Ezthrame

The kingdom of Ezthrame. Elves, dragons, fairies and humans are only myths to the humans that live there. But when the truth is discovered in the Forest of Ultanak, west of the King's Palace, the fates of these five peoples will become entwined. And what of the elvish enchantress that has appeared seemingly out of nowhere?

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3. Chapter 3

Ilith ran towards the sound of the screams and yells, his dark blue eyes searching the forest for any sign of battle. Elven ears could hear miraculously far but that only meant the noises could be nearly halfway across Ultanak Forest. All he knew was that something was wrong.

A roar, and a burst of flame broke the trees as something large landed in front of him. A dragon. At first he considered running, but he knew he would not get far before it caught him. Better to see what it wanted.

“What is going on?” it hissed at him “I heard the screams of men”

“Humans?” Ilith gasped “there are humans in this forest?”

“Dead ones, but humans nevertheless” the dragon answered “Twenty two I found, five killed by arrows, one by a sword and the rest by magic. Elvish magic.”

“Elvish magic?”

“So you know nothing… hmm” grumbled the dragon “You are the nearest alive being to the carnage that I could see from the skies. But I could not see into the thickest parts of the wood well enough, so maybe the killer is there”.

“Where is it?” Ilith asked, hoping to find out whether the dragon was telling the truth. Enchanters had not been seen for hundreds of years and many elves had hoped it would stay that way. They could be more trouble than they were worth sometimes and even though the good ones were powerful allies in times of need, those times were in the past.

“The carnage? Quite far away, and as I would like another look myself I think I will take you. Climb upon my back in you wish for a ride”

Cautiously, Ilith did as the dragon had said. The scales were surprisingly warm and comfortable, compared to the coldness he had expected. With a strong beat of his mighty, green wings the dragon flew into the air.

The wind was much stronger, and thankfully going in the same direction as they, up in the sky rather than amongst the trees. Looking down, Ilith could see what he reckoned was almost all of Ultanak Forest. But it was hard to see any signs of movement.

“What is your name, elf?” the dragon asked suddenly. Ilith thought for a moment. A wise elf would not trust a stranger but this dragon was helping him. And what harm could a simple thing such as a name do?

“Ilith” he finally replied “And yours?”
“I am Quanali” the dragon answered “Well Ilith, we are near to the carnage. But I warn you, I think the killer may still be around. And I do not know whether he or she has more power than I”

Ilith nodded. “All the same, if he was not there, it is likely that he has either fled or has a lesser power to yours as otherwise he would most likely have the mind to challenge you. Unless he did not kill in cold blood”

Quanali swooped down towards the ground, his wings folding slightly inwards as he and his rider reached the tops of the trees. He was small for a dragon, but even the tiniest ones find it hard to fly in cramped spaces. He only just managed to enter the wood and landed neatly on the ground a few paces away from the dead humans.

Straight away Ilith could see which ones had been killed by arrows. They were lying on the floor and covered in a small amount of blood. One human had been stabbed in the stomach and then decapitated. His blood had leaked all over the place. But the other sixteen were lying on the ground, eyes closed, faces grimacing with the pain they felt in their last seconds of life. Almost all had their mouths open in some sort of agonized scream. But the last one had his mouth closed and his brown eyes open. He’d been braver than the others, not crying out but taking the pain of the magic until death caught him in its icy grip. His armour was also of a better make, and so was the sword that lay beneath him.

“Who did this?” Ilith muttered, horrified “and why? Why did they slaughter you? You humans have your weapons in your hands, meaning there was some sort of battle but who struck first?” He gently closed the lids of the man’s eyes and set him down.

“We shall never know” Quanali answered “Unless we catch this elf. You recognise the magic?”

“I have never seen elvish magic” said Ilith “But this was done by no dragon, and I do not think that the fairies did this. They enchant rather than kill. Nor is the dwarves’ magic used for such a purpose. I did not believe that one of my own kind did this initially but this has to have been an elf. There must have been some reason though, for my race does not do things without one”.

He stood up. “The other elves must be told. Will you grant me the gift of a ride back or am I asking too much?”

Quanali snorted with amusement. “Asking too much or not, you certainly know how to be polite. I will take you where you wish to go”

 

A/N

In case you are wondering the name "Ilith" is i-l-i-t-h, not l-l-i-t-h. Unfortunately a capital "i" looks like a lower-case "L" and I have not found a font that changes this yet.

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