The leader followed the gaze of the leather armed man and slowly shook his head. “Let’s go out and see what they have found for Erik,” he said.
Estrid followed the men out of the house to find that there were more men outdoors, men that had been gathering her food on a cart. They had even taken the goat and were trying to collect her geese.
“What am I supposed to live from?” she couldn’t help herself burst out.
“You should feel honored and happy that you can help Erik’s cause,” the leader said.
She thought she heard an undertone of threat in his voice. “Of course, I’m happy to help Erik,” Estrid said and looked down thinking of her children under the hatch.
Finally Erik’s men had taken everything they considered worth taking and left. Estrid hurried to drag the chest and the bench from the hatch.
If felt so good to see her children again. She embraced Gunnar who melted into her arms.
“I was not afraid at all he said,” but his trembling voice gave him away.
To Estrid’s surprise and infinite happiness Raghnild accepted her embrace without reservations. “I love you mother,” Ragnhild said.
26th Dec 2012, 4:15 AM
I'm so glad you've updated. You have a way with words.
2nd Feb 2013, 11:12 PM
The Dragon, King of the Dark elves, let his eyes sweep over the throne hall. Now in the summer this was a comfortable and cool place, but in the winter the cold would touch the bones. The problem with winter temperature was, however, not only reason that this place had been abandoned for centuries. After the war they had been forced to leave this once magnificent palace and during the following years the location had become uncomfortable close to the growing human settlements. Although spells that would instill fear still kept humans away from this place it was not practical to risk encounters with humans or even worse, Light elves, as soon as anyone would depart from the limited protected area. The Dragon liked to call it a palace although a ruin might be more appropriate. The throne hall still looked impressive enough but there were areas of this old place that could only be entered at the risk of one’s life, and other parts of the palace had been turned into piles of stone since long. The disadvantage of the location was, however, also the reason that he had chosen to temporarily move his court to this place for a short while. The location was a great advantage considering the guest he had within the walls.
Of course “The Dragon” was not the real name of the King of the Dark elves, but this was the title he preferred to be called and the only name he had been called since centuries back. Most of his subjects did not know his real name anymore. Dragons were the most sacred and worshipped of all animals that had ever existed so this was a suitable title for the King of the Dark elves. Today only the sacred bones of the dragons remained, they had all died even before the elves came to this world.
From a distance the court looked impressive enough. But he also knew that most of the nice dresses and tunics would show signs of wear at a closer look. After the war against the Light elves the Dark elf realm had declined, both in population and prosperity. The Dragon had, however, never given up the hope of revenge and the hope to once restore the Dark elf realm to its former splendor. Unexpectedly, the subjects Orm and Ondina had stumbled over a chance to damage the Light elf realm much deeper than the Dragon would have ever hoped to do within a foreseeable time.
The Dragon let his eyes rest on Lady Ondina and Lord Orm. The potion masters had never been any remarkable members of the realm but now their wit was acknowledged by everyone and they had been generously rewarded. When they had come to him to tell what they had done, the Dragon had first found it difficult to believe that such insignificant subjects could have done this. But the young and mighty Princess Aliendre had disappeared and the news about the disappearance of the human crown prince also soon reached the Dark elf realm. Of course Ondina and Orm could not return to their former home. It had always been a risky place to live, a place where one would always risk encountering light elves in the forest. Ondina and Orm, Lady Ondina and Lord Orm now, the Dragon corrected his own thoughts, had chosen to live in that place so distant from other Dark elves because of all the herbs that grew in the forests there. After Aliendre’s disappearance light elves were everywhere in the forests on the search of the lost princess. Therefore it would not have been wise of Orm and Ondina to return to their former home. Instead they had become potion masters at the court.
A movement further down in the hall made the Dragon stretch his already straight back. He felt how one of his brows rose and for once he had to make an effort to suppress all expressions from his face when he saw the human for the first time.
”My Lord, may I introduce the human Lord Erik,” Indindra’s voice was clear and steady but there was an undertone of excitement there. Everyone had gathered in the throne hall to have a look at the human and his first meeting with the Dragon.
