Meanwhile far away in the eleven kingdom of Maridoae
Queen Radigan held a child’s hand as she entered the gardens of Maridoae. Maridoae was indeed most exquisite, it was built within the trees and the caverns of granite that surrounded the waterfalls of the River Zae, trees of old surrounded the place; huge tall willow trees, enormous oak trees, finn trees, pines and other kinds of trees. This place held glittering towers of marble, and natural paths wove in and out of the different places to go. Everything sparkled in the sun, and the gardens had always bloomed with beautiful flowers of lovely perfumes and gorgeous colors, it was also filled with gentle beasts and all who lived there lived in happiness. The elves had lived here for centauries undisturbed; those who had lived here had never been touched by war unless they were soldiers of the Guard. The child that was walking with Queen Radigan was indeed the chosen one, her name was Seraphina and she was now 6 years old. Though very young and innocent, she still had incredible knowledge of the world around her. Radigan was very watchful and protective of her, for Seraphina meant the world to her and she had been part of the child’s creation and thus felt very bonded to the child. She also knew that the rest of the elves were a bit judgmental of the child, for Seraphina wasn’t fully elf but Radigan was Queen and she had decided that until the time was right Seraphina would remain here, safe and sound. Radigan herself was like all elves, beautiful and graceful. She had hair blacker than the darkest night, and eyes the color of the bluest sky. She wore a gown of light yellow and satin slippers upon her feet, her face was kind, her smile warm and welcoming and though she was called a Queen among her people, she insisted upon being known as Lady Radigan. The child turned to her as they reached their seat “Why are we here Radigan?” the child asked simply her voice as sweet at bells. Radigan smiled at the child, the child had turned out beautiful, and she looked human unless you looked closely. On the right side just below her ear was the mark of dwarves, a small star-looking mark. Her inquisitive lavender eyes had mermaid qualities, sparkling and seemingly endless portals to the heavens above. Her hair was waist length like most humans and was the color of the wheat that grew in the fields of Maridoae. Her power in the magic of Mari was already strong but not yet mastered. “Well Seraphina, I have brought you here because you have to know what is coming. You are going to be taken away from here and taken to the village of Baxley” Radigan finally spoke in reply. Seraphina looked at her with unmoving stature “And am I to go to Baxley without a struggle?” she asked in a voice that sounded like that of a child and yet incredibly sophisticated and mature. “You are indeed; it is for your safety. In Baxley, you will spend a lot of time there, and someone will be teaching you things that you ought to know. Then one day, the soldiers of Meridoc will come to take to the School of Progress where you must go. Here in the School of Progress, you will have to conceal your Mari and pass it off as Mortevite” Radigan said carefully but to her surprise the child just nodded “I know” Seraphina said though she didn’t know how she knew so much. Seraphina suddenly lifted her head towards the gates of Maridoae “Someone approaches… I have not felt this presence of before” she informed Radigan but Radigan only smiled knowing that it could not be anyone bad for the only way one entered Maridoae was if they meant no harm to anyone or anything. And if they knew love they could find Maridoae, so Meridoc was ruled out instantly. Uriah opened the door to the gardens and the child put herself behind Radigan “Why Uriah, I was not expecting you!” Radigan exclaimed getting to her feet to greet her friend. “Queen Radigan, it is a delight to be here and before you again, I am surprised that you remember me” Uriah said to her a bit bashfully in reply. “How could I forget Alastor’s apprentice? You were present at many of the meetings we had in the Council… you have changed Uriah the Green” Radigan said looking at him with sparkling blue eyes. Unable to maintain eye contact Uriah tore his gaze of hers and replied “I am glad to say that you have not” he said hastily. “Just like Alastor, you are uncommonly kind” Radigan said in gratitude. Seeing this exchange, Seraphina decided that this man was safe and marched right up to Uriah “Hiya…. Are you a wizard?” she asked to both of their surprise. Uriah smiled kindly at the child “I am indeed dear child, and who are you?” he asked her. “I am Seraphina” the little girl said to him. “Ah… dear Seraphina I am called Uriah and I am a wizard, I am a Green wizard” he explained to the child’s delight. “You are from Raiya… I would like to see Raiya one day myself” the child said matter-of-factly. “You are very clever little Seraphina” Uriah told her impressed already. “Yes I know” deadpanned Seraphina as if she had heard this very often. He looked in awe towards Radigan who only smiled at Seraphina in prideful joy “It is very good to meet you