Chapter 1. Two Children are Born
A very long ago, in the ancient times before the lives of elves and humans were completely separated, a series of events took place. These events were of such a magnitude that they were written down in the history books and remembered for several hundreds of years before they were believed to be just fairytales and finally completely forgotten in the flow of time. The complete story about why the lives of elves and humans became separate has, however, never been told before. Therefore it is time to tell the story about how a little insignificant creature named Roe came to change the history of humans and elves.
It was summer and Otter of the Forest people was happy. In the summer life was easy. The air was filled with the wonderful scent of flowers and grass and the birds were singing. She and Wolf had been very lucky to find this settlement with such good hunting grounds. It would probably take a very long time before either of them would have to be hungry again.
When little Roe was born next summer, Otter’s and Wolf’s happiness was complete.
“She's the most perfect little creature I have ever seen,” Wolf said enchanted. “We will take care of her and love her so that she will be the happiest girl in the world.”
When Otter hold her little daughter in her arms she knew that from now on her life would be completely changed. Everything would circle around little Roe. The thought that something dangerous could ever happen to her child was the most scaring thought Otter could imagine. Far from every child in the forest lived to see their first birthday.
Just as Wolf had said, Roe grew up to be a very happy little girl. Her bright laughter filled Otter’s and Wolf’s hearts with joy. The little family lived a life free from worries and full of happiness.
The same day that Roe was born another baby was born far away. No one could ever guess that the destinies of these two babies would be connected and that this would affect both the human kingdom and the elves’ realms. At this time humans and the forest people did not even know of each other’s existence. Queen Cecilia hold her son with tenderness. She and King Magnus had lost all their other children as infants and they had almost given up the hope to have an heir to the throne when Alexander was born. He seemed to be an unusually strong and healthy child so Cecilia started to hope that maybe finally she would be allowed to keep her baby.
Chapter 2. The Banquet
“I can see that you’re truly happy to have a new nephew, brother.” The irony in Karl’s words was very obvious. “I believe that you have to make new plans for little Erik’s future now that he cannot become king” Karl continued.
“Well we don’t know about that yet. Alexander is still very young and our big brother Magnus has not been very lucky with his children,” Birger replied quietly.
“I think you may be disappointed this time,” Karl replied. “I have heard that young Alexander is a very strong baby.”
“If you think I am disappointed, what about you?” Birger looked his brother steady in the eyes. “Don’t you think I know that you had your own plans for the future? I am older than you and I do believe that Erik has much more potential to be a real king than a son raised by our soft brother Magnus.” Birger kept his eyes steady on Karl and his voice was sharp.
Karl snorted, demonstrating that he did not agree about who the future king should be.
“Although I have had a pleasant time here in your county Karl, I think it is time for me to return home early tomorrow. Thank you for your hospitality. Good night brother. I think we will talk more about this subject in the future.”
Birger and Karl, Magnus’ two younger brothers were considered to be hard and cruel to the farmers who worked on their lands. More than once, Magnus had stopped them from taxing the farmers what he considered to be too hard.
Birger and Karl were not particularly good friends but they had a common interest that one on their sons would become the future king. Until Prince Alexander was born this future prospect was within reach. Although Birger and Karl did not support Magnus, they had never dared to challenge him because he was very popular and had the people on his side.
When Prince Alexander had survived his first year King Magnus arranged a big banquet to the honour of the crown prince according to the old customs. Many important guests were invited, including Birger and Karl. The most honoured guests were, however, the king and the queen of the elven realms and their suite. The celebration of a new human crown prince was an event of such importance that the elves would leave their realms to visit the human kingdom and once again confirm the ancient union between the king and queen of the light elves and the human kingdom.
Elves and humans were friends at this time, although it was not often they met. A banquet together with elves was something very unusual for the human guests.
“It is like it was only yesterday that I attended the banquet to honour your grandfather when he became one year old,” Queen Eliene said to King Magnus. “Your world is so changeable. There are very seldom births of new babies in our realm.”
”I understand that the birth your daughter less than two years ago must have been an enormous delight for all light elves,” king Magnus replied.
“Yes, princess Aliendre is a wonderful child” the queen of the elves replied her face lit up with a mothers pride. “I anticipate, that her powers will be great when she grows up.”
This made King Magnus feel a bit uncomfortable. The magic powers of the light elves scared him a little.
“Of course Aliendre is still much to young for such a long journey as to your kingdom but when she grows up I am sure that she will want to learn more about the human world that is so different from ours.”
“Of course Prince Alexander is more than welcome to visit us when he becomes older, just as his ancestors have before him,” King Eraldor continued.
