The Chronicles of Starlyn

For generations it has been known that elves are immortal except for death by battle or poison. Something strange happens and Starlyn's mother becomes sick with an illness that seems to only be getting worse with each passing day. Starlyn loves her mother and wishes to find any way to help her, yet it seems nothing can be done except to sit and watch. It breaks her spirit but she spends every moment she can with her mother, as she fights frantically for an unknown cure. She went to the elven healers and herbalists but even they cannot find a way. Meanwhile Starlyn's sister Arria takes more drastic measures to try and help their mother, even diving into the restricted books of the elven library about dark magic. The dark magic is dangerous and forbidden for elves to use because it is said that even the willpower of an elf cannot prevail with the touch of a dark taint. Arria is not concerned of her own welfare and dives into heavy studies with the books. Strange things begin to happen, a

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16. Chapter 15

Chapter 15:

Starlyn stood in the clearing and about nearly threw up. Acid seemed to travel up from her stomach into her chest and nearly out of her throat. Never before had she seen something so revolting. There didn’t appear to be one elf survivor and they were left where they were slaughtered. A few hundred draeyks were stacked tall and burning, but the elves remained untouched. Heads were scattered everywhere unattached to their bodies and blood covered the once green grass.

“This is barbaric.” She whispered.

“Yes… quite revolting… as I said… a war is coming. You are but a few, and these are hundreds. You don’t stand a chance.” Shronan said.

“Maybe you are right mage.” Vil’ek cringed as he stared in disbelief at the trampled bodies.

“We should turn back before this becomes us.” Shronan said.

“Not yet.” Starlyn said, “We need to look for survivors.”

“In this?” Vil’ek asked.

“Even if there is only one, it is a life we can save.” She said. “Start looking.”

“Okay, but let’s not dwindle here in this place.” Shronan said.

Starlyn began rummaging through piles of limp bodies. It brought vile to her stomach and yet she didn’t give up. There had to be at least one survivor. She couldn’t fathom that these creatures were so despicable to destroy so many lives. Her lips quivered and she shivered as she went through the bodies. Strangely enough she didn’t seem to recognize any of the elves. They all appeared strange to her, unlike anyone she’d ever seen. Not only did she not know who they were, but their appearances seemed off.

She studied their ears which were significantly smaller than her own. Hers reached a full span long while theirs were only half the height. They seemed more rounded at the bottom compared to the sharp edge that hers had on both top and bottom. It was obvious that they were elves, and yet they appeared so different than her kin. Even their skin tone was much darker than hers and not as pale as her kin. Facial features were slightly varied as well.

“They are so different.”

“These are not high elves like you Starlyn.” Shronan said.

“What are they?”

“Wood elves.”

“Are you sure? I thought they were lost.”

“It appears you’ve found them, though not in the way you might have liked. I’m sure there would be many questions for their disappearance. I met the wood elves once, they helped fight the dragons. Very sincere people.”

“We have to keep looking, there has to be at least one alive.”

“Don’t stretch your faith too far, but yes, I hope you’re right.”

She stalked through the massacre, rolling over bodies to check for life. Nothing seemed to breathe, elves or animals alike. It seemed the place had been abandoned and she dared not blame any of the animals for doing so. She only hoped that the draeyks weren’t nearby, especially if there were enough to kill so many wood elves. It was a chilling thought, but she hoped that her sister wasn’t with them, or a part of the massacre. Surely her sister couldn’t be that cruel, no, not Arria.

There didn’t appear to be any weapons on the field. She wondered if the elves didn’t have any weapons, perhaps they were caught unaware. Snow that was once white was stained red all about Starlyn and it sickened her. Vultures in the sky began to caw and it only made Starlyn feel worse. She noticed that none of the elves were light of hair color and all seemed to have colors that blended into the bark of trees, mostly dark brown and black.

The majority of the bodies were in the center of the clearing, with only a few being scattered throughout. She was afraid to call out and ask if anybody was alive because she wasn’t sure how close the draeyks might have been. Instead she nudged everybody she came across with either her foot or hilt of her hammer. She grew tired of turning them over to see their pale lifeless faces. Still, there was no sign of life anywhere.

She stood for a moment in the center of the clearing and closed her eyes. All her elven companions continued searching the bodies, grabbing any equipment that might be useful to their journey, and yet it seemed most of their carcasses had already been salvaged by the creatures. She focused on the serenity inside of her mind. Outside was chaos, everything around her made her want to scream out in agony, and yet she couldn’t. She was an elf, and stronger than that. So instead she felt the energy flow around her as she kept her eyes closed. She could feel the birds and butterflies that fluttered about her even though she could not see them, she could feel them. Using all of her energy she tried to seek further that her surroundings to find anything that could be alive.

When she was about to give up she felt something. A slow heartbeat that seemed to echo through the cold and stillness that surrounded her. Her eyes opened and she ignored all that around her except for the direction of the heartbeat. Sometimes you only needed to relinquish yourself of a few senses for the others to amplify. She could hear the heartbeat as clear as day now and everything around her became blurry.

It was outside of the clearing to the east where she found the small path. There was an oak tree at the end of it and two bodies that lay against it. Starlyn was very careful as she walked towards it in an attempt to remain silent. Her footprints barely penetrated into the snow with her cautious footsteps. She held onto her hammer’s handle tight as she paced towards the tree. Two elves seemed to be hugging each other, neither breathing well, and yet… both were breathing. There were two heartbeats that seemed to beat as one.

She knelt on the ground next to them and stroked one’s hair, the color of the bark on the oak tree, a dark brown and soft to the touch. The elf flinched and opened her eyes. A look of terror filled her face as she stumbled back into the snow.

“Get away, who are you? Get away from me!”

“Shhh, be quiet… I’m here to help you… please.”

“Where am I? Leave me be!”

“Do you remember anything? Do you remember what attacked you?” Starlyn asked.

“No… I can’t remember anything. Please leave me.”

“I want to see you safe, please come with me.”

“How do I know if I can trust you?”

“You must have faith.” Starlyn whispered, “Who is this, the one that you were hugging?”

“I… I don’t know.”

“What is your name?” Starlyn asked.

“My name… my name.” She whispered with a horrified look as she tried to consider the question.

The other woman stirred and opened a bloody eye. She appeared too weak to move and the sound of her heartbeat was failing. Dried blood came from a wound in her abdomen and it was a wonder she was still alive.

“My sister… do not forget who you are… where you came from.”

“Sister?” the elf blurted as she crawled to the other propped up against the tree.

“Yes… you are my sister… your name-” The woman gasped and coughed fierily a few times. “Your name… is Anaela, and you are a wood elf ranger.”

Her voice faded and she closed her eyes, shaking lightly.

The other elf, Anaela, clutched at her sister. “Sister, don’t leave me.”

She opened her eyes and smiled, “Do not forget who you are.”

With that came her last breath and her tilted head collapsed against the tree. Her eyes remained open looking off into the white clouds scattered across a red sky without an ounce of life left in them. Starlyn knelt to the ground and grabbed the living elf into her arms. Anaela fought at first but soon took the hug gracefully. Tears flowed down her face until she began sobbing frantically.

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