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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20. Chapter 19

Chapter 19:

 

Starlyn looked with an uncertain face through her hallway, frozen as a painting through time. She didn’t feel like she could move, even if her life had depended on it. The door was open with her mother peeling sweat in front of her. Her friend Aliqua sat on a stool by her mother’s bed with a bucket of cold water and a rag placed on her mother’s face. The water was cold in hopes to break her mother’s fever, but it seemed to be done in vain. There seemed little they could do to help her, and no food seemed to sustain her.

Shronan walked past Starlyn and stood at the side of the bed. He placed his hand on Aliqua who looked up in surprise but did not move. She continued washing her mother’s face. Starlyn felt so glad to have such a friend, someone who cared for her mother as if she were her own. The truth was Aliqua had no mother or father in Sudegam, she came from outside the lands by herself only a few hundred years ago. Her chocolate skin wasn’t comparable to any other elf within the city and so it made her the most unique. It also made life for her harder because many of the pale men wouldn’t go to her for affection, almost as if they were afraid of her. Starlyn did not know why, she thought it should attract them more in hopes that her skin would taste like chocolate. It was always the taste that drove the males in. With one kiss of their hand they could get a small sensation of it, but only with their lips could they taste what flavor they truly were.

The mage’s hands began to glow a soft emerald as energy transferred from him to her mother. He shook his head in disdain before feeling her sweaty forehead. Shronan looked back to her with hurtful eyes before trying again. Her mother seemed more conscious but the pain and torment was still there.

“I have never seen this before. It does not make logical sense for an elf to be so ill. I do not understand it.”

“Me either. I wish I could find a cure. I cannot blame Arria for all that she has done. I know that in her heart all that she wants is to find a cure for our mother. I’m just afraid that there is no cure and we will both have to live with what comes next. As elves we do not except to lose our mother’s or our fathers. Perhaps it is a luxury of being immortal. I assume these humans in faraway lands come to terms with it, but it’s hard for me to. I already don’t have a father, unlike so many here in the city. Now, I will be left without a mother, father, and a sister. I will truly be alone in a city where everyone else is united.” Starlyn said.

“I am sorry Starlyn. I will ponder on this during our journey. There may be a cure. My power has no effect on her except for a bit of comfort and energy. Yet it will not sustain.”

Tear swelled in Starlyn’s eyes and she leaned into the door jam. Her body began to shake as she came to the reality that her mother might never be saved. Shronan turned and stepped forward, taking her in his arms and held her tight. She let her tears fall into his shoulder and didn’t care anymore if the world could hear her. Aliquia got to her feet and stroked Starlyn’s hair in comfort. She never thought she would lose everything she ever loved but more and more it seemed like it was becoming a reality.

“We should get going Starlyn. I know you don’t want to leave, but we must. If we get on the road I may think of something useful.”

“I know…”

He stepped out of her embrace but put his arm around her and helped her though the hall. Aliqua bid farewell before they departed. Starlyn wiped her tears before she stepped out the door. She didn’t want to look weak in the eyes of the other elves.

Outside stood Vil’ek and a force of a near a thousand elves waiting in the distance. She looked behind her at the field of tulips that lay in front of her home. Sudegam. It was the most beautiful place she’d ever been. Despite all of her travels she could never find something so beautiful and nothing could ever replace it. She loved her home more than anything and she was desperate to return to it.

“Goodbye.” She whispered.

As she walked she noticed Anaela stepped close to her and put her arm around her in a small unnoticeable hug. “I’m sorry about your mother.”

“Thank you.” Starlyn said.

“I wish I could remember mine. I’m not even sure if she is alive or not.”

“I promise you I will help in any way I can to find your family.”

“I know you will, I feel comfortable with you. It seems unlike all the other elves you seem to be the truest. The only one without other intentions at heart. Everyone seems to only study me rather than connect with me. If you don’t mind, I would like to stay close to you.”

Starlyn smiled, “I know what it is like to feel like an outcast. You are more than welcome to stay by my side.”

“Thank you.” Anaela said.

She turned around and didn’t look back to her mother’s cabin as she led everybody to the north. Shronan and Vil’ek walked closely behind but it was Anaela that was by her side. Starlyn’s leather armor was tight because there wasn’t time to make her another set so she had to borrow one instead. It was exceedingly tight around her chest because she had the largest bust of all the elves in Sudegam. She requested one be made for her but it would take at least a week before the elven smiths would be able to complete.

