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:: The Lost Monastery of Evi'Lonyrsil ::
:: Yule Log ::
:: The Gift of Vision ::
:: The Elven Tree (added: 6/06) ::
:: Fir Elf Story (added: 6/06) ::

HISTORY - FIR ELVES

The Lost Monastary of Evi'Lonyrsil ...

Elindale

In days long past, when the ancient Firian kingdom of Vythenia was just coming into its prime, the Baelyn, or Head of the Firian Church in Vythenia , started sending out his Soldiers and Priests to establish new homes for the expanding population, as well as to extend the temple's influence within the greater lands about them. He gathered the most trusted of the order of the Sal'nathirnol and charged them to create five groups of the faithful and sent them out to establish far temples for the glory of Vythenia and for the Temple-Church.

To lead the group headed to the extreme northwest, far from the reaches of the Great Forest, the Baelyn chose the Sal known as Vyr'Sa, of the House Za'y'therinoth. Vyr'Sa was a very old, very powerful Cleric of the Sword for the Goddess. Vyr'Sa took the task to heart and poured all his thoughts to its preparation and execution. He left with his group of fellow members of his order as well as other clergy and tradesmen, intent on finding a new home for his kinfolk.

Time passed, and soon the Baelyn started receiving messages back from the party that Vyr'Sa had lead. His reports were all full of good news and grand hopes. Two months they had traveled, till they came to a cliff top where stood a unicorn; "shining white in the morning sun, its coat gleaming as if trying to imitate the brightness of the sun itself" as Vyr'Sa described it. The unicorn watched Vyr'Sa and let him approach. When he reached the magnificent beast it reared suddenly, stomped its hooves a few times, and then galloped into the nearby woods. Vyr'Sa decided at that moment that the Goddess intended his new Monastery to be located where the fated meeting had occurred, and set his elves to work creating a fine structure. In a year's time, Vyr'Sa's party had completed the stone structure, and Vyr'Sa had dubbed it Evi'Lonyrsil, or House of Peace in the tongue of the ancient elves.

Two centuries did the Monastery stand, serving the Goddess Elindale with Vyr'Sa as its head as Abbot and Priest. While few ventured out that far, a very small number of humans started a village near by, as well as a handful of firs who settled in the trees close to the place for a permanent home. The woods about, while uninhabited, provided most of what Vyr'Sa and his group, as well as the villagers needed for survival and comfort. So they lived in peace and prosperity, enjoying the lands about with the Goddess's blessing.

However, at some point not long after, word stopped coming out of Evi'Lonyrsil. The Baelyn did not worry at first, as he had many other matters of importance to attend to and trusted in Vyr'Sa completely. After a couple of years with no news, however, the Baelyn's concern grew. So he gathered together a group of the Sal'nathirnol to go and investigate why Vyr'Sa was not keeping in touch with the Temple-Church as was proper.

The group brought their findings home a few weeks later, tired and worn. Their story was not a pleasant one, and despair shadowed their return.

Upon arriving at the monastery, the scouts could tell immediately that things were amiss. The once green and lush fields about the structure had turned to wastes of bare rock and dirt, blown harshly by the constant and swirling winds. Reaching the entrance to the place, they could see the gates had been blasted inwards as if by great force. A continued look about the monastery found the upper level almost completely demolished, and the celebrated tree that grew in the middle of the structure dying of lack of attention along with numerous scars upon it in the forms of strange, dark symbols.

As the group descended to the lower level of the monastery, the scene became macabre. Bodies of both Fir and Arachnian almost completely covered the floor, clearly years dead. Apparently some grand battle had been fought, with no obvious winner. Knowing the altar of Elindale lay at the lowest level of the Monastary, the group made their way to the center of the area where the stairs wound down to the altar room. Here they told of an eerie, almost threatening light pouring from the room below. Gathering their strength and courage, the scouts approached the entrance to the floor beneath and looked within. The sight that met them horrified them beyond their most vivid nightmares.

The altar room was covered with webbing from top to bottom. They could discern three Arachnians, each wearing items that bore the marks of the dark god Taath. They seem comfortable and bloated, as though they had defiled and lived in this once sacred place for years. Walking among them were half a dozen animated corpses of firs, apparently forced from their sleep to become the servants of these dark beings. The group of scouts watched for some time while remaining undetected by the Arachs. They could see the altar had been desecrated and bloodied, and noted that one of the walking dead was the body of Vyr'Sa himself. He looked torn and scarred, with his face frozen in a perpetual state of shock and pain.

