Chapters 18-24

Capter 18. Roe Thanks the Forest

 

  The short time it took for the bear to turn its head to look at the screaming Roe was all that Thorundur needed. Quickly he turned around, and when the bear bent over him the spear went deep into its body. Blood and saliva splashed over Thorundur and the bear fell down dead as a stone.
  “That was fun Roe.”
  The joy Roe had felt when she realised that Thorundur hadn’t been harmed gave way for another feeling when she saw the stupid elf’s glowing cheeks and bright smile. She had almost been scared to death and he sat there smiling as if it all had been something very fun. “How could you be so stupid Thorundur?!”
  “Come on Roe, everything’s all right. I have my bear skin.” He was still smiling.
  “You’re completely crazy Thorundur. You know that, don’t you?”
  “That’s why you like me so much Roe, because you’re just as crazy as I am. You know exactly how much alive you feel after having almost faced death.”
   Roe understood exactly how exhilarated Thorundur felt now. She also loved to test her limits and danger did make her feel alive. But she had not enjoyed the feeling when Thorundur had been in danger. The few seconds when she thought that he would die had been the worst time of her life.
  “You could have died and then you wouldn’t have felt anything at all.” Roe wasn’t going to let Thorundur get away easy.
  “But I’m alive, very much alive. You should have more confidence in your big brother Roe.” He was still smiling and now he was teasing her.
  “You’re not my big brother.”
  “I’m older than you Roe, so yes I am.”
  Roe picked up a cone and threw it as hard as she could at Thorundur. He swerved and laughed. “I like you too Roe.” She gave up and laughed with him.
  “I think my tunic is ruined.”
  “That serves you right, you crazy elf.” Roe smiled but then her face became serious. “We must not forget to thank the Forest,” she said. She did the ceremony with great consideration and Thorundur accompanied her. For once he was serious and he performed the ceremony thoroughly. He made Roe feel proud because he had learned well.

  "I will not be able to see you for a while. Princess Aliendre is arriving tomorrow and I’m supposed to accompany her.”
  Roe thought that it wouldn’t have hurt if Thorundur had looked sad about not seeing her for a while. She would have to tell Thorundur how she felt about him later because she did not have enough courage today after all. This day had already been frightening enough.
  “Maybe I can bring Aliendre with me to visit you. I don’t think that she has met any one from the Forest people before. You will like her, everyone does. She’s so beautiful and wise.”
  Roe had a feeling that she might not like Aliendre at all.
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Chapter 19. King Magnus has Plans for Alexander's Future




  “Two large beers please,” Ragnar slurred.
  The maid hesitated, it was obvious that the two guests had already had more than enough but she also wanted the tip she might get so finally she came back with two large well filled goblets.
Ragnar took a gulp and put down his goblet on the table. He was not very steady on his hands so beer slopped out of the goblet forming large puddles on the table but he didn’t seem to notice. “I think you’re just making this up,” Ragnar said to his newly found friend.
  “No, I swear, I have just returned from Hrafninlandi. It’s a vveerryy secret mission for Count Birger.” Valdemar waved his hand in the air to emphasize his words while he tried to keep his gaze steady at Ragnar.
Ragnar laughed. “Sure, and I’m the King’s counselor.”
  Valdemar looked hurt. “Look here’s a letter with King Knut’s seal.” He concentrated hard to pronounce the words right but didn’t succeed very well. Valdemar had barely finished the sentence when his head fell down on the table and he started to snore loudly. Ragnar put money on the table, got up and went out on surprisingly steady legs. The maid though that she’d never seen a guest sober up so quickly before. When she picked up the money Ragnar had left she found that the tip had been generous enough.

