And as Grailing disappears, a fear is still fresh in Gilmuriel's mind.....a possibility.
The more worrying possibility is that they could be in the grip of some enchantment of the forest....
Gilmuriel and the other stop dead in their tracks as...a figure appears out of thin air.
Considering that in a real sense I never left this place it's nothing to come back, Grailing chuckles as he turns his Proxy about...only to stop dead in his tracks in surprise.
He had known that there had been a possibility that he may come across Astra 4 in his travel to the sight of the Backlash, but....
He had figured it was a minuscule chance.
But here she was, with her children! Riding a Warg (!) and accompanied by a small following of elves!
"Prince Ke'lan?" sputters the copper haired elf who's mane of hair is bound by a strip of cloth (to keep it out of his eyes).
Ke'lan stiffens and sighs as his name resonates throughout him and all the other elven hearts on Terra.
"Yes....'tis I," the Prince said heavily through his Proxy's mouth. "Though I wonder how you knew that name. I went to great pains to keep the illusion of my continued existence secret. Who....are you? And who are your friends?"
Now every elf out there will be clamoring for me to take the Throne! Ke'lan sighed, thinking what a thankless and ultimately futile task that will be!
"Ah, let me begin by introducing myself and my friends," Elrondir says, silently berating himself for blurting out that name he'd learned from a heart broken Grailing on the nuclear devastated Terra HE, as Seeker, had last visited. "I am Elrondir. The golden haired beauty to my right is my love, B'Elanna. The brown haired gentleman to my left is Gilmuriel. The flame haired elf that looks like her human sister is named E'eysha. The flame haired Amazonian warrior on the Warg is Astra D'Honaire, known as Astra 4 to her friends. The friendly warg is named Elf Friend, and as for the children's name.... The boys are named Harry, Thomas and Richard; the girls are called Elizabeth, Theresa, Elinor and Melisande."
"And this....is the crown Prince of the Elven Nation that had been first demolished by the Dragons....then Enslaved by the Atlantians for a short while before the Atlantians fell on each other." Elrondir finishes needlessly for the other elves benefit. The other elves know in their heart by the mysterious effect of saying Grailing's given name....the name of Elfin Royalty that had not beeen matched in thousands of years in it's.....magical attraction.
The others tell their story, and Ke'lan tells his. The Prince had survived the backlash of the half mad Atlantian mage who'd dared attempt to bind himself with the One Tree of the Nation.....a magical symbol of all of what had been the Elven Kingdom. It had failed spectacularly, leaving all other elves but he dead AND the entire real estate warped and twisted. Ke'lan was trapped inside the forest's borders, but soon found a way to create and control something like an Avatar unit (except a magical construction unique to the now vanished Artisans of Ke'lan's nation).
"I still feel that we could have prevented the Fall if my parents...may they rot for their arrogance!......would have let me ratify the mutual support treaty I'd been able to cobble together with the now vanished race of T'erin and the Knoco.....two races of powerful magic users that I know could have held the Atlantians at bay....along with the Dragon....if I was just allowed to do a little more diplomatic actions with them. But I was put on a short leash, and told to mind my place!"
Ke'lan gives off a harsh, bitter laugh.
"Of course the Dragons, who felt like their back was to the wall, fell upon my nation for the magical resources we refused to share," Ke'lan says bitterly. "I had warned...pleaded for my parents to listen, to see that this would happen and the only way to avoid it was to unite...and turn a potential enemy into an ally..."
"But it didn't happen," Astra 4 sighed, patting the back of the Prince...who'd finally....after centuries of hiding it behind a damn of denial. After trying for thousands of years to forget the hurt he'd felt......slowly leaked out and showed through the silent tears that coursed down his Proxy's face.
"My race recovered....unlike some and rebuilt itself into a much better society than what I grew up in," Ke'lan sighed. "Now, elves in general may seem a bit....er....high browed and arrogant at times....but few of today's elflings approach what I knew of the days of old. With all this, with the improvements in things, why bother claming the Throne. The other elves would be ecstatic at the return to the days of old....not that they'd get such from ME, but even though I feel they're doing well enough without fools like me....it would be futile. The elven race is doomed to fade from Terra to let the Others shine on in our place."
"Strange," Elrondir says quietly. "Your analog told me a similar tale, but on his deathbed as I tried to lend what little aid I could to him and his people, he laughed bitterly that he'd FINALY found a means to solve the diminishing elven number...."<P.
Ke'lan goes stock still quiet in surprise at what this coppery maned elf says next. Elrondir gestures to the forest around him in disgust.
"The source of the problem is these woods," the former AI mutters. "the Race of Elf was Born here, and still gets it's vital essence in large part FROM here. The freaking curse on this place is putting a....nix on male and female elves from being more furtile because the woods have become something of a vampire....sucking vitality from the elven race. It doesn't show up in diminished vigor. Rather....it shows in diminished....er..... capability....let's just say."
Ke'lan silently mouths out facts and figures as he throws this new datum into what he knows of this fell Forest....and suddenly finds himself sitting on the ground....thunderstruck!
Ke'lan says a word that only the lowest of the elven caste of old would say. It doesn't translate into the common tongue of humans....nor Military English!
Human tongues couldn't even shape the word!
However, the other elves instinctively know Elvish.....
2/14/2000 4:43:06 AM
The Never Ending Quest Home
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