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Official website of Science Fiction and Fantasy Author Carol Hightshoe
“May her deeds be forever recorded in the Book of Chaos,” Dynia said, placing a cloth of swirling color over the body of her mother.
A multicolored aura surrounded the body, then both vanished. “She has joined with Thynitic,” she said as she looked around at the other priestesses who had accompanied her to the Shrine of the Four. “She will live on as a part of the Chaos that is the Lady.”
One of the priestesses stepped forward and held out a set of robes. “As one Daughter is called to the Lady, another Daughter is born to the Chaos. Dynia, you are of the line of Thynitic and are now called to serve as the Daughter of Chaos.”
Dynia picked up the large black book that rested on the stone where her mother’s body had been. She let her fingers glide across the rearing unicorn symbol on the front of the book then rest on the chaos portal balanced on the tip of its horn. The black leather felt warm in her hands as Savthia placed the robes on her shoulders.
A swirling vortex of color surrounded Dynia. When it faded, she placed the book on the nearby stand and bowed her head as it opened and the pages began turning.
“The Daughter has been named and anointed,” Savthia said. “It is time to return.”
“Yes, there are preparations to make,” Dynia said as she headed for the stairs that led back to the main part of the shrine.
“Send messengers to the Taladilith and the Alowien,” Dynia said stepping out of the shrine. “I request their Speakers meet with me to discuss those who invade our homes.”
“Our cousins will never agree to meet with you,” one of the other priestesses said.
“In this matter, I believe they will. Even they must agree that these invaders have to be dealt with and soon. They have killed two of the Daughters for no other reason than they want our home for themselves. Both the Taladilith and Alowien have suffered losses at their hands. They will come. I just don’t know if they will agree with the course we need to follow.”
The newly appointed elven priestess of Thynitic watched as the others left to send messages to the other elves impacted by the arrival of humans in their lands.
~ * ~
Dynia nodded her head respectfully as Lorna escorted the Speakers for the Taladilith and Alowien into the shrine. “Leave us,” she said to the young priestess.
The girl bowed, then turned and left the building. Dynia watched as the other two looked around. It had been many centuries since any, other than the Rynial, had entered the Shrine of the Four; the place where all had worshipped their gods. Now, there were only three of the four left and only the Rynial came to this place.
“The balance is fading,” Velalir, the Speaker for the Taladilith, said as he entered the alcove originally dedicated to Neysinil. Water no longer flowed in the fountain and dust covered everything. “The actions of Carrinna may yet cause our destruction. They have already caused the loss of our cousins, the Cyral.”
Dynia stepped in front of the elder speaker. “We are not here to discuss the actions of Carrinna. Her crimes took place almost four millennia ago. She has been punished by Thynitic Herself and is no longer of any consequence.”
Velalir shook his head and took a step past her. His hand shook as he gestured at the alcove. “If that were true, then this place would not be decaying as it is. The spark of Order that resides in all things, even Chaos, is gone.”
Dynia placed a hand on the Taladilith’s shoulder and pulled him around to face her. “Listen to me, Velalir; there are more important matters at hand at this time. You, who are so concerned with the balance of things, look at what the arrival of these invaders is doing to our home.”
“You are calling for war,” Syneron said.
She turned to the Alowien speaker and nodded. “Something must be done.”
“Are you sure you do this for all the people, Dynia,” Velalir said. “Or do you do it for retribution?”
“Yes, I want to make them pay for what they did to my mother,” she said. “However, I do it for all. If we do not stand together, these humans will destroy Kilenter and us. Over a third of the forest, our home, is gone. How much more will you tolerate.”
“The Alowien will not answer the call for war,” Syneron said. “We too have suffered losses, but we will not be responsible for causing others to suffer, either.”
“You will not defend yourselves?” Dynia stared at the Alowien Speaker.
“I did not say that. I said we would not answer a call to war. There is a difference. However, as we do not care to suffer any further, we have decided to leave Kilenter and travel across the Sea of Dreams. The islands there will be our new home. We invite our cousins the Rynial and the Taladilith to join us.”
“So, like the Cyral, you will run away. To exile ourselves, from what is our home, is unacceptable. The Rynial will not travel with you,” Dynia said.
Syneron nodded. “The Cyral left seeking a way to restore that which had been trapped; before it is destroyed. We leave to protect what little is left. I understand your feelings and you will be welcome when you are ready.” He turned to look at Velalir.
“I will pass your invitation to my people; there may be some who will wish to leave. For my part, however, I will contact the leaders of the human city that sits near our eastern border and see if an agreement can be reached.”
“You are both fools,” Dynia said. “Galolith claims to be a protector—yet he encourages those who revere him to flee like lemmings to the sea.”
Syneron straightened as he looked at Dynia and she shuddered at the age she saw in his golden eyes. Unlike Velalir, who looked each of his eight centuries of life, Syneron still appeared no older than three or four hundred years. That is except for his eyes. His eyes were as ancient, if not older than the Taladilith’s.
“Galolith considers all life precious, as do we. To needlessly spill the blood of our people and these humans, would be foolish when there is another solution at hand.”
“And what will you do when they find their way to these islands—flee again? You will have to make a stand at some point; why not make it now?”
“The Alowien have decided. We will not be a part of your war.” He turned and walked down the corridor.
Dynia watched as Syneron stepped into the alcove dedicated to Galolith. The Alowien was done with the conversation and she realized he would be opening a portal back to his village. She turned her attention back to Velalir. “And what about the Taladilith?”