  While Alexander enjoyed his victories in the jousting field, his father was busy preparing for Alexander’s succession to the throne. Although the throne was usually inherited by the son of the last king this was not always granted. People could choose any king they wanted if they decided that they didn’t have confidence in the king’s heir and there was always the risk that someone could become powerful enough to dare to challenge the current king. This had caused several armed conflicts in the kingdom’s history. Therefore it was of utmost importance to have as much support and as strong allies as possible. “People” in this aspect of course only meant free men, and in reality only the most powerful families could really influence the choice of a king. The election of the king as such was mostly a formal ceremony where the candidate already one way or another had gathered enough support to ensure the outcome.
  A knock on the door disturbed the silence in the study. Magnus raised an eyebrow and said “Come in.” Ragnar, one of Magnus’ counsellors, stepped in looking worried.
  “There’s no doubt about it anymore,” Ragnar said. “According to our spies and my own investigations Birger is increasing his contacts with King Knut of Hrafninlandi. I saw Knut’s seal with my own eyes.”
  “We cannot just sit and watch them become allies. With King Knut’s support Birger and his sons might very well dare to challenge Alexander when it is time to elect the next king. We have to do something about it to ensure Alexander’s succession after me.”
  “Luckily King Knut’s daughter, Alde, is in a suitable age. If Alexander were to marry her King Knut and his sons would most likely support Alexander and neither Birger nor Karl would dare to challenge his right to the throne.
  “I want you to start negotiations immediately.” King Magnus wasted no time for considerations.
 Ragnar twisted his hands and looked down. “Don’t you think you should talk to Alexander first?”
  “Why? We have no time to loose. I don’t want one of Alexander’s cousins to marry Alde first. Maybe that’s already Birger’s plan. Alexander will understand that his duty is to do what’s best for the kingdom. A conflict about the throne would cause much harm.”

  “You look worried; let me massage your back to ease your tense.” Queen Cecilia looked tenderly at her husband.
  “Oh please, you’re so good to me. I hope that Alexander’s marriage will be as happy as mine.”  
  Magnus smiled warmly but then he made a grimace of pain and he clenched his teeth while he bent forward with his hand on his stomach.
  “Is it bad?” Cecilia tried to keep calm but couldn’t hide that she was deeply worried.
  “It will pass soon.”
  “Don’t you think you should tell Alexander about this? It has been often lately.”
  “No, he shouldn’t worry about me. He has other things to concentrate on. We must not show weakness. I’m fine now.”


 “Princess Alde is said to be charming and very beautiful. You will be lucky to have her as your queen.”
Alexander looked down at the ground. “What about love?” 
  “What did you say?”
  “I said I’m sure that she’s lovely.”
  “I expect you to do your best to find her lovely. This match is very important and can be the difference between war and peace in this country. Needless to say it can also be the difference between life and death for you one day in the future.”

  Alexander felt trapped. How good it must be to be an ordinary person without the duties of a crown prince. His duty was to marry a suitable princess and to hopefully have a son who could inherit the throne one day. Maybe Aliendre would come to celebrate his first son’s first birthday? It would be nice if he could see her again. How odd that the only happiness he could feel about his future marriage was that he might see Aliendre again. Maybe the princess that had been chosen for him would make the memory of Aliendre fade away. But he doubted that. His youthful and na├»ve imagination that he would one day fall deeply in love and marry because of this love had been completely dispelled. How stupid it had been of him to have such fantasies. Hadn’t he always known that his life would be dedicated to fulfil his duties?
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Chapter 20. Birger's keep



  Birger smiled to his younger brother. “I’m glad that you could accept my invitation with such short notice Karl. We have a lot to talk about considering the recent events.”
  Karl turned his head up and shaded his eyes from the sun. ”Your new stone keep looks impressive Birger. I guess your guards can see very far from up there. But you know that no matter how we strengthen the defense of our homes, Magnus’ stone castle will still be much stronger.
  “I know, we grew up there together, remember. But the strength in the defense of a keep or a castle is not only about stone walls and towers, it’s also about the bravery, loyalty and skill of the men. However I would like to replace my palisade with stone walls if I could.”
  Karl looked skeptical. “Neither you or I will be able to build walls in stone as long as Magnus interferes with our tax collection. It’s just not right.”
  “No, it’s not right but there’s nothing we can do about it right now.”

  “I know that there is nothing that we can do .That’s why I’m so frustrated about this situation.”
  ”We have to be patient Karl. We’ll talk more about this matter but now I believe that it’s time to eat and drink in my hall.”

  Eskil’s voice trembled with indignation. “I can’t believe that king Knut let father down. Princess Alde should have married you Erik.”
  Erik smiled. His younger brother had always looked up to him and was the most loyal brother anyone could wish for.

