#101 3rd Feb 2013 at 8:07 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.
#102 4th Feb 2013 at 11:18 AM
#103 18th Feb 2013 at 8:32 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).
#104 19th Feb 2013 at 7:52 PM Last edited by beryllium : 3rd Mar 2018 at 12:13 AM.
Chapter 48. Trapped in a Spider's Web
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 red 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.
#105 19th Feb 2013 at 9:00 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.
#106 19th Feb 2013 at 9:45 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.
#107 19th Feb 2013 at 10:20 PM
Your welcome but I do have feeling that either Dragon or Erik will stad each other in the back at some point.
#108 3rd Dec 2013 at 9:33 PM Last edited by beryllium : 20th Jul 2017 at 5:30 PM.
Chapter 49. Don’t Forget where You Belong
“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 loud 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”
#109 20th Dec 2013 at 10:01 PM Last edited by beryllium : 20th Jul 2017 at 5:32 PM.
50. Alexander Makes an Offer
Alexander found the tarn where he had been told it would be, not far away from the camp at all. The water looked deep, perfect for offers to the gods. Someone had built an altar and carved an idol that watched over the lake.
An offer to the gods had to be something that was valuable or important to him, or the gods might be offended instead off pleased. It was said that in the old days at very hard times when people were starving and no other offers had helped, a king could be given to please the gods. He was glad that such practices had been abandoned a long time ago, if it was true that it had ever happened.
A good stallion could, however, still be a suitable sacrifice to the gods, but they needed all the horses they had and it was unthinkable that he would offer his own horse, his old friend whom he had shared so much with.
But there was one thing that he could give the gods, one thing that was not only costly but also very dear to him. Slowly he lifted the long necklace that Aliendre had given him over his head. The necklace had been loaded with magic to keep him shielded from his father in law, King Eraldor. He didn’t know if there was still magic left in it. Maybe it could still protect him and when he took it off, King Eraldor might find him. The necklace was the only thing that he had to remind him of Aliendre. But it couldn’t be helped. Something valuable must be offered to make the goods listen to him and help him. If Aliendre’s magic couldn’t protect him anymore he had to have faith in his own gods. Alexander took a deep breath and threw the necklace into the tarn.
When the necklace hit the surface of the water he kneeled and silently asked the gods to help his cause and to protect all those who followed him. He also asked the gods to allow him to see his wife and son again.
When Alexander lifted his head he saw that a black raven was looking at him.
It cried, spread its wings and flew.
Alexander’s heart was filled with hope
The raven would take his message to the gods and they would listen.
#110 2nd Jan 2014 at 11:54 PM
Sounds like they are going to have divine intervention on there site, I missed this when it came out originally so forgive for not commenting sooner, wonderful chapter as always.
#111 22nd Jan 2014 at 8:42 PM
Thank you for commenting Artimis.
#112 22nd Jan 2014 at 8:49 PM Last edited by beryllium : 3rd Jul 2017 at 10:29 AM. Reason: fixed pictures that were broken by photobucket
Chapter 51. Deraynia
A light breeze made the leaves rustle. Roe took a deep breath of the fresh late summer air and enjoyed the view from above. She could see all of the valley from where she was standing on the first floor of their new house. Otter, her mother was walking around on the bank of the creek. Thorundur had built their house so close to her parents that they could visit each other every day if they wished.
Thorundur had insisted on building the house in elven style and Roe loved it. For once she walked the stairs from the first floor to the ground as Thorundur had told her that stairs were supposed to be used. Otherwise she loved to find new routes to climb between the second floor and the first and between the first floor and the ground. Thorundur was down on the ground keeping an eye on their baby daughter who was sound aspleep in a crib hanging from a tree. Roe strolled over to them and sat down on the grass next to the crib watching her husband. Watching Thorundur was a pleasure she never got tired of. Sometimes she could still wake up and believe that it was just a dream that he was hers. He smiled at her with that smile that only he could make.
“This is how you must have looked like when you were a baby?” Thorundur’s face had the softest expression that Roe had ever seen as he bent over the crib. “I’m sure Toraldor will change his mind about us when he sees the baby. How could he not love her? Especially now, when he’s also been blessed. Our daughter will have a cousin any time now.”
Roe didn’t answer but she didn’t believe that Thorundur’s brother, Toraldor, would ever forgive her. She didn’t blame him. After all, it was her fault that the elves would lose Thorundur some day in the future. Toraldor had made it perfectly clear that he hated her and would hate her as long as he lived. That was likely to be a very long time indeed, Roe thought.
With a shiver she remembered that terrible day when Thorundur had screamed back at his brother. He’d forbidden Toraldor to ever show himself before Roe unless he would treat her with respect. Roe hadn’t seen Toraldor since that day, and it was almost a year ago now. Thorundur on his side had refused to visit his brother as he meant that it was Toraldor who had erred and should take the first step to reconciliation.
