The Harper, however, sensed her meaning, and glanced at Katherine before nodding to her. Her logic seemed sound on this point.
"There very well could be just that out here." Natil thought, "It wouldn't hurt to have a look around." The Elf maiden turned to her companion.
"Be at peace, I will go check out the island in a moment, and see who and what is out there. If there are natives here, perhaps they will be able to help us with some convincing."
"Or have us for lunch Natil after they rape us." Katherine added, “Most of them are cannibals.” The young woman she saw the Elf maiden roll her eyes as she disappeared into the jungle.
Natil, wearing nothing but a long t-shirt, walked barefoot into the jungle and along a makeshift path covered in soft black sand covered with overgrowth. As the Harper explored, she noted her surroundings, glancing at many coconut, banana trees and other foods they had in addition to the reef on this island. Turning she heard water and smiling she found a large lagoon of fresh water, fed by a high waterfall, shadowed by a large mountain in what she considered to be the center of this island. She waded up to her waist and took a drink of the sweet water. The Harper was glad to find fresh water on this island and knew that it would prolong their stay here in this paradise. She quickly considered moving their encampment near to the fresh water, but also knew if they did that, there was a chance that they could miss a rescue if a ship passed them by.
"Ah!" Natil said aloud. "At least we are fortunate to have fresh water."
Getting out of the water, The Harper continued to explore this island and soon found herself on the other side of it, on the top of a nasty cliff on one side. From her place on the cliff she could see three smaller islands below, against the waves of the ocean. Shielding her eyes, she peered out at the smaller islands and thought she saw people on them, but could not be sure. It surely confirmed their nightmare they were alone.
“There might be people. I wonder if they are the natives that Katherine spoke of.” The Harper murmured, shrugging indifferently at the thought.
Natil soon found her way back, walking along the beach, splashed by the surf as it rolled up on the black sand. She returned with several gathered coconuts and banana bunches, checking them first for any varmints that could harm them, like poisonous spiders. Natil had quickly spied the webs and even one of the spiders as she had been harvesting them. She managed a nod at the spider that clung to the yellow skin of the bunch of bananas.
"I see this is taken, so I will search for another and leave you your home." She had told the spider, placing the bunch on the ground, and the insect seemed to look up at her. Turning, Natil took the knife to cut another one free bunch from the low hanging tree. She walked away. Walking across a long stretch of beach, she soon ended up where she started and walked toward Katherine. Her footsteps padded on the sand, alerting the young woman.
"Natil?" She asked with an uneasy tone, and she reached for a stick at her side, she had been using as a crutch, thanks to the Harper’s ingenuity.
"Yes Katherine, it's me." Natil said solemnly, raising her hand to the young woman who sat beside a tree.
"Aye, we are on a fairly new island. There seems to be no civilization on this one, and there are three smaller islands near us. I thought I saw someone living there but I am not sure. I did find us an abundance of food and fresh water, as you can see...” with that, the young Harper dropped her burden in front of the young girl. She had also grabbed a stick and she began to sharpen it with the knife.
"GREAT!" The young woman said happily.
"It is a paradise." The Harper said solemnly, "A place with many perils, let me find them and make sure it is safe."
"Is it a very large island?"
"It is. I am not sure how large, but it has a center lagoon," Natil explained, as she placed the gathered wood on the fire, "I think we're safe here unless your natives come to this island for worship."
As Natil poked at the fire with a stick and began thinking about what she had seen today. She had seen the ritual area for herself, a place where many odd looking statues stood, also the blood and gore where ritual actions where performed by the natives in the way of human sacrifices. The Harper deliberately omitted these facts, as not to alarm the young girl.
"I don't want to think about that Natil." Katherine replied, "And you don't have to candy coat it, we're going to be lost for a while, and I understand."
"Perhaps," The Harper said, "I am sure they are looking for us."
"I'm sure they are." Katherine replied politely, “But it will take time for them to track us down where we are, that’s what I was saying.”
“You must have faith.” The Harper replied solemnly, and with that said, the young woman turned her gaze back out to sea. She sat on palm fronds as the sun began setting on the western sky. The young woman did not know of what was to become of her, and her strange companion. She still gave Natil glances every chance she got, still in awe over the strangeness of the Elf Maiden, who was shipwrecked on this island with her. Both were unaware that the Elven Maiden carries five weeks with the first child.
Katherine also assisted Natil as much as she could, setting up a makeshift camp on the beach consisting of a hut made of palm fronds, bamboo, and using vines to secure it. They used large leaves to shade it. The Harper went every day to the reef and she fished on it, usually in the nude, using a makeshift spear. She blessed each kill, thanking it for its sacrifice in which it would keep both her and Katherine alive. The young teenager helped the Elf maiden clean the fish and prepare it for the fire that constantly burned at all hours. She also helped Natil still gather coconuts and bananas, also respecting the homes of the creatures around them.
Night also seemed to come to the island quickly both elf and human huddled near the dim light of the fire. As the fish turned on the spit, Natil sat across from Katherine, clad in a long t-shirt taken from luggage recovered from the ship that floated nearby in the sea before it went down. Katherine sat in her underwear, and no top, next to the fire, her bandaged side clearly showing in the firelight. As she sat there, Natil desperately tried to put the horrors of the night the ship sank behind her and still could see the half-mutilated, burned, and broken bodies that floated in the oily water. She tried to remain focused on Rijiin, her husband and her truest love, who loved her through two timelines. Natil hoped, if not prayed to the goddess, for his swift arrival to find them. She hoped that he did not go down with the ship, after disappearing below decks with a party of staff members, enlisted to rescue passengers who were trapped below.
The Elf maiden had shuddered at the thought and turning her head, regarded Katherine who was staring at her in the dim light. The Elf maiden realizing that the young woman was studying her.
"Are you alright Natil?" Katherine asked, breaking the silence, and the Harper quietly smiled.
