Chapter One:

A New Friend

I hate days like today, thought Elÿssÿa as she pulled her long

hair back. Her hair was the color of chestnuts, and only halfway

down her back. Out of every woman and girl in the village, Elÿssÿa

was the only one who had to wear her hair down. She was also the

prettiest amongst them all. The day was still early and new, and

already it was warm out. Elÿssÿa had gone walking out into the forest

outside her home, knowing she would need to pull her hair back, to

avoid discomfort. At that thought, Elÿssÿa reached into her apron

pocket and took out her only hair tie, one that she had taken from

her mother upon asking.

Elÿssÿa remembered the first time she had asked for the hair tie.

Her mother had told her to not let her father see it, and to only pull

her hair back if she was sure she was absolutely alone. As if on cue

of the thought, she looked around. She saw the trees, standing over

her, and a twig snapped. She turned startled, only to find a dog

staring at her. Elÿssÿa narrowed her eyes at the dog, wondering what

it wanted. The dog was a nice large size, maybe weighing eighty

pounds at the least. It's gold fur cascaded across its back, giving it

the perplexing look of a small river rippling along the animal's skin.

Elÿssÿa smiled, somehow knowing she was not in danger, and tied

her hair back, revealing pointed ears.

"Good boy, Shanks, I believe you've found an elf."

Elÿssÿa turned towards the voice, alarmed. What she saw was

a young man, about her age with dark blond hair, pale blue eyes, and

completely clad in black. Together with his looks, the boy gave off

a ghostly air when she looked into his eyes. When he smiled at her,

she did the only thing she could do. She ran.

Elÿssÿa called forth reflexes she did not know she had. She

effortlessly dodged trees, leaped over rocks and branches, and

made her way to…to…to where? Suddenly, she stopped, knowing

that she knew where she was going, but she had no idea where her

destination was. She stopped confused with her own subconscious.

"Hey now, you did not have to run. I wasn't going to hurt you."

Elÿssÿa turned towards the boy, who had seemingly caught up to

her, even though he was out of breath.

"What do you want?"

"Nothing. I was just bored rigid, so I allowed Shanks to lead me

into the forest. Now I regret doing that," the boy said, frowning as

he looked at all the trees.

"And why is that?"

"He got me lost, so I told him to bring me to someone who could

help us get out. I never knew he would bring me to an elf. I didn't even

think you guys were still around."

"Listen, I can get you out of here, but you need to stop calling me

an elf," Elÿssÿa stated simply.

"Why? You are one. Just look at your ears."

"How can I be an elf? I live with my mother and father in the town

Chic'ton. There is no way I can be an elf. Besides, there are no more

elves."

"Except for you."

"Quit calling me an elf!"

"You fit all the characteristics. You're beautiful, tall, slender, and

you have the pointed ears. Just because humans raised you doesn't

mean that you yourself are human. Don't fight the facts, darling."

"First of all, my name's Elÿssÿa, not darling. Second, I AM NOT

AN ELF! I grew up here, and I went to the school just down the

road, south of my home. There is no way I can be an elf, they do not

exist anymore."

"Hey, just because you went to school, lived on a farm, and were

raised by humans does not mean you are not an elf. Anyway, they

still do exist."

"What makes you so sure?"

"Well, for one there's you, and two, the King is still on his mad

search and rampage for about the sixteenth year now."

"So? Someone started a rumor and he is trying to check it out.

That does not mean a thing."

"Believe what you want, Elÿssÿa," The boy said. He smiled and

continued, "My name's Merlock, and my dog's name is Shanks."

The dog tilted his head, as if to acknowledge that fact. Finally,

Elÿssÿa let her guards come down, and she took a step towards

Merlock. "Look, if you really want to leave, then I will help you, but

don't call me an elf again."

"As you wish, my dear," Merlock said, patting Shanks on the

head. Elÿssÿa rolled her eyes and turned to leave.