Seraphina” Uriah said “It is very good to meet you as well Uriah the Green” Seraphina said staring at him with deep intense lavender eyes that he had never before seen in his time as a wizard. “You seem … very mature for one so young” Uriah mused “I don’t believe that maturity comes from age” Seraphina said to him. Uriah smiled “Apparently so” he replied then he turned to Radigan and said “Ah I have news” “Do tell” Radigan urged. “Leland of Calimag accepted my speech but is weak on follow up; his weakness threatens both his people and Calimag itself. I went to Du Wendariez as you asked and I am afraid to tell you that the power of Mortevite has corrupted many of the giants and ogres. I gave them your messages and as a result I have 3 giants and 1 ogre awaiting to be welcomed here, I was hoping to bring you more” he admitted to her. Radigan shook her lovely head at him “Uriah do not disappointed, you have done well, 4 is more than even I hoped for” Radigan told him in comfort for he looked ashamed by this accomplishment. Before Uriah could continue, Radigan turned to Seraphina and said “Seraphina do me a favor and go and welcome our guests, you will feel where they are” she said. Seraphina hesitated, she clearly wanted to hear more about what Uriah had to say but she reluctantly obeyed. Uriah watched the little girl leave and turned back to Radigan “She is quite the character” he told Radigan. Radigan chuckled “You have no idea. So you used my name to make Leland listen?” she asked in humor. “Forgive me my lady, it was the only way” Uriah told her. “There is no need to ask for forgiveness. I also know that you have chosen Finnegan to protect Seraphina. He is an orphan child of Calimag, you told him that I picked him. I did not. You did. May I ask why?” Radigan asked. “I wish I could tell you but I cannot. You will know with time. He is the best choice” Uriah assured. Radigan nodded. “Very well. I shall respect your choice” she told him. Meanwhile, Seraphina was traveling to the doors of Maridoae. As young as she was, somehow she knew that the people Uriah had brought with him would become her allies in the years ahead, she was very intelligent this child of light. She was not like most 6 years old. Sure, she loved to play and explore and she had the overwhelming desire to be curious however she knew that she was the Chosen one. This knowledge was kneaded into her long ago when she had been made, out of the stars of the heavens and the magic of Mari she had been formed and she never knew exactly how she knew all the things that she already knew or even what it meant, she just knew. She knew and accepted that she was the Chosen one, that she would be the one to defeat Meridoc, that she had incredible power. She knew she had been made thanks to many races but did not truly belong to any of them, she knew that she would be the one to face Meridoc one day, and she knew that she would end his life. She also had a feeling that though she was alone now, she wouldn’t be alone when she faced them and that sense of aide was giving young Seraphina hope. I cannot begin to explain the amount of pressure that was on Seraphina, she wanted to prove herself, she wanted to please Radigan, and she was the Chosen one. For years, people had told stories of her coming for the Golden Book had foretold it. For one so young though, people still doubted but she knew there would come a time when no one doubted. She also felt torn, she did like it here in Maridoae and Lady Radigan had been incredibly kind but she didn’t have any friends. No one seemed to like her much here; no one seemed to like her anywhere because she was different. She asked philosophical questions before any other children would, she was far more advanced than any of the elves and that created tension. Many adults were afraid of her power, her power that she did not master and could not control as of that time and Seraphina had to admit it was a terrifying concept to think that she possessed the most powerful magic that had ever been seen. She wanted to live up to what the people had dreamed of, of what people said, she wanted to be what everyone else wanted of her but she didn’t know how to become that person they wanted. She was confused and more importantly she felt lost. She kept these confusing emotions at bay because as a member of so many races, Seraphina was unable to process it all. As she opened the doors of Maridoae there stood before her 3 giants and one ogre. Of the giants, only one was male who peered at her in slight disgust. The ogre on the other hand gasped as he saw the mark of the dwarves “Blimey you’s the Chosen one” he exclaimed. Seraphina nodded then shouted up to them “I am called Seraphina, welcome to Maridoae, and please follow me” she instructed but as they started to embark, the earth shook as they walked and she found herself trying to avoid their feet and was almost trampled. “Careful!!! Don’t step on her!” exclaimed the ogre before he bent down and lifted Seraphina up and away from harm and placed her on his large shoulders. “I would not want to be responsible for your demise wee one… what did you say your name