"I am fine." She replied, "Just thinking."
"I know it must be hard." The young girl said, "Missing your husband and all."
Natil’s mouth fell open slightly, utterly speechless, and she managed a smile in spite of her feelings.
“You say that, with much difficulty Natil.” Katherine replied, “Your face gives you away.” Natil shuddered at being read like that, but realized that the young girl had merely sensed her worry and longing. The Elf maiden managed a quiet smile, despite the strange feelings she felt deep down inside of herself.
Together on this island, two weeks passed as they lived in this paradise, with no sign of a ship or rescue. No one seemed to know where they were, in the way of a rescue team and Natil gladly kept it that way when it came to the natives that came to the island. The Harper had been right about the island, used as a place of worship by the natives, and all night they both could hear the drums beating on the other side of the island. Natil and Katherine, with difficulty, stayed out of notice.
Lucky for them that both, that earlier in the week Natil had been able to drag the boat to the jungle’s edge, covering it with palm fronds. The water, with one good storm, had erased any tracks showing they were there. There they were safe for the moment, but both did not know for how long. They had moved to a small cave behind the falls of the Lagoon, and hiding there, moving everything from their boat by hand to their new hide-away. There they huddled around the medium fire, and just waited for their rescue. Both were deep brown, from exposure to the sun, Natil fishing on the reef every day.
At Elven Home, however, Mimi stood on the common outside of the home, and with Rijiin's blade, she practiced the forms taught to her by her friend. Battle had come quietly to this sanctuary for the Elves of Denver and a few humans. As Mimi stood there, she carefully, meticulously, repeated the forms, to spin easy as she feinted and slashed, blocked and thrust with a steady rhythm. She attempted to keep the form easy with graceful motions, wide and sweeping. When Mimi stopped, she lowered the blade and closed her eyes, letting the starlight flow through her body and spirit. Applause made her open her eyes and she turned her head to the group lookers who had gathered here: Heather, Laurie, Sana, and Ash, who had come over with Becky from the Home and one of them brought the large jug of iced tea and plastic glasses on a tray.
"That was amazing Mimi." Sandy told her, as she stepped forward, "Where'd you learn how to do that?"
"Rijiin, with the help of the other Elves, taught both Becky and I many years ago." Mimi began, "What you saw is the fighting dance of the Elves." They all had glanced at her friend who had nodded in agreement.
"Yes he did."
"We have a dance?"
"They call it that, what it's for is their swordplay and forms using the power of the Elves… you know the starlight we all have begun to see." Mimi explained, "It's really complicated to really explain it. Rijiin or Natil could tell you more, but they taught us the basics at least."
“That still is amazing, and I know, I wish they were here too." Sana confided, "I don't believe they would die so damn easily." Mimi managed a smile and a knowing nod.
“Me neither, but I still have faith they are still alive, despite they were not found.” Mimi declared, holding the blade straight up in the air.
“What makes you think they are still alive?” Laurie asked, “It’s been over two weeks.”
“I just know Rijiin well enough, and he wouldn’t let something like that take him, or his beloved Harper.” Mouse replied, “I expect him to arrive any day.”
“At least you can focus on that.” Laurie said, “I just don’t know.”
"And I guess you have to be the teacher and teach us the dance someday and the swordplay." Laurie suggested. Mimi laughed aloud, her mirth echoing through the trees.
"Aye, I definitely shall do…" Mimi replied with a smirk, but it quickly faded as she suddenly sensed something sinister looming around them. At first, Mimi's reaction had been astonishment, as the feeling of pure evil and gloom seem to descend upon Elven Home. It was something she had never encountered before, and Rijiin had only mentioned to the group as an entity that had followed him throughout history that he traveled. Now it was here, and she did not know exactly what she could do about it.
"Alas, you might see the dance again very soon." Mimi growled, as she felt the evil descend closer. Mouse shivered at the feeling, drawing Rijiin's blade with a metallic ring from its scabbard and held it ready. Nearby, a flash appeared, and the back of a figure lumbered from within it.
The figure was tall, with a long white hair, and he wore a long red crimson robe. Mimi sensed hatred and evil with this being, more sinister than she had ever seen in the dark ages when visiting Rijiin and Natil through the winds of time. The name seemed to form on her lips.
"Tantras of Thay." Mimi muttered, and she held up the blade as he sensed her. The mage turned, facing the four Elves who stood there. They all stared into the burning albino eyes that twinkled with the purest evil.
"Who is it that mortals tread on holy ground?" Mimi challenged. The wizard stared at the four in silence, before he spoke. The wizard had expected Rijiin to be standing here when he had cast the portal, and grimaced when he stared at the trio of young women in silence.
"You are not Rijiin." He said his voice raspy, "I seek Rijiin L'Theil and you have five minutes to hand him over or suffer a fate worse than death."
Mimi, however, bravely stepped forward and raised the blade, ready for the Mage to make the first move.
"Mouse," Becky whispered, "Don't, you will be killed."
He noted the blade she held in her hands and absently rubbed the scar on this throat as his thick white eyebrows rose in curiosity. He had recognized it as the blade that Rijiin used to cut him, and almost had taken him if it had not been for a doppelganger golem that he had cast in his place.
"If you are seeking Rijiin, he is not here in physical form, he is here in spirit." Mimi said, "He perished at the hand of the sea."
Here, she motioned to the silent grave markers bearing the names of Natil and Rijiin. Two weeks had already passed quickly, and they had all been at Elven Home when the call had been received, telling them that there was no success in finding the remains of Rijiin and Natil. They were not able, even with search patterns over the ocean, to find the missing raft not accounted for among the others. It was mainly because no one was aware that they were not dead, and were marooned somewhere deep in the South Pacific. The wizard lumbered to the silent graves, his eyes furrowed as he read the names many times.
