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Fayn enters Sanctuary to save Galdriel's soul...
ELFSONG (Part Four)
Book One: Symphony (Ch.4)
Fayn sat back, hunched on a tree limb overlooking Sanctuary. Her long blue hair was tied into a braided ponytail, and she wore a hard leather vest, tanned breeches and leggings. Her arms were bare, aside from leather gauntlets and gloves. A longbow hung from a strap that wrapped around from her left shoulder to her waist on the right side. An arrow pack was fastened to her left side, a small dagger resting in its sheath on her right. Fayn was ready for anything.
Daryn had acquired the equipment she needed from the village, and waited just beyond the tree line of the forest. From this point on Fayn would have to go it alone. Daryn had argued with her at first that he should go with her, but when Mari had appeared demanding to go as well, it was up to him to stay behind and make sure the excitable faerie was well restrained. Besides, as Fayn pointed out, this was a stealth mission in a very enclosed area; more than one would be too many.
That, and she also had the medallion. Fayn had no idea if what Eliyas said was true, or if it was, whether or not she could make the damn thing work. The dark elf had told her to become the elements of her birth, whatever that meant. The ability to transform into wind or water, the very thought made Fayn want to laugh. She had never seen any form of Song magic accomplish such a feat, but somehow she knew that her ‘brother’ was true in his words. She had to have faith in herself, if in nothing else.
Fayn jumped down from the tree limb to land effortlessly on the ground. The twin moons shone brightly in the twilight, causing Fayn to make her way through the shadows of the forest to conceal herself. She silently made her way to the entrance and stopped to look around at her whereabouts. Sanctuary was located within an underground cavern beneath a massive oak, the largest tree in all of Vindros forest. The trunk served as a doorway to a descending path that spiraled down beneath the earth.
Fayn peered into the distance toward the shadows of the forest where Daryn and Mari sat hidden. She took an arrow from the pack at her side and caught the moonlight on its tip, causing a small glint of light to shine. Daryn saw the signal and did the same in return. Fayn nodded her head and quickly turned back around. Without another thought she stepped through the doorway and crept down the pathway...
“Be careful Fayn.” Daryn breathed and leaned back against a tree.
Mari struggled to release herself from his grasp. “Come on, she needs us!”
The blond elf just shrugged and tightened his grip. “This is her show now Mari, the only thing we can do is wait. Fayn can handle herself.” Daryn closed his eyes and sighed. “She better not prove me wrong...”
The spiral path wound down the interior of the oak and Fayn emerged into a small cavern lit by torches. A stone door adorned with runes and ancient symbols stood shut before her. She sang a soft tune, a spell of Song magic that was meant to disrupt the warding runes on the door, but nothing happened. Fayn was unsure what to do, having been confident that she could enter without issue. She hadn’t figured that the elders had such strong magic, but then again no one knew anything about the elders.
Sanctuary was meant to be a library, a storehouse of knowledge and records of elven history. None were permitted to enter except for a Song priestess, and then only with the discretion of an elder. Worry began to set in and Fayn feared her mission was over before it could begin. Frantically she looked around for something, anything that could help her situation. The only other thing in the small cavern aside from the torches and the stone door was a small pool of water that ran off into the walls and led deeper underground.
Fayn was about to lose hope, when suddenly it occurred to her, water was the answer. Excitedly she rushed over to the pool of water and took off the medallion piece from the chain around her neck. Holding it tight against her chest, she closed her eyes and concentrated. “Water…I am water. Let me flow like the rushing current of the river.” She mouthed pleadingly. Nothing happened, and Fayn grew tense, but then the medallion began to pulsate with a soft golden light.
Fayn opened her eyes and looked at her hands, shocked and surprised to find that they were now made of water. Then the water began to spread, covering the whole of her body, her clothing, and her equipment. The sensation was like nothing she had ever felt before, an intoxicating sense of freedom in movement and thought. Fayn focused on the flow of thought, and willed her liquid form to come together and enter the pool. She swirled into the pool and allowed it to carry her through the cracks of the wall and down into the heart of the underground cavern.
The path of the water led her down into a small well, enclosed by marble. Fayn guessed that the pool and the well was used as a water supply system for the elders while they toiled away for days at a time, locked within Sanctuary amid the secrets found there. She sprang forth from the well and reformed herself, becoming flesh and bone once more. Fayn found herself completely dry, no evidence that she had been a living element. The golden light of the medallion went out and all that remained was a dead airy silence.
