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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6. Chapter 6

“My King…” Grensalin half-cowered at having to give King Alskar news he would not be pleased to hear.

“Yes?” Alskar said sternly, immediately suspicious of the servant’s manner.

“My King,” the servant continued “Your son Nimrad, he- he’s missing”

He winced as Alskar stood up from his throne in a single, swift movement “Missing? What has happened to my son?” the King demanded.

“No-one knows, my lord” Grensalin swallowed. Why did he have to be the one to break the news. “He put the Prince Ediln in charge- Ediln just thought he was going to check something for a few minutes- but Prince Nimrad didn’t return. The soldiers searched all over the village for him, and even in the surrounding lands, but he wasn’t there. Th-they think he went into Ultanak Forest sire”

“Into the forest? When I ordered that no-one was to go…” King Alskar sank back down on his throne in despair. “Find him. Send a search party into the forest if need be, but just make sure he returns to me alive!”

“If the elves have gotten to him, he won’t be alive to return” Advisor Hurathaen remarked sharply entered the room followed by a long line of soldiers. Behind them, Ilith slipped cautiously into the room, trying to stay out of attention, his hood covering most of his face.

“You say that the elves have done this?” King Alskar asked. “But maybe you are right Hurathaen. You have served me well for many years and never failed to advise wisely. Perhaps I have been a fool to not listen to you”.

Ilith stiffened in dismay. This was not what he had been hoping to hear and he only just stopped himself from announcing his presence and telling the humans exactly what was going on. But Advisor Hurathaen smiled.

“I do not blame you sire” he said “If you were truly a fool. But I think instead that you were trying to be as good a king as you deemed possible- you did not want a single man to get hurt in battle when we only had the knowledge that one elf was responsible for the deaths. But the decision of what we do now is yours alone to make.”

King Alskar thought carefully. Inside, he still hoped that Nimrad was still alive. But a search party could easily fail to find him and as king he had to protect his people.

“Make ready the army” he commanded “We go to war-“

“Stop!”

Ilith had not meant to shout so loud, but he could not stand there and watch. Humans had grown in number far beyond the elves in Ezthrame. It was unlikely they would lose the battle.

“Stop” he repeated, pushing past the soldiers to the front of the room where Hurathaen stood before King Alskar “Such a decision will not end well for anyone”.

“And how would you know?” sneered Hurathaen

“I speak to the human King, not to you” Ilith countered “Your grief and desire for revenge has left you blinded! The elves have not done anything to his son”

Hurathaen stiffened. “And how would you know? Man who speaks only to the- human king”. Before Ilith could stop him, he had grabbed the top of Ilith’s hood and pulled it down, revealing the pointed ears that framed his pale face.

“Guards!” shouted Hurathaen. Ilith swung round, and drew his sword as they rushed towards him. The first one made a swing at his head, and he only just dodged it. He whacked the man’s head with the flat of his blade and the soldier collapsed to the floor, unconscious. Three more came at him, but were more wary than to attack straight away. They circled him so that he was trapped.

“Elf! How dare you come to my palace?” cried King Alskar, alarmed. “After what your people did to my son, and the sons of Hurathaen!”

“My people did nothing to your son… King Alskar.” Ilith argued, blocking a sword as it was thrusted towards him. “You assume too much”.

“Then what has happened to the Prince? And why did you kill my sons?” Hurathaen demanded.

“Your sons attacked what we elves call an enchanter. It was their rashness and fault that they are now dead! I had nothing to do with it,” declared Ilith, not caring that Hurathaen’s look of hate grew even stronger “Nor did any other elf. The king’s son fell to the fairies soon after he entered the forest. Not the elves” His sword clashed with that of the first man, but the others grabbed him from behind and forced him to his knees in front of the King.

“Then why are you here?” Alskar demanded.

“I am a messenger from the King and Queen of the elves. I have come to make a deal with you.”  Ilith struggled against the soldiers that held him down.

Hurathaen laughed bitterly. “What sort of a deal could you make that we would have an interest in? You tell us the heir to Ezthrame’s throne was taken by a made-up children’s story creature and that my sons were stupid-”

“The deal is this,” Ilith interrupted “The elves can get your son back from the fairies holding him, but only if you do not go to war”. He threw off one of the guards, but the others immediately crossed their swords in front of his neck, with the sharp edge pointing inwards. He stopped fighting and let them push him back down.

“Fool” snorted Hurathaen “You should never have revealed yourself. Spies of the elves are not welcome here, not now or at any time!”

“Wait, Hurathaen!” ordered King Alskar “Stand him up” he called to the guards. The blades were removed from Ilith’s neck and he was dragged roughly upwards.

“Bring my son back” Alskar told him “Alive and unhurt. You have two days before I start assembling an army to avenge him”

Ilith smiled “Your son will be brought, human king, before the two days are up. Elves do not break promises.”

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