ATCv1 #4 of 25

1 03 2008

Please note that posts in this category belong to the old, discontinued version
and as such will not any updates nor corrections.

The elves in their white robes were sitting in a circle around the
girl. She didn’t move, she was just sitting there, staring holes in
the air. She didn’t know that either for she was in a kind of trance.
The chanting of the elves filled the air, but something just wasn’t
right. The elves felt something. Someone. It was as if he was watching
them, but that couldn’t be. The temple had no windows and there were
guards at the entrances; yet they couldn’t shake off this odd feeling.
The chanting continued, but now there were a few extra tunes.

It was a day like every other. Anya got up and dressed; her parents
would already be waiting for her with the breakfast. Foster parents in
her case. Strictly speaking she was not even an elf, but that did not
really matter. You are what you think you are, her parents always told
her and deep inside she knew she was as much an elf as everyone else
in the city. Anya jumped on the handrail of the small bridge
connecting her room with the main part of the house. All the houses of
the city were sitting on the large branches of the forest giants and
connected like that. When she reached the end of the handrail, she
jumped right into the kitchen window below her.
‘Anya! How often do I have to tell you to use the door like
everyone else? One day you will miss the window and what are you going
to do then?’
‘Land on the next platform, it is only three metres below.’
‘And it is fifteen metres to the ground.’

After finishing her breakfast it was time for school. Anya did not
like the school, for the others excluded her – not talking with her
more than absolutely necessary, looking at her in that strange way
whenever they felt unobserved and worst of all always whispering
behind her back. At least the lessons were interesting; Anya had quite
a skill for spell casting and did not do much worse in the other
subjects, but she knew that the others would never accept her.

It was already afternoon and Anya was picking some flowers at a
clearing when something strange happened. Suddenly a large wolf stood
in front of her. It had to be the same wolf she dreamt of every night;
there couldn’t be that many wolves with dark gray fur and thin silver
stripes around their necks. It did not do anything, just looked at
her, before it disappeared between the trees again. Anya wanted to
follow it, but could not find a sign of it; it was as if it had
vanished into the air. The whole thing could not have lasted more than
a few seconds, but it felt like an eternity. Could it have been some
kind of vision? The wolf was said to be a symbol of deep magical
powers; and visions involving one meant big changes. Could it really
be?

That night Anya’s dreams were even more intense than usual. In all the
nights before she had dreamt of things that seemed to be memories of a
life in the outside world, a term used for all non elvish places, but
that could not be; she had been adopted shortly after birth and never
left the forest. However, this night everything was different.
Everything around Anya was black and although she could not see
anything below her feet either, she felt the ground. Out of thin air
the wolf appeared; it gave her a knowing look and then turned to go.
Anya followed it and suddenly they were in the forest. She knew the
place, had been here several times in fact. It was nothing special,
but to an elf a group of trees has the same meaning as a row of houses
to a citizen. Suddenly there were heavily armed men; they seemed to
surround someone. Anya went closer to look. Inside the circle was a
girl. Sure, the clothes were strange, but she looked exactly like her;
at her side was the wolf. Her other self attacked and there was a
struggle. Then elves came; Anya recognized most of them. Arrows were
flying through the air. Everything turned black again, only the wolf
was still standing in front of her. A second later she was in her room
and saw her herself lying in the bed. Her mother was giving her some
blue potion; Anya knew only one of that colour, but why would her
mother want to give her that? Only high priests used it and while it
was ideal for achieving a trance, it could kill you if you took an
overdose. The scene shifted again. Now Anya was standing in a circle
of priestesses. There was no sound, but she could clearly see them
speak, chant. Then everything slowed down, came to a halt. Even the
fire on the torches was frozen; it was as if the world itself was
holding its breath. When time came back the realization hit her like a
heavy rock.

She opened her eyes and jumped out of her bed. In mid air appeared
glowing lines, forming a complicated pattern. She knew what it meant;
it was one of the basic principles of the elvish culture, along with
‘nature’, ‘family’, ‘believe’ and ‘harmony’. This one meant ‘choice’.
The pattern faded back into nothing. Hastily she put on her gown and
hurried out of her room; she wanted an answer and she wanted it now.
Instead of using one of the elevators, she climbed down a long rope,
this way she didn’t have to face any questions she didn’t want to
answer. There was already someone waiting for her on the ground.
‘Mynor, you have no idea how glad I am to see you again!’
She could have sworn that Mynor’s look meant ‘Of course I do.’

Not much later they entered the temple; it was the only building in
the whole city that had been built on, or rather under the ground, but
if you didn’t know it was there, you’d never find the entrance. The
narrow passage became wider and then they stood inside the large main
room of the temple. The huge cave was lit by thousands of magical
lights along the walls, yet the ceiling disappeared in the darkness
above them. It was quite an impressive view, an effect amplified by
the fact that the place was empty except for the enormous statue on
the opposite wall; so large that its top was hidden by darkness as
well. In front of the statue two priestesses were preparing a
ceremony; they hadn’t noticed the two of them yet.
‘Why?’
Standing in the middle of the cave she exclaimed this single word. Its
sound was echoed by the walls again and again, until it filled the
whole temple. Alarmed by that the priestesses hurried towards her, but
when they came closer Mynor started to growl; not especially loudly,
but that wasn’t necessary. His message was clear:
‘This far and not one step closer.’
‘Tell the rulers we have to talk.’ she told the priestesses in
an unnaturally calm way. They would have to face her, whether they
wanted or not.

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