The following year the Province of the Civil Kingdoms worked endlessly to rebuilding its communities. The need for extra labor brought migrants from the surrounding regions which improved Flos Sergens’ reputation. Suddenly the Attack on The Elven Kingdom, as it was named, became an eventful marvel in modern history. To many enthusiasts, the invasion could have happened anywhere but some knew better than that; especially the elven monarchy. The supernatural element alone raised questions that few could answer. Magic was not new to the world but none had witnessed it so chaotically. Racial tensions also rose as the trade began to crash for dwarven merchants and artisans. To the public eye, they were savage necromancers and had no place in the Civil Kingdoms. Dwarves that did not serve the kingdom in a significant way had their homes burned and businesses destroyed. Some stayed and fought for their homes but they soon learned that their efforts would be futile.
It took nearly a month of consideration but with Azariah’s nomination Vylasgarden the sarkany woman was honored for her bravery and leadership by the elven monarchy. The story of her magnificent feats became legend for it crossed the land and seas as the tale of the sarkany monk that breathed thunder and lightning. With an ancient elven blade, Azariah knighted Vylasgarden on the steps of the Flos Sergens castle. She became the first dragon kin ever to be knighted under the elven kingdom. The kingdom’s leaders insisted that she stay and become a member of the province’s special forces but Vylasgarden kindly declined the offer. Her place was not there with the elves. It was with her kind, the sarkany people of the west. They still needed a warrior to avenge their dead. Vylasgarden thought to find and organize the remaining clans as she felt burdened to help in some way. With her fists, her passion, and her breath she began a vow to end the bloodshed of dragon kin. Vylasgarden embraced Azariah and her family and said goodbye. As she left, she gave one last look at the city as the gates of the kingdom swung closed behind her.
Kruzco was also honored and awarded for his service; he was given a small fortune for his heroism but spent it on many nights in the local taverns of the Feudal Lands. He would buy every person that came up to him a drink of ale or mead. Most mornings he would find himself in strange places like under bridges and horse stables. His body would be aching in the knees, shoulders, and back as if they were held together with rusted iron hinges; the battle wore on his aging body and he felt like a dull sword never to be sharpened again. Which is why he drank himself asleep every day in gutters, because his pain and notion of uselessness was too unbearable sober or awake. He became a vagabond and despite his reputation for saving the kingdom, he soon gained a new reputation as a drunk. Every waking moment he thought about how he finally achieved what he wanted, but in some ways, he did not. As he looked around in the bed of kegs and wine bottles, he noticed how empty he felt in his solitude. One day he remembered Diaboli, the red dragon on the peak of the Jeweled Mountains. He remembered his oath and what it could bring him.
Kruzco took what little he had and began the long journey back to the Jeweled Mountains where he planned to serve a new master.
Baron Von Riker
Baron Von Riker decided to retire from public life and took an offer from Azariah’s father, that he could not refuse. With some convincing from Azariah, the king of Flos Sergens gave Riker six-hundred and forty acres out in the Feudal Lands. He had finally gotten what he wanted, a place for him and Raven to finally be together. During his journey to seek Raven Ralohana, Riker wrote letters to Azariah about how grateful he was for her help and that his promise still stood for helping her and her sister escape her father. Along the way, he noticed that the Pheonix never came to him again and the scars he bared eventually faded like unwanted memories. He found Raven and her orchestra traveling on a merchants’ route to the Principium Province; as he rode up to her carriage, she jumped out and onto his horse and together they left behind her harp and her future with the orchestra. When they returned to the Feudal Lands, Riker noticed a few letters at the foot of his doorstep. One from the monarchy and another from a noble family up north from a community called Bloowood. The first letter was written by king Vulwin Sergens himself. It read:
Dear Baron Von Riker,
I understand that you and my daughter had gone through a lot together in your time escorting her throughout the provinces, but make no mistake that her place is here in the walls of my city. She, nor my youngest will be going anywhere so long I live and am in power. If you wish to keep the small gift that I had given you for your contribution, then might I suggest never trying to contact my Azariah again. She is very precious to me and I will not have the likes of a failed bard tempting her with unnecessary thoughts. I hope that I had made myself clear in this letter and that you feel no need to pursue the matter.
Sincerely his elven grace, king Vulwin Sergens
Riker reread the letter twice before burning it in the fireplace. He was finally content with himself and he wasn’t going to let a promise he made get in the way of his happiness. He liked Azariah but he knew that her life was better off than most people in the world let alone the Civil Kingdoms Province and he convinced himself that things were better this way for her. He took the second letter and read it to himself:
Dear Lord Riker,
I am writing to you on behalf of the house of Sessile in the community of Bloowood just a few day’s travel north of you. I am writing to you because word of you and your companions’ heroics has made it this far north and I can only assume it is growing further. The Sessile family need your help. You see, my master, Lord Adam Sessile is an inventor and scholar. In hopes of finding specimen for his latest research, my master had gone far off west and has not returned nor wrote back to the house in months. The madam Sessile and their daughter fear the worst, but they seem to be most confident that only you and your extraordinary companions can help find the Lord Sessile. The Sessile house is quite wealthy, so if fortune is what motivates you and your companions, then wealth is no object if it means finding their husband and father. We look forward to hearing from you.
