(this was a stretching exorcise, fellow writters will know what I mean) This love story doesn't begin in the traditional way, not in a glade under a sunlit sky nor with a prince or a princess, this isn't a story that begins with two individuals that already love each other, or with a knight and a maiden, there aren't any peasants in this story that gain title, nor is this about happily ever after. It begins on a clear, cloudless night, the chill air swept gently through an ancient forest of grand oaks, older than the mountains, steadfast and sturdy through the ages.. under the starlight the trees whispered in their ancient language recalling a time much like now on a night as clear, just four centuries ago, when the dryads still frolicked in their cloaks of colored mist, seeking men for reproduction and bathing in the starlit facets of a forest spring.
Dryads only awoke from their trees when it was time to breed, and usually only every century.. during this season a male elf, who dwelt in those woods, was trying his best to avoid the fanciful and wanton tree spirits, sleeping during the day and travelling at night, being sure to keep his doings mostly nocturnal.
this night was different. He had fallen ill for exhaustion, he hadn't slept for several days, and now rested cradled uncomfortably in the boughs of his maple tree, one of the few in the forest that didn't have a tree spirit. His sleep was restless and uneasy, for the dryads could be rough with their men and he had learned early in his youth that love was better than the physical, which was what the dryads' primary concern tended to be... it wasn't easy for a tree to fall in love. Puffs of gauzy breath escaped from his lips into the clear night, rising and disappearing passed the widely spaced branches, his fingers twitching between restless mumbling; in his dreams he was running from the enthusiastic tree women and trying to convince them it wasn't in their best interests to pursue him, it was because of this he didn't sleep well. His eyes flew open as in his dream he was cornered, he surged to his feet with his sword drawn as if to protect himself from the phantoms in his dream, but over shot his balance and fell from the tree, landing with a thud and a cry into an awkward heap. Embarrassed he rose and dusted himself, hoping desperately that he hadn't awaken any of the local dryads... or goblins.
He gazed at his surroundings, now highlighted by the soft silver of a crescent moon nearing its pinnacle in the sky, the moon hadn't set nor had the dew risen from the earth.. the elf knew that for now his pride was safe. Sleeping in the boughs of the tree, without his hammock especially, had to be one of the most uncomfortable experiences he'd had in his many years, his muscles had stiffened in the few hours of unfulfilling sleep, and he ached everywhere.
The forest was silent, on clear nights such as this the nocturnes took extra care to hide themselves from their predators, and the predators hid themselves as well. Night was the time when Orcs fed, and they ate just about anything. Orcs didn't have to hide themselves under the cover of darkness, but they found that food was easier to come by during the night, it was more simple and less work to snatch up a sleeping animal than to pursue and hunt by sunlight.. also they were just as annoyed by the dryads as was the elf. The dryads pursued anything appearing human, they even attempted to pollinate themselves with orc-women when they could catch them, but to no avail and no avoidance since only orcs could tell between the two genders of their species.
The elf sunk down, resting himself against the solid trunk of his maple tree, and closed his eyes. He wouldn't sleep this night, instead he would stay alert and meditate.. though no doubt his thoughts would wander.
Several hours later a gentle mist rose from the earth, hanging gently in the air for several minutes before clinging desperately to plants and trees and settling heavily to the ground. The elf awoke from his meditation soon after, drenched with dew, but this wasn't the reason he'd left his thoughts. There was a sound in the distance.. a woman's' voice? He silently leapt to the closest hanging branch of his maple and scrambled hastily to higher boughs, hiding himself from view, and watching the distance, waiting for whoever is was to pass. The voice didn't cease its sound, as the woman grew closer the elf began to realize it was a song that drifted through the trees, it grew steadily as her sound gathered in the darkness. The male-elf strained his ears to their limit to listen.. he hadn't heard the voice of a female in many years... for the dryads didn't tend to speak..
The song was soft and high, but the voice was strong and resonant, and in a language he didn't recognize, but as the silhouette of the female emerged from the distant trees, riding a large horse, he came to realize just from her shining aura that it was another elf. He stared from the branches of his tree in bewilderment, his green eyes wide and his heart aching, he had longed to see another of his kind for a good many centuries.. but his clan had passed on long ago, and as an elf lad he stayed behind and hadn't known where to find others like him. The elf-woman glowed with starlight, pure and innocent, joyous and sad all at once, and her song made his mind heavy with many emotions. She rode astride, dressed in hunting leathers and a heavy kilt-styled skirt, a dagger and sword hung at her belt, an unstrung bow and quiver of arrows at the left side of her saddle, and saddle bags on either side. Her horse didn't seem to mind its burden, he was enormous, a good twelve feet from hoof to head, massive enough to pull a caravan by himself, and jet black. The elf-woman swayed with the movement of her war-horse, her song not wavering with her movement but flowing strong and clear as if it were an invisible stream welling from the earth. The elf-man studied her features, her delicate cheekbones and alabaster skin, pale as the face of the moon, her mane of silver-blond hair trailing behind her like a banner in the wind, her eyes wide and deep, but tinted yellow rather than the normal brown of the elves.. her ears came to a longer, sharper point, and something about how she carried herself...
