THE WIZARD OF THE WHITE TOWER
by CAPHER


In a land of dreams and lore called Aér'aí'chán. In a time lost in myths and fairytales the gods scheme to destroy the races of Avá, the Dreamer. In this world a young girl dreams... In her dreams the owl spoke. "You carry within yourself the seed of destiny! He will bring about great destruction, but he also carries your love and will find it someday. Let his name be Ethan." Then visions of a great war and powers unleashed like she never saw before flashed before her eyes... Thus the prophecy was given and the epic story of the Wizard of the White Tower begins.
 

CHAPTER II
S
ABAN'S CURSE

 he hoot of an owl woke her up. Lorilie brushed off the covering of leaves and branches she had covered herself with the night before. She looked at her torn and tattered dress and then remembrance came; it took four of his men to hold her down after she had kneed him in the groin. They threw her down onto the ground and spread her limbs apart. She heard her dress being torn and then the awful pain as he ravaged her. It was then that she fought like she never fought before and loosed one of her hands and with the strength born from working on the farm and of hate and fury she scratched the elf’s face feeling some satisfaction as blood and skin were torn asunder. But even with all that they took a hold of her again and he ravaged her again but this time more viciously screaming out in a tongue foreign to her. Thoughts of her father were the last things she remembered before she mercifully blacked out.

They held her for many days as they traveled. She was blindfolded as they traveled but the air became cooler. At night he would come and ravage her again and again. She cried and fought as best she could but his men always held her down. Finally she had no more tears nor fight left just pure hatred.

Then one day she woke up and realized that the blindfold was gone, her hands free she was left alone. She didn’t know if they would return, she didn’t wait to find out. She got up and started running. Through the almost bare trees she could see the sun and thinking that because the air had grown cooler around her as they traveled she naturally assumed that they had headed north so she ran south as best as she could reckon with the sun as her guide.

She ran and ran until she could run no more then walked and then crawled until she collapsed from exhaustion and lack of food. They barely had fed her and wouldn’t untie her hands, were throwing leftovers at her, laughing as she scrambled around like a dog picking up the pieces of food off the ground with her tongue and teeth.

The owl hooted again. Lorilie looked up and there, sitting on a bare oak branch, was a gray owl. It was larger than the barn owls that she had seen flying in and roosting in the rafters. It seemed to be staring right at her. It hooted again, flew off in an easterly direction, returned then hooted again. “What do want, you crazy old owl? Leave me alone!” She picked up a small branch and threw it at the owl. The owl flew off.

Lorilie rose and began walking again, her limbs stiff and sore. Any little noise would make her stop, crouch and hide fearing that they were looking for her. When no one appeared or when she realized the noise came from some animal rustling around in the forest she continued on. When she came to some rotten wood she broke it open and picked out the grubs that were in it and ate them. She gagged. But she was so hungry and remembered her father telling her that if she needed to that she could eat these to survive. She scoured the woods for other sources of food also looking for wild berries or anything to eat.

Suddenly a fish dropped right out of the sky and landed in front of her. She looked up and there was that owl again. Lorilie didn’t understand but the sight of the fish made her salivate. She reached down, grabbed the fish and began to eat it raw. Oh it tasted so good. She finished it off in a blink of an eye, only the skeleton was left. She wiped her mouth off with her sleeve, smacked her lips and looked at the owl again. It had perched itself on a branch above her and was staring at her. It hooted again, flew off in an easterly direction, returned and then hooted once again.

“Do you want me to follow you?” Lorilie asked, puzzled. The owl hooted once again and flew off in the same direction. Lorilie didn’t know why but she began to follow the owl. It was difficult to keep the owl in sight and she kept on tripping over hidden logs and her dress. She had enough and stopped, tore her dress until it came up to her knees and then continued on. But when she had stopped to do so she lost sight of the owl. Then it hooted again, flew right beside her and took off again leading her to what seemed to lorilie farther into the forest and in the wrong direction. But she followed the owl anyway.

The sun was far to the west when Lorilie heard what seemed like the sound of water tripping over rocks. She walked faster - there seemed to be a thinning of the trees. The sound of the water was louder now, she began running, she burst into a small clearing and in the center of it was a small brook. She ran as fast as she could, dropped to the bank of the brook and drank thirstily. After she had her fill of water, she put her aching feet into the cool brook. While she soaked her feet she looked around. This clearing was not familiar to her. The owl hooted once again. Lorilie looked up and there it was sitting in a branch of a tree across from her that overhang the brook. “I don’t understand dear owl, but thank you”, she said thankfully.

