Stars Over Llorleya- Chapter 17

Fiction By Anna // 8/15/2008

Chapter the Seventeenth

Loth’s gazed traveled the field. There was a sea of elves there, crying and mourning. Most were in black, even though as a general rule elves do not like the color. Thrond stood at the head of the throng, his face calm. But Loth knew he too was grieving deeply.
The elves were burying Findahla.
Poor Findahla, thought Loth, looking at the hole dug in the ground. Loth looked back at Thrond. Poor Thrond, she thought. Poor all of us.
Thrond, as Findahla’s father, was the one who would lower her into the grave. As he did so, Aria stepped forward. She was dressed in dark, dark purple instead of black, and she had a misty grey veil over her braided hair.
Aria began to sing. The tune was haunting and bittersweet, with a depth in the melody that was hard to grasp, as though Aria knew the feelings of all the elves and had put them to voice in a way no elf could. A shiver ran through Loth. It was almost, but not quite, a good chill.
Something stirred at the back of Loth’s mind. She knew it was going to irritate her until she could figure out quite what it was. She had heard a voice like Aria’s just once before, when an envoy from the sky had come to ask the elves for news of their king’s missing daughter-
And suddenly, everything clicked.
**********
As soon after the burial as they were allowed, the swiftest of elf messengers, girded with swords and warnings about the humans, were sent out to raise the alarm among the elves farther inland, and if possible rally the Elf-lords together.
The elves soon found that these strange Men were not to be driven off like a flock of crows. They meant to fight and take over, and they were going to show it. Plus, the elves were outnumbered, at least until reinforcements arrived. Wherever one Man fell, another took his place, as though there were an everlasting army hidden somewhere in the sea.
"No king of Men has hordes like this," muttered elves darkly.
Maybe no king of Men is commanding them, thought Aria with a shudder. But then, who was?
**********
Loth didn’t get to speak to Aria the next day, or the next, or the next; what with the battles going on with the invaders, training (both herself and other elves; Aria’s own training was postponed), and sending out messengers, Loth was a busy elf.
Besides that, she was still studying to see if she was correct. But everything she came across seemed perfect, and finally she was convinced that she was right.
It was time to tell Aria.
**
"Aria, I have something very important to say to you," said Loth straightforwardly, as usual. Loth didn’t beat around the bush about things, especially things like this. Figures that the first spare moment I get the girl is doing archery, she thought irritably.
Aria lowered her bow slowly. "Very important? When you say that, do you mean it’s very important to you, or that it absolutely has to be said now or something dreadful might happen?"
"Both," said Loth quickly.
Aria sighed. "I was afraid of that. I had hoped to get some archery practice in, but oh well. If you’re sure it can’t wait."
"Absolutely sure. It’s waited long enough already."
Aria, slightly interested, put her bow away and followed Loth.
Loth led Aria into the library. "Here, sit down," she said, motioning to a chair sitting in the light of a wide oval window looking out on the mermaids’ sea.
Loth paced around a little, and Aria thought she looked as though she were stalling for time, as if to think of a way to bring a subject up. Abruptly, Loth said, "You have a beautiful voice."
"Thank you," said Aria, surprised.
"It’s a mysterious gift. Your voice is- well, rare to say the least, among humans very remarkable. It puzzled me for awhile."
"Puzzled?" asked Aria, her brows quirking in confusion. "What about my voice puzzles you? In fact, what does my voice have to do with anything?"
"Perhaps nothing, nothing at all…" Loth said vaguely, pulling a book off a shelf facing her. Then she set the book down and glanced side-long at the floor. "But perhaps a very lot." Abruptly she changed the subject. "Have you ever heard of the Starking?"
"No." Aria looked at her, startled by the second rapid change of subject. "Who?"
"He’s the ruler of a people group most humans have never heard of. They are the stars, immortal and beautiful, living in the sky. They have the amazing ability to trade their race." Loth stopped a minute to look at Aria. "Do you know what that means?"
"No," Aria replied with increasing annoyance. But despite herself, she was interested.
"It is when a star lays hands on another creature in a special way. Then the light of the star begins to brighten, until all the light shoots into the other being. This causes the human or elf or whatever it is to become a star, and the star to become a human or elf or whatever it is."
That sounded slightly familiar, somehow.
Loth continued. "Their king, the Starking, Ruler of Celestia, has a drop of human blood, you know."
