Tetra arrived at the village just before sunset and she found her welcome cold and full of suspicion from its inhabitants. She walked into the village watching as they stared at her, unsure of what she was or her intentions. Her appearance was nothing at all like the other elves that had occasionally arrived in Vicala seeking trade. She was much taller, and much more regal than they had been. One of the fishwives, upon seeing her, had simply cackled to her neighbor, “I don’t know what she is, but she makes the high elf I seen look like a wilted cornstalk!”
The comment hadn’t gone unnoticed by Tetra, but she was unable to put it into context, so she kept walking and investigating the town, more from a sense of curiosity than anything else. She had never had any contact with any of the races, and watched as one after another viewed her with suspicion and distrust. Although she smiled at them, she was unable to begin a conversation with any of them. They walked away from her before she was able to greet them.
“They are what you made them to be Tetra,” Lavalor said to her.
Not wishing to respond and knowing the humans hadn’t heard the sword speaking to her, she kept silent.
She walked upon the docks, looking at the sailing vessels used to harvest the fish from the lake, she then walked past the large buildings housing the ice and fish that was either sold, or were still being prepared for shipment. The odor of the village was overwhelming to her, but she bore it with the understanding she was going to have to learn of all of the races eventually.
After studying the docks, and the men and women who worked them, she saw a young girl sitting on a large stone overlooking the waters of the lake. She cautiously walked towards the girl not wishing to frighten her. But the girl never looked up as she neared, she just kept looking out over the waters, tilting her head every now and then.
“What can I help you with, miss?” the young girl asked, noticing whoever had arrived, had to be a woman. The gentle scent of jasmine that accompanied them, told her so.
“I am just a stranger who is passing through. I envy those of you living on this beautiful lake,” Tetra said with a smile.
“I wouldn’t know about that, really. I come down here because the sound of the water is nice,”
“Mind if I sit with you?” Tetra asked her.
“Sure, it’s nice to have someone to talk to!”
As Tetra sat down next to the girl, she saw there was something strange with her eyes. They were dim and unfocused.
“I am Tetra. Who are you?” she asked the girl.
“I’m Edella. Hello, it’s a pleasure to meet you!” she said with a smile and then added, “My momma always told me to be polite to strangers, since I don’t never know who they are.”
“Well, I think your manners are splendid Edella,” Tetra said as she smiled.
“Want to smell the flower I found?” she asked Tetra, holding it towards her.
“Where did you find it, child? It smells beautiful,” more curious of the how, than the where.
“It was sitting on the rock when I got here. I think one of the boys put it here for me,” The girl giggled, “Boys are funny.”
“Do you like boys?” Tetra asked.
“I like everybody,” Edella replied honestly.
Tetra quietly got the feeling she was being watched so she turned her head in the direction she suspected and saw two men who were working on the nearest boat were watching her intently.
“That’s admirable of you,” Tetra told her, turning her attention back to the child, and then she asked, “What is wrong with your eyes?”
“I can’t see, no more. Got bit by somethin’ when I was just a baby and got a fever. I guess the gods felt I should go through life in the dark, at least that’s what momma told me.”
“Oh, I do not think that is what the gods wanted for you, child,” Tetra said sadly.
“It’s ok. My momma takes good care of me! She’s teaching me how to cook for myself now, when she can.”
“What do you mean, when she can?” Tetra asked.
“We don’t always got food to eat. So it means what I said, when she can.”
“With all of this food around here, the fish, and the wild vegetables and fruit you go hungry?”
“Well, momma don’t always have the money to pay for meat, and the orchards and farms all belongs to other people. Momma says you got to pay copper or silvers for food. Coin don’t flow from the falls, you know!” Edella said seriously.
Tetra studied the girl, and felt a sympathy she had never know before. Had they fallen so far that they cared so little for the infirmed?
“What would you do if you could see again?” Tetra asked Edella.
“I don’t know, never gave it no thought.”
“I guess cause if momma ain’t got money for food she really ain’t got no money for a cleric, so why think about it. ‘Sides, people are nice to me. I know most of them by their voices, and I says hi to them on my way down here, or on my way back up to our house.”
“How old are you, child?”
“I’ll be eleven in a couple of months. Why?”
“ I was just curious.”
“How old are you?” Edella asked curiously, as only a child can.
“If I tell you, you have to promise not to tell anyone,” Tetra asked with a mischievous giggle.
“Ohhh….I promise. Momma says that a proper woman never tells her age!” Edella giggled, “I don’t know why but she says that sometimes.”
“Well, I am very, very old. Probably older than anyone in your village.”
“I don’t know about that, mims Ferrold is pretty old.” Edella said, dragging out the word old as if it were a groan, “Momma says she is probably over sixty years old!”
“Oh, I am much older than that,” Tetra giggled.
“More than that?” Edella asked, “How can that be, you don’t sound old.”
“Well, I am a bit different. I am kind of like those elves you might have heard of.”
“Ohhhh….I ain’t never meet no elf.” Edella said seriously. “I bet you’re beautiful! Momma says she only seen three elves and that they were beautiful! She seen them a long time ago when she was a little girl in the capital.”
Tetra found herself enamored with this child. Her honesty and innocence touched her deeply. “If I gave you something child, could you keep it a secret? Secret that I gave it to you, I mean?” she asked.
