REVELATIONS, RIDDLES, AND RESPONSIBILITIES
I opened my eyes and was blinded by a very vibrant light, brighter than the sun itself.
It took me a few minutes to recover my vision, after which I saw myself lying on a bed made of fine linen in a very beautiful room filled with exotic plants that I have never seen before in my life—I'm not even sure if they are of this world—and trees with dazzling leaves forming the roof. The room smells of different flowers giving me an extremely intoxicating feeling. I feel much more relaxed when I smell the very fine aromatic fragrance. Am I still dreaming?
A woman in her early twenties, wearing a silky smooth dress and holding a tray of food along with different vials filled with strange looking liquids, entered the room. I saw a pair of pointy ears underneath her short brown hair. I almost jumped out of the bed, but her soft voice calmed my nerves and made me change my mind.
“I see that you have already waken up,” she put the tray down on the shiny wooden table beside my bed.
“Where am I?” I tried to get up but the pain in my stomach started to burn, “what happened?”
“Don’t try to move that much, your body still hasn’t recovered from your injury from the past three days,” she uncorked a vial of white liquid, “don’t worry the injury is nothing serious, the pain will subside in a few hours. As for your question, I think it would be much better if the Archdruid tells you himself, in fact you will meet him later after his meeting with the council.”
I nodded but still confused. Archdruid, what’s that and what kind of council is she talking about?
“Here, let me help you,” she poured the white liquid out of the bottle unto her hand and put her hands together putting some of the liquid on her other hand. She then lifted my shirt, I just realized that I wasn’t wearing the shirt I wore last Saturday, instead I’m wearing a cloth made of silk. She starts massaging the area where the injury is supposed to be, which is very swollen right now. That crazy girl Aemilia is insanely strong. The massage hurts at first but the pain is slowly diminishing, though the bruise is still there.
“I suggest avoiding too much movement for now,” she stands up and lifted the tray of vials, leaving the food on my desk, “I’ll leave you now, better eat your food before they get cold, it’s an elven delicacy that is best eaten while hot.”
I nodded, “thank you.”
She left the room leaving me with the mouth watering food beside me. It looks like a porridge but smelled like—you guess it—flowers. I took the wooden spoon and started eating the supposedly elven porridge in a wooden bowl. Why does everything have to be flowers and wooden? The spoon touched my tongue and I was filled with strength and joy, it seems like every bite is tastier than the previous one. I drank the bright looking liquid and was very delighted by the very sweet taste of the beverage, it’s far sweeter than honey with some hint of mint. I settled the bowl back to the table and reached for my amulet. It’s gone. I thought. I searched around the room for the amulet but couldn’t find it anywhere. My search was interrupted by a knock on the door.
“Come in,” I said.
A girl about my age went inside. She has a wavy shoulder-length brown hair and green eyes. I recognized her as one of the people that saved me from being beaten to death by Aemilia, the mad enchantress monster thingy. She is wearing an elegant silk dress underneath her wonderful cloak made of glossy green leaves and a moon shaped necklace made of silver with a rune inscribed on it, which I recognized as the rune for “mind”. Wait, when did I learn how to read runes? Then another person came in, a boy who is a year younger than me. He is wearing some sort of uniform made from normal cloth and giant leaves. He has a normal human haircut —not what I have expected from an elf—and looks a bit skinny. Both of them have pointy ears.
“Hi, I’m Neve,” he grinned, “and this is Aeronwen. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” he motioned to the girl beside him.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you too, Neve,” I extended my hand in front of him, “I’m Alvin.”
He just stared at my hand unsure of what to do, “I'm not really sure why you are giving your hand to me. Humans sure are strange,” he looked at me and smiled, “in a good way of course.”
Aeronwen rolled her eyes, “Are you done? We shouldn’t keep the Archdruid waiting.”
“Hey, at least show some manners in front of our guest! You don't have to be like an orc all the time.” Neve joked.
“Wait, so orcs are real?” I asked.
Neve laughed as if I just said something funny, “What? Of course not! No one discovered any trace of orcish civilization, if there was any. Orcs are only legends from stories used to scare children.”
Aeronwen grabbed Neve’s ear and pulled him out of the door, “Follow me.”
I nodded and followed them through a series of confusing corridors that all look the same.
“I guess um,” I walked beside Aeronwen and tried to start a conversation, “thank you for saving my life from the crazy witch.”
“Dokkalf,” she corrected.
“She means dark elves,” explained Neve with a matter of fact tone, “and actually, according to your reports I could say it's a Svartalfar, they are two different things. Dokkalfar, commonly known as dark elves, which is also the plural form of Dokkalf lives beneath the ground and they have a really dark complexion, they excel in using daggers and hiding in the shadows to perform assassinations, there have also been records about dark elves using fire. Svartalfar, or black elves on the other hand have very pale skin, masters of the black arts and manipulates darkness itself. They are the original inhabitants of Svartalfheim, a realm of sorrow and pure dooorkneeesss—“
Aeronwen who looks clearly annoyed of all the talking, stuffed Neve’s mouth full of flowers she conjured out of thin air, “Could you please shut up.”