"Lies!" He shouted loudly, his voice thundering, as it echoed through the mountains. His voice had alerted the others, and they all ran from inside the Home. Tantras suddenly faced off with all of the residents of Elven Home. A look of fear briefly appeared on his face.
"If you think he is alive, you should seek him elsewhere Lord Tantras, because they are not here. You are welcome to go to that place." Challenged the young Elf maiden, "Yes, I know who and what you are. He has fallen by another's hand. I suggest you leave this place or face Elven wrath." Mouse heard his laughter, and then a snarl.
"Wrath from whom? You… Little one?" He snarled sarcastically, "You mistakenly underestimate your position. I am your death fool." He threatened, and Mimi drew a line on the ground, remaining calm. The motion made the wizard frown and scoff in a sarcasm.
“Then come and take me if you can.” Mimi challenged, holding the blade ready, and she readied herself, keeping alert for any aggressive move by Tantras.
She remembered what Rijiin had told them about Tantras, and during his adventures where he helped to enslave kingdoms. It wasn’t until the Elf started to realize how evil the wizard had become, that he had led a revolt against him and destroyed him in a one on one fight. He also realized that it had been a deception during that fight, and Tantras had snuck away, the wizard’s arcane magic had protected him in the end. He also told them of that brave fight, when he had found himself in the twentieth century at a place he had been when he had been human many years ago. He told them of the place of learning called Bellbrook, in which he had made a brief but complete circle. Here Tantras followed and he killed innocent blood, forcing him to fight again. But once again, the mage had slipped away from the fight even after Rijiin had taken his head with his inept use of steel.
"Come and take it if you can, as I am not afraid." Mouse challenge bravely, and she heard Tantras snarl. She caught the glimpse of a ragged scar across his throat, where Rijiin had cut him several times. Mimi knew she would have to cut deep, and with one stroke, in order to take him too. She shook her head at the thought. The others had also heard her challenge, and glanced at her.
"Rijiin has taught you well, young one." He snarled, "I give you a chance at life, to hand him over or perish. I can see you are a fool, instead. I shall be generous, I give you a week produce him, or I will destroy you, your friends, and this place."
"And apparently those cuts did not make a difference or take him." Mimi thought, "I must move swiftly, using the starlight and connect to my stars, otherwise he will certainly kill me."
Tantras grimaced, and an aura of energy flashed around him as he disappeared.
"Damn, Rijiin where are you?" Mimi grumbled, sheathing the blade as all the Elves were looking at her.
"What? I did not want his challenge, never did but I spoke the truth. Rijiin isn't here, and I bloody wish the hell he was." She paused for a breath, exhaling sharply. "I hope and pray Rijiin is alive and well. So he can take care of this matter, ending it once and for all."
"For Elven Home's sake you hopefully are right." Hadden said, "Or you stand alone in this fight. You have power we do not yet understand, and skills learned from someone such as Rijiin. You will fight this Tantras of Thay alone."
"Then so be it." Mimi said, bowing slightly to Hadden, "I accept that challenge."
"No way Mimi," Becky said, "I'm in too."
"Then you both had better find, and ready yourselves for battle."
Both nodded, bowing slightly. "By your command," They both said simultaneously, and Hadden just grinned ruefully, shaking his head.
Laurie, Sana, Ash and Heather followed Mimi and Becky into the woods, not far from the home. It is here they watched as their friends did the forms of the fighting dance, and they sparred. Each time their swords clashed, Sana and Laurie, even Ash cringed at the sound that echoed across the valley near them. Mimi motioned to them, handing them both a bo-ken (wooden sword), and together she and Becky taught them the fighting dance motions. It is the same ones that had survived the test of time, thanks to Natil and Rijiin.
The elves practiced the forms for several hours, and they sat in a group, meditating, focusing on the starlight that burned clear and cold in the darkness.
Just as battle ensues to start at Elven Home, and Mimi prepares for battle with the other Elves: Rijiin L'Theil now lies on a beach, his unconscious body partially in and out of the surf that swirls around his feet. Thankfully he is alive and well after a harrowing adventure at sea. As he lies on the beach that he does not hear the jabber of the islander children who have gathered around him or felt the prod of sticks that poke his body. Nor did he hear the scream of the other adult natives as they ran toward him moments later, pulling away their children, and prodding him with fishing spears. It is only when the Elf failed to move, that the group knelt beside him to examine him and place their hands upon his chest.
“Kapala Nao!” They gasped, as they held their hands over the chest of the Elf, feeling the strong beat of his heart there. Their gazes fell upon each other, then to the Elf, to the sea and back to the Elf before they merely shook their head in bewildered silence.
Rijiin was promptly lifted by several warriors onto their broad shoulders and taken to their nearby village. Here he was placed in a hut, bathed, and his wounds tended before someone waited with him in the hut to report if he showed signs of life at any time.
Days later, when Rijiin finally awoke, he slowly opened his eyes, focusing quickly on the thatched roof above him and he stared at it in silence. He quickly regained his senses, realizing that he was no longer in the middle of the ocean but in a structure, in what appeared to be a hut. As he continued to peer at it in silence, he did so for a long time before trying to move his extremities. When he did so he felt the pain in his leg, it reminded him what he had been through had not been a dream. He really had found himself in the ocean on a piece of debris and the ship had gone down into the silent Pacific Ocean.
Turning his head, his eyes moved quickly along the interior of the hut, staring at the many baskets and what appeared to be preparation tables scattered throughout the room. This hut is rather large, and he found himself unrestrained on a table. Rijiin managed a frown, before he turned his head, sensing someone beside him. The person he sensed is that of a young girl named Miramani, and she has been here since dawn, relieving the watch of people overseeing the Elf’s quick recovery.
