OF THE WHITE
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.
aban! Why… Why... That’s impossible,” exclaimed Belrath. “I know he is an elf but elves don’t live that long. Do they?” He asked looking around the table.
The room was entirely silent. Finally Lorilie asked. “Who is Saban? And why would he want to do what he did to me? And where is father?” She first looked at Belrath who just lowered his head. She then gazed over at Salina who had taken out her ‘Marauders’ and was sharpening them on a small whetstone. Finally she stared at her grandfather. “Grandfather?” She pleaded. “Is no one going to answer my questions?” Lorilie shoved herself away from the table.
Lars spoke up. “Lorilie, please sit down. I will try to answer your questions.” Lorilie paused then slowly sat down, confused by her family and friends silence and manners. “Belrath and Salina feel free to interrupt if I start to forget some things. Lorilie, our people have a rich history most of it is forgotten throughout the ages. If it were not for Belrath and his ancestors we would have no record of our history except by oral tradition and though oral tradition is fine it does not take the place of written records. Belrath is not only our apothecary, he is also our scribe. As was his ancestors. He probably knows more than I but as the Lord of the Manor and more importantly as your grandfather this task should be undertaken by me. If you want Belrath can take you to the royal archives and you can read about your people and their history.”
“No, grandfather. I will listen to you, besides I’m sure Belrath will correct any errors you make and if you have forgotten anything I guess it is not important or if it is I can look it up myself.”
“My Lord. I know most of this. If you do not mind I shall go, clean up and look after our guest,” Salina said rising off of her chair and hiding her sharpened knives back into her gloves.
“Oh, our guest! I completely forgot about him. Yes, Salina, go do as you have requested and then go and tell him that I will see him as soon as I can. Tell him it is a matter of importance.”
“As you wish my Lord.” Salina bowed and started to walk out of the house.
“One second thought, Salina! He is just a courier. Take his message and tell him I will reply when I have the time. Since it is becoming late in the day offer accommodations at Naboth’s Inn for the night or he can go on his way. The choice is his. Don’t forget to have someone lead him there. We wouldn’t want him to accidentally trip any trap and harm himself now, would we?”
“We wouldn’t?” Salina asked mischievously.
“No, Salina we wouldn’t. However there was some sort of misunderstanding between one of the guards and himself wasn’t there? I suppose some sort of lesson should be taught.”
“That will not be necessary, my Lord. He carries that lesson already. On his forearm.”
“Oh, I see. Then you are excused, Salina. And thank you for your assistance.”
Salina bowed once more and left. Esmerelda poured some more tea and then went into the other room and checked on Ruth. Now just Lars, Belrath and Lorilie were left. Lorilie waited patiently as her grandfather sipped some tea gathering his thoughts. He raised his head and in a deep baritone voice began to speak. “Our people came from a land far north of here, several thousand leagues, maybe more. We were the refuse, garbage of the people that lived there. No one wanted fatherless children, widows and wounded or maimed men. We were left to die. Then a widow woman of strength and courage gathered us together and with cunning and wisdom formed our tribe. Her name was Sophronia.”
“I know that, grandfather. We celebrate Sophronia’s Festival every Month of the Rising Sun. But what does that have to do with Saban and where is father?”
“A little patience, Lorilie. There is much you do not know. I will answer your questions in time.”
“What you don’t know is that we did not live back then like we live today. We were called a nomadic people. We wandered the lands. We men took care of the camp while the women guarded it. In her wisdom,and I suppose out of necessity Sophronia trained the young women of her tribe to guard it and protect it. The men were all maimed, old or wounded. They could not take care of protecting the tribe so we took care of raising the sheep, making weapons and clothes for the women, and served them.
The leadership was passed down from daughter to daughter and not son to son as it is today. Some would say that the women were barbarians for they would capture men from surrounding villages, mate with them and then release them. If the resulting child was a male it was taken back to the village and family where it was sired but if it was a female child then we kept it and therefore replenished their warriors.”
“Is that why we celebrate the birth of a female child with a festival and when it is a male child we do nothing?” asked Lorilie.
“In a way, yes. But now that festival is just celebrated as a remembrance. It does not mean that boys’ or girls’ births are anyway different,” answered Belrath.
“But the army is different. Only women can serve in the army,” replied Lorilie.
“Yes, some things are still the same, but others have changed. We are getting ahead of ourselves, though. Let me continue...” Lars said.
“As I was saying the leadership was passed down from daughter to daughter as we roamed the lands and headed south. It was during the reign of Gaia that our people encountered what are called the ‘dark elves’. They were led by an elf named Saban and lived in the Paelelon forest. During that encounter Gaia was mortally wounded, but we killed a lot of the elves. Xylonia, the daugther of Gaia’s youngest daughter Aiclia, led our tribe further south and we lived in the area where the Bear Clan lives. Her oldest daughter, Elsreth, who was tired of the fighting, left and took some with her and founded a village named after her on the shores of the Ancythrian Sea.
