Site hosted by Build your free website today!

ell, no, not really…but that would have been a lovely way to start off wouldn’t it? It was not bright, nor sunny, or any words that would usually describe pleasantness. The day I left my home, it was horrible…as if my world had faded from the vivid hues of the forest into the washed out palette of the mortal world. Please, I mean no offence, but I wasn’t ready for your towns, or…well, you humans.” the redhead smiled bitterly and glanced at her new companion as they sat close to the tiny fire Corrin had coaxed into life in the damp. Falling silent, she tapped the tip of her finger against her nose; she sat still, lost in her own thinking. He could almost see the thoughts and inconsistencies flashing behind her eyes in the firelight. The two of them were very, very different, as Corrin was rapidly learning. She looked up at his face, open and interested, reflecting the muted oranges of the firelight. He smiled, and she suddenly felt a lot more comfortable.

“…since we’re in a mood to be sharing our stories…as I said before, my last name is Malthendol.” She glanced at him, seeming to expect an impressed reaction, or at least some recognition. When his face retained a blank look, she sighed, and explained, “My mother is the high lady of the Saqquaran elves. I have two older siblings- a brother and a sister. Our society is matriarchal, so Shaylea is the next in line for the rule of the Tawarthamas- the wooded hall.” she paused, scuffing her heels against the ground a bit, then refilling the grooves she left in the mud. After a moment, she began again, less loudly but more vehemently.

“All my life I’ve been treated as a backup princess. I’m not the important one, you see; but I’m still an heir in the worst-case scenario. I suppose you could look at it like this- the elders kept me under lock and key. I seem to be insurance to them, but not much more than that.” She looked wistfully up at the outstretched branches of an oak that shaded the camp from the pale moonlight. A breeze flicked through the leaves and the shadows they cast danced along her skin as she sat beneath them.

“I used to live in the trees, you know- the city was beautiful… I had to leave, Corrin. They were suffocating me, as surely as if they had buried me alive.” Corrin watched her in his peripheral vision as she shivered in disgust. He felt for her, but he didn’t know how to show any of his feelings. Growing up as a squire meant not much talking about his emotions; his most sympathetic conversations had been composed mainly of grunts. He laid a hand on her shoulder, silently willing her to continue, letting her know that he was there for support.

“I was born in the first moon of august. Growing up was wonderful at first, before my father, my ada left. My mother was beautiful, and strong, very articulate…but she had already borne Shaylea. She didn’t want nor need another girl. She has never yet said it to me, not directly, but I know she wanted a male- another handsome, intelligent elven warrior to keep the Malthendol line strong. Still, I was ada’s child, and he shaped my life, albeit with most of the training of a son. I didn’t mind- in fact I loved it- and he knew that I was his little girl at heart… I think I’ve gotten the best out of each for it. I’m proficient with a bow, as is the way with our people, but I am even stronger with a quarterstaff than my arrows. I also learned a few useful spells and magicks, but I don’t suppose I’ll elaborate on such things…it seems you mortal types get jumpy.” She smiled and twirled her fingers lazily above a patch of drier earth, and smiled to see a green bud press its way upward out of the rich, brown soil. Touching it lightly, she looked at him and continued.

“He called me anor…his little flame; it’s rather unusual for red-haired children to be born into our line, it’s not seen much at all…occasionally a trait of the further eastern elves. Maybe there’s someone back in my bloodlines who hails from there; I don’t suppose it matters. When I was very little, ada used to play with Brendean and I- he’d teach us how to hold our swords, how to hunt silently, how to coexist with the rest of the forest. There was always something to do; lessons were an integral part of my life as well. I was only marriage material in my mother’s eyes…but it was her will that I be recognized as her daughter; a testament to her discipline and intelligence.” A smile teased the corners of her lips, and she gestured gracefully with her hands. With the moon at it’s highest point directly overhead, it cast sharp edged shadows over the features of her face. Her skin and hair looked as if she had been sculpted out of the earth itself; marble and copper made malleable, coming together in a form that belonged in the surrounding forest.