Looking into the distance her memories began to flash before her eyes. She saw the chains at her arms and feet once more and the creatures all about her. They were trying to hold her down and she screamed. The memory faded into that of the woman that came to visit her in the cell with the soft black skin and complimentary features. She was so familiar and Starlyn couldn’t believe that she wasn’t able to tell then that it was her sister. All she remembered was her light obsidian skin and bright white hair while everything else became a blur as she stared at her corrupted sister.

“Starlyn, are you alright?” Shronan asked as he stepped by her side. His head tilted down as to get a better look at her.

Her face was covered in a cold sweat as it never had been before. Elves weren’t prone to precipitation of any forms unless under high strain or stress. She looked up to Shronan’s concerned face. He seemed to care for her deeply in a love that seemed more brotherly than romantic and that comforted her. There was obvious attraction for her when she compared his remarks when she first woke up without clothing in his blanket, yet once she began wearing clothes again his interest seemed to alter.

“I’m fine… it was only a dream.” She admitted. Her eyes were filled with water but she fought back from shedding any tears.

“Are your dreams haunting you as you stay awake?” Shronan asked with wonder and concern.

“Yes.” She admitted.

She knelt to the ground to grasp a flower that had fallen off of its stem. It twirled in her hands as she stared blindly at it for minutes. It was a violet with red freckles and so gentle and beautiful in her hands. She was saddened that such a gorgeous flower had been torn from its plant. The scent was sweet like berries mixed with honeys and the aroma filled her nose with pleasure and peace. It reminded her of simpler times when she would roam the meadows with her sister. Those times were long gone now. She sighed again as she dropped the flower and watched as it fluttered to the earth.

They followed the road ahead, slowly at first but soon Starlyn’s speed caught haste and the others had no choice but to follow her. The first place they decided to travel was that of the prison, the dungeon that she had been kept in. She wasn’t quite sure if she remembered exactly where it was at but Shronan was guiding her and his memory was perfect from rescuing her. It was nearly a week march north of Sudegam through a forest and almost appeared a part of a bush rather than a dark cavernous dungeon that lay underneath. It would be hard for Starlyn to set foot inside the dungeon once more as the torture was still fresh in her mind. The marks still seemed to burn her and scars were still apparent on her arms. Shronan had healed most of the wounds but there were a few that he had missed after witnessing her naked beauty he hadn’t searched every part of her for marks. One still tainted the inner thigh of her left leg and another under her right breast. She dared not ask him for healing, not only because it would expose her body to him once more, but also she wanted the marks to remember. An elf’s memory doesn’t forget, but she wanted to be able to look back at them and remember vividly like she were there. She did not know why, but she felt she had to keep them like that.

On the sixth night Starlyn sat by a green campfire that Shronan had made with his magic. Many of the elves were still wary about approaching the mage and weren’t sure what to make of him or his magic. Starlyn didn’t mind him as he was the one whom saved her life. Anaela sat next to her on a log while across the mage sat alone. On a log on the side were Vil’ek and an elf named Vaelmirr. Both were very different in appearance and shape with Vil’ek looking more muscular in both shoulders and biceps when Vaelmirr had better leg definition. Vaelmirr carried a broadsword as opposed to two scimitars and his armor was heavier to support his larger weapon.

Vil’ek had long straight dark brown hair to match his hazel eyes that brushed close to the color of black. Vaelmirr on the other hand had hair of a dirty blond that looked brown at its core and yet a beige the further it grew. It was wavy and didn’t quite hang to his shoulder which was very unusual for an elf. Most elves had long hair and were proud of it well past their shoulders, but Vaelmirr didn’t live in the center of Sudegam. He was from a town outside of the elven capital. There were several towns of independent high elves that lived outside of Sudegam, and yet they weren’t often associated with. It seemed the king kept only those of his own city close by while the others were easily forgotten. If all the elven towns would unite with the elven capital the size of the elves would double.

Shronan sat staring at Starlyn with an emotion far from lust. Hunger tormented his eyes as he twirled a peach in his fingers and studied her. He wasn’t used to staying away from meat and yet there he was with a peach in his hand and a few dozen cores of apples tossed by his side. It seemed hunger consumed him as he bit through fruit after fruit without satisfaction. She understood his need for meat, and yet the rest of the elves despised meat eaters. Humans were considered unnatural and inhumane because of their craving for the dead flesh of animals to feed themselves. He took a large bite of the peach and bit his lips all the while staring back at Starlyn.