“Lord Erik, this is the Dragon.”
The human bowed in the elven fashion. He looked calm and relaxed but the Dragon had been told that he had been everything else than calm before.
The Dragon did not bow or even nod his head, it would have been far beyond his dignity to give such an acknowledgement to a human although in fact he desperately wanted to make an impression that the human would never forget. “I hope your visit here is to your satisfaction. You are our guest and I have ordered that no efforts should be spared to make you comfortable.” The interpreter translated the Dragon’s word to the human’s ugly language.
Erik bowed again. “I have been very well treated My Lord except that I’m not used to be kidnapped by armed men and women and locked into a room when I’m invited as a guest.”
When the human’s words had been translated, The Dragon didn’t know if he should be amused or furious about this insolent answer. This was not how to speak to the King of the Dark elves. Then he remembered that Erik had been brought here because the Dragon wanted something from him so he chose to be amused.
It hadn’t been easy to capture this human. After weeks of planning and finding out which human to take, it took even more time to locate him and to find the right opportunity. Finally Lord Erik had made the mistake to go riding on his own and the warriors had taken their chance. Two warriors had been hurt, one so bad that it first had been unclear if he would survive. If anyone had believed that humans were weak and poor fighters Lord Erik had proved them to be very wrong. But a cloth drenched in a sedative had put an end to all his resistance.
Lord Erik had been very upset about being their guest. But after some persuasion he had finally accepted that it would be better to cooperate. Of course, looking back it might have been better if someone who could speak the human language had been there when they caught Erik.
The Dragon was satisfied to note that Erik had been given a black tunic instead of his own dirty and tasteless brightly colored clothes. He had also been made more presentable with khol painted around his eyes, but there was something that didn’t make sense.
“I see that you still have hair in your face, did the servants fail in their service?”
A childish smile spread over Erik’s face. Humans really had no control at all over their face. They were like small children, always moving some part of their body and showing their feelings openly without control. Could he never stop blinking, the continuous blinking was starting to get very enervating.
“I was very well treated by your lovely ladies and offered a shaving in the bathing hall. But you see, human ladies love a masculine beard and I would not very much like to part from mine. I had it trimmed though, doesn’t it look good?” Erik stroke his beard and laughed. Some of the ladies in the hall also smiled. It was as if Erik’s uncontrolled behavior was contagious.
The Dragon grunted. “You are our guest because we could help each other. I understand that your ambition is to take the crown in the human realm but that there is some resistance to your claim. We are willing to help you with armed warriors.”
Erik looked suspicious when the offer was translated.”Why would you risk the lives of elves to help my cause?”
“Many years before all living humans were born the ancestor or of your prince, Alexander, helped the Light elves in the war against us. If it had not been for their help the outcome of the war might have been very different. Our lives are long and so is our memory. I want revenge on the humans who once helped the Light elves.”
“What do you expect from me after you have helped me to take the crown? Do you know anything about Alexander’s disappearance?”
Although a war in which the Light elves would be defeated and humiliated was a future the Dragon could easily see he could not expect the human to share this dream. “I have heard rumors saying you are behind the disappearance of your cousin.” The Dragon stretched the corners of his mouth to something that could resemble a smile. “However, from what I know about the reasons for Alexander’s disappearance the Light elves are not friends of humans anymore.”
Erik’s face showed obvious signs of surprise when he heard this. It was as if he didn’t even tried to hide his feelings. Obviously he did not know anything about Alexander and Aliendre “So you do know what has happened to Alexander?”
“You can forget about Alexander now. After you have taken the throne we expect you and your kingdom to be our allies.”
“I think my chances are good already. Why would I need the help of Dark elves when my wife’s father and brothers are my allies?”
The Dragon took a deep breath to calm his anger. He had to admit that this human was brave if nothing else. “First of all you need to come back to your home to take the crown.” When these words had been translated the Dragon could see how Lord Erik’s yaws and fists tightened. “If the crown was so easy to take why is it not yours already? As I understand there are other candidates who could be chosen and not everyone is in favor of you.” It had taken months of reconnaissance to gather all this information but now it seemed to have been worth the effort.