The group then told of how they withdrew enough to gather themselves. Although they had not come as prepared as they might have wished, they quickly fed their anger and collected their wits. With great speed and power, the elves proceeded to assault the group below with the legendary ferocity of our kind. The Holy powers of the Priests of the Goddess quickly dispatched the undead while the remainder of the group battled the Arachs with bow and blade.

After nearly an hour of fighting, and with the enemy finally defeated, the elves then set about performing the ritual of cleansing and mourning known as Pythinis. During the ceremony, the handmaidens of the Goddess herself removed the bodies from the structure, and consumed the bodies of the Arachs in purifying flame. All that was left when the ritual was complete were the bodies of those that had walked in the altar room as undead, including Vyr'Sa himself. The elves buried Vyr'Sa in the altar room beneath a carved stone marker, and the rest of their kyn outside under a tree on the wastes. They scoured the monastery for any clues as to what occurred, but finding none, withdrew and camped outside several lengths away from the ruins.

And how glad of this they were! Such a happenstance decision determined their fate, for in the middle of the night the structure seemed to glow from within with a most unholy light. Very similar it was to the light they had witnessed from the altar room the afternoon before. Watching, it seemed they could catch the sound of ringing metal and cries of war. The elves gathered themselves quickly and came back to the gate to view within, only to see the ghostly forms of those who had died, once again reliving the horrible battle that had consumed them. Firian spirits battled endlessly with Arachnian spirits, apparently cursed to walk the night and relive forever whatever had occurred that fateful day.

The scouts, tired and worn, knew they could do no more. Rather than turn to this new situation and risk fighting the spirits to release them, they instead gathered themselves for travel the next morning, and started the trek back to their homeland.

The Baelyn was greatly distraught at this horrible news. Quickly, he gathered yet another group to head back and remove the curse from the Monastery and restore it to its former glory. Of the over one hundred Sal'riEndales (members of the Sal'nathirnol) that the Baelyn gathered, he put one of the Druidic order to its lead. They set out within a week's time, headed to the Monastery.

No news came for many weeks - and when it did finally come, it was the worst possible news yet. The results of the mission were a miserable failure. The Druid had attempted to perform several Pythinis rituals, all to no avail. There had been a number of attacks formed to try and release the battling spirits and tortured souls. And the night after each attack, the spirits returned in full, as though nothing had occurred. The last battle, the scouts reported the Druid seemed to go mad with a frenzy to finish his quest, and disappeared into the lowest levels of the structure, not to be seen again. After that battle, the remains of the group retreated once again, realizing something beyond their grasp was going on and they were powerless to stop it.

The Baelyn was beside himself, but could spare no others to take care of the ruined monastery. He let the quest go for the time being, vowing to return himself at a later date and remove whatever scourge had been laid upon that once holy place. However, time and events overtook him, and with the Grand Collapse and the destruction of Vythenia a century later, the Monastery was forgotten and became one of the darker legends within the history the Temple of Elindale.

Yule Log

[This article was originally presented in the Oct. 1, 1997 Issue of the Dragon Fire Chronicles, entitled "Yule Log" by Yulin Rochelet.]

The following is a tale that my cousin, Yulin Rochelet, told to me around the fire of a camp roughly 6 months ago. I have edited the grammar only to a small degree ( he still has many problems with his common ) so as to keep the rustic feel of the tale alive. I scribe it now and send it to this fine publication so as others may understand a little better the life of a young fir, as well as give a bit of history on my dearest cousin. So please, enjoy....

I was sent at a young age away from my village of F'ythlinol'Rochin to tutor under the watchful eye of one of the more respected foresters in the region, a fir who was know by the name of D'Shylethinor. My parents, who I do not even remember anymore, where proud and honored that D'Shylethinor was taking me under his wing. I barely remember the day I left. I have not seen them since.

D'Shy ( as he later told me to call him ) was not only my teacher, but he was my father where I no longer seemed to have one, and my closest friend. After but a short time with him, we were like a family. Soon, he took another to be his pupil, another fir by the name of Daelith. Dae became my brother, and we spent much time playing and learning.

The first ten years of my time with D'Shy was spent wandering the forest region just north of the village from which I came. Dae, D'Shy and I spent much time just wandering the forest, and observing. Both Dae and I learned much about the home of the Goddess and the ways of the creatures and plants therein.

What time we did not spend in the forest, we spent in a small shrine in the village of Kalith, a human town that to a young elf seemed large and imposing. The shrine itself was a small one, and housed only two priests. It was a nothing more than a small alter in the middle of a clearing, with a small circular wall no more that 3 feet high, constructed out of white stones. Our time spent there was either in prayer, or study of the Endilinon.

