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I looked up at the family tree, the once glowing organism bringing life to the ones dear to me, now burning. The blue flames encapsulated the pink branches, one by one small branches fell to the ground in a burst of beautiful color. The main four stood strong. Like a stream running down a hill, my eyes let out a few tears. I glanced over at my mother and my two brothers, gone. Just a few days ago, life was normal. Now, searching within the tree my eyes darting from branch to branch I desperately searched for a way to bring my brothers back. Nothing shown but one thing. I don’t want to. I don’t desire this. But now… I don’t have a choice.
“Hastos!” I screamed for my brother a smile spread across my face, “Come here quickly, I found a leaf!”
My brother came speeding down the path, jumped over the creek and sat next to me as graceful as a nymph.
“Is it mine or yours?” he asked.
“We’ll have to touch it to see.” I picked up the leaf in my palm and it glowed brightly, a lovely aqua color. My eyes rolled back and I laid down onto the ground beneath me. A woman held me tightly, cradling me in her arms.
“Syrune, you’re going to be so beautiful and powerful, just as I,” she placed her hand on my forehead and my vision faded to back to reality.
I sat up and looked over to Hastos, “It’s mine.”
“What’d you see?”
“A woman, she was holding me. She whispered strange words and placed her hands on me. Then it was gone.” Looking over to Hastos I could tell he was jealous. We’ve never found a leaf of his before and he’s been so eager. I touched his hand gently.
Hastos’ pale blue eyes rolled back and mine followed the same instinct. I instantly could see his brain activity. Pink and blue filled my vision and Hastos was playing my vision through his head, at the same time I could see him wondering of who the woman was. He had suspicions she was our mother, but at the same time he had doubts. Hastos was depressed he couldn’t find a leaf of his. It hurt him. Deeply.
My vision came back and I noticed Hastos had pulled his hand away, “I’m so sorry Hastos.”
He smiled gently and looked down, “It’s okay Syrune,” a crystal clear drop fell from his eyelids, “It’s not your fault.” Many more tears followed and I pulled Hastos into a warm embrace.
After letting Hastos cry for what seemed like the millionth time, I attempted to calm him, “Come on, Katyr must be at home being tortured by Athtar.” Pulling Hastos up I slid my gloves on, he doing the same. Hastos and I both wore modest clothing. Our shirts came up to our chins and covered our necks. We wore long pants that clung tightly to our legs and our sleeves clinging tightly also, like a mother holding their child in a protective hug. Our clothes are like this to keep each other from invading our privacy. Hastos and I have a strange ability, we can ‘see’ each other’s minds, by touch. None of the other members of our family have this ability though. We haven’t met anyone like us. We don’t think we ever will.
Athtar is our younger brother, not biologically, though he was also adopted much later than us. Hastos and I are the only blood relatives within our family. We were adopted, by elven parents like us, our mother and father found us in Aelynthi Forest, under a large tree. They were on their honeymoon and decided to take us in then. Aelynthi Forest is where the goddess Aelynthi is within. It is said she waits in the forests, hoping her three children she lost 15 years ago, would come back to her. Aelynthi Forest is villages away from where we currently reside, Cymbiir Village. Our village is small compared to others I’ve been to, and there are mostly wood elves. The occasionally snow elf will pass through, they never stay in one place. Forests cover our land and getting from village to village is almost an adventure.
Hastos and I arrived to the village and quickly ran towards our tree. And yes, I said tree. That’s where we elves live. I opened the wooden door slowly peeking inside. Hastos above me doing the same. Katyr and Athtar lay asleep on the couch, books in both their laps. Katyr is our friend, a flying cat who can only talk to Hastos and me. Telepathically too, not verbally. Katyr was with us when our parents found us. He was watching over us and followed us everywhere. He still does to this very day. Athar is our younger brother, whom I mentioned earlier. He’s sweet but sometimes bullies Katyr.
Hastos and I tiptoed inside, suspecting mom and dad not to be home. They must’ve been out gathering food.