No, I don’t know, thought Aria. But now she was more interested than annoyed.
Loth continue, "He isn’t immortal and needs someone to take his place."
Something in that sentence and the sentence before snagged Aria’s memory. Hadn’t her mother said something like that to her father?
Loth went on. "But unfortunately, his only child disappeared some twenty years ago while visiting Llorleya." Loth looked very closely at Aria, leaning over her as though examining her. "Only a star can rule a star," she said softly. "And only a star of one bloodline. Stars must always have a ruler, or they fall into chaos and disorder and cannot sing. Then their sorrow is complete."
Aria was completely exasperated. "But what has this to do with me?"
Loth straightened again, and, elf-like, evaded her question, or seemed to. "The Starking is nearing the end of his life, and he must find his daughter. Her name is Cera."
Aria’s head jerked up at the name.
"Familiar to you, is it?" Loth laughed softly. "It should be. It also happens to be the name of one of the Old Llorleyan Royalty, your own mother." She paused. "You once told me something strange about your mother. Your first vision, do you remember?" Loth’s penetrating gaze wandered to the window, but Aria didn’t relax. What is Loth leading to? she thought.
"Before you sang at Findahla’s funeral and I remembered that vision, the hunch I had been pondering didn’t make sense. For you also told me your mother died, and stars do not die, though everything about her seemed so perfect: her name, her description; all just right. But when I heard your voice and song and was told your vision, it all clicked into place."
Loth pulled Aria to her feet. "Cera was a star who traded her race, therefore becoming human and dying. And she traded it with you! You are creature of light- a star. The search for the Starking’s heir is over! You are the next Starqueen!"
**********
Aria stared speechlessly at Loth.
Loth, unconcerned, went on. "Of course, there are some things that confused me… For one, stars don’t get sick, whereas your sickness was so great that it caused your blindness. And yet that was only one of the few times you were ill, and now you are cured of even blindness.
"Also, stars fly. You do not. But I’ve seen that sometimes, when you are truly happy, you almost seen to be rising.
"Again, stars glow when they’re happy, fade when they sorrow. You do neither…" Loth paused. "Well, at least not quite as visibly as stars do.
"But so much is right! Your voice is the main betrayal of your race. Only stars can sing as you do, as I mentioned. And your vision of you mother. Everything points to her being the Starking’s daughter, and trading her race with you, which would then leave you to be…"
"…the last heir of the Starking," finished Aria in an awed whisper.
Loth nodded. "Correct."
Aria’s eyes got bigger while her body seemed to shrink back.
Loth went on. "My guess is this: You have these qualities (immunity to illness, flying, shining), but they are hidden. You grew up around humans, who cannot teach you your own people’s ways. You have become like them, while your own race’s qualities are hidden.
"But we shall help. We shall bring out those hidden qualities. You aren’t with humans any longer."
"I’m not with stars either," thought Aria aloud.
Loth continued, "Soon, we shall call some stars to help you, and when it is done, we will call the Starking, your grandfather. In the meantime, we have books about stars that you may study, as I have been doing."
"You’re wrong!" exclaimed Aria suddenly, breaking out of her trance-like state. "You’re wrong about all of this!"
Loth glanced at her sharply. "I beg your pardon?"
"I’m already princess of Llorleya. I cant be princess of the sky, too! Even if I were a star, I couldn’t be star royalty! Or… can I?" She paused, quieting and trembling a little.
"Thrond knows. He agrees with me," said Loth.
"It can’t be true," Aria repeated bewilderedly.
"But it is," said her elf friend, as gently as Loth has been said to say anything.
Aria buried her head in her hands. "I can’t handle all this responsibility. And who will rule Llorleya if I rule the sky? Or vice versa? And- and- oh!" And she burst into tears. Aria had always been one to cry easily, and she was extremely overwhelmed.
Loth’s eyes became less piercing. "I know it’s a lot to come at you all at once. I should have been more tactful. Thrond did suggest someone else tell you, since I’ve never been one to do things gently."
Despite her tears, Aria had to smile a little at that. "I think I’ll take a look at some of those books," she said finally.
**********
Loth had been telling the truth when she said that they would send for the stars "soon". Within a few days Loth informed Aria that the next week, she would meet the first of her star brethren. Aria, who was with Rayne at the time, burst into tears at the news.
Rayne- who had heard Loth’s theory (as everyone had) and accepted it - asked Aria why she was crying.