Neve spat the flowers out and made a childish gesture at Aeronwen which made her even more annoyed. Then Neve stick his tongue out like a dog.
“Just one question,” I almost forgot to ask about Cookie, “where’s my dog?”
“Your what?” Aeronwen raised her eyebrows.
“The animal that save me from the Svartalf?”
“You mean the cooshee,”
“That’s what we call them here,” she explained, “the ‘dog’ is safe with his owner, the man who just saved you.”
“His—so you mean the dog is male?”
“Yes, his fangs haven’t grown yet but you can see from the way he fights. He is very aggressive but also calculated, a trait of an alpha. Female cooshees are more experienced hunters, relying more on stealth and precision for ambushing prey.”
After a series of confusing corridors that all look the same, we finally saw a door. Neve opened the door that leads to a very familiar hallway. It was the hallway from my dream, it was almost exactly the same as the one I saw in my dream, everything is there, the golden pillars, the runic scriptures and the glass ceiling, all except for the wooden pedestal, the platform which is supposed to hold the pedestal is empty. I can now read the runes inscribed on the walls with ease, the runes still look like runes, but when I focused enough it’s like I’m reading simple English. The runes actually tell a story, multiple stories to be exact, maybe it’s depicting the history of the elves. We were waiting outside the largest door at the end of the hallway for almost an hour until we heard the door open.
“Come in,” we heard a voice, an old man’s voice call inside the room.
The door is magically and slowly opening itself. The room contains no roof, showing the open sky. It is very large and looks like a congress room with a nature theme, with exotic flowers and vines climbing the walls. Inside the enormous room stood a long-bearded old man which looks like he is in his late nineties. I presume that he is the Archdruid. He is old though he still looks somewhat strong, not as strong as a young athlete of course, but strong enough to stand up without hunching his back. He is wearing a robe made of an assortment of leaves, a necklace made of orchids and a small sunflower in the center. In his right hand he is holding some sort of staff made of rowan wood and his left is holding his long silvery beard. He stared at me intently for a long time as if he was studying me.
“Alvin Morgensen, child of dawn, I see you have awaken,” he said, like he can see deep into my soul and already knows everything about me, which is creepy because I’ve done so many embarrassing things that I can’t keep count, “you are blessed by mana, the sun shines upon you.”
Aeronwen and Neve both bowed gracefully in a very foreign way. I tried to do the same but ended up like a rooster pecking the ground. Neve tried to suppressed his laughter and Aeronwen slapped his head. The Archdruid didn’t seem to care, he is still focusing his gaze on me which is sending shivers on my spine.
“Rise,” he said, his eyes now focused on the sun in the open sky, I realized that there are actually multiple suns and he is staring at the biggest one, “long are the years that we have spent waiting for one of your kind to appear.”
“You mean humans?” I stood up, “I mean there are plenty of humans outside, and base on my understanding you can travel in and out of the human realm.”
“I did not mean humans,” he turned his ever so scary gaze back at me, “for they are weak willed and easily corrupted even by the slightest temptation.”
“Then what do you mean by my kind?” I asked, “am I not human?”
“I think you already know that,” he gestured to a small pedestal holding an amulet, my amulet. So it's been there all this time, why didn’t I notice? “the answer to all of your questions lie inside that amulet.”
“What do you mean?” I walked to retrieve my amulet, “it’s my grandfather’s amulet, does that mean that he’s involve in this?”
“The amulet isn’t the only thing that creates connection between him and this world, in fact he’s an elf himself.”
“Which means that I’m an elf, or have elven blood at least,” the thought of it makes me even more confused than ever, “but why don't my parents know about this? Does that make dad a half elf?”
“Yes, you, your brother and your dad are elves.”
“Then why do I look human?”
“That’s because you aren’t an ordinary elf,” he walked to the elevated altar at the center of the room, the altar's floor contains various runes and sigils mainly about elven names and places, “your breed of elves, is rather unique.”
“You keep referring to my kind,” I walked behind him, “but aren’t you elves too? And what do you mean by breed of elves, are you telling me that there are more kinds of elves other than dark elves, black elves and your people?”
“Yes, there are many sub-races of elves,” the runes and sigils on the floor started to glow with blue arcane light, then a holographic tree made of magical blue light appeared in front of us, the tree has dozens of branches and out of those branches sprang more smaller branches which sprouted more branches and so on and so forth, “in fact, there are hundreds of sub-races and we, the wood elves, are just one of the many main branches of the elven race, along with the high elves, dark elves, deep elves, sun elves and moon elves.”
I stared at the magical holographic tree with amazement, never before I have seen such wonder, though both Neve and Aeronwen shows no sign of interest in the wonder in front of them, suggesting that they have already seen this one before or maybe a couple of times, nevertheless I was still mesmerized by the radiant glow of the tree which seems to show the ancestry of all the elven and fae races, “And I suppose my race is one of those ‘main' branches of the races of elves?”
