The first segment of Koravel's history.
On a snowy night, way north in the Shuman Mountains, the cries of a woman split the night air. These were not cries of horror or of fright, but cries of pain: the pain of giving life. Alone and frightened, she hoped beyond all hope that maybe, just maybe, someone might pass, hear, and decide to help her. Heaven smiled down upon her that night, for as she felt herself fading, another entered her small cottage: an ancient man, bearded and gray. He spoke to her kindly and was able to nurse her properly for the birthing. Not fifteen minutes had passed when she was holding her newborn baby in her arms: a boy. The man had since realized that this woman and her baby were elven-kind. Why was she alone? Where were her kin? He found these circumstances odd indeed. He offered to stay and watch over the baby while she rested, knowing she had not the strength to care for the child alone just yet. She accepted this offer of aid after short consideration.
"What have you named him?" the old man asked.
"Koravel." She responded with a kiss on the babyâ€™s cheek.
The following morning, the man waited for her to wake and then took leave of them shortly thereafter. "I live just past the hills to the south; the tower ruins with a garden if ever you need anything at all, miss." He smiled warmly and crept on his way, leaning on his walking-cane.
The woman proceeded to care for her son on her own. She would pay the old man a visit at least once a week, bringing him flowers she picked in the meadow. The man, likewise, would call on a regular occasion bearing a basket of fresh vegetables from his garden each time. It was not long before the old man learned of the odd circumstances that would cause an elven-woman to embark upon motherhood alone.
She explained that her kind (gray elf) were a very proud people. They were fascinated by certain uncouth arts. Her husband, the son of their chieftain, revealed his aspirations for the future of their child. "If a girl, she will, of course, serve to be a fine hand-maiden and a source of morale to our men" (which of course was a great honor in their clan). "If a boy, I will teach him all that I know of the new science I have been studying; he will succeed me by perfecting it." She then explained that this "science" was no science at all, but dark, dark magic that had been used historically for performing evil deeds.
"So I fled." She explained that she had a dream, perhaps foresight, that she was carrying a son. In her dream, she saw him grow to be belligerent and power hungry. She knew she must help him to escape such a dark fate. "My husband has changed lately. Heâ€™s not been himself anymore. Itâ€™s as if heâ€™s stepped out of his body and let someoneâ€¦evilâ€¦step in." She glanced over at her newborn son. "I wouldnâ€™t be able to live with my self if I allowed him to be exposed to that."
The gray old man nodded and smiled consolingly, his bright eyes dancing underneath his bushy eyebrows. "Eamane, it is time for me to go. The sun is getting low in the sky and Iâ€™m afraid these old eyes donâ€™t work well in the dark anymore." He walked over to Koravel and tickled his chin before leaving.
Three years passed uneventfully. Eamane lived peacefully, raising her son alone with frequent visits from the old man. This particularly special night was a snowy night, just the same as the kind of night that Koravel was born on. Of course, it was special because it was Koravelâ€™s birthday. The old man called at the cottage as usual, but today he carried a surprise just for Koravel. He revealed to the small boy three wooden carvings: the first, a woman holding a bundle of flowers (this was his mother); the second, a man with a long beard and a walking-cane (this, of course, was the old man); and last, a small boy pointing up at the sky (Koravel knew at once this had to be him for he loved to look up at the stars at night). These instantly became his favorite things; they never left his sight.
Several months later, spring was in full bloom in the mountains. Koravel and Eamane were in the meadow picking berries. Eamane was teaching Koravel which berries were dangerous, explaining that eating them would make you very sick. He listened very intently to her and asked "Mama! This one?" for every berry he picked. When she approved, he jumped and laughed while dropping it in her basket. If she said "no, not that one", he threw it on the ground, stamped on it, and said "yucky!" which would make Eamane laugh. That night, she tucked him into bed, making sure his wooden figurines were with him, kissed him on the cheek, and said "I love you, darling" to which he replied "I wuv you too, Mama!"
