Chapter 5

Chapter 5

A Chapter by Analae

When Balifor awoke form his unexpected sleep, Arvalin was nowhere to be seen.  He sat up, coming out of a daze, and looked around. He listened to the forest aroud him, trying to discren where he was. The only sounds he could make out was water trickling through a small stream not too far off, and the chirping of some small birds.  He tried to stand up but soon gave up taking back to leaning against the tree; he was stiff from the hard ground and unforgiving tree, his body not ready to forgive him for the abuse it had been through.

He turned his head up towards the sky and could see pieces of blue peeking through the leaves.The leaves were all green, not a single brown, orange, or other color decorated a single branch in the forest. The ground was immaculate of fallen leaves, as if the forest was as long lived as it’s patrons.  It was a beautiful sight and it took his breath away.  All he could do for a short time was to stare around him in awe. He had never been around such natural beauty. Everything here was pure, untouched by time or man, as far as his eyes could see. No noise of horses, wagons, shops, or even the hammer and forge could be heard. This sense of quiet was both peaceful and unsetting in an unfamiliar way.  It could be unnverving if one focused to long on the unfamiliar silence for too long, as if the forest wanted to strip away defenses.

When he pulled himself back to his senses, Arvalin was standing close by.  He studied her for a moment as she stood, motioning quickly to something. He blinked, trying to focus behind her and could tell she was not alone. Four others were standing with her and she was talking to them, voice low as she motioned between them and himself.  Balifor studied them for a moment, trying to make them out. It was hard to truly see them as they blended perfectly with the surrounding forest. If he had not seen the familiar elf, he would have missed the group of the other four all together. Their cloaks and armor blended seemlessly into the surrounding wood, greys, greens, and browns syncing perfectly with the bark and leaves.

Taking his eyes from the female he was familiar with he started studying those that were with her the best he could. Two of the elves offered no detail as to who or what they were, the hoods of their cloaks pulled tightly over their heads, not even a strand of hair peeking from under the cowl. One of the others, a tall male, had long blonde hair cascading down his shoulders. He wore no cloak over his armor and had a short blade on his hip along with a bow and a full quiver of arrows on his back. The final elf stood close to Arvalin and was a female, darker hair framing her face. She had a cloak thrown over her shoulders and glared at the human, arms crossed and a frown on her thin lips.

Arvalin turned, her eyes on the human leaning against the tree. She frowned, shaking her head, speaking in a tongue Balifor could not understand. It sounded musical to him, but he could tell that they were deep in an argument by the gestures and intonation.  One of the elves moved forward, movement quick. By the way he moved, Balifor could tell he was fighting to keep whatever emotions ran through his mind under control. He movement held violence; his body tight, anger making his boots hit the ground hard, steps resounding through the thick forest.  His eyes shined with anger, visible under the hood of the cloak, shining cerulean orbs.   Arvalin reached out, resting her hand on the angered elf’s shoulder and whispered something to him. He stopped moving, taking his gaze from the human to turn back to Arvalin. The elf shook his head in response yet remained silent. 

Arvalin turned back to Balifor and walked towards him, graceful and deadly. Her voice had lost the innocent curiousity it had held just hours before.   “Did you enjoy your rest, Balifor?  We were hoping you had left our forest.”  She studied him a moment and motioned to one of the hooded elves. The other elves watched and waited for him to make a move they could deem as a threat, hands on their weapons, bodies tense. Balifor could sense the unease amongst the four new bodies in the clearing. He would have to be careful. 

The elf Arvalin had motioned towards walked approaching her, eyes locked on the human before them.  Arvalin and the elfin man exchanged a few words.  After a brief exchange of words that left Balifor in the dark, the elf removed the hood covering his head.  The elf, now unmasked, looked a lot like the lady next to him, though age showed in his cerulean ageless eyes.  The elf was male with long blond hair gracing his head, which was tied back with a small strip of leather, reaching down to his mid back.  He was beautiful for a man, and the two together were a sight to behold.  Dangerous, beautiful, ageless, words kept running through Balifor's head but he could not stop on one that fit perfectly on what he felt described them.

The male elf stood taller than Arvalin, her head at his shoulders. His armor was a burnished brown, gold detailing in the brushed detailing. His hair parted perfectly over his pointed ears, framing his strong face, which was now glaring at Balifor. A sword hung on his hip, a secondary blade on his back, the hilt resting under his cloak. Dark green pants graced his legs, brown leather boots hugging him perfectly. He took a few more steps forward, almost placing himself between the human and Arvalin.

“Human, what are you doing here?  This is our homeland…our forest.  You are bringing evil here.  I can feel it.”  The elf stared at Balifor, anger and mistrust in his eyes. He was quick and to the point. He was not one to waste time, or words. “We do not allow outsiders and I cannot figure out why our mother's tree has allowed you to rest at her roots for so long.” He looked at the bough of the tree in question, confusion on his face for a meer second before it disappeared back into the stone face of anger.

