You read the beginning of this one before, but I added more.
The land of Airloniea was dying. The crops were failing, the king was on his death-bed, their arch enemy the Northern Riders attacked more every day, sickness was raging through the villages, and many Airlonians though it the end of the world.
When the old King did finally die, the throne was passed to his eldest son, a wise and caring man, but it seemed he could do nothing to help his poor country. The trouble grew more and more every day, and it looked like what was left of Airloniea would soon fall into the hands the hated Northern Riders.
Just when there seemed to be no hope left, an old elf appeared at the castle door, begging to see the King. The guards admitted him to the King's study, where the desperate King was pacing the floor in worry.
"Worry yourself no more, my King." said the old elf with a bow "For I have something that will end all this pain." The elf then drew from beneath is ragged cloak, a thick book. It has a smooth leather cover, covered in strange elven letters and printing, the book had gold edged pages, and a tasseled bookmark hanging out of the edge.
"What sort of trickery is this?" asked the King tiredly.
"This is no trick." said the elf "I have spent countless days making this book. I have called upon the strongest magic to create this. And now, at last, it is done. I give it to you, my King."
"How will this book help me?" demanded the King "If I find you have just been fooling with me..."
"I will tell you, how helpful this book this." said the elf, almost madly "This book is very powerful, for anything written in it shall become true."
"I don't understand..."
"Anything ever written in this book, will come true! It does not matter who it is written by, or when it is written, it will always, always, come true. You wish to cure your country? Then you can do so with this book!" The elf paused, and then looked the King in the eyes "But I warn you, your majesty, use this book with great care, or you might just wish you'd never seen this book in your life."
The King backed up away from elf, looking afraid. But the elf continued.
"And while the Book's power is certainly very strong, I'm sure some things will be beyond its limits." The elf then pushed the book into the King's hands and bowed quickly. "I wish you the best, my King, may you stay wise." Then the elf left the castle, and was never seen again.
The King did use the book to build his country back up. But he was careful with what he wrote, and used it wisely. After Airloniea was back on her feet, the King gave the book to a trusted knight. He sent him to take the book and and ride to the top of Mount Forge, a mountain to the far West, and chain the book to a rock on the summit. The knight did as he was told and Book remained unused and forgotten on the mountain.
And as the years wore on, Airloniea forgot about the powerful book. And even when disaster struck, and the country had trouble, the book was never taken out, for nobody remembered it......
Hundreds of Years Later.............
To the North of Airloinea lay a cold and unforgiving country. The land of the Northern Riders. The Riders were known as cruel and evil people, and indeed most of them were. Wars broke out among themselves and other countries constantly. The country was worn-torn and savage, where people were given little freedom, and good, honest, men and women were rare. Most Riders loved nothing more then to make trouble, especially for Airloniea.
But not all the Riders were like this. A precious few were truly very good kind people.
A young Northern woman, no older then eighteen, ran along the dark and rainy streets of Airloniea's greatest city, Athena. She had crossed the border into Airloiniea the night before, and now her daring mission was almost done.
Her black hair fell down her back, her dark eyes sad and full of tears, held closely to her chest was a well-wrapped bundle. Her tears slipped down her face, joining with the rain. She was well-built, and had breath-taking beauty. She was dressed in a ragged cloak and dark green dress, her hood now pulled over her eyes. She ran around a corner, her breath heavy. Footsteps raced behind her quickly.
"Fael! Fael!" The young woman swerved, and turned around, tears still in her eyes.
A young man, also a Rider, stepped into the shadows. He was dressed as a solider, dark shaggy hair under a cap, and a thin buckskin coat over his well muscled arms. He too, looked young, not yet even twenty.
"Fael." he reached for her arm "It doesn't have to be this way." She didn't resist his touch, and instead buried her head on his shoulder.
"You're right, Merlinn, it doesn't. But it is best this way. You know that."
"Fael! No!" he held her tightly, as she cried.
"Yes, Merlinn, we must. You know too well the fate that lies ahead of her if we don't." saying this she unwrapped a fold of her carefully held bundle. She held a baby in her arms, no older then a few weeks old. "I will not raise our child in that war-torn North, Merlinn! It is best to leave her here, in Airloniea, where she has a chance. Some kind couple were raise her here, in safety."
Merlinn hugged Fael and his baby daughter close. "You are right, Fael." he whispered "Tis, best. But the thought of her growing up and never knowing us..." He picked up the baby from her arms and looked at her in the moonlight.
"I know, Merlinn. But it is better then having her grow up in war. In a country where there is no freedom, no joy, nothing to live on."
Merlinn nodded, and gave his daughter back to his wife, he pulled a simple leather cord off from around his neck. Hanging from the cord was a metal coin with a hole through the middle of it. All around the coin were strange symbols and figures. Merlinn slipped the necklace over the baby's head and gently tied it.