After Daelith and I had been with D'Shy for a good decade, he brought us to the shrine one day, and sat us both down before the alter. He then donned his armor, blessed from the Goddess, and pulled two small wrapped bundles from behind the altar, placing them gently before our feet.

"What ye see before ye is the mark of the Knights. Wrapped in the skins are Vilythi, yer holy blades. Gifts from the Goddess, when ye have finished training and honing yer skills. I place them before ye now so ye can hold them, and know that ye must now prove yer are worthy of them."

Dae and I sat in that small shrine for what must have been a good ten minutes before either of us moved. Dae was the first to move, slowly unwrapping the skins in front of him to reveal a blade; a most beautiful blade. The entire weapon seemed made of silver, and the 2' long, curved blade was marked from pommel to tip with writings and inscriptions. Upon seeing Dae's blade, I quickly unwrapped mine to see a similar weapon. It was perfectly balanced, and felt as though it had the weight of a dagger. Reading the inscriptions, I discovered the blade was covered with scripture from the holy text, along with my name at the base.

"To prove ye have earned these, " D'Shy voice suddenly boomed out, " ye must make a journey now with me. We must go to the South mountains, and there find a stone which as taken from this shrine and return it. Ah will go along for guidance, and to help ye familiarize yerselves with yer new weapons. But when it comes to recovering the stone of the shrine, that ye must do yerselves. Do ye understand?"

We left the town of Kalith within ten minutes, and were on our journey....

Our trip took many, many weeks for us to arrive in the vicinity of the stone of the shrine. D'Shy told us little along the way of the stone. We were told that a small party of Orks and Humans had taken away the stone as some sort of threat against the priest of the shrine. Somehow that shrine protected the village from attacks from the creatures we now faced. But without that stone, the shrine was not complete, and the protection offered was not as strong.

When we arrived, we stood in a wooded area, hidden behind the foliage, watching the entrance to a cave. We had spent several days tracking the creatures to this point. Now we waited in anticipation, hoping to confirm our suspicions that these indeed were the creatures we had sought.

After several hours of waiting, a couple of creatures stepped out from the cave, and proceeded to sit down and relax. While they appeared on some sort of watch, they did not seem prepared for what they were about to face.

After a quick discussion, Dae and I decide to let them make the first move, giving them the change to flee, or surrender and turn over the rock. I prepared myself, and watched as Dae stepped from behind the clearing, and walked towards them. At first they did not see him, but quickly picked up his movements. They hoped to their feet, brandishing weapons, and a blocked the entrance to the cavern.

"Good day, sirs." Dae greeted them. "Nice eve, do you not think?"

"What doo youu want, fir.." growled one of the orks. "Youu are not welcome here...."

"But dear sir, I am just wandering among the children of the Goddess. I saw a lovely pine in the distance, and headed this way. And here it is..." Dae had started to walk towards a pine near the entranceway. The guard reacted accordingly.

"STOP!"

Everyone froze, the guards with spears pointed at an unarmed Dae, attention completely upon my brother.

"My dear, friends, this forest is for all to share, and ye have no right to stop me from proceeding to one of the children of the Goddess."

"Iff youu step annnnyyy further, youu will die, elfie....." growled the second ork.

"Are you threatening me, my friend?" asked Dae.

The second ork snarled again, and said, "Yes." He then raised his spear as if to strike Dae down. His first mistake.

[Yulin sat back at this point and stared into the heavens for a while. I can not imagine what he was thinking, although he did have a rather large smile on his face.]

I was ready with my bow. We had shot animals for food before, as well as much practice. But nothing like a live foe. My first shot proved true, smacking the creature right in the middle of the chest. He staggered back in pain and anguish, as well as surprise. Two more arrows later, he lay twitching on the ground, his ugly green blood spilling on the ground beneath him.

Dae had engaged the ork before him, and met with moderate success. Dae had been poked once in the leg, but had managed a couple of moderate hits to the creature in the abdomen. About the time I had finished with the first guard, the second realized his predicament, and retreated quickly into the cave. I cursed, then stood up to charge into the cave after him, when the hand of my mentor stopped me.

"Ye will need this, my young pupil" D'Shy said, as he handed me a lit torch. I quickly took it, bowed in thanks, and ran towards the entrance. Dae quickly took the torch so I could continue to use my bow, and we charged into the cave.

The cave went down for several yards. Exactly how much, I do not know. My heart was pounding, my blood racing. The air flowed in and out of my lungs quickly now, as we continued our decent. Dae looked the same as I, sweat dripping down his face, his Vilythi in hand as he lead.

