as above, so below

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
evil elves, ancient messages, the hunter and the hunted.

Submitted: June 26, 2017

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Submitted: June 26, 2017

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Elves, their kindness and magic was legendary, their empire stretching from shore to shore of Ilayia, reaching out into deserts and plains, and out again into the ocean, to islands now lost. It waned when the humans first arrived, but instead of being offended, they helped the human race; they gave them secrets of development and technology beyond their belief. 

The humans thanked them, and although neglected their friendship, did not attack them either. They were too scared of the marvels that the elves held in their grasps. And so it would have remained for many generations of both the races, had the elves not said that the ‘ones above’ had told them to destroy all other life that threatened the elven way. Towns were burned, cities abandoned, and armies flattened by their power. The time of Elthrad had come, the time of desolation for mankind as it stood…

***

  Joseph glanced warily out of the hollow hill that he called his home, and set out toward the forest near Draydill's hill. He was still a few years off of adulthood, but his father had been killed in the most recent campaign to fight back against the elves’ evil, and his mother had died of a winter infection in the past month. This left him as the oldest being 16, and in charge of the small family that was left; 2 small boys, twins, aged 6, Hardrid, and Michel, and 2 small girls, Yasmine, and Leolen, 8 and 10. Today’s first task was food and water, the most dangerous. 

He reached the hidden traps that he had set for catching rabbits, and found to his great astonishment and pleasure, that a small boar had had its feet caught in it instead. He bent low, drew his small spear with ease and stealth, and plunged it into the boar’s side. It writhed and snorted, and after about two minutes, when he had had enough, dropped to the floor with exhaustion and blood loss. Joseph didn’t wait long to collect it. If the elves had heard the racket, then they would know that something was up, and come looking for it. 

He dragged it back, almost at a run, and stopped only when he was inside. He dropped it, and then realised what was wrong with the scene around him. His family were missing! He had just about had enough of death already, he didn’t need his little brothers and sisters dead too! Then he realised something else that was wrong with what he saw. There were several sets of foot prints, and the ones going out were heavier. He ran this through in his mind. Nothing had been taken, and there were no bodies.

Not dead!

‘Don’t get your hopes up though,’ he thought frantically, ‘they will be as soon as they get to the capital.’ He frowned with determination, how far away was the capital? About three days away, two under the cover of trees. That was lucky, dragons didn’t fly under the trees, and even an elf has to stop and rest when carrying something as heavy as humans. He ate, and then sheathed his father’s sword, and his mother’s tooth-knife.

He set off in the general direction of the capital, and covered his tracks as he went. ‘The last thing that I need, is to be captured by elves myself.’

***

Leolen sat, contemplating death. If she had been a ten year old child seventy five years ago, sat in the presence of an elf, she would not be contemplating this, instead, she would probably be contemplating the best food, music and bed that she had ever seen. She stopped thinking about it, deciding that she was a sensible girl, and one who knew that thinking about how she would die, would not change how or when she died, or the fact that she was going to die at some point soon.

She sighed, as she saw her baby brother curled up next to her, sleeping peacefully. ‘Well at least someone’s happy,’ she thought wistfully, ‘and with any luck, Jo will come for us when he finds out what’s happened, and then we’ll have a big meal and…’ she drifted into a light, but pleasing seep.

  She woke to find a tall elf standing over her, his hand stretched out in a meaningful gesture. She took it, and immediately regretted it. ‘He’s going to drag me to my death.’ She thought, terrified of what they had rigged up in the night to kill her. She pulled away, but his grip was firm. She looked around, her brothers and sister were missing, and it was only sunrise, either they wanted to kill them all together, or they had already killed her siblings. 

  She closed her eyes, prepared to die, and let herself be guided towards a heat. ‘Oh no! Their going to burn me!’ she had always hated fire, and she could think of no worse way to go than by fire. She opened her eyes, ready to see the smouldering corpses of her family, but instead, she saw them sat around a fire with food on plates, smiling. ‘No, it’s a trick, it must be!’ but she sat down all the same, and took the food offered. ‘Are they going to poison me?’ she wondered, too distracted to really care anymore.

  ***

Joseph crept up to the camp. It was sunrise, and everyone was up, probably wanting to get out of the forest as soon as possible. ‘Well, you’ll be getting out a lot sooner than you had hoped, if all that stuff about souls is true.’ He thought, evilly, smiling at his own remark. He snuck closer, nearer to the lulling glow of the fire, but making sure to keep to the shadows. Shadows held secrets, that’s what he had been told, and right now, he needed to be a secret, and be wary of others that were loyal to the elves who could be lurking next to him.

  One of the men got up from the fire, and reached for his sword, which glowed with a heated magical tinge, then walked back toward the light, where his siblings wee! He dashed forward, and realised that it was the biggest mistake that he could have made.

***

Leolen screamed, and shouted, as did all the children, but it was too late. The elves had drawn shiny, long metallic objects- magic staffs! They let a burst of magic spring out of the tip, light and flame, red and white hot, and it vaporised what had been Joseph. Leolen stared around in the silence. For a moment, she had actually thought that the elves had changed, that they had regretted their actions. She would never trust them again. Leolen glanced around again, it was no longer silent. Hardrid had got over the shock, and was audibly crying, the rest just sat, watching the spot where Jo had been, and letting gigantic tears fall down their faces. Leolen did not cry. She clenched her fists, and glared sourly at the bronze armoured elf that was putting the destructive weapon away as if nothing had happened. He looked at her, and frowned.

