The Easel Chronciles: The Golden Gates

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Chapter Fifteen

As day broke, Aravoen woke. He looked around the cave and saw the fire he had set had extinguished itself. Walking out of the cave, he saw the sun still far off in the east and Elben eating the grass where he lay. Aravoen sought the three gems around his neck and felt the cold, hard metal there.

Going back into the cave, Aravoen took some breakfast. Having finished the small, yet energising meal, Aravoen prepared to go down to the Namradden. Belting Handria firmly around his waist and placing his dagger beside the mighty sword, Aravoen went around and scouted the cliff looking for a pass down.

After a long search, he came upon it between two cliffs, well hidden from sight. A narrow rocky pass led down to the beach. The pass was dark and threatening, but the light at the end could be seen. That was where the pass landed onto the beach.

Walking back to Elben, Aravoen patted the horse’s back.

“Sorry old friend, there is no way you can get down there,” he whispered into the horse’s ears. It neighed in defiance. “I won’t be gone long, stay here and wait.”

Aravoen stood up. This was going to be one of those battles without his most trusted weapon, Elben. He sighed and turned away from his horse.

He went back and approached the pass. Taking a heavy sigh he walked down the pass. It was longer than he had anticipated, but still he walked. At one point, he had a feeling to turn back, but the words he had told his mother came to him.

Eventually, Aravoen broke out onto the sandy beach. Here, Aravoen could see the sea wash up on to the coast and swallow a few grains of sand when it retreated. He looked to his left and found the pillars a few feet from where he stood. He walked to them and stood in the middle. He noticed a small stone in the middle of the pillars. The pillars stood like giants engulfing the small centre and eating it. This looked familiar and Aravoen remembered the pillars in Horowitz. The three figures and the stone surrounded by the four pillars.

Aravoen moved around the pillars. At the base of each pillar, a small pedestal was raised from the ground on which the pillar was anchored. He placed the edelsteins upon each pedestal and walked to the last.

Taking a deep breath, he cried, “Deri er moril estor le hewc frotnor fe endicir leaie wein ot e edor sar moril hele, un helper denimar hele.”

Slowly, a whisper of wind began breezing through the pillars, then it became a heavy gush. The sea became rough and the violent sky was clouded and it began to pour down. Aravoen looked around; slowly he could see the black billows emerging from each of the gems. Slowly the black fumes engulfed three of the pillars and a black cloud engulfed the three pillars.

Suddenly a blinding light came from the stone. It was a shiny white and shot up towards the sky before cascading all four pillars. It blinded him.

As Aravoen blinked hard to regain his vision, he saw three huge dark shapes looking down on him. Their eyes were blazing red; there was no mouth or nose, just eyes. Their bodies were gigantic and shaped as men. Giants were small compared to these life forms and Aravoen had met quite a few of the vile race of giants.

“The high elves still exist,” one of them said in a hollow, cold and cruel voice. Aravoen backed away, hoping the three had not seen him.

“We are not in our full potential and power; we are weaker than when that fool of a boy released us,” another dark voice said.

“But still powerful enough to enslave this forsaken land.”

Suddenly all the blazing eyes landed on him. Aravoen froze where he stood in silence. The silence was only broken by the pattering of rain and the claps of thunder.

“One of Samhain’s children, time for revenge on him that took us!” the three cried.

Aravoen drew his sword. One of the creatures raised its hand and a flaming sword came in hand. He brought it down on Aravoen who parried, but the force and heat of the blow brought him on to his knees. Another swung his arm and sent Aravoen flying across the ground. The third sent two fire darts at him; he threw himself down dodging the darts.

Aravoen could taste the blood in his mouth. The rain continued pounding down and the creatures came on to him. Aravoen turned and ran to the beach, but one of the dark creatures brought its flaming sword down in his path. Aravoen turned to meet a flying dart. He parried the dart. Aravoen sprinted to the stone.

Just as he was about to reach it, one of the demons threw him off the ground. Aravoen picked himself up. These are worse than the Sarubel. Aravoen, resigned to his fate, raced forward. Lunging forward at one of them, Aravoen found himself hurtling through a black mist and landing on the ground. He turned just in time to see one of the flaming swords come down on him. He rolled to the side only for the sword to burn the tip of his cloak slightly.

Aravoen jumped behind the stone in the nick of time as another dart whistled past his head. He raised his head a bit to see the demons rushing onto him. Aravoen dashed from around the stone and raised his sword and brought it forward on the demon wielding the flaming sword. It parried. Aravoen was thrown off balance as he managed to dodge a dart that flew past him. He saw a gap and ran towards the pass.

Suddenly darkness engulfed the whole shoreline. Aravoen could not see, but could still hear the rain and thunder. He remembered the parcel Cidarcorin had given him. He searched for the parcel. It was right under his scabbard. He pulled out the object hidden within it and opened it.

He found a gem of bright white. It shone as bright as the midday sun. As soon as he opened it, Aravoen heard the whisper of a dart coming towards him. Raising the small gem, he saw the demons closing in on him.

