Click to make a donation. You know, starving artist and whatnot.
Lady of the Sidhe
We are a people apart—because of our nature and customs many find it hard to believe we love or have other feelings. I assure you, we do. We exert control for the reason our hearts burn hotter and longer than mortals’ do.
--Lady Genva, History of the Elvish Races
"The Guardian follows us," observed Dal'zar, one of the Drow captains, rather unnecessarily. "We could...take care of her." That last was spoken with a sneer.
Tirnen looked up at him. "You'll do no such thing. My mother is tracking us, yes, but we're many and quick."
Dal'zar played with a lank braid of bluish hair on the side of his head. "This could mean trouble, and our mission is too important. The Overlord--"
"Entrusted me with this company!" Tirnen countered. "That is my MOTHER! Guardian, Lady of the Sidhe! One of the Highest born, in Tir-na-Nog itself. I myself bear her a hatred and contempt like no other but you will not touch her. Do you understand?"
"Divicacus came with you?" he asked excitedly. "That sly one, got himself in service with an Elven lady."
"You know him?" she asked incredulously.
"Aye, we grew up together. He was always better at his studies than I was, so he was sent away to the Sidhe to train to be a Druid. We can't leave him then, you're right." He glanced at the window, then decided there was no way he could fit through the bars. Then he looked at Imerra, then away.
"Shouldn't you uh, get dressed or something?"
"It had crossed my mind," she said with mock high dignity, sauntered over to her clothes and armor at the other side the room and began donning them.
"I meant no offense," he called to her from his side of the partition.
"If I was offended, young Ranger, you'd be finding yourself on your ass," she called back.
Nimhir crossed her out of his 'Elf maid in distress' book and filed her under 'Elven warrior with attitude'.
Tirnen entered the room, solemnly making his way around the perimeter. He finally met his mother's eyes, his face set. On a tremendously large stand flanked by lit braziers was an enormous book bound in crimson leather. The Red Book. "Don't interfere, Mother," warned Tirnen, eyes hard. A shimmering figure appeared beside him and all the Dark Elves inclined their heads slightly.
It was Telen-ka.
With her faery vision she could see the wraith better, he had long dark hair and was of medium build. That was all she could make out but she was astonished he could be seen at all; he's been dead for centuries. Nimhir was singled out from the rest and roughly nudged toward Tirnen, a look of growing dread on his fair features.
"I am Hulda," she stated after a few moments. "And I--"
"It matters not to me, demon," Beowulf cut in, frustrated he couldn't locate her.
Soft feminine laughter echoed all around him and his sharp blue eyes darted left and right, sure she would strike where he least expected it. "I am hardly a demon," she mused, and the Geat spotted two violet points of light coming toward him from some distance. Finally the tall figure halted in the pale light of one of the lamps and removed the battle-helmet.
A mass of thick raven hair fell to her waist, framing a gaunt but hauntingly beautiful face. Long pointed ears sprouted from the ebony locks on either side of her head, slanted violet eyes regarded him silently. Her skin was an unnatural pale silvery-grey and smooth, her neck long, her body lean and angular. She was clad in strange segmented armor and bright, vivid clothes peeked out from underneath. "Did you think I was a hag?" she snorted. "Is that what King Hrothgar told you?"
"I am Alfen. I am of the Dark Elf-kind, a Drow. Now thanks to you I am the last of my kind. I started to tell you what brought us to this pass..my race has been hunted to the point of extinction by yours, a wanton, careless, feckless lot. My son Grendel was an unfortunate experiment. I simply refused to allow my people to die out."
"So Hrothgar IS Grendel's father," Beowulf spoke.
"Aye, and it appears that our races do not mix so easily."
"I don't blame you for that, but why send Grendel forth to kill and destroy?"
"I didn't send him, you fool," she snorted again. "He was an imperfect mixture of human and Drow, and he was very sensitive to noise and vibration. He moved to a lair of his own as children will do when they feel they are old enough, and when Hrothgar built that wretched hall the feasts lasted long into the night. The merriment, and singing, drunken voices irritated him past the point of reason, and he struck out at the source of his misery. The resentment of his absent father must've added to the rage, I'm afraid--such a half-breed could never be acknowledged, let alone inherit the throne of the Mark of the Danes."
"But he crushed them, tossed them like children's dolls, drank their very blood!" exclaimed the man. "I witnessed such horrors that I'd not ever seen in all my travels. Such a creature cannot be allowed free reign! "
"Tis a moot point now, hothead. My son is dead, he died in my arms as he first opened his eyes in the world."
"And you! You slaughtered many men and women in your revenge. We saw them hanging from the rafters like so much meat. That is evil. I see now that you are no demon, beast, nor even a hag, but you are dangerous and vile. I can understand why my people tried to kill you out. You have no conscience."
"You are one to talk!" she barked, large, liquid eyes sparkling with anger. "Our ways are not your ways, nor even the Light Elves', but we have our own rules we follow. Norsemen are the most fickle, violent, greedy, shallow fuckers I've ever encountered. Unruly, uncivilized, rude, dirty stinking pigs, the lot of you! It is beyond me how your kind inherited Mid-gard and a future while we were left to rot."
"I came to kill you, Lady," and he gave her the title and the respect that went with it.