“By our lady, where am I?” Rijiin asked himself, and slowly, he blinked his eyes. His eyes fell on the young girl, who is hunkered down, dozing. He scrutinized her in silence, noting that she has tanned skin, black hair and what appeared to be that of an Asiatic descent. When the young girl opened her eyes, realizing he was awake that she jumped to her feet with a yelp, and backed away toward the door. He suddenly found himself reminded of Mirya, who had stayed at his side while he was unconscious when he had arrived in Adria, five hundred years ago, and later Sana, who had been at his side at Elven home. But this half naked native girl wasn’t hardly like Mirya or Sana who had been with him in Adria or Elven Home. He found himself suddenly curious about her and where he truly was.
Slowly, the Elf sat up, feeling a slight case of nausea and fatigue, having literally ridden the ocean currents for his life against incredible odds on the debris of the ship. He had skirted the fringe of three hurricanes, battled dehydration, and even sharks, managing to come ashore on the island where he now found himself. Glancing down, he immediately checked himself over, noting thankfully he was in one piece. His tanned muscular body had been washed and his wounds had been mended. Other wounds were only red scars from herbal ointment to help them heal quickly. Rijiin found he was thankful for the intervention, despite the circumstances.
When the Elf turned his head back to acknowledge the astonished girl, Miramani, whom he ignored for the last few minutes, he met her gaze with a grin. The young girl had been watching him fearful silence and continued to back away a few steps in awe of the Elf's presence.
"Blessings upon you," He said formally, finally speaking to her and with that, he bowed slightly. "Where am I? Where is this place please?"
"Ne-koko, ka-plana." The girl replied, shaking her head and grimacing. Rijiin cocked his head, in half-understanding. "Ka-wana ola!"
"My name is Rijiin, Rijiin L'Theil, do you have a name?" He pressed, "Can you understand me?"
"Alla Kopa!" the young girl shrieked, still backing toward the door in fear.
"What does she fear I wonder?" Rijiin thought quietly watching her retreat toward the door. His head turned, and casually his gaze moved about the hut again. His eyes fell on the interior of the hut, making him grimace as he observed closer at hand the baskets that scattered the hut and their contents. Here, he noted there were hands, other body parts, including heads and animal parts all covered with dried blood. Rijiin frowned distastefully at the sight, quickly learning the truth of the matter of where he was and what he had fallen into. Slowly he staggered to his feet. He had an overwhelming feeling to get the hell out of there.
"Cannibals…" The Elf said quietly, "Great, just freaking great. I had better depart this place quickly or end up as a meal."
The Elf, with the gruesome sight around him, suddenly found himself reminded of a film of long ago called Cannibal Holocaust. It was a movie he had seen about adventurers eaten by cannibals in South America by a native tribe. That instance was now a nightmare of reality for the Elf at his very moment and suddenly he had a sinking feeling that he was nothing more than the main course for these natives. He bravely faced the girl, taking up a defensive posture, but his leg gave way causing him to stumble. The young girl fled, darting for the door and he could hear her yelling in the darkness.
Rijiin staggered toward the door after her, but stopped, quickly realizing he was not alone. He could clearly see two warriors who stood on guard here in the dim shadows.
“Ah I have company.” Rijiin thought, and he quickly considered his next move carefully before he acted upon it.
Quickly, with a snap, he pulled them both inside, hitting them just right to drop them onto the floor unconscious. He refrained from killing them, as Elves did not kill, they healed. (Even though they were capable of killing and Rijiin was no stranger of taking life, doing so for the last four hundred years.) He hobbled passed them through the door into the darkness without another glance, immediately heading into the jungle with silent steps. He stealthily and easily avoided the traps along the path toward the sound of the surf he could hear in the distance and toward his freedom.
“I’d better get out of here, quick.” He said as he turning his head toward another small narrow path that led away from the huts and village.
Behind him, there was a crash and shouts as warriors had emerged from the hut holding the two guards that he had immobilized with one hit. It made him push himself harder into the thick undergrowth of the jungle.
“Damn they found the warriors that I wiped out.” The Elf thought, realizing they had found his handiwork “This is going to get ugly very fast. I’d better be alert and on my game.” Rijiin grimaced as the shouting became louder.
The Elf continued to hobble with noiseless steps through the jungle, hearing the crashing of footsteps through the undergrowth behind him as the natives tried to flush him out. He heard a puff and whistle, as he ducked and dodged, feeling the graze of a poison dart move past his ear. Thankfully, the shooter had been off and barely grazed Rijiin with the fletching on the dart that stuck into the tree bark nearby.
“Great… They are trying to kill me now. I guess I have no choice but to return the favor and it’s the only way to get out of this place alive.” Rijiin thought, realizing what he must do, “It is something that I did not want to do, but must. Forgive me, my goddess.”
The Elf sighed deeply, closing his eyes to gather himself with the starlight in the darkness. Rijiin finally began taking the native warriors out, one by one, popping out of the undergrowth to grab a native by his head and with a twist, hearing a crunch as he cleanly snapped the neck. He let the body fall with a crashing thud, and disappeared again into the brush, making his way again toward the sound of surf in the distance.
As the Elf hobbled along the narrow path, he ran across another warrior. Rijiin managed a groan, as he moved like lightning, his leg numb now, and he slid in behind the warrior, striking two hits to the neck, breaking the native’s spine expertly in two places. As the body crumpled onto the ground, he disappeared back into the jungle hobbling along the path, only to be confronted again. Here he managed a sigh and readied himself for another unnecessary battle.
“Why can’t they just let me go free?” Rijiin thought, “Must humans kill everyone they see?”
He darted toward the native this time, moving like a cat and pivoted to kick the side of the warrior's head to decapitate him in a splatter of blood. He turned to grab another native's head in his hands, ramming his forehead into the face of the warrior. The Elf heard a crunch, feeling the native’s body stiffen, knowing that he had driven the nose bone of the warrior up into the brain. The Elf had made his escape fast, hard and mercilessly, killing four of his adversaries in the first fifteen minutes of his escape, despite the Elves’ vows of non-violence and healing. No doubt, Rijiin knew, he would have to seek renewal next May for a hostile deed such as this.
