The Elven capital city Ulissryn was quite the marvel- unlike Gaelwynd, which stuck out on the grassy plains like a sore thumb, Ulissryn snaked up the foliage, spires that looked almost organic seemed to grow onto the trees.
It was a long time since Deadrick had been here- a long time.
For Danyel, it was strange to finally set eyes on the legendary Ulissryn. The civilians of Kandrakah spoke of the Elves as though they didn’t exist. And the majority of Mainlanders had little interest of ever passing the enchanted forests.
But when he was a boy, Danyel had often escaped his Schoolteachers to flee into the Understreets, where older Elves who had left Rillwynn years before told stories to the Poverty stricken of Gaelwynd. They spoke of the living, breathing towers and temples. They spoke of the Elven Nuse’i- the Magi- who cast enchantments that made even the repulsive beasts beautiful, gave life to dying creatures- and how every Elf lived as long as a God.
Golden skinned creatures- thousands of them- flew high over the top of the city. They were about the size, and body shape, of a large cat, with flowing manes around their necks, long, bird like faces, and tails almost the length of their bodies trailed through the air after them.
One, with an Elf perched on its back, banked close to the Windglider, its huge, glossy feathered wings sent a gust of air that made even the ship shudder.
Gryphons, the faithful mounts of Elves.
“Here comes the security,” Naluitha said, coming up behind Deadrick. He gestured out with his hands- towards four Gryphons, flying in formation, with stern looking Elves with flowing long purple robes on their backs.
The formation broke as the leader signaled with his hand, the rest pulled up and stopped mid air. The leader dipped his Gryphon and descended towards the Windglider. He landed the beast skillfully on the deck, the creature’s long talons scraping along the wood.
The Elf dismounted, his boots made no sound as he began to walk across the deck towards Deadrick purposefully.
“Human, who are you and what is your purpose in our-” The Elf stopped in his tracks as Naluitha appeared from behind Deadrick, “Ah- Master Naluitha, I apologise,”
Naluitha shook his head dismissively.
“No matter, young Rider, I am on an urgent mission and I require escorts,” The Elder told the Elf, who still couldn’t fathom that he was facing one of the Eight Clanmasters of Rillwynn.
“Of course, Elder Naluitha,” The Elf nodded obediently, climbing back on to the huge Gryphon. The beast dived off the edge of the Windglider, banking towards his companions. He signaled them and they once again entered into formation.
The Leader waved at Deadrick, who turned the wheel, pointing the hull of the ship towards the riders, and began after the escorts, who set off towards the city mass at a smooth gliding pace.
“You can’t blame the security… the whole of Rillwynn is scared. We may live for hundreds of years, but the claw of a werewolf, or the fang of a vampire- even the blade of a human is enough to end us,” Naluitha said.
“But the forest borders are Draconic magic- nothing could ever penetrate them,” Deadrick said assuredly.
“Fear is more than what is physically there,” He replied finally. Deadrick looked out across the city, it certainly had changed a lot since he had last been here- seven centuries earlier.
The escorts led the Windglider to a plateau of white marble, at least half a mile wide, which was built into a climbing hill.
They signaled to Naluitha, and pulled up. Deadrick allowed the Windglider to descend downwards. There were a few hundred Elves on the plateau below, and they cleared to allow space for the Ship to land with a dull thud.
The fire died out and Nerui looked over at the crowd of Elves around them.
The history of the Elves was detailed, and a very, very lengthy one. When the Dragons departed from the Mainland, they broke contact with all the other races- and only allowed occasional contact with even the Elves.
The Elves splintered into clans, claiming the Dragons former forest homeland as theirs. The ‘Serui Nal Kerena’i’ or ‘The Plateau of The Gods’ was where the Dragons once held their meetings, but after they left it was used to contact the Dragons in their new homeland.
Some of the biggest Clans came together, and decided to merge around the Plateau, for ease, and eventually- Rillwynn was born, and Elves began to move to the city, dividing the Elven race. There were only eight Clans left in Rillwynn, and they hardly ever came to the city, preferring a more nomadic existence.
This caused somewhat of a rift between City Elves and Clan Elves.
Deadrick went to depart from the Windglider, in his usual ‘stumble-into-the-situation-without-considering-the-ramifications’ sort of way, but Naluitha stopped him, and went first.
Deadrick waited for the old Elf to climb down before getting on the ladder himself, followed by Bruad, Danyel and Nerui.
The City Elves watched Naluitha as he strode into the dead center of the plateau. Due to their more… domesticated existence, Naluitha’s leaf-woven clothes and wooden longbow made him stand out- but it was more than that.
The Clans were a distant memory to most City Elves. The Clan masters were only occasionally seen- more a legend or myth than political leaders.
Deadrick looked at the crowd. Humans in Ulissryn were most certainly rare.
“My fellow Elves!” Naluitha yelled over the silent, but threatening, mob with authority, “I don’t doubt you haven’t heard of the amassing Unholy on the Mainland. While this doesn’t affect you- think about your fellow Elves, on the Mainland itself,”
The reaction in the crowd was predictable: ‘it’s their fault for choosing to leave’.
“But what about the other races? It was the Dragons who abandoned them… they have not chosen to be in the path of the Unholy. Their problems may not be ours… but as living creatures, empathy runs through our veins,”
The crowd seemed more welcoming now- it was incredible, in just a few short sentences, Naluitha had turned an unfriendly gathering of Elves into possible allies.
“This man… this human man, he is risking his life to save his brethren. His name is Deadrick Blade- and he is one of the most respectable and heroic humans I have ever come across, and I want you all to hear what he has to say,”
Naluitha stepped back, and suddenly, hundreds of eyes of purple, green and burning gold were on him.
He thanked Naluitha and took his place in the center of the plateau.
“My fellow Kandrakanians,” He said. His first mistake- the subject of Elven identity was a sore one. Not considering themselves part of the Mainland cast doubt on whether they really were Kandrakanian citizens.
Deadrick stuttered for a moment. He cursed himself, and forced himself to concentrate.
“The situation on the Mainland is dire… the human kingdom has fallen. Who knows what the situation is in Granden Garde… or Skulm Acor- or even the Trek Wastes. Would you really let your former brothers and sisters perish?”
“One of your sisters has aided me in my journey here,” He said, gesturing to Nerui, who clenched her eyes shut.
And there it was, his second and final mistake. Nerui wasn’t a sister of these Elves- she was a Clan Elf- and barely that.
Now that was incredible. He had managed to turn a crowd of possible allies back into an unfriendly gathering.
Naluitha pulled him away, preparing to calm the crowd. It was then there came a loud noise of a wind instrument. The crowd parted and a large envoy strode through- a large number of armed Elves, led by a tall, proud looking Elf, who wore long flowing robes. His head, while covered with lengthy purple hair, was adorned with a silver crown.
This was the Halara.
He moved quickly across the plateau and imposed himself on Naluitha, their eyes just a few inches apart. The Halara was taller, and looked younger, but with both of them emanating a large amount of power and dominance, it was quite a stand off.
“Your Majesty,” Naluitha said calmly, a hint of sarcasm in his voice.
The Halara continued to stare at Naluitha.
“Come with me,” He finally said, a low growl in his voice.