|Writing done by KristinGyaru.|
Avaria’s eyes opened instantly.
Had she heard fighting? No, it was unlikely. Her tribe’s camp had only just been set up here, in these woods, and no humans had known about their location. The elven people had a long history fraught with terror from the humans, who had driven them from their first homeland of Krosias many centuries ago, and now the free elven people were forced into hiding in small clusters in the forests. Though some elves lived in their tribes, some thought it better to live in the isolated villages near human ones, where they were generally loathed and treated like trash. Many of the elves in the human towns had gone missing, assumed dead by the local authority but it was common knowledge that human lords sold elves on the black market as slaves.
Avaria’s tribe-sister, Arlatha, was one person who went to live in one of the towns. She was training to be an apprentice in the tribe, but a year ago, she vanished. Only a few weeks ago did the tribe receive a letter stating her location in the town of Mirthas, near the human city of Darlhaven. Letters were regularly passed onto Avaria from Arlatha, and many of them described the horrible conditions in Mirthas, yet Arlatha didn’t wish to leave. Apparently she’d found a job working as a maid for a human named Karl Varius, a mage.
She sat up, clicking her two fingers together and seeing a small puff of flames light her room immediately. Standing, the pulled her soft, silk robe from the floor and shook her fingers, diminishing the flame, before putting her robe over her bare, slender body. Her thoughts were immediately on what was happening. Surely a human hadn’t made their way into the forest already? The mountains were not occupied by many human settlements, but the settlements here had been generous and offered to trade with the elves, so why would someone attack? Or was it a wild animal lurking? Avaria had to find out.
She quickly made her way out of her shiai (her caravan) and walked around it, to see three of her tribe-brothers and the tribal elder standing over two bodies, which appeared elven in the dark, but much shorter. Blood covered the floor.
“What’s going on?” Avaria inquired. The elder looked over her shoulder, and beckoned her to look. The elder was an old woman, with facial tattoos and wide blue eyes. She was aging, now, but she still retained her youthful smile and the glint in her eye.
“Our hunters found these two people in the forest,” she shook her head. “They immediately attacked, and I have never seen a human like this” Avaria looked at the bodies. They donned steel armour, but their skin was thin and breaking in parts, and their opened eyes were pure black. “When they arrived, Pavel says they already looked dead. They walked slowly, and spoke a tongue which we do not know.”
Curiosity filled her mind. Avaria was training to be the next elder, which meant she was naturally inquisitive. And, as she shared the blood of a mage, she found it harrowing to not know things. “Already dead?” She mused. “Surely not. They must be humans from the mountains.”
“This is grave, Avaria.” The elder’s tone was severe. “These mountains are the case of what used to be the Dar Kroati kingdom. The kingdom of the ancient dwarves. The ancient dwarves have been extinct since the first war with the humans. I need to consult Harrow about this – he is a dwarf living with the humans. He will know if there is a new tribe nesting there, though I doubt it.”
Avaria smiled and excused herself. It was late at night, and tomorrow she’d been given the task of heading to the human settlement nearby with her tribe-brother and gathering supplies. Sliding back into her shiai, she let her robe fall off her body, and she sat back onto her bed. Would she be able to sleep? Knowing that there was a group of people possibly trying to kill the elves? No, that was unlikely. Despite their general lack of respect for the elves, it was still against the law. And with the civil issues going on, why would a group of humans go out of their way to kill an innocent tribe?
She lay down, closing her eyes and putting her long blond hair to the side. Her mind was livid with thoughts and questions but she didn’t want to interfere with whatever the elder was investigating, so she tried to sleep. Soon enough, she did fall into a slumber.
== Chapter 2 ==