Beyond the well was a series of corridors and hallways; small rooms and staircases. Along the walls were torches bringing forth light, as well as casting shadows in every direction. Fayn shivered, fear creeping up on her nerves. She slowly made her way down the marble ladden interior of Sanctuary, her eyes and head darting back and forth at every small sound, every dark shadow.
Down each corridor Fayn could see a multitude of shelves covered by books, scrolls and parchments. At every hallway she crossed there were rooms and chambers, some with locked doors, some without doors at all. Washing rooms, bed chambers, study halls, all empty and covered with thick layers of dust.
Fayn was intensely curious to explore, peek around, and go through every room, up and down every staircase. What kept her moving down the central hallway was the bright light in the distance. She was also being lured in by what seemed to be a voice, softly singing within her mind. As she came closer, Fayn noticed that the light came from a large chamber filled with torches, a bright gold altar gleaming in the rooms center. She stepped into the room and gasped, for lying on the altar was the body of Galdriel.
Even in death Galdriel was beautiful, as angelic as when she had lived. Streams of her golden blond hair blanketed her body, her fair skin like porcelain in the soft light. She was clothed in a silver velvet gown, the loose fabric gently flowing like water across her smooth skin. Fayn shook, as tears welled up in her eyes. Galdriel looked so serene, a complete vision of tranquility, but Fayn knew that her mentor had been murdered and this was a false peace. She also knew that Galdriel was trapped within the body, her soul denied sweet release from this tortured existence.
Fayn kneeled down next to the altar, tears running down her cheeks. “Galdriel, I have missed you terribly. If only I knew the truth sooner, I could have prevented this. At least I can make sure your soul finds its way to the Song Stream.” A single tear slid off her cheek and landed on Galdriel’s outstretched hand, glistening in the firelight. The soft singing voice from before echoed in her mind; Fayn focused on the melody and could now distinguish a lyrical string repeating within the music.
She listened intently to the mind song, picking apart each lyric one by one, deciphering the notes from the antient language. It had to be Galdriel communicating to her, revealing the Song spell that would unbind her soul from its flesh and bone prison. Fayn had planned to perform the sacred rites of passing if possible, or at the very least escape with the body. Now was her chance to thwart the Elders and free her mentor from torment.
Fayn stood up and circled around the altar coming into position on the opposite side. She closed her eyes and began to sing, slowly building in intensity. She brought the antient notes into rhythm with the melody and sang the verse; the words to the spell. Over and over she sang, each verse more intense then the last. Galdriel’s body emitted a faint azure glow and began to slightly levitate.
Just then a sharp sound, like the slamming of a door, rang out and echoed off the marble walls. Voices could be heard and cloaked forms appeared at the far end of the hall. Fayn struggled to continue the song, complete the spell, but fear overtook her and her voice died out, the words to the spell broken on her lips.
The three elders, Brion, Ylena and Kalan, walked side by side, slowly making their way to the altar room. Fayn ducked down behind the altar and gripped the medallion in her hands. “Please, oh please,” She pleaded, “make me invisible to them, like the still wind of summer.”
Once again as before Fayn became a living element, this time her form seemed to dissolve as her body became the wind itself. She felt light and insubstantial, her vision gone, but her hearing heightened. She waited, so concealed, as the elders entered the chamber and stood near the altar and the body of Galdriel.
“The cermonies have ended Priestess.” Stated Elder Ylena, addressing the lifless body on the altar. “Your replacement has been chosen, not without difficulty, if that’s any consolation."
Elder Brion glanced at his peer. “An unfortunate occurrence I will say, but not my fault. The orb has, quite literally, a mind of it’s own!”
“Breaking free of your control, if only for a moment, is a very dangerous occurrence Brion.” Ylena snapped.
Brion lowered his hood, his dark eyes peering at Galdriel. “The Heart had a strong reaction to the girl, as we knew it would. The time of prophecy fast approaches Ylena, it has been pre-ordained.” Brion looked his fellow elder in the eyes and continued. “We must watch her carefully now, no telling when or how the other will surface.”
“I will take steps to keep the girl close to our new puppet. Mayra was the perfect choice for a new Song priestess.” Ylena looked toward the altar and sneered. “Much better then this witch woman!”
“It was unfortunate what had to be done. Galdriel was the most talented Song priestess ever chosen.” Brion exclaimed with conviction.
