Author's note: This is currently a work in progress and I will update it as I write it.
PrologueA young, blonde girl sat in a large open field with the sun beating down on her. The sun was pleasantly warm on her bare shoulders and was warming the deep green of her gown. The wind picked up and stirred the leaves on the tree and pulled almost playfully at the ends of her waist length golden hair. The wind also stirred the bottom of her dress and lifted it up revealing the white silk under layer.
She felt the blades of grass tickle her bare feet, her sandals sitting under the tree where
She then heaved a sigh as she remembered why she had come out here in the first place. She looked down at the sprawling city nestled peacefully between several hills. She could just see movement in these cities. She looked for the familiar stride of her father moving within the people but he didn’t see him.
She shook her head and turned to face the big oak tree sitting in the middle of the field. Luna walked slowly over to it and placed her hand on the rough bark and looked up into its bright expanse of foliage. She couldn’t keep the smile off her face as she watched birds fly to a fro from their nests located higher in the tree, well hidden among the branches.
She turned again to look at the city, keeping her hand on the tree. She felt a great connection with the wilderness almost as if it were calling her home, as crazy as it sounded, even to her own ears. She turned to look up in the trees dense amount of branches before turning and walking toward a fallen tree. She ran one hand lightly over the surface before she found a suitable place to sit down.
She decided that this would be a good a place as any to wait for her father. He was a good man and there was a possibility that he may someday rule the elves, but he just wasn’t on time. Hardly ever did he manage to get somewhere on time. This was their 3rd magic practice session this week and he had been late for all three.
Luna was different, a polar opposite from her father. She was up and moving with the sun on most days. She helped her mom prepare breakfast then did her chores. She even knew how to sew and helped to repair clothes. She just hoped this session would go smoother than the previous two.
Suddenly Luna spotted a figure coming up the hill at her and she couldn’t help but smile. Her father was walking up the path the light shining against his blonde hair. Luna rose from her perch on the old tree and walked forward a smile illuminating her face. Her father smiled when he saw her there waiting for him.
“Luna my daughter I am sorry to be late. I got held up in the market with one of the other village elders,” he said as he stopped in front of her. She didn’t move for a few moments, she just sat there looking at him with her unwavering blue eyes. Then she hugged him and he chuckled as he wrapped his arms around her.
Luna’s hands curled into the familiar material of her favorite robe her father owned. She held the blue cloth tightly in the left hand and felt the material warm under her touch. With her right hand she traced the runes which she and her mother had spent many hour sewing into the cloth.
She leaned back and smiled up at her father and he smiled back. “It is okay father I understand that the well-fair of the city is just as important as me,” Luna said as she looked at him for a few moments more before moving to take her seat on the fallen tree again.
Absentmindedly ran her fingers over the worn, smooth bark tracing some of those familiar runes. The wild aspect of the area seemed to have quieted down in her fathers presence almost as if sensing he was different then even Luna. Luna could sense the difference in his presence almost like the wildlife around her did.
In a way she was drawn to it and wanted to be like it but some strange part of her fought against the urge telling her that she shouldn’t be like everyone else. Her father looked at her for a few moments more before he walked toward her and sat beside her on the tree. He smoothed out his robes so he didn’t get a wrinkle in them before his council meeting.
“Today it is going to be a fairly simple lesson, kind of a review in a way,” he said as he looked down at his daughter sitting next to him.
“Okay father,” she said as she looked up at him and smiled happily.
“Okay so first can you tell me what the most basic power we elves have and use a lot,” Amor asked Luna looking down at her with his sharp green eyes.
“Father this is way too easy,” Luna protested a grin illuminating her face.
“Come on Luna I asked you a question to test your knowledge. Enthrall me,” he said as he settled against the wood and turned to look at her.
“Okay, okay. The most basic power that the elves possess is the ability to befriend animals. It doesn’t matter what time or what creature,” Luna said as she looked at him.
“Okay father,” she said with a sigh. This hadn’t gone too well when she had tried it the day before when she practiced. She took a deep breath and whistled it ringing through the air. the birds in the tree answered her but none came from the tree. She whistled again and a small yellow bird hopped to the end of a branch and whistled at her its head tilted to the side.
