The sea sparkled like diamonds as the setting sun sent its last rays of light over the land of Mycaniar, making the clouds turn red and pink. Occasionally, the sky would burst into flame as dragons soared across the unseen waves of the wind. The elves welcomed the night with song as they either walked through the woods or upon the white sands of the beach. Lights flickered through the many windows and balconies of the great elven dwelling.
Suddenly laughter filled the air and sailed on the currents of the wind as the adventurous elf maiden Nanethiel flew across the sky upon the back of the violet dragon Kabariela. The elf’s dark hair streamed out from behind and her forest green dress rippled in the wind. Nanethiel’s complexion was fair, fairer than any that now walked the earth. Her emerald eyes now shone as the dragon picked up speed and dipped down, and skimmed the top of the trees. She laughed again, and her voice was light and silvery. They glided just above the surface of the river that ran into the sea.
Then, as if being called, Kabariela turned, flapped her wings once and then gracefully landed upon a platform of stone surrounded by grass, flowers, and a stream running past. Nanethiel seemed to have sensed the feeling too and jumped lightly from the back of the dragon. She turned to see an elven lady dressed in a ruby red dress with gold trimming fringing the neck and right below the shoulders. Her long white sleeves hung down gracefully a few inches shy of the ground. The lady’s golden hair was braided and fastened in the back by an unseen clasp.
“Greetings, Lintecairwen. I was sure you called me.”
“Yes, my girl, I did. You were out later than usual and I was beginning to be concerned. Evil is abroad. A bad of goblins was spotted not 10 miles from here. I did not know if you were in trouble so I called you.”
After saying this she beckoned for the girl to follow her and then started to make their way up the stone pathway to the elven fortress, Ceawendel. The stream still wound its way along the path, and great willow trees leaned over the side of the path and stream, its long branches streaming out as if trying to skim the surface of the water.
“Yes my lady, I know. But the evening was so beautiful! The wind was perfect for flying, so I guess I just forgot the time. I am sorry, it will not happen again.”
“You are not in trouble, I just need to know you are safe. Anyway, you must get some rest if you are to come with us tomorrow morning.”
“Then I am to come after all? Asked Nanethiel in surprise. “I did not think you would allow me to go on the goblin raid, for you always said it was too dangerous for me.”
“It has been a long time since you have left the quietness of my house, and I think the excitement will be good for you.”
Nanethiel smiled slightly. Yes, it had been a long time since she had gone on a raid. After her mother had passed into the other world, everyone had been so careful of her. She searched back. It had been many years.
Arrows flew, swords clashed! Screams filled the air, from Elves and Goblins alike. The delicate looking swords of the elves stained with blood sliced both air and Goblin as they inch by inch moved forward in the forest. The goblins, with fear in their eyes, were forced back while once in a while stabbing their rusty looking bars of metal through the side of elves.
Light shone around the elves as they fought on. Male and female fought together to defend their fortress from the destruction of the goblins, which would bring their slime and grime and turn the mighty stronghold into a place of evil. Celariel, arrayed in silver mail, with a helm of the same metal upon her head, strode in upon a silver horse to aid in the battle. Many goblins fell dead at the stroke of her mighty sword.
Beside her rode her husband, Velridier, clothed in much of the same garment but his was of gold. Instead of a sword, Velridier carried an elven bow half his height. Many arrows flew from the bow and struck the throats or arm of goblins.
Upon the other side rode their daughter, Nanethiel, dressed in a shirt of chain mail. On her head was a silver helm. Her pants were made of leather along with the pads that covered her shoulders. Over the shirt of chain male she wore a leather vest, and upon her feet were boots made mainly of some strong, thin cloth. In her hand was a long one edged sword with a dark brown handle with gold inscriptions on it and upon the blade.
Victory seemed certain!
Alas! Upon the field of battle strode a large goblin covered in metal armor, and in his hand was a large bow. He released one arrow, and almost immediately there was a cry from Celariel. The black-feathered arrow had pierced her armor and gone through the shoulder.