"It's been in my family for generations." he whispered "Maybe it will help her find her way back to us."
Fael nodded and kissed her daughter. "We should hurry. Tis' a wonder we haven't been caught yet." She took a glance at the great house that stood ahead of them. It must be owned by a rich family of high ranking. Fael took a few steps forward to the great stone steps that stood in front of her, then broke down crying. "I can't do it!" she sobbed, clutching the baby.
Merlinn took his wife's hand, and together they climbed the steps, and laid the baby by the entrance. Merlinn then pounded on the wooden door, and then grabbed Fael's hand, tugging her down into the alley below to watch.
Not long after the door opened and a woman came out onto the steps. She saw the baby and gave a cry. The woman scooped up the little girl and disappeared into the grand house.
Fael gave a cry, and burst into tears in the wet dark alley, Merlinn held her close and tried to comfort her, but he too was crying.
And the child grew up in that house, the house of Ramon and Fayla, Duke and Duchess of Athena. They called her Ceili, meaning "stormy", for she had come to them through the storm. And as Ceili grew, her parents kept her story a secret. Even when she reached the age of sixteen, they never told her how she came to them. Instead, they let her grow up thinking she was their own flesh and blood daughter, they let everyone else, both family and friends, think it too.
For they felt ashamed that their beloved daughter was not a real Airlonian but a Northern Rider. And so they guarded the secret of her true heritage even from Ceili herself.
Ceili awoke to the sun shining through her window onto her bed. She blinked in the bright light and stretched. It was going to be a wonderful day, she and her parents were going to go to Schcora, the capital of Airloniea. King Ferdimon had want of her Father, so they must go.
Ceili was very excited. While her parents were good friends with the King she had never met him. And the King had a daughter, Marianna, who was her age. Ceili was sure they'd have a wonderful time together. They'd stay at the castle as long as the King needed them, and that could be weeks!
Ceili bounded out of bed at that thought, and rushed to get dressed. She slipped into a long green silk dress that set off her dark hair and eyes. She quickly went to the mirror to fix up her long black hair, sweeping part of it up into a tight twist on the back of her head and letting down a few locks to frame her face.
Ceili reached for gold hoop earrings, they were made by dwarves and very beautiful. She put them in and tugged her necklace out from under the front of her dress. It was a simple yet beautiful piece of jewelry. A brass colored coin hanging from a leather cord, all her life Ceili had worn it, never once could she not remember it upon her neck. While it did seem more like something a man, not a young lady, would wear, it seemed to fit her. And Ceili had no intention of ever taking it off, it was part of her.
Ceili was soon all ready to go, Solna, the family maid, who was really more like a second mother to them all, had already packed up everything Ceili might need. So now there was nothing left but to take one more look at herself in the mirror then run down the stairs.
On her way down to the entry way, Ceili bumped into her Mother.
"Ah, Ceili, good to see you're ready!" Said her Mother, tying her velvet cape about her slim shoulders, and smoothing her blond hair under her tiara. "Run on out to the courtyard now, your Father has the carriage ready. You know he hates to wait, he wants to get to the Estern Forest before it's too dark."
Ceili nodded. The journey to Schcora would take at least two long days of travel. So they planned to spend the night in a small Elven village in the Estern Forest. The Elves would be glad to have them, and it was about halfway through, making it was perfect place to spend the night.
Ceili ran down the stairs to the outside of the house. The carriage was waiting in the yard, four white Elven ponies hitched up to it, and her Father waiting inside. Ceili took one last look at the grand house she called home, then got up into the carriage, joining her Father, and minutes later Solna and Ceili's Mother got in.
It wasn't long before the driver, a young warrior elf by the name of Lija, called to the horses and they were on their way.
Ceili's parents were soon deep in conversation with Solna about politics, ancient history, and magic. Ceili didn't care to join the conversation, and instead stared out the window, looking at the passing city. Athena was home to men and elves alike, and sometimes, a few dwarves.
As the carriage pulled through the streets, people and elves came running out to the edge of the roads, all of them hoping to catch a glimpse of their beloved Duke and Duchess on their way to serve King Ferdimon.
Ceili starred back at them through the window, watching all the eager faces, most of them fair-headed, native, Airlonians, but a few elves dotted the crowd and every now and then a dwarf.
Ceili looked with wonder upon all the light hair and blue eyes. Just like her parents, and all her friends, and everyone else she knew, had. Everyone, except for a few elves, had straw-colored hair, paper-white skin, and eyes the color of the sea.
Ceili reached for her own dark hair, and looked at her reflection in the glass window. Why was she so dark? Everyone else in her family was as light as the other Airlonians. Why did she have dark hair and eyes? Why?
"Ceili" a sudden voice pulled her out of her heavy thoughts "Ceili?"
