Time passed as he read the poems of the ancient people. Tales of the great kings and queens of Eduin. The tale of Mithrina the wise, she fourth queen of Eduin. The tale of how she had cheated the pirate lord, Tallbon, into giving up the western seawaters that he controlled.
She also aided the Elliyon king against the pirates of Patagon. Aravoen read on and on. Just as he was about to close those books, he came upon a withered old parchment with fading ink. Aravoen picked it up and read it. It was written by Eldon.
In these times of Great War here in Elasia, I have discovered Sarzgat’s greatest and deepest secret. The reason to why he survived the great flood of Ebill that should have drowned him. He, who calls himself the dark lord, learnt a great secret from one of my ancestors Fefnor. Fefnor, upon being disowned by his father, Tara Amleth and having his sister Arian take the throne, he came to Elasia and settled in the area, which we now call the dark land of Novorgord. There he came upon a human boy called Sarzgat, an outcast, a power hungry scoundrel. He took liking to the evil boy. He taught him everything he knew, even the darkest secrets of the Ebillonians, the way to combine the essence of the dark demons, which was in the edelsteins, with that of the person. Upon learning this Sarzgat made sure that, he became Fefnor’s heir apparent. Upon Fefnor’s death, Sarzgat used all he had learnt to draw out the great Ebillon armies, to make them break the vow they had made not to sail to Elasia or any land east. Thus in the time of Taj Godur II, this came to be and Sarzgat was captured and taken to Ebillon by a small force of Ebillonians who had been sent to deal with Sarzgat, where he managed to entwine his soul with that of the demons. Knowing he had succeeded he decided to bestow havoc through Taj Godur. However, he failed to convince Godur’s son, Eollan, who secretly was part of the rebels who disobeyed their lord’s actions against the ancient laws of the high elves. When Eollan came to the throne, he imprisoned Sarzgat. However, in the last days of Tara Samhain his evil son usurped the throne as Taj Godur IV even after Samhain had made it clear that his brother Rigelnair would succeed him. Samhain killed his father on instruction from the imprisoned Sarzgat and he let Sarzgat go and it was Sarzgat that managed to convince Rigelnair, my father and Godur’s son to destroy the dyke that blocked the river Ebil. It was by chance that I escaped with thirty-seven ships, the sword of the kings and yes, the edelsteins. Amazingly I curse myself and some of my ancestors for not asking the question over the continous youthfulness of the dark lord of the south. I have not told anyone about this but to kill Sarzgat you must destroy the edelsteins from where they were created. It is my hope that one of my descendants sees this and learns from the elves and wizards how to correct the mistakes of our ancestors……
Aravoen could not believe his eyes, what could this mean? He was not given time to ponder his discovery, because at that precise moment there was a light knocking at the door.
“Enter.” The door opened slightly and a young, tall, sinewy boy entered.
“I am the Eluncil messenger, Bedrich, or better known as Softfoot.” Aravoen raised his eyebrows in a mocking kind of way.
“So,” Aravoen began, but thought twice about saying what was on his mind. Bedrich just stood there watching Aravoen who seemed to have averted his attention from the young man.
“So it is time for me to meet the Eluncil,” Aravoen said.
Aravoen stood up and followed Softfoot to the tree hall. As he entered, he noticed that all the Eluncil members were anxious. As soon as he had settled in the same throne his mother had settled in the day before, all eyes turned to him.
“My Lord,” Sedranor said, “I hope you know that your mother left a few hours back with Mendrek. She did not even care to tell any of us where they might go.” Aravoen could see through this man’s lies.
“You are hoping I could tell you where they went,” Aravoen said curtly.
“Yes,” rung out many voices
“Even if I knew, which I do not,” Aravoen replied, “I would not tell any of you.”
“How dare you…”
“Do not forget that I am your lord and I choose what to tell you and what not to tell you,” Aravoen snapped before Sedranor could say more.
“My Prince,” said Rithin, “there are rumours that Sarzgat makes his presence known far south. What are we to do?”
Before Aravoen could reply, Menandra, the greying woman, spat fire towards Rithin, “You talk of nonsense! Sarzgat is Elliyon’s problem; our problem is Eleonor’s sudden disappearance.”
“How dare you? My mother will always be your lady, so never call her by name alone, you hear me?” Aravoen said, really annoyed.
“Forgive them, My Lord,” said Akasha, “but what Rithin says is true in its own way.”
Suddenly Aravoen was seized by the same force that had seized him earlier and he remembered what the gren witch had suggested.
Do not worry, you have me and Rithin at your side, My Lord, the green witch said. We should meet in person. I will announce something, and you will know that it is me. I will come to you with Rithin after the Eluncil meeting in your chambers. With those words, the force let go of him.
“My Lord, My Lord.” Sedranor’s voice was louder. Aravoen opened his eyes and looked around. Everyone’s eyes were upon him.
“Maybe being out of Eduin for too long has taken a toll on you,” Raspian said.
“No, thank you.”
Akasha cleared her throat to bring attention onto herself. “I have an announcement.” It suddenly dawned on Aravoen that she, Akasha, was the green witch and he knew what she was going to do.
“What announcement do you have that you have not told us already?” Sedranor asked, his temper rising.
“I am withdrawing from this council,” Akasha said, like she had not heard Sedranor. “Tomorrow I leave to go and join an old friend in the elven lands.”
“Elven lands, bah,” Raspian said.
“Yes, I do and this is my last time to sit with you.”
