A journey to the past from the present
Rory turned to O'Beth and hugged her. Luminare de Aurora could see her now, really see her. The wisdom and magic that flowed through her was strong, she would need her. She knelt before her, grasped both of her hands in hers. "Please oh wise one, I need you, I need your guidance your magic. I know this world needs you too, but what affects my people will affect the whole world. Will you join my people, my race, travel with us?" O'Beth waited, she closed her eyes and began to sing. Low as if in a whisper then she stopped, looked down at Rory a very sad expression on her old sweet face. "Now we will wait and listen."
Slowly some creatures came from out of the forest, first it was birds, they swooped in, humming birds, then sparrows, then warblers and robins. Then came the eagles, ravens, swans and owls. Each seeming to bow and attend then flying a way. Next, came racoons, real ones, and muskrats, squirrels and rabbits. Then from out of the forest, three large animals. A bear, a large mountain cat, and monstrous white stag. The bear and cat were positioned on either side of the stag. The white stag glowed in the morning sun, his eyes were a brilliant blue and his hoofs and antlers were made of silver. O'Beth bowed low to the stag, as did Aryeh and Tym. Luminare de Aurora, now queen of the elves, chose instead to kneel before the King of the Forest.
The Stag had a soft voice and as he spoke she heard with her Elf ears what he said. "Old woman, thou hast served well, now you must undertake a journey. It is the way, someone else is being called now to watch over this kingdom." He then turned his gaze to someone standing behind them. "Come forward Rikos the Muskrat, you cannot hide or shift from your duty anymore." Rikos the shopkeeper with his head bowed, his old green cap twisting between his hands, crossed the meadow and knelt before the stag. The Stag pawed the ground in front of him, then pressed his hoof onto the thigh of Rikos and then pressed his muzzle against his forehead. "Arise now and serve, guardian of my forest, protect this valley and your village, you are now entrusted with." Rikos rose and placed his cap back on his head, then hugged O'Beth and stepped back from the group. A few stray tears trailed down his cheeks and off his chin to land on the forest floor.
Then the Stag turned his gaze on them, "O'Beth, watch over this child, she is strong, yet anger will rule her heart for a time. She needs to find peace or her own flames will consume her." His gaze then lowered to catch Rory's eye. "Dawn child, there are few in my world that cross between us and elf kind, having been friends to both. We give you a great gift in her, do not harm her, for on that day you may lose yourself again." He now looked from her to Aryeh and back again as if measuring them. "Arise. Now take your mate's hand and extend it towards me. I give you now my blessing on this union." Rory rose pulling Aryeh forward and extending their hands as her husband looked into her eyes and smiled. This was a rare gift, it had been a long time since an elf union had been blessed by a Stag.
"Lion, I call you now to protect your pride, to hunt and to kill if needed to protect your own. You will go through much now, do not hesitate to fight when needed. Dawn child, you now must shake off the ties of youth and become the woman, wife and queen. Your magic is strong, you need to control it, work hard at this and you will be rewarded. I bless you with a long union that can surpass the boundaries of time. I also bless you with a child, to come later that will grow in wisdom and love." He then nuzzled their joined hands and blew on their wrists. A pale ghost of a ribbon of moonlight tightened and bound them then soaked into their wrists, leaving behind a bracelet on each wrist of pure polished silver. The White Stag then turned, the lion and bear at his side, and disappeared into the forest.
Rory was in awe of all that this Stag had done for her. Aryeh turned and pulled her into his arms then looked down at her and smiled. Rory turned to O'Beth and asked "Why did the king call us by our true names, or what they mean instead of what they are?" O'Beth smiled and looked at her as when she was trying to be patient with an inquisitive child. "He works with the the truth, he can only speak what is. Your husband, his name is Aryeh but means Lion, you child are the Dawn. Now we must ready and go, for here is not the place to learn and grow in strength, you must return to your people."
Rory turned around then, gazed out over the valley, the lake, the forest, taking it in, to commit it to a real memory. She watched as people returned towards home, to seek safety. The ribbon on the poles twirling in the morning breezes. The night blooms now closing, a fading scent dying slowly on the air. The meadow was empty now, the decorations making it even more forlorn and sad in appearance as with a great loss. The flames of the candles had blown out. This is not how she wanted to remember it. Smiling into Areyeh's face she took a hold of his hand and walked back into the center then kneeling with him, spoke a few simple words, and kissed him on the cheek. Feeling a little bit shy with her new husband. Suddenly the ribbons and flowers cascaded and flowed like a wave growing into a bush. A hedge that formed into a circle then opened at the ends. The symbol of a beginning of life without an end, opening out towards the lake. Pretty fragrant pale blue blooms grew among its boughs. Surrounding them like a briar, Aryeh looked at her and laughed. Tugged on one of her braids, he always had teased her so. "Oh it is good to have you back, we must hurry though. Race you back to the cabin!" He then morphed back into his cat form, and was off through the forest with her chasing him.
