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Archives: The Golden Egg

Chapter 1: Mirror Forest

    Naclia sat near one of the trail heads out of the main village leading out of the Mirror Forest. She was ready to leave. A pack of only the necessities rested beside her on the ground, her house had been left in the care of a friend and now all she needed was Aiden. His mother was probably making sure he was well-prepared and coddling him, maybe even giving one more chance at begging him to stay. Aiden needed to get away from her. Anaiya was even starting to get on Naclia’s nerves. Naclia gave an impatient sigh and started tending her nails as she waited for her friend.

    Aiden was finally free of his mother. He walked as fast a pace as possible while still seeming casual, leading his horse, Tiash, behind him. When he saw Naclia at the trail head, he gave a sigh of relief. Just a little further and they’d be out of the forest and into the world. “Hey ’clia, are you ready?”

    “Just about,” Naclia replied to Aiden. “We have someone else joining us, Eliamn. You know, I didn’t expect you to bring a horse,” Naclia gestured to Tiash. “But I guess I could ride with you. Unless Eliamn doesn’t have a horse, then I guess we should all walk. I’m surprised you actually pried your mother’s claws off,” Naclia said with a smirk to Aiden. She had to crack a joke about that, though she actually envied Aiden a bit since he still had a mother.

    Naclia sighed and shifted her sitting position, figuring they would have to wait a little longer for Eliamn. She hoped the other woman wouldn’t cause much trouble, she wasn’t a ranger like Naclia and Aiden, if anything she was nobility in the elven society. Naclia was never one to be too judgmental though. Eliamn was just about the same age as her and Aiden, but they never interacted much as children, they could consider her nothing more than acquaintance until now.

    “Ha-ha Naclia,” Aiden sneered. “You know how my mother is, afraid she’ll lose me like she lost my dad.” Aiden gave Tiash a pat on the neck. “My mother insisted I take him. Maybe he’ll come in handy, he’s good company.” The horse nickered as if thanking for the comment, nuzzling Aiden’s blonde head.

* * *

    “Now, do you have everything you need?”

    “I don’t think we can put much more in this backpack, Mother.”

    “Now, you have about three days of supplies. Naclia is a skilled huntress and will most likely will be able to provide for you while you will forage.”

    Eliamn sighed. The recent events had been rather rough on her ego, but ever since she had declared her intentions to leave and go out beyond the Mirror Forest, her mother had been all over her things, planning for her. A part of Eli actually reveled in the extra attention, since it seemed to put her mother’s mind off her daughter’s recent failings.

    However, she had been aghast at hearing that her mother had actually gone out to ask Naclia to let her daughter tag along. how would that make her look? Naclia would just think she’s a spoiled brat. She put on a stoic mask as her mother went back and rechecked all they had packed. Eliamn absently nodded at she thought ahead. Her goal was to strengthen herself and to find out just why the king spirit Ento had overwhelmed her. She had to discover the chink in her own armor and seal it so she wouldn’t fail the next time. Her hand extended out to caress the oaken staff that lay on her bed. Had it not been of her guardian, Ento would have claimed her life. On the other hand, the price of failing and remaining alive was high.

    “Maybe I should pack an extra change of robes...”

    “No Mother,” Eliamn shook her head and hugged her mother. “I’ll be alright. I don’t intend to be always on the road—Father gave me coins so I could buy a few things in human cities.”

    Her mother smiled back and raised an hand to stroke her daughter’s blonde hair, so much like her own. “Remember, you are always welcome here.”

* * *

    It was all she could do to escape the teary farewell and rush to the rendezvous point that had been arranged. Holding staff in hand and the over sized leather backpack on her shoulders, Eliamn hurried as best as she could—having Naclia and her companion wait for her would leave a bad impression and she had her fill of those for the time being.

    Eliamn huffed as she bounded between the trees, hurrying toward the outskirt of the village. After a few minutes of carrying her backpack, her shoulders already ached and she was winded. She was a bit dismayed by the observation, as it glaringly revealed she wasn’t anywhere close to a seasoned traveler, yet her pride wouldn’t allow her to show weakness if she could help it.

    “Hang in there Eli... you look like you’re about to collapse.”

    She stopped, panting and a bit embarrassed as her youngest brother Kanil ran to her, grinning.

    “What is it? We already said our goodbyes a few minutes ago,” she asked, not hiding her annoyance.

    “Look, I know ‘Tarel totally bought your ‘I am disgraced’ act, but I can’t let you leave home with those kind of gloomy thoughts,” her brother said, grinning.

    Eliamn frowned. “There are people waiting for me Kanil—you’ll excuse me but I have no time for such talk,” she was about to walk away when he interposed himself in her path.