  ‘I won’t let them know what they’ve done to me, I won’t show any fear of them, they won’t even think about it, they’d probably just laugh anyway. One thing I will show though, distrust. I’ll remind them that they once helped us, that when we trusted them, they turned their backs and slaughtered us.’ She thought bitterly as they ordered the group to move on. 

  They marched through the forest, almost in a haze, of grief, hatred and sorrow. They were coming to the edge when it was dark, and it wasn’t long before a debate started. It was in elfish, but she had been taught enough to recognise the general gist of what was being said it went something along the lines of “We should stay here Enral, we don’t have the strength to move forward tonight, and the children are grieving.” 

Then another said, “We mustn’t stay, we would risk being seen by beasts and humans. We have strength enough to get to a high place, and why do you care about the children, are you becoming a Hunsar?"

"No! But people are saying things you know, things about," he risked a glance at Leolen, "The Ones Above, and about the humans"

"Oh, and what are they saying Frestad?"

"Their saying that the Ones Above told us something wrong, but that they couldn't amend it, because of time, and they could be right too, after all, we haven't heard from them in decades since they last gave the order - you'd expect them to at least check up!"

Enral snorted, “You’re young, so I’ll forgive you that remark, but watch what you’re saying, and to who. When the Ones Above tell us to do something, we do it!” he paused. “I’ll make a compromise though. I’m tiered, and so are you, so we can stay here, but I’ll call a,” Again, he glanced at the children, as if afraid to let them in on some sort of secret, “Dragon to keep us all safe, Ok?”

  In a sudden flash of light, he was gone, and then another flash of light appeared on top of the hill. ‘He just vanished, and then appeared in another place, he must have a lot of magic knowledge.’ Thought Leolen longingly, ‘If only the elves were still friends with us, we could learn so much!’

He flashed back again, and almost immediately afterwards, a tremendous roar broke out from somewhere to the south. A Dragon had come.

"The children must not see this. When we get back to the Capital, it's just another crime they can accuse them of, and to be honest, I'd rather just get killing the poor beasts over with." Enral told Frestad, waving his hand dismissively and strutting off.

He nodded, and then turning to Leolen, winked, reaching into his armour, and pulling out a cylindrical object wrapped in cloth. ‘I won’t trust them, not again.’ She told herself, but there was just something about the way Frested was smiling at her so warmly. He motioned to her to turn around, and she did so, hesitantly.

She felt some one touch her neck with a sharp, small object, and she began to feel faint. The last thing she saw before she slipped into unconsciousness, was a blur of black wings, stretched out, and feet, extending to the ground.

***

She woke, yet again, to an elf. This time, she was in a room, full of golden light, cream walls, and elegant looking things everywhere. Frestad was sat by her side, smiling. She desperately wanted to frown, and ask why he was smiling when her brother was dead, but instead, she smiled back.

She took another look around, and saw to her amazement, all of her siblings in bed, healthy, sleeping peacefully, and well. Hardrid had had a cut on his arm when she had last seen him, now, there was nothing there. She glanced back at Frestad, puzzled. His smile broadened.

“Yes, we have healed your kin, and regret that we captured you, although it may turn out to be for your benefit.” He frowned, knowing that she would not believe him. “There is someone who I think you would like to meet, when you feel well enough, and I’m sure he is dying to meet you.”

Curiou, she swung her leg slowly out of the low bed, and said quietly, "I feel well enough. But you have to promise mje two things, because I'm not a fool."

“I will promise you all that I may, because unlike many here, I know that you are no fool.”

"Fine," she sat up straighter, and looked him in the eye, “you must promise me first, that my brothers and sister will be safe while I am gone.”

"I promise, and they will be cared for until you return."

"Thank you. Secondly, you must promise me that this is not a cunning trap to get me killed.”

For a while all was silent. He met her gaze, and then laughed. “Many here are your enemies, but not me, not now, I can promise that you will know this by the time you leave, and can also promise you that even the elves could not be so cunning as to create a trap for you!” Then he stood. “Unless there is anything else, I suggest that we hurry.”

She  nodded, and followed him out of the large room full of the healing sick, and in to the complex of the rest of the beautiful building. As she walked, she couldn’t help marvelling at all the wonders that lay in the place, even the walls seemed to radiate magic, and even the sky above her was nearly blocked out by incredibly arches and paintings. A music filled the air, or though she suspected that it came from somewhere to the north, and it seemed to lighten everything in and around her.

They came to a door, and Frestad put a finger to his lips, and then swung it open quietly. She nearly fainted at what she saw inside.

Joseph stood, clothed in a green robe grinning with his arms open wide. She ran to them, and they embraced each other. She gazed at Frestad in awe. “You?”

“Yes, but it is not what you people would call magic.”…

 


© Copyright 2017 Rebekahjz. All rights reserved.

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