The storm was the fiercest they had ever beheld. It was wave against wave and wave against ship. Rain poured brutally from dark clouds over the decks of the three ships, blinding all aboard who tried their best to stand their ground. Some helped evacuate the water so it would not sink their ship and others looked after the wounded as the harsh wind tattered the once white sails, which now hung eerily from above.
“Hold on!” cried out Isilen, who with great strength and dexterity, managed to keep her ship from crashing into the occasional rocks that hid between the mighty waves. Her long, dark hair moved wildly behind her delicately pointed ears and her olive cloak danced recklessly about her body as the mighty wind snapped the brooch that held it together and snatched it away until it was lost in the dark, cloudy skies. She looked at the ship next to hers and saw the crew struggle against the wind and the rain.
“Turion!” she called out over the booming thunder towards her ship’s colossal sails.
“Princess!” shouted back a golden haired elf who treaded daringly on the main yard of the ship’s mighty mast. He jumped down and quickly made his way across the deck to where Isilen stood, his movements effortless though the ship rocked violently. “What is your command?”
“I need you to board my father’s ship,” she said gesturing with the side of her head.
He stopped to look at her. “Board your father’s ship?”
“Yes,” she said.
“But what about you, Princess?” he asked.
“Nevermind that,” she replied, avoiding his eyes. “They need you more than I do. I will be fine.”
“Isilen—” he began, taking a step closer to her.
“—That is an order,” she interrupted, stopping him with her green eyes.
He did not reply. Instead, he looked into them as if speaking to her with his mind.
She knew she could send anyone to her father’s ship, and surely Turion did as well, but she could not shake the feeling that he had to go now. For a moment, it seemed as if he were about to speak, but before she could give him the chance, she diverted her gaze towards the front of the ship and spoke coolly, “Go now, Turion, before it is too late for them.”
He hesitated once again and looked at her with frustration clear across his face, but there was nothing he could do or say to change her mind, so he lowered his head without protest and walked away. As he stepped onto the railing of the ship, his hands tightening on a lonely rope, he looked at her once more, and replied under his breath, “As you wish.”
Isilen met his eyes just seconds before he leaped, but she did not say a word. She saw him land on the sister ship and make haste to help those aboard. The raindrops on her face trickled down as she turned her eyes away. He was safe.
Turion landed firmly and quickly made his way to help secure the sails. The wind was fierce and the rain sharp on his hands, but he did not falter; only his eyes would wander from time to time to the ship nearby. The storm seemed lesser and the waves did not rock the ship as violently as before, but it was a silence that did not last long, for without warning, a massive wave rose as high as a mountain, blocking out the little light that peeked through the dark clouds above them. Turion felt the darkness surround him. He became paralyzed with the sight as the dark mass suspended itself high in the sky. In a matter of seconds, it came down with the intensity of a thousand blows but the wave did not fall on the three ships. It fell only on one, the third ship that floated nearby. The cracking of the mast, the groaning of the ship, and the cries of the people filled the air. Those aboard the other two ships looked upon the shattered one in horror.
“Captain Nimel!” called out a strong voice from below deck. A very tall, silver-haired elf emerged from the flooded stairs. His clothes drenched in seawater but the weight did not slow his stride as he crossed the deck, his manners were strong yet elegant, and his bearing was that of a warrior. “Turn the ship around!” he commanded decidedly, “We must reach the others now!”
“Aye, my king!” Captain Nimel shouted back as she turned the steering wheel with haste, ordering her crew to man the sails.
The Elven King joined in and helped his people, but suddenly stopped as he found himself face to face with Turion.
“Turion,” said the King, his eyes filled with surprise. “What are you doing here?”
“King Thinidiel,” Turion replied as he continued to help the crew. “Isilen sent me.”
“Isilen?” Thinidiel said under his breath, almost as if he were trying to remember something he had forgotten. Then a grave look crossed the King’s face as his bright silver eyes fell on the young elven warrior who looked up at him with concern. “You were supposed to stay with her, Turion.”
