Stars Over Llorleya- Chapter 16

Fiction By Anna // 8/3/2008

Chapter the Sixteenth

Rayne and Aria were practically inseparable from that day on. Rayne didn’t move into the tree-house- living with so many elves all the time made her a little jumpy, she said- but she did decide to live a little closer to it. Once again Aria found herself explaining what had happened since falling off her horse, and once again she found an eager (albeit confused) listener. Rayne had spent her time with the elves traveling- seeing all the beautiful, marvelous things the Elf Havens had to offer.
"It’s unbelievable," she said dreamily.
"Did you see any Elflords?"
"No," said Rayne regretfully. "I didn’t. But there’s so much else- it’s- it’s just magical!" she said enthusiastically. Her voice dropped a little lower. "Josh would’ve loved it. He was even more fond of traveling than me."
Aria never really knew how to respond when Josh came into the conversation. But little by little Rayne seemed to find it easier to talk about him- though it was never actually easy in the normal sense of the word.
Life fell into a sort of pattern. One of the girls’ favorite morning activities was to go out to the beach, looking for mermaids. They never found any. But they loved it all the same. Usually after that they would explore the woods or go to the garden or navigate the maze of the tree-house. Most afternoons Aria had battle training with Loth. In the evenings Aria and Rayne usually went to the elves’ library, which had books on a wider, more fantastic range of subjects than any library in Llorleya. Aria and Rayne took turns reading some of these books aloud. Aria, who usually would have just soaked in the fairytale-ish qualities, tried to remember the information. Someday, she thought, it might be useful.
Aria didn’t really become good friends with any elves; if she did, they would have been Thrond (if "friend" is the right word), Loth, and Findahla. But Thrond was grim, stern, and much older than Aria, Loth was snappish and warlike, and Findahla, though not distant the way Thrond was sometimes, sort of awed Aria. So in this respect, too, it was wonderful to have Rayne with Aria, for otherwise she might have turned out very lonely.
Aria loved having Rayne around. Rayne always seemed joyful, as though she were a dancer for whom dancing never got tiring, whereas Aria herself was inclined to feel depressed now and then. It’s so easy to see the joy of the Lord in Rayne, thought Aria. It’s beautiful to see how God sustains her; how He shines through her actions. She closed her eyes briefly, then looked to the sky. Lord, let me be the same way.
But even though life seemed to be settling down, Aria was fighting the calmness. She needed to return to Llorleya! She was their queen. They needed her.
This feeling grew stronger. She was always asking Thrond about sending her back to Llorleya. She also suspected that Loth was hinting to him about sending elves with her. Aria hoped Loth did. Elves were fantastic warriors, and most of the Llorleyans were unskilled.
But it seemed to Aria that the more she asked, the more Thrond delayed a decision. Eventually Aria gave up on continually asking him about it, though she still thought and prayed about it constantly. What could he have to think about? she wondered.
A few weeks passed. Summer was coming soon. It was almost a year since Aria had first run away from Goodwife’s cottage, more specifically from Dominic. She wondered what was going on there. Did Goodwife, Peter, Abby, and Aiden miss her? Did they think about her often? How had Dominic reacted? Did they know she was their Princess?
Gilligan probably knew. She imagined everyone in Llorleya must know by now- but then, Torlith was very good at keeping secrets. Maybe outside of the castle, no one knew. Maybe even in the castle only a few people knew.
All the guessing was going to drive her insane.
****
"Rayne, I can’t stand it anymore. I need to go back." Aria moved her head restlessly from one arm to the other.
Rayne hesitated, opening her mouth and then closing it again. She had been doing that sort of thing every time Aria brought up returning to Llorleya.
"If you want to say something, just say it, Rayne," Aria said irritably.
Rayne bit her lip. "No need to snap."
"Sorry," said Aria. "I’m just so- grr."
After a moment, Rayne said, "Why do you feel so strongly about this? About returning to Llorleya?"
Aria calmed down a bit, bowing her head. "I’m Llorleya’s princess. I should be their queen. It’s what I was born for. It’s my duty, my responsibility. They’re my people and I care about them."
"They seem to be getting on okay," murmured Rayne.