After several minutes, we stumbled into a cavern, which was lit by a large campfire in the middles. Several creatures were in the process of standing up and grabbing weapons, and the guard Dae had fought was yelling something to his comrades, pointing to us as he did so.

The melee that ensued is a blur to me now. I remember firing my bow at a rate I had never imagined before. I think I wounded at least one creature, while Dae was engaged with a couple others. I ran out of room and arrows quickly, and drew my own blade to continue the fight. The fight was over relatively quickly, with us killing four of the creatures and causing a fifth to run out the tunnel from which we entered.

After wrapping ourselves up ( mostly me wrapping Dae's leg up ), we searched the area and found another, smaller cavern off to one side of the main one. It was smaller, and had four beds in it. It was actually furnished with a couple of dressers and tables. We did not question the wealth of such lowly creatures. We instead turned the place upside down, eventually finding the stone under one of the beds.

As Dae and I walked out of the cave, we were met with a most disturbing sight. All around the clearing in front of the Cave lay seven or eight dead orks, along with two dead goblin-als, and three dead Oog-ra's. A fourth stood above our master, who was on his knees, bound and gagged. The Oog-ra was holding an axe above the head of our master.

"Give me white rock, or elf diess" demanded the Oog-ra.

Dae and I were in complete disbelief. We were not prepared for this, and did not know what to do. I stood and looked at the scene, frozen, unable to react. Unfortunately, Dae was not.

The next scene was like that of a very bad dream gone horribly wrong. Dae raised his blade above his head, and charged, screaming the name of Elindale above all others. The axe immediately fell on my master. I do not think he even knew what hit him. The creature turned, and attacked my brother. My instincts took over at that point, and I dropped my bow, drew my own blade, and attacked.

Dae and I were outmatched, and it was readily apparent. If I had been sane at the time, I would have run for my life, hoping to outrun the creature. But neither of us was thinking. We were only fighting. And losing. Badly.

It took only a couple of minutes for the creature to know me out. I saw the flat side of his bloody axe headed for me only in time to raise my blade in defense. The axe hit my blade, shattering the fine silver, and plowed right through to me, knocking me to the ground and senseless.

I recovered my self and sat up in just a few short moments, just in time to see Dae slice at the Oog-ra's arm and landing a good blow. The axe fell to the ground and the creature howled in pain, then in anger. With his good arm, the Oog-ra knocked the blade from my brother's hand, and picked him up by the neck.

"Yous make a big mistake, little elfss. I like stone, and I keep stone." He growled. He by this time had Dae in the air, still holding him by his neck. His back was to me, so I did the only thing I could think to do to the time: I started to slowly reach for the dropped axe not 4 feet out of my reach. Every so slowly I crept, while the Oog-ra continued to gloat at my brother. I was when I heard the snap of neck bones that I reached the axe and grabbed it.

I did not even look before I swung, my fury taking over completely. I swung, and connected with him in some way. I swung again. And again. And again. I continued swinging for .... Well, only the gods know how long I did it. I only noticed it when the clearing was completely quiet, except for my weeping, and the sound of the axe hitting the now very dead Oog-ra. I collapsed, and basically passed out from shock and exhaustion.

[Yulin again paused at this point, to take a puff on the Long Pipe he carries with him. You could see the remorse, anger, sadness, and hurt in his eyes, so I waited while he gathered himself to continue.]

It took me a couple of days to bury both of them. I burned the bodies of the orks and Oog's. I buried both Dae and D'Shy at the places that they fell, in the clearing. I would have finished earlier if I had not been in such bad shape. I buried them as they were, with all of their possessions, except their Vilythi's. Those I had to take with me, to return to the goddess.

It took me another month to get back to the shrine, and then three full days to tell the sadden priest what had happened. I wanted just to die at that point, but the insistent priest told me I had to attend the Ritual of Growth, the last rite one of my order must go through to become a full-fledged Knight of the Goddess. I went along with it, expecting Elindale to reject me. Then I could die in shame.

The night of the ceremony came, with one of the priest standing in the place that belonged to my fallen master. I held my tongue, and continued with the ceremony, swearing my allegiance to the Goddess and her home. The prayer of blessing was given, and I was now expected to present my Vilythi for finial blessing. So I gently placed the pieces I could find on the altar, and fell to my knees....

"Mother Goddess, I have failed ye in the most horrible of ways. I lost my brother and my mentor due to blind fury, and broke the blade intrusted to me. I do not feel worthy to be a Knight in yer service, and ask that ye let me leave in peace."