Luna whistled again and the bird chirped back at the before flying down to her and landing on the sleeve of her white under garment. He chirped at her and fluffed his feathers. Luna smiled and reached up to stroke the birds soft little feathers, loosing focus on the spell. The bird’s behaviors hanged then.
Where it had once been docile and singing softly it was now mad and screeching. In flew around her hand screeching angrily at her. On a few pass it would catch a strand of two in its beak. Suddenly the bird gathered up a huge chunk of her hair in its feet and pulled back on it. Luna gasped in pain and tried to pull her hair away from the little creature.
Her father chuckled before reaching toward her and scaring the bird away from her. It settled back up in the tree with a shake of its head and a fluff of the feathers. It watched the two of them carefully for a moment before settling down and hopping back over to its nest.
Luna turned and looked down at her father who was watching the little bird. She looked back up and watched the bird weave a few strands of her hair that was still in its feet into the nest to help keep the eggs warm at night. She smiled slightly and reached up subconsciously to smooth out her hair that the bird had helped to make an awful mess of it.
“That was a good try,” Amor said after a few more moments of silence before turning to look at her.
“It wasn’t that good at all,” Luna said as she turned to look at him. “It took me three calls to get the bird to come and then it attacked me.”
“Luna you had it under your control but you have to maintain focus on the spell for a certain amount of time for it to really set in and hold the animal ‘til you speak the words of freedom,” Amor said as he looked at Luna and she nodded.
“I will remember that,” Luna said as she looked up at her father and smiled.
“I would have you try it again but I don’t think the birds will come,” he said as he looked up into the tree branches of the large oak again and watched the birds eyeing them carefully.
“I don’t think they will either,” she said with a slight laugh as she watched them go about their daily lives. Amor just leaned back resting his hands against the smooth portion of the tree and looked passed the branches and at the great expanse of blue sky. Luna leaned back and looked with him her long hair tickling her fingers.
At first she only saw the blue sky and a few wisps of white clouds but black smoke soon started rising on the wind as well. Luna’s brows furrowed as she watched and followed the path of it down to a point just close to the horizon. She didn’t remember the name of the town located in that area but she could have only guessed the smoke was rising from that city.
“The Dark Elves have struck another Elven city,” Amor said quietly focusing on the same area as her.
“What has been going on with them father?” Luna asked as she looked up at him the light reflecting in her blue ones.
“Destroying more and more Elven cities,” Amor said as he continued to stare off into the distance.
“Don’t we destroy their cities as well?” Luna asked as she looked back out at the horizon.
“We do when we can find them,” Amor said with a slightly nod as he looked down at his daughter. “Why do you ask?”
“Well have you ever thought that maybe if you stopped destroying their cities they would stop destroying ours?” Luan asked as she turned to look at her father.
Amor heaved a sigh and looked out over the horizon. “I wish it was just that easy Luna dear but this war has been going on for several generations. We don’t think the dark elves will stop until they defeat us or all of them are killed off,” Amor said as he looked down at his daughter.
“But haven’t you tried to make piece with them?” Luna asked as she looked at him.
“Luna you have to understand I fully agree with this war. The Dark Elves have to be stopped for they do anymore damage to the land. Before they hurt anymore,” Amor said as he looked at his daughter.
“Father maybe if we had a political alliance with the two. I will marry their prince to seal the deal,” Luna said as she looked to her father.
“Luna I would never do that to you. I would never make an alliance with them. The are filthy, dirt, and primitive and need to be put in their place. I don’t expect you to understand,” he said as he rose to his feet and looked away from her.
“Father you can’t run from them forever. You can’t keep sending your men out there to fight and die. Soon we won’t have enough men to protect the city,” Luan insisted as she looked at her father.
“Enough Luna. This is the end of this subject. You will not marry and I will not listen to the foolish chatter of a little girl,” he said in his no nonsense voice. “I will expect you will understand my reasoning’s in time,” he added as he began his trek back to the city. “I have business to attend to. I will see you at home. I expect you to be back before nightfall,” he said as he continued walking not so much as glancing back at her.