The baby made a small sound and swiftly Thorundur picked her up. The next second, Otter, Roe’s mother, was standing next to Thorundur admiring the baby. She never missed a chance to be with her grandchild.
“Are you sure that those blue eyes will be strong enough for hunting,” Otter asked as so many times before.
“I can assure you that elven eyes are strong enough for hunting.” Thorundur smiled softly and stroke the baby’s smooth forehead. “Do you think she’ll ever grow horns like Roe?” he asked his mother in law.
“We wont know until she’s several months older,” Otter said.
Watching Otter and Thorundur with the baby dispelled the sad thoughts that Roe had about Thorundur’s relatives. Her parents had not been happy at first either when they had realized that she and Thorundur had chosen each other. At least they hadn’t reacted with disgust as Thorundur’s brother had, and Thorundur had very soon managed to win Roe’s parents over. When it was clear that Otter and Wolf were going to have a grandchild they had completely forgotten their last doubtfulness about Roe and Thorundur for the joy of a new baby.
“You must decide her name soon,” Otter said. “The ceremony has to take place next full moon.”
“We’ve already agreed on her name,” Thorundur caught Roe’s eyes with a proud smile on his lips. “Her name will be Deraynia.”
As expected, Otter looked doubtful. “That doesn’t sound like a name for a baby at all.”
“Deraynia means roe dear in ancient elvish,” Roe said, and Otter looked pleased.
#113 7th Feb 2014 at 5:02 AM
I am enjoying your story and looking forward to more of it.
#114 7th Feb 2014 at 10:17 PM
Originally Posted by beryllium
Thank you for commenting Artimis.
You are very welcome, I love your work and I think you need more people to comment on your work.
#115 14th Jun 2014 at 4:11 PM Last edited by beryllium : 3rd Jul 2017 at 10:20 AM. Reason: fixed pictures that were broken by photobucket
Chapter 52. An Overcast Day
”So, this is the place where we’ll write history”, Jasiri was the one who finally stated the obvious.
“It looks much better than what we were prepared for”. Torstein continued, expressing what everyone was feeling.
Alexander quickly summoned the situation in his head. The odds looked very much to be in his favor. They outnumbered Erik’s troops. In addition a considerable part of Erik’s troops were inexperienced farm boys who’s loyalty Erik obviously doubted as he’d put loyal archers behind them.
Erik had, however, placed his most loyal lords around himself.
”I hope that you’re prepared to meet the gods, because we’re sending you there”, Erik shouted over the field.
The smug smile on Erik’s face must be a false act. Alexander’s scouts and spies had obviously been right; King Knut had not yet sent an army to help his son in law.
”Fear not”, Alexander said to his men. “We all know that if you fight bravely and fall in battle the gods will welcome us to a better world. But I hope that you’re in no hurry to meet the gods because the odds are in our favor”.
The men and the few women in Alexander’s troops didn’t seem to need more encouragement. They slammed their swords against their shields and roared in response to show their eagerness.
The ravens that had followed them for some time now, shrieked in response to the roar. No matter how the battle ended, the ravens wouldn’t be disappointed today.
Next thing the inferno was over them. Shouts, the sound of metal meeting shields and soon enough also the smell of blood and the cries from the wounded or dying filled the air.
On Galaxy’s back Alexander plowed through the enemy troops, his sword falling merciless around him.
When the baggage trains reached the battle field both sides started to raise spiked barricades. Alexander found himself with loyal Jasiri on one side, spiked barricades behind him, and Erik’s men crowded in front of him and Jasiri aiming for the horses. Galaxy bravely did anything Alexander asked him to do but it was obvious that he would soon fall and Alexander with him. It was time to part and hope that Galaxy would be wise enough to look after himself.
Swiftly Alexander slipped down from Galaxy’s back to the ground, sword raised in hand. Jasiri followed Alexander’s example and back to back they fought against a wall of enemies.
“The gods are truly with us today” Jasiri hissed from the corner of his mouth as the enemies fell one by one for their swords.
Erik was always outside Alexander’s reach. Surrounded by loyal swordsmen he kept in the periphery of the battle. This could, however not last for very long. The enemy lines were thinning out and Erik couldn’t keep out of reach forever.
From the corner of his eye Alexander caught a glimpse of Sigrid. It made him happy to see that she had mad made it until now. Although it looked like she could do with some help, Alexander had his own business to finish first. He deflected a blow with his shield and with one swift strike his sword finished the fight and the enemy fell to never rise again.
