I watched as years flew by me, seasons passing in seconds again and again. I watched as a settlement grew in front of me, Human by the looks of the people flashing around. Suddenly time slowed down and the settlement burst into flames and I saw Elves rushing around, stealing all the people away and leaving a smoking husk of a village. I was moved to a city beside the Mountain of Law, but it was not Shadowlyn, or even Fairwick. It was an enormous Elven city with beautiful buildings. But I was disgusted with it. There were Humans, who were building new buildings, being whipped by Elves and their burdens did not look easy to bear. They were slaves, and not in the way that we had been in the Dwarven halls. This was worse. Much, much worse. Cries rose up from the slaves, prayers to a God who had promised their father Ibrahim many years ago. I did not know how I knew that, but I did.
I was suddenly in a throne room and the orders I heard made me sick. “Kill the male Human children under two years of age!” the king shouted. “They are getting too numerous and might turn against us!”
I was taken to a mother carrying a bundle. She ran through the streets, dodging the Elven soldiers and got to a river. The land must have changed since then for there was no river running near Shadowlyn. The Human woman set the bundle into a basket and was about to push it out into the river when an Elf-maiden came down. She wore a long purple gown, had a thin, flowered crown of vines on her head, and was surrounded by female Elves carrying bottles of all shapes and sizes. The Human dove into the reeds and the Elf maiden’s sharp eyes immediately went to her hiding spot. She moved forward and was about to push aside the reeds and reveal the woman when she noticed the basket.
“My princess, what is it?” one of the Elves asked.
The princess leaned down and opened the basket. She picked up the bundle inside and removed the blankets to reveal a baby boy. She smiled and held him close, turning away from the reeds where the Human woman was hidden.
“Why it’s a Human child!” the purple clad she-Elf said.
“What are you going to do with him?” asked one of the servants.
“I’m going to keep him. And I shall call him Mioshye.”
Time sped up again, and I saw the boy grow up into a handsome young man. I saw him visit the Humans, taking an interest in their affairs. He had designs painted on his face, chest, back, arms, and the back of his hands. I could tell they weren’t natural designs. Not only had I seen him grow up, but they didn’t shimmer at all. They weren’t a part of him, and it was obvious. The other Humans whispered about how fake he was. He sided with the Elves while he belonged with them; he was living a life of luxury instead of slaving away under the threats of pain and death.
“Ah!” a cry came to me.
I turned to see a Human being mercilessly beaten by one of the Elven guards. Mioshye saw it, too. I watched as his face twisted and he looked down at his hands, first the front then the back. His face hardened and then he rushed over to the guard.
“Stop in the name of the king!” Mioshye demanded.
The guard laughed. “It’s in the name of the king that I do this, false prince.”
When the guard hit the slave again, Mioshye gave a yell and slammed his fist into his face. The guard flew backward and the Human prince pulled a knife from the sheath at his hip and, after looking around, plunged the blade through the chest of the black and dark blue haired Elf. Mioshye stared at the body then quickly hid it. I could see in his eyes he was frightened, and he had good right to be; he had just murdered somebody. The next day he came back and saw two Humans fighting. He hurried over to them.
“Please do not fight,” he said, trying to mediate then turned to the one that had started it. “Why are you striking him?”
The Human turned to him. “Who made you prince and judge over us? Are you going to kill me like you killed that Elf?”
Fear crossed Mioshye’s face and he moaned. “Surely all know what I have done!” And I swore I heard the voice of the Elf king shout for Mioshye’s death.
He ran into the desert and I watched as more time passed. He eventually ran into a group of Humans. They took him in and treated him well. He even got married and had a son. Suddenly, a great cry came up. I heard the earth rumble in response. I knew from the depths of my being that God had heard the cry. And it had been the cry of His people.
Time slowed to a normal pace and I saw sheep, a whole herd of them. But that’s not what Mioshye was staring at. He was staring at a bush. The bush was on fire, but it was no natural fire. Instead of consuming the bush, it was just…there. I watched as he paused to properly look at it. I watched and listened to the most bizarre conversation I had ever witnessed. Jesiah’s voice, magnified and full of authority, began to speak to him, telling him that he must go to the Elven city to free the Humans and bring them to a wonderful, rich land that would do much more than just keep them alive. It would help them thrive, given to them by the Lord who wanted them to thrive, if they obeyed Him. The words that stood out to me were the words that Jesiah had once spoken to me when I had asked him who he was. God said to Mioshye to tell them: “I AM has sent me to you.”