It seemed he watched the elves with interest. Starlyn held her head up high, allowing her long blond hair to blow in the wind. She would not show him fear anymore, but only courage – the same as she had to show the rest of the elves. She had to be courageous though concern troubled her for her mother and her sister. Her appearance showed that she didn’t want to lead, but inside she felt that she had to. Worry covered her face and nearly seemed to consume her.

Vil’ek looked anxious like he was ready for battle. He continuously rubbed his hands on the hilts of his scimitars. Every sound around them that was either an animal or insect he nearly jumped at.

Starlyn turned and looked at Anaela. She only wore a two piece green plate mail with silver edges. Her arms, stomach, and legs were all exposed though she didn’t seem cold even on top of the snow. There were swirling designs of silver on both her breast plate and hip plate. The armor wasn’t meant for protection except for her heart and groin to be protected an uncontaminated. She was an archer and didn’t need full armor. All that mattered was that she could move and so her armor was meant for agility. A long forest green cape hung on her back from a silver chain around her neck. Her skin tone was darker than all the other elves yet at the same time she seemed to have a glowing aura about her.

Shronan started when a noise could be heard from the bushes. He turned around and when Starlyn looked to the bushes she saw a draeyk watching them. Its red eyes seemed to glow. Shronan hastily stood up and as he did the creature turned and ran. Soon Shronan, Vil’ek, Vaelmirr, and Starlyn were on their feet following the creature with Shronan close behind. When they found their way out of the bushes the creature was nowhere in sight.

“He needs to be stopped before they all know.” Vil’ek declared and looked to the mage for confirmation.

Instead of paying him any heed Shronan turned away and looked at each one of them. He seemed patient rather than rash like Vil’ek had been expecting. Even Starlyn felt a bit on edge at having the creature escape. He nodded to Starlyn before turning away from her and looking at Anaela.

“This is why you are here Anaela. Go after that creature and stop him. Use your stealth and speed.” Shronan said.

Anaela appeared to open her mouth but closed it firmly and nodded. She dashed off into the forest with incredible speed that Starlyn knew she couldn’t even match. Her cape flashed behind her in the wind as she ran between bushes and trees with ease. The last Starlyn could see was her disappearing over the top of a hill.

They walked back to camp and Starlyn paced back and forth in front of the charred ash that used to be a fire. It no longer burned as they let it burn out. She waited for several minutes almost losing her patience until Anaela appeared through the bushes with the draeyk on her back. It seemed to move slightly but she held it tight. Why was it still alive, why didn’t she kill the savage beast? Starlyn knew she would have slaughtered it in a second without a thought.

“Why did you bring that… creature back?” Starlyn asked.

“I was not instructed to kill.” Anaela proclaimed.

“Starlyn, don’t let your hatred of these creatures for what occurred to you to get in the way. She did right. We need to question it and see what it knows about your sister and what she’s doing.” Shronan said.

“Will you be able to understand them?”

“Yes, they speak in our tongue, though not with clarity.” Shronan said.

He nodded and walked over to the draeyk and set it against a tree. Swirling green magic covered his hands and sparked as he touched the creature. The elves surrounding him backed away in fear. Yet the injured draeyk opened its eyes and stared at Shronan with hatred.

“What is Arria and what is she planning?” Shronan asked.

“Iii willll nooot tellll yoooouu noothinngg.”

“I disagree.” Shronan said.

His hands glowed a darker green and blasted into the draeyk. It pulsed and screamed, shaking for several minutes. Shronan continued blasting energy into the creature until the screams subsided. Starlyn backed up even further as she watched in horror.

“Answer the question, or your death will be the most agonizing slow death any living creature could ever imagine.”

“Yooouuuu aarrrreeee tooo laatee… shhhee retuuurnns toooo Suuuuudeeegammm.”

Shronan’s eyes widened and he took a step back. He turned around and grabbed an arrow out of Anaela’s pouch with an obsidian tip. The arrow surrounded itself in green ice at his touch and when he threw it at the creature it penetrated the creatures jaw and froze its entire body. He shot a green sphere of light out of his hand that shattered the creature into thousands of pieces of ice before turning his head and shaking it in disgust.

Shronan walked all the way back to the fire pit before coming to a stop and sitting on a log with his hands running through his hair. He stared down at the smoldering pit and sighed.

“What is it?” Starlyn pleaded.

“We are too late, Arria has gone to Sudegam. She knew that we would be away from the city looking for her. It is very likely she has already kidnapped your mother.”

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