I sat there for a few minutes, expecting nothing to happen, except to be allowed to leave in peace. Just as I was about to stand, an gentle voice spoke from behind me.

"Look upon my face, my child."

A shiver went up my spine, and slowly I turned to face the one being that at that moment I feared the most. Elindale herself was standing before me. I immediately fell to one knee, weeping.

"Oh Mother Goddess, have mercy on my...."

"Oh, silly one, get up." She interrupted me. " I am not here to chastise you, but to help you understand. Now, will you PLEASE stand up and face me like a true fir."

Slowly I stood, to behold that glorious face. I must have had a look of either shock, or fear, or both, because the goddess sighed.

"Young one, you did well. D'Shy's time had come, and Daelith served as he was only capable of doing. You have brought back the stone of the shrine as I asked your master to instruct you to do. Daelith gave his life so that you might defeat the creature. You did not fail."

"But, but, my blade.....yer holy weapon...."

"...is not your choice, nor the one that was truly meant for you. Do you have the axe that you took from the Oog?"

It took me a minute to realize that she wanted it now. When I did realize it, she was already removing it from my backpack, and holding it.

"Now. You have proved your faith by your time with your mentor. You have proved you love by the grieving you have done. You have proved you skill with the fighting and tracking you did in my name. And you have proved you honor and your name with your presence here, even though you believe you failed. You, Yulin Rochelet, are one of my chosen. You are my Sal, my dear. You are my holy Knight, and one of my chosen. Take your weapon, Sal, and go forth to protect and serve me."

[Yulin then proceeded to remove an axe from his backpack. The blade was of the purest silver, and engraved with many Firian runes, which being Usil, could not read.]

That, my cousin, is how I came to be called Sal'riEndale. Chosen son of Elindale. And that is why I use the axe.

And so ended the tale. Scribed by Lache Rochelet, Usilelvyn of the house Rochelet, Mageling and Sage of the High City of Spur.

The Gift of Vision ...

[This article was originally presented in the April, 1998 Issue of the Dragon Fire Chronicles, entitled "The Gift of Vision" by Yulin Rochelet.]

Less then a handful seasons ago, I took a trip back to the place of my birth, the Firian village of F'ythlinol'Rochin. The trip was a long one, since the village lies many tendays from the forests around the Spur. During my trip, I came across a small shrine near a small human settlement. The shrine was a circle in the ground, formed of white stone which were polished smooth. The Shrine was small, measuring roughly twenty paces at it's widest point. Sitting in the middle of this circle was a blackened stump, polished to a deep shine, with runes inscribed upon it. Two small bowls, one of ivory and one of wood sat in front of the alter. Wildflowers, holy to my Goddess, surrounded the shrine on all sides.

Curious, I approached this holy place, wanting to know just what this was. My master and mentor hand trained me in these very hills, but I was not familiar with this spot. I stepped within the circle, and immediately felt the power of my Goddess's blessings upon the shrine. But there was also the blessings of another entity upon this place, and it took me just a moment to discern from whence this power came: the Goddess Rinanni. "Both Goddesses in one place?" I murmured. Even more curious now, I approached the altar and started to examine it when I felt the presence behind me. In one swift ( and very practiced ) motion, I whirled around in place, with bow in hand and arrow nocked, facing what was now confronting me.

As I turned I saw two priests standing just outside the Circle. Both were clad in ivory robes covering all but their hands. Gray shapes and runes looking like forest animals covered the cloth, and seemed to move as the priests breathed. Green chord was wrapped around their waists, and their feet were bare. I could not even see their faces, as the hoods of their robes were pulled to conceal them. The first one stood my height, looking rather thin and frail. The second priest was much shorter and seemed to be much broader.

I stood there for what felt like hours. Never had I seen Priests clad in such garb. It was typical of neither of the churches which has surely called this place holy. None of us moved, with the tension in the air feeling heavier and more stifling with each passing moment. They were the first to break the silence.

"Greetings, Sal'riEndale." The voice of the second immediately told me that she was female, and an Anthian. "Your arrival has been expected for some time now. You look well since the last time we met."

Stunned that they apparently knew me, I stood there, speechless. Both stepped slowly into the circle, the taller one walking around to the back side of the altar. The second one stepped up beside me, raising her head to show her lovely face. She was most definitely Anthian, and familiar.