“I have already explained it to the Lady-Elf Arvalin.  You should ask her sir,” Balifor answered defiance in his voice, trying to outweigh his exhaustion. “And mother-tree?” He asked, curiousity slipping out.

“Balifor, there is a small scout group dressed in black armor passing through the Vinginds now.  What do you know about this?”  Arvalin studied the man’s hooded face as she spoke. She was trying to watching for any change from under the hood.  “We have not had anyone scale those mountains in over one thousand years.”

Balifor glanced at the two in front of him, then his gaze traveled to the three behind them.  He sat here, alone, the only human among the lions.  He wondered to himself what his next move should and would be, and how would he carry it out. He was unsure as to why there would be a group in the mountains. He had left no trail.

“I know you, Lady Arvalin of the greywood, so I choose to speak to you; yet who is this elf making demands of me?”  Balifor stared at the two before him.

“This is…” Arvalin glanced at the elf beside her, a question or a request for permission in her eyes. She knew better than to speak for him. That had been a battle she had lost too many times in the past and knew that now was not the time to try and fight that sort of battle again.

“I am Melko Nauessal of the greywood, and Arvalin’s older brother.   Why should a mortal care who we are?  We are hunters to keep your kind from our lands.  We must have failed.”  He took another step forward putting himself between his sister and the human, blocking Balifor's gaze from the familiar presence.  He was very distrustful of anything that was from the outside. His sister and himself were complete opposites in that aspect. Where Arvalin was curious about anything new, he knew that it was best to keep your distance and immediately get rid of it. Trust was a dangerous thing, he had learned first hand and only wished to keep his sister safe.

“Stand up human.  Or…are you too weak to do so on your own?” Melko taunted him, voice full of malice. “Stand up before we force you up.”

Balifor took a deep breath and force his body to move, bracing himself on the elm behind him and stood.  He was almost eye level with the one named Melko and towered over Arvalin by a few inches.  His cloak was filthy from bark, his travels and the dust he had slept in.    A sheath and hilt were glinting as he moved, peaking out from his cloak. He tried to keep his sword hidden the best he could, so as not to seem a threat anymore than he already did.

“My brother has shown you his face, you have seen mine,” Arvalin stated as she moved from behind her brother, earning a displeased look from Melko. “Yours still remains hidden and unseen.  I could say one word to the archers behind me,” she motioned behind her, “and they could shoot you dead or remove the hood.  You are on our lands, and you seem ungrateful that we have not killed you, yet.  I find you amusing and extremely annoying.”  Arvalin gave a small laugh shaking her head. One of the hooded elves had a bow in his hands, a yellow shafted arrow already gracing his other hand. A green glove outfitted his hand that held the arrow. He watched, waiting on the signal, standing as a monument in the forest.

Balifor stared at her in awe.  Her laugh was like music and it sent chills down his spine.  Arvalin noticed his amber eyes on her and tilted her head. She moved like a cat, lithe and curious, yet deadly. He was enraptured by how she controled his emotions and now it seemed his very life with just a short flick of a wrist.

“You Lady…are an enigma.  Why is my face so important to you?”  Balifor had a playful tone to his voice, even though he could be struck dead at any moment. He was not dead yet and he felt that he was not going to be struck down in the near future. He was a tresspasser, but he could be useful.

“I am just curious,” Arvalin retorted, ignoring the man’s tone. She knew now was not the time to let her playful nature come to the front. She was in no mood to be chided by Melko, espcially in front of such an intereting plaything. She knew she would hear a lecture for not dealing with the human already. She was not going to add any more fuel to the proverbial fire.

She turned to her brother and motioned to the others behind them.  She spoke to the archers and Balifor could not understand and it drove him mad. He wished he could understand at least a few words, for he knew that he was being talked about.  One of the un-named elves took off into the forest, quicker than a deer, pulling her cloak over her head. She made no noise as she disappeared blending into the trees.   Melko looked at his sister and shook his head, anger distorting his beautiful features. He placed his hand on her shoulder before nodding to the three remaining arches and pulling up his hood the four faded into the forest, soundlessly. The wind carried a whisper, as if a warning came to his ears, sibling to sibling, “Mel Elenanan.” Then, it was quiet for a moment.

Arvalin stood in the clearing and sighed, watching her brother and the rangers leave. She felt almost scared…almost. That was gone quickly as she remembered why she was here. She was to find out about those stalking their lands. From the human in front of her. She knew that the forest depended on her. She took a deep breath and slowly steeled herself before walking closer to the human. “Come.” She told him, not looking over her shoulder, before walking into the forest. “We need to move.”

Balifor slowly urged his body forward, staring at the body disappearing before him and ungainly made his way after her, having to watch where he planted his feet. He noticed there were no paths, no smooth areas to follow, no trails of any sort, but Arvalin knew her way. He struggled to keep up and before long they were near a river.

“Sit.” She told him, stalking over to a fallen log. “We have to talk.” She crossed her arms, eyes watching as he walked over to the river and washed his face and took a long drink before finally taking a seat on another log.