Still sobbing, Aria said, "I’m so distressed. Until a few days ago, I was just a normal human girl- well, if you can call my life ‘normal’- and now, suddenly I’m a starprincess! What will the stars expect me to be like? I’m only barely one of them! I can’t possibly please them!"
Rayne put her arm around Aria’s shoulder. "Whether you think you’ll please them or not," she said, her red braid falling on Aria’s lap, "they have a claim to you, don’t you think? Your grandfather being their king and all? After all your mother did? Do you want to give up on yourself- and on them- without even trying?"
Aria wiped her eyes, though the tears were still coming. "Oh, I understand, but that doesn’t make it any easier," she cried, laying her head on Rayne’s shoulder wearily. And I must say she was right.
**********
A cluster of lights danced through the bright blue sky. They were brighter than the hottest flame, and whiter than the clearest lantern.
As Aria watched, an inexplicable joy filled her, despite what she knew was happening.
The stars had come.
She could feel her heart throbbing. The wild bird that was her heart was struggling once again to break free of chest, and she could do- or would do- nothing to stop it. Somehow, this fluttering nervousness wasn’t as dreadful as she had thought it would be.
Rayne, standing there for moral support if not just for the wonder of the stars, gave Aria’s hand a reassuring squeeze. "Don’t give up," she whispered.
Aria squeezed Rayne’s back. "I won’t."
As the stars came closer, Rayne dropped Aria’s hand to shield her eyes. Aria seemed to be the only one who could look directly at the lights. Then the lights got dimmer, though still closer, because now instead of shining as one, the stars were shining more individually, and apart they do not shine as brightly as together.
Aria wasn’t sure what to expect when the stars landed. Would their manner be easy or formal? Would they pick her out of the crowd easily or mistake someone else for their princess? Would they like her or scorn her?
They were close enough to see more clearly now. Starflight was different from fairy flight or bird flight or butterfly flight or anything else Aria had known. It looked a little like swimming in that the sky seemed thick to them, like water, not like air. It looked a little like gliding in that they went along very smoothly. It looked a little like dancing in that they sometimes whirled and twirled just for the delight of it. It looked a little like walking on air in that the sky seemed to be solid underneath their feet.
Aria wasn’t sure she’d ever be able to learn that strange way of moving. To do it so gracefully and easily had to be something you were either born doing or spent years perfecting.
As they landed, Aria felt sure she was going to stop breathing. She felt dry as sand.
"Are you all right?" asked Rayne.
But Aria couldn’t speak.
She shook the faintness away. She had never been one to back down easily, and she certainly wasn’t going to go forward on trembling legs. She didn’t want herself to be noticeably sick with fear when she first met her mother’s people. That was not the impression she wished them to have. She prayed for courage.
A star came forward from the cluster. He was tall and bright, with long white-yellow hair that shined like the sun. It had an almost metallic red-orange tint in it. His face was kind, and he seemed young. He smiled, and the smile went straight to Aria.
All her fear left her.
The star came forward, right to Aria, and bent on one knee. "My Princess," he murmured in the most musical voice Aria had ever heard, "Raphael at your service." The other stars, still off to the back, did the same.
"Myra."
"June."
"Silver."
"Lark."
"Tyri."
"Aero."
More names followed. All the voices she heard were melodic and beautiful. They had beautiful, kind faces, and they seemed as noble as they looked.
Aria may not have been afraid, but she was certainly overwhelmed. Lord, help me to be worthy of these people, she prayed.
"Say something," murmured Loth to Aria.
"I- Please rise," she said, trying to sound regal but sure she didn’t.
The stars rose as one. "Your majesty-" began Raphael, bowing his head respectfully.
"Aria," said Aria impulsively. "Call me Aria."
Some of the stars seemed surprised, but Raphael didn’t even blink. "Princess Aria," he said, "when shall we begin our service to you?" He took Aria’s hand.
Aria, with this first physical contact with her people, bubbled over with joy and began to sing. The other stars, brightening, sang with her, and most of them began rising into the sky. Aria herself could feel herself lift at least an inch off the ground. It lasted only a moment, but she was to remember it forever. This first glimpse of flying was not to be repeated any time soon, but after that Aria always knew she would love it more than any other way of transportation, which should maybe be no surprise.