So Mioshye went to the Elven king and I watched as he turned his staff to a snake, turned water to blood, and other miracles, but the Elf king stubbornly refused to let him go. Then the Lord sent ten plagues, each worse than the last. I saw frogs, boils, storms of fire, darkness then suddenly I was standing outside beneath the night sky. I watched as a family slaughtered a lamb and used its blood to mark the lintel and posts of the doors. Something big was about to happen. I looked up and saw the moon glowing, pale and beautiful, in the sky. It was somewhere near midnight. And then I felt it. I felt death fill the air. It was everywhere. I heard sobbing and shivered. What was it? I suddenly heard Mioshye telling the people about the death of the firstborn male children, but it was an echo of the past.
Then I felt freedom, and I saw the Humans leave the city and go around the Mountain of Law to the other side. There Mioshye went up then came down with two tablets of stone. He read them aloud.
- “You shall have no other gods before me.
- You shall not make any idols
- You shall not use the name of the Lord your God in vain
- Remember the day of rest and keep it holy
- You shall honor your father and mother
- You shall not kill
- You shall not commit adultery
- You shall not steal
- You shall not lie against your neighbor
- You shall not covet”
They were good laws, but as I watched, corruption wound its way in the Humans lives. I was taken to many towns, including Fairwick which grew where the ruins of the Elven city were. Each was full of corruption. After a while of watching, a thought crossed my mind. Could nobody keep the law?
Suddenly there was silence and I looked up to see a starry night, this one peaceful. I heard a cry, piercing and shrill. It was a baby. Curious, I wondered over to where the baby was, wrapped in cloth and lying in a manger. He was precious as his mother fed him at her breast. I stared at her and knew she was a virgin. Then how had she given birth to him? When he was done feeding, she placed him back in the manger and he looked right at me. I knew those eyes. It was Jesiah.
I lowered the scroll slowly and looked around at the others. The Satyrs looked interested, Elthinor and Valtrak looked enraptured, and Nolan and Gabrithon’s faces were mildly interested. I looked back down at the scroll and thought about it. It sounded as if Jesiah was born to fulfill the law, but what that would accomplish I was not sure.
“So Valtrak had this the whole time?” Elthinor asked, his voice hesitant.
I turned and downright glared at him. He flinched, his hands going down to defend himself. I was not angry enough to strike him again, but my anger still burned. He looked meek and very sorry, but I did not care. That one word kept echoing in my mind.
“Fily,” he started, sounding apologetic.
I held up my hand. “Shut up.”
He did so and looked away. He so obviously wanted to apologize, but I did not want him to. A Satyr came up and asked, rather gruffly, if the Elf wished to go back to his room. Elthinor looked at me hopefully, but I just glared at him, and he sighed and nodded. I watched as he was led away and felt guilt begin to bubble up. I ignored it. As far as I was concerned, Elthinor was no longer my friend.
Now that the scroll had been read, the feast continued into desserts. When the conversation had started up, now more eager than before and most of it focused on the story we had told, Gabrithon leaned over and pointed at the scroll.
“Is there no clue?” I stared at him in confusion for a moment. “Just wondering,” he said, glancing away.
I unrolled the scroll and looked down at the bottom. It was the simplest clue yet.
The Mountain where the law was given
At the peak is where the scroll is hidden.
“That is all?” Gabrithon asked in surprise. “The others were so…complex.”
I shrugged. “They all seem to be written by different people of different races.”
“I do not know of this Oidynhall place they spoke of. Is it even in existence anymore?” Gabrithon asked.
“It is an old Dwarven city. I did not know there were libraries there though,” Valtrak said from across the table. “However, long ago it was recorded that there was a horrible cave in and a large cavern that branched into some smaller caverns seemed to be blocked in, according to old maps. Maybe that is where the libraries are located.”
“If it contains records of this Mioshye, then we should have it dug out if it is at all possible,” I said, popping a cherry in my mouth; there was no pit in it and that surprised me.