The Bear Clan did not like us, though we lived there for some time. It was already during the reign of Xylonia that things changed again. She bore twin sons and in her wisdom declared them to be her heirs for she had no female children. As you can imagine this caused quite an uproar especially by one called Ethera. She rebelled along with quite a few other women and left. They eventually found acceptance with the Wolf Clan near the Anaios Gap. Her descendants still have a grudge against us for they believe they should be rulers of Sophronia and the Serphelorian kingdom instead of me.”
Lars paused and took another sip of tea. Lorilie sat there with her knees drawn up under her chin thinking. “This Saban then that Gaia fought with - is he the one that raped me?” she asked. “How long ago was that battle fought? And how did you become our Lord of the Manor?”
“The answer to your first question is almost one thousand years ago, Lorilie,” answered Belrath. “That is why I can’t believe that it is the same Saban though I don’t know how long elves live I do know they live longer than humans but I didn’t think they lived that long.”
“I don’t either but I do know someone who would: Thý’rón the elf in Elving. We have good relations with him and his kind. If there were dark elves in the Zeiphyrian Forests then he would like to know or maybe he already does,” Lars replied.
“I suppose that answers my first question, grandfather. He was after revenge and caught me unawares. But why me?”
“I’m not sure, Lorilie. Dark elves are strange even to other elves. As far as your other question it goes back to the twin sons of Xylonia, Eldon and Talos. They both took the tribe and settled here. After a while Talos moved on farther south and founded Hawke’s Perch. Eldon and his sons built Sophronia. My father Etain didn’t have a son. He had a daughter named Crystain and she married my Great grandfather and so the royal lineage continued.”
“I’m a Hawke! Does that mean that…” asked Lorilie.
“Yes. Loirlie Matthew is the Great great grandson of Talos and you too are of noble blood.”
“Which brings us back to my last question: Where is father?”
“He went looking for you after you disappeared in the Month of the Fallen Leaf. It is now near the end of the Month of the Dead Tree. You have been missing for almost three months.”
“Three months! No it could not have been that lon!g I counted the days and nights I was with them and the time I was alone. It could not have been longer than six weeks.”
“You were very sick. A fever had taken a hold of you and you were delirious when I found you in the meadow. You kept on repeating a name. Now, what was it? ... Monk! That is the name and you told me. You said, he helped you find your way back home. When I tried to find this Monk you told me he was an owl. That is when I knew that you needed Belrath’s ministrations and quickly. You were losing your mind.”
“But I wasn’t losing my mind! There was an owl and he did help me! He led me to a small meadow with a stream filled with fish and I ate and slept there no more than two, maybe three days. I named him and he did help me.”
“Maybe there was an owl and he was just flying this way and in your condition you just thought he helped you,” offered Belrath not knowing what to think but wanting Loirlie to calm down.
“So father is still missing?”
“I’m afraid so. We were looking for signs of his trail when you came out of the woods. Prince Jace and some other men went with him to try and find your father.”
“No!” Lorilie screamed. “They will kill him. They will kill him! Father!” Lorilie rushed out of the house startling Lars and Belrath within moments they both were out the door after her.
Salina took the secret path back to the Manor. Her thoughts were deep and dark. Yes, she knew all about the history of her people but what she knew the most was that one of her own family was killed during that encounter with Saban and his ‘dark elves’. Hanging in her war closet was the bow that was taken from the elf that killed her. Her name was Rainven and she was the leader of the Tamarian army at the time. If Saban is still alive, then I must fulfill the vow given by Rainven to her mother and which was passed down from generation to generation. I must hunt him down and kill him...
Salina came to the secret door, produced the key and opened it. She then proceeded up the stairs to another large Eur’Oak tree door. She unlocked this one and it swung noiselessly on its hinges and she stepped onto the highly polished wood floor locking the secret door behind her. With the door closed the wall once again was unbroken without a seam to mark where the door was. Only if you knew where the door could be found you would be able to open it. The key only worked from the outside, on the inside you needed to know what marble stoned triangle wall piece to push to open the door. If you pushed the wrong one a hidden trap door in front of the secret door would open up and you were dropped several fores into a pit filled with poisoned sharpened embedded sticks in the ground. It was one of the many and varied traps cunningly laid throughout the Manor and town.
She was standing in the royal archives. Three doors led out of this room. The one across from her and straight north led to Belrath’s study. To the left was the door that led to Lord Omans private dressing room and to the right was the door that led to her private room. She proceeded to her door, pressed the correct stone and the door swung noiselessly into her room. She entered and closed the door behind her, its locking mechanism sounding quite loud as it engaged in the silent room.
