Stars Over Llorleya- Chapter 21

Fiction By Anna // 11/3/2008

Chapter the Twenty-first

Loth awoke to the sound of a shot being fired. She was propelled out of her bunk by the force and tumbled onto the ground.
She sprang up, grabbing a lantern from its hook on the ceiling. "We’re being fired at!" she called to the other startled elves. "Everyone, on deck, quickly!"
As they followed her orders, some asked, "Can we return fire?"
"We only have a few loose cannons," said another. (Remember the elf ships were useless for war on their own.)
Loth was about to say that they would have to make do with only a few, but then they were fired at again. The ship almost bowled over. The cannonball had hit.
A younger elf, face white with terror, stumbled on deck. "I think we have a bigger problem than shortage of cannons. We’re sinking!" she gasped.
"What do we do?" asked someone.
"Use the lifeboats," said Loth. "Quickly, put the youngest elves in first."
Loth was not the captain of the ship, but she took charge admirably. Her natural leadership qualities and authority came in extremely helpfully.
There were only two lifeboats. Enough for the youngest, but none of the others. As the lifeboats were lowered, Loth was asked again what should be done.
Loth grimaced. "I don’t think there’s much use in throwing the supplies overboard to lighten the ship, but we can try, anyway." As Loth and the other elves heaved barrels and crates overboard, Loth got an idea. She stepped back from the edge of the ship. "No one panic!" she called. "I know what I’m doing." With that, she took a running leap over the edge, and dived into the water.
She resurfaced quickly. She was a strong swimmer, but even so, she had never swam this far out to sea. The water was shockingly cold and salty. The waves buffeting her and the ships all around her and the cannons firing only served to distract and disorient her.
Treading water, she shook the salty water from her eyes and searched for the ship she was looking for. Yes, that would be it, with the little lights glowing faintly on the deck. She forced her arms and legs to obey her, numb and cold as they were. She propelled herself forward, towards the ship, shouting as she went.
Just when she thought she wouldn’t be able to swim another foot or yell another thirty seconds, someone threw her a rope from the white ship’s deck. She had just the strength to cling to it with all her might and let them pull her up.
Sopping wet, the warrior elf collapsed on the deck. Elves and stars crowded around her. "Loth!" she heard Aria’s voice say, full of relief. "Are you okay?"
Loth caught her breath long enough to say, "I’m- fine. Youngest elves… in lifeboats. Need- your help. I have an idea to get the others off the ship before it sinks…" She stopped to breathe again, then told the stars her idea.
Aria nodded her agreement. "It’ll have to work."

The stars took flight, gliding to the rapidly sinking ship. They had to avoid flying into cannonballs. They alighted on the blue ship’s deck. Without bothering to explain what they were doing, they each grabbed an elf- by the waist, hands, clothes- anything that worked- and hauled them onto the closest ship.
While they did this, the other elf ships began returning fire. Torlith’s ship, surprisingly, was drawn off, and retreated. Many elves were in favor of chasing it, but they couldn’t, not while some of the ships were going under.
All night the stars were carrying elves back and forth from the wrecks of the ships that had been hit. It was thoroughly exhausting. Even Tyri admitted he felt as though he would drop into the sea in two more "elf-longs" (as they had begun to call them).
In the morning, they found out the true damage.
Three ships had been lost. One had been supplies, the other two passenger ships. That meant that rations would need to be shorter, and the other ships would be much more crowded.
No elves had actually been lost in the attack, save one. He had been hit by a cannonball directly, and died immediately. There had been no chance to save him. Despite the helplessness of the situation, Aria still felt responsible. They hadn’t even reached Llorleya, and already an elf was dead and things had gone wrong.
About a month after the elf-ships first set out, Llorleya

