Evanesco stood upon the highest mountain in the city of Ea, the second largest city in the lands of Abraxas. The gold buildings below gleamed in the silver sunlight beaming down from the clouds. The air was thin up this high, but the clouds were thick all around him, making the city of Ea far below look distorted and as though it was bathed in mist. Behind him his bare footprints sat in the otherwise undesturbed snow. Few came up this high. In fact, he could only remember seeing his own footfalls in the snow. But then, whenever he came up here, his mind was elsewhere. This was where he came to think.
He opened out his arms to feel the violent winds that blew in all directions in confused air currents. His long blonde hair flew behind him, rippling in the strong waves of breeze. He wondered if this was what the ocean currents felt like all those years ago when oceans still existed. The idea of water sweeping you along seemed so otherworldly, almost scary. Water was something many underestimated. When picking it up, it was always heavier than you remembered. When swimming in it, on a burning summer afternoon, it gave you a chill. It was, perhaps, the strongest of the four elements. Evanesco remembered one of his elders once stating that to him, his words were 'Water can put out fire, but fire cannot put out water.'
Evanesco expelled a scream which was almost fully consumed by the rushing gales that attacked him from all angles. But it didn't feel violent at all, it felt like nature was embracing him. The winds were so powerful up here he felt like they would lift him off the ground and into the heavens.
'Is this what the nirvana looks like?' shouted Evanesco to no one, laughing. Sometimes the best words were the ones you said to yourself. It was only in solitude that you could really speak to your soul.
Misty clouds surrounded his ankles as Evanesco looked over the vibrant city below him, basked in the new sun's reflection in the metallic clouds. The city shimmered, sparkling like the purest of diamonds in the sunset. Evanesco squinted as he peered through the radiant clouds. He knew looking at them directly could damage your eyesight. He sat down on the peak of the moutain intermingled with swirling dust and rocks from the moutain top that had been stirred up by the wind. The particles danced around him, lightly brushing against his smooth pale skin. There was no vegetation up here, just endless rock covered with a thin varnish of snow.
Tucking his hair behind his distinctivly pointed elf ears, Evanesco grinned with strong white teeth. He adjusted his longbow made of whitewood and lent back, closing his eyes. This was part of his daily routine. Every night at sunset he would journey all the way from the other end of the city to stand on the top of this mountain. It wasn't for training or fitness, it was because Evanesco wanted to feel alive, and this was the only place he could do that. The rest of his life felt so dreary, numb and dead. Evanesco had wealth, skill and charisma, but he didn't have a family. His parents were great adventurers. Everyone in the city of Ea knew their names, but 10 years ago they didn't return from their expedition. A search party was sent out to try and find them, but no one found them. Everyone presumed them to be dead. For years Evanesco held youthful hope in his heart that they were still alive somewhere, but with time the hope faded. And as Evanesco's faith died, so did he. Once he was set on finding his parents and doing great things, but now he wanted to just fall off the edges of Abraxas into the darkness of space, forever plummetting down into endless blackness.
When the winds changed Evanesco could smell another elf not too far from where he was sat. It was unusual for someone to be around the mountains, people seldom went there any more. It was especially dangerous at night as out in the rural parts of the country there was no light source when the sun rested for the night. It was whispered that many years ago the stars were bright enough to guide any man home, but now the stars were barely visible on the skyline. All that was left was faded pinpricks of light belonging to dying suns. There was also speak that one there had been a moon orbiting Earth, but that it had to be lost during the dark times of the ancient wars.
The sun at the centre of the Earth was fake - a large ball of luminous magic created by the wizards of Equuleus, the largest city on Abraxas. The natural sun was destroyed millions of years ago, as scientists knew one day it would kill them if they didn't kill it. But without a sun everything would slowly die, so they created an artificial sun, feeding off the power of the Earth's core. The sun sat rotating in the centre of the Earth's fragmented crust pieces, orbiting slowly around it. When the sun was made something went wrong, and the Earth's crust was blown outwards, fracturing into several pieces. Abraxas is one of those pieces. Life still exists on most of Earth, but the air is thin and the ground is unstable. The great city Evanesco saw before him would not last forever. It pained him that it couldn't be placed under a veil of eternity. He hoped the elves would find a new home away from this broken dying world, but chances were slight, as everywhere planets were the same; dying slowly, fading away into non-existence.
