There she stood, boldly among the ashes. The Icon, the dragonslayer NaKassa. A paragon in our great pantheon of deities. A symbol of hope, courage, and most importantly victory. NaKassa was no dragonslayer, that would be impossible. There are no dragons in Menoione or in the Lands of Men. There aren't dragons any where actually, but we Elves do admire a fantastical story here and there. Not to say that magic isn't real. Where the Icon Of NaKassa stands is proof of magic. A rock from the sky once hit this area, leaving a charred scar on the earth. Yet still nature conquers and innovates. Bringing to life the Ember Flower, something queer to even our ancient eyes. A seedling that can only bloom in ruined soil.
This was a perfect spot to put NaKassa at. When our nation was ruined by war, when Tawny Elves once fought High Elves who once subjugated the Ashen Elves..you get the picture. When we sought the blood of our own kind, it was NaKassa who destroyed Menoione only to rebuild it.
"If only you had better technique Sayil." His voice brings me back to the present. The sound of battle played loud on such a clear day.The ringing of metal clashing against metal I always found to be a delight. Especially when mixed in with the the cool breeze of wind and the chirping of birds. Elven ears were far more precise, so when my sister brings her blade downward to his not only do I hear the clank but the vibration of the hit could almost be felt. Sayil's blade had made contact with the thick face of his, and once again Aethys had blocked what looked to be a brilliant move from Sayil. Laughing as he did so.
This dance had been performed for some time now. I say dance because the art of swordplay can certainly resemble more of a dance than a fight when it's participants are as skilled as these two. One was Aethys Vaeri, brother to Aelyn Vaeri. A member to a high elven family so rich in history that they were history itself. A line that descends back to the first of creation, and a line he represented well. Aethys was the model high elf, his silver hair seemed almost enchanted on a bright sunny day. His features were sculpted by Visali himself. As in he was crafted by the very hands of God. He was the the messiah for many in Menoione. Not only for High-Elves but for the rest of us as well.
His partner in this dance was my sister, Sayil. Our family was just as prestigious as his own, the first of the Tawnies as we were called. A legacy that was once glorious but now fading for a variety of reasons. Our line was now mainly represented by me and my two sisters. The aforementioned Sayil'il and of course Celil'il, both older than me. We Tawnies do not take last names like Ashen or High-Elves do. We simply use the commonalities of our given name as a suffix, so Sayil's full name is simply Sayil'il.
"It's almost as if he controls the entire battle isn't it?" Celil comments as the blades continue their song. Ringing and clinging, every now and then Sayil would grunt and Aethys would laugh and add to the melody of battle. "Every move she makes, he knows." Celil observed quietly, as was always the case. She was no good with swords, or at least wasn't good enough for it to be her main weapon of choice. That would be the bow.
"It's how she fights. She swings a long sword around with one hand and it makes her moves all the more predictable." I chime in, Celil simply nods her head knowingly. She watched the fight as if there would be some test on it later. "She's too aggressive, she may think she's on the offensive but not really. You see his back foot?" I point.
"It's firmly planted in the ground, if she were truly a threat she'd have put him off balance. She's losing, if this fight were for blood he'd have hers on his blade by now."The blades continued their theme, but now Aethys begin to push back. A confident smirk on his lips as he swung his blade with precision. Every swipe he made was a display in technique and perfection...
...while Sayil seemingly hopeless blocked each slice clumsily. Still handling her heavy blade with one hand but somehow repelling his attack. Her blade cried sharply in what could only be inevitable defeat. Each move he made towards her forced her back, forced her to lose her balance and curse. I wondered how much longer she could persist on defense. Aethys was just playing with her now I knew, he knew his attacks would be blocked and he found some amusement in the dance. Even as his partner grew tired and weary.
"Aethys is one arrogant prince. He could have ended this the moment he started." Celil also chuckles, finding her sisters failure amusing. There was always a friendly rivalry between my two older sisters. Sayil was the oldest, which made Celil the middle child and me the runt. Or Ro'i to them, Royil, it seemed I collected various names. The one my mother gifted to me is Tiyil, the name my parents often use.
"You underestimate our dear big sister. He would have had her blood to be sure, but she would still fight on."Sayil begin to fight back as expected, right when it seemed she had lost the fight and found herself on the ground she rolled away from a downward strike that would have hit her shoulder cruelly. When she found her feet again Aethys did not give her a moment to breath, forcing her back on defense. But now her parries seemed more offensive, his next strike she angled her blade so that his would rebound off of hers and leave him off balance for just a moment. A moment was all she needed to thrust her blade forward and aim for his guts, a hit he thankfully prevented. Leaving their blades locked.
"Sayil may not be as graceful as she should with her blade, but her will is unlike any other. Someone as tactful as you may not see the value in just having will." I explain, all the while the teeth of their blades grind and grit for dominance over each other.
"She's slippery, she's tough, she's of our blood. I expect her to put up a fight against anyone."
"But surely, Aethys will win." I add smugly.
"Oh, and whose side are you on? That of your sister or that of your consort?" Celil finally lost interest in the fight and turned it towards me.
"They are only sparring, nothing is on the line." That doesn't satisfy her, of course it wouldn't. Celil loves to dive into the minds of others.
"There is pride on the line, the pride of two races...of two species...of two families. Even if it is only sparring, every victory counts. Even if the reward is only pride, it is a victory and it gives you another weapon to use against your opponent should you fight again with more on the line."
"You take these things far too seriously."
I think we both lost track of the fight. Next thing I knew Aethys was disarming Sayil. "You lose, expectantly." his voice mild and polished. Sayil's posture slumped and she sighed.
"Next time." she sighed once again, looking up at the statue of NaKassa in pure admiration. If I knew my sister I knew how disappointed she must be in herself, that she wasn't good enough to live up to those standards, at least not yet....
YEP, I never did forget about this prequel series! So yeah, the chapters are shorter as I mentioned earlier. It takes place WAY in the past, the past that is always spoken of during Annals Of Simopia. For the people that are only reading this, the prequel. Probably avoid the comments because there may be spoilers there and I welcome that! For those that have read Annals and are making connections from the past to the present of the story, I love you. There are plenty of secrets and things revealed here!