All the leaves above his head appeared as if a beautifull patchwork of colour, embroidered with light as it seeped through the thin cracks of the canopy. For fall it was in the fair Elven lands and all about Élarian, blossom fell softly as snowflakes to the ground.

The road ascended, a path leading to the summit of the mountain. As he reached the top, he caught the sun falling behind the world, casting the sky a blood red. All faded to darkness and for a while, there was no moon to ease the shadows that had veiled the falling realm of Capsavia. For here, the Elven provinces ended unto the dominion of man. Behind him stood, tall and proud, the great Aelvar Forest and at its heart lay the wondrous Elf Haven, Baelfell. Still the glow of the towers could be seen, standing a glimmering beacon of hope and light, away in this small corner of the world.

He knew that there would be no rest in the wilds once he had crossed the borders of the Elven Realm and it would be a long day’s journey ‘till he reached his destination. For rumour had reached his keen ears, of a disturbance. Merchants caught by an Elven Guard had told tale of a rise in evil threats within the realm of men. Raiders plundered village after village, bandits united and orchestrated careful ambushes against even the most well guarded caravans, rival scouts and spies where often spotted and even... creatures that had fallen into legend where being seen again.

All this sent a chill down Élarians heart. Often had he gone abroad, seeking to quench his desire to feel worthy to live amongst the fair folk. But it had been a long time since such anarchy had befallen the once great states.

As the fire crackled and spat, dancing in the chill wind, Élarian laid his head upon his pack. For a moment, he turned his head, away from the flames toward his white palemino mare, Alenia. He muttered quietly to her in Elvish and she came to his side and lay down beside him. He brushed his hand through her silver mane, feeling her warmth in his hand, and then looked up towards the constellations.

Each cluster of stars told a tale, or so the Elves said. No matter what combination, there were infinite tales to be told if one took the time to see them.

Suddenly dark groping clouds clawed at the sky, its long arm stretching even from Arceith. For a moment, the clouds came close to the Elfish lands, then they almost seemed to stop, building up as if to launch a final attack. The black hand stretched outwards as if to choke the very sky. Blue, lance-like lightning struck further down the path. A withering ancient tree fell in plumes of fire that glowed ominously pale as thick pellets of rain pelted the floor. An angry roar of thunder sounded like myriad war-horns of a deathly army, denied victory.

No evil magic could enter the Elvish realm, that he had seen himself a lifetime ago and try as it might, this storm cloud could not penetrate the veil between the lands, therefore this was no ordinary storm.  But by whom, and what for?

Élarian picked his lyre from its bag and strummed a gentle note. He hummed, testing his voice before slowly beginning the chorus to a favourite song of his. It was a ward against evil, a tale of hope in the eldest days of the Elves when first the world was young and no evil strayed upon the land. When the shimmering clouds peeled back before the golden dawn and cast their light upon the radiant, silk-clad people as they played in the green meadows. There, as the jewel of all jewels was the shining spire of Baelfell, that made night turn into day and the day itself brighter still. And standing on the balcony, clad in the finest, pleated robes where the wondrous city's Lord and Lady who held the many centuries of this world within their twinkling eyes. And they where beautiful in their awesome majesty. And as Élarian sang, from afar he could hear the many ethereal voices of the Elves joining him. A chorus unto the night that held like a spell in the air against the tempest that rolled around him. For a while, the storm lessened, the thunder ceased and the howling winds abated so that Élarian fell into a deep slumber.

The End

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