"Moonwing?" I asked tentatively. She smiled, which informed me that she was indeed the forester I had first meet upon my arrival to Spur. We had spent just short of a tenday together, with her teaching me the ways of a Forester in the Spur and surrounding regions. I had not seen her in over eighteen months, as she had disappeared shortly after our meeting.

"What are you doing here, little sister? What happened that caused you to leave the Spur?"

She smiled at me, sat down, and patted the ground beside her. "That, dear one, is a long story. But now is not the time. Let us just say that the Goddesses brought me here, to the service of the lady." Moonwing bowed her head towards the figure now apparently sitting on something behind the altar. The Lady, as my old friend called her, raised her head to reveal the face of Usilin Female. A silver band rested upon her brow, but what caught my attention was the blood-red blindfold covering her eyes.

"MM'lady" I said, as I bowed. I made a quick, ceremonial gesture towards the altar, and then sat down beside my long-time friend. Moonwing smiled, then also made the same gesture. The lady smiled, and nodded her head.

"You do not know me, Sal. My name is Athyni, HighCleric of the Order of Twi'si'lyn, Twin Goddesses."

"Twin Goddesses?" I asked tentatively.

Athyni smiled, and nodded. "Yes, Sal. Twin Goddesses. The Goddess you follow, and her holy sister known as Rinanni are known by some to be the Twin Goddesses. This is their shrine, their Ezyin'inith. I was called here ten years ago to this very place, and met both holy ladies on this very spot."

I nodded, knowing that several different sects of most religions existed all over the lands. Although, I never had recalled hearing of a church following both deities. Not knowing what else to do, I just smiled. As did the High Cleric.

"You are wondering why this blindfold is over mine eyes, Sal." My mouth dropped, which she obviously detected and smiled. "You do not have a necessity to worry, blessed son. I can not read minds, or detect thoughts. I have just become accustomed to being in darkness, and my senses have become such that I miss my sight no longer."

I nodded, not knowing what else to do at this point.

"Relax, Sal. You ask, therefore you shall receive." Athyni reached behind the altar, and pulled out a set of scrolls. I stood up, and moved in front of the altar, watching as she placed the scrolls on the blessed stump and unrolled them. The scrolls were brown with age and wear, but when she opened them, the words were bright and clear, as though they had been written the hour before. The language of the firs jumped out at me, clear as day. I looked up at this apparent priestess, who nodded at me.

"Read, Blessed son."

"Thank ye, yer grace." I pushed the scrolls open, then started to read.

*******************

"I, Athylith'o'sai of Shyne, HighCleric of the Order of Twi'si'lyn, write this so that all may know the blessing the sisters have bestowed upon my cousins this day, and the reasons thereof."

"Five years ago, a young Fir came to this shrine looking for a place of rest. He was young, and beautiful, like the forest floor in the dew-soaked morn. He first gave his offerings to Elindale, and then proceeded to talk with me, the newly appointed HighCleric of my sect. We talked the evening away. His name was Solynor, and he stayed here for several days, just talking and sharing the blessing of the sisters with me."

"He left shortly thereafter, due to the callings of Elindale. But he came back regularly, spending time with me. He was a son of the forest, and spent much time protecting the small villages from creatures that would assault them. I saw him grow much in strength, faith, and stature. He became a great huntsman and archer, and even finally a holy Knight of Elindale. He met several adventuresome people, and brought those who followed either of the sisters here for worship."

"This went on for a full year, and after each trip I longed that much more for his presence by my side. I tried to keep my thoughts on my duties, but found more and more my mind wandering to that handsome face, longing for the next time he should visit me. Soon thereafter, he came back to the shrine in his ceremonial armor of his holy station. He got on his knee, looked me in the eye, and asked me to join him in holy marriage. My heart sang that day, as I knew that I was going to spend the rest of my life by his side, singing the praises of the Goddesses."

"We were married the next day, and what a holy and precious day it was. Everything was slightly brighter and slightly more filled with joy than usual as I remember it. My husband was looking as handsome and regal as ever, and it seemed that even the holy inscriptions and symbols around the shrine exuded joy that day."

"We spent several months together, making our home in a small clearing just outside the perimeter of the shrine. I continued to serve the Goddesses, and he continued his work, protecting the peoples of the surrounding country side. Many nights did I lay awake, wondering where my husband was, only to fall into his arms as he came home a day or two later."

"But one night, he did not return. Nor the next. Three days and nights passed this way, until, just before sunset on the fourth day, several of Solynor's friends came up to the shrine, looking very sullen and sad. Behind them, carried in a small cart, was the body of my husband."

