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Fayn at long last discovers the truth of her birth, and then must face her greatest tragedy...
ELFSONG (Part Seventeen)
Book Three: Requiem (Ch. 5)
Fayn stood before the Wellspring feeling both fear and anxiety. The moment she had been waiting for had finally arrived, and with it came the realization that whatever truth awaited her within, would forever change her future. The reason for her existence, the truth of her birth, would be laid out before her, and Fayn worried that it would change the perception of those around her, as well as what she thought of herself.
Daryn stepped up close behind her and placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder. “I know that look on your face Fayn Brightwind.” There was a gentle sparkle of playfulness in his hazel eyes.
Fayn closed her own eyes and gave him a mischievous smirk, shaking her head lightly back and forth. “Of course you do, silly Daryn.” She spun around and shot her eyes open, the silver pupils shinning in flirtation. “Since you just can’t seem to keep yourself from staring at me.”
“Well I, you know…” Daryn’s words were caught in his throat, as Fayn ran her fingers across his chest, pulling him in close to her.
Fayn giggled and pressed her lips to his. After a short moment they parted and Fayn gazed at him, his cheeks flush red. “Oh Daryn, you are still so cute!” She said demurely, holding back a laugh.
“Cute!” Daryn grew embarrassed, his face taking on a forced scowl. “Fayn, is this really the time to play games?”
“I love you Daryn Swiftrunner.” Fayn said, her tone now serious and full of intent. “No matter what may happen, what I discover, this truth remains.”
Daryn sighed at Fayn, her silver eyes melting away his frustration. He rested his forehead against hers, taking in the moment of silence like oxygen, breathing in the memory. This was the inevitable calm before the storm. Beyond the marble doorway lied their fate, the strands of destiny entwined with their lives. What happened next would decide the future of an entire race, but all he could think about was her.
“I love you too,” Daryn whispered, kissing her forehead, “always have, until the end.”
Linsharra stepped up next to the happy couple, her sarcastic grin ever present. “You two are just precious!” The Queen said, while rolling her eyes. “Now if you don’t mind, we have an insane dark elf to take care of.”
Fayn and Daryn smirked at each other and fell in step behind Linsharra as she descended into the Wellspring. Elder Kalan, once again silent, took the rear as the four of them made their way down the tunnel towards the marble door at the end. Daryn instinctively gripped the knife at his side while Fayn focused her mind on her innate elemental abilities. As they approached the door, Fayn bit her bottom lip in anticipation.
Linsharra placed her hands on the marble and looked back at the group. “Are you ready Cradle-Child?” The Queen asked with an unusually respectful voice.
Fayn nodded to the Queen, her face firm and her eyes focused. “Let’s end this!” Linsharra made no response as she pushed on the marble doors. Golden light shined through the opening, nearly blinding them as the doors slid open, granting them entrance into the chamber.
Fayn covered her eyes and walked a few steps forward, blinking in the light. Daryn came around to her side and peered forward, his skills as a scout giving him enhanced vision. Kalan and Linsharra had no trouble, relying on their other senses to see. Within moments the light faded, and standing before them was a majestic unicorn, white as snow, its horn the source of the illumination.
Aurora tuned to face the bewildered party and softly neighed. The light dimmed as the unicorn trotted over to where Fayn stood. Aurora rested his head on her chest, and grunted in a friendly manner, his golden eyes giving off a faint calming warmth.
“I know you.” Fayn whispered in amazement. “It was you who appeared to me that day at the spring.” Fayn nuzzled the side of the creatures face lovingly. “Thank you for protecting me.”
“Welcome to the Wellspring dear sister.” Came the gravel-like voice of Eliyas. Linsharra and Daryn stood defensively in front of Fayn, their hands fingering the hilts of their weapons. Elder Kalan stood just within the doorway, silently watching the events unfold.
Fayn looked up from Aurora to see Eliyas, still within the body of Galdriel, standing near the dais in the center of the chamber. “Brother…” Was all she could say in response, her fear returning to her.
“I see that you have already become aquanited with Aurora.” Eliyas casually spoke, his eyes glinting with amusement. “What a fascinating family reunion this is. Greetings, mother.” He said, looking directly at Linsharra.