That night, she sat in the main room of her cottage next to a fire and was mending some of Koravelâ€™s clothing. A quick rap on her door startled her, but she answered the door with a smile expecting to see her old bearded friend, although odd of him to be wandering around so late at night. Upon opening the door, however, she was shocked to find her father staring back at her. She gaped at him open-mouthed and dumbstruck for a moment or two until he smiled warmly at her and said "Eamaneâ€¦.how good it is that Iâ€™ve found you at last" in her native tongue. She felt the sting of tears in her eyes and embraced him warmly.
"Father! Oh how Iâ€™ve missed you" responding also in gray-elvish. She led him inside and offered him a comfortable chair by the fire and hastened to boil water to fix him his favorite tea. When she brought him the tea minutes later, he said nothing, but smiled at her. She sat down in a chair across from him, staring in disbelief. "Oh, father. Youâ€™ve no idea how Iâ€™ve longed to see you. Surely you have questions; I can only hope you can find it in your heart to forgive meâ€¦"
He sipped his tea and smiled at her again with shining green eyes "I have been worried, Eamane; very worried and anxious indeed. And your husbandâ€¦he especially has been most eager to learn of your whereabouts, yours and his child, of course." Eamane looked down at the floorboards, feeling a wave of shame cross her face, but he continued. "I cannot pretend, Eamane, that I am not most bewildered by your actions. You have left many people with many more questions."
She sighed and her voice cracked. "I understand, father. Butâ€¦I couldnâ€™t stay. Failariel, you see, wellâ€¦he was acting soâ€¦strange."
His attention perked at this. "What do you mean, child?"
She then explained about his dark "science" as he called it and her fears about how he had been changing during his pursuit of learning more about this science and how scared she was when he said that their unborn child, if a boy, would inherit this study. "I couldnâ€™t bear it, father, if Koravel grew to be like that; I would never forgive myself. I ran for him, father, for my son. I had a dream and I saw him behaving strangelyâ€¦worse, even than his father. I believed this was a premonition of things to come if I stayed. I made a decision, father. A decision that was harder still to follow through with. I loved Failariel very much, but I needed to protect my child." She was shaken, but resolute in her words. She could only hope that he would understand.
The moment came at last when he sat his cup down and looked sympathetically at her. He reached over and touched her hand gently. "Can I see him?"
She smiled at him with a leap in her heart, realizing that he mightâ€™ve understood. "Well, heâ€™s sleeping, but we can peek in on him if weâ€™re quiet." She led him over to the door behind which Koravel was sleeping and opened it noiselessly. Her father entered the room and looked at the little boy with a proud smile on his face.
"He has your nose and lips."
She responded only with a grin. After a few minutes, they returned to the chairs by the fire. "Father, as happy as I am to see you, I cannot help but wonder how you found me."
He chuckled a bit and said "Oh, it was not easy. No, not easy at all. Have no fear, your secret is safe." It was as if heâ€™d read her mind with this comment, for the last thing she wanted was for her husband to know of her whereabouts.
Several minutes of peaceful silence passed when he arose to his feet. She looked up at him curiously and asked "You arenâ€™t leaving, are you? You are a great distance from home."
His eyes examined the room and then rested them on the bedroom door for several seconds. "Iâ€™m afraid so, darling." And without warning, like a snake attacking its prey, he grasped her around the throat, lifting her out of her chair.
Her eyes wide with fright and disbelief, she wanted to say "Father?!? Why??" but her pleading was muffled by her strangulation. Horror seized her violently when the kind, amiable likeness of her father melted away to reveal the cruel, tortured features of her husband, Failariel. She struggled for him to release her, but it was all for naught. Her vision darkened and her heart stopped. She was dead. Failariel dropped Eamane to the floor like a heavy stone. He crept into Koravelâ€™s room, careful not to wake him. He carried the small boy out as if he were holding the most fragile treasure in the world.
"At last" he thought to himself. "I will know my son, and my son will know me."
Edited by: [url=http://p068.ezboard.com/brpgww60462.showUserPublicProfile?gid=battleaccountant>Battle] at: 9/27/06 19:55