The Summer Solstice was just around the corner. It was a clear Kythorn night,not a single cloud, all the stars visible, a truly remarkable sight. At least that’s what Ziel thought. She was in a small tower room with only a window, a door and a bucket for nature’s call. Even though she was visited by the monks of Hieroneous on a daily basis, they did not count as company, she was still feeling lonely. Most of the day she felt lonely, but at nights like this she truly felt miserable. Everyone, free, enjoying themselves, and she is locked in here, caged. She often wondered why it had to turn out like this. She never knew her parents, the monks told that she was left at the gates of the monastery when she was perhaps 2 years old, but the monks were never sure. She was a half-elf. For a woman she was tall, and for a half-elf she was even too tall. Tall but slim, with long fair hair, and with elven ears. She hated them, because of that nobody looked at her like they would at a normal person. Especially the town of Crystallyne, this small town still bares the remnants of the Sylvan wars, even though they took place 200 years ago, some inhabitants still held a grudge. Perhaps that is the reason why Ziel was abandoned.
However, she could not complain too much. The monks let her out at night, they always did this for her own safety, and she believed them. In the tower she had a number of books. Ziel had a curious nature, she liked to read a lot, but she would have loved to experience everything she has read about. She would love to visit the far exotic places and meet all these interesting characters she keeps reading about. There was something that she still couldn’t explain though, she felt something coursing through her veins, something that kept her blood boiling. First she thought that it was just a natural thing, that all half-elves go through this, perhaps the mixture of the two bloods have negative side effects she didn’t knew about. Nonetheless, for the past few tendays she felt uneasy, sometimes she could even feel the air get hotter around her body as if she was emanating fire. Ziel was terrified, she thought that she was possessed by some other plane demon, perhaps being locked up in here was good for everyone else.
She was excited though, today was a nice evening and she could enjoy it to the fullest, as soon as the monk arrives to let her out. While she was waiting she found one book in particular to be more interesting than the rest, The Incomplete Tome Of Magic. She has never read about beings being able to conjure and control magical elements, maybe one of the monks has messed up and they gave her a wrong book. Nevertheless, she started reading the first chapter titled ‘The Ups and Downs of Magic’, well she would have started to read it, but unfortunately she found out why they called it the incomplete tome of magic, it was empty. She quickly rushed through the pages with anticipation that there is at least something written. 5 chapters, and only five titles could be found. ‘That is peculiar, and odd’, Ziel thought. She heard one of the monks approaching and hid the book in her small shoulder bag she fashioned from the leftover skins that the monks brought. She was also allowed to pursue handy work, to help her pass the time faster. At long last, the footsteps were getting louder, and soon enough she heard the monk rattle some keys, put one in and unlock the door. Slowly opening the door, as if making sure that a small child is still fast asleep.
“Daniel!”, screamed Ziel, jumping for joy, “I thought that they wouldn’t let you up here anymore, not after smuggling those forbidden books that the monks don’t want me to read.”, she quickly tidied her dress and rushed over to hug Daniel. He also embraced her, not letting her go. Something was wrong. He was usually more reluctant. “Ziel, I am sorry…”, ‘Something is definitely wrong.’ Ziel was aware that something awful has happened, she braced herself for the worst. “Ziel, tonight, you must escape. The townspeople found out that you are inside the monastery. They are still war-bitter, and they want to see you hang for your alleged crimes against this town. “You, you cannot possibly be serious?! I did nothing! I don’t even know who I am! What will…”, Ziel suddenly stopped, she could hear something was going on bellow. She could hear faint sounds of angry people yelling, and a quick glance through the window revealed a lot of torches. “Please, I have nowhere to go, I am scared. I am innocent.”, Ziel started crying as she was begging Daniel for answers. She felt that time was running short, and that something must be done, or soon enough she will become one of the stars. Before Ziel could even begin the fathom the situation and what was going on. Daniel quickly grabbed her, handed her a large bag and a small sealed letter. “Please, stay focused and don’t do anything until you arrive.”, Ziel looked at Daniel with disbelief. “Arrive whe – arrive how?!” Everything turned blurry all of a sudden, and then pitch black, after a few moments she could hear a faint chanting of some sort, and after a short moment she was in front of a small hut, somewhere in the forest. She was in shock, how did she get here?
While Ziel was trying to deal with what just happened, the hut’s door opened and a tall figure appeared. He was very slim and had long fair hair, just like Ziel, and elven ears, but the dark green eyes were the most captivating, as if the eyes itself were talking to her and calming her. After a few seconds, she asked: “I am terribly sorry, but who are you? And most importantly how did I get here?”, “Don’t be afraid my child, Daniel made all the necessary preparations. I am Ferwyn Grayman. One of the last survivors of the Sylvan wars, one of the last Keepers of the Grove. Please, come in, you must be exhausted and you must have many questions that you want to ask. Oh, silly me, I almost forgot, Daniel is one of my dearest friends, and he confided in me to help you no matter what. Naturally, I would have thought about denying such a troublesome request, but when I learned who you really are, I have decided, no, Fate has decided that it was my duty to take care of you.” Ziel still couldn’t believe what was going on, but she was feeling safe. Those eyes of his were telling her that everything will be alright. “I… I am terribly sorry… My name is Ziel.” She extended her hand and Ferwyn accepted the friendly handshake. They went inside, Ferwyn offered her a chair and he went on to the kitchen to prepare some tea. In the meantime Ziel broke the seal and read the letter.
“My dear, I am so sorry it had to come to this. First of all, I was unable to show you my true feelings, partly because I took an oath and partly because I knew how much trouble I could get into. I admit, that was foolish thinking, and I feel nothing but regret. I do hope that Ferwyn will take good care of you, he will surely take better care of you than I had. Please, forgive me if you can find it in your heart. I have sent every bit of information I could find about you over to Ferwyn, so he will explain in great detail who you really are. I just hope that we will meet in the future. May the everlasting and invincible light of Hieroneous shine upon you. And please my dear, stay safe.”
Ziel felt her tears rushing down her cheeks. ‘That fool! If I only knew, if only I could have been different we could have been together.’ She was wiping her tears when Ferwyn returned with their tea, it smelled delicious. Just from the smell she could tell it was just what she needed, a strong aroma, yet sweet. But most of all, it smelled like freedom.
… Magic is not for all …
By Dejan Vicai