Her stomach growled reminding her she hadn’t eaten in awhile. She rose up looking at the waning sun and scanned the surrounding area. She smiled. Shortly she had a small handful of Medlarapple berries in her hand and she was eagerly wolfing them down along with a fish she caught with her hands in a pool of the brook. As the sun went down, stars appeared like diamonds in the sky. The familiar hoot of the owl made her feel safe and secure and for the first time in days she blissfully fell asleep. Her last thoughts were of her father.

Matthew rode slowly scanning the ground, looking for any small sign; a footprint, broken twig, blade of grass crushed, anything that would help him trail his daughters’ captors. After finding the basket he returned home, briefly told his wife what he had found, strapped on his short sword, grabbed his bow and quiver of arrows and went to the barn. He saddled his best horse and started to ride back to the forest. He stopped long enough to gather some food his wife had quickly prepared for him, kissed her goodbye, told her not to worry and then rode off. He wanted to reach the meadow and pick up their trail before it grew too cold.

He had been traveling now for over a week, every time he thought he caught up to them all he found was an empty camp. Once he discovered a bloody torn piece of cloth. He knew it belonged to his daughter and it urged him on. But as he went further west and north into the forest the trail became increasingly more difficult to find and follow. Whoever he was following knew these woods well and knew how to cover their tracks. But Matthew was a man of the land. He didn’t believe in the Gods, but if there were such beings as his grandfather had told him, he would believe in Jeyriall, the Goddess of the Harvest.

When he was a boy his grandfather would tell of fantastic tales of the Gods and how they walked among men and of other races such as the elves, dwarves and orcs. Matthew in all his life never encountered any of these other races and thought of them as fairy tales, though they were said to live not too far away, some even in the innermost woods of the Zeiphyr. Well, he didn’t believe in them until one day one of his brothers showed up and told him of his adventures and of the other races he had met. Some he had fought alongside with, some others had he fought and even killed. Of his descriptions and grandfather’s tales Matthew was now pretty certain that he was following a band of elves. But he was not really sure.

Matthew tried to recall all that his brother had told him about elves before he once again left. Leaving as suddenly as he had come. All of what Lauran had told him pointed to elves but they sure didn’t act like the noble ones that Lauran had told about. Lauran once did mention a race of shadow elves but they usually stayed in the area known as the Water Marshes in the north of the continent, far away. If you could believe what Lauran told you and Matthew didn’t.

Darkness fell early in the forest and Matthew continued as long as he could until he could see no more. If only the moonlight could shine in here, he thought. Then I could continue on but the heavy boughs of the trees all blocked but some slivers of moonlight that reached the forest floor. Matthew tethered his horse on a low hanging branch, took off the saddle, rubbed the horse down then started a small fire after clearing a space for it. He warmed his hands a little before he took out the rabbit he had shot late that afternoon. He took out his knife and skinned it, pierced it with a sharpened stake and put it over the fire suspending it between two y-shaped twigs he had placed on either side of the fire.

He took some branches out of his sack and began stripping them of their bark. These branches were straight and hard. As he would find one in his travels he would break them off and put them in his sack. He knew they would make good arrows. As he worked at making his arrows his thoughts again turned towards his daughter. He let out a sigh and bowed his head. ‘If there is a God out there -please watch over my Lorilie’, he prayed.

Lorilie woke with a start, rising quickly, cold sweat pouring off of her. She had been dreaming. A reassuring hoot of the owl convinced her that she was safe. The sun was just peeking over the horizon and the clearing was still cloaked in shadow. Lorilie rose and went to the brook, cupping her hands she took a long drink of water. She heard the splashing of fish as they went after their prey of small bugs on the surface of the water. She slowly and quietly entered the brook. She shivered a little as the water was cold but quickly became accustomed to it.
 

She stood there motionless watching the water. Slowly she lowered her cupped hands into the water letting them almost touch the bottom. When a fish came swimming through her legs and close to her hands she quickly scooped him out and threw him on the shore. After she had caught two more she settled down to eat them. One she gave to the owl, which seemed grateful and ate as she did. She did so wish she could start a fire but she had no tools to do so, so she ate them raw. Lorilie was thankful though that she remembered what her father had taught her. As she thought about him and her family she wondered if she would ever see them again. And what they would do or say if she told them she had been raped by an elf.