Erik bowed. “You are right. Of course the help of Dark elves would be very valuable. Excuse me if I have seemed ungrateful but it was unexpected to be offered such a valuable gift. I accept your offer and hope that we can start to plan our strategy as soon as possible.”
“We will talk more this evening. Now I have other urgent businesses to take care off.” Of course there were no urgent businesses to take care off but it could not hurt to give Erik the impression that he was not important at all for the Dark elves. In fact all dreams and plans the Dragon had made the last months had involved this human and his role in the beginning of the new age for the Dark elf realm. One of the major differences between Dark elves and Light elves had been the matter of the humans. The Dark elves had advocated that humans should be destroyed while the Light elves had advocated that elves should aim for friendship with the humans for mutual benefit. But what benefit could humans be to elves? They multiplied in an appalling speed and continuously spread their settlements into new areas. But there was one thing that humans could do for the elves, one thing that King Eraldor but not the Dragon had realized and that had been the end of the Dark elves dream to rule the elven realm. The human king had appreciated the friendship with the Light elves so much that he had come to their help in the war. The humans were numerous and the Dragon soon realized that his second mistake had been to underestimate their ability as fighters.
The Dragon dreamed with his eyes wide open. He was patient but once the humans were in his debt they would help him to defeat the Light elves. When the Light elves were defeated there would be no one who could defend the humans from the Dark elves. Maybe eradicating the humans would be a mistake. They were strong and numerous while the elves were few. Some of the humans could be saved and used as slaves for the elves. The Dark elf realm would soon be stronger than ever.
3rd Feb 2013, 9:07 PM
This has come such a long way! Congrats!! Forty-seven chapters of brilliance. = ) I love the Dark Elves for some reason and I'm so glad Roe and Thorundor have finally gotten together.
4th Feb 2013, 12:18 PM
I love dark elves and it is rare to see them in sims stories, great job :).
18th Feb 2013, 9:32 PM
Thank you LovethMia and Artemis. When I started the story I never thought it would be so many chapters but somehow the characters started to live their own lives, filling in the details betwen the main events in the story line. Next chapter is almost finished and will also be about Dark elves (one Dark elf anyway).
19th Feb 2013, 8:52 PM
Erik rested his head on his hand while he studied how the spider in the roof worked on its net. It was fascinating how such a small animal could make something so intricate. An insect with shiny green wings and long delicate legs came dangerously close to the web. Unaware of the danger it took one step in the wrong direction and was trapped by the sticky web. The more it struggled to get free the more it got itself into trouble. Finally there were just some sporadic twitches in the wings.
Erik lost his interest for the drama above his head. The pillow and the mattress were soft, filled with the finest feather but the forced inactivity made his muscles restless. A small oil burner spread a pleasant scent in the room. He had no sense of time because there were no windows in his chamber and he had no idea for how long he’d been unconscious after the elves had caught him. When he thought about how he’d been captured he could still feel the sticky smell of the cloth that had been pressed against his nose.
This was a strange place. Erik could not really put his finger on why, but the castle gave the impression of being a place of show off while he could perceive decay beyond the façade. The long-eared lords and ladies had costly clothes made of fabric most humans could only dream about, but at a closer look he could see that many of them had been repaired so many times that they would not last much longer. The fat spider in the roof seemed, however, to live in abundance. Erik considered his situation. He was still alive and as far as he could tell the elves had for the moment no intention to kill him. The Dragon had even offered him armed elves to help him to take the crown. The problem was, however, that the offer was too generous. Erik had learned that nothing in life was for free and he didn’t have a good feeling about what the elves might want in return for helping him. “The Dragon”, by the way, what a stupid name. If the situation hadn’t been so grave he would have laughed when he’d heard the name of the Dark elf king.