“Yes father. Understood father,” Luna said as she watched her father head back to town. She watched the light almost reflect of the white runes of his robe. What did he mean by his statement ‘I will expect you to understand my reasoning’s in time’? She didn’t even know what his reasoning’s where.
Luna rose from her seat of the fallen tree and headed toward the oak. One she reached it she placed her hand on its rough bark again and looked up into the foliage. The wildlife seemed to come to life again. It was almost as if it had been holding its breath while her father was here.
She watched a squirrel run nimbly across the branch before stopping near the end. It looked around before turning around and scurrying back into the cover of the leaves. Luna smiled as she watched the animals busy themselves in doing something. After a few minutes she sighed and turned away from the tree.
She walked away her hand slowly falling away from the tree. She strode back over to the fallen tree the grass tickling her bare feet and ankles. She walked over to the fallen tree and ran her hands over the smooth bark before sitting down on it again. She shifted and placed her bare feet on the wood and wrapped her arms around her knees.
She remained there for a few minutes before she heaved a sigh and brushed her hair away from her face. She shifted and laid back and stretched her long legs out. She felt the smooth surface off the wood up till about her knees where the dress had been hiked up to. She closed her eyes and let the sun warm her body and allow her to relax.
A young boy, roughly the same age as Luna stood in his city looking up at the sky and the smoke rising. The smoke though was a lot closer for him then it was to Luna. Actually it was members of this city that were raiding the neighboring Elven city.
He heaved a sigh and raked his hand through his short white hair as he watched to smoke for a few moments more. Then he turned and his sharp white eyes skimmed through the crowd as he walked. Some of the younger girls walked by and giggled amongst themselves. Some even waved at him but he paid them no heed.
The wind stirred then and he closed his eyes as it brushed his face, as light as a feather. It tugged at the flaps of his vest and pulled them back revealing his heavily muscled torso. The wind also tugged at his pants which were loose for most of the leg but was cinched tight at the ankle.
He stopped before a booth and looked at the people inside before turning and continuing on. He kept an even stride as he walked across the well packed earth. Finally he stopped beside another young teen in front of a large booth. He heaved a sigh and with a nod to the other boy walked into the booth.
This booth smelled strongly of incense which where meant to relax the visitors but it only made him more nervous. He looked around at the other young teens and even some full grown men getting their head shaven.
“Ah Khan there you are. I was wondering if you were going to show,” a older woman said as she came over to him from the back room where the elders and higher ranking people went to get some privacy from the others around them.
“Sorry to make you worry,” Khan said as he looked at her and nodded his head slightly to her.
“Let’s head back and get this done with,” she said as she stepped back and pulled the curtain back for him.
“Alright,” he said as ducked under and saw that the room was empty. He saw that there were blades set up around a set of cushions and he moved over to them. He sank down into them and sighed as he closed his eyes. He heard the woman come up and kneel behind him.
“I am going to miss your hair. It is so perfect,” she said as she looked at him and smiled.
“It is father’s wishes though and you know what happens when you disobey my father right?” he asked as he looked over his shoulder at her.
“I have heard the rumors,” she said with a grim nod. He turned to face forward again and he heard her selected her first blade. With a sigh Khan closed his eyes and let her cut his hair.
Khan stepped from one of the shops where he had been relaxing with the others and looked toward the village center where a large bonfire raged. The fire cast shadows of the people sitting and standing before it across the ground and gave them an eerie glow. Khan took a deep breath before walking toward the fire and his destiny.
Many preteens, some younger and some older than him, stood around the fire looking down and sneering at the elf prisoners that sat bound there. Some were only children and Khan was aghast to see that. He had seen the ritual before but nothing to this degree. He had never seen children killed in the Ignition Ritual. Children were normally killed in their cities so their bodies could burn with those of their fallen parents, if they were lucky.
The prisoners sat very close to the fire a few cringing at the heat and some as the fires leapt. Some already had burns from the fire and some were bloodied from fighting against his dark elf brethren. He pulled the crossbow from where he had hung it against his hip and gripped it tightly.