"I’ve been thinking…" said Wynd conversationally to Gilligan, who appeared to be asleep, "… about Aria."
Gilligan sat up, suddenly alert. "What about her? Have you found out anything?"
"No, no," said Wynd quickly, standing. "Calm down."
Gilligan leaned against a wall, stretching a little.
Wynd went on, "If she truly is alive, then she has to be somewhere. But where? Not in Llorleya, that’s for sure. She got swept into the sea, but if she had been deposited anywhere on the coast she would have been found and killed; but the vision she sent me contradicts that, of course. I wonder if there are any islands off the coast that she could be stranded on."
"I don’t know of any," said Gilligan. "But that doesn’t mean there aren’t. After all, my mind isn’t a map."
Wynd’s wings began whirring, a sign that she had an idea. "That’s it! I should check the maps in my library! Of course! Why didn’t I think of it before? There’s bound to be at least one that show the sea…" Then she had a thought, and smiled. "Better yet, I could ask-"
"I thought the castle library was empty," interrupted Gilligan.
"Well, the castle library is empty," said Wynd cryptically. "My library, however, is quite full." She began flying down the tower stairs. "Follow me," her voice called, echoing faintly up the passage.
Gilligan, suppressing curiosity, followed his new fairy acquaintance down twisting hallways and mini-labyrinths.
Wynd stopped at two great wooden doors. She stood for a moment and bowed her head respectfully at them as Gilligan watched her, curiosity once again at work. Then she took a right, down a dead end passage. Without hesitating for a moment she threw open a trapdoor Gill previously hadn’t noticed and crawled in. Without a second though Gilligan followed her.
You should remember where they ended up. If not, refer to Chapter the Second.
"I take it this isn’t the library," said Gilligan, looking around at the bare room.
"No," said Wynd, carefully tracing an invisible horizontal line from the cornerstone to a block of stone on the opposite wall.
" ‘The breath of the world…’" read Gilligan. "Oh, I get it. Wind, Wynd. Did you think up that yourself?"
"Yes," said Wynd, with a somewhat smug smile. She proceeded to remove the said stone (the one opposite the cornerstone), with some help from Gilligan.
This revealed yet another passage.
As Wynd and Gilligan entered, Gilligan remarked, "A secret passageway inside a secret passageway. Half of me thinks it’s a clever idea; the more skeptical side says it’s rather pointless."
Wynd shrugged. "It has a point, but whether a clever point or not I don’t care to think about. The first ‘secret passageway’ is only to throw meddlers and treasure hunters off. This is the real secret passageway."
Gilligan, still undecided as to his opinion, only shook his head.
Though they had been at one of the lowest levels of the castle, this passage wound upward again. It may have been a rather roundabout approach, but it did its job. The library was not the only room; there were many in the tower, and the library was the very highest. When they finally stopped, they were in a round room, with circular bookshelves all about.
"How is it that this tower is secret?" Gilligan asked. "Surely someone would see it from outside."
Wynd smiled. "That is one of the greatest fairy secrets of this age. It’s very complicated magic, you see, and I’m afraid I can’t disclose it to you."
Gilligan looked around at the various scrolls and tomes on the shelves. "What exactly are we looking for?" he asked.
"Maps," she said. "Fairy maps should show a pretty wide range, so we’ll at least get some idea of where Aria could be." Wynd walked over to a heap of scrolls and began to dig through, selecting them one after another, blowing the dust away, looking over them, and throwing them back down. Gilligan followed suit.
"Ancient kings, no;" said Wynd, "lineage of the first fairy-kind, no; Sprites and Their Ways- Oh, I used to love that one!" She glanced over it fondly. "But no."
Gilligan was having even more trouble. "I can’t make out a word of these," he said. They were written in the same strange writing as Aria’s book.
"Just look for a map," said Wynd. "It should be in my tongue, too, but that won’t matter as far as we’re concerned."
"Here’s one," said Gilligan. Wynd turned around to look, but Gill said, "Wait, no, that won’t do. It only shows this castle and the valley."
"That could be useful!" exclaimed Wynd. "Set it aside."
They found two more maps altogether, but none were what they were looking for, one being of the wood just east of the castle, and the other being a blueprint for something or other.
"Ah ha!" exclaimed Wynd finally. "Here it is- Llorleya and Surrounding Lands." She looked over it eagerly.
Gilligan hurried to her and peered at it over her shoulder. "Are there any islands, like you thought?"
Wynd sighed. "No, no islands. The only thing within miles and miles is the elfland."
"Elves?" asked Gilligan. "Could she be there?"
"I don’t see how," Wynd said doubtfully. "I told you, it’s miles and miles away. She couldn’t possibly swim it, not wounded like she was." Wynd was too confused to think of the mermaids- besides, merpeople rarely entangled themselves in the affairs of humans.
"Is there any way of knowing?" asked Gilligan.
Wynd sat down and thought about it. "Yes," she said finally. "I have one last resource."
"What is it?"
She considered not telling him. Then said shortly, "The wind." He was about to ask her what she meant, but she continued, "I would ask you to follow me, but- human as you are- you can’t." Then she flew out the window.
She rested on the very spire of the tower. It was a precarious perch, but she didn’t have any real danger of falling, since she could fly. She took in a deep breath, and began to speak.
Once again, she spoke in the tongue of the wind. Very few alive today can speak it- few or none. And she asked the four winds for news of Aria. Some of them were reluctant to answer. But she eventually coaxed it out of them.
As she listened to their news, her face began to change from doubt to astonishment to joy.