When Erik was a child his mother told him to not go too far into the forest or the Dark elves might take him. His friends were told the same thing by their mothers. When he grew older he had dismissed this as something parents told their children so they wouldn’t get lost in the forest. But now he’d gone too far into the forest on his own and the long-ears had indeed taken him. He smiled when he thought about what his mother would make of this. Most likely the old lady would give him one long look and say “I told you so” whether or not she had believed that such a thing was really possible.
There was a sound at the door. Someone was turning a key in the lock. Quickly Erik pulled the black tunic over his head. Black, always black, no wonder the dark long-ears seemed so solemn when they had no colors that could cheer them up. He still felt naked though, without armor or weapon. But of course the long-ears had taken everything from him. They had even tried to take his beard away but he had drawn the limit there. The khol around his eyes could be washed away but it would take more time for the beard to grow back.
The door opened and the young women who had walked with him to the Dragon came in. She looked young anyway, but as far as Erik knew she could very well be his senior by hundreds of years. She was carrying a pile of clothes, a black tunic on top of his own clothes that the elves had taken from him. Erik didn’t know what to make of this. The dark lady was dressed as a warrior or a guard but did a maid’s work.
She put the pile down, pointed to the black tunic and said in his own language, but with a heavy accent “change.”
“What, do you want me to change tunic now?”
“No now, later,” the dark warrior maid answered. Maybe he was supposed to change before the next meeting with the Dragon? The warrior maid looked at him unabashedly like he had watched the spider in the roof.
Her eyes had a peculiar color and her unblinking gaze seemed even more intense with the khol painted around the eyes. The pale skin looked almost translucent in the light of the lanterns on the wall. Somehow the cold beauty of the lady warrior reminded Erik of Alde.
“What’s your name?” he said. Even a long eared kidnapper would be better company than the fat spider.
This simple question seemed to startle the dark lady. “Indindra,” she replied with a puzzled look.
Erik deliberately pronounced her name wrong, laughed as if he was embarrassed, and asked her to say her name again. He made her repeat the procedure three times before he finally pronounced her name right.
“Indindra, a pretty name for a pretty lady,” Erik put on one of his broadest smiles. A smile that often had worked wonders with human women. To his surprise and amusement the smile seemed to work on long-eared ladies to. Indindra looked down and Erik thought he could see a red flush on her high cheek bones. If there had been a flush it was, however, gone when she looked up again.
“You pretty too,” she said with her unblinking eyes resting steady on his. There was a smile on her lips, a smile that actually seemed to reach her khol-painted eyes.
Erik suppressed the impulse to laugh; he’d been called many things before, good and bad, but this was the first time anyone called him pretty.
Before he’d decided what to make of this unexpected turn of events, Indindra surprised him again. “May touch?” she said and reached out a slender hand. Before he had answered she was stroking his beard. Without thinking Erik lifted his hand and put it over hers. He’d half expected Indindra’s hand to be as cold as her beauty and was surprised to find it as warm as the skin of any human woman.
Indindra made a sudden movement and before Erik could blink he found himself with cold steel against his throat. The long-eared lady pressed a knife against him, just a few millimeters from his death. If she would press the knife just a little bit harder his life would flow out of him in a read stream that not even the elves would be able to stop. Even at this close distance Indindra’s skin was completely flawless. She smelled like roses mixed with leather.
“No try escape,” she said coldy.
“I wouldn’t dream of it,” Erik lied.
“Dream you can,” Indindra said and smiled grimly. “Plenty guards everywhere. You die if escape.”
“I thought I was your guest. Is this how Dark elves treat their guests?” Erik made an effort to smile and for once found it somewhat difficult to accomplish.
Indindra took the knife down so quickly that he concluded that she’d not exactly followed instructions when she threatened him.