Queen Cecilia knew that this invitation was a great honour but also expected, and one of the reasons that the elves always participated in the celebration of of a new human crown prince. It was a long tradition that the human heirs of the throne would spend some time with the elves during their education. This strengthened the ancient union between elves and humans but was also very valuable as the elves had deep knowledge about so many things that were not known by humans. Cecilia thanked politely for the invitation on staggering elvish language. She did not speak the beautiful elven language as well as her husband, who of course had visited the elves for some time when he was young. The elves both fascinated and scared Cecilia.
Sometimes during the banquet the older elves could sit completely still and quiet with their eyes looking at some distant place. With their supernatural beauty they looked almost like statues during these moments. The impression was strengthened by the fact that they did not blink and barely seemed to breathe while they seemed distant. The thought that many generations of human kings had visited the same elven king and queen was strange. Elves and humans were truly different Queen Cecilia thought.
Although Alexander was too young to attend the banquet that was hold to his honour he had of course to be shown and presented to King Eraldor and Queen Eliene. There were very few children in the elven realms and Queen Eliene was completely charmed by the little prince who was just a few months younger than her own daughter.
When Eliene reached out her hand to touch Alexander she was suddenly overwhelmed by a strong feeling. Dark clouds seemed to gather in the sky and she felt a grief deeper that she had imagined was possible. She quickly withdraw her hand from the boy and the feeling disappeared. There was something disastrous in this little boy’s destiny that would also affect her and the elves. Luckily Cecilia had not noticed the change in Elienes expression but Eraldor had seen and understood that Eliene with her powers had foreseen something fearful in the future. He could not understand how anything bad could be linked to this little prince, because his own powers told him that the boy had a good and honest heart.
The prince had a very thorough education. He had a staff of teachers in different subjects but his own father also participated actively in his education.
“I want to play instead,” Alexander complained.
“You can play when you have translated all the words on the sheet to elvish language,” Magnus replied merciless and Alexander sighed deeply.
“It is much more fun with riding lessons and lessons in sword fight than to sit at a desk.” Alexander’s horse Galaxy nodded and agreed as always with his little rider. “You are the best birthday gift I ever had. We will win every tournament as soon as I am old enough to participate. Mum says it is too dangerous for me but you and I, we don’t care.” The horse snorted which Alexander interpreted as a very obvious “yes”. His horse understood him better than anyone else. For a little while Alexander lost himself in dreams about future glory in the jousting field.
Chapter 3. The Big Forest People Meeting
Roe hold her breath. She was very close now and the wild boar did still not know she was there. If only she was older and allowed to hunt large preys for real! All she could do now was to practise her skills in tracking and moving without making a sound. Sometimes she could come so close to an animal that she could touch it. Of course some animals were better not to touch; she had learned this the hard way. In fact, it was best that this wild boar never realised she was close to it at all. She defied all her parent’s exhortations to be careful. Hunting in the way forest people did was definitely not without dangers but Roe enjoyed testing her own limits. It was inevitable that she would get smaller wounds every now and then but miraculously she was never seriously injured and she became more and more fearless. Although her parents constantly feared for their daughter’s safety they were also very proud of their skilful and brave child.
“What have you been up to today?” her father asked.
”Nothing, just walking around,” Roe shrugged her shoulders. She figured that it was best for her father to not know that she had been tracking wild boars. It was strange that this strong and brave man was so easily scared when it came to her. He should know that she could take care of herself.
One of Roe’s strongest childhood memories was the large Forest people meeting. She had only a few times before met others of her kind when she walked far away in the forest with her parents. Her parents taught her good manners and how greet other people. These spontaneous meeting were always very brief. After polite greetings the different groups parted and went in opposite directions.
"It is very rude to intrude on someone else’s hunting grounds. We forest people always respect each other,” Wolf told her.
The large meeting was something completely new for Roe. She had never seen so many of her own kind at the same time before.
Everyone ate and laughed together. There were different competitions. At night when everyone danced to the rhythm of drums in the light of the fires, Roe felt like she had been transferred to some other magical place far away from real life. She thought that she could feel the presence of the spirits closer than ever before.
Next evening an old man told stories by the fire.
“He is very old, probably more than 60 winters and has seen and heard many things”, Otter said to Roe.
“Worst of all creatures in the world are the cruel humans” the storyteller said in a dramatic voice. “They look similar to the elves but are completely different and mortal just like us. But unlike us they have many children so they spread everywhere. They destroy the forest so that our people have to flee from our hunting grounds. There are no other creatures that are as cruel as them. Animals are kept as prisoners and humans kill as often as they can, not only for food.” The storyteller told many stories about the humans’ cruelty.