But Wynd wasn’t the only one who learned of Aria and the ships. Far away, above the sea, three great black shapes also saw the ships. And, wheeling and crying aloud, they sped off in Torlith’s direction.

When Wynd finally came back into the library, hair wind-blown in all directions, she was fairly bursting. "I have talked to the East Wind," she gasped, "and Aria- she’s- well-" Wynd took a deep breath. "She’s on the sea, headed toward Llorleya, with a fleet of elfships!"
"How close?"
"The wind did not say. But is it not wonderful news? The best! Oh, she is coming! She is alive!"
"She is alive," repeated Gilligan. "Then I have to find her. Wynd, can you fly me to the ships?"
Wynd slowly shook her head. "No, I don’t think I can."
"You did it before," he said.
"And it nearly killed me," she reminded him. "No, I can’t carry you halfway across the sea."
Gilligan was about to protest- rude though it might be- when the fairy continued, "But we can go to meet her."
Wynd laughed. "How? We get up, pack some things, and set out for the coast, of course!"
"But you’ll be seen- and do we even know where to go?"
"I can disguise myself," Wynd insisted. "And if we don’t know exactly where she’ll land- well- we’ll find her eventually. You do want to see her, don’t you?"
"Of course! If you’re sure-"
"I’m sure," interrupted the fairy. "I wonder how soon we can be ready. We’ll need clothes, and food, and I’ll need a cloak or something like one to cover my wings-"
"What about your ears?" asked Gilligan.
"Ooh, good point." She frowned. "I don’t know. How about a hat, or hood?"
"Would you want to wear a hat or hood- or cloak, for that matter- all the time?"
"Whether I would or no, it seems I have little choice," Wynd pointed out. "I’ll have a hood but keep my hair over my ears in case I ever take it off. It’s not a foolproof plan, but it will do. How about you? Will you need a disguise?"
Gilligan thought about it. "I am I wanted man now," he said. "But that shouldn’t be very well known; and besides, they don’t even know what I look like apart from the land directly surrounding the castle. If a cloak is sufficient for you, it will be enough for me as well."
Wynd smiled. "Okay, very good. I have some cloaks in the room two stories down, I think. It may be hard to find a man’s cloak, but there should be at least one, right?"
Gilligan certainly hoped there would, and he said so, most emphatically.
They did find a man’s cloak, a dark green one without decoration. Gilligan said it would do, even though Wynd so graciously offered him the white one with golden embroidery- "Last worn by a great Fairy Lord, I think!"
For herself, Wynd chose a blue cloak with a very ample hood that could shade up to half of her face. The fold of the cloak would not only hide her wings, but also weigh them down so that she wouldn’t have to think about it all the time.
They left her secret tower ("I don’t keep everything I own here," she said. "Just things for special occasions.") and returned to the visible part of the castle. Wynd got a large pack for each, and was packing food and back-up clothes, when suddenly they heard a noise in the distance, like the sound of an oncoming storm. Gilligan looked out the window. "Something’s coming towards the castle!" he exclaimed.
Wynd rushed to his side. "What is it?"
"Looks like…"
"Oh no…"
"Is that…?"
"I think it’s…"
"Torlith," they said in unison, dread in their voices.

Torlith had sent a detachment of soldiers to look for Gilligan and Wynd. They had scoured the countryside, wreaking havoc as they went and terrorizing the villages.
I doubt they actually knew that Wynd and Gilligan were at the old castle. But why wouldn’t they check? It was an ideal hiding place. It was a wonder Torlith hadn’t destroyed it sooner. Well, he wouldn’t make that mistake again.
They came with trebuchets, cannons, catapults. I don’t know how they lugged them there, but they did. And where destructive machines go, destruction almost inevitably follows. Especially when Torlith’s men were the ones handling the destructive machines.
Quickly, they unpacked the machines and began letting large rocks fly.