"No time to be sad, it is survival." Rijiin thought to himself, trying to put his mind at ease by using steady logic.
"But, when is killing logical? Perhaps they were out to capture me and this is totally unnecessary.” The Elf thought. “Perhaps I should hold back and keep from killing another of them until I find out their intentions and just escape instead.”
When he reached the beach, he hobbled toward the water and with a splash he dove into the waves, disappearing into the darkness. By morning, Rijiin made his way on shore of the large island having crossed over two miles of open water. When he staggered onto the beach, he collapsed into the sand for only a moment before making his way into the jungle. The Elf had succeeded in his escape and found concealment in the trees and brush. As he crouched, he waited, and watched for the islanders, realizing they had not followed him to the main island. The elf sensed he was safe for the moment and flexed his leg, also knowing he was healed, the starlight energy protecting him as he made his dangerous crossing.
“They probably are still assuming I am still on their little island, hiding still.” Rijiin thought, and he managed a large grin at the situation he found before him. He managed a chuckle. Thankfully on the other island, the surf had erased most his tracks leading into water, and he had disappeared by diving though the large waves that crashed onto the shore. The Elf realized though, it would only a matter of time and they would come here to look for him with, no doubt, payback on their little minds.
Fifteen minutes later, following the path, he entered a nearby clearing and grimaced when smelling rotting flesh and the metallic smell of blood. Rijiin had found the altar where the natives worshipped, and sacrificed. It is a dreadful sight of rotting flesh and blood covering the stone where they performed sacrifices on its rough, gray surface. The same dreadful sight that Natil herself had seen when searching the island for anyone living in this paradise. Flies buzzed around the fresh looking blood that dribbled into the plants near the large stones. A large statue face, he closely recognized to Easter Island's statues loomed over and around him. The Elf knew, however, they were probably far from the real Easter Island. His gray eyes scanned the ritual area in stolid silence.
“By the Lady,” Rijiin murmured, shaking his head at the extreme violence around him. The gore upset him and he turned to look away in disgust from the blood-covered altar. He grimaced at the horrendous smell of the blood, and the sight of human entrails that covered the ground. It was hard to not look at the violence around him.
"They probably sacrifice their victims in a ritual fury." Rijiin thought, grimacing at the sight, and trying desperately not to throw up in the process of standing there. He waved his hand, batting the flies away that swarmed around him.
Still feeling nauseous, the Elf turned to walk into the jungle on a semi-visible path away from the gruesome sight. Quickly, he quickly navigated the thick jungle, fording streams, and ended up at the lake located in the center of the island fed by a roaring waterfall. Here he was surprised by the beauty of this island, in which had thick jungle surrounding the large lagoon that was fed by a high waterfall from the mountain that towered before him.
“Wow, what a spectacular place.” Rijiin thought, and he turned his head, scanning the surroundings. It is here that he saw two figures standing under the falls which made him drop to his knees, crouching low. The Elf peered at the falls, watching the two people standing under the cascading water. At first he thought they were natives, but realized it was not and he was in error when spying the familiar long reddish hair and semi-pale skin. He quickly recognized the fantastic figure of his wife almost immediately.
"By our Lady, it's… Natil!" He thought happily, as he stood up, waving to the two women, trying to call to them. But his voice was muffled by the roar of the falls. Rijiin ran toward the water, and with a splash, he dove into the water. The Elf swam hard toward the falls. Katherine had turned in alarm when seeing the form of Natil’s husband swimming toward them. She tried to cover herself instinctively with her hands over her body.
"Someone is here!" Katherine squeaked, trying to cover herself. "Shit! We need to make a run for it!"
Natil had turned too, and she frowned only a moment, smiling broadly as if to sense her husband almost immediately.
"Indeed." She replied, "But, I do believe we are going to be fine. It is not necessary to retreat. We are not in any danger."
“But Natil, it could be a native, here to rape and murder us.” Katherine squeaked, hobbling toward her ragged shirt, quickly dressing.
Natil said nothing as she stared at the dark form of Rijiin, approaching under water, and finally surfacing near the rocks where he bobbed there for a moment with a big smile on his face. The Harper let out an astonished gasp.
"Rijiin!" She stammered, "It is you! Where on… How did you…” She let out an excited gasp.
"Greetings, Ms. L'Theil!" He exclaimed, grasping onto a nearby rock, half treading water. The Elf was glad to see his wife again, alive and well. The young girl peered at the Elf in the same astonishment.
Katherine turned as Natil jumped off the rocks into the water and breaking the surface a moment later, she embraced her husband, kissing him furiously on the face. Rijiin kissed her back, and he held her arm as they swam to the rocks. The Harper was glad to see him, although she was also very perplexed how he got here so quickly.
“But I did say I wish he would get here quickly after he was rescued.” Natil thought, wondering, “I guess he did what I asked. I wonder though if he utilized Elven Magic to do it.”
"Nice place you have here.” Rijiin complimented, after scanning the surroundings in silence. The Harper flashed a smile. He stared at her semi-tanned body and grinned.
“Nice tan too.” He said, holding her tightly against him. She heard his laugh echo the cove and lagoon.
"Well, despite what it is, it is home for the moment.” She replied with a nod. “And I have seen a lot of sun lately.”
He grinned at her.
“By the Lady, I am so glad to see you, beloved. How'd you find us so quickly?"
"I don't know. I guess I followed my nose and here I am.” He said, "What happened on the ship? Why didn't you wait for me?"