  “I think that she would have if it had been her choice but you can’t expect a king to turn another king down, can you? It’s a shame though, not only because of Alde’s connections but the one time I met her made be believe that I would have liked her.” Erik laughed. “Don’t worry Eskil, there are other women, and actually I’m in no hurry to get married. Now it’s time to eat and drink with our cousins.”
  There was plenty to eat and to drink and soon the atmosphere was relaxed. Erik told hilarious stories that made everyone laugh. Finally Karl put down his knife and cleared his throat. “Since Knut’s daughter Alde is now betrothed to Alexander King Knut and his sons are likely to support Alexander. I believe that it would be wise of us to not challenge Magnus. Our best option is to be loyal to the royal family.”
  Birger nodded. “Yes, I agree. For now that will be wisest. But anything can happen. They are not married yet and Alexander may still die without an heir. Erik may still become king. I hope your family would support Erik if things were to change. We would not be alone. There are others who are not completely happy with our brother Magnus.”
Karl picked up his goblet and bowed his head towards his nephew Erik. “I would like to toast for Erik who would not interfere with his relatives’ rightful collection of taxes.”
  Erik returned the bow and lifted his goblet. “Indeed I would not, but as long as Magnus or Alexander is the rightful king with strong support I will be their loyal servant.” A lot of things could probably be said about Erik but stupid was not one of them.
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Chapter 21. Aliendre and Moonlight


   Roe could feel their scent long before she could hear them or see them. The wind was blowing against her, bringing the well known scent of Thorundur together with the scent of an unknown elf and an animal that she couldn’t recognize.
   Roe dropped her jaw when she saw them. Thorundur looked as he always did, with a green tunic and a smile. But the Elven girl was sitting on the back of a snow white animal. Roe almost forgot her good manners but pulled herself together and greeted the two elves and the white animal.
   “This is Aliendre, Princess of the Light elves,” Thorundur said.
   Aliendre dismounted the animal. Thorundur did a gesture towards the white animal and said, “This is Aliendre’s horse.”
Roe had never heard of horses before. How could that be? And why did the horse carry Aliendre on its back. “Is she a prisoner?”

  “No, she’s a …… servant,” Aliendre said, uncertain by the unexpected question.
  “Servant” was a word Roe didn’t understand. Thorundur was looking down on the ground.  
  Wrinkles had formed in the corners of his eyes and his shoulders were shaking slightly. He cleared his throat and looked up. “Aliendre meant that the horse is her friend,” he said.
   Roe was doubtful. To her the horse looked like a prisoner. Why else would it accept to carry someone on its back? When she was a child a storyteller had told her that humans kept animals as prisoners but obviously elves also did so.
   “Her name is Moonlight,” Aliendre said.
   Roe put her hand on Moonlight’s neck. She could feel the warm breath from the horse’s nostrils when it turned its head toward her.
   “I am pleased to meet someone from the Forest people. Thorundur has told me so much about you Roe.”
   Roe turned her attention to the Elven princess. The appearance of the horse had almost made her forget Aliendre. Thorundur had told her that the Aliendre was very beautiful but to Roe Aliendre looked like all other elves. Although Aliendre had the same kind of blue eyes that Thorundur they lacked his liveliness.
   When Roe’s parents, Wolf and Otter, saw the horse they were just as marveled about it as Roe had been. Aliendre was friendly and nice and gave compliments to Roe’s parents. Apparently they must have been charmed because Otter invited Aliendre into their home. Roe was almost certain that she could see a small wrinkle on Aliendre’s nose when she looked into their hut.
   When it was time for the elves to leave Aliendre said, “Please come and visit us tomorrow Roe.”
Roe felt hesitant. She had visited Thorundur’s home before but not often. Although Thorundur’s brother and Liandra had always been polite and friendly, Roe had a feeling that they didn’t really like that Thorundur was together with her. “Thank you that’s very kind of you,” she answered finally.

   Aliendre seemed delighted to see Roe and insisted that she would share lunch with them. The elves treated her like a respected guest. Roe did her best to behave like the elves but all the furniture and the cutlery confused her. Why did elves complicate everything so much? The looks Toraldor and Liandra exchanged when they thought that Roe didn’t see made her feel that they were amused by her.

   After lunch Aliendre told a story for them. It was a story about Human and Elven kings and queens during the war against the Dark elves. Aliendre was a good storyteller and Roe couldn’t believe how fast the time had passed when she realized that it was getting dark and she had to return home.
   Aliendre had brought a completely different world to Roe. Roe had been shocked to learn that elves had killed each other on purpose during the war. Her own people were hunters and killed for food but she had never heard of Forest people killing each other. When she was a child she had been horrified by the stories about the humans’ cruelty but the more she learned about elves the more they seemed to be like humans. Apparently Thorundur hadn’t told her very much about his own people. Despite the shocking details, or maybe because of them, the story had been enthralling and left a strange yearning feeling within Roe.