Balifor had to be careful as to how he sat, still trying to keep his sword hidden from view. He pulled his cloak tight around his body, as if cold and looked up at the elf from beneath his cowl. “Well, speak then.” He replied, hands resting on his thighs.

Arvalin frowned, clearly unhappy at the order. “Do not forget who you are speaking to, human.” She snapped, fighting the urge to stand up. “You will not speak to me like that or I will abandon you to this forest.”

Balifor raised his hands in submission. “I mean no disrespect lady-elf.”He replied, quickly backtracking. “I simply mean if you want to speak, do so.” He was annoyed at having to walk on so many egg-shells.

The she-elf nodded quickly and closed her eyes for a moment. “My brother is not happy that you are here.” She started, taking a deep breath. “He wanted to be rid of you quickly then we received reports of the scouts in the mountain range.” She opened her eyes and it felt like she was boring into him. “They were not anywhere near our borders until you showed up and we do not see this as a coinendence.”

Balifor shook his head. “As you can see I do not sport any truly black armor.” He pointed to his cloak and leggings. “I am not trying to hide myself and came into your forest looking for respite not a fight. I do not know why anyone would try that range for all know how trecherous it can be for any who do not know it.” He frowned and bowed his head, lost in thought. A few moments later he continued, head still bowed. “I wish I could answer you my lady, but alas, I can only offer more questions as to why they would be there.”

Arvalin stood up, pacing the clearing, hands clasped behind her back. “That is not good.” She stated, not looking at him. She turned, her back to him, facing the forest. “Melko wanted answers and I am not going to able to give them to him.” She shook her head, slowly turning towards the human. “I wonder why the forest did not kill you upon entry.” She murmured softly. “The tree you took rest under is very dear to brother and myself.” She looked skyward, lost in thought.

A small gust of wind broke through the clearing, rustling around them, her hair dancing in the breeze. Balifor watched her, watched the limbs as they danced and moved along with the breeze then as quickly as it had come it stopped. Arvalin toyed with the edge of her cloak, running the fabric through her fingers absentmindedly.

Daring to break the silence Balifor spoke. “Why is the tree so important, if I am be allowed to ask?” He watched a pained expression dance across the elf's features and for a moment regreted asking. He watched her eyes shift from pained to one of indifference.

“My brother will be very upset about me telling you this but seeing that you have survived this long I see no reason not to.” Arvalin returned to her seat, settling onto the log. “Our father fought in one of the world wide wars thousands of years ago.” She started, eyes on the hooded figure. “Before our borders were sealed.”

Balifor nodded, “I've heard stories that elves used to walk freely out of their forests, trading with the other races.”

Arvalin nodded. “That is true. When the war ended, our father was not able to return. He was slain on his return by a human who had acused him of a wrong doing.” She frowned, pinching the bridge of her nose. “My mother was not able to survive the passing of my father and as a blue jay will pass away mourning the death of it's mate, Melko and I watched my mother follow our father.” She paused for a moment. “Many say we return to the stars.” She smiled and looked at the blue sky overhead. “I can agree with that because I see new stars if one of our kind passes, even though it is not often.”

Arvalin leaned back against a tree, head against it's trunk as she continued. “This forest, many of the trees are the fallen souls that never left. They fight to protect us.” She touched the ground the log, fingers gently tracing lines along the dirt. “When our kind, from this forest, pass on we return to the forest. The tree you were under is our mother's tree, her soul and one of the main guardians of this forest.”

Balifor sat silent, more confused than before. He had never heard such tales and did not know what to make of it. A forest of souls, eternal people and an eternal forest; it was hard to fathom. He knew not to question her and he watched as she traced her delicate fingers along the forest floor. They sat in a comfortable silence, and he was not willing to pull her out of it. He settled back, content to watch her.

Time passed them by and noon slowly ticked past. Arvalin sat up quickly hand on her sword as one of the elven hunters came bounding into the clearing. “My lady! Your brother calls for you immediately. Bring the human.”

Arvalin nodded, quickly gaining her composure. “Human, come!” she ordered, removing her bow from it's notch on her back. Balifor quickly got to his feet, still sore and now hungry and followed the two deeper into the forest.

“What's going on?” Arvalin asked, speaking in the common tongue.

“The scouts have broken into the forest!” The hunter disappeared, returning to her post, her job completed.

Arvalin glared back at Balifor. “If they have any ties to you, this will be your execution.” She continued on, the human quick on her heels. He knew he would be cleared if he could see whatever these things were. They ran, the forest opening before them, and Balifor was trying to make sure he was ready; for what he was not sure yet.

© 2018 Analae

Author's Note

please ignore grammar issues. rough draft.

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Added on January 16, 2018
Last Updated on January 16, 2018



Sumter, SC

I love to write. I have a lot of new ideas and have found a few of my ideas to have taken a darker turn. I have moved from doing poetry to doing more along the story lines. I have been updating a l.. more..

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