“More than that actually,” he pointed at one of the two massive roots, I have been so focused on the beauty of the tree that I didn’t realize that there were only two roots underneath it, “in fact your race is where all the good and pure elven races came from. They are the ancestors of all the surface elves—or those who live on the surface of this world. The Ljosalfar, or the light elves, are one of the first beings to walk this world along with their evil counterparts, the Dokkalfar. It was said that they have descended from the bloodline of the elven gods themselves.”
“What happened to them?” I looked at the old elf with curiosity, “Where do they live? Why are they gone while the dark elves still exist even if their races are of the same age?”
“That remains a mystery up until now.” The holographic tree is now starting to vanish. “There is a myth —which later turned into a theory— about the dark elves using them as sacrifice in their rituals to fuel their filthy magic in order to become the black elves that exists today, though that theory was questioned by many elven scholars. In fact, the story about the origin of the black elves is very much different, they weren’t dark elves that performed some filthy ritual. They are elves created on a different world by some dark god using elven blood because he couldn’t create a race of his own, so he had to use other gods' creations. But the black elves, as evil as they are, decided to overthrow their god—their own creator—and appointed their self-proclaimed gods to reign over Svartalfheim. The Thirteen Monarchs, the ‘heroes' that started the rebellion and killed their god, each ruling one of the thirteen kingdoms of the surface of Svartalfheim.”
“Wow,” I said, still trying to fit all that information inside my head, “elven culture has um, a very rich history in their origins.”
“Back to the light elves,” instantly, he is already in front of a bookshelf in the far corner of the room. He picked a really large book and walked over to us, “the Tome of Prophecies contains many texts about the future of the elven realm. Our race has protected it from others who desire to possess this book, including other elven races. This book is not only valuable as a treasure that foresees the future, it also defines the racial status of the wood elves. In fact many elves from other races have been trying to steal this from us, but we have always been prepared with our wards, druids and the Order of the Hunt, or the group of elite elven units composed of rangers and huntresses that have been blessed by the goddess of the hunt, which your friend Aeronwen is currently a part of, unless she decided to do something rash again.”
Aeronwen rolled her eyes but the Archdruid ignored her. He opened the book and read the contents of the page. It’s some sort of prophecy, well it isn't called the Tome of prophecy for nothing. I thought.
When the two worlds collide,
By breaking the seal of Pride,
The abominations of the past,
Will break all realms with insatiable bloodlust,
A child of dawn shall become the bane,
And end the Catalyst’s reign.
The words struck me with fear.
“You see child,” he closed the book and started to look at the skies again, “the reason why you’re here, the reason why your grandfather left you his amulet, was all because of fate. You are destined to stop the destruction of the elven realm.”
“But I’m not ready for this,” I stepped back, nervous and terrified, “I didn’t sign up for this, this is too much for me to handle. I’m sorry but I cannot carry the burden of this responsibility.”
“You understand that if you do not do this, this world will be destroyed, and probably your world will be the next too. All of the worlds are connected to each other, when one collapses then so do the others.” he sighed, “I know this must have been hard for you and I understand if you’re afraid, you’re just new to these kinds of things after all. But the world needs you Alvin, whether you like it or not, fate will always find it’s way towards you, you can’t escape your destiny.”
I nodded, still nervous, the thought of the fate of the world resting on my hands is a bit too much for me to handle, “But how am I supposed to do that? I don’t even know how fight the bully at my school. It’s not like you have some kind of magic that will turn me into a battle hardened warrior, do you?”
“Your amulet,” he pointed to my grandfather's amulet, “contains all the memories of your grandfather, and of all the previous owners of that amulet. It will allow you to see their memories within a short amount of time, and not in the way that elves perceive time, I meant how humans describe short amount of time. Usually an elf training in the art of war would take years, if not decades, of training, but this amulet will give you centuries of experience from different generations of elves. You will gain several generations worth of skills.”
“How?” I felt excitement mixed with confusion, “I mean sure I can see their memories, but that won’t change my body right? Would my body be able to perform those skills?”
“Yes, I'm not sure but I think it is what your human friends call muscle memory. The amulet not only preserves the memories of the mind, but also of the body, in fact some say that it will also preserve the memories of the spirit and it’s affinity with magic. We are going to prepare for the ritual for the activation of the amulet, we’ll see you after it’s finished. For now your friend Aeronwen will give you a tour on the city, the kingdom’s capital.” He looked over to Neve, “Neve, call the other druids.”
“Yes Archdruid.” Neve hurried out of the room excitedly.
The Archdruid also starts to leave the room.
“Wait,” I stopped him, “you said that I’m the Child of Dawn, but who is the Catalyst? And how will the worlds collide?”
“We think that it is one of the Thirteen Monarchs of Svartalfheim, but we are not sure which one of them, though that does not matter since we have to stop all of them.” The Archdruid looked at the suns above us, “And we are still finding answers about the two worlds colliding. I hope your amulet has all of the answers.”