   Aliendre showed up alone early next morning. “I hope you don’t mind me coming alone Roe, but I asked Thorundur to stay at home so that you and I could spend some time together.”
   Roe was a little annoyed because she always looked forward to seeing Thorundur but she was also intrigued by Aliendre’s wish to spend time alone with her. The princess seemed to really enjoy Roe’s company and asked her about the life in the forest.
   “Tell me more about humans,” Roe said. “Is it true that they have hair in their face?”
   Aliendre closed her eyes and smiled. “I have only met one human myself. It was Crown prince Alexander. He was very young then so he only had very light stubble. I think it makes them look …. stronger.” Aliendre’s smile was sad now.
   Roe remembered that Thorundur had told her about the human prince who according to Thorundur had flirted with Aliendre. Was it possible that the Aliendre had feelings for the human prince?
   “Tell me more about the prince,” Roe said.

   It was as if Aliendre had waited for that question for a very long time. She described every little detail about Alexander. “He always made me laugh with all his crazy jokes. But he was also very kind and considerate. He will become king one day because humans don’t live forever like elves do, and he thinks a lot about his future duties and how to become a good king.” There was no end to all positive details that Aliendre could tell about Alexander. From what Aliendre told it was difficult to believe that Alexander could belong to the same species that the storyteller had told so many scaring stories about at the Forest people meeting many years ago.
   “Do you know that Thorundur actually behaved very badly towards Alexander when he visited us?
Sometimes it made me a little angry but as you probably know it’s impossible to be angry with Thorundur for very long. He speaks very warmly about you Roe. He even calls you his sister. I think that Thorundur is very fun to be with. You’re lucky to have him as your brother.”
   Aliendre’s blue eyes met Roe’s. “I was born in the shadow of my brother. He was killed by dark elves and his death was a great tragedy for all light elves. My parents will never forget the sorrow and therefore I will always walk in his shadow. I wish I would have met him because everyone speaks so warmly about him.”
   Roe thought that although Aliendre’s large blue eyes were not as vibrant as Thorundur’s they expressed her feelings in a very touching way. Aliendre’s smile didn’t reach her eyes that were filled with sadness. How sad it must be to always walk in the shadow of someone who had been dead for centuries.
   Roe was surprised when Aliendre spontaneously hugged her when they said goodbye. It seemed to surprise Aliendre too because she looked down and seemed slightly embarrassed by her own spontaneity. She lifted her head and looked at Roe with large blue eyes. “I’m so happy to have you as a friend Roe. I’ve never had a girl in my own age as a friend before.”

  Roe was moved by the sincerity in Aliendre’s voice. Thorundur had described Aliendre as a magnificent Elven princess, but the princess that Roe had met today was just a lonely girl with sad eyes and a longing heart. “We’ll meet soon again,” Aliendre said and mounted the beautiful white horse. Soon Aliendre and her horse Moonlight were out of sight in the twilight.
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Chapter 22. Roe Listens to her Heart


   Roe waited in vain for the elves to show up. It was not until the third day after Aliendre had visited her that she saw Thorundur again. His blond hair bounced around his head, the most beautiful sight that Roe could imagine. She resisted her impulse to throw herself around his neck. To Roe’s disappointment the horse, Moonlight, didn’t accompany the elves because Aliendre was walking by foot. The dress that she was wearing looked very unpractical in the forest. Roe couldn’t understand why anyone would want to wear clothes like that. It must be extremely difficult to run after a deer or climb a tree with all that cloth around the legs. Aliendre smiled warmly when she saw Roe. “I’m so happy to see you again Roe.” Roe realized, slightly surprised, that she was happy to see Aliendre again.
   But this day didn’t turn out to be as good as Roe had hoped. Thorundur’s behavior was strange. All his attention was directed towards Aliendre. Sometimes he didn’t ever hear what Roe said because he was following Aliendre with his eyes.
   When they crossed a small stream Thorundur hurried to help Aliendre by offering his hand as support. Roe felt deeply annoyed when Thorundur ignored her and let her cross the stream by her own without any help.

  But then she had to laugh when she pictured herself in Aliendre’s stupid white dress crossing a stream with the support of Thorundur’s strong arm.
   “You look happy today Roe,” Aliendre said. Roe didn’t answer. She had thought that Aliendre was her friend but now she wasn’t even sure that she liked Aliendre very much. How hard could it be to cross a stream anyway?
   The day got worse and Thorundur’s behavior more ridiculous. He smiled stupidly as soon as Aliendre turned her eyes towards him and seemed to forget completely about Roe. Aliendre did her best to include Roe in the conversations, but Roe didn’t have a good time at all. The elves talked about common acquaintances and other things that made Roe feel excluded.
   “Thorundur is so fun, don’t you think?” Aliendre said. “He’s such a good friend. I really like him. He knows so much about the forest.”
   “He has learned about the forest from me. I’m Thorundur’s best friend.” Roe said. She had to use all her self control to hide the rage that filled her when Aliendre looked at her with eyes filled with compassion. Roe was relieved when the elves had to return home early this day.

