The morning came much too fast for Mr. Errns. It seemed as though he had laid asleep for a mere hour until the searing spears of sunlight blazed into his closed eyes. He awoke to a raucous permeating from his main commons, the noises swimming through the hallow. Forri flung himself from his sleepy sheets and ravaged through his cupboard that hung on the wooden wall to find clothes. He garbed himself in a brown button down and a light green vest with gilded buttons running along the torso topped with a dark green jacket. He snatched his ancient walking stick that was once his fathers, brushed off the cobwebs, and hurried out of his bedroom.
The six elves in the main commons were treating themselves to his pantries stuffed with food, packing it in their bags and sacks and eating as they packed. Rorill stopped packing and strode toward Forri with a grey-green cloak in his hand. “Here,” He said, holding the fine fabric before Forri. “It is a gift from the High of Arma, sewn of our magic fabric embrith. You will need more than a button down and coat where we are heading.”
At around seven, the company gathered together and departed Forri’s hallow one by one. Last in line was the little Forri, taking one last longing look at his homely hallow. The hearth was stifled and the candles were blown out. He wrapped his bare hands around the glistering brass knob and creaked the round door slowly shut. As he walked down the carven wood steps and rejoined the elves along Woodroad, he glanced back at the small tree, its hat of pine needles and its round door of green, and its porthole windows and its green hair falling from down its hat. He took that picture with him until the end.
The company wound through the Hallows, through the small trees with green doors at the top of the carven steps. They all looked alike and were densely populated. There was a small slithering stream of glassy water that flowed through the woods, the woodfolk called it The Snake. Tall pines and firs rose up fairly high, their roots growing deep into the earth. As the sun shone down on the roof of green, a bright green tint soaked down into the forest.
The Woodroad cut through the forest from the north of Faen, and Woody Hallow all the way down into South Wood and falls off into the small blue Sea of Nimae. The road was weathered and of packed dirt, stones lining the sides. The elves trod through the woods one behind another. Rorill was at the head, closely following was Forri, upon the demands of the High Elf. Trotting behind Forri, Illue, and behind him, Elloril. At the tail of the line walked Narril, his great spear glinting in the specks of sunlight. Ahead of him was Allorn, grasping his two daggers and Lorras in front of him.
Rorill held the aged map out before his face, reading over the lines of the High Speech in which he had written down next to the original writings under his breathe. All seven of the elves carried packs of provisions and supplies, and all were draped in their elven cloaks, hoods flung over their hairy heads. Forri’s feet thumped against the dirt and his eyes surveyed the forest. There was a small nag of fear and foreboding in Mr. Errns’ mind, for one, he had never been out of Woody Hallow in such a long time, and two, forests can be mysterious places, filled with arcane secrets and dangers.
The company soon came to a rocky part in the forest, spires and crumbled stone boulders littering the path and surrounding areas. A fine coat of moss was fixed atop some of the rock formations. “These stones were once an elven palace of long ago, situated in the Mountains of Wierdrung off to the near east that boarder these woods.” Informed Rorill. Lorras chimed in as he peered out into the tangles of forest, “It appears as if these were the gates to the city. How I would like to see these ruins. They say it was once at grand palace.”
Rorill broke in wisely, “I would not deem it wise, young Lorras. It is said ghosts and spirits now inhabit the stone. I do not wish to encounter such troubles and neither shall say any of you.” Forri continued to gaze into the dark depths of the wood, trying to see the remains of the city. Though only a dark green wall of wild leaves appeared. The seven picked up their pace, for they sought to exit these woods in a day’s time and Elloril had explained how the sun was beginning its decent from the sky.
The path wound on and on, the massive arms of the trees spreading out lovingly and openly. Their fingers danced playfully with a gust of wind from the north, their ancient legs moaning deeply. Illue spoke to Forri of their city of Arma between the Two Mountains. “The silver bells ring a most peaceful and elegant song when the winds whisper by and the great sea blazes a fiery red when the sun drops off The Falls in the distance and sometimes you can see flames lick across the water. The gleaming white and silver palaces and towers and libraries catch the beam of the sun in mid-day and glow like the moons up above. And the two silver trees that stand on the sides of the great Falls of Emor in the center of the city hold the light of our gods, our power. The great trees of Allor.”
Just then, Elloril’s hand whipped from beneath his cloaks. “The Woodland Gates!” He exclaimed. Indeed, rising up before them was a wide gap of trees, leading out into the Gap of Loea. Two stone pillars of elven craft wrought in the likeness of the elven lords Riam and Tulln, leaders of the ancient band of elves of the west. When the company had exited the forest and out into the vast plains of grass and sparse copses of fir trees they gazed back at the comprehensively carven stone figures. Their faces were angled and sharp and they wore long streaming hair, braided and woven down the side and back. Their arms were to their sides in a sign of welcome and entrance, both loving and amorous. In the sundering light, their faces and robes were tinted a molten orange, in likeness to the pink and orange sky above.