“What is it?” Raven asked. She brought Riker hot tea from the cauldron over the fireplace.
“It’s nothing,” Riker replied. “Just something I need to take into the city.” Riker scratched out his name from the letter and later that week he rode into the city and pinned the letter on a notice board for work. “That is a job for some other soul,” he said to himself before turning away from the notice board and returning home to Raven.
Azariah spent many days following the battle looking over her balcony. Not a single thing was out of place in her bedroom when she returned home. It was as if time did not exist in this space. She spent her days reading books and drawing memories of the outside world. The only person she allowed to speak to her was her sister, Tetra Sergens who came and went to listen to the stories her sister told her. One day, Tetra visited while Azariah lounged on her balcony.
“Princess, your sister is here…” an elderly voice said from the other side of the door.
Azariah got up from her seat and called over, “Thank you Keerla, see her in please.” Tetra came dressed in a daisy white gown that contrasted against her ebony black skin. She carried with her a bowl of grapes. “What do you have there?” Azariah asked.
Tetra smiled. “Grapes,” she said. “I thought I would share a snack with you.”
“Thanks, I actually forgot to eat this morning,” Azariah replied taking a handful and walking over to her desk.
“Father has been wanting you to join family meals,” Tetra said reluctantly.
“I am sure he is,” Azariah replied. “I however, am not ready to see him or mother for the time being.”
“I know they are not the best parents but you know as well as I they mean well,” Tetra followed.
Azariah glanced back at her sister and said, “Yes, but you have endured them a lot less than I have babe sister. One-hundred and twenty-one years will feel like a life sentence here in this castle. Believe me.” Azariah stared into space for a moment taking grapes in her mouth. “My plan was to find a place far away from here for the two of us. It was going to be wonderful.”
“But here we are…” Tetra said plainly. Tetra’s eyes darted at a large leather-bound tome on Azariah’s desk. “What is that?” she asked.
“It is… nothing,” Azariah said hesitantly. “Just a book I found while out in the world.”
Tetra’s pointed ears twitched with intrigue. “Can I read it sometime?” she asked.
“Not right now. I have not finished it yet,” Azariah replied with an assuring smile.
Tetra sighed, stood up and said, “Well, I want to read it after you are done.”
“You will be the first I lend it to,” Azariah said before kissing her sister on her head. Tetra left the room and as soon as Azariah was alone again she locked her door and picked up the leather-bound tome. It was the same tome given to Vylasgarden by emperor Theod-Rah; Since leaving the Zion Province, Azariah heard no word of him seeking the party out. Perhaps he decided not to peruse them after they essentially saved the world. Perhaps that was reward enough to him. Azariah had been reading an elfish script that described a new perspective on the war against the dvergar. What she had discovered was that the Alliance had purposely misrepresented parts of the war. The dvergar did not threaten the other civilizations with violence, but instead with advancement into what was now the modern age. The ljosalfar, her people, were the first to start conflict with the dvergar and encouraged the humans and sarkany to help divide and conquer the dwarves.
What really gained her attention was that the Dark Realm Dwarf was eventually captured and publicly executed by combat. He fought till he eventually died of exhaustion (supposedly). At the head of all of this was a young ljosalfr king, her father, Vulwin Sergens. Azariah felt a deep chill down her spine. Her hands began to quiver and she forced herself to put the book down. She knew her father was capable of awful deeds, but genocide and colonization was beyond her recollection. Her father always kept his secrets but this was something entirely new; he had rewritten history and presented it as fact. She began to breath heavily from her stress. She was angry with him but now her anger turned to fury. All her life her father lied to her and to this kingdom. Azariah tried to control her breathing and went to her body mirror that stood in the corner of her room. She blinked hard at what she saw. Her green eyes had turned black like that of a frenzied white shark. The sight frightened her so much that she gasped at her own reflection.
What is this? she thought to herself. Was she sick? No, she felt fine. She was a little cold but she imagined that it came from the breeze out on the balcony. She looked closer at her reflection convinced that what she was looking at was not her. As she gazed into her own strange eyes, she noticed her breath frosting the surface of the mirror. It was true ice. She did that. Azariah took a step back with her hand over her mouth. Something wrong had happened to her.
Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, LaDaryn LockettWrite a Review