Her mother would scoff at such things, but she remembered what her uncle had said during his visits and how he described the varied races he had encountered in his travels. Her father would listen intently but he usually told his brother to stop telling tales and scaring Lorilie. But it were those tales and descriptions that allowed her to recognize her attackers.

The sun had risen higher in the sky and warmed up the clearing nicely. Lorilie went to the brook to drink again and then she saw her reflection. Her hair was tangled and full of twigs and pieces of leaves. Her face was smeared with dirt and her dress, what was left of it was torn, tattered and filthy. She looked around peering into every dark place in the forest surrounding her. Seeing nothing, hearing nothing except the sound of the trickling brook, she removed her clothes, stepped into the brook and bathed herself.

As she began to clean herself the images of the elf came back and she began to scrub harder against her skin using wet leaves. She scrubbed harder and harder removing the dried blood off of her legs and abdomen, noticing the bruises on her wrists and ankles where they had held her. She became frantic in her scrubbing, rubbing herself raw until she started bleeding. When she saw the blood she stopped. Her breath had become heavy and short. She heard the hoot of the owl and she calmed down. Taking her dress she slowly washed it and then hung it over a branch to let it dry. While it was drying she lay on the carpet of grass and let the warm sun dry her and again her thoughts turned to her father.

Slowly, quietly, Matthew sneaked up on the camp. After all these days he had finally caught up with them. He stood motionless against a tree blending in with the environment as he surveyed the situation.

He looked around to see if he could see his daughter but she seemed to be nowhere in sight. There were two hooded men standing around a small fire with their backs to him, several small tents were grouped in a semi-circle around the fire, one of them was a little larger. They seemed all to be empty. Then a man came out of the larger tent. His head was not hooded and he wore a black cloak. Around his waist was an intricately woven silver belt. But what caught Matthews’ eye was the piece of cloth tucked into it. It was the same color and pattern as the one he now carried. Forgetting all caution, his anger and fury rising inside of him he stepped out of the shadows, drawing his short sword. “Where is my daughter?” He bellowed.

Saban turned just as a man as large as a Cartashian bear bellowed and materialized out of thin air. He cursed and ran back toward his tent. The other two turned also and reached for their arms. Matthew rushed them and before they could draw their weapons he bowled them over. He quickly rolled, stood up and taking his sword he sliced one right through his abdomen his intestines spilling out as well as his life onto the ground. The other one quickly rose up off the ground and unsheathed his sword. Matthew was not a swordsman but his size and fury as he attacked surprised the elf. He fell back as Matthew swung with all his might. The clanging of steel against steel rang throughout the forest as the elf tried to parry each swing of Matthew’s sword. The elf swung his sword slicing deeply into Matthew’s side. Matthew let out a yell and attacked with a fury and a vengeance that simply overwhelmed the elf. Matthew fell on top of his opponent and with the elf’s sword still in his side, using his bare hands he snapped the elf’s neck.

Then an arrow pierced his back. Matthew rose, reaching behind him breaking off the shaft and advanced toward his attacker. But now there were more of them all with drawn bows, their leader standing in the midst of them. One of them looked at his leader and calmly asked. “What shall we do to him my lord Saban?”

Matthew stopped and looked at the one called Saban. He was dark haired with dark glittering eyes and five long scars on his right cheek. Matthew smiled, knowing that those scars could have only come from someone scratching the elf.

“Are you referring to a young lady who wore this kind of dress?” Saban lifted out the piece of cloth from under his belt.

Matthew just nodded. “Yes - she is my daughter. Where is Lorilie?”

“Lorilie, hmm I never knew her name. We left her in the forest several days ago. She had fire in her. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with her. I expect that she is dead by now,” He replied disdainfully. “It is a shame that you traveled all this way to find your death. Kill him,” he said as he casually turned away tucking the piece of cloth back into his belt.

Matthew knew he was going to die but he wasn’t going to do it easily. He would take this piece of dirt with him. With a bellow that raged from his deepest part of his heart he charged. Arrow after arrow flew into him and still he came. He reached one attacker picked him up and broke his back. Another arrow pierced him. He turned, using the dead elf’s body as a shield and drove back the others. He quickly turned and grabbed Saban around the neck. There was fear in Sabans’ eyes and just as Matthew was beginning to squeeze three arrows sank deep into his back. He died with his daughter’s name on his lips and a curse upon this elf.

Story written by Capher View Profile