Stories of Astraea

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
Different stories that involve the history of the world of Astraea.

Submitted: July 16, 2013

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Submitted: July 16, 2013

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The Forest of Eltharia

 

Eltharia was born different. While most elves had light golden brown hair and honey colored eyes, she had hair that was as black as a moonless night and eyes as blue as the depths of a lake. Her parents loved her just the same, probably the only ones who ever did, but life for the young elf was hard.

No matter where she went or what she did, the others teased her. Pulled her hair and called her every name under the bright sun. The days became countless as she opened the door to her home in tears every day she ventured out.

This didn’t stop her though. Eltharia was quite talented in the elven element magics, and was surprisingly strong in forest magic, able to take an oak from a seed to a sapling in just moments. By the age of thirty she had single-handedly created a room off her parents’ house dedicated entirely to her studies. Now able to work alone, without criticism of the public eye, Eltharia started to dabble in darkness.

Her projects started out simple; taking a daisy and turning its snow white petals as red as blood. From there things grew worse. She stopped going out, finding herself more at home with her darkness than out in the light of the village. The whispers grew louder and turned into rumors as people saw less and less of her and saw more and more of her study go from bright greens and muted browns to deep reds and blacks.

Soon the leaves began to fall off the trees she had built her study from and wherever they fell, nothing would grow. A blackened mark would remain where the leaf had fallen once the wind carried it away. Even Eltharia’s parents became greatly worried and together, hand in hand, knocked on the door.

The young elf, eyes blood shot and hair in a wild mess, answered the door. “What do you want?” she demanded of her parents.

“You have not eaten in days,” her mother spoke quietly. “I worry about you…” she stopped as her voice broke, tears brimming her eyes.

A wild laugh bubbled from Eltharia’s lips, sending chills down her father’s spine. “I have been growing my own food in here. Here…look.” She held out her hand and a vine slithered into the doorway, bringing with it a dark red apple. Eltharia held it up triumphantly as her parents stepped back. “My plants and I work together. I give them life and they return the favor.”

“No plant should move on its own like that.” Her father hissed. “You have turned to the forbidden magic!”

“Forbidden…no…” Eltharia shook her head, a smile forming on her lips. “I have learned to bring true life to the plants.” Her parents began to back away from the door and suddenly her smile turned to a frown. “You doubt me?!” she raised her arms into the air.

Her parents turned and ran, but they didn’t get far. The vines that had so lovingly given Eltharia the apple now rushed forward with lightning speed and grabbed her parents, pulling them back into the study. The only sound that could be heard above the breaking bones and screaming pleas to stop was her insane laughter.

Her parents gruesome deaths at the hands of her plants where just the first. That day she crossed a line not many elves had crossed.

Murder.

Now, elves do believe in self-defense and have been known to fight in wars, but to just take a life for the pleasure of seeing death was almost unheard of. Unheard of unless the elf practiced the dark magics. Eltharia had now fully crossed that line into darkness.

Her evil plants consumed the house she had been born and raised in; striking out at anyone or anything that came too close to them. They seemed to have come alive, taking on a mind of their own, but always them seemed to care for the young elf who gave them life.

Years past and the forest, once bright and full of energy had become dark and dead, all except for Eltharia and her screaming trees. Once mighty oaks and maples, which had stood tall against time, were now bent and gnarled. Sap, black as ink, ran down their blackened trunks like blood from acid rain and lashes from the vines.

The vines themselves had taken on a presence all their own, winding around the trees and slithering along the ground like snakes, waiting for any living thing to come within their grasp. The vines waited to rip anything with a beating heart and living flesh to pieces to add to the bones that littered the floor of the cursed woods.

Eltharia lived among her creation for a time, content that her revenge upon the village that shunned her was complete. But soon, even she became lonely. The ear piercing shriek of the trees and vines became too much, even for her, their creator. Packing a small bag, she decided to leave her cursed creation to fend for itself.

And that’s just what it did. The hatred she had when she created those first vines years before had kept her safe while amongst the branches. But now as she prepared to leave, the forest sensed her. A wailing cry unlike any other pierced the air and the vines whipped about searching for her.

A realization struck Eltharia as terror at her creation shuddered through her body. Dropping the bag she had packed, she ran. But she never made it. Her footfalls were all the trees needed. They sensed her running by their roots and struck out at her, catching her in their branches. Within seconds the vines were upon her, wrapping around her arms, legs, waist, neck…tightening their grip. Thorns dug into her skin as the vines started to pull in all directions at once.

Her death was quick. Within seconds the trees and vines had forgotten their creator and began searching for the next victim to come into range. But Eltharia was not forgotten by all.

News of her dark creation had reached other elves and races of the lands of Astraea and had begun calling the living nightmare, the Forest of Eltharia, in hopes of deterring others from practicing dark magics.

There is a rumor though that can be heard late at night in hushed tones around dying kitchen fires. That the ghost of Eltharia still lingers and can be seen wandering the edges of the forest, caressing her living snake-like vines as she walks among her screaming trees. Some have tried to confirm any truth to the claim, but none have come back alive.

The forest still claims anyone or anything that dares to venture too close.


© Copyright 2019 kellermarie. All rights reserved.

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