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Chapter 9: The Elf-Maiden of Nahgaem

October 25, 2009

(Here is Chapter 9 from Elfquest, the first book in a 10-book series that combines Tolkien-esque fantasy elements with my own distinctive imagination and style. I haven’t started the other nine but I plan on having the entire series completed in ten years. One book a year sounds like a lot – but I am ambitious! Let me know what you think, it’s always good to get feedback, especially from fantasy fiction fans. I don’t have an agent or a publisher yet but I am looking!)

CHAPTER THE NINTH: THE ELF-MAIDEN OF NAHGAEM

Galath’guol paused and turned his head. Behind him, the city of DratsabTaf burned. His dwarfhood home. He ground his teeth in anger as he thought of the countless familys who would lose their homes to the flames. Aenir, who was lost in philosophical conversation with Brongorgulus as usual, suddenly realized his friend’s distress and bounced toward him and signaled to his friend to do the same. Brongorgulus’ stature made him unable to travel quickly but spurred on by the desire to be with his grieving friend he soon caught up with his travelling companions. Aenir hopped up to Galath’guol and put an paw around his knees – which was the best comfort he could offer given his size.

The landscape was awash in evening colours. It was a beautiful scene but Galath’guol was in no mood to notice. His sword hung limply around his waist. He cursed himself in the gutural tones of his native Dwarfish. Aenir didn’t understand the language but he could tell his friend was in a deep sadness.

“The Wizard of Light will defeat his enemys,” he declared. “You’ll see.”

“When?” Galath’guol roared, startling Aenir, whose rabbitude made him jumpy in more ways than just literally.

“Ours is not to question the Bright One but to serve him,” Aenir responded softly.

“The Light! I curse Light! Have you not looked behind you! That light is destroying my kin! Does this please your so-called ‘Bright One’?”

“‘To look backward is to become stuck in the past. To look forward is to embrace the future.’ You heard the Mer-Knight when we were in the Watterlandes. It was not so long ago. We should heed his wisdom. He is heir to the Sea-Kingdom.”

“I don’t care a peivor for any Mer-Knight’s drivel!” shouted the Dwarf. [FOOTNOTE: The peivor is a unit of currency in MaegeWorlde]

As Aenir attempted to cheer up his friend, Brongorgulus was lost in thought. Like most giants, he always became especially pensive at twilight.

“Shall we make camp soon?” he eventually inquired.

“No need,” Aenir said by way of response. “According to my map, we shall soon be in the Towne of Nahgaem.”

They walked on as the sun set before the three travellers, Aenir bounding ahead and leaping back to rejoin his companions. Brongorgulus plodding steadily on, the distressed Galath’guol striding forward with purposefulness. Evidently he was happy to get as far as possible from the fire and the memory of defeat. Aenir was looking forward to a night in Nahgaem, an elf village. Although he had long ago chosen to assume the body of his animal spirit, he still had the usual male affections, and elf ladys were of particular delight for him. He secretly hoped he would someday find an elf-maiden who would love him despite his small stature and rabbit features.

It was dark when the three travellers entered the town, and few elves were about on the cobbled streets. Aenir waylayed a young elf-boy who was clearly on his way back from a meadhouse. “Hail, friend,” he greeted, bounding up to him.

“A talking rabbit!” hiccupped the lad. “I’ve seen it all now!”

Aenir laughed. “My two friends and I are visitors to your town and we seek a lodging-house. Can you give us directions?”

The young drunken man squinted into the darkness and caught the outlines of the rabbit’s friends: a dwarf and a giant. He was enchanted. “A lodging-house would cost you dear! Come and stay with my family! We have plenty of room and my mother would be honoured to receive such – unusual – guests.”

“Well, if it’s no imposition,” chucked Aenir.

“None at all!” insisted the lad.

He led the three travellers to a large but modest house a few blocks away. “Mother, we have visitors!” he announced with cheer as the “unusual” guests stepped into the house, Brongorgulus ducking under what was to him a very low doorway. An elf-woman with kindly features stepped into the foyer and when she saw them she grinned as only an elf can. “Welcome to our home!” she exclaimed. “Come in, come in! Let me take your coats! Thourien, you’ve been at that meadhouse all night, haven’t you? Well, no matter, elfboys will be elfboys, eh? Just as long as you’re up in time for the Convention tomorrow. Where’s your sister? Eilisathwen!!”

“Yes, Mother?” a musical voice called from another room of the house.

“Set your stringharp aside for a minute and come and show these three travellers to the guest room, please!”

“Travellers?” All of a sudden there came a sound of bounding not unlike Aenir’s, and seconds later, Eilisathwen appeared in the foyer.

For the first time that day, Galath’guol smiled. And for the first time that day, Aenir was speechless. She was the most beautiful maiden either of them had ever beheld with their eyes. She was dressed in a semi-transparent off-white dressing gown that was tailored to her figure in the elfin style. Her long, white-blonde hair cascaded down her back like a waterfall. She had cheerful green eyes and plump pink lips. “White Wizard!” she exclaimed. “What a curious assemblance of companions!” She giggled. To Aenir, her laughter was more melodious than music. Galath’guol too was utterly transfixed.

“That’ll do, dear,”  her mother admonished. “Please show them their quarters.”

“Certainly,” Eilisathwen murmured, remembering her manners. She bowed her head modestly and gesturing to the three travellers to follow her.

Brongorgulus could tell that both of his friends were attracted to this young creature. He had a feeling that she would become a big part of their adventures – not to mention a big source of conflict between two friends. He sighed and followed the group into a large, comfortable bedroom. It had been a long day, and he felt sure that tomorrow would be even longer.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Jim permalink
    October 27, 2009 5:06 pm

    You should make the entire series a palindrome – with the last 5 books full of near-meaningless garbage, just for completeness.

    Fuck! I’ve just noticed that Sarah Palin’s blog is called the PalinDrome – the world was robbed a great leader.

    .redael taerg a debbor saw dlrow eht – emorDnilaP eht dellac si golb s’nilaP haraS taht deciton tsuj ev’I !kcuF

    .ssenetelpmoc rof tsuj ,egabrag sselgninaem-raen fo lluf skoob 5 tsal eht htiw – emordnilap a seires eritne eht ekam dluohs uoY

    • Kate permalink*
      October 28, 2009 8:27 am

      A ring composition series is a stellar idea. Marketing-wise, even the (more) nonsensical books would sell if the volumes’ spines formed a larger picture when lined up in sequence. Like an image of a dragon, or an elf maiden in diaphanous garments. The head of the creature would have to be printed on the final three backwards books. Then people would really have to buy them.

      There are a handful of extant classical palinodes–poems that deny the truth of the commonly accepted version of a particular story and then “correct” it. Someone should write a Sarah Palinode…

      I hope Sarah Palin’s career really is a palindrome, and two years from now, no one has clue who she is.

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