“Let me through!” commanded the Queen, and the confused men let her by. Uthgart was kneeling by the King’s broken body. He’d sincerely loved his liege. He lifted red-rimmed hazel eyes to Wealthow as she approached.
“No,” she breathed, unable to believe the scene before her. Her husband couldn’t be dead, he just couldn’t.
“My Queen, I’m sorry,” Uthgart began.
“It seems he...jumped from the balcony of his bedchamber. Or perhaps he fell; no one witnessed what occurred.”
“Ah, Freya, no!” she cried, sinking to the ground opposite the warrior.
“Has anyone checked the surrounding grounds?” asked Beowulf.
“No,” exclaimed on of the king’s advisors. “Muster a search, it could’ve been that someone pushed him.” The people whispered among themselves, who would do such a thing, and how?
“My lady,” said Beowulf, and his voice was kindly. “Let me see you to your room. You look pale.”
“I’ll be fine,” she replied, staring at Hrothgar’s unmoving face.
“Please, my lady,” came a beloved voice. Wealthow looked up to see her friend Alfrida. “Let us help you.” She relented and allowed Beowulf and Alfrida to take her to her bed as she was numb and in shock.
Lord Beowulf went to investigate Hrothgar’s room, and when he stood over the bed where it looked like the old man had tossed and turned, he saw Hulda’s head, sitting on the nightstand.
She smiled at him.
The Chronicles of Lilith Book 1
A short time later her eyes opened. She was lying next to a hut with the spear still sticking out of her. She couldn’t hear anything else, no voices or movements, but she smelled smoke. They had set fire to the houses. Val-il reached down and pulled the weapon free from her body, eliciting a painful groan.
Everyone she ever knew was dead.
The smell of smoke and the heat drew nearer as she lay on her left side with tears streaming down her face. It would be good to just burn up. Or perhaps she’d bleed to death first. Would there be nothingness? Would she...go someplace else? Would there be no pain? Would there be anything? What if she couldn’t find her loved ones?
Anger began to well up inside her. This was so wrong, so terribly unfair. Her people had done nothing wrong, had always honored the Spirits. They were here first, had never done their neighbors wrong, were hardworking and industrious...how could this have happened? And why? The ones who did this would pay, she vowed to herself.
Val-il rolled onto her stomach, reached forward with her arms, and pulled her body away from the village. She pushed with her left leg and pulled with her hands, and slowly dragged herself clear from the flames, leaving a trail of blood. Her whole right side burned and ached. Something important inside her had been punctured, she knew, but she ignored the pain. The scent of smoke and burnt flesh drifted to her nostrils. Everyone she loved was dead.
“Spirits of the Khebas,” she managed to croak. “Hear me. I am the only one left of my folk. You have failed in your duties. Could be it was my fault for angering the Ulln, but for whatever reason, I am the only one left. Hear me!”
The wind picked up, swirling around her, whipping her thick blonde hair around her face where she lay. She felt a coldness she had felt once before, when she had driven her enemies away. We hear you, came a raspy voice on the wind.
“Let me avenge my people,” she went on. “Let me have revenge against the ones who did this. Show me the way to do so, show me the magick to make me powerful. Share with me the knowledge to cheat death itself. If I die, there will be no others to worship you and make you strong. I want to know everything! I am your pupil!”
You are but a girl. You cannot know everything, the voice swirled around her. It was one voice out of many, coming from spirits the Khehbas had placated and fed with belief since time out of mind.
“And my will is strong. You will have others to fear you, Great Ones. Think of it. I will make these trolls and vile men fear your name and your reach. I brought this on my people, and you failed when we needed you.” She spoke insolently, but didn’t care. What else did she have to lose at this point?
You invoked us once before, you have a natural gift, the voice mused. You make an interesting proposal. If we help you, you must swear to serve us. Invite us inside so we may draw strength from you. Allow us to work through you. Swear it!
“I swear it!” she hissed as she felt her strength ebbing away. “Let me be your vessel! We shall strike down the ones who did this to our people!”
Very well, the voice accepted, and the wind whirled the dust and leaves before Val-il into a vaguely humanoid shape. Two yellowish burning lights served for eyes, which held the young woman’s own blue ones, and bored into her very soul. The shape, which also seemed to be made of darkness in between the dirt and leaves, raised its ‘arms’ and she felt an invisible force raising her up, bringing her to an upright standing position. Power surged into her, hot, raw energy that zipped through her blood vessels and nerve endings. She cried out as her damaged organs and the terrible hole in her side was shored up, with her whole body stiff and taut as she hovered inches above the hard-packed ground.
Voices then crowded her head, old voices of ethereal beings that had never had a physical body in this plane of existence, whispering things to her, thoughts and concepts that none of her people could have even dreamed. She saw the world fall away in her mind’s eye, saw it as a round sphere as it pulled back, saw the black Void dotted with stars, felt the coldness of infinity as it stretched out before her.
The force let her body go and she fell to her knees in an ungainly heap, gasping, yet alive. She looked up at the Shape standing before her with its burning eyes, for the first time truly afraid. “Rise, Lilit,” it spoke aloud this time. “Go and avenge the Khehbas and spread the fear of Us. Just remember, you are ours now. You belong to the steppes and the desert and the night.”
Copyright 2013-2015 Shana O'Quinn/Sandoz Driftwood