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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18. Chapter 17

Chapter 17:

Starlyn had been traveling south for days now in hopes to reach Sudegam. She knew they would need help to overcome the deadly force that wiped out all of Anaela’s kin. Shronan had been right, there was a war brewing and they would need all of their power before they could achieve victory. All that Starlyn wanted was to bring her sister home, yet that seemed like a distant dream now turned nightmare. Anaela still couldn’t remember anything, besides how to talk and use her bow that she still held around her chest. Her first memory seemed to be that of her dying sister, and yet she didn’t seem to recognize the woman as her sister except for the fact that she told her.

She felt bad for the wood elf, although she was very curious still about the differences and similarities of the high elves and wood elves. Yet, without Anaela’s memories all that she could go off of was appearances and what she could gain from speaking with her. She tried talking with Shronan about the wood elves but he seemed of little value on the subject. His observance was like that of any man, slim and far between. He claimed to never of paid attention between the different qualities between wood elves and high elves. Only that to him an elf was an elf.

Starlyn had always heard the skill of a wood elf with a bow and so she decided to test the theory against Anaela during the journey back home. She had never felt such a fool as when she was beat by Anaela. Her arrow went two hundred paces to a perfect bull’s-eye target. She was impressed with herself - that was until Anaela stepped an extra two hundred paces and shot hers from four hundred paces and split Starlyn’s arrow in half. Every one of the elves, even Vil’ek was impressed. Shronan seemed taken aback as well, claiming even he had never seen such a feat.

When they reached the entrance of Sudegam they were met by the king’s guard which was nearly twelve men. Each of them bowed to Starlyn before inspecting the crowd. They put swords out in front of Shronan and Anaela.

“Who are these?” A blond male elf asked.

“Shronan Onderon, wandering mage of Calthoria at your service.”

“Mage? We do not accept magic into our city. Be gone!”

“Captain, this man saved my life. He is to be permitted into the city under my authority. Let him seek judgment with the king before his fate is decided.”

The elf stared at her reluctantly before lowering his sword, “As you wish my lady.”

She stepped forward only to be stopped again by another.

“Hold it, who’s this? She doesn’t look like one of ours.” Another elf with dirty blond hair asked.

“This is Anaela, of the wood elves.”

“Wood elves?” The others seemed to gasp.

“Will we be permitted through?” She asked.

Each of them lowered their weapons in unison and circled around them as an escort. They traveled through the tulips on the yellow dirt road into the center of Sudegam. Everyone in the city stared their way as they were led to the center tree in Sudegam. It was considered the tree of life because it seemed all life originated from the tree and expanded outwards. Since it was the most magical form of nature, naturally the elves seemed drawn to it and therefore made their city around it. Their king, Elsargast, had made a palace on top of the large sequoia tree.

They entered the tree and followed the king’s guards all the way to the top through the spiraling staircase that was formed of the tree’s own wood. Circling around the tree Anaela began to notice all the wildlife that surrounded them. Birds began to chirp and hover all about singing songs as dragonflies danced with butterflies.

“This is beautiful.” Anaela whispered.

“I’m sure the wood elves have just as beautiful as a palace.” Starlyn said.

“I wish I could remember, really I do.”

“It’s okay Anaela, those creatures hit you hard on the head. It may take some time.”

When they reached the top they came to a tall red door where two large peacocks stood at the entrance. Starlyn nodded to the two beautiful creatures and they spread their wings to show their magnificent beauty. They permitted the guards’ entrance to the king as well as the rest of the party. Inside were halls of solid gold as far as the eye could see both floor and ceiling. Unlike everywhere else inside the palace there were no pictures that crowded the gold. Instead its beauty was able to glitter unmatched. When they reached the end of the long hallway there was an enormous silver door.

The guards rattled a large knocker in the front of it and waited for several minutes until it finally opened. When it did out came three elven maidens clad in white silk robes and veils. At their sides were sharp curved daggers that they felt the hilts of as they inspected each of them.

“What is your business with the king?” One of the elven maidens asked with the brightest blond that neared white.

“We bring him a wood elf and news of the creatures that dwell in the lands to the north.” Shronan spoke stepping forward.

The three elf maidens withdrew their daggers and held them towards the mage. He didn’t even flinch as the point of three daggers were mere inches from his throat. Instead he smiled as he watched them as if what they were doing amused him. Starlyn wondered if he could have unarmed them with a simple spell of magic. Perhaps the threat they imposed was childish to one such as him.

 “And who are you?” Asked one with auburn hair.

“Shronan Onderon, an old friend of King Elsargast.”