He approached his spot in the circle and stood facing the girl, his back to the spectators. His job here was very simple. To become a warrior he just had to kill the girl. No big deal it would be an easy task. At least that is what he had been telling himself all day.
Khan looked down at the girl and swallowed. She was around his age and her face was bloody and covered in soot. This grime didn’t do anything to cover up her beauty. Khan shook his head and closed his eyes a moment yelling at himself for having such thoughts. He opened them again and he fell into her large blue eyes.
They were wide and dilated due to the darkness around her. She looked at him her gaze unwavering and she took a deep breath. Then she sat forward and tilted her head to the sky, accepting her fate. Her lips moved but no sound came out, Khan knew she was praying to her god.
Khan’s hand shook as he heard the others chant his name. He was the first to kill where his father was an important person here in the village. For some odd reason Khan couldn’t bring himself to raise the crossbow and just kill the girl. He had figured it would be easy to do, and that if he just killed her that he would be a emotionless warrior. Boy was he wrong.
“Come on Khan you can kill her,” his father whispered in his ear and Khan swallowed again.
“Khan can’t you see that she wants to die. That she is accepting death so why don’t you just kill her,” another village elder whispered and Khan closed his eyes and took a deep breath hoping the others didn’t see him shake slightly. .He opened his eyes and looked down at the girl. She had opened her eyes and was looking at him expectantly.
Khan’s grip on the crossbow had turned his knuckles white. He raised his hand and aimed it square at her forehead. A small smile tugged at his lips and she closed her eyes. Khan closed his a moment then pulled the trigger. He heard it pierce her skull and he opened his eyes. Her body seemed to swell before falling backwards into the flames as her life left the body.
“Good Job son. A nice clean kill,” his father said as he clapped him on the shoulder and grinned. To Khan it sounded almost as if his father was congratulating him on killing some wild animal. Khan inclined his head slightly before replacing the crossbow to his hip with shaking hands.
Darkness had fallen in the Elven City of Fen and Luna laid in bed tossing and turning restlessly. Dinner with her father had been a cold shoulder and ignoring her. He was still upset about the comments she had made about the Dark Elves. She rolled onto her back and opened her eyes to look up at the dark ceiling.
The house was silent but there was a distance sound that was almost like the sound of battle. Luna sat up her blankets falling away from her shoulders. She looked around and shivered in the unnatural cold that seemed to permeate the air. Luna reached down and drew the blankets back up around her shoulders as she looked around.
“Mom? Dad?” she called silently but she received no answer. They should have been asleep in the adjacent beds. Luna shivered again in the unrelenting cold and drew the blankets as tight as she could around her. She looked around the dim, unlit room and wondered where her parents were.
“Luna stay here,” her father called from the other room and Luna immediately swung her legs over the side of the bed. She went to place her bare feet on the floor but she didn’t have to hop down in it to know that it was freezing. She thought better of it and pulled her legs back up under her and wrapped the blanket tight around her shoulders.
She decided that she might as well take her father’s advice. If that was the sound of battle she heard getting closer then she decided that would be smart. The noise steadily grew and she heard her parents leave the house closing the door firmly behind them. Luna curled herself in a tight ball and closed her eyes.
She fell into a light sleep almost like a trance. Her body was tried but her mind was reeling. She wanted to be out there in the fray helping to save the innocent and kill the Dark Elves that threatened to destroy all the she knew.
There was a bang against the side of the house that jolted Luna awake in an instant. She curled in a ball tighter and pulled the blanket over her head shivering uncontrollably. She had no clue if someone she knew had been slain or if one of the enemy had been slain. She strained to hear any sounds that may indicate when her parents were.
After a few minutes the ruckus quieted down and Luna looked up the blanket falling off of her head. She looked around with wild blue eyes then the doorknob rattled. She let out a squeak and laid down on her bed drawing her blanket back over her head. The door knob rattled again and she looked around the corner at the front door.
Suddenly the latch turned and Luna’s head disappeared beneath the blanket again. She couldn't keep her body from shaking but not from the cold. She was scared especially since she didn't know who was coming in. It could be one of her parents or a wounded seeking shelter, or very well a Dark Elf making sure that all the elves were dead.