"I was blown off the deck of the ship by one of the explosions and before I knew it, I was in the water. I found myself clinging to one of the life rafts but was fortunate not be harmed severely by the flying debris until after climbing into the raft. I was knocked out for a while. I pulled Katherine from the water as the ship began to sink, she was moderately injured. "
"It is a miracle," He said, "I was enlisted to assist the Captain, and managed to save a few to the deck where they were placed into life rafts. Before I could get in one, I found myself in the water as well. I was lucky to grab onto a piece of wreckage, and I don't remember anything, until I found myself on a beach of the island next to this one."
"You mean you did not come on a ship, to take us home?" The young girl asked, and he shook his head.
"Beloved! You're bleeding!" The Harper observed, and he glanced down at the red colored splotches on his shirt.
"Be at peace, it is not my own. It belongs to the natives that are on the other islands." Rijiin explained, "I had a minor run in with them after being taken to their village, where I was invited to dinner. An event I formally bowed out of when I realized I was the main course. As I was leaving their island, I left a few of them in non working order too. Don't be surprised if they come here looking for me, for a little revenge."
"You killed a few of them?" Natil asked, with a look of surprise on her face. He nodded his head slightly and the young girl, beside Natil, pursed her lips in silence.
“If it bothers you so much…” He said, and with that he pulled off the blood-covered shirt, revealing his ripped muscular chest. She smiled in silent amusement, staring in admiration of his upper body.
As the Harper thought about it, she knew he was capable of that, able to efficiently kill and only knew that because during one night at Elven Home he told them of his adventurers with many martyrs of history. He admitted to slaughtering many men during many battles, and wars throughout his wandering history. Natil let out a quiet sigh too, remembering that Rijiin also had slain many Inquisition soldiers and clergy while they were in Adria together. The Elf could heal, but he seemed to take more life than give it back.
"He is perhaps too capable." Thought Natil and grimaced for a moment, meeting his serious face.
"It wasn't intentional at first." He declared, holding his wife warmly, "But I had no choice after they started shooting poison darts at me. They were going to try to kill me anyway, so I took matters into my own hands, responding to it accordingly." His wife nodded slightly in reply.
"As it was a long time ago, Rijiin. The Elves just can't go on in peace without bloodshed." She murmured, "Varden and Terrill found that out when they slew the humans who persecuted, tortured, and murdered Mirya before she was reborn from a bedraggled healer girl named Miriam. They learned the price of their actions."
“You seemed to learn it the hard way with this bad encounter in the same way.” She told him and he nodded slightly.
"Yea, with a damn high price…" muttered the Elf, remembering the story, and the high price that Mirya also paid later on with her revenge too. She had done the same violence, and slain Baron Roger in revenge for her rape, but discovered he was a sick man and could not help himself. She had changed his patterns that made up his very essence and healed him instead. He held his wife silently.
Rijiin's thoughts became distant, suddenly reminded of all the bloodshed he had performed throughout four hundred years. It had started with the Inquisition, then throughout the centuries during the many wars, battles, and martyrs, he had fought along side. The journey ended with slaying Germans, during the last World War, and during those times he had healed only a fraction of that, taking more life than helping give back.
He grimaced at the memory of his arrival at Adria after a year and a quarter away, as he walked unabashed in Maris, sword at his side, and hair pushed back, showing he was one of the fair-folk. He had heard the words so often in his travels, ‘Arrest that creature in the name of god’ and having to draw his blade, and take life to protect his own and existence as he was, an immortal elf. He sighed at the memory and shook his head slightly, to clear the offending images. But it had not been enough, he still was a killer, of men women and children, mortal man which he openly did so quite often than not.
But what had tested his strength, resolve and courage was when e sighedexisting alone in the woods. The elf did not know he found himself pulled once again through history, permanently into a turbulent time where the world was at war. When he awoke once more from a period of sleep, as often as he had lately, he stepped outside the door of his lone cabin as the sounds of war had come to his door.
War ravaged the land as Germany had invaded countries, engulfed men women and children in the crematoriums of evil that sprung up around him after their death in the gas chambers of the many camps. Starlight power of the elves that inhabited his very soul had long since vanished in now four hundred years he had been around in the world. He was completely and utterly alone with no sign of the Creatrix of the elves, or the starlight that inhabited his very soul. Rijiin unknowingly found himself brought permanently from the year seventeen hundred and ninety one to the year nineteen forty-five deep into Germany during the last days of World War Two.
Unaware of this move, Rijiin walked often in the forest from which he lived freely. He would take many walks often in the forest, his home remaining hidden from the armies who had fought through them. It had been rare to find anyone about, as a war-torn land befell him. However, it is in the midst of his latest walk that he saw lights and almost invisible, one of the famed death camps of Nazi Germany. Rijiin, as he approached the camp’s edge in the tree line, had sensed death, and saw bodies of those who had died here. The bodies of the dead lay strewn on the ground, rotting and unburied. The half-starved, living prisoners stood like zombies against the wire. Rijiin sensed disease that ran rampant here too and through it all, the elf knew he could not help them, as he had been able to before.
“Damn.” Rijiin muttered, shaking his head at the horrifying sight, stepping back as if to put a distance from the stench and the situation that now lay before him. The elf, carrying his sword at his side walked into the open near the gates of this hell and when he saw more prisoners and bodies, he let out a silent moan. The elf closed his eyes seeing only darkness, wishing that he could just fade like the others into oblivion. Although to the elf, if he had the starlight he could always help and heal, making a difference to change what is happening now, to put an end to this mess. Nevertheless, he could not do anything to help or change his surroundings.