Meanwhile Sigrid had apparently handled her own opponent who was now lying face down on the ground in a pool of blood. Their eyes met for a short moment but Sigrid’s brows raised, her face filled with fear and she shouted, “Behind you”.
Alexander looked up to see the sharp sword, missing his throat by an inch as he turned around. Automatically his fists clenched harder around the sword hilt. Before he had time to react the enemy sword fell to the ground together with the enemy.
Sigrid had seen the danger coming and with an almost superhuman speed she had reacted. The enemy, all focused on Alexander, had not seen Sigrid coming to Alexander’s rescue. It was not Sigrid who needed his help. Once again he was in her dept. He gave her a quick nod and she bowed back, even making time for a hint of a curtsey.
“Your majesty”, she said. “I think that we’re winning the battle”.
Alexander nodded and let his eyes rest on the enemy whose sword most likely would have sent him to the gods hadn’t it been for Sigrid. What he saw sent cold chills through his spine. This was not an unknown enemy without a name. It was Eskil, his cousin and Erik’s younger brother.
Before Alexander could gather himself the sky opened and a heavy rain started falling. There were shouts all over the field, some filled with fear, other with joy and hope. Alexander looked up. Dark clouds covered the sky completely hiding the sun, but the weather was not the reason for the shouts.
As if they had stepped out of a dark fairy tale, Dark elves invaded the battle field. On a black horse was an elf with a golden circlet around his forehead and a red dragon on his chest plate. This must be the legendary Dragon, the fairytale king of the dark elves and his army.
Alexander realized that he would meet the gods before the sun set. But before that he would fight like the gods had never seen anyone fighting before.
#116 17th Jun 2014 at 8:26 PM
Thanks: 1 in 1 Posts
#117 8th Nov 2015 at 4:54 PM Last edited by beryllium : 3rd Jul 2017 at 1:32 AM. Reason: fixed pictures that were broken by photobucket
Chapter 53. Elves
Dark elves were everywhere around them. So this was the reason for Erik’s smug smile, he’d made a pact with the dark ones. How could that be?
“Forward,” Alexander shouted. “Show them how humans fight!” But what did it help that humans were stronger sword fighters than the more slender elves when the odds had so drastically changed. Erik’s side now outnumbered Alexander’s by far. Each step was heavier than the previous as the heavy rain turned the ground into mud.
It felt like a shock wave. Alexander never saw from where the blow came but suddenly he was kneeling in the mud. Quickly he turned around and jumped to his feet to find himself facing the Dark elf king. Strangely the king didn’t seem to notice Alexander but sat completely motionless with his eyes fixed on something far away.The only part of the king that moved was his lips. A clinging sound of something that hit a rock made Alexander turn his eyes in the direction of the sound. An arrow seemingly aimed for the dark elf king was bouncing on the rocky ground where it had fallen. Around the Dragon king there were piles of more arrows that had missed their target. With a firm grip on his sword Alexander took a step towards the Dragon just be hit by a new shock wave that sent him backwards, this time landing on his back far away from the elven king. When Alexander was back on his feet the battle was all around him again and the chance to get close to the Dragon king was gone for this time.
When one enemy fell there were three new to fill in his or hers place. Alexander’s sword and shield felt heavier and heavier. The slippery and muddy ground was stained red. Warriors had fallen on both sides but it would take a miracle to win the battle.
Alexander flinched as the wing of a flying raven touched his chin. It gave a long shriek. “Are you calling me to the gods? Is it time?”
Next thing the clouds dispersed and the rain stopped falling as suddenly as it had started. The sun that had been hidden behind the clouds sent beams touching the battle field.
“My eyes, my eyes, I cannot focus!”
Even with the different accent Alexander could easily understand the upset words that dark elves were shouting. It hit Alexander that he’d seen dark elf magic all the time without realizing it. It must be the Dragon that had summoned the clouds and the rain because Dark elves were not adapted to bright sunshine. That’s why they lived in caves or in deep dark forest, while Light elves were creatures of the day light but with poor night vision. But not even dark elf magic could do much against the gods’ will. After all, it was the gods who ultimately controlled the weather. In the bright sunshine the Dark elves’ arrows missed their targets more often than not and also the sword fighters had obvious problems. But Erik’s human and elven troops still outnumbered Alexander’s troops.
“The gods are on our side, don’t give up. Try to fight with the sun in your back.” Alexander shouted, although it was difficult to see how they could have a chance to win the battle.
“You, friend of the Light elves, you will die,” the elf almost spitted out the words as he rushed against Alexander with sword lifted.
Alexander met the blow with the broad side of his sword. Instinctively he quickly lifted his shield and took one quick step aside.
The elf lost his balance as the pressure against his sword suddenly relieved. What the elf lacked in experience of sword fighting and proper armor he tried to make up with will-power and hatred. But as he bashed forward he left an opening. Alexander blocked the elven sword with his shield as he drove his own sword deep into the dark elf.