   Next day Roe's heart was filled with joy when Thorundur showed up alone. “Aliendre had other things to do today,” he said.
   At last it would be only her and Thorundur, like it should be. “What do you want to do today Thorundur? We can take a swim in the lake.”
   Thorundur’s eyes seemed absent and were looking somewhere far away. He didn’t answer Roe’s question. Then he turned his head towards her and started to talk. ”Don’t you think that she’s beautiful, Roe? Do you think that she likes me? Has she said anything about me?”
   “She said that she was angry when you behaved badly towards the human prince,” Roe said. She knew that this was not what Thorundur wanted to hear. If she had been nice she would have told Thorundur that Aliendre thought that he was fun to be with, but she didn’t want to be nice.
   Thorundur looked down and bit his lip. “I know I should make an effort to behave better. From now on I will really do my best to behave like a normal elf. Roe you’re my sister and best friend and I need to tell you something.” He looked up and swallowed before he continued. “I think that I have fallen in love with Aliendre but she’s a princess and I’m just a common elf. Do you think that it would be possible that she could love me?”

  The ground opened under Roe and she was falling. This couldn't be true! “You’re so stupid Thorundur, she screamed. Aliendre is not right for you!”
   “You’re my best friend! I thought that you of all people would understand and support me Roe.”
  Tears filled the corners of his eyes.
   Roe couldn’t take more. She had to get away. “Leave me alone stupid elf!” she screamed and turned her back to Thorundur. She ran through the forest with branches hitting against her face without noticing it. Through the noise in her head she could hear Thorundur calling her name but she kept running. She ran faster and faster but no matter how hard that she tried she couldn’t run away from her feelings.


  When she finally returned home exhausted late that night her parents were very worried.
   “Thorundur was here looking for you, he waited until he had to return home. What has happened?”
    Roe only shook her head.
   “Thorundur wanted us to tell you that he will go away with Aliendre for two weeks to visit some other Light elves. He really wanted to see you before he left.”


  Next morning Roe got up early and went out into the forest just in case that Thorundur would show up at her home to say goodbye. She didn’t want to see him when she knew that she had lost him. Roe sat down. How could it be possible to feel so miserable? She was sure that she would never be happy again.
   Roe closed her hand around her necklace as she often did when she had to think. The Mother had told her to listen to her heart. Her heart was screaming loudly. She tightened the grip around the necklace and closed her eyes. Yes, maybe there was something that she could do. Roe ignored the small voice within her that tried to hold her back. The mother had also said that her heart could delude her but Roe had already decided what she had to do. When Roe had set her mind on something she wasn’t going to let anything stop her. Now that she knew what she had to do there was no time to lose.
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Chapter 23. Princess Alde

  The breeze ruffled Alexander’s hair and he took a breath of the salt sea air. He loved the sound of the sea gulls and the sight of the horizon. Somehow it always made him feel so free, but today this feeling was only an illusion. Soon he would meet his future wife and his youth would be over. At least that was how he felt.
  Princess Alde arrived together with her suite. Her father, King Knut would not come for the wedding but had sent generous gifts. Even more generous gifts had of course already been sent to King Knut.

  Finally Alexander met the woman that he would share the rest of his life with, Princess Alde from Hrafninlandi. The rumor of her beauty was wide spread. Her back was straight and the aura of self confidence told Alexander that this was a woman who was used to command and to be obeyed.
  Alexander bowed and greeted his bride to be.
  “I am honored to meet you Prince Alexander.” Her language was not too different even if she pronounced the words differently from what he was used to. Alde’s smile was sweet but didn’t reach her eyes. This couldn’t be very easy for Alde either Alexander thought. She had been sent from her home to a foreign country to become his bride.