Opening his eyes abruptly, he only saw the zombie figures of those people highlighted in the dim light and turning his head, he heard shouts as a few men in uniform charged toward him with dogs. The men held nasty looking weapons, shouting at him in German. Rijiin stood his ground as they approached and he held his blade ready to draw. When a soldier had stepped up toward him, he drew and beheaded him on the spot. The head rolled from the soldier’s neck and the face showing complete surprise. Blood splattered across the ground as the body dropped limply to its knees and Rijiin sharply kicked it down with his foot. There was a gasp by all of the soldiers present, unprepared for Rijiin’s barbaric display as they saw him slice cleanly across the soldier’s neck and the blood spurting from his body, splattering the ground. The elf had shown little no mercy as he slew the soldier. Rijiin moved in a quick spin and in the same fashion pivoted to do the same deed to another soldier. The elf stared at them in the dim light, holding his blade ready, almost daring them to approach. They saw Rijiin’s gray eyes seem to twinkle brightly, as if there were starlight there and the soldiers clearly saw death in the elf’s eyes. He did not know he was glowing slightly and the soldiers murmured in fear.
Kneeling, he wiped the blade on the uniform of a dead soldier and closed his eyes to blot out the offensiveness around him. As he knelt there for a brief moment, he gasped as a flash of starlight flickered and burst in like an explosion throughout his body. It is something that Rijiin missed in now four hundred years, four centuries as he traveled across many nations, without the starlight of the elves and the power that bound them.
“By our lady, why does the starlight always appear during a conflict? And why is it coming during this specific one?” He wondered, “Perhaps it is the lady looking out for me as she did before.”
Remembering the soldiers, Rijiin turned his head, and with eyes flashing, he knew what to do. The elf would do the same thing as he had done centuries ago. He would declare a one-man war and waste the soldiers where they stood, just as he had done through the ages he had lived through. He knew what stood before him, the Nazi Third Reich, mass murderers of a million Jewish people who had no beef with the Nazis and he had an opportunity here to make a just a little of that right. Holding his blade, Rijiin pointed it at the soldiers who fired their machine guns at him, and the bullets struck him. The elf stumbled, knocked down by the bullets, but was unharmed as he sat up, still grasping his blade in hand. The elf put some comedy to it, grinning at the soldiers, brushing off the bullets that fell on the ground with a metallic ‘click’ sound. Fear came over the soldiers as he silently stood up and he faced them. They fired again and with the same result. The elf merely stood up and faced them. This time he let out a laugh at the soldiers as they glanced down at their weapons. It was a maniacal laughter.
“Now it is my turn.” Rijiin declared sharply, holding the blade ready, the razor sharp steel glistening in the light as he pointed it at the soldiers. He would now become their executioner. Moving his hand, he pointed to the gate and it opened behind the soldiers, a stiff wind whistled through the opening. It made them murmur in fear as it rustled the leaves around him and the elf’s cloak. He charged them, pivoting as they tried to strike him and without a further word, he beheaded two nearest to him. He pointed the blade at the other soldiers, and they saw the now bright aura that surrounded the elf. There was a murmur of fear as they took one-step back as he charged again. The elf’s blade flashed as it struck their hands, cleanly cutting them off, and the weapons clattered as they hit the ground. He ran the steel through their hearts watching the blood spurt as they fell to the ground to lie still in a pool of their own blood. Their screams echoed through the camp and around him, the prisoners watched as Rijiin charged the soldiers. The elf cut them down with no mercy, ignoring the ones who surrendered to slay them too. He spun in to kick a third, making him fall and he thrust the steel downward to twist. Rijiin turned his attention to the remaining men, noting that many had seen the slaughter and retreated for reinforcements as he walked toward the nearest gate. The elf had no idea who was here, and how many countless people had perished in this place. He was a healer, and all he really felt was the starlight power coursing through his veins.
“ELTHIA!” His voice rang out as he charged and the cold steel cut more soldiers of the Reich down in cold blood. Prisoners and soldiers alike had both looked up as the elf’s voice rang out. Rijiin continued his onslaught, leaving dead Nazi soldiers in his wake. Others soldiers watched in horror as the elf cleanly killed their comrades no matter they were armed or unarmed. He slew them anyway for the sheer sport of slaying them, knowing the evil they represented. It was the same way as the soldiers long ago, who were part of the Inquisition, the same slaughter, no mercy, and total revenge. Then it occurred to the elf with a sudden realization of what he was doing and he gasped at the revelation.
“Whose revenge would it be for, Elven or Jewish?” He thought, realizing he had slain the Nazi Third Reich soldiers after passing cold-hearted judgment and execution of each one.
“What right does it give me to pass judgment on mortals?” He asked himself, “I am immortal, and it is not my place to be judge, jury and their executioner for what they have done and are not a part of. I am a healer, and have been for centuries. It is my place to help and heal, not kill. No matter if they be German, Polish, French, Jewish, it should not matter at all.” The elf felt a chill sweep through his bones, and he shivered slightly at the feeling deep down inside. He knew he would have to answer to the goddess if she still existed and silently sought renewal and peace next May.
“But then again, what right does the Nazi have to mass murder millions of Jewish people in other camps like this one and who will stop them and not let them get away with it? What is one less Nazi to sleep in hell tonight for his actions against others?” The elf did not know the answer. He would not understand until much later when he stood before the Lady in blue and silver many years from now. Right now, however, the elf continued walking further and further into the camp, passing the soldiers as his blade continued to flash. When it was over, the elf held the blade in hand, walking toward the bunch of tents that made up this horrific sight around him. Rijiin peered in at the ghostly, startled faces that stared back at him. His hands began to glow and he closed his eyes, letting the starlight flow. Rijiin felt a tug on his arm, and the elf knelt beside a young girl, perhaps thirteen years old who stood at his elbow. He let the healing energy cascade over her.
“Are you American or the British?” The voice asked, Rijiin cocked his head, and he shook his head.
“I am not. Be at peace, the war is over for you.” Rijiin said, letting the healing touch flow over her. “…And for you all!” The elf frowned when he did not hear a cheer, only seeing the effects of abuse, the haunted and hollow stares. The young girl gasped as she felt warmth of healing energy touch her very soul. The disease, sickness, and starvation vanished. Rijiin turned to another, and he let the power flow freely over them. More people walked toward him and the elf healed them too, going from tent to tent examining each person.