The fierce maiden with auburn hair held her ground with dagger raised as the other two relinquished their weapons back into their sheaths. They silently stalked into the room and up to the throne where the king sat. After a few moments the maiden came back and nodded her head sternly. She didn’t seem as if she wished for them to continue on.

Starlyn walked through and down the velvet carpet until she reached the king at his throne. He wore white robes with gold armor to keep himself neutral from the rest of the elves throughout the city. His presence was overwhelming and made her feel weak at the knees. He was strong and proud, taller than any other elf with a strong pointed jaw and sharp ears. His head was tall in shape and his hair blond with flecks of silver sparking throughout from his old age. Yet his face hadn’t appeared to age in the slightest and the color of the silver didn’t make him look old, but simply wise. Gold rings covered his fingers of various shapes and sizes that shone with as much excellence as the definition of his golden throne. Starlyn observed the thin gold circlet that rested upon his head encrusted with rubies and emeralds. There was nothing else like it in all the land and he held it precious to him.

“My lord, I have returned.” She said as she got to her knee.

“Starlyn, I’m glad to see you return safely. You may rise.” King Elsargast said. “Did you find your sister?”

“Yes… she is with the draeyks… she is leading them.” Starlyn said.

“This is not good news. The draeyks have always been leaderless. We will have to prepare the elves for war, if it has to come to that.”

“You knew of these creatures?” She asked.

“They were insignificant to us. Leaderless and scattered across the north, far away from being any trouble from us. However, if they are being united now they may be a danger. Why does your sister seek them I wonder?”

“She’s… changed.” She whispered.

Elsargast raised his eyebrow, “Changed?”

Shronan stepped forward next to Starlyn and put his hand on her shoulders. She took a step back and lowered her head, yet kept her eyes on the king.

“She is no longer an elf, but now the walking dead. She is the living dead form of an elf with a changed appearance from dark magic being used on herself before dying. It is the start of an old race that hasn’t roamed this land in centauries. The walking dead returns, the undead.” Shronan said.

“The living dead? Undead?” Elsargast whispered, “This is worse than I feared.”

“It is time my young friend, a new war is beginning.” Shronan said.

“I have already assumed as much Shronan since the moment you walked into my throne room. I knew I would have to be ready to call upon our warriors. I do not like war, and hope that this will be the last we will ever have to call upon it.”

“I know my friend, yet sometimes there is little choice in the matter. Their army is not formed, and they are constantly on the move. There is nothing we can do to try and end this swiftly. Instead, I suggest the majority of you guard the city and get everybody prepared for it.” Shronan said.

“Of course… yet where does that leave you?”

“I will strike at their camps, trying to weaken them.” Shronan said.

“I assume you would like some assistance?” Elsargast asked.

“If you can spare, I would like Starlyn with me as well, she is important in this war.” Shronan said.

“Yes… yes of course, and I suppose you will take my friend Vil’ek who has already been out with you despite his orders to stay behind.”

“My lord… I just, I had to know.” Vil’ek gulped.

“Yes, yes… I know you cared for her Vil’ek. Go, and get your closure, and report back to me when it’s complete.”

“As you wish my lord.”  VIl’ek said.

“Other than these select few are there any others you had in mind?” Elsargast asked.

“I will take Anaela with me as well, as I will be in need of a skilled archer.”

“Is that the wood elf?”

“Yes.”

“I would rather her stay here so we can ask her about her kin.”

“She has no recollection of her past, only of waking up to all of her kin dead beside her. It seems she faced some head trauma during the battle, and I think it would be safer that she stay by my side. Perhaps there is something I can do to help her.”

“Yes… I suppose you are right, as you always are. Take her along with the rest under my orders. But, I would like to see her.”

Shronan turned around, “Anaela, please step forward.”

She seemed nervous as she climbed the steps and stood by his side. Long brunette hair fell into her eyes and she brushed it out of her face. She bowed her head to him and he grabbed her hand and kissed it.

“Anaela it is a pleasure to finally meet another wood elf. I never thought I would lay eyes upon another. You are simply beautiful.”

“Thank you.”

“I do wish to learn more about you when you return, anything you remember or can tell me I would be most interested to learn.”

“Yes my… lord.”

Elsargast smiled. “I know you may feel uncomfortable here, but if you cannot find your way back home, you can always count on having a home here with us.”

“Thank you.” Anaela smiled.

“Everybody is dismissed.” Elsargast said.

They all bowed in turn as they walked down the steps. Elsargast watched them for a moment before getting to his feet and looking out the window behind his throne. He stood there for a long moment watching his city before he tugged at a thick green rope that hung down at his side. At the top was a large brass bell that began to ring deep and slow and echoed through the town. His fingers slid clenched at the window as he whispered.

“So… it has begun.”

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