She pulled the arrow from her shoulder and cast it upon the ground. She knew no more.
“Remember to sharpen your sword before we leave tomorrow. You do not want to be on the field of battle with a blunt blade. Nanethiel?”
Startled, Nanethiel turned to see the confused face of her companion.
“Oh, sorry. What were you saying?”
“I said to remember to sharpen your sword. Didn’t you hear me? You looked like you were a million miles away in your thoughts.”
“No, I was not that far at all. In fact I was quiet near.”
In a few moments they entered Ceawendel through a great arched doorway, which lead through a circular room surrounded by great elm trees, and a small hedge bordering almost the entire circle. In the center there was a large fountain in which water spilled out into a large basin. From here they went through another door that connected to a large hallway.
“Have you eaten yet?” asked Lintecairwen.
“No, I have not, and I am quiet hungry. However, I am not eager for a big supper. Some bread, cheese and fruit would satisfy quiet well I think.” responded Nanethiel in a quiet voice.
Quietly they made their way down the hallway. The walls were hung with paintings, showing the history of Mycaniar. It started with the creation up to the present.
Lintecairwen wondered at the silence of Nanethiel. “She is usually so talkative and cheerful. I don’t understand her. I wonder why she is all of a sudden so thoughtful. I wonder…” Lintecairwen said to herself.
Indeed the mind of Nanethiel was very busy. She was trying to recall what happened next in that battle.
Celariel fell to the ground. Velridier, leaped from his horse, and lifted his wife to the top of his horse. He jumped up behind her and rode away from the field of battle.
Nanethiel, fought more fiercely than ever to avenge the wound that was inflicted by the goblins. She spurred her horse faster killing all goblins in her path. Thrusting her sword in its sheath she took out her bow and fitted an arrow on its string. She pulled back and let the arrow fly. It struck the great Goblin and he fell down upon his sword. Dead.
After she saw the goblin fall, Nanethiel turned her horse around and started at full gallop for Ceawendel where her mother lay wounded. Alas, a goblin stabbed her horse and she was flung to the ground.
“Ow! Exclaimed Nanethiel as she turned a corner in the hall. She looked up and saw a young male elf.
“Oh, sorry excuse me.” Replied the elf. “I did not see you coming.”
The elf was tall and his raven hair fell down past his shoulders. The sides were pulled back behind his head and were fastened with a decorative clasp. He was dressed in an aqua colored shirt and black pants. Over his shirt he wore a black leather vest fastened in three places with ties of string. At his side hung a small dagger in a black sheath.
“That’s alright.” Said Nanethiel. “It did not hurt that much. I am Nanethiel. I have not seen you around here before.”
“I have traveled here from the East. I just arrived this hour. My name is Jocilrond.” He replied. I am pleased to meet you Nanethiel. Farewell!”
“Same here.” Nanethiel said with a nod of her head as Jocilrond walked away quickly down the hall.
“Who is he?” asked Nanethiel as she and Lintecairwen entered the kitchen on the left.
“Jocilrond is a woodland elf from the forest of Dalimfor. There is not trouble in the south so he and some others have traveled west to aid us in battle, for we are in need. Ceawendel is not as strong as it once was.” replied Lintecairwen as she took a plate off of one of the numerous shelves in the busy, but tidy kitchen. “Here you go.”
“Thank you. How long does he tend to stay here?” inquired Nanethiel taking the plate.
“As long as there is goblin heads to be hewn. Is this enough bread?”
“Yes. Is he going to ride with us tomorrow?”
“I believe so,” replied Lintecairwen taking some raspberries, a plum and some cheese from two other shelves. “Here you go.” She said placing them on the girl’s plate. “Take this to your room, where you can eat and rest. A tired warrior is no use to us on the battle field.” She added with a smile.
After adding a mug of water to her plate, Nanethiel retired to her chambers. When Nanethiel first entered the bedroom from the hall, she could see across the room to the balcony. Upon the balcony were two iron benches on the right and left cushioned with green velvet. The view was of the ocean where now Nanethiel could see the moon’s reflection upon the glassy water with the starts sparkling all round, and she could hear the waves crashing lightly upon the sand. All of this was familiar to her and brought some sort of comfort.