To the south, the low, treacherous, maze-like peaks of Wierdrung were tainted a deep red, as if smeared with blood. The hills of the giant rock peaks rolled out far and low like ripples out at sea. To the far north, across leagues of flat lands and high sweeping grasslands the low hills of Sildor began to rise from the earth. Beyond them, sheer peaks of pitch-black rock and stone shot up, and still further the snow-clad shoulders of the ancient mountains disappeared into the misty, orange clouds. Above them still the watery sun appeared like an egg yolk, its light oozing down over the jagged peaks and cliffs of the mountains.
Forri simply stood there, marveling at the pure and unadulterated beauty of the vast nature and wilderness that raced out before him. He had been so sheltered in his little hallow all these years. It was truly magical to be standing were that little elf stood. Though you who sit at home will never get to see such things, for the world is much a different place with all its industry.
“The sun begins to sleep.” Said Rorill at the head of the company, gazing out in the expansive land and its natural essence. “And so should we.” He continued, pointing out a copse of firs off across the fiery hearth below their feet. “We shall make for that patch of trees for shelter in the night. These fields are not safe during the times of the white ones.” And by this he meant the moons, for there are three, for the sons and daughters of Allinor, the One God and they say the sun is Allinor himself, spreading light and warmth across the lands.
At that, the seven travelers embarked for the thicket that was turning into a pitch-black splotch in the darkening light. The sky was a majestic bluish purple and the thousands of constellations began to glimmer and dot the sky. The final sliver of sunlight dipped down behind the mountains of Sildor and the earth was besieged by night. Behind them, their path was lit dimly by the blue glow of the three pale moons, the largest of the three, Elora then Rein, and the smallest of the three Numn. Their figures cast long, eerie shadows before them and illuminated the grass around them a silvery blue.
Suddenly, as they were half way towards the thicket of dense trees, a screech of agony pervaded the fields from behind Forri, ailing his ears. It had been Narril who had uttered the cry and was writhing in agony against the churning sea of grass rising all around him. His leg seemed to be submerged in the earth and soil and he strained to pull up his leg from out of the dirt. The elves hastened towards him, and when they all grasped on to Narril and hefted him out of the earth with much strain and burden there was an explosion from underneath the earth, spraying dirt to and fro. The elves flew back and Narril lay quivering on the ground. Blasting out of the ground, a long and thin creature flew through the air. In the darkness, Forri’s eyes strained to catch a good glance at the thing. Just before the creature dove back into the earth Forri caught sight of a massive maw filed with razor-edged teeth the size of daggers. The mouth was round, like his green wood door of his hallow and the teeth revolved and spun speedily around, cutting through the soil as if it were water.
Rorill regained his stance, shouting to the company who were in much disarray, “Narrox!” He screamed, his voice booming. “Make for the firs. They cannot chomp through their roots! Hurry. We must make haste!” The elves followed the commands of Rorill, Lorras hefting Narril over his shoulder and running for the woods. His pace was slowed, though he still sprinted speedily, for indeed he was an elf, gifted with the magic of the Allor. As the seven elves sped across the grass fields, the thin silvery fingers tangling their legs and hindering their speed, the ground rumbled and quaked beneath their feet. Another Narrox sprang from under the earth, whizzing passed Forri’s face. As it passed he could hear its teeth ticking and scratching. Beneath Forri’s feet he could feel a large lump and he tripped, falling to the ground. As he rushed to pick himself up, he caught a glimpse of another Narrox leap from the ground and snatch hold of Illue, wrapping its long and snake-like body around his legs. Illue slammed hard to the ground, though was quick enough to unsheathe his elven sword he called Emeril, Sun’s Flame. The blade was long and thin, glowing palely in the silver moonlight. With a flash of white, he swung the blade at the Narrox that tightened around his legs. The creature squirmed agonizingly and shrieked piercingly as the cold edge of the sword slashed at its slick skin.
They were getting closer to the firs and the elves up ahead continued to slice and jab at the Narrox that catapulted themselves into the air. Elloril shot them with arrows, his arm lithe and quick as he rapidly loosed and fired. Allorn twirled and jabbed and thrust with his daggers that he held in both hands. Forri ran as fast as his little legs would carry him, stumbling many a time, though staying on his feet. He could hear Rorill’s voice crying back to him and Lorras who carried the wounded Narril. More Narrox sprung from the earth all around him, though somehow the little elf dodged them, until one shot out and locked onto his legs. He slammed down to the ground with a brutal suddenness as his legs were swept from under him. He cried out for help as the creature’s slimy, scaled skin slithered around him again and again. He was beginning to loose feeling in his legs when Elloril fired an arrow at the creature’s neck and it squealed like stone scraping against stone. The High Elf helped Forri up and ushered him into the dense thicket of firs, the fine bristles prickling and tickling his face. The last thing he saw was Rorill in his beaming white cloak leaning over him, saying words of elvish Forri did not know and he lost all sense and fell into darkness.
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