He was about to reply but a strange, inhuman cry suddenly pierced the skies. They both turned instinctively to look at Isilen’s ship. She was standing before the mast, giving orders to her sturdy crew, but she too suddenly looked up and around to find where the cry had come from. Her eyes fell on them and she stopped to look at her father and Turion momentarily. But almost as if by an invisible hand, something violently pushed her ship away, across the sea, and into the darkness, making it look as fragile and as light as a leaf. It all happened so quickly and silently that it seemed too surreal to be true. Turion’s eyes widened from the sight and the king called out his daughter’s name into the dark, but it was too late. The ship was gone and so was she.
Dark shadows began to crawl out of the water and make their way towards the remaining ship, hovering over the surface like dirty silk. They climbed up, blackening everything with their touch, and began taunting and attacking those aboard, taking the shape of their lost loved ones and terrible beasts. But the crew would not be so easily subdued. On deck or below, they drew their weapons—swords, daggers, axes, bows, and arrows—and began to fight the shadows off. Their steel would disintegrate the darkness but it would regain shape once again.
Suddenly, a petite, raven-haired elf stepped onto the deck, cloaked in silver robes, a dark wooden staff in her hand with a silver fire glowing at its tip. She looked calm in her movements, but her emerald eyes were ablaze and held in them a fury that her people knew far too well. As she crossed the deck, unmoved by the rocking of the ship, the staff’s silver light grew brighter and the shadows gathered around her almost instantly like moths to a flame, but before she could strike them, two elves came running from the lower deck and began attacking the dark spirits that surrounded her. They were a contrast of darkness and light, one of golden hair and the other dark. They slashed at the shadows with their swords, causing them to disintegrate and then rejoin the rest of the dark shapeless mass that floated in the sky.
“Go back!” cried out the she-elf, raising her staff towards the dark hive of spirits. “I command you, dark spirits. Leave now and return whence you came!” The hive reacted to the light she projected, flinching and twisting, but instead of retreating it threw itself back and then violently launched itself towards her.
“Nimtar!” the King cried out as he saw the darkness approach her. He took mighty strides, crossing the deck to where she stood, his longsword ready to defend her, but he was unable to do so.
As the darkness approached Nimtar, the silver light in her staff exploded and illuminated the sky. The shadowy figures screamed and withered away under its iridescent light, and the shadows below deck emerged, escaping into the darkness of the storm. The waves began to calm and the dark skies began to clear.
“Mother,” said the two elves that defended her in unison.
“Are you alright?” asked the one with the same raven hair as hers.
“I am fine, Valruin. Thank you,” she replied with a smile. “And you? Camlhach?”
The golden haired elf next to her nodded.
Thinidiel and Turion approached her, but she did not let them speak.
“Isilen? Where is Isilen?” Her voice was trembling and as she looked around she saw not her daughter’s ship.
“My queen,” said Thinidiel softly, “her ship is gone. It was taken across the sea, but it was not destroyed.” Camlhach and Valruin looked up at their father in shock and then to the sea. There was no trace of their sister’s ship.
“Then she may yet live,” she whispered almost to herself, a mixture of worry and hope across her brow. “Yes, of course she lives.”
“We will find her, Mother,” spoke Camlhach reassuringly, his golden eyes looking into hers. Queen Nimtar nodded, but her eyes were now fixed upon the third ship. The storm had brutally destroyed both it and those aboard. She was about to whisper a prayer when she noticed that the storm had not yet finished its dirty work.
Darkness grew below the remains of the ship and like a swirling underwater tornado, it began to spin. At first, the ship turned on its axis, but soon enough it began to descend. It was then that they heard the voices of those still alive. They cried out for help, in pain, and with a fear in their eyes that made all who watched shiver. In a matter of seconds, the sea sucked in what was left of the ship and crew into its mighty depths.
They looked at one another with tears and broken hearts. What could they do now amidst the sea? One ship lost and the other destroyed.