Aria’s head shot up. One of the things she had learned about Rayne since meeting her here was that she was not so keen to fight as she might once have been, and seemed to despise weapons, despite how well she could still handle them. But even despite that, she was shocked. "How can you say that? We’ve both witnessed firsthand what Torlith can and will do! I can’t just leave my people to suffer because of him. They’re my people and I should be helping them!"
Rayne shook her head, her violet eyes big and sad. "That’s not what I meant. But Aria- think. Do you know what it would take to defeat Torlith? It would devastate the land. War always does. What would this mean for the people’s personal lives? Fear. Fighting. My brother was killed by Torlith. There would be thousands like that- either killed, or with someone dear to them killed."
"People have already died. I’ve lost people close to me, too, Rayne; don’t forget that." Aria’s eyes flashed. "It’s for them I’m fighting, and for all those suffering unjustly. Humans go through enough death, suffering, and pain without the help of Torlith." Aria broke off and looked at the sky. "They need me. If people die in this war, it will be because they chose to."
"But what about the people who will be hurt by other people’s deaths? People who will be caught up in the middle without choice? It’s easy for you to talk like a warlord, your Gilligan ended up alive-"
Aria stood up furiously. "What are you saying? That I don’t care? That I don’t know what it’s like? Rayne- I- I can’t believe you!"
Rayne shot up next to her and threw her arms around Aria’s shoulders. Her purple eyes were enormous. "Aria, no, don’t leave."
Aria looked back, her expression still angry but willing to listen.
"I didn’t mean that about Gilligan. I’m sorry. But I did mean almost everything else I said. I’m not asking you to turn your back on Llorleya- just to think through everything. I want you to know what you’re doing, or you might regret it. I don’t want you to regret it."
Aria’s angry gaze softened. "Rayne, I have thought about it. I just have this feeling- I really believe this is best for my people. I think this is what I was born for. I think God is leading me to do this."
"You think, you think , you think." Rayne sighed, clasping Aria’s hands in her own. "Please, think more."
Aria sighed, too. "For your sake."
"I’ll be praying."
"Thank you. I couldn’t do this without God, Rayne. I couldn’t even have gotten this far." She sighed. "I still wish that Thrond would just tell me what he’s decided," said Aria, sitting back down.
Findahla’s voice said, "Don’t be too hard on Father. As leader of the colony, he always has many things on his mind to think about."
Rayne and Aria whirled around. Findahla was standing behind them, her hands resting on the back of the bench they sat on.
"How long have you been there?" asked Aria.
"I just came a moment ago. I usually stroll the garden later, but it’s so nice today I went early."
Aria’s gaze dropped to the grass below her. "So Thrond is thinking about it, right? He hasn’t forgotten?"
Findahla gave a small smile. "No, far from it. He’s just not sure if-" Findahla broke off in the middle of her sentence uncertainly, and Aria decided not to press her.
"So you really can’t say Rayne’s name?" asked Aria to Findahla, just for a change of subject.
"Does it matter?" asked Findahla with a surprised little shrug.
"Just try," insisted Aria, not wanting to be steered back to their former talk.
Findhala sighed. "Rye-eene."
Aria smiled, amused. "Try saying ‘ray’."
"Ray."
"Now say Rayne," urged Aria.
"Rye-eene."
Rayne shook her head, laughing. "You’re hopeless. Why do you think you can’t say it?"
"Just a quirk," said Findahla disinterestedly. "An accent or something." She smiled. "Why? Does it bother you?"
Rayne shook her head. Then she stopped. "Well, a little. After all, it is-"
"Aria!" said Loth’s voice angrily. The golden-haired elf burst over to the three women, fuming. "I was waiting for you at our training session for at least an hour now! Why didn’t you come?"
Oh. Training. Oops. Aria took a guilty glance at Findahla and Rayne. "I forgot. We were talking."
"It was fun," put in Rayne, with a very pointed glance at Loth. "Something battle training isn’t."
Aria shot Rayne a warning glance.
"Well, you’d better be there soon! Get a bow, we are- or were- going to work on your archery skills. If you’re not there in ten minutes, I swear I will tear you off that bench and drag you…" Loth stormed off, still furious.
Aria stood up. "Well, I guess that means I should go," she said with an awkward smile.
"You enjoy training much?" asked Findahla with a twinkle in her blue eyes.
"Loth is… umm…" began Aria uncertainly.
Findahla laughed. "I understand completely. But I’ll say this for her- no one will ever her of being a coward. Her gruffness- well- you probably won’t understand unless she takes it into her head to explain it to you."
Aria never got a chance to ask Findahla what she meant by that. For it was the last time she was ever to talk to her.