The elf’s face was distorted with hatred and surprise as he died. There was something familiar with that face but the madness had not been there the first that time Alexander had seen those hate filled eyes a long time ago.
“I felt sympathy for you when the light elves once gave you a cruel punishment. But hatred, madness and sword fight don’t go well together,” Alexander said as the elf took his last breath.
Next thing the sound of a war horn filled the air, drowning all other sounds. Baffled Alexander looked around, just to see that the dark elves and Erik’s troops were just as startled as he was.
With armors shining in the sun, the Light elves came riding to join the battle. King Eraldor had finally found Alexander, whom he’d been searching for so long.
The confusion was total. Anger was undoubtedly mixed with fear in the dark elves shouts. Erik and his troops had terror in their faces because they didn’t know about Aliendre. In Alexander’s troops there seemed to be a growing hope mixed with doubt because only Jasiri knew about Alexander’s problems with the Light elves.
What didn’t make sense to Alexander was that the Light elves not only carried their green royal banners with the sacred tree of life, but also Alexander’s blue banner.
Then he saw her!
#118 15th Feb 2017 at 8:39 PM Last edited by beryllium : 2nd Jul 2017 at 7:32 PM. Reason: fixed pictures that were broken by photobucket
Chapter 54. We Meet Again
The King of the Light elves lifted his hand, waved if forward in an elegant swift motion. Next thing his Elven warriors moved as one, rushing silently forward into battle. Only the three royal elves stayed behind. They lined up with each other and raised their hands, silently moving their lips.
In a joined effort they battled the Dragon with magic.
The shock and confusion after the entrance of the Light elves seemed like hours but probably only lasted seconds or possibly even a few minutes before inferno broke loose once again. There were Light elves, Dark elves and humans everywhere. Alexander lifted his sword arm again, and again, parring with his shield. The battle felt strangely distant although each second was a fight for his life. The Light elves were fighting on his side! Aliendre was here! His sword cut flesh, human and elven eyes meeting death met his gaze, sticky blood flushed over him. He hoped that the blood wasn’t his own but really didn’t know.
The grey eyes in the face before him were strangely familiar. When they met Alexander’s, the weary look in them gave way for determination.
“We meet again, dear Cousin,” Alexander said.
“Say hello to the gods from me,” Erik shouted before they both rushed forward.
They had sparred against each other so many times in the past so they both knew exactly what movement to expect from the other. Alexander blocked Erik’s sword with the broad side of his sword as he bashed his shield against Erik but Erik swiftly took a step backwards and moved slightly to the side. Alexander moved as swiftly, like a dance, without losing his footing. The dance continued for what seemed to be an eternity when Erik’s left foot slipped on the rain drenched ground.
Quickly Alexander reached out his right leg pushing Erik’s left leg further to the side and making the fall unavoidable. As Erik hit the ground, Alexander spinned around and put his heavy boot on Erik’s sword hand. Erik’s reflexes were quick, but Alexander was quicker so before Erik could react, Alexander’s sword was pointing at his chest.
“Do you want to meet the gods?” Alexander’s tone was almost soft and his question sounded like an honest question rather than a mockery.
“I yield. Don’t kill me, I yield!”
“Then, so be it, it’s your choice. “
After the entrance of the Light elves the battle soon ended. The fall of Erik had been the very end point. The Dark elves that weren’t killed fled into the woods with Light elves in their heels. Some of the humans who had fought for Erik seemed to have changed side during the end of the battle, other were taken as prisoners until their fates were to be determined. But Alexander hardly noticed anything around him. He gave orders mechanically as his eyes scanned everywhere in search of Aliendre. No one seemed to have seen her or knew where she could be, although everyone had seen the silent magic fight between the Royal elves of both sides.
Someone tugged at Alexander’s arm and he turned around annoyed to rebuff the ill-mannered person who dared to disturb him at this moment. When he saw the weary and dirt covered face of the elf he softened.
”Are you searching for Princess Aliendre? She’s getting medical care in one of the tents. ”Alexander’s heart cramped as he followed her gaze. Indeed, tents for medical care had already been raised.
“Thank you,” he shouted already running as fast as his tired legs could carry him in the direction the elf had indicated.
Aliendre was lying pale and motionless with the King and the Queen kneeling by her bed. She couldn’t be dead, it was impossible.
Then he saw the faint movements of her chest. She was alive but only barely.
Without remembering that he should fear the King and the Queen of the Light elves Alexander rushed to her bed and took her small hand in his. He was rewarded with the faintest of smiles.
