Chapter 4. The Withering Blossom
My hand upon fate had always been a doubtful construct. Was I supposed to inflict changes upon life, as it exists? In ways, history had been changed by my actions, and my actions were shaped by my lessons from history.
Supporting Elyren when he recovered was a similar experience. he bled out much, and he still knew I was there for him, trying to keep him alive. The sea hates her farers, as much as she does those who control it. The incidents that happen inside her large expanses are known only to her unless she is benevolent enough to allow those who traverse her to survive.
Elyren survived by divine intervention, which was known to both of us. I had recently died before I had married my wife- Cenwe, and thus I was young. Elyren saw me as a young man, approximately at his age. He was sick, and thus, I carried him to the nearby village of Lunveri. The village was as insignificant to time as it was to others, and it was no surprise that the village was abandoned by the time I returned, being swallowed by the currently vast Cerni Desert.
Elyren knew me as Varta. I was always cautious of revealing my name to a human, but here was a man whom the god of wisdom wanted safe, along with the goddess of magic, who had saved him personally, as attested to by the mark on his forehead. Elyren recovered in Lunveri, and because of his mark, I named him Threleya. The old language was dead for long, but it was the language of the gods. Threleya meant he was the son of the goddess Threla, and it was a high honor that was reserved for priests. I could qualify as a god if one allowed extreme leeway in the application of definitions, and I was well-versed in the ancient language.
The tragic death of Solere Arell was disheartening and reached me when I returned to Umar. Lunveri was far enough to be of no concern to such news, but I did not want Elyren to know of this news. Lord Arell had gone into significant emotional stress and was in a state of instability. The loss of two children had left him scarred. For Elyren, he could have cared less, for the boy would have died anyway, and he did bring the woe his birth was promised.
But for Solere, he was vengeful.
Soon, the details of a survived warrior had arisen in the East, and Elyren had disappeared from common knowledge. It was found that Lunveri had been sacked by the Arqa. The Arqa have a very detailed history along the years, one which may be presented as a section in the coming sections of this work.
When Elyren had taken solace at Lunveri, he had been tended to by the Lady Nesinre, a kind woman I never had the pleasure of meeting myself personally. Nesinre was supposedly beautiful, (which had been challenged by some authors) as was Elyren's love for her. She nursed Elyren to health, far better than I could ever have. Elyren was not present when I arrived at Lunveri, with news of his father's anger over Elyren's survival.
As to how news of Elyren's survival reached Yoren, I had no idea then, but by now it seems clear. Elyren had been miraculously brought by me to Lunveri, and even if Lunveri stayed out of the general news of the outer world, its residents did not. Nesinre's father was a small Lord in Voyasis, and she had arrived in Lunveri to visit an aunt.
It is surprising how fate ties in certain people together, and the threads we weave to make such bonds stronger. be it a thin strand of silk, we just find ways to send our love in the same silky threads, strengthening our ropes and cords, to such extent that our tight interweaved knots, when broken, manage to break us along with the bond itself.
The Lords have secrets and the opposites to secrets. Nesinre's father had bragged in fora about his daughter's blessing, her love out of Threleya, also a Lormeya. Lorma Arell was ecstatic at her son's survival, but her husband felt the guilt that had sent ELyren to sea, suddenly return as fear. And a wave of anger, at himself, which he directed towards Elyren instead.
As a father, I could identify the source of Lord Arell's anger. Solere was dear to his heart, his heir to his Lordship of Yoren. Elyren was not, at least not as close as Solere was to Lord Arell. This has been analyzed by many authors including a few Seers at Sliver, who have given theses upon further psychological evaluation in simulated subjects. A father's love was yet strong, and he declared that Elyren was not welcome at his lands, nor his tables, nor wherever he was.
When I returned to Lunveri, I was distraught to find that Elyren and Nesinre had eloped. On interrogation, I learned that an assassination attempt had occurred in the very place I stood and that Elyren had saved Nesinre, following which they escaped, mounted on horseback, towards the Valley of the Dead, crossing which they would reach the Valley of the Serpents. The mountain ranges on the West were known for their hostility and more for harboring Arqa.
It was then that Elyren realized some harsh truths about life. Not everyone was acting in the best of his interests, that he knew, but upon his escape towards the Pilgrim's Pass, he was ambushed by the Arqa.
The political situation in the land had taken twists for the worse, with active treason and king killing becoming the norm of the days. Three men fought, and a woman managed to kill two of them while she had herself stabbed in her back, by her brother of all people. Lord Arell slowly descended into madness, and another of his sons, Elyren's elder brother, Torlel Arell found himself being held hostage at the ruins of the ancient city (present-day Amres).
I had to be a part again, in Elyren's life, this time instructed by the Goddess Savera, of the harvest and of good times, and of the spring. I was directed to the Eastern mountains, where I was caught unawares by the cannibals of the West.
I did not have the times, nor the patience to allow my death to resurrect me again, and hence I dispatched them to the abode of the Lord of Death, the Hermit, as I proceeded. Skeletons sucked dry of their meat, both human and otherwise were strewn over the lands, where I found the Arqa keeping Elyren a hostage since he was blessed by the Goddess of Magic. he cannot be killed.
That was when I realized the truth about what I had just crossed, as I saw Elyren seated alone with Arqa surrounding him. And his expression alone devastated me.