Ylena rolled her eyes. “She was stubborn and self righteous, fought against my mental strings. We had no choice.” Elder Kalan grunted and turned away from his peers. Ylena raised an eyebrow and scoffed. “Oh yes, I almost forgot Kalan, you grew attached to the little puppet did you not?” Kalan stood silent as always. “Whatever, the deed is done, Galdriel is dead.”
“Galdriel was a valuable, exploitable asset.” Brion began. “We cannot make the same mistake again. Especially now, with the appointed day just over the horizon. We must guard our secrets carefully.”
“The damn witch had the gall to undermine us and read the prophecy.” Ylena shrugged her shoulders. “Let the other come, there is very little that one dark elf can do to stop us.”
Fayn hovered in wind form, thankful she had no mouth to scream from. Not only had the elders murdered Galdriel, but they were also covering up a conspiracy and the very existence of a race thought extinct. Her emotions were in overdrive, and Fayn felt control of her elemental state slipping away.
“What of Liana? Can we trust her to keep silent?” Ylena asked Brion with a sidelong glance.
“Sadly, I believe it is time to cut all ties. Liana will have to join Galdriel.” Brion said in dark tones.
Fayn lost all control of herself at his words and her body reformed itself. “Mother!?!” Fayn yelled out as soon as her lungs had returned to their normal state. The three elders stumbled back in complete shock and disarray. Fayn stepped back shaking and disoriented.
A voice as crystal clear as day shouted to all her senses. “Run Fayn!”
Fayn recognized the voice immediately but couldn’t believe her ears. The elders had already gathered themselves and were nearing her location. Kalan lunged his massive body toward Fayn, causing her to instinctively dash out of his way. Brion stood still and lashed out at Fayn with mental tendrils while Ylena sang up a fireball spell.
“Stop her! She will ruin everything!” Shouted Ylena as she launched the fireball. Fayn avoided the projectile flame only to land right before Kalan, but found that she couldn’t move. Her body was locked in place by Brion’s mental assault. Kalan grabbed Fayn forcefully and restrained her in his massive arms.
“Run Fayn, leave this place!” The familiar voice sounded once more.
The silent elder looked directly into Fayn’s silver eyes. His penetrating stare made her cringe and she could feel her body grow cold and her heart slow down. Fayn was dying, the life draining out of her as Kalan’s dark eyes sucked it all into a void of nothingness within himself. She realized that this must have been how Galdriel had died. She would join her soon, unless action was taken.
She focused the last remaining strength she had through the medallion and once again became a living element. Now in water form, Fayn easily escaped the elders grasp and began to take off like a rushing river down the hallway and out of the chamber.
The elders gathered together in the middle of the room. “This is a travesty. That girl is the key to our ascendancy. We cannot allow her to escape.” Complained Ylena in scathing tones.
“The need is dire,” Brion began, “release the shadow wraiths!”
At his command the three of them began to chant a strange mantra, what sounded like a broken language. Their bodies rocked back and forth with the chanting. Dark energy wavered around them, and their eyes began to literally bleed dark force. From this energy came twisted forms, the aforementioned shadow wraiths.
Human-like in appearance, the living shadows were deformed mockeries of the elders, with outstretched and elongated limbs, their spines jutting out at odd angles. Three wraiths now hovered before them, dark energy pulsating throughout their beings. Brion pointed a bony finger in the direction Fayn had fled. The wraiths responded immediately by emitting gut-wrenching screams and charging forward, trails of black fire behind them.
“Hurry my child, you are in grave danger.” Came the voice again.
Fayn rematerialized into her normal form, having lost the strength of will to remain an element. She collapsed on the hard marble tiled floor. She could hear the screams of the wraiths in the far distance, their moans becoming louder with every moment that passed. The voice in her mind kept her from losing consciousness. Fayn struggled to get up, but her arms and legs failed her. “Who are you?” She asked the voice.
“You know who I am Fayn. Now is not the time for questions!” Came the reply. “Find the will to move or you will die!”
Fayn opened her eyes and was surprised to find that the waters path had led her to the great stone door. Without the energy left to use the medallion she was trapped within the confines of Sanctuary. She looked back to see the wraiths creeping up on her, their ghoulish faces stuck forever in agony. Fayn felt a dread she had never before known. She couldn’t move or speak, the whole of her body frozen in fear.
