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She was nervous, but she didn’t show it. The whole temple was filled
with elves, most of them well armed; only a small circle around her
and Mynor had been left free. The tension was immense and still it
grew from second to second. The crowd divided and a small group of men
and women entered the circle. So there they were, the almost almighty
rulers of the city, the council of the 7 wise – and the high
priestess. They, too, were extremely nervous and they were not very
good at hiding it. The high priestess stepped out of the group and
looked at her for a long time before she spoke.
‘Follow me, those things are better discussed under four eyes
and with a good cup of tea.’
This definitely wasn’t the way she had expected things to develop. She
had followed the priestess into her hut and now was alone while
waiting for her to return with the tea. Mynor was lying next to her on
the floor; they had tried to keep him out of here, but Mynor had his
own way to make his point clear – the guard’s arm would need quite
some time before he could use it properly again. The priestess
returned from the kitchen.
‘Here you are, Anya.’
She took the cup.
‘Do not call me that.’
‘Why not, my child?’
‘And I am not one of your children either.’
‘Let us start again. So how shall I call you?’
‘Laiva… I think.’
‘Nothing is well. Have you got any idea what you did to me?’
Laiva cried, half in anger, half in despair.
‘Take some tea, my child, it will help you calm down a bit.’
‘You did not put blue mushrooms in by any chance?’
The voice of the woman turned sad.
‘No, just tea this time.’
Carefully Laiva put the cup to her lips and took a sip. It
tasted as if there were dozens of different herbs in it and there
probably were. She relaxed a bit; perhaps the priestess really only
wanted to talk to her after all.
‘I remember every single bit, so do not even try to fool me. I
just want to know why.’
‘Yes, I think you have a right to know and I will tell you as
well as I can; although that might not be that easy, but first tell me
what happened to you, only yesterday you were a completely normal…’
‘Normal? You call that normal?’
‘Well, normal might not be the right word…’
‘Yes, it is not the right word, but I will tell you what
happened to me. He’, Laiva pointed at Mynor, ‘happened to me. After a
whole month he remembered me and came back. I did not recognize him at
first, but tonight my dreams finally made sense. This wolf is more
loyal than all of you together.’
Again Laiva was more crying than speaking.
‘Calm down, take some more tea.’
Laiva did so; there had to be some calming drugs in it.
‘And now you feel confused, do you not? You do not know who
you are and where you belong.’
‘How do you…’
‘One does not become high priestess for no reason. I feel your
confusion, my child. And now you want me to tell you who you are.’
Laiva agreed by staying silent.
‘I told you I will answer your questions as well as I can. Let
me try to explain why we did what we did; have some more tea and
listen to the story.’
‘Our races are not as different as many think. In fact they used to be
one. Few know that, but after so many generations it does not make any
difference anyway. The whole thing started when a group of
philosophers declared that people should rely more on nature and less
on technology. As a result society split and those following the
teachings of the philosophers went away from the cities to live in
small settlements, close to and in harmony with nature. They coexisted
in peace for about a century and almost everything you call elvish
today has its origins in this time. Our people became famous for magic
and fine jewellery which they traded for raw metals. Wealth grew and
so did envy until one day the outsiders started to raid our temples
and destroy our homes. Many died, and only those who hid fast enough
survived; the woods were too dense and mighty for them to follow us.
Only a few decades ago laws still permitted killing elves on sight and
even today every elf travelling the outside world has to fear for his
life; only a few years ago the elven city of Alanis fell, betrayed by
one from the outside world who claimed to be our friend. Two hundred
thousand elves died, only a mere seventy could escape. I hope you
understand that we had no choice other than keeping you here. It was
the best solution for all of us.’
‘For all of us? You had no right to do that to me!’
‘What is right, my child, and what is wrong? We could have let
you die, but instead we gave you a new life. I am afraid you will have
to accept this; it would have been easier if you did not remember.’
‘But I do.’
‘Yes, you do. And that makes things difficult. If you really
want to leave we cannot stop you, but there is no reason why you
should not stay.’
‘You are as much an elf as I am. You speak our language, know
our rituals, understand our way of life. You will always be one,
wherever you go and whatever you do; there is no point in denying it.
Try to see it as a gift and make the best of it.’