Her room consisted of a moderate fireplace with a fire already blazing, a rather large wooden bed with a downy mattress and pillow. Next to the bed was a small wooden yet beautifully carved table. On top of the table were an oil lamp, several sheaves of paper and a bottle of ink with a quill pen next to it. On the far wall was her war closet and next to that was her clothes closet. She quickly stripped off her clothes and pouring the hot water in the tea kettle that hung over the fireplace into a small wooden bowl she washed herself and then got dressed.
She sat down at her table, opened the bottle of ink, took the quill pen in her left hand and began to write a short note:
“Lord Oman, This letter is my letter of resignation. I know that you will understand. My vow must be kept. I defer to your judgment concerning the new Captain of the Guards. My recommendation would go to Gabriel, my second in command.
Salina folded up her letter and tucked it into her right glove. She went to her war closet took out her special bow and quiver of arrows and slung over her back a leather scabbard with her short sword in it. She quickly packed some food and other items, threw on her traveling cloak and walked out the other door leading into her army’s barracks. The barracks was empty but each cot was neatly made and the room was spotless as she surveyed and inspected it as she walked down the middle of the room the cots on either side.
With her mind made up she silently walked out of the barracks through another door outside to the stables. Is’Sara, a one eyed blind woman, was grooming her horse when she walked in. “I shall be needing Amethyst. Is she ready?” she asked.
Is’Sara quickly replied. “My Captain, I have just begun to rub her down. You just came back from patrol. Are you going out again so soon?”
“Yes, I am,” Salina replied tersely as she led her horse out of the stable and swung on her bareback. I want you to do me a favor, Is’Sara.”
“First there is a boy in town by the name of Jarle Klignard. Lord Oman wants him to be taught to be a squire. Find him and teach him, will you? Next, and this is most important: After I have left give this note to Lord Oman. Do not open it. It is for his eyes only. Is that understood? You will find him at his town home.”
“A boy, Captain?” Is’Sara asked amazed.
“Yes a boy. He is about 10 years of age. He is Lord Oman’s gardener’s son. Listen, I don’t have time to explain. Just do as I command.”
“Yes, Captain. I did not mean to…”
“I apologize, Is’Sara. I did not mean to be angry. It is just that I have something to do and time is running short before the gates are closed. Will you do as I ask?”
“Ye,s Captain. And no apologies are needed. I talked out of turn. I should know better.”
“Is’Sara, in case I don’t come back I want you to know that for all of the years that you have served me I appreciate it. Oh, one more thing: Tell Liothalla that the courier that came from El’darthar should be shown to Naboth’s Inn for the night or he can be on his way. Lord Oman will reply to his message as soon as he can.” With those words said, she kicked Amethyst in the ribs and galloped out of the stables, through town and out of the southern gate.
“Wait, Lorilie! Wait! Where do you think you are going?” shouted Lars as he breathlessly caught up to her, held her and blocked her path. Belrath was a little slower getting there for he was a man given to eat just a little too much.
Lorilie pounded her fists into her grandfather’s chest, screaming with tears streaming down her face. “I have to find father. They will kill him! Don’t you understand? They will kill him!”
Lars held her close as she sobbed. He felt her pain. “Do not worry, Loirlie. Your father is one of the best woodsmen I know. He is strong and smart. He probably is on his way home with Prince Jace and the other men besides him. Wouldn’t you say, Belrath?”
“Yes, Lord Oman. I am sure what you said is probably happening. Lorilie, we need to get you back into bed so you can rest besides we need to talk about something very important. You need to make a decision.”
“A decision?” Came back a muffled reply.
“Yes. Let us go back to the house and talk about it. Okay?”
Lorilie nodded and with her head still buried in her grandfather’s chest was gently led back into the home. Esmerelda who had heard the commotion met them on the porch.
“Lars, is she going to be all right?” She asked.
“Yes, dear. Go and heat up some more hot water. I think we will be needing it for more tea.”
Esmerelda went back into the home and prepared the water while Belrath followed her in searching in his bag for some special herbs. Lorilie was sitting in her grandfather’s lap when they entered a few moments later. She had stopped crying and was silently sitting there with her head upon Lars’s shoulder. Belrath put the tea in front of her. “Drink this Lorilie. It will help calm your nerves.” Lorilie took the offered tea and sipped it slowly. “This tastes different than the golden tea we had before. What is this?” she asked.
A knock was heard. Belrath went to the door opening. Standing on the porch was a couple of men with a new door for Lord Oman’s home. “Lord Oman the wood wrights are here.” Lars excused himself and quietly talked with the men. “Yes, Lord Oman. As you wish. The door will be repaired quickly and silently.” Lars and Belrath returned and sat down at the table.