"After the initial shock and grief that I felt, I wiped my tears away and asked his companions what happened. A human by the name of Ba'new stepped forward and told me that my husband had died at the hand of brigands, folk Solynor had made enemies of while following the calling of the Goddesses. Apparently, my husband had slain the leader of one bands during a raid, and the band wanted retribution."

" 'And how faired him in this fray?' I asked, hoping in the back of my mind that he had taken several of his foes with him. At least I could feel better about his being pulled away from me."

" 'He did as good as could be expected, m'lady. But it was night time, which put him at a disadvantage, for being alone, at night, his bow was useless to him without light for which to see his targets. And while Sol was very talented with his blade, his precision with the arrow is what made him feared in these parts.' "

"I buried my husband on the hill north of the shrine with the help of his friends. We held a quick service, and then they departed back to the woods, leaving me to grieve. And grieve I did, for almost a full ten-day upon the altar, wondering all this time why Solynor was torn from me."

"The last day of that ten-day, again, before going to bed, I visited the grave of my husband. After a hour or two there I went to the shrine and wept upon the altar of my Goddesses, crying and sobbing, trying to understand the meaning of it all. Suddenly, around me a bright light filled the area. Shocked, surprised, and dismayed that someone would dare interrupt me in my time of grief, I stood up quickly, only to drop down on my knees again, realizing whose presence I now stood in."

" 'You weep, child. Why is that?' asked the first of the figures. The voice was overpowering, and loving. I felt both fear and trepidation that my Ladies would bless me with their presence at this moment, when I was at my weakest."

"I took a breath, looked up at both Goddesses, and said 'My husband has died in you service, my ladies. That is why I weep. I am sad because I do not understand why he was taken from me when he has done nothing but happily served you.' "

"One of the Ladies, who I now realized was the incarnation of Rinanni, stepped forward and took me in her arms. The peace and love in that embrace was staggering, but still my sorrow held me slightly at bay. I looked over Rinanni's shoulder to see Elindale looking me right in the eyes, hers filling with tears as she understood my sorrow."

" 'My child,' begin Rinanni, 'your love will always be with you in more ways that you comprehend at this moment. And while we understand your sadness, understand that I am in celebration of the love that you shared, and the time you spent together.' "

"Her words were comforting and loving, but they still did not completely take away my pain. I nodded, for that is all I could do at the time, and then broke down in tears. At this point, Elindale stepped forward, and took me in her arms, holding me just a breath away from her face."

" 'Daughter, your grief is understandable. But you must also understand Solynor died in my service, and lived his life following my will. While his time on this plane is done, he will forever be a blessed son in my house.' "

"Again I nodded, still feeling pain and loss. Elindale looked me in the eyes, sighed and spoke again."

" 'My words do not comfort you, daughter. Therefore, to perhaps console you that your beloved did not die in vain, I will place this curse upon you. Your husband died at night, when he was not fully able to defend himself without the light of fire or sun. I will bless his people with the ability to see at night, so they will be able to use their abilities with the bow. But the cost shall be your own vision, and the vision of those who follow you as the HighCleric of your order and sect.' "

"I was taken aback, then, gathering my strength, said to her 'My Goddess, while it will bless others, I do not wish to have the gift of sight. I want no longer to see the beauties that surround me, if my husband can not share them with me. Therefore, I accept your curse, with the knowledge that my husband's kin can better defend themselves from the dangers at night.' "

"Elindale nodded, kissed my forehead, and said "It is so, my daughter. At some time in each Firian life, they shall develop the vision for night sight, at the price of yours and those who follow you. Let this be a reminder to you always that the ways of the Goddesses are not to be questioned or doubted, for we have a vision beyond what you can comprehend. And know that we love you, our HighCleric.' "

*******************

The text stopped there. I stood, hands trembling, now understanding the reason why not six months prior, I was suddenly able to see at night. I looked up at the High Cleric, not knowing what to say. She smiled, again with that knowing smile that told me she knew what was going though my mind.

"So you see, Sal, why your kin develop the night sight. Every time a HighCleric of Ezyin'inith, this Shrine to the Twin Goddesses, is chosen, she is kissed by the Goddess Elindale herself, and her sight fades so that other might see. We all then wear the blood-red bandage in remembance of the fallen Knight Solynor."

"But some of my kin develop the night sight earlier than others, m'lady. I know of some who have it at birth, while others have developed it after much of their life has passed. Why is that?"

She shrugged. "I know not, and care not to question it. That is part of the leason of the tale."

I nodded. "M'lady, others of my kin will want to know this story, so that this shrine may be paid proper homage. Can I take this script with me, so that I may let others copy it and spread the word among the faithful?"