No, she had to be an elf, no other creature could be so beautiful, proud, and sad. Surely, he thought, she must be of another clan I haven't heard of or seen.. I'm still very young. His eyes didn't leave her, he had never seen anything so pure.. Her song rose and fell, first with euphoria and then to great depths of ultimate despair, it could have been a love song.
As the rider and her horse approached it was evident the massive ebon equine sensed or smelled the presence of another, his eyes widened for a moment at the scent of the other elf, he snorted disdainfully in the man-elf's direction but kept his pace, warning his rider of the presence of another. She didn't look up, and her song didn't waiver, but from the darkness with no warning a small dagger whistled end-over-end through the air, striking just behind the male-elf, embedding itself deep in the wood of the maple tree. it had been a warning, the woman knew where he was, but didn't look and didn't see him, she just continued along her path, advancing through the trees as if the others presence was unnoticed. Her starry aura seemed to grow ever so faintly as her voice deepened, emanating the sudden unsurpassing sorrow of her ballad, the other felt his heart wrenched with emotion and tears of grief came to his eyes. The words of the maiden's song didn't need to be known, the singer's passion brought meaning to the strange language, the male elf's heart ached and he knew that for the first time in his life, he was in love.
He trusted nothing to his emotions, there was nothing he could do, this woman in her ghostly gauze of light and song was too pure and far beyond his reach for him to react, so he just watched, his heart filled with a longing he could never explain.
The song drew to its end and the woman rode passed him in silence, the motion of her horse lulling her into a gentle meditation, a sleepless rest. It seemed that the darkness had swallowed all sound, where even the supposed soft thud of the monstrous horses' hooves wasn't to be heard. All was in awe of the presence of this woman, who was indeed of elf blood. Her appearance differed slightly from that of a normal elf, her skin fairer with a touch of silver, her mane of hair shimmered with the colors of water as if crystals of light refracted from the surface as it waved fluidly in the light forest breeze. Her ears were ever so slightly longer than that of the high-elf race, and she was by far taller than any elf-woman; she was of a more ancient and revered race, and though elf-blood flowed purely through her veins it was blood more precious than the royal blood of the elf-lords. All of this is beside the point, and doesn't hold relevance to this part of the story.
All that really mattered was that the elf-lad was in love, and there was nothing he could do that wouldn't sound like a broken record. It wasn't her outer beauty that drew him to her, it was the purity of her soul, and the passion in her song, he felt that in the few moments he beheld her emotions that he had been complete, that he had known her, as if she were the one piece missing in his existence.
The elf-maiden glanced up and met his eyes, locking for an eternal moment their gazes connected as she drew him deeply into eyes without color, the pools of her iris as pure gold as polished coins, reflecting the face of the elf clinging hopelessly to his branch as their owner studied his soul. he was helpless in the power of her will. She blinked, releasing her hold of him. Her lips parted slowly as her rich, resonant voice formed words in the elvish language, "Boy, why are you staring?"
So startled was he by her words, that she had addressed him he fell again from his tree, but corrected his fall before he hit the ground as before, landing cat-like to the soft turf of the forest floor, his landing muffled by an overgrown bed of moss. His sudden movement had taken the horse by surprise, he surged to his hind legs and thrashed his front hooves before him, warning the elf-man to keep his distance. The woman stroked the horses' muscular neck calming him, assuring him she didn't need protection from the other, she had seen his soul, and it was clean. She dismounted, passing her long legs over the side of her massive companion, and slide from her saddle to the ground. If she had been among the other elf's people she would have towered far above all of the women, she must have stood exactly eye-level to the other. The two stood across from each other for a time, neither moving, neither wanting to frighten the other, both of them terrified of themselves and what they would do.
Meeting her eyes the elf man finally trusted himself to speak, "I pray you'll forgive me, lady, it has been many centuries passed since encountering another of my kind." Even for an elf he was handsome, his features finely chiseled and delicate, his skin was bronzed from sunlight and his hair dark as the ebon flank of the elf-woman's warhorse. His voice was soft and gentle, for he hadn't held conversation with another in decades, but deep. Dressed in worn hunting leather and carrying a bow and sword, he knew he wasn't about to impress this lady, though he longed to prove to her his worth. Gracefully he dipped into a low bow, keeping eye contact with her and flashing her a smile, "I am called Gilliam, son of Gilliad and I'm truly happy to meet you, lady."