Inside the castle, Wynd threw the last things into the packs. She was obviously distressed, as anyone could tell from the way her wings were buzzing.
"They’ll destroy the castle!" she cried.
"We have to get out," said Gilligan, shouldering the packs Wynd had prepared.
"It’s not that simple," she said wildly. "This is my home. It’s been my home for centuries. I can’t just let it be destroyed!"
"I’m afraid we have no choice," said Gilligan, not insensitive but practical. "What can we possibly do? We only two unarmed people- against all of them and their war machines."
A stone hit the castle. It shook with the impact, but stood.
Wynd sank to her knees. "I can’t just leave," she whispered to herself.
Gilligan sighed, then said softly, "I suggest if there is anything precious to you in this castle, you rescue it immediately."
Wynd raised her head. Her eyes were glistening, but she knew they had to go. "I don’t care about the objects; my favorites are in the secret tower. They can’t destroy something they don’t know exists, can they?" She didn’t wait for an answer. "Let’s go."
They ran down hallways, trying to find the most secret exit.
The castle shuddered again. A stone fell from the ceiling just behind them.
"The castle’s weakening," said Gilligan. "Are you sure there’s an outlet this way?"
Wynd didn’t answer him. She was crying freely now. "The whole castle, it’s trembling for me. I am its guardian, and I have failed so miserably."
Gilligan put a firm hand on her shoulder. "Don’t think about that. Are you sure this is the way out?"
She sniffed. "Yes, yes."
They came to the giant wooden doors only a hallway or two from the secret passage. Wynd leaned against one. "Help me push," she said. "I can’t do it alone."
With the castle literally crumbling around them (and they knew it would get worse), they pushed the doors open. It was hard. The doors were extremely heavy.
The room they entered was huge, and empty. It was peculiarly silent. "I have not been in this room for ages," whispered Wynd.
No, the room wasn’t completely empty. In the center was a large rectangular block of some fine stone. As the two ran across the room to a door on the other side (also large and seemingly impassable), Wynd halted by the block and bowed her head. "I’m sorry," she said to it, and a tear dropped on the smooth surface. Then she ran back, they heaved it open, and ran through.
They left the castle only just in time. It was falling to pieces. Soon it would be but a ruin.
"It happened so fast," said Wynd as they sheltered in a cluster of trees. She collapsed on the ground. "Too fast. It’s gone, or going. And it’s my fault."
Gilligan didn’t know what to tell her.


Very Good ;)

Great chapter Anna! I can't wait to see what happens next!
One Ring to rule them all,
One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all
and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the shadows lie
-Lord Of The Rings

marie (not verified) | Mon, 11/03/2008

yea! I like this new

yea! I like this new chapter, a little shorter than the others but it's still SOL!
Abstract, random thoughts flit through my mind,
manisfesting themselves in meaningless doodles.............................

Sarah | Mon, 11/03/2008

"Sometimes even to live is courage."

Blogging away!

Great Anna!! Love it, as

Great Anna!! Love it, as usual. :)

I don't know why, but I love the friendly relationship growing between Wynd and Gilligan....
"Ever heard of Plato, Aristotle, Socrates?...Morons."

Clare Marie | Mon, 11/03/2008

"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]

How sad!

I'm glad Giligan and Wynd are safe. Nevertheless, I was very sad to see such a beautiful place get destroyed by Torlith's evil.

James | Mon, 11/03/2008

"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

Alright, now it's the good

Alright, now it's the good guys' turn. Perhaps a secret amphibious landing under the cover of night? Or maybe sneak attack on the castle while Torlith is away?

Ezra | Tue, 11/04/2008

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

Marie and Clare:

Marie and Clare: Thanks!
Sarah: It seems shorter to you? It's five pages, just like the others. (Well, one or two chapters have been six pages... but all the others are the same.)
James: Wynd was inconsolable when I wrote it. She almost left the story on me, but I convinced her that we all needed her. So she's staying, but sometimes I hear her weeping at night...
Ezra: Well, Wynd and Gill can't do it by themselves, and Aria and Co. haven't reached land quite yet.
I'm not sure their retaliation will be able to come quite so soon as you hope.
"Weddings? I love weddings! Drinks all around!" -Jack Sparrow

Anna | Tue, 11/04/2008

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

Yay! Anna didn't leave the

Yay! Anna didn't leave the world yet, so she's continuing work on SOL! :0)
Good chapter!
The successful writer of a Fairy Story makes a Secondary World which your mind can enter
~JRR Tolkien

Heather | Tue, 11/04/2008

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


Aww poor Wynd.:( She seems to have such a depressing life.

Anonymous | Mon, 11/24/2008

I can't wait..

I can't wait to read the next chapter! poor Wynd...

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

Bernadette | Fri, 01/02/2009

You destroyed that beautiful

You destroyed that beautiful castle?!?! That's worse than killing everyone, because it can't miraculously back to life. So sad. It was such a beautiful castle *sniff sniff*. Great chapter.

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

Alecia | Fri, 03/20/2009

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

Aww...Poor Wynd =( Great

Aww...Poor Wynd =( Great chapter though!

This comment was made by Erin!

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

Erin | Tue, 03/31/2009

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

I wish I could help cheer

I wish I could help cheer her up. Wynd, I mean. She seems so sad.

"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." - John Wayne

Bridget | Wed, 04/15/2009

"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