Alexandra woke up, feeling peaceful and refreshed. She sat up, and looked around. She had never been here before. She couldn't remember yesterday, nor the day before, nor the years before. She remembered Zasha. Of course! Zasha, her best friend. The scary thing was that she had known him for 3 years, yet couldn't conjure the foggiest memory with him to save her life. What WAS her new life? All she could remember were feelings. Feelings about Zasha.��
����������� And Chance. Jealous feelings, angry feelings, embarrassed feelings. She didn't want to think about Chance, or where he was, or if he was here. She wanted to be here with somebody she knew and trusted. Usually that was Zasha, but he obviously wasn't here in this simple room. Was there anybody here she knew? Alexandra started thinking of her best friends, but stopped at the word best friend. Who were her best friends, other than Zasha? Even the feelings, even the name of her best friends was all gone, erased, and thrown away.�
�������������This is a dream, she thought simply. That was that. Her mental condition in that state did not, would not accept anything else. She took any answer that fit and applied it immediately, trusting everything to her vaguest of feelings. She did not waste another thought on it, because eventually, she'd wake up. Eventually, she'd go back to regular life. Eventually, this would all be over. So, with that logic, she figured she'd just go along with everything, let herself get caught up in it, and have some fun.��
��������������������� Someone knocked at the door. This startled Alexandra, because usually in dreams, you are dressed in pajamas or worse in front of civilized people. She quickly assessed the clothing she had woken up in and found to her pleasure, a coordinating tan outfit that weighed little. She called quickly, "Come in."�
����������� Two middle aged women with pointed ears rushed in. A young boy hung in the doorway, watching her. The women were tall, delicate, thin and rather beautiful. One had blond straight hair reaching down to her waist. The other had shorter, wavy, dark brown hair with a wary but polite expression.�
���������������������� Alexandra studied the boy in the doorway. It was..."Zasha!" she cried. Zasha blushed when the elf women looked at him knowingly. They smiled and beckoned Alexandra to follow them out of the room. Zasha fell in step beside Alexandra and she grinned at him.
������������� "Where are we?" she asked in hushed tones.
������������ "I'm not sure," Zasha replied sounding troubled. He looked at her. "We're with elves. They found all three of us on a battlefield of Kar...I don't know the details."�
����������� Alexandra did not understand. "Wait, three? Who's the other one?" Realization hit her. Chance. "Oh," she said, none too happy. "Where is he? Isn't he with the elves?"
������������ "No," said Zasha. "The elves think that he was found three days ago by the trolls. They don't get along with the trolls so they confirm that it was him."�
����������� Alexandra pondered this. "Well,� shouldn't we try to make contact? We don't have anything against the trolls."�
����������� The elves don't trust us, and I'm sure the trolls' camp is far away from here. We'd need the elves' assistance to get there. We're stuck."��
���������� The group reached a room with an elf Zasha immediately recognized as Avery. "Avery, leader of the elves," he whispered to Alexandra.������������ She nodded. This is the most complex dream I have ever been in, she thought.
������������ Avery looked her over and smiled wanly. "I am Avery, and this is my house. Assuming you know nothing more than your companion, we will skip the questioning. Alexandra, you were found on the battlefield of Kar last night sleeping soundly. It was not a naturally induced sleep. You were drugged to some point, but there is no one from here to the lands of the Alited who know of you or where you come from. There is no motive to drug a human one knows nothing about. We don't know what to think of you and your arrival," he paused, looking at her.
������������ She was overwhelmed by what he knew of her, yet she knew nothing. "Well, thank you for finding me, but what now?" she asked.������������ Avery ran a hand through his thin white hair. "This has never happened. You are old enough to be considered an adult by human standards, well at least not a child, so you may make your own decisions. You may join any tribe you wish, provided they take you in. If this is what you want to do, we will tell you of their histories and customs. You could not join any tribe ignorant as you are and risk offending them on the first day." He gestured to the elf maidens. "Take them to the museum."�
����������� The elf maidens nodded and led Zasha and Alexandra out of the room. Once they were out of Avery's house, the women drew closer to Alexandra. "Men," one whispered in her ear. "So formal."�
����������� Alexandra nodded and bit her lip. She glanced over at Zasha's solemn downcast face and giggled with the women.