“Hey I think I’m going to take a short nap,” I say with a yawn while climbing up to my loft.
Hastos let out a gentle laugh and took off his shoes, “I think I’ll go to the library, I’m extremely curious about the leaves we’ve been finding.”
“Have fun then, also take Katyr with you please?” I asked.
“I will, don’t worry.”
Closing my eyelids I let out a sigh. My hearing instantly increased in range and I could hear Hastos waking up Katyr and leaving. I drifted into a deep sleep and started to dream of a tree. A tree unlike any other, the branches were pink, and the leaves a glowing aqua color. It was unlike anything I’ve seen. As I approached the tree the same woman who held me in my vision, appeared at my side. Syrune, you are of age now, come to me, She said. I looked up to her, she was tall, so very tall. Her eyes sparkled a pale blue, like mine, and her hair was a long pure white, just like Hastos and I. Her aura let off the scent of grass after rainfall, faint, but it was there. Are you my mother? I asked looking up to her in awe. She smiled brightly, and disappeared. Reappearing up on the tree. You’re correct my child. You and Hastos are my kin, but there is another one of you. A child with the same ability as yours. I felt a rush of excitement run through my blood as I heard her say this. Another one of us? How could it be? Who is it? Where are they? How can I find them? I asked anxious for an answer. The woman grinned and was gone. All she left was a picture of the forest we stood in, and a village north of the forest its name I could not pronounce. I’ll call it A village, since it’s right near Aelynthi Forest.
I awoke to Hastos shaking me back and forth. He was yelling something I could not understand. At first.
“Iit muli ta kih! Iit muli ta kih! Iit muli ta kih!” he exclaimed over and over in excitement.
I’ve found our kind.
I quickly jumped from bed. I ripped my gloves off from my hands. Hastos doing the same. Our fingers intertwined, as both our visions faded away.
“Hastos, do you know when you’re brother will be coming back from vacation?” I heard Katyr asking, I was seeing from Hastos’ point of view. He looked up from a book and asked what Katyr was talking about. He had said that he had asked us where he was when we were younger, but we simply said he was on a vacation. Hastos and I had no memory of this. Katyr was flying around the library and found an old tattered book. He tossed it to Hastos, and he caught it with ease. The front read, Aelynthi, A Goddess of All, A Mother of Three. Hastos frowned but opened the book, anticipated he allowed Katyr to flip through sentences to a page in the book. It read;
The children of our dear Aelynthi are identical, from their looks, to their values. Aelynthi has searched far and wide for her children. Once they find each other, the children all say, “Iit muli ta kih,” only the children of Aelynthi and the goddess herself can understand these words.
My vision came back and Hastos smiled brightly and held my wrists, careful not to touch my gloveless hands. I smiled back and pulled him into a hug.
“We are the children of Aelynthi,” we proclaimed in unison.
“We have to tell mom we’re going on an adventure,” I said.
Hastos frowned, “Why?”
“I know where our brother is!”
Hastos and I asked our mom if we could leave, of course she said yes. We don’t plan on leaving her forever. We’re coming back. Our village will be proud of us.
We left the village three days ago and Hastos and I have been walking a trail to the A village(Hastos can’t pronounce it either). With Katyr by our side guiding us he wouldn’t stop speaking of our mother and our brother. He seemed to think it was hysterical, that we hadn’t remembered anything
“It’s so silly you guys didn’t remember you had a brother, haha! I wondered for a very long time. When he would be back. Where did he go? Who was he with? All the questions I’ve had. I’ve been trusting you guys to know. I guess us cats have better memory than humans,” Katyr was so excited, but at the same time, mocked me and Hastos, “I haven’t seen Khidell in ages, wait no.. ever since you were born and spent the days playing together under the tree. Then one day BOOM! Aelynthi lost control of the forest for a second and we were all cast onto Earth!”