Many of the elves had never seen a star before. Loth was not one of these. She had been very young on that day long ago, but the memory had never left her. She closed her eyes and savored the beautiful sound of their sudden song and laughter. My work here is done, came the thought. Aria is reunited with her people. But then Loth shook her head. No, there was still much work left…
**********

Comments

*screams, jumps up and down, spins in circles and freaks out*

!!!!!!!!!!!!
That's all I can think of right now.
It wasn't a TOTAL suprise, but it was still suprising. If you can understand the concept.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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

*screams, jumps up and down, spins in circles and freaks out*

!!!!!!!!!!!!
That's all I can think of right now.
It wasn't a TOTAL suprise, but it was still suprising. If you can understand the concept.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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

I expected something like

I expected something like it, but really I had no idea.
I really want to know what's going on with Gilligan right now!

Tamerah | Fri, 08/15/2008

Wow... Amazing!!

Well, I knew she had to figure out her origin at some point. But the "Star People" caught me completely off guard...
...it surprised me. Excellent!
I am thoroughly enjoying this story. Just one thing, though... the biggest resolution that I want to see resolved (desperately!) is Gilligan. Is he still alive? Will he and Aria EVER get married? (This star-people origin could throw a big monkey wrench in that hope, so I'm REALLY on my toes!)

James | Fri, 08/15/2008

<><~~~~~~~~~~~~><>
"The idea that we should approach science without a philosophy is itself a philosophy... and a bad one, because it is self-refuting." -- Dr. Jason Lisle

Yikes

Wow. This is what is commonly referred to as a "major, mind blowing, and unexpected pivotal plot-twist". I thought that they were going to discover that she was from some ancient line of Elfish royalty or something like that. But stars? Major props.

And I hope you don't think that I stole your idea with the whole pivotal-character-having-an-extraordinary-singing-ability thing. Anyway, my character is a normal human and a commoner, so that's different.

Ezra | Fri, 08/15/2008

"There are no great men of God. There are only pitiful, sorry men whose God is great beyond measure." - Paul Washer [originally Jonathan Edwards]

!!!!!!

I'm like totally surprised!! And happy!!!!

Clare Marie | Sat, 08/16/2008

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
"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]

a monstrous reply

Sarah H: Sure, I understand. Is it a good surprise or a bad one? :)

Tamerah: That's what I was going for. :D
See bottom of comment.