“How are we to even bring it up if we get there?” Valtrak queried. “It is assumed that you kidnapped me, and as I am a noble, that is a very serious crime. Dwarves will be warned to look out for you and to take me back if they get the chance to.”
“I am sure something will eventually come up,” I said with a shrug then stared off into a corner. “I wonder what stories are in that library.”
We spent the rest of the feast discussing what strange and new information could possibly be hidden in the library. Nolan sat silently staring at us, and I felt sorry for him; because of his disbelief he obviously felt he could not participate in our imaginings. Gabrithon, on the other hand, came up with such fantastical tales with such eagerness and excitement that I knew something was changing inside of him, slowly, but very, very surely.
When the feast ended, each of my friends was escorted to their rooms by Satyrs. I was left standing on my own while Miyana spoke with a very stately looking Satyr. Zaharra and Laetitia were chatting happily together, still seated at the table. I felt very out of place in that moment, as I usually did in public places. I missed Elthinor dearly. I should have let him apologize, I thought sadly. I could have really used his usually cheerful attitude and his bright conversation. I knew it would have driven away the loneliness.
The two Fauns finally seemed to notice me and they hurried over.
“What are you doing?” Zaharra asked. I shrugged, feeling unsure and shy. She smiled. “Mother told us you have never spent real time with Fauns your own age. Come with us. You are going to be pampered.”
Laetitia grabbed me and pulled me down a maze of hallways to a room that was obviously theirs. It looked like the room that I had come to in except there were red draping hanging from the ceiling. I stared around the room for a moment, a bit nervous. They seemed to sense that this was new to me. Zaharra circled me for a moment then fingered my hair.
“I had Elthinor cut it,” I replied.
“Why?” Laetitia asked.
“Because my mother is dead.”
They went silent at that and looked at me with sad eyes. I could tell that they did not like the thought of a mother being dead, whether it was theirs or no. I stood there while they stared at me and felt even more discomfort than I had before. Zaharra finally moved and went to get a comb made of what looked like bone. I was pulled onto a stool and they began combing my hair.
After they were done with that, they began rubbing something that smelled like flowers and honey into my hair. I let them do what they wished, not really understanding why they wanted to do this for me. In my rough life, I had never had to care about my looks. The girls back in Paxtonvale had been overly concerned with how they looked and I never understood that, but they did not have to work. Why try and make yourself look pretty if you only had to go and work and get muddy and bloody from farming and hunting?
“You are very quiet for a girl,” Laetitia commented offhandedly.
“Elthinor thinks so, too,” I said quietly.
“Is he the Elf?”
Zaharra moved to look me in the eye. “What is with this Elf?” she asked seriously. “You are angry at him, that much is certain, but you act as though you do not truly want to be angry with him.”
I shrugged. “He is my best friend,” I replied. “He has been with me almost since the beginning of my journey. We have been through much together and we have the scars to prove it. I cannot imagine us not being friends, but he said that I was a…And I know I am, but he did not need to say it.” I finished, my voice angry and hurt.
“What did he call you?” Laetitia asked.
I stayed silent and just stared at the floor. I did not like that word. Even just thinking about it hurt me. I finally managed to say the word and they looked confused.
“That’s it?” Zaharra asked. “He called you a freak?”
I winced at the word and nodded. “I have been called that since I was a child. It was not until a few months ago that I found out how true it is.”
They both stared at me expectantly, but I refused to say anything more about it. With their negative thoughts towards Elves, I did not want to tell them that I was a half Elf. They might stop being so kind, and I was enjoying it. It was refreshing to have females of any race think I was good enough to spend time with. That thought brought me to Melanari, Elthinor’s sister. I should have been more receptive towards her attempts to get to know me, I thought. Thinking of Melanari brought my thoughts back to Elthinor. What was I going to do with him?
I sighed and looked up at them. They had mercifully left me alone with my thoughts, but right now I wanted to get out of my thoughts.
“Please, tell me about your culture,” I pleaded.
Zaharra smiled sympathetically. “Certainly, if you let us continue to work on your hair.”
“Go on,” I said, then settled down and listened to the differences of the Satyr culture, forcing myself to forget the fight I was having with my best friend.