Author's note: this story will be very long, as in probably 300 text pages. You've been warned. Also, there may be some continuity glitches, but you'll have to forgive them. All in all it's worth the read.

1 ElfQuest: StarSeekers

An Epic tale of fantasy and adventure

By Joan Milligan

1.1 Based upon ElfQuest, © Richard and Wendy Pini, WaRP graphics

1.1.1 Prologue: Catch the Wind

He could've been flying for days.

Could've been, because it would not have mattered, might've been, because he stopped counting, should've been, because he probably had.

He felt his weight pulling to the ground, his body screaming for rest, the agonized tugging of the injured wing.

He put his mind to other things, and it lasted but minutes before everything slammed back into focus, brutally, as it did several times during his impossible journey.

He was king of the sky, and he was being usurped. Like the dying hawk cast from the heavens to the unforgiving earth, all while screaming its mindless defeat, not understanding, not willing itself to understand, angry at the skies for their betrayal. Like the shot falcon, the raging bird of prey that was nothing on the ground, his hour came round at last.

Still he resisted, and flew on, every mile of the way taking its toll. Something in one wing snapped continuously, and the monotonous, sickening sound gave him something to concentrate on, before the pain came, before the memories.

He saw her image in his dreams every night.

Every time, she was there. Her laughing eyes, her long, smooth brown hair, her tiny figure, so much smaller than him, so much stronger. So strange, those beaming orbs, that small body, like a child's, yet harder than a child has ever been, those stringy muscles all over her, the cold-burnt cheeks. She was tough; she was a warrior, a woman of the wilderness. That fire he saw in her, unlike anything ever to be seen in his old home, among the calm, the content, the lazy, it was there, and it haunted him. Every night, sleeping alone and cold on the bare ground, every time he slipped away while in the air, waken a moment later by the rushing wind, every second, he saw the fire he had fallen in love with.

Every night, she slipped away anew.

He gritted his teeth and tried to fly on, he truly did try. He would make a point of insisting he did whenever asked, even months later.

Let the cool, slapping air take the image away; let it erase his nightmares. Let it erase his pain, his shame, his anger. He gave in to the loving wind, the unforgiving wind, the wind that was his - has always been his, wings or no wings. It was his by birthright, magic or no magic. It was his because he dared to catch it.

It was his, the wind - he earned it. It would hold him a while more.

She dared to catch the wind, too - she reached for it endlessly. She walked into it, so fearless, so proud, unbending, firm and fierce. And he loved her madly for that. She had no wings, and she dared to fly.

She would go on, she would want him to go on.

So he fought against the wind, the unforgiving wind. He shouted and cursed at the wind. He cursed the long days and the cold ground and his one injured wing and the despair, he laughed bitterly and mocked the spins and wells of air and the mountaintops. He had empty, raging words for them all. He consumed the last of his breath daring the wind to leave him.

The treetops were there, a mess of lush green beneath him, their small branches bending in the wind. Bend or break, the forest knew, but he never lived in the forest, he never knew how to bend.

This was far enough, the wind and exhaustion told him. They will find him if he landed here. He can give up, he can end this, he can rest. He pushed on.

She would go on, and she would want him to go on.

Then again.

She wasn't here anymore.

"Kahvi. . ." Tyldak whispered into the increasing wind as it slammed into him, fought and overcame him and forced him down, broken and despaired, near the New Holt.