One of the wraiths moved closer to Fayn. From its outstretched limb came what appeared to be long, sharp talons. In one quick motion the wraith plunged the talons into Fayn’s limp body, right through her chest. Fayn screamed, as pain tore through every part of her. Her eyes began to bleed the same black substance that spewed forth from the wraiths. Her body shook and lapsed into a seizure.
“Fayn!” the voice yelled out within her mind.
Fayn was shaking and convulsing uncontrollably, her body and mind on the edges of madness. The piercing voice brought a moment of clarity through the pain, and she screamed out the only thing prevalent in her mind. “Galdriel!”
A soft blue light shot from Fayn like a pulsing wave, causing a ripple effect across the surrounding area. The wraiths were stopped dead in their tracks, the talons pinning Fayn dissipated at the lights touch. Particles of the azure light came together in the waves wake and began to form into an entity, an entity with long golden blond hair and porcelain skin. Galdriel had returned.
The soft blue light radiated around the spirit of Galdriel. The former Song priestess rose her hands in front of her and directed them towards the three wraiths. A single push of her arms and the azure light shot forward with greater intensity than before, disintegrating the wraiths where they stood. Galdriel turned around to face the great stone door. Another quick motion caused the door to glow, canceling out the rune magic. One more push and the door crumbled before her.
As the dust cleared from the doors collapse there came a shout, “Fayn, what happened, we heard a scream?!” In came Daryn and Mari, who stopped suddenly with shock to see Fayn comatose on the marble floor, the spirit of Galdriel hovering over her.
“The danger has not yet passed. Daryn, get Fayn as far away from here as possible. Take her someplace safe.” Galdriel commanded with an ethereal voice.
Daryn was dumbstruck. “I don’t understand, what just happened?”.
“Now is not the time, just do as I ask. Explanations will follow.” She commanded.
Daryn didn’t argue, Fayn’s welfare his first priority. He bent down and picked up her body and slung Fayn over his shoulder as best he could. He was gone in an instant.
Mari stared wide-eyed at Galdriel. “Oh wowzers, Song Lady, I thought you were dead!”
Galdriel smiled at Mari. “I am little one, but it appears I have been given one last chance to set things right.”
“Well, what can I do to help?” Mari asked in astonishment.
“Go and find Liana, Fayn’s mother. Have her meet up with Daryn, then see to healing Fayn.”
“What about you Song Lady?” Mari wondered.
“This form I have taken will not last long." Galdriel was thoughtful. "But you will see me again, I promise.”
“Alrighty, I’ve got it covered!” Mari was gone in a flash.
Galdriel stood quiet for a few moments then focused her forest green eyes down the main hallway. “This just will not do.” Galdriel’s spirit form faded into the ether as she spoke. “It is time for the truth to be revealed, even though it will break Fayn's heart.”
Back in the altar room the elders were left in a state of shock, thier minds recovering from the sudden backlash of energy recieved after Galdriel destroyed the wraiths.
“Did you all see that? That was Galdriel!” yammered out Ylena.
“Of course we saw it,” snapped Brion, “the wraiths are extensions of our own beings. What they see, we see.”
“This complicates things drastically!” Ylena complained, “Galdriel is powerful in the magic, and knows too much. Once Fayn discovers the truth…”
Brion cut off his fellow Elder. “It makes little difference. Galdriel discovered the prophecy, but does not realize the true extent of its importance.”
"Fayn will be taken to her mother," Ylena surmised, "She will surley tell Fayn eveything. I beleive she was the one that tipped off Galdriel, which would explain why she began to snoop around in the first place."
"It may not matter," Brion stated, a dark smile on his thin lips, "I attacked Fayn directly with my wraith. Her mind will soon be overtaken, leaving only the body."
"When we recover the body it will be that much easier to harness the energy she contains within her." Ylena pointed out with satisfaction.
Kalan stood silent, watching the exchange. He grunted, and left the chamber. Ylena rolled her eyes at his departure, then looked back at Brion. "Kalan will have to be watched. His affection for Galdriel is distasteful."
Brion shrugged his shoulders. "If Galdriel had not fought so hard against the mind wipe, then Kalan would not have been forced to take her life." The two elders left the altar room and walked down the central walkway. “Ylena, summon Mayra. I believe it is time to see what our new puppet is capable of.”
Kalan watched them leave from a side hallway. He looked down at his hands, and found them shaking. A single tear slid down his face...
To Be Continued......
|Baptism of Fire Part 4||Elfsong Part 7|
|Elfsong Part 15||Elfsong Part 21|
|Elfsong Part 23||Elfsong Part 10|