The elf-woman didn't respond at first, Gilliam's smile held a boyish charm that suddenly distracted her, it seemed that even though she didn't know this elf-man that he held an air of earnestness, something in her assured that no matter what possibly could happen, even if she never knew him again, that she would be able to trust him completely. A gentle smile tugged the corners of her lips as she inclined her head in response to his greeting, her silvery hair falling liquidly over her shoulders, streaming passed her waist and dancing gracefully in the light wind. "I am Ryvienna, daughter of Galvian, and this," she motioned at the massive black stallion, who didn't appear to approve of the newcomer, "is Adare, my long time friend." The animal pawed nervously at the soft ground, eyeing the other elf suspiciously, he didn't like when males moved in on his companion.. he knew all too well what trouble they could be. He snorted and turned away from the elf-kin, letting his master know his distain, and began to graze. Adare had been comrade to the lovely elf-girl for a good several centuries, he had seen loves come and he had seen them go; for eons he had protected her from the lusts of men, he had defended her innocence.. he wasn't just any horse, Adare was a creature of an ancient breed, he was completely a magical creature.. but Ryvienna didn't know what he was.
Gilliam frowned as the horse turned from them, "It would appear that your comrade doesn't hold me in very high regard, lady." He ran a hand trough his midnight hair, pushing it from his face and behind his head. He hadn't seen many horses in his day and didn't quite know how to approach the ebon giant. His clan hadn't raised or traded for horses, they were a more wild breed of elf, forest elves that lived off the land and called it home. His garb told of how he lived; his boots were thick and heavy, made from some sturdy leather and hand-made by their wearer, his breeches and tunic appeared to be made from a leather of a softer kind, most likely rabbit skin as the sleeves and collar were lined with a sort of black fur. Though his entire wardrobe was made naturally, Gilliam had taken great care in making his clothing, for he was an elf, and one would never suspect any of it was anything but purchased at a great price from an expert tailor. He carried with him a fair amount of weaponry, a broad sword, a bow and quiver of arrows, and a hunting knife for which he used for skinning and cleaning. His frown disappeared as his attention reverted back to the glowing elf-maid, and addressed her, "What brings you to this part of the world in the middle of the night?"
Adare snorted from behind them, as if he took offense to the elf-man's question, but Ryvienna answered him anyways, "I've been traveling for a great while in search of my brother, and it would seem the tree spirits in this area tend to be just a bit wanton." She smiled gravely, she didn't see any harm in telling elf-kin her mission, it wasn't as if it were secret.
"Yes, my twin brother," she sighed, she hadn't expected to have to provide an explanation.
"He doesn't tend to appreciate male company," the elf-woman replied earnestly. She sighed and began her story, "My brother and I were born identical twins and raised by our father. My brother, Ryuvanne, and I shared together a unique bond, one that surpasses a bond between normal siblings. Twins are incredibly rare among any species, and the fact that we are twins and identical is something that doesn't happen by any way other than magical means. My brother and I were very close, but when we came of age he didn't stay with our clan, instead he severed our bond and left our homeland.." Gilliam let her sudden information sink it, she seemed lonely and it seemed to him as if she hadn't had anyone really to talk to in a very long time. Ryvienna took a breath and continued, "I'd begun searching for him about two and a half centuries ago, until then I didn't feel it was terribly urgent that I see him. He wanted to find his own path.. but ever since my father died I've felt the need to be close to my family again.." Adare huffed towards them, letting known his distain, he didn't want to stay much longer in one place. The elf-woman sighed and motioned the horse to her side, she turned almost sadly to the elf-man, "I'm sorry, but I must continue, it will be dawn soon and I need to find my way to the nearest town.." The massive black horse lumbered sluggishly to her side and lowered himself slightly, allowing the slender woman to swing herself into his saddle.
A deep pang of regret hit like a sledgehammer to Gilliam's chest as he watched, or almost watched, the other elf trot away, he wouldn't stand for it, desperately he cried out to her, "Wait!!" The horse tried to ignore his cry, but Ryvienna turned her head to meet his saddened gaze. "Please, let me come with you?! This forest is my home, but this isn't a good season for me to be staying.. I can guide you to the nearest town." Her eyes smiled though her face remained impassive, she really needed the company. Adare was a good friend but didn't communicate with her particularly well, she longed to converse with someone in another language.
"Alright," her response was, though her heart was screaming for affirmative, reluctant. There had been many people in the past that had let her down, but he was merely coming with her as a guide. "If you can't keep up with me, however, Adare will not wait for you."
· Wed May 06, 2009 @ 04:20pm · 0 Comments