“As I have said, we wish to try talking to them first. However, if that fails, we will support our cousins.” He held out his hand.
Dynia touched her fingers to Velalir’s and nodded. “The pact is sealed.”
“You will give us the time we need to talk to the humans?” Velalir said.
“We will give you time, but do not let it take too long.”
Velalir nodded. “The pact is sealed.”
Dynia bowed slightly as the Taladilith made his way to the alcove dedicated to Frayrith. She doubted his efforts would accomplish anything, but she would allow him time to talk to the humans. She just did not make any guarantees as to how much she would give him.
~ * ~
Dynia took a deep breath as she watched the group of humans with Velalir standing in front of the shrine. With care she uncoiled the scourge that hung at her hip as one of them stepped forward and created a globe of fire in his hand.
“You dare!” She shouted the accusation as she stepped forward.
The humans spun around to face her and Dynia smiled at the fear she read in their eyes. The one with the fire laughed as he tossed the globe onto the ground at her feet. She didn’t move, instead waving her hand over the flames and extinguishing them.
“Foolish,” she said. “You think to challenge me in this place.”
“Dynia wait!” Velalir said stepping forward.
She took a breath and waited for the Taladilith Speaker to continue.
“No! We strike now,” one of the humans said as he slid his blade into Velalir’s side.
“You fool,” Dynia said as the one who called the fire raised his staff and began chanting. She whispered a word of chaos, calling on Thynitic to give her the power to defeat these invaders.
As the human finished his chanting and slammed the end of his staff against the ground, a sudden wind swirled into the area and surrounded him and the others. Dynia tightened her grip on the braided leather of her scourge as a wall of dirt and debris formed around the humans. As the wall thickened, several bolts of lightning appeared in the clear sky and lashed down into the center of the storm. She nodded at the cries of pain she heard over the roaring of the wind.
“Let Chaos take them,” she shouted as the lightning faded.
This time she smiled at the screams she heard. Once the tortured sounds faded, the wall surrounding the humans sank into the ground. Dynia snapped her scourge as she watched the lone human still standing in the morass that had once been his companions.
“Velalir brought us here to talk to you. He hoped a compromise could be reached,” he said sheathing his sword. “While Ryn and Khrisan were out of line to attack you and Velalir, we had no intentions of attacking the Shrine. There was no need to call this,” he gestured around him, “down on us.”
“I called no magics,” Dynia said. “Perhaps your companion was unable to control that which he thought to use carelessly. Magic is best left in the hands of the gods and those they call as their representatives.”
The human shook his head. “It has begun,” he said as he pulled a glass rod from his belt and broke it.
Dynia took a deep breath after the man vanished. The magic of the rod unaffected by the chaos she had previously called. She closed her eyes as she felt for the power called by the human. She didn’t understand how one of the human deities would think they could challenge Thynitic in this place.
“Eldritch power!” Her eyes snapped open and she took a step back. “They dare
presume to act as if they can control that which belongs to the gods. Not even the dragons have ever attempted to control and reshape what the gods created.” There were those of her people who could touch the powerful creative magics that still flowed through the world. However, they could only channel that power, using it as bolts of energy—not to create or change. “Reckless and arrogant” She shook her head.
With deliberate calm, she began chanting and watched as flames scorched the doors and front wall of the Shrine. She stepped forward and looked at what remained of those destroyed by the chaos storm and frowned as a glint of silver caught her eye: the Taladilith’s ring. This was something she could use. She picked up the ring then touched the unicorn pendant she wore at her neck. One of Frayrith’s children answered her summons and dipped her horn in salute.
“You called, Dynia of the Rynial.”
“I did. I must reach the Taladilith quickly. Speaker Velalir has been slain by humans who also thought to destroy the First Shrine,” she said.
The unicorn glanced at the ring Dynia was holding, then at the damage done to the Shrine.
“I will carry you to the Taladilith,” she said.
“My thanks.” Dynia mounted the unicorn and placed her hands on either side of the mare’s neck to steady herself as she whinnied and opened a portal to another part of Kilenter.
Dynia slid off the unicorn and patted her neck. “Again, my thanks; I would request your assistance in returning to the Shrine when I am done here.”
The unicorn didn’t say anything, only bobbed her head in agreement.
“I seek the one who speaks for the Taladilith in the absence of Velalir,” Dynia said as she entered the small village.
“I am Clyniellian,” a young man said as he stepped forward. “I speak in the absence of Velalir.”
Dynia held out the silver ring. “Then you are now the Speaker for the Taladilith.”
“What has happened?” Clyniellian took the ring and held it cupped in his hand.
“I found Velalir with a group of humans at the Shrine of the Four. They attacked when I arrived.” She lowered her head for a moment. “I was unable to help him. The Shrine was also damaged in their attack.”
“Velalir told us he was meeting with members of the ruling council of Nydith and was going to escort them to the Shrine to meet with you,” Clyniellian said.
“Perhaps they saw this as an opportunity to take something of value from us by destroying the Shrine,” another voice said.
Dynia bowed as Lynay stepped out of the shadows of one of the buildings. The woman was one of the eldest in Kilenter and was listened to by many. For her to be making this suggestion only added weight to what Dynia had already said.
“If that is true, then we shall stand with our cousins as they fight these humans,” Clyniellian said. He stepped forward and held his hand out to Dynia. “You have called for war to drive these invaders from our home; the Taladilith will answer.”
Dynia fought the grin she felt threatening to show as she touched her fingers to Clyniellian’s. “The pact is sealed,” she said.
“The pact is sealed,” Clyniellian said.