“Come be healed and we shall leave this terrible place.” He told them, “Come with me if you want to live.”
Rijiin kicked open the door of one barracks in the compound, amidst the remains of unburied bodies. He walked among the half clothed females who squealed in terror as they saw him enter, holding his blade ready in his hand. He sheathed the blade, speaking in their native language. In his travels, the elf had learned a lot about the world he lived in, and was able to catch on and quickly learn many languages. The elf kept his wits about him as he walked into the structure.
“Come, be healed, and be whole.” Rijiin murmured as he went to each bed, examining those who had lay on them sick or dying. The elf let the power of healing flow as he healed them, the glow of starlight flowing through him. He cared for the sick and dying as Mirya had centuries ago, or even perhaps Natil who would have harped for them. He suddenly wished the young Harper were here with him right now, finding it difficult to ignore the horrors of war around him caused by the needless persecution of another culture and race.
“All based on hatred.” Rijiin thought as he remembered it was just like the Elves, only much worse, and the only difference it is in a different time and place.
“By our lady there is so many.” He thought, “Natil and I together could heal quickly if she assisted on the harp.”
The elf grimaced as he turned, continuing his task of healing. As the young traveler did so, he did not recognize two young women who lay sick and dying on the bed before him. Rijiin, as he healed found himself overwhelmed by the abuse conducted here by the Nazis. He was unaware that it was Margot and Anne Frank who lay unconscious on the beds before him, and he was in Bergen-Belsen the famed camp where they would die. The young elf let his healing powers flow over them, unaware of their identity and when he finished, he had nodded to Anne whose eyes fluttered open a few minutes later. He moved to finish his task in this shanty, healing many more prisoners who were crammed into this confined space.
When Anne sat up, her dark eyes found the elf nearby healing fellow prisoners. She peered at the solemn gray eyes, filled with the twinkle of starlight as he worked over another female prisoner. Smiling, the elf nodded a silent greeting to her. The elf’s face showed a hint of recognition, feeling a strange déjà-vu at the familiar face. As Rijiin walked toward her, the others around him watched the elf curiously. He knelt beside Anne’s sister Margot who remained unconscious. Shaking his head, the elf picked her up in his arms, carrying her to the door with the multitudes of survivors he had managed to save from certain death. Outside, the elf spying the arrival of reinforcements, he had put down Margot and he motioned the prisoners back. He drew his blade and he stood alone to face them. His blade gleamed brightly like the starlight in his eyes.
“It is not right that life’s blood, being precious, be spilled this day and you have committed acts of vulgarity to the rights of humanity.” He shouted loudly, “They shall now be avenged!”
Rijiin, felt the starlight grow, and a glow appeared around him. He stood with his blade drawn as the soldiers opened up with their machine guns on the elf. Their bullets seemed to stop in front of Rijiin, as if time became frozen. There were gasps of amazement all around by soldiers and prisoners both. The elf stood facing them, with the power of starlight strong in his eyes. He stared at the bullets that seemed frozen in time before him and he reached out to take one, examining it before he dropped it onto the ground. The rest dropped to the ground with the same metallic click. Rijiin raised his blade to point it at the soldiers. They looked down at their weapons as he approached them. Fear and amazement rippled through the soldiers and prisoners.
“It is enough. You now all shall die, quickly, mercifully and painlessly.” Rijiin declared, “Revenge for the millions you have murdered in cold blood for I am the eleventh commandment: Thou shalt not get away with it.”
The elf spoke clearly, his accented voice filled with starlight as it carried no hatred, anger, or mercy when he charged the soldiers, cutting each one down in cold blood. A few of them cowered in fear and Rijiin felt their terror as he slew them. Turning, he beheaded another soldier who stepped toward him with his arms up in surrender. Each soldier died without a sound as he had promised. The elf stood before the Commandant of the camp who pulled his pistol and shot at Rijiin. The elf took three bullets without stopping and placed the blade at the commandant’s throat. The elf saw fear in the human’s eyes as he realized that Rijiin was not affected by his bullets or could be harmed by mortal man. The elf with one swipe, took his head that rolled from the neck of his body. When he was done, bodies lay at his feet, as did body parts and here he cleaned his blade of blood on their uniforms with two strokes. The battle had finished, Rijiin and the prisoners the only living things behind the wire of this camp.
Turning he walked back to the stunned and perplexed Anne who knelt beside the unconscious form of her sister Margot. Rijiin met her dark eyes in silence and merely nodded a greeting to her. Around them, everyone’s attention now focused upon the elf. He was the one man who had walked alone through the camp, continuing an onslaught against the Germans with no mercy or compassion. The elf slew all the soldiers until it was just the elf and the living prisoners who remained. Rijiin glanced at Anne who watched him continue to help and heal every prisoner still living. They had heard his statement, and most had curious looks on their faces.
“Why did you kill them?” Anne asked, “You slew the unarmed soldiers who dropped their weapons and raised their hand in surrender. Aren’t you going to take prisoners?”
“Be at peace.” He said, “Revenge for persecution me’ lady, as it was with my people once, it is with yours. We share a common goal mistress, for you, your sister and the many others now standing about you.”
The young woman showed surprise as the elf spoke to her. She heard the unfamiliar accent in his voice, stilting his German and she raised an eyebrow. He had not answered her question, but had deliberately avoided it. By his action, and the violence around him it clearly had spoken his intent that there were no quarters or captives taken this day. The elf knew by this action he was no better than the Nazi, murdering in cold blood. The Reich though, Rijiin realized was pure evil, needing removal like a virus and the elf was the tool to do it. He frowned slightly at the idle thoughts and realized that he could always escort Anne and Margot to their home in Amsterdam when it was time. Right now, he could only offer the many survivors safety in his spacious cabin until the war was partially over in Europe.