  Alexander had a short time of freedom left. Banquets and celebrations would supersede each other for weeks before the actual wedding. But first Alde would have to rest a few days from the travel over the sea. Alexander had decided that it might be a good idea for him to show Alde around in the castle. Hi raised his hand to knock on her door when a scream of anger from the room made him jump and lower his hand. There was a sound as if something was thrown and broken against the wall. He could hear every word of Alde’s high-pitched voice through the thick stone walls. “You stupid cow, you’re worthless. Are there no serviceable maids in this country? Get out of my sight!”
  The heavy door opened and a young girl with a tearful face ran out of Alde’s room. She looked away embarrassed when she saw Alexander and ran away in the corridor with bent head and her face hidden in her hands. Alexander recognized the girl as a gentle and diligent maid that was well liked by everybody as far as he knew. He knocked on Alde’s door.
      
 Alde opened and her hard face melted into a sweet smile when she saw that it was he who had knocked.”
   “Are there any problems?”

 “No it’s nothing, just a clumsy servant. I’m glad to see you though. What do you think of my dress?”
  She turned around and gave Alexander a self confident smile.”
  “The dress is very nice.”
She didn’t seem pleased by his reaction. “You look beautiful as always,” he added and smiled admiringly, hoping that this was the response that she expected from him.
   “I look forward to our wedding, don’t you?” Alde said.
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Chapter 24. Roe makes a Visit


   Roe decided that she had to travel lightly. Speed was important. She took a sling and wrapped under her clothes. A small flint knife would also be useful. She put the knife in a small pocket inside her loin cloth. That should be enough to get the food that she would need.

   “I will accompany Thorundur and Aliendre on their travel,” she told Otter and Wolf. It felt as if the lie was burning under her skin.
  lf and Otter looked doubtful. “I don’t think that this is a good idea at all Roe. It would be better if you stayed at home, or even better, visited Bear,” Wolf said.
   “I will be home soon enough. Don’t worry. This is probably my last chance to travel with elves.” If she had been an Elven or a human girl her parents would probably just have told her that she wasn’t allowed to go. But that wasn’t how Forest people brought up their children, and in addition Roe was adult now. Children of the Forest people were allowed much freedom which usually was not a problem since they always were eager to do what their parents told them and to learn everything that their parents knew. But Roe was different. Her independence and curiosity was not typical of her people and her parents felt helpless.

   Roe hoped that Orm and Ondina were still living in the mountains. It was several years ago since she the last time that she had seen them. Actually she hadn’t met them since Thorundur showed up again. Maybe they wouldn’t be happy at all to see her even if they stilled lived in the same place. But Roe had no choice. Ondina and Orm were probably her last hope.

   She felt relieved when she saw the Dark elves’ home. They stilled lived in the same place. Orm shaded his eyes and looked surprised when he saw her approaching their home. Roe hoped that he would welcome her.
   “Ondina, you will never guess who’s here!” Orm called and Ondina came out. “Roe we have missed you. What brings you here?”
   After all the usual polite phrases Roe explained her situation to the Dark elves.
   “The kind of magic that could help you is very powerful and requires great skill. Luckily Ondina has this skill. Are you sure that this is really what you want to do? I think you deserve much better than a Light elf.”
   “I'm sure. I’ve never been more certain about anything in my entire life.”
  m lifted an eyebrow and smiled as if he thought that it was cute when a very young mortal talked about its entire life. “We will help you Roe. Not only because I and Ondina like you but this would also be in our interest. We already have almost all ingredients that are needed. Stay with us until tomorrow when your potion will be finished. ”

  The door opened and another Dark elf came out. When he saw Roe he seemed afrid and went back in, closing the dooruickly behind him. Something about this elf was familiar. “Who is he?”

  “We found him in the forest some years ago. He was in a very bad shape and wouldn’t have lasted much longer if we hadn’t found him. Clearly a spell had been cast on him and obviously it must have been Light elves that did this. He’s much better now but can still not remember his name or where he is from. I have not yet been able to break the spell although I have tried vere hard.

   Next day Ondina finished the potion and handed a small flask to Roe.

  Roe was ready to continue her travel.
  “You will need to get the last ingredient yourself and that will be extremely dangerous. Are you really sure that this is what you want to do?”
  “I am,” Roe answered without any hesitation.
  “Are you sure that you will find your way and not get lost,” Orm asked.
  Roe smiled and nodded. She had never heard of anyone of the Forest people getting lost. The travel would be long and dangerous but she would find the way.
   “We have probably sent that sweet girl right into death,” Ondina said, her eyes following Roe leaving their home. “Although their lives are very short it makes me sad because I liked her.”
   “Me to,” Orm said. “But if she succeeds it will be a very big success for all Dark elves after all the years that we have suffered. However, I must admit that it’s most unlikely that she will survive and I don't think that she would have wanted to do this if we had told her everything.”

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