#119 15th Feb 2017 at 8:44 PM
#120 8th Mar 2017 at 8:05 PM Last edited by beryllium : 2nd Jul 2017 at 2:29 PM. Reason: fixed pictures that were broken by photobucket
Chapter 55. Aftermath
Aliendre had no visible injuries that Alexander could see but she seemed so weak. “What’s wrong with her?”
“She will recover but she must rest.” King Eraldor’s voice trembled, from anger or sorrow Alexander could not tell. “All her strength was exhausted when we battled the Dark elf lizard. She’s turning mortal and there isn’t much magical power left in her now.”
”I will always hate you, but blood honor impedes us from seeking revenge,” Queen Eliene said. “For our grandson we had to fight on your side, for our mortal grandson and for our daughter´s heart and future.”
At the mention of his son Alexander’s heart jumped. “Blood honor, hrmf. You spoke of my son. Where’s Alex now?”
“Our grandson is safe in our palace. But as mortals neither he nor Aliendre can stay there. They belong to the mortal world now.” Queen Eliene said.
“What happened with the Dark elf king, the lizard I mean?”
“We battled him and won.” King Eraldor replied. “He lost his horse and staggered into the woods but will be caught by our warriors. There will be no mercy for him and this will be the end of what’s left of the Dark elf realm.”
A stir in Aliendre’s bed silenced everyone, turning their eyes on her. She had opened her eyes and was smiling at Alexander. “We must never part again my love, I have missed you so much. Don’t worry about me, I will be fine.”
As much as Alexander would have wanted to stay beside Aliendre’s bed watching her forever, he could not. There were other people who also needed him. First of all he had to find Sigrid.
Alexander’s horse, Galaxy, was grassing outside and looked up as he heard Alexander’s voice. Although there was much to be done Alexander couldn’t help himself but rushed forward and stroke his friend on the neck. “Dear boy, I feared that I’d lost you.” Quickly he examined Galaxy. He let his hands wander down each leg searching for swellings or wounds and found everything to be fine. Relieved Alexander sighed and ordered a soldier to take care of his horse.
He found Torfast the scarred, leaning, on a tree.
“I’m looking for Sigrid.” Alexander said. “She must be richly rewarded for without her I wouldn’t have been here.
“Your majesty,” Torfast looked up, his eyes red and swollen. “Her reward will have to be a really fine burial. She’s with the gods now, but her remains rest over there. She took an arrow in her forearm. The wound wasn’t too bad but the arrow was poisoned, so the Light elves told us when they examined her.”
#121 9th Mar 2017 at 5:14 AM
I think your story is really creative and appreciate all the effort you put into taking your pics that are in a fantasy setting. Keep up the great work!
#122 20th Jul 2017 at 5:36 PM
#123 23rd Jul 2017 at 3:50 PM Last edited by beryllium : 8th Aug 2017 at 9:17 PM.
Chapter 56. Brothers
He approached them against the wind so that he could study the family before they knew he was there. The father was showing the child something interesting on the ground while the mother supervised them with a tender smile on her face. As the child looked up he could see that she had her father’s blue eyes. When she saw him she pointed and laughed. Obviously her blue eyes had the sharpness of elven eyes to, not just the color.
The mother looked where the child was pointing. Her shoulders tightened and she sprang up on her feet. The father turned his head in the same direction and the tender expression in his face disappeared completely.
Quickly the mother grabbed the protesting child and held her close to her. The father held his arm protecting around his wife and looked at his brother with an expression of tense anger while the mother seemed to shrink under Toraldor’s glance. The sad submissive look in the mothers face made Toraldor feel much more awkward than the open hostility in Thorundurs expression.
Toraldor bowed, first towards Roe and then to his brother, Thorundur, and held out his hands to show that he came in peace. Roe nodded slightly towards Thorundur.
“I come to ask forgiveness for my wrongdoings”, Toraldor said, still with his hands out. The words he had so feared to speak had come out easier than he had expected. Thorundur’s jaws were still tight though, his fists clenched and he did not move or say anything as he stared at his brother.
Roe nodded to Toraldor, the child still on her hip. Her face showed no trace of anger, rather a sadness that made Toraldor feel ashamed as he knew that he was the source of her sadness.
“Roe, my dear sister, I come here because your daughter has a cousin and I wish that we could be family as we should be.”
Finally Thorundur spoke. “After all you’ve said to my wife, do you really believe that you can come here and expect us to embrace you with open arms? You called our marriage disgusting and Rania, our daughter, an abomination. I don’t want you anywhere near my family. Go back to the elves, I’m a mortal now and belong to the Forest people that you despise so much”.
Before Toraldor could say anything, Roe spoke softly. “Toraldor, I gladly accept your apology although for my sake none is needed. I understand your anger towards me because I know that you love Thorundur like I do.” Then she turned to Thorundur and said “I think that you should give your brother this afternoon to speak with you. He has come here because he loves you. I will go back to the house with Rania and you and your brother can go down to the stream and sit down and talk.”