Re-entering the apartment there was a bed upon the left. Its high lavender canopy reached almost to the ceiling and flowed down gently around the high bedposts. The bed frame was made of a dark wood and the headboard with decorated with flowers and elvish inscriptions.
Beside the bed there was a side table on which a pitcher and a washbasin placed to be used as necessary
The floor was made of a shiny glass and decorated in certain parts with a complicated pattern.
To the right there was a vanity on which a large mirror was hung upon the wall and the table rested under it, made of the same wood as the bed. On either side there were three drawers filled with assorted broaches, clasps, ribbons, rings, earring and other kinds of jewelry. Upon the table was silver brush. The stool was of the same wood and covered with a green velvet cushion.
After the vanity there was an arched doorway – decorated with elven inscriptions – which lead into a spacious closet. Upon the right were a row of dresses, shirts, pants and vests. In the front were her chain mail, helm, arm guards and shin guards. To the left lay all of Nanethiel’s weapons: her long curved one edged sword, her two curved daggers – one to be strapped to her waist and the other to be hidden in her boot incase of an emergency – a sharpening stone, her bow, and a quiver of arrows. Behind, on both sides of the archway were to long tapestries reaching from floor to ceiling and the pattern resembled the moon and five stars.
Entering her chambers, Nanethiel placed her plate of food upon the bed and then went back and closed the double doors to her room. Nanethiel walked into her closet and took down a deep purple silk nightgown and slipped on after taking off her other garment. Taking her sword, two daggers and the sharpening stone she went to the vanity, unfastened her hair and braided it in two long braids.
Now, Nanethiel climbed up onto her bed bringing with her the three blades and the sharpening stone. As she quietly ate her dinner and sharpened her daggers she wondered if the battle that she was about to take part in would have the same outcome as her last. Looking down at the dagger in her hand she remembered one of its last uses.
Stunned Nanethiel rolled over in the clump of trampled ferns where she had landed. Her helm had fallen off her head when she had been flung from the saddle. Looking up she her gaze fell on the bloody face of the guilty goblin. His grin was savage and his eyes were full of war and hate. He leaned over the girl and raised his rusty colored sword above his head ready to strike.
“The battlefield is no place for a little girls.” He mocked.
Nanethiel fidgeted on the ground. Then her fingers clenched some metal object.
“I am quite sure that the battlefield is not place for little goblins running around with knives,” replied Nanethiel. “Someone could get hurt!”
Metal glinted in the sun and then a knife plunged in the stomach of creature. Nanethiel, lifting up her feet smote the head of the goblin before it was able to fall on top of her. Quickly she pulled the knife out of the belly of the goblin, wiped on the ferns and placed it back in her boot where it belonged. Turning around she retrieved her sword from where it stood, blade tip in the soil with the handle jetting up.
Looking around Nanethiel saw bodies, both of elf and goblin, scattered in around in bunches. The rest of the battle had moved on eastward toward the mountains, so Nanethiel was alone, the only living soul in sight. Sighing she started to sprint, sword in hand toward the ever-new battlefield. After half a mile Nanethiel could hear shouts and screams of war, not far ahead. One hundred yards more she could see the figures, mostly elves - arms and legs frequently moving.
Nanethiel ran strait on into the battle. Before on minute was up, ten more goblins lay headless in small heaps here and there. Looking up, Nanethiel saw that the battle was in their favor. Now, no more than a hundred goblins still lived from the thousand that they had first assaulted.
Nanethiel was startled from her reverie by a pain in her thumb. Looking down she saw that there was a long thin slice down the entire length of her thumb. Sighing she laid her dagger and sharpening stone, rose and retrieved a short length of cloth and wound it around the wounded finger. With that done, she returned to her sharpening.
An hour later, Nanethiel returned her weapons to their places in the shelves in her closet. Then she lay upon her bed eyes staring up at the ceiling until trumpets were blown summoning many to rise.