There was a crash and Luna gasped silently covering her mouth with her hand. Luna shuttered and tried to remain still when she heard a sound. It was sobbing and she lifted her head and wrapped the blanket back down around her shoulders. She shifted slightly before climbing out the opposite side of her bed and sat crouched down, her back pressed against it.
She leaned around to see if she could see who it was but she couldn't due to the dim lighting. She ducked back around the bed and placed her hand on her chest feeling her heart beating like wild. She took a few steadying breathes before she stood up and drawing the blankets tightly around her.
She walked around the bed and walked toward the figure huddled up on the floor in from of the semi opened door. Luna stopped in the doorway of the bedroom and looked at the figure curled tightly into a ball. Luna could hear crying and she walked cautiously forward and reached out toward the figure.
When she drew closer the pale light spilling from the door illuminated the blood staining the once white night shirt. She stepped on a loose board and she let out a small squeak and stepped back. The figures head snapped up his hand reaching for the discarded sword until he saw Luna.
“Luna thank god your safe,” Amor said and Luna's heart swelled. She raced forward and through herself into his arms. He wrapped his arms around her under the blanket and held her close savoring her body heat. Luna buried her face in his shoulder and they just stood there for a while.
After about 3 minutes Luna lifted her face and pulled back enough to look in her fathers eyes.
“Dad where's mom?” she asked as she looked at him keeping her arms around his neck. Her father looked down at the ground and Luna moved away from him. “Daddy where mom? This is not funny,” Luna said as she stepped away from her father. She remembered hearing him crying and she moved toward the door.
Amor reached out and pulled his daughter to him again trying ti keep her from seeing the carnage outside. He heart ached to see her so worried but he could bear to have her see the mutilated body of her mother.
“Father let go of me,” she protested as she wiggled away and gathered up her discarded blanket. She walked over to the door and grabbed the handle. She looked at her father and the pained expression on his face.
Luna took a deep relaxing breath before turning to face the door again and pulling it open fully. Scattered across the roads were bodies of dead and dying Elves and Dark Elves alike. Luna surveyed the damage with a slight shake of her head. She then remembered the slam she had heard and she looked down one side of the house but saw nothing. She turned and looked down the other side and saw her mother's body half sitting half laying there.
Luna let out a gasp and covered her mouth with her hands. She let out a choked sob and the blanket fell to the ground. Her mother's body looked as if someone had fought over who should have which part of her. Her once golden hair was now matted and plastered to her lithe body with a coating of blood.
Her striking blue eyes were now wide open in fear and pain. They had already start to glaze over giving her a far away look. Her body was covered in deep cut and a huge gaping hole in her chest were a large broadsword had been buried. There were what also appeared to be bruises across the pale skin of her wrists and neck.
Luna dropped to the ground and tears started to fall, landing on her white night gown. The cruel bitter air beat at her body racking her with shuttering and goosebumps but she didn't have the strength to wrap the blanket back around her. Suddenly she felt the blanket wrapped firmly around her shoulders and she looked up at her fathers grim face.
“Did these … these things kill mom?'' she asked as she nodded to the dead body of a Dark Elf sitting not to far from her.
“Yes Luna I am so sorry. I tried to protect her but they ganged up on us. There was nothing I could have done to save her,” he said as he placed a hand on his shoulder and squeezed it slightly.
Luna ran a shaking hand along her mothers face before leaning up and gently closing her eyes. Luna sat back and wiped her eyes on her arm then looked up at her father determination etched into her soft child-like face.
“Father I will avenge mothers death, I promise,” she said as she held her hand up and curled it into a fist.
“I'm sure you will,” he said as he kneeled down behind her and scooped her up. “But for now let's go inside and get some rest. It is going to be a really long day tomorrow,” Amor said as he stood up and Luna wrapped her arms around his neck.
“Yeah that sounds good just don't leave me alone anymore alright?” she asked with a yawn and he couldn't help but smile.
“I promise I won't,” he said as he turned and walked back into the house and closed the door tightly behind him.