Thorundur had not said a word during their walk to the bank of the stream. They sat down under awkward silence.
“Your daughter is beautiful, I’m very sorry for everything that I have said. I have missed my brother.”
Still, not a word from Thorundur.
“Are you happy now?” Toraldor asked.
Finally Thorundur spoke. “I’m so happy it almost hurts,”he blurted out.“ Finally I know who I am and I feel so very much alive”.
“How does it feel to be mortal? Do you notice any difference from before?”
“Not really. I seem to heel a little bit slower but that’s all”.
“Doesn’t it scare you that your time is so short?”
“No, It’s only the time on earth that is shorter. You wouldn’t believe the things I’ve seen. The forest people’s Mother spirit have actually shown herself and spoken to me. I’m not afraid. Living an eternity without Roe would have scared me so much more. Knowing that I’m mortal makes life so much more interesting. Every day is a gift. Besides, elves are not that immortal. I heard that many of our kind died in the battle. Was it as horrible as it sounds”?
“Worse actually.” There were dead elves everywhere on the ground. But there were more dead Dark elves than Light elves so if you ask me it was worth it. The Dark elf realm is completely crushed now. Their king was hunted down and slain, and all that remains of their people are scattered.”
Thorundur nodded slowly, still staring at the ground. How is your family?”
“We’re fine. I have a baby daughter too now. But I have missed you so very much.”
“What does Liandra, your wife, think about you visiting me, a mortal elf, an abomination?”
“It was actually she who finally made me visit you. She got tired of my unhappiness and said that I was not welcome back until you and I were friends.” Toraldor smiled a little.
“Mother and father?” Thorundur said looking down into the ground.
Toraldor shook his head slowly. “You know what they’re like. Nothing can be allowed to disturb appearance.”
“They sent me to you because I embarrassed them, not because they really thought that you would succeed in changing my behavior. Have they mentioned me at all?”
Toraldor draw his breath. “I don’t know if I should tell you this or not, but they have forbidden everyone to even mention your name or to say anything that has anything to do with you.” After a short silence Toraldor laughed. “Do you remember when they decided that you should live with me? They had invited important guests to show off their new house. I was there to. You had been told to keep out of sight after they had shown you cleanly washed in new fine clothes. But you sneaked in and let five snakes out in the dining room and everyone started to scream. Then you ran in to catch your snakes, all covered in mud and with tangled hair. That was so funny.”
Thorundur smiled. “I was glad when they sent me back with you.”
“Father demanded that I would move from this forest and live closer to their community and said that they would disown me if I had anything to do with you.”
“But here you are?”
“Yes, here I am and I’m not moving anywhere. I figure that I have an eternity to reconcile with the elven community but only a human life time to be with you. The choice is easy. I chose you brother, if you will let me.” Toraldor hesitated for a while. “When I came here, I actually still hated Roe because she had made you a mortal. I was going to ask her forgiveness anyway because I want you to be my brother for as long as you will be in this world. But when I saw the three of you together I realized that it’s true what you say. You belong with her. I could see how happy you were together with her and your child. When I asked her to forgive me I was surprised to realize that I really was very sorry for everything that I have said to her.”
Thorundur nodded looking down. “She has suffered more than you can now. It has plagued her that my love for her makes me mortal and maybe even more that she was the cause of the feud between me and you. I’m not sorry at all to be mortal and I do my best every day to make her understand that. Actually I believe that I was meant to be mortal from the beginning and I would choose her before anything or anyone without hesitation.” Thorundur was quiet for a while before he spoke again. “Of course I would choose Rania to. Now that you’re also a father I suppose that you understand what I mean. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do to protect my daughter, and you called her an abomination!”
Toraldor swallowed. Indeed he could understand the anger that had come back to Thorundur’s voice. “I’m sorry,” he said, knowing how insufficient the words must be, but his brother nodded, still looking down at the ground, still not wanting to look at Toraldor.
“Isn’t it strange that there are only two elves that are known to have become mortal because of love and it happens at the same time? Princess Aliendre in now a human queen, married to King Alexander. There were rumors that dark magic was involved or that one or both of them had been kidnapped by Dark elves. What do you believe? You and Aliendre spent some time together and you also met Alexander when he was still a prince.”
Thorundur bit his lip and did not look up as he answered. “I saw her and the prince together and also heard her speak of him all the time. There was no need for magic there, unless love is magic.”
“No, I thought it seemed a bit far-fetched. So you don’t believe that there was any involvement of Dark elves at all?”
Thorundor was quiet for while drawing some random figures on the ground with a stick. “I might tell you more someday, but not today,” he finally said.