“My Prince, you cannot allow this to go on,” an ageing, bold man named Sander said, eyeing Aravoen who had been silent for a long time.
“Is this what you wish Akasha?” Aravoen asked.
“Yes, that is what I want.”
“Then you have my blessing, but first you and Rithin should come to my chambers. As for the rest of you,” Aravoen said with a smile, “this has been a waste of your time and my time.”
“My Lord,” Sedranor began, but Akasha put her finger to his lips.
“All that is done is done, My Lord,” she said soothingly before standing and making her way out of the room.
Just before she walked out, she turned around, looked Aravoen in the eye, and said, “You will find me in your chambers.” With those words, she left the great tree hall forever.
A silence enveloped the room for a few minutes before Aravoen stood up and made his way out, stopping by Rithin’s chair and telling him to come after a few minutes to his chambers.
He walked back to his chambers prepared to find Akasha the witch. As he closed the door behind him there, she was seated by the window with the wind blowing her sand-brown hair, looking over the valley.
“Come My King, sit by me,” she encouraged. Aravoen made his way and sat by her. “You know that you will see me again soon, but first you must know certain truths.”
“What truths if I may ask you, Akasha?”
“First, Sarzgat’s rise is very much your business now,” she said softly, “now that you must become king of all the Easel kingdoms.”
“What are you saying?”
Suddenly the room became dark and everything shuddered. Akasha’s appearance had changed too. Her hair was flying in every direction, the wind suddenly highlighted her face, her eyes were sharp and bright and the voice she now used was of authority and power mixed with her own voice.
“With a great loss,” she began, “you will gain something greater, something you will cherish. Soon the wings of fate shall carry you to the destinies of your fathers and with you the houses of Eldon will be united again under you.” Aravoen was shaken, and just as suddenly as it had come the room went back to normal and there Akasha sat looking at him.
“If what you say is true, then what loss is that and what gain?”
“That will be for you to find out,” she said with a hint of finality.
“Why did you not tell anyone you are part of the Horowitz masters?”
“Ah Aravoen,” Akasha smiled. “I was sent here almost sixty years ago to watch over your mother and your empty seat.”
“Sent by who?”
“The wizards council of Horowitz which has kindly kept my seat open.”
“What?” Aravoen was taken aback.
“Toro Aravoen,” Akasha laughed.
She stood up and began to walk away, before he could muster up any words to keep her seated.
Just as she opened the door, there stood Rithin ready to talk to him. “See you old friend,” she said to Rithin. “Do not be alarmed, we shall meet again.”
“Make yourself comfortable,” Aravoen said to Rithin. Rithin made his way to the chairs and sat whilst Akasha closed the door. “Now, My Lord, time to discuss the arising danger.”
“Well, what is this you mentioned about Sarzgat?”
“My Lord, our spies tell us that the armies of Novorgord are preparing, their allies are marching. Our garrison at the ruins of Cair Islanod spotted the pirates making their way south.”
“It seems that they intend to strike Elliyon first, thus making it easier to destroy the rest of us.”
“Yes, that is why it is imperative that we aid them and, kill Sarzgat ridding the land of his treachery.”
“Very well,” Aravoen said quietly. “I want you to gather our armies here, pull all garrisons.”
“But My Lord, our borders must be guarded.”
“Our borders are safe if all our enemies rush to their master.”
“If you say so, My Lord,” Rithin said, “but then there is Sedranor to deal with.” He paused, then continued, “He will surely not accept this and he will get the council to support his very actions.”
“Leave them to me, all right.”
“Now you may go and make sure that the garrisons and those of the army that are here are well prepared.”
“My Lord, before I go I would like to ask you something,” Rithin said shyly.
“You may ask,” Aravoen replied, “and do not go all shy on me.”
“Forgive me, sire,” Rithin began, “well, I think that Mendrek and Lady Eleonor’s departure has something to do with Akasha wanting to go to Elvhelm. Please, My Lord, tell me if that be the case.”
“Maybe it is,” Aravoen said. He held his breath pondering whether to tell Rithin some part of the truth. He looked Rithin in the eyes and saw something he thought he knew: faith. That was it; he began telling Rithin everything, omitting some of the facts of where his mother and Mendrek had gone and their purpose. Rithin listened with growing despair in his eyes. If there was one thing Rithin was not good at, it was hiding his fear.
“So what you are saying is we should be ready and that you will soon leave us for a while to accomplish some great task?” Rithin asked, shocked. Aravoen nodded. “In that case, I shall try as hard as I can to fail Sedranor.”
“Thank you, Rithin,” Aravoen said. “You must prevent the Eluncil asking for me whilst I am still here. Only when the elves come should you not hold them off from asking for me.”
“Yes, My Lord, I will,” Rithin replied gallantly.
“That will be all, my friend.” Rithin stood up and bowed before leaving Aravoen alone in his chambers. Aravoen stood up and crossed the room. He settled himself by the window. As he looked out, he saw the small outline of a human figure close to the horizon. It was as if it was looking at him. He was caught in its web and suddenly the force, which he had grown accustomed to now, seized him.
So long My Lord, we shall meet again Elurin Ervudor, High King of the Easel.
Aravoen did not know when the force let go of him, but he remembered the last thing it had said to him, do as your mother said: wait for the elves. That was three people who had told him now to wait for the elves.
Aravoen sat at the window looking at the sparkling River Misorin, wondering if he should wait by the river day and night.