“Still your tongue, you misbegotten child.” Seethed the Queen. “You have no right to call me as such.”
“What game are you playing at here Eliyas!” Daryn shouted out above the others.
“I assure you, it is no game.” Eliyas responded, as he started to pace back and forth behind the dais. “We are all connected by the bonds of family. Fayn is my sister, the other half of my being. Linsharra raised me in my youth, and our dear Elder was the grandfather of it all.”
Elder Kalan stiffened at his words, unable to focus, Galdriel’s body before him. Aurora seemed agitated, and Fayn tried running her hands down the creatures mane in a calming gesture. “Why is he here Eliyas? What purpose does the unicorn have here?”
“As I said…family.” Eliyas grinned knowingly. “Our dear Aurora here has another name, one far more recognizable then the one the Song Priestess gave him. In fact, we know him as the father of all, the first one among us.” He stopped for dramatic effect, and then said the name with flair. “Altair!”
The chamber became quiet, as all eyes were on Aurora. The unicorn trotted away from Fayn and turned its head to the side to gaze at the party. The creatures golden eyes gleamed with an ethereal light, the piercing gaze hypnotic. Fayn felt a psychic tug on her consciousness, similar to when the Heart had made contact with her during the Ceremony of Choosing.
A plethora of images assaulted her mind all at once, causing Fayn to fall to her knees, her hands holding onto her head. Her brain felt like it was on fire, the images becoming knowledge that burned with the intensity of an inferno. She screamed out in pain as the golden gaze of the unicorn dimmed. A moment later the light was gone, and Daryn was at her side holding on to Fayn as she breathed heavily in his arms.
“What just happened?” Daryn asked frantically. “Fayn, are you alright?”
“This beast is the great Altair?” Scoffed Linsharra, her eyebrows raised as she looked at the unicorn and then back at Eliyas. “Speak, boy! What has he done to her?”
“Altair has just opened up her mind my Queen.” Eliyas stated. “My dear sister has just been given the answers to the riddle of her existence.”
Elder Kalan shifted his stance, his thoughts hidden behind his stoic features. He could not take action, the very sight of Galdriel’s form keeping him frozen, but his ears listened intently to the words being spoken. The Elders had attempted to discover the secrets of Altair, and the coming of the Cradle-Children, to no avail. Now was his chance to learn the final truth.
Fayn sat up in Daryn’s arms, her eyes wide with newfound understanding. She spoke slowly at first and then her words began to flow, as if another voice were speaking through her. “When the Elders of Elleron carried out their dark deed and destroyed Altair, they turned his form into energy. Altair’s consciousness became the Song-Stream, while his essence, his power, was used in conjunction with the Heart to create an illusion spell to bring Vindros Forest back to life.
“The Elders failed; however, to trap the gods soul. The last embers of Altair’s soul escaped and was reborn in the form of a unicorn, the guardian spirit of the forest. The god-soul lied dormant for centuries, while the Elders built a religion for the light elves, and trapped the dark elves within Tarsus. When his soul at long last awoke, everything had changed, and his power was severely diminished.
“Altair was able to see the future, having written both prophecies himself shortly before the Elders betrayal. He knew the time of prophecy was near, so he decided to take action. He traveled to the Crystal Caverns, where the lay-lines of magical current flow the strongest. This heightened energy allowed him to divide his soul into parts, birthing avatars of his creation into the world. Two souls that were one, a light elf and a dark elf, divided by the Polar Elements.”
“Then you and Eliyas are basically the children of Altair.” Daryn surmised, his words coming out in gasps of astonishment.
“More like facets of his being.” Linsharra commented without question. “Portions of his soul, the two halves polar opposites of the other.”
“Precisely!” Eliyas beamed. “Altair created us to fulfill his damnable prophecy, so that it would eventually lead to his true rebirth during the Concert.”
Kalan shook his head and sighed, realizing that the centuries of struggle the Elders went through was for nothing, because Altair was behind the scenes, manipulating the events towards a pre-determined fate; their destiny not their own.
Fayn had Daryn help her stand up, holding onto him for support, her body weak from the mental assault. “So all this tragedy, this suffering, has no real purpose? We were only born, so that one day Altair could once again become whole.” Fayn collapsed into Daryn’s arms, as he held her tight, his eyes fixated on Eliyas.