Rory was out of breath and laughing by the time she reached the cabin. Rikos and O'Beth were waiting for them there, speaking in hushed tones. Rikos came forward, he had always been very humble towards her, she understood why now. "My Queen, can I... can I have this place?" He stuttered softly. "It will be easier for me to watch over things if I am not in Town." She reached out and grabbed both hands, kissed them. "Thank you, thank you for watching over me, and helping O'Beth." She looked at Aryeh to see if he was in agreement as he was turning back into himself. Aryeh grinned and laid his hand on Rikos shoulder. "Yes you can have this as our gift to you." Rory looked back at it then and gasped, seeing something for the first time, no wonder it had looked earlier as if it was falling apart. She could see the edges of the spell, she turned to Rikos and whispered, "Wait." She paused for a brief moment, "Let me reveal to you it's true splendor."
Placing both of her hands against the timbers, she hummed softly, to feel the rythm in the spell. With her awakening senses, she could now see things with her elvish vision and as such could see physically the spell woven over the cabin, to disguise it. Taking Rikos hand in hers, she pressed it to the building and asked the building to release itself from the spell. Brown and black bits of bark seem to fall off like ashes as beneath shimmering into the sunlight the real wood stood out a stark pale green. Symbols and runes woven over it's surface in stunningly intricate patterns. Her people had not used timber from the forest, but the poles of their tents from their journey to build this. Tears coursed down Rory's cheeks as she thought of the gift and labor that went into it. Her people had done this for her, the next two nights after, that horrible day. They had built her a beautiful haven to protect her. It absorbed and radiated moonlight was phosphorescent in its nature. It was dimmer during sunlight then shone starkly at night. As if it absorbed the sunlight to radiate light against the dark of the evening sky.
Rikos eyes lit up and he stood straighter as he realized the significance of this gift. Together they all went inside to gather a few things they would need. Quickly putting together packs of blankets, food, water, drink and other supplies. Rory kept finding objects she wanted to take with her, that O' Beth would tsk at her, then take out of the pack. Finally she had it wrapped up just a few of her treasures tied up in one of the kercheifs she used to wear while working with O'Beth in the village. Aryeh draped a beautiful green cloak around her shoulders. "My wedding present for you, O'Beth helped me." There was a band of blue about the edge that had small embroidered roses and birds. Tym came down from the loft, she know knew that Aryeh and him shared the room. They each had worked in shifts to watch over her, never leaving her unattended.
Tym held out to Rory a walking staff made out of the same pale green wood. However it was not an ordinary staff, it was the one her family had for generations. It was carved and had a round circle design at the top, with an image of a crescent moon at its center with a large oak tree, at the edge of a lake. Down the length of the staff it had carvings of animals. A braided band of dark blue leather fringed with feathers hung from it. Gently Rory traced the designs with her fingers. Her Father had held and used this daily, she pressed it against her face and held it, thinking of him. Feeling it attempting to channel her power, for that is how it worked. A symbol of the fact that she was now ruler over her people. She grabbed a blue hand kerchief and her locket. Antaquay had taken it off of her when they got ready for her wedding. It held small portraits of her parents inside of it that Aryeh had given her a few years ago.
Rory turned towards Antaquay a look of confusion on her face. "Where are we going? Back to our homeland?" Anta paused in what she was doing and looked at her, "Yes that is the best choice." Anta and Tym exchanged looks, clearly it was apparent from Tym' face he felt otherwise. "Tym where do you think we should go?" Tym glanced at Anta, it was something they had heatedly discussed. "We should go and finish our parents mission. They were going to form an alliance with the Tribes of Kestral. We were about half way there when the attack happened. We sent some of our people after you fell to their people the rest returned to our homeland. Some of them you have seen today. We have no knowledge of those that went to the People of Kestral. There has been no word nor rumor of what happened to them. I believe that you should go there first and find out what happened. Then return to our people to help us understand if they betrayed us.
Anta looked at her and spoke then. "Yes we could do this, however you just awoke, we have been trying for years and years to wake you out of this spell." Her eyes pleaded with Rory to understand her side of the argument. "I feel you need to go and take care of your people. In your stead, your Mother's brother, Mandel is ruling. He has done a noble job, however it is not his rightful duty. He is needed to be the spiritual leader of our people. This was once my role and I was training him for it. As I was also training you in the use of your abilities for your birthright. These were the choices we had to make given the situation."
Looking towards O'Beth to ascertain her thoughts, she suddenly thought of her Mother's Journal. Could she read it now, would it provide insite? Her face must have shown her excitement, for she reached into her satchel and pulled it out. Yes, the glyphs were legible and stood out clear, she would need to ask O'Beth why she could not read the runes before. Entries were dated, she turned towards the back of the book, towards the last two pages and began to read.