One day ships anchored on the West Beach. Men were on the ships, the elf-scout said. At first the elves were a bit startled. No ships, especially Men’s ships, had come to the Elf Havens for years, decades, possibly centuries. The merfolk had made sure of that.
Then the second scout came back, a small she-elf named Cwari who had long, straight black hair. She seemed strangely scared. "They have a mermaid scales on the ship! Everywhere!"
This really shook everyone up. Mermaids’ scales were highly magical, not to mention extremely difficult to get. The scales could ward off danger, help you stay longer or even breathe underwater, or swim long distances. If they had scales aboard the ship, they would be able to cross over into the Elf Havens very easily, despite the guard of the other merfolk.
But Thrond was firm. "We will not be the ones to attack first. Would you have us act without honor, before we know anything? We don’t know where they got the scales. They may prove themselves to be trustworthy."
Most of the elves were inclined to disagree, but they knew Thrond was wise and would decide for the best of the elves, and also consider the humans. But they were all uneasy, even Aria, who was inclined to think better of the humans than the elves (after all, she was human), and many sensed something was stirring in the air that shouldn’t be there…
**********
Findahla cast back her grey hood, raised her head to the sky, and breathed. "The smell of rain is on the wind," she said.
She swung onto her horse, her light blue raiment fluttering around her slender form. As she shook her head, the long willow leaves woven through her yellow waves of hair shivered, tickling her cheeks. Her eyes clouded. Troubled and slightly dismayed, she said, "Its scent is sweet, but cold. I do not like it." She stroked her horse’s dust-brown neck and gently urged him forward.
Soon an icy rain was pelting down around her, hurtling toward the ground like arrows from a bow that was spinning wildly as it shot. Alarm filled Findahla’s eyes. I’ve got to get to shelter, she thought. The voice in her head grew more urgent as thunder rolled somewhere behind her.
A momentarily blinding flash of lightening startled her mount. Findahla struggled to gain control of it, trying to soothe it with gently whispered words. The horse calmed eventually, but by then Findahla was soaked thoroughly. She had managed to stay on the horse through its scare, but that didn’t keep her any drier.
Findahla shivered and tried to figure out her bearings. Her steed had darted away from the path she had been following, and she felt no hope of finding it again in the storm. She abandoned the thought of sheltering beneath a tree- lightening could strike it. She might find a cave, if she only knew where she was or which direction to look.
She rode in silence through the forest, but a tight knot of ice-cold fear was growing in her chest.
Suddenly in the distance, she heard voices and saw gleaming lanterns. Her heart lifted. Could she have wandered back to the tree-house without realizing it? She spurred her muddy, tired horse forward hopefully. But as she neared the voices and lights, she realized these weren’t elves.
"Oi, quite a storm tonight, ain’t it?"
"Could be worse, I s’pose. I sure am glad we have these tents, though. I wouldn’t like to be stuck out there right now! Say, have you heard if Henry’s group has come back yet?"
"Yeah, about an hour ago."
These must be the humans that came in the ships, thought Findahla. I didn’t know they came inland. Did she dare trust them?
No.
She turned to go back, but as she did, lightening struck a tree. Flaming, it crashed down only a few gallops away.
She looked back at the tents. She didn’t have any choice.
Cautiously she rode up to the tents. She didn’t dismount- she felt safer on her horse- but in a guarded voice, she said carefully, "Can anyone help me? I need shelter until the storm passes."
She heard the sound of the humans jumping to their feet and scrambling to the door of the tent. There were about eight, all with weapons drawn.
"Who is she?"
"She’s got strange ears!"
"It’s an elf!"
Several voices started talking at once. One man stepped forward and gave her a suspicious glance. "So, who are you? Are you an elf, as they say?" Findahla recognized his voice as the first voice that she had heard in the tent.
Findahla edged away. "I just need shelter for a little while."
Another man came up behind the first. He gave her a toothy smile. "What do you think the king would do for an elf?"
"What, indeed?" The first man’s eyes glittered greedily as the other man’s implications dawned on him. "She shouldn’t be hard to take."
Findahla straightened in her saddle. "You do not know of what you speak," she warned him unblinkingly, although she felt her heart sinking in her chest.
For a moment his gaze faltered. Then he pulled away and addressed his men. "Now," he said.
But before the men could advance, two arrows were shot and buried in Findahla’s back. Findahla tumbled off her horse and lay limp in the mud- dead.
Two men rode out of the trees. "We got him."
The leader of the other group looked up, furious. "It was a ‘her’! And she was an elf! You’ve just ruined the chance for us to get recognized by the king!"
The men looked bewildered. "We’re sorry. It’s just that you had your swords drawn, and there was a stranger-"
The other man shook his head angrily. "It’s done now, so just close your mouths." He looked down disdainfully at the elf’s limp body and gave it a little kick. After a moment, he said, "She’s dead, all right. Get rid of her."
Two men from his group came forward.
"After all," said the leader as an afterthought, "it may be a good idea to warn these elves of what they’re dealing with."