Hastos and I shared a laugh and he held my hand. We smiled to each other and continued listening to Katyr rant. Soon enough the three of us got to a clearing. With Katyr guiding us he paused, looked around, and continued forward. The trees bent inwards as if there was an unseen entrance. Hastos and I looked up in awe. Passing under the trees I felt my heart beat faster for a short amount of time, Hastos was experiencing the same thing, I could tell from his expression. Wide eyed and panting he looked to me.
“What happened?” he asked.
“Home, home, home!” Katyr cheered with a smiled as he flew above the trees and all throughout the branches.
There was nothing here living except for us and the plants all around. Green and brown, trees surrounded us, as if trapping us in. In the distance I saw glowing green leaves and almost fell over. That was the tree. I ran. I ran so fast I couldn’t hear Hastos call my name. I was panting and sweating but damn was I excited. I continued to run, looking back occasionally to see if Hastos and Katyr could keep up. Which they could. I looked up at the enormous tree in front of me. It loomed over the other plants. It wasn’t the biggest tree in the forest but it was definitely the most beautiful. Hastos stared up at the tree with me as Katyr just flew around and landed on a branch near the top of the tree.
“Hastos this is your branch!” he said, “You’re so healthy, so healthy! That’s why we couldn’t find any of your leaves!”
Hastos climbed up the tree, careful not to snap any branches. He reached for his branch. Carefully he touched a leaf, and fell, going unconscious. With the leaf still in his hand Hastos’ body tumbled down each and every branch till he landed at my feet. I grinned and gently placed my hand on his head. My vision didn’t go out completely when I did this. Since he was unconscious I’d only get a glimpse of his mind, but not the full picture. It’s his leaf. He was so overjoyed to finally find one after all this time. I removed my hand and glanced around the top of the tree.
One branch in particular caught my attention. It was as if it were calling my name. I positioned my foot on the tree, and branch by branch, found my way up. I cautiously reached for a leaf but as doing so Katyr screamed my name from above.
“What?!” I screamed back.
“That’s your mother's branch. You might get hurt. Please be careful,” his eyes were wide, he looked scared for me.
I, once again, reached for the branch and gently touched a leaf. As I did so I felt myself fall backward, but unlike Hastos, something caught me.
I gasped for air as I awoke in a pale blue puddle of water. It was quite warm, but got colder the longer I stayed. All around me the sky was a dark shade of pink, and dark grey clouds blocked out the sun.The smell of a smoke seemed to be everywhere. No fire or smoke could be seen. The silence here was almost unbearable. I could hear my heart beating so clearly. I looked around and saw a woman laying on the ground. Her shoulders shook as if she were crying. I furrowed my brow and slowly inched forward towards the woman. As I got closer the sobbing became audible, her hair glowed a beautiful white color, like mine, it was long and came down past her bum. She was long, tall, she was so tall. She shifted her head and pale blue eyes, swollen, met mine.
“S...Syrune?” she muttered.
Confused, I replied, “Y..yes that’s me. How do you know my name?”
The woman all the sudden brought herself from her feet and towered over me standing at about 10 feet. She was so beautiful. Distracted as I was from her beauty I couldn’t help but realize her resemblance to Hastos. And to me.
“Your Aelynthi..” I whispered.
She smiled a gentle smile, one that makes you feel welcome and all warm inside.
“Yes child. I’m your mother,” she bent her knees and lowered herself to me, gently caressing my cheek, “My daughter due to your brothers and you… maturing, my life is almost over. My dear, I need you to destroy those boys, and take my place.”
“I’m sorry did I hear you right?” I felt tears forming in my eyes, “You want me, to kill my brothers. So that I can take the throne?”
“Oh yes, yes my child,” She lifted her hands as if glorifying me, “I’ve chosen you to follow in my steps. Those boys, they know nothing of womanhood! Nothing! Take my place dear, for if you fail, I shall take the life of your two brothers,” She smiled and looked down to me, “And if my beautiful daughter succeeds! You will have anything you want. Being a goddess is truly wonderful.”
“And what if one of my brothers kills me first?”
Her face hardened to a despising stare, “Then they’ll take my place, but I assure you that won’t happen.”
I rubbed my eyes and opened them to see the sight of the tree. Hastos stood over me.