This took Toraldor by surprise who had meant his question to be rhetoric but as his brothers blue eyes met his and Thorundur spoke again he forgot everything about kings and queens.
“I believe Rania would like to meet her uncle. Would you like me to show you our house and then join us for dinner?”
#124 3rd Jan 2018 at 3:19 PM Last edited by beryllium : 4th Jan 2018 at 12:22 AM.
Epilogue 3/1 2018
Unexpectedly I seemed to have arrived first to the café. I looked longingly at the outdoor tables. It was a nice sunny spring day. A perfect day to sit outdoors in the sun after a long and dark winter but I knew that she would object. Reluctantly I went indoors and sat down. My friend preferred to avoid direct sunlight.
“Would you please show me your ID!” The waitress wasn’t going to just give me the cold beer that I so much longed for.
I tried to look bored as I handed her my ID card although I cannot deny that I felt slightly nervous as she inspected it. She was clearly suspicious but finally she gave up and nodded. Apparently it was a good fake. Sure enough she had every reason to be suspicious, only she had no idea how much my real age deviated from the 22 years the card claimed me to be. I drank alcoholic beverages thousands of years before she was even born.
I had just taken the first sip of the cold beer when Indindra arrived. She stilled preferred to dress in black. These days her hair was cut in a short hairstyle that covered her surgically altered ear tips.
“I’m sorry, there was a traffic jam,” she said and kissed my cheeks in a very human fashion. When she took of her large sunglasses I could see that her yellow eyes as usual were rimmed with thick layers of black eyeliner. “That looks good,” she said with a look on my beer and ordered the same when the waitress arrived at our table.
“She asked to see my ID card but she didn’t even blink when you wanted the same as me,” I said perhaps somewhat offended.
“What do you expect when you dress like a human teenager,” she answered. “At least you have not only dressed the right century but even the right decade for once. Besides, I’m at least 40 years older than you, I believe,” she said as if those 40 years would make any difference to the thousands of years that we had walked the earth.
“I went to a shop and bought the same clothes that a mannequin was wearing. Do you really mean that adult humans change clothing style according to their age? ”
She just smiled and shrugged her shoulders before she changed to the subject that we had met to talk about. “I read your book in one sitting. It made me remember the bad old times and realize how strange it is that you and I sit her as old friends.”
“The old times were not only bad,” I protested. “My happiest moments all occurred during the first century of my life.”
She pouted with her mouth in a very human fashion. I have never figured out if Indie have learned and practiced to imitate human gestures or if all the time she spends with humans makes her unconsciously take after them. She even blinks almost as often as a human.
“Maybe the old times were a bit better for Light elves than for Dark elves,” she said.
I was in deep water here and tried to think of something to say to mitigate the path the discussion seemed to be going. The old quarrel was not something I wished to sink deeper into today. But before I said something she started to speak again.
“I suppose it was not only the Light elves’ fault. We had a bad king who led us on a hopeless path, but we did suffer hard for centuries after the wars.”
I nodded to acknowledge what she had said. After all the years that I had hated Dark elves it had been difficult to realize that also the Light elves were at fault. Our race had been cruel to them. It was not until both populations had dwindled to only remnants of what we had once been and many of the old ones had gone that we had started to cooperate to keep both of our races from total extinction. Today my best friend was not only a Dark elf but we were both sitting among humans pretending to be humans too. In the old days that would have been extremely humiliating. Both Light elves and Dark elves had considered themselves too much superior to humans to sink so low as to pretend to be one of them. How wrong we had been. The humans had multiplied, built cities, communicated with each other across the planet while we lived like refuges in small colonies deep in the forest when we didn’t try to pass as humans in the human society. Our old magic was nothing compared to human technology.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “I was insensitive considering that I have just read your book. In the old times they were all alive, your brother, your wife and your daughter. Of course you must miss them.”
I nodded. “’The years that have passed have not made me miss them any less. I even miss Roe, although I didn’t know her for a very long time and I hated her at first. Thorundur never regretted his choice and was the happiest elf that ever walked the earth. Not even when the signs of aging started to show did he have any regrets or fears. Although few elves have lived so short time as he did, I have never seen an elf so full of life.”
Suddenly Indie pushed me hard. “Wake up, you cannot freeze among humans. That freaks them out.”
I hadn’t realized that I had “frozen” as Indie calls it. But of course she was right. We do that sometimes. It’s like meditation. I had lost myself in thoughts of the old times while my body had become completely still and my eyes stirring without blinking at something far away.
“Are you still into archeology?” I asked her knowing that Indie had taken some university archeology courses and even worked as a volunteer at some excavations.