The two men disposed of Findahla’s lifeless body in the forest some ways from the camp. A flash of bright white lightening illuminated her fallen figure, along and forgotten, lying in a mud puddle.
And so the flower of the Elf Haven was murdered.
**
"We found her in the forest, sir." With those quiet words and a gentle bow, the leader of the elven patrol that had found Findahla left Thrond.
Aria stood at his side, watching. She hadn’t believed her eyes when the patrol had brought poor Findahla’s body in to Thrond. She was still plastered with mud, but the elves had removed the arrows, at least. Aria’s heart ached for herself, Rayne, and the elves, but mostly for Thrond. This was his daughter, she thought, remembering how close they had been.
Thrond held his daughter tenderly in his arms, just looking at her. And she was cold- so cold. His normally impassive face was transformed by grief. But yet, Aria noticed, his eyes held a quiet dignity that Aria herself had never really known. She now knew why the elves respected and loved Thrond so much. How could he lose someone he loved so much, and still have such a peace? Truly here was a lord someone could follow with trust, love, and confidence. God had given great gifts to Thrond.
But not all the elves could act like Thrond. And he had to admit now- the Men were hostile. They would kill without cause.
All elves were endangered, so all elves fought the Men, and the singing of their bows and the whirring of their arrows echoed loudly in the woods.
****

Comments

=[

Stinkin humans.

Tamerah | Sun, 08/03/2008

...

That's what I say.

Clare Marie | Mon, 08/04/2008

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve." -Bilbo Baggins [The Lord of the Rings]

hmm...

have you ever seen a movie called 'Stardust'?

Anonymous | Wed, 08/06/2008

Well gals, you weren't

Well gals, you weren't supposed to like 'em. :(

No, I haven't seen Stardust, but I've heard of it. Why do you ask?

I don't mind, Loth rocks too. :D

Anna | Thu, 08/07/2008

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

K's comments

I love Rayne, I really do, but Loth has now become my favorite.

Poor Thrond.

Anonymous | Thu, 08/07/2008

Another death

So, one more character has died, and now some bad guys are invading the elf lands . . .
What about Giligan? What happened to him? I don't want to seem impatient, but I feel like I'm marooned away from the central plot. You've been keeping me in suspence for three or four chapters.
Well, I continue to look forward to the next chapter... Please write it soon!

Anonymous | Thu, 08/07/2008

Well, technically Gilligan

Well, technically Gilligan isn't the central plot, Aria is... but I'm sure he appreciates your concern.
It's going to be in chapter 19, I'm almost certain of it. I know that seems like a long time, but just hold on till then!

Anna | Thu, 08/07/2008

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

Oh infinitely annoying

Oh infinitely annoying Anna!! :0) Do we really have to wait all the way until chapter 19?
And btw the way, congrats on how long this is! I never would've accomplished something beyond five chapters when I was your age!
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Talent and persistence are secrets...those who zero in on it are the ones who succeed~Judith Mackey

Heather | Tue, 08/12/2008

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"

Hey, I think my siblings

Hey, I think my siblings have called me that before...

