PrologueDarkness and gloom swept over a barren valley. Black clouds shed their haunting array throughout the ash covered hills. The floor of the valley had once been infested with soft green moss that lulled even the coldest, hardest hearted men to sleep. Flowers had once blossomed and grown into vibrant beauties in the fresh, reviving breeze. Now they were ash.
The valley was now shunned and cursed. Ashes were all that remained from Death’s patrol, in search of those who proudly call themselves Elves.
A restless wind swept over the hills. Its constant whispers often filled the Sauntering Forest with the latest gossip. But now it was silent. There were no leaves to rustle and disrupt, for the Sauntering Forest had been demolished. In the forest beyond the valley, all that was heard was the mournful howls of the broken hearted wind.
A single flame. That was all it took to make a lively, radiant valley into a gray, ash covered pit.
A young boy’s keen and watchful eyes scanned each dark corner of the valley for any elves whom might have been spared. But it seemed as though he was the only survivor. He stood on a hill top at the edge of the valley, his eyes flickering desperately. Soot, blood and tears streaked his young face. His clothes which had once been very stylish and expensive were tattered and torn giving him the appearance of a beggar.
The boy scanned the valley once more and then turned angrily away. He closed his swollen eyes and lifted his face to the sky. He had to move on. But he knew nothing about the world beyond that valley. He had always wanted to explore, but that was when life was good. Memories of the day flashed through his mind’s eye. He remembered sneaking out of the village to take a peek at a world that was forbidden to him, he was to become a mighty priest and that required his full attention on the valley, and no other place. He had been sitting on this same hill, dreaming of exploration, when the world shook and he was sent rolling down the opposite side of the hill. Ash had nearly suffocated him and the heat from the fire raging on the other side nearly killed him, but nothing was worse then the tortured screams of innocent elves. Somehow the boy managed to remain alive until the fire died. A heavy rain had settled the ash floating around and doused the remaining fire. When the boy had enough strength he climbed to the top of the hill and stared in shock at the death defying sight. He nearly died of a broken heart. Everything he had ever known and loved was destroyed. He could smell and taste the bitter black magic in the air. This had been no accident.
Rumors had spread through the trees of the Sauntering Forest many weeks before, that the human King had been planning revenge on the elves, but the elves thought little of it. They had expected a war not black magic. Humans weren’t supposed to know black magic.
The boy realized he was probably one of the last elves to be alive. He spat on the ground and cursed the King of the human’s name. Just because one elf had made a foolish decision and had angered the King, it didn’t mean that all of them should be punished. The boy clenched his fist and thrust it towards the sky, “Just you wait! I’ll get revenge!”
The boy turned to the mountains and valleys that lay beyond the hill. He would find his way to a city and disguise himself as a human. He would blend in and learn the King’s secrets. Then he would find a way to get revenge.
The boy took one last look over his shoulder at the valley that had once been his home and whispered his final words of farewell. Then he bounded down the hill and disappeared into the deep unknown forest.