She’d been right though. Of course the possibility to overpower Indindra, take her weapons and break free with her as a hostage had crossed his mind. But he’d dismissed the idea almost as soon as it came into his mind. Such a plan would probably have been hopeless anyway. He didn’t doubt that the cold dark elves would sacrifice Indindra without hesitation if that would be what it took to catch him again. It was also likely that they would rather kill him than let him escape. Erik didn’t want to die. As long as there was hope that he might live he would probably be better off playing the game as the Dark elves wanted instead of getting himself into more trouble by struggling to get free like the insect in his roof. If he couldn’t kill Dark elves he could just as well kill some time instead.
“How old are you Indindra?” he asked, partly to make her stay a moment longer and partly because he really was very curious about her age. He’d never seen an immortal before the long-ears attacked him. Too late he remembered himself. This was hardly a question he could have asked a human lady if he wanted to make a polite impression.
Indindra did indeed seem to find the question inappropriate. She looked uncomfortable. “Many years, me?” she asked and looked at him to see if she had got the question right.
Erik nodded and Indindra looked thoughtful for a while. Finally she showed him all her fingers nine times and then she showed him seven fingers.
“You’re 97 years!” Erik said impressed and Indindra nodded.
“Indindra young but already good warrior,” she said and sounded defiant.
“You’re indeed a very good warrior, “Erik said. You really took me by surprise with the knife.
Indindra looked down and blushed as she had done when he told her that she was pretty. “You good warrior also,” she said and looked at him. “Strong warrior.”
“You never told me what you think of my beard,” he said and looked challenging at her.
She raised her hand again and stroke his chin. “Don’t try to kill me again please,” he said and laughed.
“No try kill, only scare. No afraid anymore, knife sleeps now,” Indindra said and smiled.
“You should know this about me Indindra, I’m not easily scared,” he said and fired his broad smile as he placed his own calloused hand over Indindra’s pale slender hand. This time she did not draw her knife, instead she gave him a smile that made his heart beat faster.
After all, time would probably pass quickly until he would be summoned to the Dragon again Erik thought. Who was he to complain that the long-ears wanted to make him a king? Maybe his situation wasn’t so bad after all.
19th Feb 2013, 10:00 PM
Wow does Indindra have a crush on Erik. I think Erik is going to find out the hard way that the dark elves do not like humans or they betray him .Another great chapter, my friend but if I may ask did you have any trouble with the problem plumbbods as I noticed a bit of one in one of the images.
19th Feb 2013, 10:45 PM
Thank you Artemis I missed the plumbbob, usually I turn them off. Its fixed now. I think some elves, especially the young ones, are attracted to the liveliness of the humans and just as humans find elves interesting and exotic, some elves are intrigued by humans. The general opinion among both Light elves and Dark elves is, however, that elves are superior to humans.
19th Feb 2013, 11:20 PM
Your welcome but I do have feeling that either Dragon or Erik will stad each other in the back at some point.
3rd Dec 2013, 10:33 PM
“I swear, it must have been a demon from the underworld. It stared at me with yellow evil eyes, showing its long fangs. On the front of its head it had sharp horns, just like a demon. I draw my sword ready for fight but then it was just gone as it’d never been there.” From the look on Harald’s face one could almost believe that the story was true. But everyone knew about Harald’s practical jokes by now.
The roaring laughter that followed didn’t seem to please Harald, though. “I swear, I’m not joking, the demon was here in the forest not more than half an hour’s walk from here.” It couldn’t be denied that Harald did have acting talent.
“You said it had brown skin, long horns, fangs and yellow eyes?” someone said.
“So laugh at me then Torfast, I know what I saw. You won’t laugh so laud when you look into the demon’s eyes one dark night when you go up to take a piss.” Harald said. More laughs followed but silenced as Torfast began speaking.
“I’m not laughing. It was the horns of such a demon that made this,” Torfast finger pointed at the long white scar on his left cheek.
“I thought you said that it was a jealous husband’s knife.” Everyone turned; no one had noticed that Alexander had joined them. “Please sit down,” Alexander made a gesture with his hand to stop everyone from rising and sat down amongst them. “Please don’t let me interrupt.” A bowl with stew was handed over to Alexander. Torfast was looking down into the ground and shrugged his shoulders with a wry smile on his lips.