She smiled. "But of course, Sal. Why do you think I showed this to you?" She chuckled at her own private joke. "You are indeed one of the truly blessed children of the Goddess, but you are only one. Elindale wishes all of her children to know the truth."

*******************

I spent the rest of the day there with my old friend and the HighCleric of the Twin Goddesses, learning several more stories and teachings from them. I left the next night, taking with me a copy of the story the HighCleric had prepared for me. I found the sanctuary of my order, and visited with the other Knights of the Goddess. I left a copy of the holy text for them so that other Sal'riEndale could learn the truth of Elindale's gift. Upon my return to the Spur, I sat down with my cousin Lache the Usil, who scribed this scroll from my dictation, as well as the copy given to me.

May the blessing of the Holy Goddess Elindale bless this text and all who read it.

The Elven Tree ...

[Folklore.]

This is a story told to me by my great grand-fir. It is about the first world.

Once long long ago, when only gods were alive, Elindale planted one seed, just one, in the dark inky place she lived. She tended to it, and talked to it, and she would tell it a story every day. Well, soon it began to grow and grow and grow making a large tree -- a golden tree.

She watched as all the gods stared at it. They wondered what it was. Soon seeds started sprouting from the tree. When the gods looked at them, they were like crystal balls -- empty except for the grass, the trees and the mountians. Then a large gold ball emerged from the stump of the tree. It was the largest of them all.

Sa, the god of magick, said, "We must make these places full. We shall be there watchers."

The god Taath said in a icy voice, "Why? Why should we waste our time on this?"

As Sa pondered this, Oduarus said in a gruff voice, "What else can he do besides roam the black ickyness?"

Eventually, all the gods agreed to make the races after many more forgotten lines. They chose the gold ball to be there main place -- the place for their favorite races. The other balls were just for fun but the gold ball was for a greater purpose -- to watch, and learn, yes.. learn.

Well Elindale made one race, only one race, while the others made many. Elindale made Fir Elfs.

Revised: February 08, 2000.

Fir Elf Story ...

[Folklore. Revised: February 08, 2000.]

A long time has past since I last saw my family. I always longed for adventure and never could stay close to home. One day, I wandered a little to far from my beloved forest and my wonderful mother. Perhaps if I had remained near her longer, I could have learned a better understanding of others behavior and how to use my abilities and my skills to a higher degree of accuracy.

My mother taught me quite a bit of love and of the forest. From my first emergence, I had been absorbing my world. I played with all the wonderful animals and chased the butterflies. On my first great outing, I ran into some rats. They bit at me and I was quite confused. Why would an animal lash out at me like that? They pierced the skin on my hands and I ran all the way home crying. I ran into my mother holding my hand out with blood running down my arm.

I ran screaming to her and asked her why any creature would prefer to attack rather than play.

She patiently with a quite tone answered, "Quite simply my dear they eat of the dead. The dead never rest even in the rats bellies. Henceforth my sweet elf, they always have a tummy ache which make them grumpy."

"Are all animals like them because I know that there are dogs that do not attack?" As my mother carefully showed me how to tend my wounds, she replied, "Certain animals are friendly and others are not. Even dogs will attack once provoked. You must always protect those that do not attack in order for them to remain your friends."

"My mother does that include birds and bugs?""It includes everyone even the San," she answered with a slight sigh in her voice. "Who are the San?"

"They are a long past brethren that have lost their happiness.""Why are they named different then us?" "Well my impatient little elf we are named after the fir tree. We stand tall no matter the adversary. We lose not our spirit like the tree loses not its needles. We protect the innocent underneath our skills as the tree protects us from the rain."

"Does that mean that the San get their names from the sand because they get under our skin and are irritating?" " You must never let the San affect your spirit otherwise you shall become a San thwarted by the evil inside," she scolded me quite throughly. "They lost their spirit to the evil persuasion from inside with help from a evil named Taath. Always stand firm in your convictions. Now clean up for dinner."

"May I ask one more question mama?" "And what might that be?" "How did you chose my name?" "That is very simple sweetie. You have the spirit of a bird inside you. You are free and always cheery." "But why a swan mama?" "Because little one they are very rare and elusive. Their beauty comes from within and grows with time."

That was the longest and most informative conversation I ever had with my mother. I miss her very much especially when confronted by Sans. I never knew how much effort it would take not to hate them all based on a few individuals' actions. There are a few that you can see the love that leeks out from within. I shall spend the rest of my life trying to show how much love there is left in the world in which I now find myself.

Author Unknown


 



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