“Well, Belrath? What is in this tea?” asked Lorilie looking suspiciously in to her cup.
“Some herbs but mostly Maid’s Ease. It will help you to relax.”
Lorilie still looked in to her cup with suspicion but continued drinking the tea. Finally curiosity got the better of her. “What decision do I have to make?”
“Well, what to do about the baby?” Belrath answered.
“What do you mean?” Lorilie asked.
“You are still in your first trimester of your pregnancy. But soon it will be too late.”
Lorilie did not like where this conversation was leading. “Too late for what?”
“Well,” stammered Belrath. “To late to kill it.”
The news stunned Lorilie. Kill the baby, she thought. They want to kill the child inside of me. Just like my mother wanted.
“It is for your own good, Lorilie. You do not want to have a child from a man, no elf, who raped you. Do you?” asked Lars.
She rose off of her grandfather’s lap and walked around the table looking at their eyes. Suddenly a voice spoke. It was Ruth. “She will not kill it. I asked her the same question. I told her that it would be painless and she would be rid of this evil thing inside of her but she refused. Her father may be dead because of this elf but she refuses to kill his child!” She spat in her daughters face. “Either you kill this evil thing inside of you or you are no longer my daughter.”
Lorilie wiped the spittle off her face and glared at her mother and the others. “You call yourself civilized! What I have inside of me is a child. Shall we blame the child for its parents’ fault? Shall we just say it is evil and so kill it? Are you not forgetting that this child is also part of me? Grandfather, you just told me about our history and how women would take men from their wives and mate with them so that we could replenish our warriors and yet you say nothing about rape. Yet that is what it was. Was it not? No, I will not kill this child. And if that means that I am not your daughter or your granddaughter, then so be it.” She stormed out of the house.
“Wait, Lorilie! Where will you go?” asked Esmerelda.
“Let the little tramp be mother.” Said Ruth. “She will come to no good. There is nowhere she can go except to a whore house where…”
The sound of a hand slapping a face was heard. Esmerelda was livid. Ruth put her hand up to her cheek startled and surprised. “Oh, I am so sorry, Ruth. But you will not talk about my granddaughter like that. I love her and so do you.” Esmerelda turned and walked into her bedroom and shut the door.
Lars and Belrath sat there stunned. They had no idea what to do. Then Lars spoke, his voice was even and calm to the point of being emotionless. “Belrath, go and find Lorilie! Ruth, you will go to your room. We all need some time to think. Those were harsh words coming from you, Ruth. I thought that I taught you better. Apparently I did not.”
“I am your daughter, Lord Oma,n but I will not obey nor will I take back my remarks. I go to my home and wait for the return of my husband. But I fear the wait will be long.” Ruth then walked out the door.
Belrath was still sitting. The events of the day were mind numbing. Then he heard Lars say once again, “I thought I told you to go find Lorilie.”
“Yes, my Lord. Right away, my Lord. What should I do with her when I find her?”
“Well try and calm her down and then if she will not come back here then find a place for her.”
“Where do you think she went?”
Lars thought about this for a moment. “I’m not sure. But I would head for the southern gate. She may try to go home.”
“But isn’t that where Ruth is going?”
“Yes, and I shudder to think what will happen if they should meet. So hurry on. Will you?”
Belrath shuddered himself as he recalled the look and venom that spat from Ruth’s lips. He hurried out the door. He almost ran into Liothalla as he did so. “Oh, excuse me, Liothalla, but I have to run.”
“Where is Lord Oman?” she asked.
“In the house. But beware - he is in a foul mood!” Belrath yelled as he ran down the road.
Liothalla knocked on the newly repaired open door. Lars came to it and was surprised to see Liothalla. She silently handed him a note. He looked at her quizzically as he opened it and read it. “Good Night! By Sophronia’s hand!” He exclaimed. “When did you receive this letter, Liothalla?”
“Just a few minutes ago, my Lord. Is’Sara, Salina’s personal squire handed me this along with instructions for our guest.”
“Guest? Oh, the courier. What did he decide to do?”
“He was quite upset and threatened lightning bolts upon your head but I and my ‘marauders’ showed him the folly of his ways. He is staying at Naboth’s inn for the night. He refused to give me the letter from Lord Ma’asherom telling me that only you can read it and answer it. He implied that it would be in your best interest to do so quickly as Lord Ma’asherom does not like to be kept waiting.”
“Well, wait he will until I am ready to answer him. Are there going to be any more bad news this day?”
“What do you mean, my Lord?”
He handed her the letter. She slowly read it and then looked up. “It seems that we have lost our Captain...”
Lars looked at the black-cloaked woman in front of him. “Liothalla, you have a knack for saying the obvious.”
Story written by Capher