THE LEGENDARY ELF ARLEINÁ

Elven woman who tended to Katya Ileri Dain's (the later Queen Katya the Just) injuries after the young human girl stumbled into the Thaelon.

Ar'leiná

View picture in full size Picture description: Ar'leiná - the elven woman whose love should remain unreturned forever. Image drawn by Enayla.

Ar’leiná, like those of her race, was fair of face and slender of form, with rich gold-red hair, the colour of a dying sun. Though she resided in the Thaelon, when she met Katya, Ar'leiná was actually of the Tethinrhim tribe which made their home in the Auturian forest. Unlike the Astyrhim, considered the purest of the elven race and several have even evolved into light, most of the other elven tribes can only appear in a corporeal form, including Ar'leiná. Among the sharply isolated and austere nature of the Astyrhim, Ar’leiná was considered to be of a somewhat volatile nature as seen by her continuing friendship with the human queen, Katya Ileri, during the later years of her reign. It was very rare for elves to be seen at all by the other Aér'aí'chanían races and for one to have any lasting contact with a human was unheard of. The Erpheronian Queen, for her part, knowing nothing of elven culture, merely loved the elven woman like a beloved sister. After the disappearance and presumed death of Katya Ileri, the elven kind gradually once more retreated back into the legends and dreams of mortals.

But according to elven mythology, Ar'leiná was more than only a friend to the Erpheronian Queen. Her destiny is recounted in Dalá'Valannía's collection of ancient lore as follows:

"In the time known as the Age of Myths, an elven woman called Ar'leiná who was of a curious disposition (a strange quality for an elf to possess) ventured away from her home, the Auturian, and traveled for a period of time over the Aér'aí'chanían lands, seeking to alleviate her wanderlust, considered a most inappropriate trait for an elf to have. Most elves usually prefer to lead a peaceful and sedentary lifestyle. It was during this time that Ar'leiná had the misfortune to stumble across one from the Eophyrhim tribe - a dark elf: Even among the spiritually elevated elves are there dark elements, and this darkness comes in the forms of the Dark Elves, those who thrived and gloried under the shadow of Coór. The dark elf was attracted by her beautiful appearance and fell in love with Ar’leiná (or what a follower of Coór would approximate the twisted emotion as love) and inexorably bound her with magic to his Óh'mod'hál, meaning that she was now under his will. This was the most terrible thing that could happen to an elf - to have his or her free will taken away and cut off from the substaining energy that all elven race possesess, except those who drew substance from Coór, derived from the Dream of Avá. Suicide was unheard of within the elven race and indeed there is no word for such an unnatural act within their language. But in her despair, Ar'leiná took a dagger and drove the blade deep within her breast even as she cried out for forgiveness from Avá. Senseless, the elf crumpled onto the ground and it was said that where the specks of her blood which fell from the wound and onto the soil, there grew a multitude of beautiful small flowers with petals of a golden-red shade.

The dark elf then released the dying Ar’leiná from his bondage and it was not known where he went as he walked out of the tale and into darkness.

As the elven girl's lifeblood trickled away from her body, time slowed and how long she laid there, she did not know, but suddenly, she felt strong arms gathering around her and lifting her effortlessly into a warm embrace. She heard the voice of someone speaking in her own language, soothing her as he said, "Do not fear, little one, you are safe now. My name is Melór and I am of the Astyrhim."

Ar’leiná looked up into the face of her saviour and even as he healed her and the pain left her body, the elven girl felt another deeper, sharper hurting replaced the previous agony and this new anguish was infinitely worse and yet all the more sweeter for precisely the same reason. And she knew then that this was her eternal punishment for daring to take away her own life - life that was granted to her by Avá and thus was sacred.

For Ar'leiná now loved with every spark of her being and she loved one who could never love her back. There is affection and caring within the elves, these feelings are not unknown, but of love, the kind that humans experienced and could die for, this was not weaved into their psyche. And so then this human-like love ultimately became the elf girl's doom."

-- Dalá'Valannía: "Collection of Ancient Lore", p. 86 ff.

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