“My home…you will never see anything as beautiful, as ethereal as the Tawarthamas, Corrin. My rooms were in the uppermost reaches of the palace, the highest limbs of the trees. I will never understand how you humans must always have four walls around you; I had one entire side of my suite open, facing out over the treetops. You could walk out onto the branches that extended past that opening and supported my floor… peer through the leaves at the balustrades and walkways on the level below you. I remember my family thinking I was quite daft, because I loved the sounds of water, of rain. ada pulled through for me again then, and he had a reflecting pool built near the opening in my room. I would sit by it at nighttime, and watch the water that dripped off the basin, making waves across the reflection of the night sky. But my rooms were insignificant compared to the rest of the Tawarthamas…the branches of all the trees are alive and visible, integral to the walls, floors and ceilings…the entire city itself moves slowly throughout time, as the trees grow and move towards the sun. Buildings twist slightly, facing into new directions after centuries. Our people never cut the trees for ourselves; we’re naught but children in this life, Corrin; we submit and learn from the will of nature, and change with the seasons, with the growth of the world around us. I could have spent my entire life happily in that place, if only I were allowed my own freedom from my duties.” stopping briefly, she grinned.

“But I digress. I have a terrible habit of long winded stories.” Corrin smiled back, shaking his head to indicate he hadn’t minded at all. Resting her chin on cupped hands, she began again.

“Mmy life was fairly well balanced, but ada left us, journeying with his company on reasons he wouldn’t speak of. When he had gone, all the dreams he put in my head stayed behind. For all the times I sat inside learning history with Shaylea, there were three when Brendean and I would sneak off to spar in the woods, or go hunting. I guess the dreams stayed with him too, because he left to follow ada…and after he went, there wasn’t anyone willing to stick up for me, or to put up with my eccentric ways. My mother began to assert her authority and started slowly turning me into her ideal, subservient daughter. Or trying to, at least. It isn’t my fault I am not blonde and willowy, soft spoken or regal like Shaylea. But one thing you can credit my mother with is that she is determined…and I tried to go along with her, for a while. Thus began the days where it was nothing but silk dresses, sit INS of councils, meetings with potential suitors…but it really was not me. For all the servants and luxuries she had surrounded me with, I was still living in a prison she designed to stifle my real personality.” She shrugged and lay back.

“Her ladyship does a brilliant job of keeping elven society in order, but she’s lacking some skills in motherly attention. Han cuil, it’s life. Until now, it has not been mine, but I have decided- I take it into my own hands. I am adjusting, albeit slowly…and until I can resolve everything, I will not go back.” she closed her eyes and breathed in deeply, and a silence fell across the camp. A green branch in the fire crackled, and the night’s noises permeated the darkness, but neither of them stirred.

is thoughts filled with the visions of hidden treetop cities and an entire society of the lithe, point eared people, Corrin silently turned his gaze from Gaerielle, and stared into the fire. He’d never dreamt it possible that he would meet someone of a race that only the kings or nobles ever met with normally. Growing up, they never mingled with humans unless they had good reason, or were staying over in the trading towns- yet here she was, lying in front of his campfire. He smiled imperceptibly, and lay down as well.

Turning back to her, he said, “Well, I suppose we’ve both got much to think about this night. I have some bedding we can divide up, and we can decide what to do from here on the morrow.” she nodded and smiled lightly.

“Corrin? …Thank you.” he said nothing, feeling no need to break the companionable silence, but looked over at her one last time. She lay there on her back, with her arms crossed over her chest and her eyes half open. He raised an eyebrow, and quashed the questions that arose, but she caught him anyhow. She grinned.


“Well…you looked…uh,” laughing, he shrugged. “When our people die, we lay them into their graves like that. It sort of threw me off.” she laughed too, rolled onto her side and shot him a wry smile.

“Then I’ll try not to look dead. I’m afraid I won’t be able to close my eyes though; we just…don’t.” He closed his eyes, but sleep wouldn’t come. Thoughts ran through his brain in every direction, occasionally crashing into each other headlong. After he had lain there for a few minutes longer, her heard her voice begin to sing softly from his right.

Elenath menial…i duath tegi nin faro an dinen idh.

Her voice faded away, and his eyelids became leaden. Not bothering to open them, he asked, “that sounded nice…what did it mean?”

“Starry heavens…the darkness brings my hunt to a silent rest.” Her voice floated across the fire to him, but he heard her words only subconsciously- he fell asleep before she finished her sentence.