Chapter 61: Distractions For the Elf

Aliryia did not remember much of what happened after Maine had cried out. Far from letting her thoughts wander, it was as if the activity in front of her was moving at a pace half as fast as her own world. Erulastiel took one of her hands, and, as if she knew exactly what was needed, Aliryia glanced to her left, where Calea was creeping forward, and took the hand of the girl.

Soon, they had indeed formed a full circle. Erulastiel, leading as she had been born to, began to hum a note as she watched them. Aliryia wondered for a second, before she realised what The Black Leader was doing. It was an ancient Elven tradition to calm the mind and musically enrich the senses; by singing nonsense harmonies, Ancient Elves believed that everybody lost their autonomy and gained access to the interior soul, where every being was the same, having evolved from the earth. There the notes and the voices would come together peacefully. Nobody knew what the others were about to do, but this was an exercise in utter trust and bliss…what such an idea was doing in the mind of a lady who had not been brought up in Elven way, Aliryia didn’t know, but it was a grand soothing idea anyway.

So, Aliryia let her voice resonate, despite her embarrassment at singing out loud, speaking the little Elvish she knew in a simple melody that she recollected might have been a nursery rhyme her mother had coaxed her to sleep with.

It was then that time truly slipped out of her grasp, and she clutched at nothing but the sound she could sense. She closed her eyes, listening as the world blended, the outside, the plants, the people, for one minute they all had the same frequency of a multi-toned hum. Impossible…yet not at all.

When they broke away from the circle, each girl looked at another, their eyes refocusing. Aliryia played the picture of normality, but inside she still fumbled about, her intelligence lost somewhere, but, at the same time, heightened to the pitch of the world. So were the idiosyncrasies of a full elf. The group gathered aroundMaine, words finally forming as they embraced her. It was clear that everyone here had just as deadly a secret…Aliryia included. The elf refrained from rubbing her sore eyes as she tried a smile in Maine’s direction.

Aliryia drew back from the group, distracted. She glanced Calea watching her, but, after a second, the little human turned, seemingly in a state of self-peace too, and began to converse as they all were. Now, it was only Aliryia who was set apart. Her eyes swept around the room, curiously searching for that set of quavers that were calling to her, running through her mind. The table swam into view, its chestnut colours bright and gleaming with extra-sensory expression.

Another movement caught Aliryia’s eyes, and she pulled them away from the table, looking to Eru, who was brushing herself off, and nodding, her interested face perfectly emotionless.

“Now…” murmured Eru, sounding exhausted. “Let’s find our way back to the sitting room. I’m sure the others will be waiting for us. At least, I hope they’re not lost amongst the mass of rooms!”

Eru turned, her wings flapping out slightly as she moved, but Aliryia frowned. They hadn’t got to the bottom of the situation at all. If anything, these problems- especially that of why they had all ended up in the house, no longer possibly a coincidence- were going to keep cropping up, unveiling a new side to each of the residents. Maine was following Eru, close by at the front, whilst the line of girls steadily regained itself and marched on; all of them had seemed to have forgotten the importance of the volume open the table. Yes, Aliryia felt as if she was the only once who could see it lingering there, laughing at their ignorance. She would tuck it away, she would, and would try and discover its secrets in some other time.

As Aliryia stretched her hands greedily out towards the book, the elf wobbled. Her mind fogged. She only just managed to clutch the mysterious tome and tuck it into a fold of her dress before The Illness took another hold of her and her legs buckled, pulling her to the floor in a faint.

The End

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