James: Glad you liked it! See bottom of comment. Oh, and you do know I can't answer your questions, right? Maybe he's alive. Maybe he isn't. Maybe they'll get married, maybe they won't. Maybe her starblood will interfere, maybe it doesn't matter. Maybe people will wait until chapter nineteen to discover what happened to our brave knight, or maybe they'll keep asking until I have to repeat myself again...

Ezra: :D I love making sensations. ...Hmm. Elvish. That would've been cool. However, there are currently no elves living in Llorleya...
Oh, I totally know you didn't steal it. Assuming you started Ellyra's song before I started SOL. :)
And it is different.

Clare D: I love surprises. :D

Everyone who asked a question in reference to Gilligan: Of course you want to know what happens to Gilligan. Everyone who reads this story wants to know what happens to Gilligan. Everyone loves Gilligan! [However, no one likes Aria. *sigh* :( But anyway.]
Two words for y'all.
CHAPTER NINETEEN.
Where all shall be revealed as far as his fate is concerned.

(And no, I'm not really annoyed at you all for your concern about Gilligan. :) )

Anna | Sat, 08/16/2008

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

SWEET!!!!!!

OK, the Starpeople might've just replaced the mermaids as my favorite in your books. So cool! In fact I haven't meet another star since CS Lewis' stars that I liked until this chapter of SOL. So...not a total surprise, but still a surprise. I honestly thought she'd end up being half-fairy (maybe related to Wynd). BTW what's happening with Wynd? There, someone asked you about another character besides Gilligan. And I'll refrain about asking about him. However, he's a cool character, so I honestly can't wait until chapter nineteen.
I love the way your stars look, how they fly, etc. Beautiful! Plus I've never said this before, but I love your style of writing. It's kind of a fairy-tale style plus C.S. Lewis style...which would make it uniquely Anna-style. :0) But I am serious it does remind me of C.S. Lewis in a way. So all that to say I can't wait until the eighteenth chapter!!!!
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Talent and persistence are secrets...those who zero in on it are the ones who succeed~Judith Mackey

Heather | Sat, 08/16/2008

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

Thanks! I hope they live up

Thanks! I hope they live up to your expectations. :) Half-fairy, that would've also been cool.
Wynd? ... We haven't seen her for awhile, have we? Not since chapter ... 10 was it? I dunno.
I love Gill too :D
Thanks again!

Anna | Mon, 08/18/2008

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

So you've never seen Stardust?

I thought Aria was a star... the movie Stardust has a very similar character. I wasn't expecting the 'star princess' thing though. Nice surprise!!! Out of curiosity, where did you get the idea of having Aria be a star?

Anonymous | Mon, 08/18/2008

Thanks! And congrats on

Thanks! And congrats on being the first person to suspect her to be a star. :D
The idea? Urm... I'm not sure I remember, I had already decided way back in chapter four, and that was a year ago... In all honesty, it may have been Stardust that gave me the idea; I just don't remember specifically.

Anna | Tue, 08/19/2008

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

Kaitlin's Thoughts

-Aria's origins? Well it had to pop up sometime...
-Hahaha, this caught on with me a little late because I thought starking (star-king) was stark-ing.
-Starpeople well...that's different.
-She's another princess. Hmm....
-It kinda of makes me more interested about how Aria's parents met...

Very nice.

Anonymous | Tue, 09/23/2008

OH MY GOSH!

OH MY GOSH! I love this chapter! it was not a suprise that Aria was a star, I new it all the time...but it was great to see her find out that she is a star (it's more like 'read' her)

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

Bernadette | Fri, 01/02/2009

*Silence with jaw dropped*

*Silence with jaw dropped* Wow. Amazing. EXCITEMENT!!! I still want to know what's happened to Gilligan though.....

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

Wow. Best chapter ever,

Wow. Best chapter ever, Anna. But what about Gilligan? Can she still go out with him or marry him or whatever she was going to do? The Starprincess thing was totally unexpected. I love it!

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

Bridget | Thu, 04/02/2009

"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

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