Words by the Water   
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Introduction. This Erpheronian folk tale explains the existence of the bright star, which illuminates the night sky, Avá's Tear. It is a tale where human and elven lore mix for a change, told in the one or the other variation both among the Aellenrhim as well as in the Santharian province of Vardýnn.

nce upon a time, when summers were still summers and animals could talk, there lived an elven maid. She was the prettiest elf you could imagine, with blonde hair flowing down her back and skin as white as an aelirel’s feathers. She lived deep in the forest, and every day she would sing fit to bring the birds down from the skies to listen to her. Even the wild tirpanis did not run from her, and the shingar would lie quietly next to the white deer for a touch of her hand. She was called Avaelon, and her name was known throughout Caelereth, even though few had seen her.

One day a human prince called Ephodin was hunting with his court in the forest where Avaelon lived. He had been pursuing a white hart, which had separated him from his friends, when he heard the elf maiden singing. Without knowing who this voice could belong to, he fell head over heels in love with her. He followed her voice, enthralled by the sound, until he found her seated on a log. When she saw the human standing there, she was suddenly quiet. Ephodin took the chance to declare his love and undying devotion to her. She regarded him silently as he talked, seeing a quite well-made and handsome young man in front of her. There was, however, one problem – Avaelon did not want a lover, and certainly not one that would grow old and die long before she would leave behind Ava’s Dream. She wished only to celebrate the Dream, happy in her solitude, in the best way she knew how.

But when she gently told him so, Ephodin refused to go away. He insisted that they were meant to be together, that it was their destiny. He tried to get closer to her, but when he approached her, the animals who had been lying quietly at her feet jumped up and threatened the prince if he advanced even one step towards the elf. Scared by his suddenly aggressive tone, she used his hesitation to cry out: “I will never have you for a husband – you or any other man!” And with that she changed herself into a quirrl and leaped away into the trees.

Ephodin, not used to having his wish denied, determined that he would prevail over the elf maiden. He swore that she would be his. He returned to his companions, and ordered them to catch every quirrl in the forest. They needed a long time, but eventually they had gathered each and every quirrl they could lay their hands on. Prince Ephodin went among them, and when he had found the most beautiful quirrl, with the longest and biggest tail, he knew that he had found Avaelon.

Before he could close his hand about her, she changed herself again, this time into a haloen bird, flying away with a defiant cry. At this second escape, the prince grew enraged, not realizing that his so recent love was slowly changing into hatred. Instead of wanting to love her, he now wanted to possess her, to make her his own. Consumed by this obsession, he returned home, where he ordered his subjects to catch every haloen bird that they could lay their hands on and bring them to the palace. This went on for a long time, many days passed before no more haloen could be found.

Then one evening, as the dusk settled over the land, prince Ephodin went among the captured birds, looking at them one by one, and when he found the bird with the reddest feathers and the brightest glow, he knew that he had found Avaelon. When she saw that she could not escape him by turning herself into an animal, she came back to herself, facing the prince with an unbroken gaze. She knew that if she gave in to this obsessed human, she would lose all happiness, and she might as well be dead. She could see the triumph in Ephodin’s face as he looked on her face once more, convinced that she would not escape him again.

As he approached her, this time unhindered by animals, she stopped him in his tracks when she said: “I have told you I will never be yours. I will never give myself to you. You have taken from me every chance of living tranquilly within Ava’s Dream, I see that you will hunt me down even were I to hide in the Void. But I will not submit to you.” And with that she started singing, and as she sang her white skin started glowing brighter and brighter, until Ephodin could no longer look at her. When the room grew dark again, Avaelon was gone, but as the prince went outside he saw in the night skies a star, brighter and more beautiful than any of the other stars, and he knew that there was Avaelon, and she was forever out of his reach. As the days and nights went by, it became obvious that unlike many of the stars, this one stayed fixed in the same spot. For the rest of his life, Ephodin spent his nights gazing up at the star, knowing that if he had been less obsessed, she would still have walked Caelereth. Since that time, she has shone brightly in the sky, unhindered by the world of humans but forever looking down on it.


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Folk Tale written by Irid alMenie View Profile