Trials of Darkness

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Child of the Warrior

The child grew, from a lanky lad of thirteen into a broad-shouldered youth of nineteen. He had wavy golden brown hair the fell to his shoulders and soft blue eyes. His skin was a light bronze color, with muscles rippling beneath his tan flesh. He had a charming smile and a square jaw; strong callused hands that could be amazingly gentle and tender.

This was Dante, the unknown son of Lancelot and Guinevere. A proud youth with twin blades now stood before the prior. "You don't want to join the Church?" the prior asked. Dante shook his head. "Well, I suppose there is also the Dragon Riders of Agnar," the prior said thoughtfully.

"Where can I find them?" Dante asked.

"Do you know where the Elfwood lays?" the man asked. Again, Dante shook his head 'no'. "Well, hmmm," the prior pushed his lips together. "If you travel, three leagues east, you'll come to a small village about six leagues from the Elfwood. You must find an elf willing to escort you through the Elfwood. Once you get beyond the Elfwood you will be on the edge of Agnar. There, you must journey three more leagues till you reach the Bloody Pass. Once you pass through, you'll reach the Cliffs of Agnar, where the Dragon Riders dwell," the old man said. Dante thanked the man and rode off. "God have mercy on his soul," the prior said.

Dante rode towards the village; he stopped atop a tor that looked down upon the village like some silent sentinel guarding its secrets. "I know who you are," said a fair voice, like that of an angel. Dante turned to see a young woman with red hair the flames. Dante stared at her.

"How do you know who I am?" Dante asked. The woman smiled and galloped down towards the village. Confused and shocked Dante followed her.

Dante led his horse to a tavern, The Dragon's Head. He tied his horse to the post and entered the tavern. Looking around Dante, touched the hilts of both of his swords, and nudged the daggers in both of his boots. The crowd looked deadly. War-harden veterans with scars that had gruesome tails; pirates and raiders from the coast, and drabs with breasts large and round like the moon. That's when Dante's eyes fell upon her. The red haired woman and he noticed that she was an elf.

Her hair was the color of flames, tied into a braid that fell to the small of her back. A golden circlet was upon her forehead. Her face had high cheek bones, and was oval with a rounded chin. Her ears were ovate and narrow, like a leaf, with a delicate yet sharp point. She wore a green mage's robe with gold edging and pale jade green trousers and brown boots. A golden cord was around her waist as well as brown belt, which held a sheathed dagger. She held an oaken staff as well. Upon her shoulders was a dark bottle green riding cloak, with a hood.

But what held Dante the most was her eyes. Those eyes were so hypnotically captivating. Like the storm toss sea or the sky during a storm, that captivating silvery grey. They, like all the eyes of the elves, held their own inner light and seemed to glow with magic and wisdom beyond that of the comprehending of mortal men. It was an ancient magic, known only to the elfkin and dragonkin. A magic old as the land itself.

"That's Morgan," said the barkeep. "Hails form th' Elfwood. Said ta be one o' their most powerful sorceresses. Don't know myself, an' I like ter keep it that way."

Dante nodded and walked up to Morgan. "May I join you my fair elf-maid?" he asked, politely. Morgan looked at him, slapped a copper onto the table and rose.

"I'll be going, meet me atop the outer hill at first light," she said to Dante before retiring to her quarters.

When first light came, Dante met Morgan atop the tor outside the village and closest to the Elfwood. Morgan was astride her white mare, and Dante noticed a sword was in its saddle sheathe. He vaguely wondered what the elves taught their magic users. He knew very little about magic himself. He knew there was one power and it was divided into four, Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. But what he didn't know was how to control the four elements.

"I've been waiting for you Dante, son of Lancelot," Morgan said softly.

"Wait, how do you know my father?" Dante asked.

"I know a lot about you, that you don't know about yourself," she said softly, in that mysterious elven way of hers. "Now, I shall escort you to the Mountains of Agnar," Morgan said. Dante looked at her.

They rode for a while in silence. "Can you tell me about the elements?" Dante asked.

"You want to take up the art of magic? You are too old and too foolish to master the discipline of the mage. The art was taught to us by the People of the Far East. Only the dragons know how to do it naturally. Elves now can, but we were taught in an age men have now since forgotten or half-remembers a time we call the Age of Dreams," Morgan said, riding abreast with the young man.

"What do you mean, I can't master magic?" Dante asked.

"Your mind is too cluttered, too many thoughts you are trying to sort through at once. But I will tell you what I know. There are four elements. Earth the Stable, Air the Free, Fire the Destroyer, and Water the Healer. There or two forces that make up the One Power. Light and Shadow, among the dragons it's called Brightness and Darkness. Brightness Light embodies the day and the Sun. Air and Fire make up that part of the One Power.

"Darkness Shadow embodies the night and the Moon. Earth and Water make up that part of the One Power. There are two natural opposites. Earth and Air. Fire and Water. Earth is stable while Air is free. Fire is destructive while Water is healing. Air and Fire come more naturally to men and dragons. While Earth and Water come more naturally to women and elves.

"Fire is strongest during the day and is the most powerful when the sun reaches it zenith. Water is strongest during the night and is the most powerful when the full moon reaches it zenith, though is the weakest when the new moon reaches it zenith. Mages of water can't conjure water spells or healing spells when the moon is under a lunar eclipse. Fire mages are unable to conjure fire spells when the sun is under a solar eclipse." Morgan said.

"But how does one conjure magic?" Dante asked.

"Men are unable to find the river of magic that flows within their bodies. It is called chi, elves can and they channel their chi to cast spells. We use a different style of fighting for each element. Fire Style is based off the moves of the flames. Air Style is based of the moves of all the circular motion of the air. Water style is based of the fluidity of the river and streams. Earth Style is based off the stability of the earth. Like I said, men are unable to fully accept the awesome power of chi.

"Pools of chi are called chakra. There are seven chakra; Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Spirit, Void, and Truth. Dragons draw upon the stored energy in their chakra to launch their magical attacks. The Fae Folk use another type of magic called prana, there are four prana; Earth, Air, Fire and Water." Morgan said

"What about men?" Dante asked.

"Men? Men use an external force of energy called mana. It is a set power, you only born with so much, at eighteen you have all the mana you will ever get in your life. If you use all the mana you have, it'll drain your lifeforce and can eventually kill you, few humans can control their chi so they use mana," Morgan said, riding abreast with him.

"Sounds complex," he said.

"I've been training since I was six years old, of course its complex," Morgan said.

"Why? You seem angry about it?" Dante said.

"Among my people I'm called an enchantress because I can control all four elements. I know all four styles; Earth Style, Air Style, Fire Style, and Water Style. Few enchantresses and enchanters are born within a generation, besides," she looked at him with those silver eyes. "My secrets are my own to keep, unlike your secrets which you haven't yet to begin to glean the danger they pose to not only your life but to mine. For Dante, son of Lancelot, our destinies are entwined like a web of two spiders. I am bound to your fate and you are likewise bound to mine," Morgan said and spurred her horse on wards. Dante just shook his head and looked away.

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