“Do humans exist for real?” Roe asked her mother when she was about to fall asleep in Otter’s arms.
“I don’t know”, Otter replied slowly. “But you don’t have to be afraid. If they really do exist they must be very, very far away. I have never met anyone who has seen a human. You know, I think that the storyteller sometimes makes up stories just to entertain us.”
But Roe was not reassured. She had nightmares about humans who came to destroy her forest so that she and her parents had to flee from their home.
Chapter 4. Roe Meets Thorundur
A few days after Roe had returned home after the meeting she had a shock. She was following an interesting track from a group of deers when suddenly a pale boy stood right before her, like he had grown out of the ground. He was looking directly at her. This must be a human boy! Roe panicked. She was really scared but she knew better than to show her fear. Her father had told her over and over again that showing fear was the best way to get attacked. “Always act as you are in total control of things no matter how you feel inside,” he had told her so many times. Roe gathered herself. After all, the boy didn’t really look dangerous at all.
Roe remembered her good manners and bowed. She thought that being polite could never hurt, although humans probably did not know about such things.
“I am Roe of the forest people, Wolf’s and Otter’s daughter," she said politely.
The pale boy with the strange blue eyes smiled happily. “I am Thorundur and I’m a light elf. I'm on a fishing tour with my brother but he's so boring so I went away on my own for a little while,” he said.
The boy spoke so fast so Roe could barely get what he said. But she had very clearly heard that he was a light elf. Of course, she thought. She knew that elves sometimes walked in the forest although she had never met one before. Elves were not dangerous. How silly she had been to think that the boy was a human! Humans probably didn’t exist after all. The boy had a funny but pleasant accent.
Roe remembered that the storyteller had said that once in the beginning of times it was the elves that had taught the forest people their language. Roe was thrilled. Like other children of her kind she was not used to have a playmate.
“We can go tracking together she said," but felt suddenly a little shy. What if the elf thought she was boring?
“That sounds fun,” he said quickly with a bright smile. “But I have another idea, lets sneak on my brother. He's only fifty years old but so booring. I bet that he will not notice us until we 're really close." Thorundur told Roe that he lived far away with his parents but was staying with his brother for a while. “Mum and Dad think it will be good for me to spend a year with my brother and aunt. They think I will learn to behave better,” Thorundur said with a smile that showed that he had no intention at all to learn how to behave. “Hey, do you live here somewhere? Maybe we can play every day?”
Roe and Thorundur had much fun sneaking on Toraldor, Thorundur’s brother, who was fishing in a small lake not far away. But of course they couldn’t help giggling after a while and were revealed.
“This is my friend Roe, she's from the Forest people,” Thorundur answered with a pride that made Roe feel very good.
“I didn’t know there was any of your kind here” Toraldor said to Roe. “I am pleased to meet you Roe. It will be good for Thorundur to have a friend here.”
Thorundur and Roe played almost every day. Roe taught Thorundur to track and to move silently but he was not as good as her. He often scared the animals before they got very close because he just couldn’t be quiet but Roe had more fun than ever.
Roe could talk with Thorundur about everything. He told her about his life with the elves.
“My brother’s wife is a distant relative to the King and Queen,” he said with some pride.
But Roe didn’t really understand what being king and queen meant so Thorundur had to try to explain but was a little annoyed when Roe laughed because she thought it was silly to have a king and queen. Then he agreed with her. Why didn’t the elves live like the forest people? he thought. Roe taught Thorundur about the life in the forest. She was surprised to find out that Thorundur had no idea that everyone was part of the forest and that spirits in the forest gave people food and shelter if you respected them.
"The forest is our mother," Roe explained.
When the winter came they couldn’t see each other as often as before because when the snow was deep it was difficult to move in the forest and if snow fall was heavy it could even be dangerous to go far away from home. But when the weather was fine they played and had more fun than ever in the snow. Roe had the best time of her life when she had Thorundur as a friend. Everyday was full of fun when they were together.
One day when they met in the forest Thorundur looked very sad. “I have to go home,” he sobbed and Roe thought her heart would break. Thorundur noted that Forest people cried without any tears.
“My parents have come to take me home again and they will not let me stay any longer even though I begged them.” The sorrow in Thorundur’s voice was heartbreaking.
“Neither have I,” Roe sobbed. “I will miss you so much.”
Chapter 5. Alexander and Erik
Alexander enjoyed his privileged life. He was popular and had a reputation to be handsome and charming.
