Dissonance

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
Chapter 3: After narrowly escaping the trespassers identified as a race called the "Oni", Seryna tries to get to know her companion, and secretive elven huntress. They make a decision on who to protect the forest against the new threat. On their travels, they discover an ancient ruin which sparks Seryna's curiosity.

Submitted: June 20, 2016

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Submitted: June 20, 2016

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Dissonance

Chapter 3

 

 

 

Cover Art created by DemonLife on DeviantArt

Art Source: Pinterest

Short story inspired by the DA franchise

Written by Booksie Member Haku

 

 

 

 

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CHAPTER THREE
The Tombstones


The pair of elves spent the remainder of their day making a large supply of healing potions and strength enhancing tonics. Remera flourished in creating poisonous substances that were so highly toxic that a prick of a pin would have devasting effects if it entered the bloodstream. They ate and regained their energy, whilst discussing what their next decision would be. Would it be wiser to alert the clan or keep the news quiet to avoid provoking them to attack? Seryna finally persuaded Remera that they should entrust the clan and prove their loyalty to the clan keeper. This would earn their respect and trust in advising them.
They departed the next morning. Remera was restless in the night, staying awake in search of any spies lurking in the shadows. This was disquieting to hear from her, so she told her to get some sleep. Even then, Remera slept fitfully, as Seryna heard her tossing and turning under her animal hides when she woke up for a brief moment in the darkness. 
The rain was falling heavily through the vast trees of the forest when they awoke the next morning. Remera had changed her clothing, who told her the red leather suit had torn and was unfit to wear. She now wore a white fabric embroidered in blood red elven patterns. Underneath her white hood, Seryna noticed she had let her pale hair down, which moved lightly in the breeze. Hers on the other hand, was tied up and dripping wet.
“Are you sure you know where we’re going?” Seryna asked her reluctantly.
“Yes. I took you back from the outskirts of the forest, did I not?”


As they travelled through the woodland, ruins began to emerge between the trees, ancient and fallen. Statues of a size so vast reached up into the leaves of the trees, with thick vines creeping up the concrete surface. A large broken piece lay on the ground, which appeared to be a massive hand bedded in white flowers. Gravestones stood firmly into the mossy ground outside the ancient rotting doors of the ruins. 
“Who was buried here?” Seryna asked, with the intent to fill the empty silence of the sinister forest.
“The Rebels of the Elf’s who once lived here, I heard. They killed the three outlaws as a punishment for their crimes. Feeling the guilt of killing their own kin, they buried them outside what once was a castle, not just to warn others of the consequences of crime, but to honour them.”
“Do you know their names? What do these elves do that were so wrong?” 
Remera explained it factually, showing no expression of interested as she explained. “The elves who once lived in this ruin were of a high status. They were the leaders of their followers, These two elves were partners, who lead the others elves and sheltered them in this building. Their names were Riaden and Elana. Rumour has it they were both powerful mages. The source of their power was contained and hidden within the chamber of the castle. Their followers grew curious and wanted answers of what this source of power was. These three elves had mysteriously managed to break into the secret chamber. What they found was a demon spirit, which summoned itself from the ashes that lay at the end of the hall. It took the shape of an elf, as all spirits do when they are present in this world, except it is completely dark, and has an empty face”.
 “That is...well, scary” Seryna shuddered.
“You’ve seen one for yourself Seryna, in your nightmares you told me about. I thought you would no longer fear the mention of it’s appearance” Remera said with a trace of disappointment in her voice. Seryna felt like she had said something rather stupid. “Before they could investigate, the leaders found them. They were mortified, and according to the tales, the spirit then flew

 

out of the castle and escaped. The couple feared – or knew, rather – that these elves would reveal their secret, so they had to kill them, to their dismay. They then confronted the rest of the clan, and told them a tale they had invented, that they had found the three of them dead in the woods. But the villagers had seen the demon escape, and they were enraged. The couple had fled. Powerless they were, they were able to call their Harts and fortunately, narrowly escaped the arrows that were meant to go through their hearts. This occurred about two hundred years ago. And this is only one version of the story, mind you. The others very far fetched if you ask me though. People had added great beasts and dark magic to the story over the past hundreds of years. I believe the truth of the story has been retold with new ideas each time to make it seem more intriguing. Perhaps this never even happened at all. You just don't know.”
They stood in front of the gravestones, and Seryna was now studying them with interest. There was a moment of silence, the only sound was their breathing. Then Seryna felt a sudden impulse at the prospect of an idea.
“Can we...explore the ruin? Take a look inside I mean.”
An expression of reluctance washed over Remera’s face. It seemed to say "what?" in disbelief to Seryna.
“We do have better things to do with our time” She said in a-matter-of-fact tone.
“Who knows what we could find in here, Remera! Has our clan even discovered this place?” A suspicious thought occurred to her. “Is there something you are trying to hide from me?” Seryna half smiled, peering at Remera mischievously as her face was now flooding with a guilty look. Remera recovered herself quickly however, returning to her usual austere manner. Seryna always thought she behaved as if those in her company were acting against the rules. 
“Some secrets should best remain unknown”.
Seryna couldn’t constrain herself from frowning. This Elven Huntress who accompanied her, she feared, would prevent her from pursuing many opportunities. She felt an invisible chain restricting her whenever she was in Remera’s presence. She desperately wanted to ask what is was she was afraid of exactly. Her withdrawn and elusive nature was giving her the distinct impression that she was retreating from something. She decided that the elf who was staring at her with such timidity, needed to be reassured. 


