Tales of Endasia: The Beginning of Alexandrea SIlverhart

How did the SIlver Assassin come to be? Alexa's childhood isn't as posh as some might think...
*Cover by Sophia Fletcher*

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9. ElfHaven

I hurry into the trunk of the tree, where Lawson is waiting impatiently.

"We have to go! I will not loose this mission." I roll my eyes, Lawson was always competitive.

The floor beneath us starts to move up, and we both startle for a minute.

We rise steadily up the trunk, and when the the floor stops, part of the trunk in front of us slides open to reveal a dark, muggy forest. We step out and turn to watch the Oak slide shut.

"So, where do we go?" I look around nervously, this forest does not feel like a safe place to be.

"Well, let's just start heading north."

"We could be wandering for hours." I look around, trying to find something helpful. I notice a large pine, it's larger than the trees surrounding it. "I'll climb that tree and see what I can see from up there."

"Are you crazy!? You could fall and die!" I pull myself onto the first branch and start my ascent up, ignoring Lawson's curses. I'm halfway up before I chance I look down. Big mistake.

I immediately tighten my grip on the branch. Turns out I'm higher then I thought. Lawson is just an ant below me, and I'm only half way up the tree! I force myself to forget about the height I'm at, and continue climbing.

When I reach the top, the branches become smaller and the tree swings slightly when I move. I look out over the scenery, taking in landmarks and looking for a way out of this dreadful forest. I memorize the locations and shimmy down the tree.  Lawson is leaning against the tree I had climbed, looking very annoyed.

"We are the last ones to leave. Everyone else has already started their journey."

"Well they are going in blind. West of us is a river, we could head in that direction and hope there's a bridge. North, eastish of us, I couldn't see much but trees. But we could chance going that way." Lawson looks thoughtfully at the trees around us, then at the large Oak.

"I think we are in Nemerak.”

"What!? How do you know that?" He sighs and gestures around us.

"Look around us, it's dark and gloomy. There's a river west of us, which I bet is The Trail of Blood, so that must mean that we are in the Forest of Thieves. The only forest that's this,... Dark." I had heard rumors before that the Assassins Nest of in Nemerak, but nobody really knew the exact location. “I think we should head north east then, I believe thats where the Arch is.”

“Alright, lead the way.” He looks at me with an evil grin, and I feel my stomach dropping.

Before me, Lawson transforms into a large, grey wolf, and beckons with his head for me to climb onto his back.

“I was afraid this would happen.” I mutter, cautiously climbing onto his back.

Just like a horse. I grab a handful of his fur in each hand and lean forward. He takes off, running so fast I feel my face practically blowing off.

After about an hour of hard running, we finally break out of the trees, and can see ruins of a city in the distance.

Fifteen minutes later,  we reach the Arch of Nemerak.  

Its crumbling and old, but it still works.  Lawson comes to a halt, and I slid off, having major riding lag. Lawson returns to his normal form, shaking his head where I had held on.

“So now we have another problem... where do we go.” He looks at the Arch, six separate arches arranged in a hexagon shape, each arch standing for a different territory. A thick band of water surrounds it, presumably for the merfolk.  

I pull out the crumpled piece of paper and re read it.  Sartorian Nater.  Sounds… Magical.. Wizard maybe? And Wizards like to hang out in ElfHaven.

“ElfHaven.” I say, sure of myself. Lawson looks at me with doubt.

“Why there?”

I shrug. “Gut instinct.”

“Alexa, your last gut instinct got me in trouble for a month.”

I sigh. “Well, take the name, Sartorian Nater. Nater has been a known Wizarding last name for centuries, and Sartorian was the first name of an old wizard thousands of years ago, he helped found Endasia.  And since Wizards like to hang out with other magical beings, I would presume he would be in ElfHaven, since that is where many live. I figure thats our best bet.” He looks at me in shock.

“How did you do that?”

“Do what?”

“Figure that all out!”

“Oh, I just thought it all through. And I read a lot of history books back at the castle.”  

I walk around to ElfHavens arch, distinguished by some Elvish, which unfortunately, I can't read, though maybe someday I’ll learn how...

I’ve never traveled by arch, but I’ve heard everyone experiences it differently. I look at Lawson and he nods for me to go first. Such a gentleman. I take a deep breath and step into it.

The feeling that hits me is probably the worst thing I have ever experienced. It feels like I’m in slow motion, trying to walk straight, but I can't because everything around me is spinning. What feels like a lifetime is actually only a few seconds, and I land on the other side, doubling over for fear of losing my last meal.  I hear Lawson step out next to me and I stand up, swallowing down my lunch.

The Arch into ElfHaven leads to the middle of a large town, and the water surrounding the arch is filled with Mermaids and Selkie trading with villagers. We step down and onto the bustling dirt road.

“Where now?” He asks, raising his voice to be heard over the crowds.