was?” “Seraphina” “Ah, wee one, I am Paladin” the ogre replied. Ogres are much larger than humans; in fact ogres are the biggest creatures that roam Jupiter. They stand between 12-20 feet depending on their bloodlines; they had once been bred for war and for protection but not all. Ogres have greyish green skin which resembled igneous rocks and this particular ogre had kind green eyes. From upon the shoulders of Paladin, Seraphina could see the borders of Maridoae, she also saw the bleak darkness that shadowed over the city of what had to be Raurzeurek. Our ogre, Paladin, was kind of heart and protective of his friends and of his gardens. Paladin was not a fan of battle he would rather garden then be troubled with war. His companions; the giants were slighter smaller than he standing from 7-10 feet but these particular giants weren’t as kind as Paladin. They were cousins and they had all witnessed the murder of Cyprian. The male giant was a warrior of many scars with stringy red hair and beady brown eyes and he was the leader of the pack. He had once been a former Captain who had once fought side by side with Cyprian. This brave warrior was ready for battle once more and he was called Rogan. His cousins were also warriors who had been forced away from their homes. One had curly brown hair and brown eyes that kept glinting back at Seraphina in interest and she was called Tripura. The other had stringy black hair and brown eyes and she was named Orlaith. They were not here to gain friends they were here to fight. As they all made way towards Radigan, it seemed to Seraphina that Radigan’s conversation with Uriah had ended which was a tad bit disappointing for Seraphina. She wanted to know what the wizard had come for! Radigan stretched her arms open in welcome “Welcome to Maridoae and thank you for joining our cause, May you find peace and rest in this place” “And if we want to fight?” asked Rogan gruffly. “Then you shall join our warriors in training and start a defensive move to protect Calimag” Radigan carefully replied as calmly as she could muster. “What about Du Wendariez? When do we reclaim it?” asked Orlaith also very gruff with Radigan, you could tell than neither of these three wanted to be in her presence. “I cannot tell you such a thing, if only 4 of you of come I very much doubt that you will be successful with regaining Du Wendariaz but then again anything is possible. Uriah and a human named Elspeth have begun to train children to conceal their powers within the halls of Alastrina but it will not be enough. We need to reform and rebuild the Striking Stars council; Kieran has heirs as does Joaquin. Leland does not but someone will take his place, Girosala and Cyprian were killed before they could have heirs and since then both ogre and giant have remained leaderless. Being leaderless has given Meridoc a distinct advantage over you all and as you know, Mortevite is a strong magic which has possessed many of your kind but not all. We must look for leaders of your people, ones not afraid of battle” Radigan said. “My lady, I do not mean to be a trouble but I hope you do not intend fer me to lead this war because I has no interest in war” Paladin said after a long pause. The ogres had fallen silent with Radigan’s speech as they realized that Du Wendariez was not on the top of the list as much as they wanted it to be. “I know this well Paladin, fear not I don’t intend on making you a warrior. I have to ask you however to stay here for a moment while Seraphina takes the ogres to the warrior’s keep” Radigan instructed. Seraphina sighed in annoyance and reluctantly obeyed but not before she muttered loud enough to be heard “What is the point of being the Chosen one if no one ever tells you anything?” Radigan turned to Paladin after Seraphina left “I have one task that I’d like you to complete” she began. “What task?” Paladin asked interestingly. “In 3 days’ time I want you to take Seraphina to Baxley where you will find an abandoned in the woods. This is the house that I want you to use as a safe house. It is here that Seraphina will stay until she is at least 13. A soldier will one day come to take her away to the School of Progress, you are to let this happen; but until then I am charging you with her protection” Radigan finally finished. “Me? But my lady!” Paladin began to protest but Radigan held up a hand to silence him “Paladin you are the only one I can trust with this task, you can even plant your garden in Baxley, you must protect her and her powers until she is taken away to the School of Progress. I can’t have anyone else do this task, you are the only one qualified and available” Radigan urged him hoping that he would accept such a task. “Well, if that is what you will of me, I will do it. I will protect her with all that I have” Paladin finally hesitantly said. “Paladin I will be coming by to help and aide you when I can, you must be very careful though. She is stubborn and terribly clever for one so young, try to teach her things that I cannot, like how to plant, how to water things and other such facts. She will be very safe with you and this is the way to ensure