Confrontation: Ragnarok's Twilight
The midday sun ruled the sky of Aarklash, scorching and bright. It's heat burned the backs of farmers and workers on the Alahan countryside, while it's light filled the brilliant halls of Akkylaine churches. Kelt tribes revered it and the Wolfen of Yllia saw it as inferior to their beautiful moon. Indeed, it garnered the attention of all the denizens of the land in some form or another. Well…all but one.
Cyriin Ilmarillion, born of Radrael and Ithaya, had little time to think of how hot the day was. In fact, she had little time to think at all.
The sound of clashing steel rang through the training grounds of Elhathean, a thriving village in the great forest Quithayran. Cyriin warded off gracefully, each blow dealt by her partner-in-training; Kane, but his determined onslaught never left room for a counter-attack. While Kane had not yet landed a blow upon her, he was pushing her back. Their blades flashed and danced as their master and mentor, Ir'thatal, watched with a calculating eye.
After another half minute, the battle came to a conclusion. Kane, for some reason, backed off on his attack. Cyriin, not one to miss an opportunity, charged at Kane, falling into his trap. The cunning young elf sidestepped Cyriin and brought the wide edge of his blade against her heels. The reckless girl was swept off her feet.
Cyriin, stunned for a brief moment sat up to find a blade at her throat.
"You lose." Kane said in a bored tone.
Cyriin glared at him and replied, "You got lucky this time!"
"Then I guess that means I'm lucky every time." He remarked, amused.
"What'd you say!" she cried.
"Enough you two!" Ir'thatal interjected.
"I won't have either of you bickering during your training!" he continued.
"Silence! You're partners, so you better start acting like it! Or do neither of you wish to be prepared for what may be the most important test of your lives?" Their mentor proclaimed, exasperated.
Cyriin knew her teacher was right. And she did understand the urgency of this training, all too well. The Skarabaus Prova, a test taken by those who wish to join the ranks of the scarab warriors, the elite defenders of the forest. It was supposedly a grueling test of physical and mental might, and it was fast approaching.
And so, with the threat of failure looming in her mind, she leapt to her feet and assumed the proper battle position.
As darkness crept into the Quithayran, Ir'thatal dismissed his students from training. Tired and sore, Cyriin and Kane began their respective walks home, each longing for the soft beds that awaited them.
After several minutes of walking silently, reflecting on the day's lessons and still trying to make sense of what her master had meant when he told her to "turn your defense to your attack," she finally said "He sure worked us hard today, huh?"
"Yep." Was all the reply she got in return.
They continued walking in silence until Kane's home came within sight. He sleepily bid her goodnight as he began down the small path to his manor, which rested upon the lower boughs of a large tree.
Cyriin continued her journey home, knowing that she had another two miles to walk until she reached her own home. She did not mind this however; for the forest was, in her opinion, more beautiful at night than it was majestic in the day. There were many nights where she would slow her pace so she could take in the beauty of the forest. She loved how quiet it was, but at the same time understood that it was actually quite lively at this time of night. Cyriin was always awed by how mysterious the Quithayran could be at night as well. Sometimes, the glow of fey creatures would light up in the distance, in hues of red, green, yellow, and blue. It was also not uncommon for her to come across some of the stranger, nocturnal creatures of the wood.
Before long, Cyriin's home, a manor built inside a massive tree by one of her ancestors, was before her.
Rejoiced by the prospect of a warm bed and much needed rest, she hurriedly but quietly stepped through the large doors carved into the tree's trunk. Having shut and locked the entrance behind her, Cyriin silently, so as not to wake any of the servants made her way to her bedchambers. But as she came into the hall reserved for the family of the house, she noticed that a light was on inside of her father's study. Walking over to the door, she knocked quietly upon it.
"Ah, that must be my daughter returned from hard days work, please come in!" a vibrant voice responded.
Cyriin did as she was told and entered the study.
"I hope I am not disturbing you sir?" Cyriin said as she entered.
"Nonsense, Nonsense! I would be no father if I could not even greet my own daughter on her return?" Lord Radrael replied jovially, as he rose to embrace her.
Lord Radrael Ilmarillion looked far younger than his age, despite several streaks of grey in the long, dark brown hair that fell to his shoulders. The cause for his continued youth, many reasoned, was simply his joy of life. Indeed this man could hardly be found without a smile on his face and a sprightful step.
And while Cyriin had inherited her fathers rich brown hair and hazel eyes; her lean body, fair skin, and sharp features, not to mention her outspoken personality, were all rightly attributed to her mother. A mother she would never know.
"So tell me my daughter, what has kept you so late tonight?" Radrael inquired, taking a seat back at his desk.
"Well father, Master Ir'thatal decided to have us train for a little longer today because of how soon the Skarabaus Prova is."
"Ah, yes. That would make sense." He replied.
Cyriin continued, "Well…that and I took some extra time while getting home to take in how beautiful the forest was tonight." Her face starting to grow warm as she finished the statement.
Lord Radrael simply looked at her stunned, then amazed, and finally settled to a look of pure delight, and he burst out into a hearty laughter.
"Well what do you know?" He remarked. "My impatient little girl has come to appreciate her home! I wouldn't be surprised if Earhe herself was I disbelief of the news!" He finished.
Cyriin glared at him, her face burning. She hated being called a "little girl."
"I'm sorry dear." He said as his laughter subsided, "but you remind me of your mother more and more every day."
This remark, while innocent enough, brought a question buried deep in Cyriin's heart out.
"Father, there is…uh…something I've been meaning to ask you…" She stumbled with the words.
"Well what is it my dear?" He inquired.
" Oh, it's nothing. Good night father…" she said as she made for the door.
" Sleep well my child." She heard him respond as she closed the study door behind her.
Cyriin made her way to her bedroom, undressed, and fell into the soft sheets of her bed. As she lay there the question she had been to much a coward to ask floated inside her head. She pushed away, trying to think of other things, like what Ir'thatal had meant when he told Kane and her to come prepared for "special" training tomorrow.
But, as her consciousness began to fade, Cyriin found herself asking that dreadful question whose answer she feared to the depths of her heart.
Father, do you hate me?