The light from the gem shone bright and the demons were thrown off balance. As suddenly as the light had gone, it returned. Aravoen could see again, but he was trapped; the demons had surrounded him and were closing in on him. Aravoen looked at each of the demons approaching him.

“We are the demons Shugori, Makabethir and Villien,” said the one that was behind him. “This is your death, High Elf.”

Aravoen was confused, he raised his sword ready to fight them and try to escape them.

Leave him be,” a female voice Aravoen knew so well cried. The demons turned from him and went towards his mother. Aravoen could not see her face, but he could see the shining dagger she held in her hand.

Mother, no!” Aravoen cried. But it was too late. The demons were upon her. Aravoen just had time to see the dagger she held rising in the air and coming down. Suddenly a white light emitted from between the demons. The stone on which Eleonor lay bleeding rose in the air, revealing golden dust below it. The demons were terrified and turned to run, but an unseen force pulled them to the dust. Slowly here strong bonds of pure gold appeared. Each rushed to one of the demons. They clasped around where the necks should have been and started to withdraw.

Slowly they were pulled into the dust and disappeared one after the other.

“Aravoen place the white gem below the stone,” Eleonor said loudly. Aravoen hesitated... “Do it to seal the gates.”

Aravoen pushed through th dust and set the white gem Cidarcorin had given him below the stone. The gem radiated a brilliant shed of white spreading like a wave of relief in the pillars. A loud crackling sound whistled through the ground where Aravoen had placed the gem. Aravoen watched the bright light grow dimmer as the gem disappeared into the ground sealing it forever.

When the last of the gem’s light had disappeared in the ground, the stone collapsed to where it had been. It stopped raining and the sea had become calm again. Aravoen rushed to his mother, who lay bleeding on the stone. Aravoen pressed his hand on the deep wound but more blood poured out.

Eleonor opened her eyes and looked at Aravoen warmly, lovingly and caringly. She stroked his cheek with her hand.

“Do not press it,” she said, close to a whisper. “My time has come.”

Suddenly the tears Aravoen was fighting won and came pouring out.

“Do not weep for me, my son; it had to be done.”

“Mother,” Aravoen pleaded, “do not leave me now, not now, please stay if only until the end of the Sarzgat. Please do not leave me.”

Eleonor’s breathing had become more laboured and hard, but she spoke. “I will never leave you Aravoen, I, like your father, am in your heart.” Painfully, she raised her hand and touched his chest. “In there, always.”

“A wia lemur aemoed deri,” she said. “A wia helper leaie deri. A wia eb ni condor horinil lemur.”

“Sorer.”

“Hush now, my son,” she soothed. “I know what you will become given the chance and now my time has come to join my husband in the sky. I am in your heart, remember that, My Lord.”

With those words, she gave up her ghost. Aravoen was still wet from the rain and blood. He screamed, looking up into the sky. The tears rolled down his face. He held her close, not letting go, letting the tears roll down and the cry of pain come out. His world came crashing around him.

He moved back to see her lifeless blue eyes staring at him. Her face was a vision of beauty and poise. It was too much for him.

Aravoen hugged the lifeless body to him. Tears of pain flowed down from his eyes. “I will give you a memory you deserve, you will be laid down in Elvhelm to rest for good.”

Aravoen cried until the sun was setting in the west, when he realised he had to get back to Elvhelm. Walking up the pass, with the lifeless body of his mother in his hands, Aravoen found a restless Elben tied up next to another grey horse. Aravoen recognized his mother’s horse. He would not let it suffer here knowing it will never have a rider.

He released Elben and it waited for him. Aravoen covered his mother’s body in his cloak and held it in the saddle as he jumped on beside it. Aravoen’s sword was at his side but he did not look at it.

Taking the reins, Aravoen urged Elben towards his mother’s horse. He picked up the purple velvet reigns urging the horse to follow him. Her soft lavender rose smell was in the air near the horse. This brought Aravoen into deep sheds of tears. His mother had sacrificed herself for him. How would he go on without her?

He urged Elben and his mother’s steed forward, away from the cliff of sorrow. Aravoen’s heart was torn and he was sad at the loss of his mother. Leaning forward, he whispered in Elben’s ear for him to head to Elvhelm. Aravoen held his head downcast with his mother’s lifeless body in front of him. He did not notice all the dried blood on his hands, hair and shirt; some was even on his face.

With such low feelings, he began his slow route to Elvhelm. He did not stop or rest, but just urged Elben to canter forward. It took him three sunrises to reach the elven city. He looked up to see why Elben had stopped, and his eyes met the walls of Elvhelm.

He urged the horse on and came to the open gates of the city. The elves at the gate let him through and did not question him on what he held or about his appearance. Slowly he made his way to the royal houses. When he reached them, he dismounted and held the body in his hands. Lord Stareonor had come rushing out with Mendrek and what they saw shook them to their bones. Aravoen looked up, his eyes veiled and hard.

“She will be buried here in Elvhelm.”

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