    “Make the time,” he said, this time his tone as serious as hers. “You’re an elf, I’m sure you can afford to spare a few moments—Naclia would understand.” He sighed. “Look Big Sister, you screwed up, yeah, but it’s not a death sentence. Not every elf can contract with Ento at one-hundred and twenty-five years old.”

    “It’s Keeper tradition to—”

    “—contract with a King Spirit by his or her 125th year. Yes, I know. I grew up in the same house you did, remember?” Kanil finished frowning. “Well, you just broke tradition Sister, so you might very well just take it in stride. I’m betting you’ll just go along with this Naclia and let her drag you around with you being all servile.”

    “Naclia is an accomplished elven ranger and yes, I was planning to defer to her judgment and that of her companion Aiden when we would be out of the forest,” Eli answered tersely.

    “Well, think on this. Maybe they could use an extra shaman like you, you never know what might happen. You’re quite good and I’m sure they’ll value your company eventually.”

    She gave a suffering sigh. “I’ll take it into consideration. Now, is there anything else?”

    “Yeah,” he chuckled. “I love you.”

    She couldn’t contain a smile. She came closer and kissed him on the forehead. “I’m going now.” She turned and took up the pace, but—

    “Hey Eli!”

    She halted in her tracks. “What?”

    “Take care of yourself and don’t forget to bring back a souvenir for your baby brother.”

    She turned around exasperated. “You’re hardly a baby brother at seventy-four. What do you want?”

    “Whatever you find. Just bring back something interesting—oh, and you better enjoy yourself out there because once you’re back, I’m going to be all over you begging for stories.”

* * *

    Noticing someone approaching them, Naclia saw that Eliamn was on her way over to them. Naclia scooped up her pack and hopped to her feet.

    The blonde elf girl stopped by the two elven rangers and the horse, looking slightly winded. “I am sorry. The family farewells dragged out.” She shrugged her shoulders, adjusting the weight of her pack and looked at Tiash. “Are we going to ride? I didn’t expect I would need a horse...”

    When Eliamn finally arrived, Aiden gave her a charming smile. “Well, Naclia didn’t expect to either, but Tiash can tag along for company,” he replied. “Are you ready?”

Eliamn nodded, inwardly grateful she didn’t have to admit she didn’t know how to ride. “Yes, I believe so. If I have anything missing, my father provided some coin in case I need to buy more.” She looked from one to the other and then asked: “So, can I get an insight on how you two planned this trip? Where are we headed?”

    Naclia brushed off her dress, adjusted the straps of her pack and took the lead down the trail. “Well,” she began in reply to Eliamn as they walked, “Aiden and I have been talking about exploring Lodoss after we’d explored nearly every nook and cranny of the Forest. We decided it was about time to leave, so we decided we might take a round trip of Lodoss, starting by heading east to Moss, maybe visit the Glassy Woods, then to Raiden. From there Flaim, Valis, Kanon and Alania. Maybe we’ll even get to visit the Forest of No Return. We have a human map we bought in the village just about three months ago, so everything would be accurate.”

    Eli felt a slight tinge of disappointment that the Forest of No Return would be the last place they’d visit. From the moment Naclia mentioned it, she had a startling insight that high elves just might hold the clue to the piece of the puzzle she was missing. On the other hand, her brother’s advice proved sound. She was in no hurry and in dire need to get away from home and to adopt a change of pace. To see her skills tested and improved. Traveling over all of Lodoss could be an enriching experience—not to mention it would have her return with a dozen tales to stave off her younger brother’s curiosity.

    “Sounds like quite a trip,” she said, trying her best to sound optimistic. “I’ll try not to slow the both of you down. I’ve never traveled before.”

    “Don’t worry Eliamn, we won’t leave you behind,” Aiden assured her with a friendly smile. “We’re all in this together. We’ll keep you safe, and if you feel tired, you can just hop on Tiash and let him carry you.”

    Eli smiled back and looked at the horse. “He looks nice. I—” she hesitated, and decided there wasn’t any harm in making the admission. “I don’t actually know how to ride though.” Though her pride rankled a bit at admitting it—she already felt quite backward compared to the other two—it had occurred to her that on the course of the long journey there was a large number of things those two could teach her, namely horseback riding.

    Naclia was quite surprised to know Eliamn didn’t know how to ride. “I’m sure Aiden would be willing to teach you, and charm you to death,” Naclia said and gave Aiden a playful elbow in the ribs. “You big flirt.”

    Aiden chuckled and gave Naclia a push back. “You only wish,” he replied with a cocky grin. Of course, were it not for the fact they group up together and regarded each other as brother and sister, Aiden likely would have made a move on Naclia years ago. It never felt right though, no matter how beautiful she grew up to be.

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Chapter List | The Golden Egg Storyline