“Paleontology, not archeology,” she corrected me. “And no, that was several years ago under another human identity. I lost interest when it was apparent that all the bones that we had worshipped as dragon remnants were dinosaurs. There were never any dragons. I’m taking courses in astronomy now.”
I couldn’t help but wonder if her interest in astronomy could have something to do with the myths about our origin. According to both Light and Dark elf mythology the first elves on earth came from the sky, perhaps from a planet far away. That is why we don’t age like other living beings do. With all the developments in human knowledge and their explorations of the space our myths seem more and more unrealistic to me. Just like the dragons turned out to be old dinosaur remnants I am convinced that the myth of our origin will turn out to be nothing more than a myth. But I could be wrong and I didn’t share these thoughts with Indie. Maybe her new interest didn’t even have anything to do with our myths after all.
“I believe that Eric was lucky to get off so lightly,” she said. “In the elven realm his punishment would have been hard. Instead he ran away with his bride and became king in her country after her brothers had mysteriously died.”
I agreed. “His punishment would probably have been very hard also in the human realm hadn’t he escaped. But after all, I’m not sure he was that bad. Alexander was gone when his father the king died. It wasn’t Eric’s fault that fairytales about how Dark elves kidnapped Alexander with the help of Eric was spread. In those fairy tales Alexander was rescued by Aliendre. When Thorundur told me his and Roe’s story I knew the truth of what had happened. It was actually Roe who started it all by giving a love potion to Aliendre, but she never knew about the consequences.”
Indie nodded. “I agree, Eric was not bad, why wouldn’t he reach for the crown under the circumstances? I’m nevertheless glad that you changed my name in the book.” She smiled.
I couldn’t help but smile. As the story was written I believe that Eric was one of the bad guys in it, at least semi-bad, but Indie obviously thought differently. “Are you never afraid that you will lose your immortality like Aliendre and Thorundur did? “ I said although we had talked about this many times before.
“No, I have never really lost my heart to a human, I’m probably immune,” she said and smiled. “Isn’t this one of the mysteries that we never understood and that must be related to magic somehow? Why do elves who fall in love with immortals lose eternal life? Obviously this is not a myth as Aliendre and Thorundur were proof of it.”
“Maybe it could be related to the old marriage ritual?” I suggested. “For both humans and elves the ritual involved an exchange of blood?”
“Could be, but I don’t really think so. I think it was magic related to true love. Magic is real after all.”
It surprised me to hear Indie talk about true love. She was not usually very romantic. For a while she looked thoughtful and then she continued. “Maybe the magic of true love shortens the telomeres?”
“Telomeres? I have no idea what you’re talking about Indie?”
“Telomeres are regions in the end of chromosomes. It is believed that shortening of the telomeres might have something to do with aging.”
I had heard about DNA and chromosomes but still had no idea what Indie was talking about. It was so typical of her to try to combine our old myths and magic with something that she had picked up in the human word. Her fake human identities were almost always university students.
“When I read your book I actually shed a tear when the shield maiden, Sigrid, died in battle.” Indie said. “It was thanks to her that Alexander got his crown and Aliendre became his queen. I know I shouldn’t cry for someone who died honorably in battle, but I did.”
I felt flattered by her words. She has adapted more to the human world than any elf I know but deep down she is still the warrior who has been raised to believe that death in battle should be something honorable. I had never truly been a warrior and have always felt that war is a terrible waste of lives.
“Her burial mound is still visited by tourist.” Indie said. “The name of the mound is of course all wrong. They have forgotten that the real name is, the Shield Maiden’s Hill, and named it after a king who lived much, much later. But it’s still there.”
“Did you know that there was a mound for Thorundur and Roe? Their children built it together with my family. It is also still there, deep in the forest where they lived. Their forest is still more or less untouched by humans and their burial mound is kept clear from trees and bushes. Every year on the day that they died someone puts fresh flowers on the hill.”
Indie actually gaped when I told her this. It had been my secret during all the years. I put flowers on the mound every year, but I was not the only one to do so and it was not me who kept their mound free from vegetation. Sometimes I could feel a presence near the hill but I had never seen anyone.
Indie stared at me with her yellow eyes “Do you think..? “
I nodded. “There must be descendants who have kept the tradition alive.”
Indie put the book on the table, my book that would be officially released tomorrow. The story about Alexander and Aliendre had been told for so many years before it had been forgotten by humans. It had not been forgotten by the elves. We had many sad songs about the tragic and short life of Aliendre. Aliendre was known as the only elf that had chosen love before eternal life, but she was not the only one. There had been another elf who had also chosen love before eternity but since he was not royal and his chosen one not a princess his story had been hidden and forgotten as something shameful by the elves. Finally I had told the whole story about my brother, Thorundur, who had loved Roe of the Forest people.