She smiled at her, and strode closer to arch shaped doors of the ruin’s entrance. Raising her staff, she began to melt the sealed lock, then turned around and gave the rusted doors an aggressive backwards kick. The hinges screeched as the decomposing doors flew open. 
Remera’s face gave a flicker of surprise, and Seryna grinned in triumph. 
“It looks like these doors haven’t opened in years!” exclaimed Seryna.
“They haven’t” Remera replied glumly.
“Come, I will light you a torch” She tossed a bulky stick to her and approached the entrance, hoping she would follow. Her heart elevated in excitement and anticipation. Remera’s hands drifted to her blade and her fingers curled round the hilt before following Seryna’s eager footsteps. Through the doorway was a narrow corridor that lay ahead of them. It immediately felt like being in a tunnel. They walked inside, and made their way through the slim corridor. There were old lamplights barely hanging on the walls. The sound of a water drop echoed through the tunnel, to which Remera jumped slightly in alert. 
Seryna chuckled when she noticed the sudden movement behind her. “Why is it so...wet?”
“Water must be coming through the building. It’s falling apart. We should keep our guard up” Remera warned. 
“I have magic. Say the word, and I will shield us both” Seryna said with an air of confidence, as she lit flames in the abandoned torches on the wall. It felt like the tunnel was slowly coming back to life, the walls glowing with orange warmth. Their looming shadows crept across the walls behind them in the newly born light. Seryna envisioned bringing her clan here and once again inhabiting the small castle which elves once lived in. 
Just when Seryna felt they had been striding down the hallway for a strangely long time, a doorway finally emerged at the end, with another two archways leading to separate rooms next to it. She decided to search the room on the left, but not before looking at Remera for

 

confirmation. The dusty cobwebs in the doorway were unpleasant when she had to wave her arm to break them. When the contents of the room revealed itself, they both inhaled a sharp breath in a moment of apprehension. 
Shelves of books were arranged along the walls, old ornaments stood untouched, and there were tables with scattered parchments, all caked in dust. Seryna’s hand trailed along the spines, and she inclined her head sideways to read the titles on the spines. They were blank, so she pulled a heavy one from the shelf and took it to the desk. Remera was already examining the pieces that lay spread out on the table and grimacing in disgust at all the copious amounts of woodlice and cobwebs that surrounded them. Seryna stood next to her and dropped the book on that table with a slam. The rotting book was much heavier than she had suspected. On the cover she read Study of Arcane, Book II. She lifted the pages to discover beautifully handwritten pages, although she had predicted as much. As she read the text inquisitively, she noticed some of the words were indecipherable. It must have been written in the ancient Elven language, or even another race's language. 
“What have you found, Remera?”
“These are merely notes on medical treatments and procedures...I think. The ink has faded very much” She sighed. “Let’s move on. It’s only a library.”
Seryna was aghast. Only a library? “This is the knowledge of our decendants! I have to bring books back to the clan, this could be vital information” and started pulling books out and quickly eyeing their covers. Standard book of Herbology, Written by Ethmal C. Conarhara...Holiness of the Seven...Ish’Ballenn dal Nethaleenia...
If only I could understand ancient languages! Seryna thought in frustration.
“Seryna!” Remera hissed. Was this the first time she had addressed her by name? This thought prompted Seryna to look over her shoulder at her for a brief moment. “The same as always. You don’t understand. This building is sacred. You can’t go touching things you don’t know! Do you seriously think –“
Seryna interrupted her, because now she realized Remera was truly getting anxious.
“Okay! I will go to the other rooms very quickly then we’ll leave!” She dropped the books stubbornly “And I will leave these behind!” Her heart sink. Such lost potential. But she