Although Alexander had to spend much time on his education there was also plenty of time for pleasure. His favourite pleasure was sport games of different kinds. He was still too young to be allowed to participate in the games himself but he still dreamed about the day that he would participate in the competitions.
One day Alexander’s cousin Erik came to spend some time in the royal castle. Queen Cecilia was not thrilled over the idea to have the son of her husband’s brother in the household and close to her son. She did not trust Erik at all.
“What harm can it do to have him here? After all he’s family. The best that can happen is that Erik becomes Alexander’s friend,” Magnus said but Cecilia was still not convinced.
Just as Magnus had hoped, Erik and Alexander became good friends. They both enjoyed all kinds of sports that were considered proper for a noble man of this time. Erik was older than Alexander and the better of them when they practised the arts of fighting but Alexander was more dedicated in his practise and could spend hours polishing his technique with the sword.
They were both handsome and together they became the centre of social life for the young and privileged. Alexander’s friends had been carefully chosen from the most influential families in the kingdom. Together with Erik, Alexander spent more time than ever on pleasures together with his friends.
“I think they are looking at us,” Erik tilted his head in the direction of a group of young maids that were whispering and giggling together. Erik stretched himself with a self-conscious smile on his lips.
It was obvious that the young girl’s eyes were hooked on Alexander. When he looked in their direction they started too giggle hysterically.
Alexander’s cheeks turned slightly red. Although he was born a prince, too much attention sometimes made him feel a bit uncomfortable.
“I guess being a prince increase your attractiveness.” It was meant as a joke but Erik couldn’t completely disguise the underlying bitterness in his voice. Although Erik also was popular and older than Alexander, it was always Alexander who got most of the attention and admiration.
“I don’t think I like the influence Erik has on our son.” Cecilia said to Magnus. “They spend too much time on pleasures and Alexander must think about his future duties and spend more time on education.”
“I wouldn’t worry,” Magnus replied. “I’m happy that they are such good friends. My brothers have only caused trouble for me but perhaps it can be different between Alexander and his cousins. But you may be right that Alexander spends too much time on pleasures and too little on education and duties. I'm also afraid that a little more humility wouldn’t hurt Alexander. Maybe it’s time for him to visit the elves for a year or so.”
Cecilia didn't like anyone criticising her son, not even Magnus.“There is nothing wrong with Alexander,” she said sharply, “and he's still too young to go away for a year.”
“No, he’s the same age that I was when I visited the elves. He will grow up whatever you do.”
But Cecilia didn’t want to hear about sending Alexander to the elves yet and if Alexander didn’t behave as she might wish, it was Erik’s fault. Her son couldn't do anything wrong according to Cecilia. “Alexander is just a young boy, there will be plenty of time for him to visit the elves later,” Cecilia finished the discussion.
I was in the middle of the night and everyone in the castle except the guards on duty were asleep. The dark figure moved silently looking around his shoulder every now and then. He didn't belong to the castle and was heavily armed. The guard didn't hesitate for a second when he saw that the intruder was trying to open Alexander’s door. There was a look of total surprise in the intruder’s eyes when the sword went into his chest.
Too late Robert, which was the guard’s name, realised that killing the intruder maybe wasn’t the best option and just as he had feared king Magnus was angry.
“Now, we will never know who sent him.” Although Magnus was very happy that the attack on his son had been stopped, he was displeased that the intruder had been killed and couldn't be interrogated. He was convinced that one of his brothers had sent the intruder to kill Alexander but now nothing could be proved.
The next days were turbulent. Magnus had never expected an attack on his son in his own castle. Although Alexander also was a little annoyed by the incident, he stated that the guards had done their duty and he hadn’t been harmed after all. It was obvious that the safety was good in the castle according to Alexander.
Cecilia was deeply chocked. She changed her mind about sending Alexander to the elves and decided that he would be much safer in the Elven realms for a while. I was hastily decided that Alexander would leave as soon as possible. It was spring and a good time to travel.
“I don’t want to stay with the longears for a year,” Alexander protested unhappily. "I have heard that all they do is singing and reading poetry. I want to stay here with my friends."
“Never, ever call the elves longears again.” Magnus said angry. “You must show them the deepest respect. You have to travel and that’s the end of the discussion.”
When Alexander had left the room Magnus chuckled for himself. “Longears, haha.” Sometimes the king was easily amused.
It was time to leave. A few guards would accompany Alexander. He needed all his self control to not cry in front of everyone. Cecilia thought that is was almost unbearable to see her son leave although she knew that he would be back next year.
When Alexander was ready to mount his horse he began to feel that maybe this would be a good adventure after all.