They almost did not talk the whole time they were in the forest.

Elÿssÿa took turns around trees and wove in between them trying to

find the way out. She wasn't worried that they'd get lost, because

she knew the woods like the back of her hand. Then her curiosity got

a hold of her.

"So, where are you from? I've never seen you before."

"Oh, here and there. Shanks and I do not really have a home.

We're mostly on the run," Merlock retorted, looking around.

"On the run from what?"

"The kingdom."

"The Kingdom? I've never heard of anything called that."

"It's also known as the empire. Honestly, don't you ever read?"

"No. I can't."

"What? I though you went to school?"

"I did, but not for long. I only learned to write a little bit, but all

I can write is my own name."

"Wellthen, IguessIwillneedtoteachyousometime, tosaythankyou."

"You don't have to, it's not like I'll ever use it."

"You don't know that. I mean, you may get curious about your

heritage. I know of a few books on elves."

"Oh, don't you ever give up?"

"Uh, no. If I ever gave up I might get caught, and we can't afford

that. I'm all Shanks' has got, and he's all I have got."

"Well, still…I feel uncomfortable when you call me that. I have

never even seen an elf. I doubt you have."

"Well, maybe I have, maybe I haven't."

"What kind of answer is that? Do you enjoy beating around the

bush?"

"Yes. I love to confuse people," Merlock answered smiling.

"Oh come on! Seriously, have you seen a living breathing elf

before?"

"Well, no…but I have seen an elf."

"Wait a minute, you are making no sense…how can you see an

elf, but not a living breathing elf?"

"Easy, I came across one just south of here about five years ago.

The soldiers had the body, and dumped it on the side of the road to

avoid having to bury the body. I buried it, because I believed that it

needed an equitable burial."

"Oh. Well, I guess that counts…"

Suddenly Elÿssÿa stopped. She was facing her house, but the

horse of the town doctor was grazing out front. Elÿssÿa must have

paled as she let her hair down, because Merlock was looking at her

inquisitively.

"What's wrong?" he asked, directing his vision towards the

house.

Abruptly, Elÿssÿa ran down the hill and straight into her home.

Merlock tried to catch up with her, but her urgency made her run at

an inhuman speed. When she entered, her father was sitting on the

couch in the front room, apprehensively looking around. He saw

Elÿssÿa, and managed a faint flicker of a smile. The smile

disappeared as he looked beyond her. Elÿssÿa turned and saw that

Merlock was standing behind her.

"Can I help you?" Sebastian said, anxiously.

"No, I was with Elÿssÿa," Merlock answered simply, "Is

everything all right?"

Just then, the back door opened, and the doctor came out.

"Sebastian?"

"Yes, Doctor?"

"She doesn't have much strength left. That wild dog seemed to

get the best of her."

"Can she still talk?"

"Yes, but her voice is very faint. Right now she only wants one

thing."

"Does she want to see me?"

"You and Elÿssÿa," the doctor said simply, with sadness in his

eyes.

The curtains were drawn in the room, giving it a dismal look.

Elÿssÿa looked around the room, and her green eyes stopped on her

mother. She was lying there; the covers pulled up far enough to cover

her wounds. When her eyes found Elÿssÿa, she smiled.

"Child," she said in a voice that was so faint, it seemed to use

energy out side her body as well.

"Yes mother?"

"Take care of the farm for your father, and keep him out of

trouble," Her mother took a few breaths, struggling to speak, "And

you need to keep safe, too."

"I will mother, I promise. But don't talk like this. You will get well,

I am sure of it."

"Honey, I am not as young as I was, and this dog took the best

of me, I am afraid. Just remember your first family no matter what

happens, dear."

"I will Mother, I love you so much."

"I know, I love you too. Sebastian," she said, reaching for her

husband.

He slowly walked over to Sonya, gently grabbing her hand.

There was so much love in his eyes for his wife. He stroked her hair

as he bent close in order to hear her request of him.

