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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4. Chapter 3

Chapter 3:

By Craig A. Price Jr.

                Starlyn made sure to stop by her friend’s shop in the center of Sudegam. She told her to look after her mother for her, and Aliuqa was more than happy to help. Aliuqa was the herbalist of the elves, and the most unique of them all without the pale skin of most of the elves. She was one of the firsts that took a look at her mother for her, but couldn’t find anything wrong with her. Even different healing herbal remedies were ineffective.

                She headed out of the elven capital to the north. In the first meadow away from the city she whistled into the air with a call. After only a few minutes a deer trotted through some trees towards her. She smiled at the approach of her old friend. They had been on many rides together. Moonlight was her name. This time it would be the furthest the two of them had gone together.

                The young elf that retrieved her from her mother’s home stood in front of her, mounted on his deer. He was less than a hundred years old and still very young in the elves eyes. It was he that she must follow, for he knew where she needed to be. The way was far to the north, farther than she’d ever been.

                “Well my dear Moonlight, it is time we left Sudegam and begin an adventure, are you ready?”

                Moonlight looked up at her and nodded in understanding. Starlyn smiled and stroked her friend a few times on the neck. This journey would definitely test their friendship, yet Starlyn felt it would be alright. Moonlight seemed the truest friend she still had. It was a hard thing to accept that more trust could be placed in an animal than a person, but that was how she felt.

                Traveling was long and tedious for nearly two days north until they finally arrived. She instantly noticed a few elves she had asked to search for clues. It was hopefully that they had actually searched so far for news of her sister. Although one of the elves, Vil’ek, had been in love with her sister. She wasn’t able to trust him, but she did figure she could count on him to find out what had happened.

                For years, ever since Starlyn was a child, she remembered Vil’ek coming around and spending time with her sister. It was bluntly obvious that he was in love with her. There seemed to be a connection between them, yet her sister always seemed to be leading him on. She knew of at least a few instances that he had proposed to her to make vows, but she had denied him. Starlyn often wondered if it was a game to Arria, as it had been for many other elves to lead on a man for a few hundred years before finally accepting them. Eternity was a long time, and sometimes the freedoms were sorely missed if proposal came too soon.

                “Captain Vil’ek, what have you found?”

                “There are several indications that she has been here sometime in the last week. Various displacement of grass and residue of a fire pit show that she camped here for several days before moving on.”

                “Show me.”

                He nodded his head to his right and began walking. After a few paces she walked along his left side until reaching a blackened area near the edge of the forest. All around the black chars of what seemed to be once logs and twigs was fresh dirt. It seemed the location between the flowing green grass had been created only moments before the fire. Starlyn could hardly believe her sister had killed fresh grass in order to create a fire, but if her need was dire than it could have been the only way.

                She felt at the grass surrounding the pit on the north side, noticing the section of grass turned east instead of west, implying that someone had laid there. It must have been where her sister had slept. Surrounding the fire pit were cobs of corn and various other vegetables that Starlyn knew to be Arria’s favorites.

                “And the arrow?”

                Vil’ek stepped north into the outskirts of the northern forest. It was the forest beyond elven territory. The meadow between sections of forest was where the boarder stopped. The king didn’t seem to wish for patrols to go any further, claiming that what they had was land enough. One a tree she saw two arrows on the ground and one stick with the arrowhead broken off at the foot of the tree. She knew that must have been the one that the young elf brought to her that night with her mother.

                She inspected the arrows closely from arrowhead to feather tail before nodding solemnly. They were definitely Arria’s unique style, for that there was little doubt if any. Only Arria used blackened steel around the edges of the arrows. Each center looked the silver of iron, but the edges were hardened with a harder steel.

                Nearby to the tree was the skeleton of a deer. Moonlight in the background began to make noises at the sight and cowered back in fear. Starlyn’s jaw dropped as she knelt to her knees to inspect the bones. It was fresh, less than a week old, and yet there was no meat left. In fact it appeared as if it had been licked clean. When she got to the ground and closer to it to inspect, she noticed bit marks around the bones where it appeared it had been bitten and licked clean. The marks were sharp and looked more like that of a creature than that of an elf. Yet, there were other marks that appeared much duller.

                Starlyn shivered and tears began to fall and she shakily stood. Sobbing lightly she brushed the tears away from her eyes. No, it could not be Arria. She would not do that to a deer, not when she had so many as companions that helped her out through the years. And yet, Starlyn remembered conversations with her sister questioning why the elves didn’t eat the meat of beasts. About how it could be justified for an animal such as a tiger or bear to eat meat and be not considered sinful, but it was a sin for an elf to do such a thing. She crunched her eyes together to fight back the tears.

                “No, I won’t believe it.” She whispered.

                “I will not believe it either.” Vil’ek said brushing close to her side.

                She wanted to embrace him, for he had been like a big brother to her. Although he hardly spoke to her, it still felt as if he should comfort her. Yet, she knew it would be foolish, and weak of her to do so. Elves did not need comfort, they were stronger than that. Besides even though she felt him as a big brother, she knew that he didn’t even think of her as a friend, let alone a sister. Instead she gulped down her shortage of breath and wiped her tears away.

                As she was about to turn away and walk back to the clearing, she noticed something under the scattered red leaves at her feet. Bewildered she stopped in her tracks as Vil’ek continued forward. She knelt to the ground and brushed her hands against the half broken dry leaves. Underneath pressed into the ground was a footprint. It wasn’t from any leather boots of Arria’s or even her bare skin. Instead it looked like that of a creature, and nothing elven.

                The tracks were the strangest thing she ever saw. There were three large imprinted toes clustered together at the tip and on further back on the right side for balance. There was depth at the tip of each toe digging far into the ground, making it seem that whatever it was had long sharp claws. Once she uncovered more ground she found several more footprints. They seemed to be everywhere on the ground like there had been dozens of the creatures there only weeks before.

                Vil’ek approached her and stared at the footprints on the ground. His expression froze to shear disbelief. He pushed his long black hair behind his tall ears as it fell into his eyes when he leant over to inspect the strange markings.

                “What sort of dark magic spawn is this?” He whispered.

                “I do not know.” Starlyn responded.

                “Is she lost to us?”

                “There is always hope, perhaps these creatures have only captured her, and if we can find where they went. We can free her, and she will be back with us.”

                “And if she’s in league with them?”

                “We will find her, one way or another… and we will bring her home. I promise you this.” She said.

                Vil’ek nodded and turned around, brushing his cloth cape in a stride as he dashed off. Starlyn stood, pondering in thought and hope that the words she said could be true. Surely Arria wasn’t in league with these creatures. There had to be another explanation. The part that worried her the most was the fact there was no drag marks, or any traces of anyone or anything being dragged. She could not have gone with these creatures with her own free well, could she?

 

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