Njal, the bard never missed an opportunity for a joke, “I heard that you got that scar in a fight against some outlaws. You shouldn’t complain though. According to the women, that scar is what makes you beautiful” he said and laughed. It seemed like everyone had heard a different story about Torfast’s scar and Torfast only smiled and shrugged his shoulders for each version that was offered. The only one who wasn’t laughing was Harald, which was unusual.
Alexander stretched his legs. He finished the stew and felt pleasantly full, a feeling he had almost forgot when he joined the camp. It felt good to sit among the men, almost as if he was among friends and not a lord with his subordinates. But somehow, the distance was always there. Even if there was still talk and laughter around the fire, the atmosphere had changed from when he walked in among them. He had walked in just in time too, in time to hear that Torfast was beginning to tell about how they had captured the forest creature. It seemed that Torfast had forgotten the gold that had been paid in return for his silence about that night. Slightly worrying was also that Harald obviously had seen one of Roe’s kin out there in the forest.
Loki obviously believed that jokes about demons and Torfast’s scar were exhausted because he shouted, “`Njal, please sing “Make a wish.´” The bard smiled, and picked up his lute. The song was well known so everyone could join in the chorus.
Alexander left the party and strolled in the direction of his tent. The bass voices singing the chorus embedded the night in an almost magic feeling.
Jasiri, one of the few jarls that had joined the rebels in the forest waited outside Alexander’s tent. “It’s a beautiful starlit night don’t you think,” Jasiri said and looked up to the sky, his teeth shining white in contrast to the dark skin that he had from his mother. The romantic and tragic story about Jasiri’s mother and father was the theme of some of the most popular songs on the bard Njal's repertoire. But like in most good stories the songs always had a sad ending. The beautiful foreign princess had died when Jasiri was born and the father died within half a year from sorrow. Unlike Alexander, Jasiri had very faithful relatives and they had raised him and managed his inheritance until he was old enough to be his own master. It had warmed Alexander’s heart when he’d first seen his friend in the forest camp.
Jasiri looked down and scratched his beard before he spoke “There is one thing we haven’t told you yet. A couple of months before you came here there were four Light elf riders asking about you and if we would know where to find you. The elves didn’t seem pleased to hear that all we knew was that you probably had been murdered by Erik’s people. Then they searched our camp as if we would have hidden you here. It seemed like they had some unsettled business with you. Would it be a problem for you, if they would come back to find you here?”
Alexander slowly placed a chair for himself and made a gesture to Jasiri to sit down before he answered. “Yes I would be in deep trouble if the Light elves were to find me, and so would anyone hiding me I expect.”
Jasiri nodded thoughtfully but didn’t ask more about the elves. “Sigrid believes that we need to march back to claim your crown before winter. The winter will be hard out here. If Erik’s new relatives decides to march in to help Erik, the lords who are still loyal to you will be replaced by lords loyal to Erik. With Light elves running around in the forest looking for you there’s one additional reason to move soon.”
Alexander noticed that even a warlord like Jasiri referred to Sigrid, the chamber maid, as a leader. As far as he could tell she was not formally appointed as a leader in the camp but everyone still seemed to refer to her as an authority.
“There are too few people in this camp to hope to win a large battle,” Alexander said. “Are you sure we can expect more to join us when we come back?”
“I’m sure. Your father made many loyal friends during his reign and Erik has not convinced as a great leader. There are some other candidates to the crown but they will not challenge you once it’s clear that you’re alive. If I’d been better prepared for Erik’s attack I wouldn’t be sitting here in the forest. But his attack on me made other lords more prepared for what to expect. He’s made some great losses in his still fruitless attempts to defeat the lords that won’t surrender to him. You will be king, no – you are the king. Don’t forget were you belong.”
“So much hope and trust they have in me,” Alexander thought, “all their dreams and hopes focus on me reclaiming the crown, when all I dream about is seeing Aliendre and Alex again. I must not fail these people who are willing to risk their lives for me. But I belong with Aliendre”
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