"Sebastian, take care of Elÿssÿa, and keep her safe from the

Union. You need to tell her the truth. Please, Sebastian."

"I will, I promise."

Later that night, Sonya passed on to the next life quietly. Elÿssÿa

made dinner that night for her father and Merlock. Merlock ate

gratefully, but her father could only poke at his food. This worried

Elÿssÿa. Finally, her father broke the silence.

"So, Elÿssÿa, how did you meet…erm…" Sebastian broke off,

looking at Merlock.

"Merlock," he said, slowly.

"Yes. Merlock?"

"I was in the forest, north of our home, walking through the

woods. I accidentally ran into him."

"Does he know, um, about your." Sebastian cut off, pointing to

his ears.

"What? Her ears? Yeah, I know they are pointed," Merlock

answered, leaning back.

"Really," Sebastian said, covering his face.

"Yeah. She is an elf isn't she?"

Sebastian's head jerks up. "Why?"

"Well, let's see. Pointed ears, beauty, tall, and slender. Yep, an

elf."

"Well, I am not sure if she is."

Elÿssÿa looked at him. "What do you mean? I thought that my

ears were just a birth defect? Now you're saying you don't even

know?"

"Well, Elÿssÿa, your mother and I are not your real parents.

Haven't you wondered why you are so different?"

Elÿssÿa frowned. She had wondered why she was the only one

in town with her shape and beauty. And those cursed ears! Why did

she have to resemble the one creature that the empire resented most?

It was as if someone had cursed her when she had reached the age

of ten. You see, that was the age that her ears had first started to

become pointed, and her body had begun to slim down, and she had

gotten taller.

"If I am not like every one else, than who, or rather what am I?"

Sebastian sighed. "Elÿssÿa, I now know that it is time to tell you

the whole truth. About fifteen years ago, your mother and I were out

on the porch, merely just talking. Suddenly, I saw a young woman

running down the hill from the forest. She was strikingly beautiful, tall,

slender, and…and…" Sebastian had to stop and take a breath, and

Elÿssÿa looked at him, "…She was an elf. She was carrying a bundle

of what I thought were blankets, only it was you. The elf-woman died

there, only minutes before the empire's soldiers reached us."

Elÿssÿa tried to sort through this new information. "You mean, I

really am an…an… elf?"

"As far as I know, yes."

Merlock suddenly speaks up. "This means you are in as great

danger as I am. You cannot stay here."

"You…In danger? Why?" Sebastian asked skeptically, looking

Merlock over.

"I am a very powerful person. I wield very great power. Very rare

for my age. My only problem is that I do not know how to tap into

it yet."

"Power?"

"I am a direct descendent of Yas'söan."

"You mean the Yas'söan, the sorcerer?"

"The one and only," Merlock answered, looking down.

Elÿssÿa's mind was racing. "Then that would make you a

sorcerer!" She said.

"No, no, no. I am not that powerful. At least not yet… I am only

a wizard or warlock. Whatever you want to call me."

"So you are a witch," Sebastian cut in.

Merlock looked taken aback. "Not a witch. Witches are usually

female. Plus they are ugly. I AM A WIZARD!"

As if on cue to Merlock's yell, there came a rapping on the door.

Sebastian got up from his seat, and opened it, revealing three

uniformed guards standing there, swords sheathed on their belts.

They each were clothed in the King's symbol, a tiger with it's paw

raised, bringing it down on a tree. The older guard was holding a

sheet of hard, coarse paper.

"Mr. Novo'sia?" The gruffest looking one asked.

"Yes… that… that's me," stammered Sebastian.

"We are here for the arrest of your daughter, Elÿssÿa Növo'sia,

and you seem to have another one of our wanted in your grasp now."

The soldier turned towards Merlock while speaking, "You are

Merlock Saf'géd, correct?"

As everyone in the room looked towards him, Merlock's face

paled.