that Meridoc will not find out about her for many more years. She can’t stay here forever” Radigan said, though part of her wanted to change that fact but she knew she didn’t have that power. “Very well, I shall take the wee one to Baxley and try my best to raise her as well as I can, I will keep her well hidden” Paladin finally agreed full-heartedly. “Thank you Paladin. Now Uriah, you are to go to the Halls of Alastrina, the one you have chosen approaches and though he doesn’t know it yet, I feel as if there is a chance that he is gifted in Rael; don’t tell him this just yet, he need not know” Radigan told him diplomatically. Uriah bowed to her but before he could leave, he felt himself compelled to speak. “My lady Radigan, the other giants and ogres will want to take back their homeland. You cannot sidetrack them forever” Uriah said carefully. “They can take back the mountain only when they have leaders. I know what I am doing Uriah the Green” Radigan replied her icy blue stare rendering him lost for words. He bowed lowly to her again and took his leave back to the Halls of Alastrina. Seraphina returned to see the wizard gone, but she had heard a little bit of the conversation he had with Radigan. So Radigan and Uriah had chosen another but what for? Seraphina kept this knowledge to herself and only could wonder on all that she heard and what it meant. As Radigan had predicted in 3 days after the meeting with Uriah, Seraphina found herself staring back to the kingdom of Maridoae “Come along wee one, Baxley is a long ways off even for ogre-folk” came Paladin’s rumbly voice. Seraphina followed him and asked him “Do you think I will ever come back?” Seraphina asked. “I do not know wee one I do not know” Paladin replied honestly. “So many have lost so much in this war and yet I’ve been in the untouched walls of Maridoae, it doesn’t seem fair” Seraphina said as she continued her way. “You are the Chosen one wee one, the last hope, the little star; you were raised in Maridoae because that’s where your mother went for safety. The world is not kind anymore” Paladin told her quite honestly. “My mother? My birth mother?! Oh did you know her?” Seraphina suddenly exclaimed getting very excited about the prospect. “Not much I’m afraid I only know she was human and she went to Maridoae for your safety” Paladin shrugged. “Oh” Seraphina said softly a bit disappointed, no one had every spoken of her mother and so she didn’t know much about her. This only made Seraphina more curious about her mother, she wanted to find out who her real mother was, where she came from, what she did to be chosen to carry the Chosen one. She was determined to find out, and maybe Baxley would hold the answers so with one last look at Maridoae, Seraphina sighed and climbed into Paladin’s hands. He lifted her to his shoulders where she would remain until they reached Baxley. “I suppose we should go” she told Paladin. Paladin blinked his eyes at her and then began to walk “Very well”. It felt as if Seraphina were on a very slow moving boat for Paladin’s steps echoed the swaying back and forth. “There comes a time wee one when we must leave our home, weather by force or by choice and for many it’s by force” Paladin said, speaking slowly to her with his great rumble. “Paladin did you once live in Du Wendariez?” Seraphina asked. “No, the dwarves and giants lived in the mountain, my kin lived on the mountain at the very top” Paladin replied “What was it like?” Seraphina asked. “Oh wee one if only you could have seen Du Wendariez! On top of the mountains, sometimes above the clouds we lived on the highest peak. Our kingdom was formed from the rock of the mountains, the rain that fell on our ground made the vegetables grow 3 times their size! You could watch Jupiter awaken with the most glorious sunrise and then later, see the moon start to rise over for the night. On our peak, you could see almost all of Jupiter; right down in front of you was the human kingdom of Trinidad. On your right was Elbategroff and then Maridoae was on the left. Straight ahead you could see the vast waters of the Naebira. You know, wee one, I have quite forgotten the fresh mountain air, the taste of mountain soup…. It is a dream of mine to one day return to those peaks, you can’t ask for better gardening” Paladin said dreamily. “It sounds so wonderful!” Seraphina sighed. “Maybe when you are older, perhaps with Meridoc defeat you can lead us ogres back to the mountains” Paladin suggested to her hopefully. “If I can, I would like nothing more. The world is waiting for me, Paladin I can no longer hide myself” Seraphina replied. “Patience wee one, you still have much to learn. When we settle in Baxley I shall teach you about plants. Plants that you can eat, plants that you can use for healing plants, plants that can kill, plants that you can use to defend yourself, plants pleasing to look at and flowers and vegetables. I shall also continue to teach you how to conceal your silvery magic and archery if you should like” Paladin said a bit excitedly. Seraphina smiled at him “Paladin, I shall very much enjoy that” she said contently lying on his big shoulders.