“How should I know? I’ve never been here!” He looks around, then at the suns in the sky.  I look up as well, it's already noon.

I look around, we are going to need to eat something soon, and neither of us has any money. I spot a young elf women with a flower cart and I walk over towards her.

“Excuse me, my brother and I,” I gesture to Lawson behind me. “Need a flower for our mother, who is sick in bed, and we’ve looked everywhere for a wild one, but can’t seem to find one anywhere. Do you think we could have one? We have no money, but we could work for it.” I use my best innocent face, even going as far as to shed a tear. She looks at us with sympathy.

“Oh how terrible! And you two are so young! Here take these to your mother, no payment needed!” I take the handful of flowers she hands over, thank her, and turn with Lawson on my heels.

I hear Lawson chuckle behind me as he catches on to what I just did.

I pull him into an alley. I shove the flowers into his hands, keeping only one in mine. Slowly the flower in my hand turns to silver, starting at the steam and stopping when the flower blooms with silver.

Lawson shakes his head. "Even after seeing you do that multiple times, I still can't get over it." I smile slightly.

"Put the rest in your bag, I can turn them as we need them."  We exit the alley and stroll down the street until I see a large pub and inn. “Lets go there, get a room, and ask around for Sartorian.” He nods.

“Sounds good.”

We enter the pub and sit down at a table in the back. You would expect this to be quite an odd sight, two children sitting in a pub filled with adults, some drunk out of their mind, but in Endasia, it's really not.  Especially when you don't know if they are innocent children, or, say, assassins.  

After a few minutes, a werecat comes slinking up to our table.

“And what, can I get you two?” He purrs. Lawson speaks before I can.

“Whatever's hot, and a room.” The cat nods gracefully, and glides back to a kitchen. I fix Lawson with an angry look.

“Why’d you do that? Maybe I wanted something specific to eat!”

“Never complicate things when you have been assigned. Even if it's just a specific food. Didn't you pay attention in class?” I feel a slight blush creeping into my cheeks.

“Well,... I might have fallen asleep in a few classes…”

He laughs. "Just like you, Alexa."

The werecat returns with two steaming plates filled with roasted Firehare, steaming vegetables, and warm elf bread. He also drops off a key to a room on the second floor.                                                                                                        Lawson and I stuff our faces with the food, and I’m surprised by my own hunger. Once we’ve finished, the werecat comes back to collect the payment.

10 coppers.

I look at Lawson uneasily, and he shrugs.

“Umm... Do you think you could make change?” The cat raises a slick eyebrow and purrs.

“That depends on what you pay with.” Lawson pulls the silver flower from his pack,  and I see the werecats eyes go wide.

“And where,” he drags a nail across the wooden table, “did two children come across this?”

“Thats our business. If you want to be paid, we want change.” I speak up.  He directs his yellow cat eyes towards me.  He stares at me for a moment before turning and walking into a backroom. I exchange a nervous glance with Lawson, who gives me a small smirk.

The werecat comes back out, a large Elf following closely behind, carrying to my delight, a pouch that looks to be filled with coins.  

The Elf stops in front of our table and sets the bag on the table, as expected, I hear the clink of coins, and I grin up at the man.  He doesn't return my smile, instead counting out a handful of crudely shaped silver and copper coins. After he has has a sufficient amount, he takes the flower and hands us the coins. Lawson takes them and puts them in his pack.  

The Elf nods and leaves, without uttering a single word to us.

The werecat gives us a toothy smile, his felines showing. “Have a,... nice day.”  

“Wait!” I call out. He turns back around, giving me an annoyed look. “Do you know a Wizard named Sartorian Nater?” The werecat looks taken aback.

“Of course I do. Everyone in this pub does.  He comes in here every third day and gets as drunk as a faery on pixie dust.” I think for a moment, today is the first day, so we can stay here for a couple of days, carry out our assassination, and make back to the Nest in time.

“Okay, thank you.” He nods and prowls away.

I look at Lawson. “What now? We have to wait until the third day for Sartorian… Do we just hang out here?”

“Well, today lets just retire to our room, and then tomorrow,” He pulls a flower from his bag and grins. “We shop.” 

 

Our room is a small, with one bed, a dresser, and an adjoining washroom.  Two windows over the town spill in sunlight and intoxicating smells from the shops below.   The suns have set, and exhaustion takes its hold on me.

The red hooded cape I had been wearing falls to the ground and I flop onto the bed, sinking into of oblivion of pillows.  

“I swear this is made of pegasus feathers.” I moan, my voice half muffled by a pillow. I hear Lawson laugh, then feel the bed deepen by my feet, and a strange smell fills my nose.  I open my eyes and see his head by my feet, and his feet by my head.  

“Your feet stink.” He says. I giggle and reply. “Right back at you.”

Soon darkness takes over, and I go the land of dreams.

 

  

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