“They’re in the Fyst Desert, heading towards Ál’vain,” said Arkanon.
“The city of the Nomads?” asked Queen Élwyn.
“Yes,” said Arkanon. “They should be safe there.”
“If they are harmed, I shall single handedly break the spines of each and every one of the Nomads with my bare hands, and then set fire to the whole village,” she said brushing the puddle of water off of her table. Arkanon did not doubt what the queen had said, for she could be quite menacing when the occasion demanded to be so. She walked outside of her pavilion and into the cold night air. It was pitch black, so Arkanon followed her out there and snapped his fingers.
“Aldri veykva!” he said. And orb of light exploded into the air, spilling gold and blue streams of light across the grass, lighting the pathway that led over to her Grand Pavilion, where she slept and had all of her meetings with the High Elves. The light swelled and hovered in the air above Arkanon, following him and the queen as they walked. “Gwendolyn will be fine,” he said. “She is a fine warrior.”
“But she does not listen. She recklessly left here without my consent, and then she went to du Kvenna Veröld—the Human World—and now she’s heading to Ál’vain!” she exclaimed. “The fact is that she could be killed doing this kind of thing! What could we do if Seniphos’s men were waiting inside the village of Ál’vain? What if they took her and the Drëngr du Veykva to Seniphos?”
“Be calm, Your Majesty, this shall not happen,” Arkanon said. “I know a complicated spell that shall protect them. But it shall take much energy out of me, and I shall be locked into a deep slumber for two days. Come to my tent, and I shall cast this spell.”
“You could protect her, even from a distance?”
“Yes, but I must make a bond from myself to the spirits I shall be creating. If they are trapped in a Spellcaster’s Circle, then they are able to be killed. If they are killed, then so am I. But the Drëngr du Veykva is important, so I must risk my life for the sake of the rest of Gaëlea,” he said.
“Thank you, Arkanon Síethdril,” she said gently. “I shall reward you greatly for this.” Arkanon could have sworn he saw a tear, but it was gone as fast as it had come. They walked in silence back over to Arkanon’s isolated tent in the forest clearing. They walked inside, and Arkanon began looking around. He threw open books onto the floor with loose pages, encyclopedia-like tomes and then sat down in front of them all.
“I had to invent a spell, but it’s long and complicated, so I’ll need some patience,” Arkanon said.
He looked at the pages, running his fingers over them, flipping through them and reading the ancient language that was written across the pages. Finally, he began to speak with his eyes closed, arms widespread. “Veiturras du veykva, fynía eyarr skoliires Gwendolyn Styrkmadr hylda Adam Auric des myrs vándreir hylda fynía eyarr seilia dezûr dier myras!” he exclaimed perfectly. Bright, blinding, golden light exploded from his body, the powerful energy turning night into day as the light coalesced into figures that burst out of Arkanon’s body, trailing brilliant threads of light behind them. A wolf made of pure light stepped out of his body just as a stag galloped out of him. The intense lights dimmed, and Arkanon slumped to the ground. The two creatures stood there for a moment, swapping shapes: tiger, jaguar, Skolliir, human, and back into their original shapes before they ran through the open tent, lights exploding behind them as they ran from Du Stórr Eylnir towards Ál’vain, where Guinevere and Adam were.
The queen watched them in wonder as they left the place at speed quicker than elf speed, and then vanished into the forest. Then, she turned her attention to Arkanon, and lifted him up, placing him into his bed, and blessing him with an elf sanction. “I shall see you in two days, Arkanon,” said Queen Élwyn, touching her forehead, her nose, mouth, and then heart. Then, she left the large tent, walking out into the chilly outside of her home in Du Stórr Eylnir.
“We’re here,” said Gwendolyn. I looked at the village that loomed before us. It was more of an encampment than a village. Rows and rows of grayish tents lined the village and a stone pathway led into the heart of the encampment, where a large fire was burning brightly, coils of smoke rising thickly from it. In behind the fire, a larger, yellow tent loomed up above all the others. It was in the very center of the camp, and I assumed that it must be the tent of the Nomad leader. The starry night sky casted a weak glow on Ál’vain compared to the vividness of the flames that burned in a pit of fire in front of the leader’s tent. Gwendolyn carried me a few steps forwards and suddenly, every tent in sight trembled, and people jumped out of them.
They were all dark-skinned, as dark as burnt wood, and they each had bows with arrows strung, aiming at me and Gwendolyn. They seemed calm, but I noticed the fear in their eyes as they shifted. Muscular men and women all stared at us, their gazes and posture unwavering, ready to let their arrows fly at a moment’s notice. The large yellow tent flaps opened up, and a tall, slender but muscular man stepped out. He, too, was dark-skinned. Unlike the others, his eyes were a piercing blue, instead of the dark brown eyes of his companions.
He walked deliberately toward us, and I felt my heart sink in terror. He walked like a lion stalking its prey; shoulder blades rising high and falling slowly, eyes transfixed and completely focused, ravenousness on his face. He strode leisurely and unhurriedly, his face an unbreakable mask of solitude, no expression to read. His strides were long and purposeful, as if he was trying to frighten us as he ambled towards us from his tent. He stopped a coupled feet away from us and spoke in a thick accent that I was unable to place.
“Who are you, and what is your business here?” he demanded.
“My friend,” said Gwendolyn. “We have both been attacked by Skolliir, sent by Seniphos. We were injured greatly, and we are in need of a place to sleep the night.”
She didn’t say that she was an elf, I thought. The man pondered Gwendolyn story for a moment, and then waved his hand. The Nomads lowered their weapons.
“I am Fàethaer,” he said. “I am the leader of the Hmilauriar nomadic tribe of Ál’vain. What are your names, O’ Wanderers of the Fyst Desert?”
“My name is Gwen,” she said. “And this is Adam.”
“Well, then, Gwen and Adam, you may stay the night here, but be warned, if you are men of Seniphos, you shall be killed. Come this way, please,” he said. Fàethaer walked back towards his tent. As we followed, I noticed that all of the Nomads—the Hmilauriar tribe—were staring us down, their faces stern and impassive. They watched our every movement, hands hovering above their bows and arrows. If they wanted to, they could kill us. But they didn’t.
We stepped into the giant tent behind Fàethaer, and when we got inside, I looked around. Shelves of books and rolled up maps adorned the sides of the tent, a fancy rug lay upon the floor, and a long, rectangular table stretched the length of the tent. There was a small opening in the top of the tent where moonlight sifted through, a spot where the silvery stars on the velvet sky were viewable. There was a shelf specifically dedicated to weapons—swords, bows and arrows, daggers, knives—and there was a glass case covering it. There was a bed of leaves and grass packed into a smooth white silk that had a sheet of cloth draped over it that acted as a bed. Sitting upon it was another dark skinned lady. Her hair was long and black, pulled back into braids that hung down her back. She wore a shimmering green dress that billowed around her as she stood to her full height of about five-foot six. She looked like she was Fàethaer’s daughter, because her eyes were also a bright blue tone.
Her face had the same unbreakable mask of seclusion as Fàethaer’s, one that revealed nothing about her, nor her current emotions. When she spoke in her accent, I noticed that her voice was smooth—level as polished glass. “Father, who are these Outsiders and what are they doing in our tent?”