 

would tell Maryden. She was wise and would know what to do.
She took the room on the right, leaving the door at the end of the hallway for last. The route to the continuation to rest of the castle must be in there. This room was not quite as intriguing as the library. Slim tables and chairs occupied most of the room, with grand statues of elves that departed from the world long ago, at the end of the room. 
“A dining room?” Seryna suggested, but Remera merely shrugged, her lack of interest becoming profound. “You really are a downer, you know that?” She finished before leaving the room.
She took a deep breath and twisted the hooked door handle of the last room. 
The last room was disappointingly small, but inside held a potions room. Potion bottles and equipment had been left on all the desk and shelf surfaces of the room. With further inspection, they found that some potions were more hidden than others, seeing the locked cabinets in the corners of the room. The wooden surfaces had dark shiny stains which looked like liquids have been spilt on and potions had been brewed on numerous times. High on the shelves were rusted metallic hands which held stunning jewellery and adornment, hanging still from the fingers. Moth eaten curtains hung in the tall arch shaped windows. The windows were glass stained with magnificent art of forest imagery and creatures within the scenery. A tall elf stood in the centre of it, pale in dark furs and armour. Remera’s voiced sounded from behind her before felt completely engrossed in the glass window and rich jewels.
“If you know anything about potion making, can you confirm...” She was scrutinizing the deep violet substance inside a flask she held gently in her hand, “that this potion has not decomposed yet?”
Bemused, Seryna took the flask from her slowly. She inhaled the scent of the potion, shook it gently to test the thickness, felt a slight warmth on her fingers. Looking back at Remera, she nodded.
“Then someone has been here recently.”

 


Remera began muttering something under her breath and Seryna caught “I told you so” but her attention drifted to the glass stained window. Feeling sick with dawning comprehension, she gazed back into the colourful glass painting of the window. This time, there were eyes glaring through the glass right back at her.
She shrieked in horror. Remera pulled her backwards nimbly and took out her bow dexterously. They both stood and watched in apprehension, as the window gently creaked open and an elf exposed himself, stepping through the window shape. It wasn’t a window, Seryna realised. It was a secret entrance.
“Identify yourself!” Remera theatened immediately, outstretching her bow arm. Her amber eyes were fixated on him like a target of prey that had suddenly become aggressive. Seryna considered taking her aim away from him. The stranger glaring back at them bore the same appearance as Seryna, with almond coloured skin, earthy brown hair and eyes, robed in elven clothing with armoured garments. He had funny oversized ears and was wearing dusty brown robes. He looked like an elven schoolar. Their was only one difference which was startlingly profound – it was no mystery Remera took such a critical aim at him – his clan tattoos were glowing in emerald on his face. It looked like a mystical energy was pulsing through them, which had also been implanted on his arms. 
He raised his hands in the air, eying Remera’s bow and giving them a put-the-bow-down look. 
“You are the trespassers here, so I think it should be fair that you answer your own question”. He nodded to Seryna, “Apologies for frightening you”.
“Don’t let his manners fool you, mage” said Remera shrewdly. 
The emerald tattooed elf shook his head slightly, and continued.
“My name is Vaeril, descendent of the Arathorn Clan” He announced, rather pompously in Seryna’s opinion. She knew he didn’t belong to her clan, even if they did share a similar appearance, because she remembered her clan member’s names and faces like the back of her hand. She tried to recall the talks she had as a child with Keeper Maryden, about the elven races of the distant lands. She was fumbling on finding the answer, but Remera reached a conclusion much faster.
“How dare you call us trespassers of our own lands. You must be an-“
“Remera!” Seryna had to interrupt when she sensed what was about to come out of the impudent mouth of hers. The elf raised his hands again, as if convincing them of his

 

innocence.
“Don’t be so quick to jump to conclusions. I believe this castle belonged to the ancestors of my clan.” He sighed. “All hunters of this forest are the same”
“What?” Remera spat “Are you responsible for the disappearances of our clan?”
“Of course not!” he snapped, and then narrowed his eyes at her. “But you. You are guilty of such things. I have a confession to make to you both. I have been following you for some time now. You must understand. I need to learn what kind of people roam about this forest. And I certainly found out.”
Seryna looked at her, who’s eyes had widened in fury. She raised the bow, where it aiming directly at his face. “Say. one. more. word” she said through clenched teeth, with her lips curled back, enraged. In her eyes, Seryna saw what was unmistakably, fear.
“Then I must warn you it won’t work this time. Put an arrow through me and your friend will figure out by herself. Tomorrow perhaps, maybe years! I wouldn’t put it past her. Not anyone. Who could follow a person like you and not hold you in question?”
Remera lowered her bow, expressionless. Slowly, she turned to look at Seryna. She opened her mouth, her lower lip trembling.
“At the campsite we discovered. The other two elves were held captives. I knew you would make a hopeless attempt to save them all. So I killed them before hiding us both from their sight.”
The memory returned to her, and she remembered the thick pool of blood. It was crimson red, which could only mean it had just been spilled moments because discovering it. She must have been to overwhelmed by the camp place to realize. Seryna felt a stab of anger hit her chest, were magic responding by warming her palms. The truth was directly in front of her eyes, but she hadn’t noticed it.

-end of chapter 3

 

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Note: The Cover Art fits Vaerils character, for his habit of potion making and interest in intellectual pursuits. The appearance also looks exactly like him, except the clan tatoos are green instead of white.

 

 

 


© Copyright 2017 Haku. All rights reserved.

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