Yes you do. I'm sorry, but otherwise chapter 17 would be 15 pages long. That wouldn't be good.

Thanks :D I didn't think it'd be this long either.

Anna | Tue, 08/12/2008

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

*sniffs* poor

*sniffs*
poor her.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The quality of mercy is not strain'd;
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blessed;
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes

Sarah | Fri, 08/15/2008

"Sometimes even to live is courage."
-Seneca

Blogging away!
busyscribbler.wordpress.com

that was a really...

that was a realy good chapter...and really sad.
(sorry for the delay on reading, i have been busy)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Well you praticly did, making google eyes at me for two years, oh Walter," Cary Grant,
His Girl Friday

Bernadette | Fri, 01/02/2009

Great chapter, but why do

Great chapter, but why do you insist on killing everyone? Granted it does make the story so much better.

"As first things always come first, I will start with the first thing" Kendra

Alecia | Tue, 03/17/2009

It awoke with a shrill shreak that can be trnaslated "How dare you leave me in this bed, when I am asleep and helpless?" My sister

:(

Oh, how come everyone has to die? The poor little thing! Oh, her father must be devastated. First his wife and then his daughter.:(

Kendra | Tue, 03/17/2009

<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\
"Are you sure this water is sanitary? It looks questionable to me! But what about bacteria?"--Tantor the elephant from Tarzan.

:(

Oh, how come everyone has to die? The poor little thing! Oh, her father must be devastated. First his wife and then his daughter.:(

Kendra | Tue, 03/17/2009

<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\
"Are you sure this water is sanitary? It looks questionable to me! But what about bacteria?"--Tantor the elephant from Tarzan.

I just wanted to let you

I just wanted to let you know, I still like this story!;)

Kendra | Tue, 03/17/2009

<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\
"Are you sure this water is sanitary? It looks questionable to me! But what about bacteria?"--Tantor the elephant from Tarzan.

Poor Findahla! And even

Poor Findahla! And even more, Poor Thrond!
I will be moving quickly through the chapters in hopes of finding Gill!

This comment was made by Erin!

"Never, never give up. Unless you get really tired." -Ellen Degenres

Erin | Sat, 03/28/2009

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

Findahla? How could you

Findahla? How could you kill her? You had no reason to kill her! You are such a human! If you kill Loth I will never read another word of this story.

"Wait a minute. Wait a minute, I am just about to be brilliant." - Cosmo, from Singing In The Rain

Bridget | Wed, 04/01/2009

"I always wonder why birds stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth. Then I ask myself the same question." - Harun Yahya

I know I don't usually reply, but...

Was that a serious threat? Cuz sometimes people say that and then are like, "Well, I would still read it, I just would read it with a gun to your head."
*************************************************
Chaos.
Panic.
Disorder.
My work here is done.

Anna | Wed, 04/01/2009

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

Gaaak! I would love to say

Gaaak! I would love to say that is a serious threat, but I'll probably get caught up and just HAVE to read the story, because that's how I am. And I don't know where you are, so I couldn't really hold a gun to your head. JK, I wouldn't anyway. Why? She doesn't die in the end, does she????? PLEASE tell me she doesn't!!!!!!!

"Wait a minute. Wait a minute, I am just about to be brilliant." - Cosmo, from Singing In The Rain

Bridget | Wed, 04/01/2009

"I always wonder why birds stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth. Then I ask myself the same question." - Harun Yahya

of course I can't

You know that wouldn't be fair.
Is it just Loth you'd be mad about, or is it... anyone?
*************************************************
Chaos.
Panic.
Disorder.
My work here is done.

Anna | Thu, 04/02/2009

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

Nope, just Loth. Although

Nope, just Loth. Although it might not be good plot-wise to kill Aria, and Gilligan sounds kinda cute. But I figure you brought him back for a reason and you're not going to kill him again. Right? :-D

"Wait a minute. Wait a minute, I am just about to be brilliant." - Cosmo, from Singing In The Rain

Bridget | Fri, 04/03/2009

"I always wonder why birds stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth. Then I ask myself the same question." - Harun Yahya

Maaaaaybeeee.... ************

Maaaaaybeeee....
*************************************************
Chaos.
Panic.
Disorder.
My work here is done.

Anna | Sun, 04/05/2009

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

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