“Altair wished to avoid the calamity to come.” Eliyas recalled. “In order to accomplish this, he made sure to keep us separated. The Crystal Caverns had the power to make our birth possible, but also served as a perfect location to deliver each of us to the races that we represented.”
“He allowed you to pass through the barrier and escape the dragon then?” Fayn guessed.
“Precisely! Two prophecies existed, two alternate futures; Altair wanted to create his own. To this end, he created the elemental medallion and the sealed doorway of Tarsus. He manipulated events to have us come together for his benefit, to unite our souls during the lunar alignment. However, fate and circumstance had other plans.”
Linsharra sighed, remembering the past, her memories still vivid in her mind. “Your death, at my hands.” The Queen stated matter-of-factly, the emotion she felt hidden.
“Do you know what happened on that fateful day?” Eliyas asked, looking directly at Fayn. “That very day you, my dear sister, met a unicorn at the Wellspring. The moment I passed, Altair appeared before you and blessed you with his light.”
“Protecting me from the darkness, knowing that one day I would need his light to counter the spread of the dark-force in my mind.” Fayn finished the explanation, as the puzzle pieces of her life came together.
“Oh, it did much more then that.” Eliyas continued. “When you touched the unicorns horn, Altair created within you the Dreamscape. I found myself within that shifting realm, my spirit, the portion of Altair’s soul that created me, brought me into the recesses of your mind.”
“The Dreamscape is his creation?” Fayn asked, sharing confused looks with Daryn. “What is the purpose of it then?”
“The power within us, the same power the Elders wished to harness for the Ritual, is called the Font.” Eliyas turned his gaze on Aurora, the unicorn standing to the side. Fayn followed his gaze and felt an overwhelming sadness for the creature. “The Dreamscape serves as a barrier, a prison, to keep the Font locked away within your mind.”
“So when Fayn was attacked by the Shadow-Wraith,” Daryn asked, analyzing the facts, "the dark-force would have destroyed her mind, released the Font, and allowed the Elders to ascend.” Elder Kalan nodded to himself, all the facts lining up with the Elders suspicions.
“Exactly!” Eliyas exclaimed. “When I died, my portion of Altair’s soul joined with Fayn’s. The Dreamscape houses that combined soul, making Fayn the perfect Vessel for Transcendence. This is what the Heart reacted to during the Ceremony of Choosing, allowing me to finally make contact with you through your dreams.”
“What part in all this do you play my child?” Linsharra asked of him, her voice fierce. “This entire war, the enactment of Altair’s prophecy, what do you hope to gain?”
“I traversed the Dreamscape for a hundred years, unlocking its secrets, discovering the truths that were denied to me in life.” Eliyas began to pace once more, recalling the past. “I had an epiphany, a revelation that changed everything in me, the moment I discovered the dark-force.
“When Altair divided his soul, he attempted to also expunge the remaining dark-force trapped inside him. This darkness lied within me, Altair attempting to contain it within the Dreamscape. I spent countless years mastering the shifting planes, discovering its secrets. Then I found the Font; the source of the Song, and in turn Altair’s very soul.
“I don’t understand brother.” Fayn was lost, trying to piece together the staggering revelations. “What is the Font exactly, what is its relation to the Song, and Altair’s soul?”
Eliyas stopped pacing and looked at Fayn, their eyes meeting directly. “The Font is the well of creation, where existence itself draws its energy from. Creation is simply thoughts and dreams on a higher plane of reality. The Ritual allowed them to pierce the veil of reality and send their combined minds to a higher level of conscious thought.
“Altair’s soul serves as a link to the Font, its energy sharing the same mental wavelength. If the walls of the Dreamscape were to collapse, then the true power of Altair would awaken, and access to the Font would be granted.” Eliyas grinned darkly. “But so too would the spread of the cancerous dark-force.”
“You’re mad!” Daryn yelled out. “If you use Fayn as a key to open the portal to the Font, you would release the dark-force into this plane of reality. The very act would destroy us all!”
“I am counting on it!” Eliyas laughed, his granite voice sending chills down everyone’s backs, even Kalan, who stood motionless near the back wall.