“Oh finally you’re awake. I thought you wouldn’t wake up!” he cried out.
“No.. no I’m fine,” I looked around, the trees swayed gently in the wind. Katyr flew around the tree as if keeping watch. I told Hastos about what Aelynthi told me. He was shocked and told me we needed to find our brother and tell Aelynthi to screw off.
Hastos and I have been walking since dawn the day I talked to Aelynthi. With both of us tired and Katyr growing weak, we were all sluggish and it was hard to keep walking. The dirt road leading from the forest, and into the village neither one of us can pronounce, was getting smaller, probably hinting that we were close to the village. Hastos and Katyr collapsed and I was left alone. They told me to go on ahead, and come back to get them after I found Khidell. I continued my journey till I saw the leaves on the trees begin to shift colors. They went from bright green, to a dark purple. I must’ve been close. I squinted my eyes and saw a clearing ahead, a burst of adrenaline pumped through my veins as I quickened my pace, and ran towards the villages entrance. Dozens of dark elves surrounded me. I love this race of elves, they have a specialty in alchemy. Khidell should be easy to find here, his caramel skin and pure white hair will stick out of the purple-skinned dark elves with black hair. Elves greeted me left and right, and questioned my being here. After 20 minutes I spotted Khidell. Almost a spitting image of Hastos. His hair was shorter than Hastos and I. The dark elves preferred short hair. He caught my eye and a look of confusion crossed his face. I walked faster towards him and held out my gloved hand.
“Iit muli ta kih. I’m Syrune, your sister.”
Khidell looked into my eyes and then to my hands, “I’m your kind? Also what’s with the gloves?” he asked.
I removed my gloves and held out my hand once again, “Be careful what you’re thinking right now, okay?” I could see his brows positioned in a confused fashion, “Now sit down with me right here, and take my hand.”
Khidell sat down and grabbed my hand, he fell back eyes rolling behind his head. I stayed sitting up and could see his mind. Flashbacks of his day earlier were being shown to me. He liked to read I could see and he lived a relatively peaceful life. He believed me too, he was thinking of me, and how similar we looked. He’s known he wasn’t normal.
I let go of his hand coming back to reality. Khidell sat up and looked at me wide eyed and gaping.
“W...what the hell was that?!” he asked.
“That’s our ability. It’s only something you, my brother… well our brother, and I can do,”
“That’s why you were modest clothes then?” Khidell was starting to lose his look of surprise.
“Hehe, yeah,” I said with a smile, “Now I need you to come with me back to Aelynthi Forest, okay?”
I told Khidell about the whole situation, our mom being a goddess, wanting me to take her place. Threatening to kill Khidell and Hastos if she didn’t get her way. Khidell agreed to come with me to help speak to her.
Khidell and I had found Hastos and Katyr asleep where I left them. Hastos, Khidell, Katyr, and I all made it back to our tree. I pointed out to all of them our individual branches, mine being on the far left, Hastos’ next to mine, then Aelynthi’s beside his, and finally Khidell’s. I explained to them that each branch held our lifeforce, the older we got, the more they would wilt and die. Aelynthi’s had lost plenty of leaves and was close to death, but still held the pink glow unlike any of ours. All of us together was able to form a portal around the tree and into the realm where our mother was. With our minds of course, not in reality.
When we reached the opposite realm all three of us gasped. It was a utopia. Birds flew freely. Wild animals ran across the green grass. Elks drank from a clear watered pond, glistening in the light of the sun, with a cloudless sky beyond. The trees large and majestic, each looking similar to the family tree. The We looked around and finally found Aelynthi. She lay in a pond surrounded by flowers. Her eyes were closed and she was in a fetal position. We could feel her lifeforce growing weaker.
“Aelynthi..” I said quietly.
She looked up from her slumber and a smile formed across her face, “My darling…” She looked over to the boys and frowned, “Why are they here?”