Half an hour later many elves of both genders were gathered in the large courtyard outside. Many horses were also there, eager to carry their master to the field of battle.
Nanethiel exited the large doorway that opened up into the courtyard. Her ears were met with many voices clear and crisp in the early morning air. Nanethiel was dressed in silver chain mail with a green and yellow vest and brown pants, which reached a little bellow her knees. She wore brown boots, which came up and met her hem of her pants. Also, she wore brown leather gloves reaching up to her elbow but was hidden by her chain mail. She carried a silver helm, and her hair was braided so the hair flowed down her back, out of her eyes. Strapped to her waist was her sword, newly sharpened, and safely stowed in its sheath. Her quiver was full of arrows, which was upon her back along with her bow.
After surveying the courtyard, Nanethiel walked down the stone steps to the stable.
“Nanethiel!” Came a voice from somewhere in the crowd. Turning, Nanethiel saw that its owner was a medium height, red haired, rosy-cheeked elf maiden running toward her.
Smiling Nanethiel waved at the girl. “Greetings, Jafine! I did not know that we would have the pleasure of your company on our campaign of death!” Said Nanethiel jokingly.
“Neither did I.” Jafine replied embracing her friend. “It has been a while since you have been on a goblin raid, am I right? I am on my way to the stables to get my horse, will you accompany me?”
“Sure. I was just yearning for a familiar face. There are so many elves. I did not think that so many would be willing to ride like you, I see! She said admiring her friend’s shining garments.
Jafine wore bright silver chain mail with a pure white vest and gloves. She also wore grey pants and black boots. Above her wrists were grey leather pads, which protected her arms, for she was an archer. Jafine also carried a sword for just in case. Her red hair was braided at the sides, but hung loose down her back. She carried a silver helm in her right hand.
Entering the stables, the two elves were greeting with the smell of horses and hay. The stable was long with many stalls, many of which were empty of their occupants. After walking half way down the long hall, the two girls stopped and turned opposite directions and entered different stales.
“Hey there, Lentil.” Cried Jafine saddling her white horse. “Are you ready to go for a ride this morning?”
“Jafine, do you really think she will answer?” Asked Nanethiel saddling her brown horse, Sirith. “They are only horses, there are not like dragons or griffins who can speak to humans.”
Jafine smiled and turned to face Nanethiel. “Sometimes, I think that they can speak to us, but in a different way.”
Once their horses were ready, the elves lead them down the stone hallway to the courtyard were everyone was assembled. Upon the steps leading down from the house to the courtyard was Lintecairwen and her husband, Relodeen.
“Form ranks!” Relodeen spoke loudly to surpass the volume of the hundreds of elves and horses gathered.
Obeying their leaders command, the riders formed themselves into columns of four, starting at the steps and leading far out of the gate. Jafine and Nanethiel found themselves in the middle of the line in between two other warriors.
“Nanethiel?” A voice asked next to her.
She turned and saw that Jocilrond was beside her upon his grey steed. He was dressed in chain mail with a blue-green vest, grey boots, and black gloves and pants. He wore a silver helm and his jet-black hair streamed out in the back. On his side hung his long sword, stowed in its sheath.
“I did not know we would have the pleasure of your company on this ride!” Jocilrond continued.
Nanethiel placed her helm upon her head and replied. “Yes, it did not come up in our brief meeting last night.”
Jocilrond nodded leaning his head to the right and lifting his right shoulder. There was a loud sound of hooves on stone and turning, Nanethiel could see Relodeen, Lintecairwen and two other mounted elves holding flags gallop down the cobblestones to the front of the line. Trumpets blew, horses neighed, elves cheered! Then, with a shout from Relodeen the company started off at a gallop.
Smiling behind her metal mask, Nanethiel whispered. “Let it begin.”
The sound of a thousand hooves on the stones echoed through the surrounding mountains, and could be heard faintly for miles. As the hooves of the horses met grass and soil, the sound was muffled, and to the untrained ear sounded like the wind winding its way through the tall peaks of the mountains.