“You must be stopped Eliyas!” Daryn unsheathed his knife and ran towards him. Fayn reached out to stop him, but was too late. Linsharra grabbed her dual knives and rushed forward as well, while Aurora stood to the side, unmoving.
Kalan felt a tinge of emotion, watching as they engaged Eliyas, still stuck within the body of the woman that he loved. Something in him was stirring, the will to act, the need to do something. He looked down at his hands, covered in the blood of countless innocents over the years. He and his fellow Elders destroyed Altair, that single act, born out of fear and desperation, the cause of everything. He had to make amends, but how?
Daryn swiped at Eliyas, the blade missing him, as Linsharra circled around the back. “So the boy has developed a backbone I see.” Eliyas taunted him, using Galdriel’s staff to knock the knife from his hands easily. “Not so fast my Queen!” He stated, outstretching his hand behind him, sending a fireball to hit her squarely in the chest.
Linsharra fell to the cold marble floor of the chamber, the force of the blast powerful enough to knock the wind from her lungs. “Such power…” The Queen commented to herself.
Daryn rushed him while his back was turned, but Eliyas quickly spun around and grabbed Daryn around the throat. With one movement he slammed the blond elf to the ground, pinning him with the staff. “That was pathetic!” Linsharra picked herself up and readied for another strike. “Take another step, and the boy dies.” Warned Eliyas, his tone leaving no room for discussion.
“You call that a threat?” Linsharra scoffed. “He’s not my lover!” The Queen activated her rune tattoos, preparing herself for combat.
“No, don’t!” cried out Fayn, taking a step towards Eliyas. “It’s me you want brother, let him go.”
“To claim Altair’s Soul as my own I must remove the barrier, the very walls of the Dreamscape.” Eliyas explained, a sadistic grin taking over Galdriel’s features. “The Dreamscape is formed from your thoughts and emotions. Each tragedy you experience damages the walls of the barrier, each one bringing me closer to unlocking the Font.
“The death of Galdriel, the loss of your mother Liana, your exile from Elleron, taking the life of Uraug, finding out I was dead, the war; all of this has weakened the walls. The barrier is on the verge of breaking, one more tragedy should be sufficient.” Eliyas looked down at Daryn meaningfully.
“No!” Fayn ran forward at Eliyas, tears welling up in her silver eyes. Linsharra rushed forward as well, as Eliyas phased into earth form, becoming solid stone. Eliyas caused the chamber to shake, knocking both Fayn and Linsharra to the floor. He then erupted into flame, the staff igniting along with his body.
Daryn struggled to move, but was well pinned by the staff. He looked over towards Fayn and reached out to her, a look of desperation in his hazel eyes. “Fayn…” He weakly called out to her.
“Daryn!” Fayn screamed, reaching her own hand out to him. The moment played out in slow motion to her as Eliyas forced the flaming staff through Daryn’s chest, impaling him on it. Daryn shuddered, his body convulsing in pain. After a moment, his body went limp, the fire from the staff burning him from within the wound. Daryn was dead.
Fayn fell to her knees in choking sobs. She had now lost everything she had ever known, everything she had ever loved. Galdriel, Liana, Daryn, Mari, even the Song itself was no more. She felt herself die inwardly, the walls of her mind coming apart, the barrier broken.
Long ago, when she was but a child, Galdriel had told her never to lose hope, less the darkness take over. Her words were proved true as Fayn felt the light within vanish. As her hope died, Aurora began to weaken as well, the golden gleam of the unicorns horn dying out in the darkness of the chamber, now lit only by the fire covering Eliyas.
Eliyas stepped towards Fayn with a triumphant smile. “All is as I have planned, every action taken I have set in motion. The Font is now open to me, and soon the world will feel the sting of dark-force. I will end existence, and then become its new architect.” The flames died, and Eliyas returned to normal in Galdriel’s form.
Linsharra watched helplessly as Eliyas placed his hands on Fayn’s shoulders, dragging her to the dais. He placed his hands on the platform, an amber light emanating from his fingertips. The dais was activated and Fayn was covered in amber, her mind now linked to Eliyas. The Queen grew tense as the air around Fayn rippled with electricity. A portal opened behind them, the planes of reality shifting as dark-force seeped into the chamber. Aurora neighed loudly and stomped his hooves on the marble floor, the part in him that was Altair coming to the surface in anger.