“Aelynthi, I’m not accepting your offer. I don’t want to be a goddess. I want my brothers to be equal. If one gets the throne, we all do, as one,” I said as her eyes were filling with rage. She looked as if at any moment she’d lash out and hurt me.
“Well you leave me no choice… love,” she said with a grin. Aelynthi gathered herself standing up slowly, he white gown coming with her. Soaked with water she struggled to bring herself towards me. She opened her palm when she got close enough. I tried to move away, but I couldn’t bring my muscles to listen to my brain. Aelynthi’s palm was pressed against my forehead, a bubble formed around me.
Now in a panic, I frantically looked around. My brothers.. They’re knocked out! I slammed my hands against the bubble. Nothing. Aelynthi got close to my brothers and put her palms on both their heads. I felt tears forming in my eyes. I opened my mouth to speak. My vocal cords failed me. Move, move! I thought to myself. I tried and tried to get my voice out. My brothers disappeared before my eyes along with Aelynthi. No, no, no.
The beautiful realm where my mother resided diminished around me. I was still in my bubble. M y vision began to double as my eyes tried to focus on the scene before me. Aelynthi stared from outside of my bubble with a devious smile spread across her face
“My sweet, sweet daughter,” she cooed softly, “Oh, how I love you so..” She moved to the side and I saw my brothers lying unconscious under the family tree. We were on earth again. Katyr lay unconscious on a branch of the tree. It was Aelynthi’s branch, I’m guessing he tried to snap it after he realized what was wrong.
“Syrune, you will take my place dear,” Aelynthi looked at the tree and at my brothers, “this cute, perfect family of ours.. I’m afraid this just won’t work out my darling. Now you are going to watch me destroy your brothers, and I,” She explained with her lower lip out and puppy eyes, “I know love, it’s heartbreaking for you mortals. Seeing someone dear to you die right before your eyes,” She reached her hand through the bubble and caressed my cheek, “You will, you will take my place, whether you like it or not. Eat this,” She held out a small black berry, “You can save your brothers, but you will become a goddess if you do eat this. It’s your choice my love.” Aelynthi smiled and turned away.
Conflicted and scared, I watched her walk away towards the tree. She levitated up to my branch on the tree, and put a special coat, almost clear and blue over my branch. The others, she left untouched. Aelynthi flowed back to the ground and stood under the tree. She kneeled down, weak. She pulled her white garments over her head, but before doing so, sent a weak smile my way. I couldn’t do anything. My body wouldn’t move. My voice was gone. I felt useless. With a wave of her hand, a burst of blue flames filled the forest scorching everything in the path of the flame. Except for the tree. My brothers were injured, but they still breathed. They’re branches were in flames, both turned grey. They weren’t coming back.. My breathing slowed dramatically. Aelynthi, covered in blue flames, did not burn, but went golden. She was gone.
The bubble disintegrated and my breath came back to me. I ran to my brothers, “Khidell! Hastos! Wake up! Wake up! Wake up! Please!” I cried. My voice was weak and the fire did not seem to affect me. The branch must be protecting me. I lay my hands on their heads and cried, and cried. Their memories, their times with me playing in my head, being shared with me. They can be saved.
I stood up. Looking up at the family tree, the once glowing organism bringing life to the ones dear to me, now burning. The blue flames encapsulated the pink branches, one by one small branches fell to the ground in a burst of beautiful color, but the main four stood strong. Like a stream running down a hill my eyes let out a few tears. I glanced over at my mother, and my two brothers, gone. Just a few days ago life was normal. Now, searching within the tree my eyes darting from branch to branch I desperately searched for a way to bring my brothers back. Nothing shown but one thing. I don’t want to. I don’t desire this. But now… I don’t have a choice. I held the blackberry in my hand, the fruit preserved inside a bubble. I gently popped it open, and the fruit fell into my hand. Again, I looked at Hastos, Khidell, and the little Katyr.
“I love you all,” I mumbled bringing the berry closer to my lips, “I’ll fix this, we’ll be happy, I promise,” I cried. Swallowing my guilt, I placed the berry into my mouth, chewed, and swallowed.