Aryeh and Tym they stand at her side, eager to watch over her, yet they keep her a child. Aryeh shows no interest in her other than as a friend. I worry that when the time comes, he will wait and think upon taking her hand. Rather than doing it, as he so often does. Aryeh thinks too much, his name is a fierce name, given to someone with the ability to do so much more. Why does he think himself less than he is? Tym is so protective of her, my sweet Lumi, that she is never allowed to do much of anything. She is not allowed to trip, to stumble his hands are always there at her side. Sometimes I wish she could find a woman, a young girl her age, that she would be with. However all she wants is these two young male elves at her side.
Garad, he is worried about this travel. I see it, he will not confide in me. He is wary of the Kestrals. He knows they need us, and it would benefit us to form an alliance. Would supply us both with trade, with spices. We would offer them rare art, music, and create beautiful weapons for them and teach them how to fight in the woods. They would teach us so many things, how to ride. They ride these beautiful animals called horses and fight with them. If we could do this, how great it would be. This is why we are going. We travel slow without being mounted, they travel quickly. How much more we could do and see of the world. Meet up with the other groups of Elves on other continents. We travel the oceans and rivers, but we do not travel the land as quick.
It is a two month journey from our land to theirs. Over rivers, mountains and many valleys. They live near the edge of a desert. We live near the ocean, with small hills and dells. Streams and many trees, beaches and coastlines. Oh how I long for home, to see the dwellings glow in the moonlight. To feel the breezes and smell the sharp tang of salt water. The cry of gulls and cranes. Garad is worried though, he casts glances around, as if he senses something. Something not good, a foreshadowing. He frequently gazes at Lumi, he is worried about her. Because her magic is so strong, she is the chosen one to be leader. Her brother is gifted in the crafting, forging of weapons. It is such a rare honor, that he has to do this as his path. He is a great warrior and will one day lead our battalions.
I love Tym and Luminare so much. If something were to happen, who would watch over them. Aryeh? He is the oldest, however, he is still so young. Antaquay, our spiritual leader and Lumi's instructor in the Arts? I know not, Lumi is so sweet, she brings joy wherever she goes. People feel more joy in her presence she is such a rare gift. Light, she is living, walking light, she makes my heart ache. Her hair though, does not seem, I had thought, perhaps it would be lighter, yet it is almost black. I wonder if this is because she was born at dawn, as night fades and comes into the light. Is she both? Night and Day? I have not the sight my brother does. Will he watch over them, or guard the people? I am a queen to my people, yet all I want is to be the Mother and the Wife. Have I done well by them? I know not, yet I love them, I worry about them. May tomorrow guide us as to what should happen next.
Again tears glided down Rory's face, as she knew, that was the last entry. May tomorrow guide us as to what should happen next. Angrily she wiped the tears from her face, a fierce determination seizing her mind. Maybe her mother did have a bit of the sight. She could envision Celeste's hair shown out as sweet honey, her large blue eyes, and sweet smile, lips of the prettiest pale pink, like a rosebud. Her parents had died the next day, and she, had tried to protect those who protected her. She handed the Journal to Aryeh, he was her husband now and would take part in ruling her people, as a prince of the realm. He read the entry aloud surprise registering on his face at the passages about him. Luminare de Aurora, Queen of the Elves, turned back towards the hearth and felt along the mantle. Thinking of all the time she spent here, in two halves. One her sleep state in the dark of a night that would never seem to end. When she could not be awaken for anything. Her sleep walking state, where she lived and saw as if in a dream.
That was the spell the White Stag had helped cast on her. He had woken her into this half sleep on the morning two days later, she had arisen and everyone had gasped. She could see both visions playing out her in mind. The dream she lived, and what really occurred. The Stag had come into the meadow for her as dawn came and brushed his muzzle against her forehead, and she, placing her hand on his shoulder followed him to O'Beth. She saw as the Stag did, with his vision. Things had appeared to her differently. For example, Aryeh appeared to her as a great magnificent Lion. She now knew that is how the Stag saw him. Her brother though was unique, he stood out, apart from all others. He must be rare, for she did not see him as anything other than what he always was. A gifted Hunter and craftsman. The truth, that is what O'Beth had stated, that he spoke, and perhaps saw the truth. Apparently his gift still lingered, for she could still see it every now and then.
"Aryeh, what do you think we should do? After reading what Celeste, my mother wrote." She turned around and looked into his face, her chin jutting up in defiance. Aryeh knew that look, knew it well, she had made a choice and there was no going back for her. This time though, he agreed with her. "We go to Kestral, it was important enough that even when your father Garad sensed that something was wrong, he went on. He must have foreseen something we know not of, and he was especially interested in the horses." He reached in and placed the Journal back into her bag. Then turned around to face the room, taking her hand in his to show they were in agreement on this. Rory, for she decided now, except for certain occasions she was going to demand they all call her that, nodded her head at him and smiled. "We go to Kestral, I do not know who this entity is that struck us. I suspect though that the people of Kestral are aware of him. They will still need our help as we will need theirs." Then Rory turned and gathering up her things and guiding O'Beth in front of her walked out the cabin, and into her new life.