"Yes, Father?" Ceili pulled away from the window.
"Ceili, I forgot to tell you this before we left, but Ferdimon wanted me to tell you that Marianna won't be at the castle while we are there."
"Why, Father?" asked Ceili sadly.
"She's going to be staying with her Aunt this summer. Her Mother too. I'm sorry, Ceili, I know you were wanting to meet her."
"Aye." agreed Ceili sadly, wondering what she would do with herself at the castle now.
They had left the city of Athena now, and were racing through the country-side. Ceili leaned against the heavy wooden door listening to her parents and Solna talk worriedly about why the King might have need of them.
"I heard from my sister that there's rumors about the Riders planning a war against Airloniea." said her Mother sadly "Goodness knows what those blood-thirsty men want now!"
"Riders could be the problem, no doubt." agreed her Father
"I wish we could just have peace." said Solna sadly "Has war not been going on for hundreds of years now?"
"Yes." agreed her Father "Tis' very sad we live in such hard times."
"If it truthfully is the Riders we must be very careful." said Solna "There numbers are larger then we all think. They have a lot of power, and could hurt Airloniea more then most people think is possible. I just hope whatever it is, it gets settled soon."
Ceili sighed. She didn't care at all about those wild distant Riders who sometimes attacked Airloniea. Yes, they often did cause trouble, but they were always driven away before too much harm was done. Why should this year be any different? Ceili was afraid of little, and she was not at all afraid of Northern Riders.
She sighed again and rolled her eyes as her parents continued their worried conversation.
"What if...?" "And then...?" "Should that ever happen..." "I heard..." "Well, I hope..."
When Lija stopped the carriage a few hours later to water the horses, Ceili begged her parents to let her leave the carriage and ride up top with Lija. He was sure to be more exciting company, then the three adults worrying. They let her, glad she wouldn't be pressing her nose to the window, and sighing anymore.
So before the horses started up again, Ceili climbed up onto the seat with Lija.
"Hello, Miss Ceili." said the elf with a smile "What brings you up here? The conversation too dull below?"
Lija knew Ceili well. "Aye." she replied laughing "All history and politics and worrying over those Riders. I couldn't care less! Why can't they just relax and enjoy the day?"
Lija cracked the reins over the horses' backs and asked them to move forward. "Not everyone is fearless like you, Ceili." he said, as he untwisted the old leather reins, "And these days even I am nervous for what can be coming."
"What do you mean, Lija?"
"The Riders have not yet attacked for almost a year now, your Father gets called up by the King for a private mission, and there's all those robberies."
"Robberies? Of what?"
"Armor, bows and arrows, swords, war-horses, and the like. Things a country needs for battle. Large amounts have been found missing from all different cities." Lija shook his head "It's the Riders. I'd bet my life upon it. They're planning a wicked war against us."
"But anyone could have stolen that stuff! Or maybe they weren't stolen at all, and somebody just misplaced them."
The elf laughed, "That would be a lot of armor and weapons to "misplace", Ceili. And the North is poor, they most likely can't afford to make their own, why not steal it from their hated enemy?"
Ceili sighed. "Now you sound just like Father, Lija! I came up here to get away from all that!"
"Sorry, Ceili." said the elf shrugging "If you had any fear at all you'd be afraid of this. But I'm happy for you not to be pulled down with all this dark news and just be happy and carefree. You're young, Ceili. You don't need to worry."
"Well, Lija! You're not old! You're nearly as young as I am! And here you are, worrying just as much as my Father!"
The elf sighed and shook his head. "I'm an Elven Solider, Ceili, if there are any problems I'm going to be the one who has to fix them. And I'm also going to be the one protecting you should a war break out. And don't forget, eighteen is a lot older then sixteen." He cast her a grin.
Celie felt ashamed suddenly. "I'm sorry, Lija. I forgot."
"There's nothing to be sorry for!" he said laughing. Lija was always a good sport.
It was so easy to think of Lija as a care free child like herself! They had grown up together, and now, suddenly, he had so many duties and jobs. He had already completed his training as an Elven solider and was now in one of the highest ranks in the whole army. Yes, he was driving their horses today like any other young man, but he was also their body-guard. Lija did have a right to be concerned. And he must be right about eighteen being older then sixteen. Lija was always right.
It was dark when they got to the Estern Forest. The minute the carriage pulled up to the large golden gates, elves appeared from among the thick trees beyond it, and swung the doors open. Cheering with excitement and welcome.
A single young warrior elf, who looked about Lija's age, jumped up into the carriage. He appeared to be a very good friend of Lija, for the two seemed delighted to see eachother.
Hey! - Hey guys! It's been awhile! This isn't a review, I'm just posting a book list. Don't you always feel like there's always so many great books out there, but...
9 years ago