Elder Kalan felt fear for the first time in centuries, watching as the dark-force swallowed everything it touched. He closed his eyes, trying to blot out the images, when a voice called his name from the ether. “Kalan.” came the familiar tone, a sound like a beautiful melody.
The Elder opened his eyes but saw no one, the voice within his mind. “Galdriel?” He asked the empty air.
“You must take action Kalan.” Came her voice once more. “Eliyas needs to be stopped, there is still time to seal away the dark-force.”
“I can’t.” Kalan whined, tears in his void-like eyes. “He inhabits your body Priestess. I took your life once, I will not do so again.”
“I have already passed, I have no more use for my body, the link to the physical plane forever denied me.” Galdriel added softly, “Do what you know in your heart to be right.”
“My heart?” Kalan asked himself, staring once more at his hands. He had believed for so long that he no longer had a heart, that the dark-force stripped away all that was good about himself. It was the love he felt for Galdriel that proved otherwise.
“You know what you must do.” She pleaded with him. “There is no other way.”
“May you then find rest Priestess.” Kalan said solemnly as he quietly made his way towards Eliyas. The portal was opening wider, as Eliyas focused all his attention on the task at hand. Kalan sneaked up behind him and wrapped his large arms around the body of Galdriel.
Eliyas lost his concentration, breaking contact with Fayn’s mind, the portal only partially opened. “You fool, what do you think you are doing?” He struggled in Kalan’s grip, but was held tight.
Fayn was disoriented and weak, confused as to what was happening. Linsharra moved in quick and picked Fayn up off the floor. She carried the blue-haired elf towards the back of the chamber, coming to rest near Aurora, the unicorn growing weaker with every passing moment. “What happened?” Fayn asked.
The Queen gave her a sarcastic smile. “It appears the Elder has finally made himself useful.”
Fayn looked up wearily to see Kalan holding on to Eliyas from behind. Eliyas turned his body into flame, attempting to singe the Elder. Kalan paid it no heed, the pain of the fire nothing compared to the pain of his heart. “Galdriel…” Kalan whispered as his body began to surge with dark-force. Fayn gasped as the black energy surrounded them, and within a moment exploded, as both bodies disintegrated in front of her eyes.
The chamber instantly became dead silent, all but the portal and the coming dark-force. Fayn picked herself up, as did Linsharra. The two exchanged glances. “Is it over?” Fayn asked, bewildered.
“No.” Stated the Queen. “The portal remains open, and I would wager that brother dearest returned to the what’s left of the Dreamscape. You must stop him there Cradle-Child!”
“I cant!” Fayn cried out, kneeling beside Daryn’s body. “I’m not strong enough.”
“Oh this just will not do!” Came Galdriel’s voice in their minds. “Did I teach you nothing all those years, or did you fail to listen to my lessons?”
Fayn couldn’t breathe for a second, as the familiar voice filled her with a bittersweet longing. “Galdriel, you’re here.”
“I am within the Dreamscape Fayn, it still exists, holding on by a thread.” Galdriel explained. “You must return, and stop Eliyas. It’s the only way of sealing the portal to the Font and stopping the spread of the dark-force.”
Fayn looked down at Daryn’s lifeless body, a strange calm overcoming her. Daryn would not die in vain, not if she could help it. Eliyas had to be stopped, everyone depended on her now. “Queen Linsharra, please take Daryn’s body from this place. Leave before the dark-force rips apart this temple. I am going to confront my brother and finish this.”
Linsharra nodded, impressed with Fayn’s resolve. “Fare thee well, Cradle-Child.”
Galdriel’s voice rang out in her mind. “Focus your thoughts through the unicorn Fayn, and will yourself to me.”
Fayn walked over to where Aurora stood, the golden light dim. “Galdriel, I am coming.” She stepped up to Aurora and placed her hands on the creature’s horn. The unicorn looked directly into Fayn’s eyes, and in a single flash of light they were gone, as Fayn entered the Dreamscape.
To Be Concluded......
|Elfsong Part 18||Baptism of Fire Part 1|
|Elfsong Part 21||Syrus: Hunter & Prey|
|Elfsong Part 19||Elfsong Part 12|