������������� "We are Avery's daughters," one said as a way of introduction. "I am Alyssa, she is Durme," the elf with blond straight hair said.�
����������� Alexandra gasped. "His daughters? You look older than--."������������ Durme laughed. "We elves are almost immortal, we age for centuries. Fairies are the same, although their appearances stay youthful while ours change somewhat. I am 163, Alyssa is 219. You'll learn more at the museum," she said with an air of confidence.��
���������� Alexandra smiled. Perhaps, she could glean some information about this strange land. She followed the elf maidens throughout the city with Zasha at her side. They arrived at a series of buildings and entered the foremost. "This," Alyssa said, "is the grand elf museum.""It looks rather like a library," said Zasha doubtfully.
������������ "It is," said Durme. "Although, we do not lend just anybody these sacred books. They have enchanted tales and the history of this land. They hold secrets that would be disastrous in the wrong hands. All who wish to pursue knowledge must get permission from the council, or talk with the elders."
������������ "Isn't that unfair if someone's status is lower than another's?" asked Alexandra.�
����������� "We do not hold elves back. They may further their life if they choose to do so, and we base status on how mature and responsible one behaves. Now, this is just the library part of the museum, and we do not have the council's permission to browse. Come, we will educate you in the history of the elves."
������������ They left the library and walked to a large room with many seated elves studying or discussing quietly. The foursome sat at a small table, and Alyssa began with a light in her eyes.�
����������� "We are a people of peace. We used to be a violent and bloody people, with shameful customs and values. Because of our ability to age, we held grudges against each other for years. Many of these grudges turned into skirmishes. At first, it was a small problem, but the hurts were avenged, and the hatred grew, until elves only attempted to gain power, promising new ways of peace, but those in power abused it. Our government was confusing and could be used against our people when needs arose. Those were sad times.�
����������� "The only hope we had for justice was from an old legend, scoffed at by many. However,� the first part of the legend was put into action, and thus has brought firm belief in the tale. As well as dread. This prophecy restored temporary peace, but dark times are to come. The prophecy contains -"
�"We cannot speak of this," Durme whispered, interrupting.
�"They must know," replied Alyssa. "Can't you see, they are the ones!"
�"Let Father tell them. It is not our place!" Durme replied.�
Alexandra looked at Zasha in confusion. He shrugged.� Ignoring Durme's caution and venomous gaze, she asked Alyssa, "What is there to hide from us?"�
"Ignorant child, your young years make many things unspeakable. You are a human as well, are you not? Elvin ways are not for you to know," Durme defended.
�"That's racist," Zasha whispered furiously.�
Durme turned her powerful gaze to him. "It is our culture," she replied quietly. "You do not need to know things for only elves to hear."�
"Take us to Avery, then. He can follow 'procedure,'" Alexandra said, rolling her eyes.�
"He is busy," Durme said, tight-lipped. She glanced at Alyssa pleadingly.�
"Father has time. This may change the fate of the world," Alyssa reassured her.�
"Very well. Take them" Durme permitted.�
Zasha grinned and Alex smirked. "So, where is he?" he asked.�
"Most likely in a meeting of the Elders. Activity and discussion has been increased since you and the other one arrived," Alyssa said excitedly.�
"Chance!" Zasha said in alarm. "I had forgotten his existence!"�
Durme looked at him sharply. "Lower your voice. You know of him?"�
Alyssa turned to her and said in elvish, "Have you not heard the many sayings, sister?"
�"You mean rumors," Durme scoffed. "If they are close companions with him, and he has been influenced be dwarfish fiends, do you know what this means? We cannot trust him! The prophecy -"�
"Will be prevented. Do not worry, Father will handle this." Alyssa attempted to calm Durme down.�
"Please, just explain!" Alex said in exasperation.
�"We only want help," Zasha added.�
Durme turned on them with searching eyes. "You will know. And then we will see whether or not your character is what you claim it to be, and if your protests are merely lies."