The Queen Mother sighed, looking down at the letter in her hand. I stood beside her sadly. Ryllae was sobbing into Onvyr's shoulder. He had been the one to see Wren and Corstelis enter the forest together.
"We have to send someone after them!" Ryllae cried.
"We can't," the Queen Mother whispered. She went to the window and looked out to the forest. "I'm sorry, Ryllae and Bryan. There's nothing we can do."
"That's not true!" Ryllae yelled, pushing out of Onvyr's arms and running for the door. "I'll go find them myself!"
Two elves blocked her way and she balled her hands into fists.
"You will only die, too," Onvyr whispered and Ryllae fell to her knees.
I swallowed the lump in my throat and sat beside her and Onvyr. I put a hand on her back and looked at the Queen Mother. She was staring at the forest, silent tears falling down her cheeks.
The Moarte named Elyon turned its white eyes to Wren. It- she? - looked at him for a long time. He hesitantly reached out but it snapped at his hand and he pulled it back, returning his arm to around me.
"Your mother is dead," the creature snarled.
"What did you do to her?" he demanded.
The creature slithered over to the other side of the green fire. It nodded to two other creatures and they carried over a she-elf's body. Wren made a move to run for it but I stopped him.
"You can't, Wren," I whispered.
They put the body down in front of us. She was incredibly pale, even for an elf. She had long black hair and was dressed in a purple creature hunter's outfit. I frowned. If she was dead, how could she be so well preserved?
"Her body has been most useful," it said. "I have used it to lure in men." It used one of its four hand to gesture around at the other Moarte. "These men were drawn in by her beauty and have become one of us as we consumed their miserable bodies." It slid to me and I leaned back. Wren backed up until his back hit a tree trunk. "Her body is getting weak. It will soon die out. Yours, on the other hand, Corstelis, will last three times as long."
I whimpered as it reached out with its finger and stroked my cheek.
"Don't you touch her," Wren snapped.
The Moarte glared at him. "Shut up, filthy elf." It turned back to me. "I'm going to present you with two choices."
"Choices?" I repeated. "Why?"
It seemed to smirk. "Is that not what you beings enjoy? Choices?" It slithered back to the body of Wren and Ryllae's mother. "Here are your choices: First, you can come willingly and I'll bring this lovely elf back to life. Second, you can fight and I will consumer her right in front of her son's eyes."
I shut my eyes, my shoulders falling. Wren was shaking behind me. Suddenly, my body jerked and I gasped. It jerked again and my eyes shot open, realizing what was happening. Wren turned me.
"I love you," I gasped as my body jerked again.
"What's happening?" he asked.
"I know what I have to do." I kissed him and he returned it. "I love you, Wren."
"And I love you, Corstelis."
I stepped out of his arms, hiding my hands behind my back. My body jerked again and I cracked my neck.
"Let me guess," the Moarte mocked, "you are afraid so your body rejects your actions."
I looked up at it, feeling my eyes change color. It didn't seem to notice or mind as it threw some kind of powder in the fire. The fire turned purple and I was yanked off of my feet. I was held over the fire and they chanted something again. Wren was fighting against a Moarte, trying desperately to get to me. I closed my eyes and gave in.
I've seen strange things in my life but nothing like what I was witnessing now. Corstelis' body was writhing in the Moarte's hands. A snarl was coming out of her throat and her arms shot out, the nails extending by at least three inches. Her hair turned brown and her body elongated twice her normal height.
She snarled and swung with her left hand. The Moarte holding her hissed and dropped her. I tried to run and catch her but she swept her hand and a tree branch caught her. She stood on top of it and I stared at the Moarte around us. Her hair hair flew around her. She was snarling like a werewolf and I realized what happened.
She leaped for the one holding me and ripped its head off. I looked around until I found a sturdy looking branch and lit its tip. I swung it around at the Moarte who hissed and backed up.
Then I heard a familiar horn followed by the sound of a trumpet. Hundreds of elves and humans descended upon the clearing. There was mass chaos. A bow and arrows were shoved into my hands and I aimed for as many of the Moarte as I could. I looked around for Corstelis. She was fighting the head of the group; the one that had stolen my mother.
"Wren!" Bryan yelled, running up to me. "Wren, where is Corstelis?"
"Just fight," I yelled back. "You can't help her right now."
"Is she dead!?"
"No but...." I pointed and his jaw dropped. I shoved him as a Moarte struck forward with its tail. "Fight! If anyone dies, keep them as far away from a Moarte as you can! Pass the message!"
My mind was gone. Every color was brighter than I had ever seen. I had smelled the elves, humans, and werewolves before I saw them. There weren't more than 300, but we did our best. I was more focused on the Moarte that had taken Wren's mother.
It was fast, though, and strong. I jumped from my branch but it grabbed my arm and tried to throw me. I caught myself and pushed off a trunk before I could go far. I aimed my claws for it's throat. I dug my nails in and, with a snarl, I yanked them out again. It roared in pain, hot blood splattering on me, but didn't die. I was getting frustrated. How was I supposed to kill this beast?
Then I saw what was happening. It was regenerating! The bastard was regenerating!
Seething, I looked around until my eyes landed on Wren. He was guarding his mother's body. I ran for them both. I grabbed his mother's body in my right arm and took Wren's arm with my other hand. I jumped into a tree and placed her body gently on a nestle of trees.
"Corstelis?" he breathed. "Is that you?"
"Yes," I said, my voice coming out as a growl. "The head Moarte. It regenerates. I need your help."
He frowned and looked at it. "How?"