Evanesco caught the scent of an other elf again, this time much closer. He stood up, dustig himself down and turned round, looking across the mountains and valleys below him. In the distance he saw the elf, or rather half human. He had medium length brown hair and dark eyes. He was dressed in tough fighter clothes with a sword in his belt and a dagger in the other. Evanesco frowned and started making his way down the mountain towards the half human creature.
'What is your business here?' asked Evanesco when in hearing range of the half human.
'I come from the south,' said the man, looking about 20 years old in human years. Evanesco imagined he was probably about 70, but as he was half human half elf he couldn't be sure.
'That does not answer my question,' said Evanesco, a hand falling on his bow as a precaution.
'I come from Cepheus. I left because of the increasing numbers of the abraxis there. I'm seeking a new home in elvan lands,' said the man.
'What's your name?'
'Dion,' answered the man, running a hand through his hair, 'It's windy up here isn't it? Do you know if it's dangerous around these parts at night?'
'It is dangerous anywhere at night,' said Evanesco, speaking with his nose turned up at the man. 'What brings you this far north? There are plenty of elvan cities closer to Cepheus.'
'Well I was originally aiming for Equuleus, but the elves there aren't exactly friendly to my kind, so I continued journeying northwards in hope that I would find an accepting society.'
'Ea is probably about as accepting as you're going to get on Abraxas,' said Evanesco, 'You should journey to Syos, there are human lands there. You would fit in better with the humans than us.'
'How do you suggest I get there? Travelling between the lands is dangerous and increasingly difficult to do. Plus I like it here on Abraxas, I was born here to my elvan mother. I'm not sure I'd feel happy on another land,' said Dion.
'I understand what you say, but life here will be hard for you,'
'Life has alreay been hard for me, it's what I'm used to,' Dion paused for a moment, breathing deeply, 'Recent events have shocked me greatly. The world is not what it once was. You said that Ea was accepting?'
'I said it was more accepting than most places,' said Evanesco.
'I think I'll take a look then. It is a beautiful city,'
Dion stared at the glowing haze in the distance emitted by the bright city buildings and lights. The actual city of Ea was shrouded from all sides by tall mountains acting like a magnifiscant city wall. He smiled at the sight. It was true what people said - Ea beamed Charisma to the heavens. Evanesco looked at him with a mixture of wonder and dislike. He then followed Dion's gaze, watching the city with eyes of precision.
'I heard rumours that elves up north can fly,' said Dion, 'Is that true?'
Evanesco scowled, 'Prying is never a good place to start Dion.'
'It wasn't meant as prying, it was a question,' Dion answered, offended.
Evanesco sighed and nodded at Dion, 'I may see you around the city then.'
Evanesco turned swiftly and walked away, wielding his bow smiling. He looked up at the clouds and estimated he had about half an hour before nightfall. He began to flit towards the city. Night was something Evanesco hated - his biggest fear. Darkness is so cold, so unknown and empty; but yet so oppressive. Darkness provided a blank canvas for the imagination to run wild; seeing shifting shapes, movements, faces and flashing lights. In the dark the shadows don't have to hide. They can hover next to you and you have no way of knowing they are there. Spending too long in the dark could send anyone crazy. When your senses are dampened by blackness and complete lack of clarity, all you have is your imagination, slowly spiralling out of control into delerium. The darkness hides rational thought - all you see are the bleakest images of your mind; the ones that you usually manage to smother with logical thought. You begin to jump at every noise as sound becomes your most refined sense, and you look over your shoulder every few seconds. But you don't see anything at all. And that's not because the monsters aren't there; they're just hiding in the dark, waiting...