“I ain’t supposed to take things from strangers, momma says, or things that ain’t belongin’ to me, neither.”
Tetra thought for a moment, “Well, what if it was something that your mother could cherish too?”
“Oh, I’d do anything for my momma. She takes such good care of me. Best she can, that’s a fact!”
“Give me your hand then child, please let me give you something that I know will make your mother happy,”
“I can’t. Momma says we got to pay our way in this world. That’s why she works at the inn. She works all night, and comes home tired and sad most of the time,” Edella said, a bit dejectedly.
“How about you pay for it, then?”
“With what? I ain’t got no coin.”
“How about that flower you’re holding. That would be more than enough payment for me,” Tetra offered.
“Well, ok. But you promise it will make momma happy?”
“I promise child. Give me your hands now, and close your eyes.”
“Don’t know why I got to do that,” Edella mumbled.
Edella held out her hands and Tetra took the flower from her, placing it behind her own ear. Against her stark white hair, the brilliant crimson of the flower seemed luminescent.
She then took the childs small hands into one of her own, and placed her other on Edellas forehead. Tetra closed her eyes and began concentrating, trying to see as the child saw. As she tried, she realized that the child hadn’t lost her sight just from a fever. Edella had lost it because of her father, when she had been a toddler. Her own father had been the cause. Becoming angered at this revelation, she looked in earnest to try and find the reason for that inhuman act. An act that the child had no real memory of, just images.
The two fishermen that had been watching the stranger and saw her putting her hands on Edella, and fearing the worst they rushed off the boat towards the child that everyone in the village cared for, given what had happened to her real mother.
Unfortunately there was that, and the fact that her current mother was the local evenings entertainment for those that frequented the inn. It wasn’t her fault that her mother was , what she was, and she was such a sweet child. They figured that since she was unable to see the ugliness of her world, that she should be uncorrupted from it, as much as possible.
As the two mean neared they saw Edella was now trembling and shaking. What was the stranger doing to her? They grabbed Tetra, attempting to pull her away from the little girl. They were surprised when they discovered that they couldn’t. The fisherman that owned the boat pulled a dagger from his belt, shoving it towards Tetras back. The blade snapped between the force of his blow and the strength of the armor that protected her.
Tetra felt their attempts to pull her from the child, but she was nearly finished, and was determined to do so.
The two men realized that the armor the stranger wore had protected her from their little knife, so the son rushed back to the dock and quickly took a gaff from their boat. He rushed back to stop the stranger from assaulting his friend.
Finished with her magic, Tetra released Edellas hand and told her to open her eyes. The young girl opened her eyes, then she screamed upon seeing the beauty of the lake for the first time in her life.
Not realizing that Edella was screaming with joy and realizing that the stranger wasn’t wearing a helm, the young man swung the gaff at Tetras head. His untrained swing struck her near the base of her skull, partially above the gorget that protected her. Fortunately for Tetra, his inexperience caused the hook of the gaff to miss striking her fully.
The force of his blow knocked Tetra from the rock and down onto the lakeshore, face first into the sands. The young man, of just seventeen, struck Tetra again while shouting his anger.
Lying face down in the sand, dazed and unaware of what had just happened, or even what was about too, Tetra struggled to rise to her feet but found that she couldn’t. Her senses were too jumbled, and confused. She kept telling her body to get up, but it wouldn’t respond. Her anger rose just as suddenly as her helplessness had.
Sensing the danger Tetra was in, Lavalor realized that the only chance for his plans to succeed now lay with him rescuing Tetra.
Out of a sheer sense of fury because of the jeopardy that the boy’s action had put Tetra in, he clumsily visualized his need, and desire, which enabled him to rip himself free of the sheath at her waist, and launch himself at the gaff that the man was once again swinging towards her head. This time he was using the gaff so that its hooked point would enter, and cleave open her skull.
With an effort of will that was previously unknown to him, Lavalor launched himself at the gaff, knocking the steel tipped rod from the young mans hands as he was swinging it downward at the still prone Tetra.
After countering the blow, and now in a rage, Lavalor rushed at the young man, driving himself into the unfortunate lads chest. At first Lavalor didn’t realize that had gone cleanly through his heart and chest, or how his long ago forged body was now about to truly become one with the insane Elfaheen, his arrogant miscasting of the binding spells having been long forgotten.
Lavalor hadn’t yet realized how far he had passed through the boy’s body, but the boys’ father had and knew that he could not defeat this odd elf and her magic. He quickly grabbed the child’s wrist pulling her from the stone where she still sat, trying to get her to safety. Both of them began running towards what the soon to be grieving father hoped was the safety of the village.
Immediately upon entering the boys body Lavalor realized that he could feel the difference between the warmth of the blood that was now wrapped around him and those parts of the blade that were unbloodied. It reminded Lavalor of what sex had once felt like. With it’s warm, all encompassing sensations wrapped tightly around him, and the heady sensations that it had brought him. During the ecstasy that he was feeling he could quite literally “taste” the blood of his victim, where it had washed over his steel “flesh” feeling the blade drinking in the boys’ warm nourishment. The enchanted ancient mythryl of the blade allowed him to sense the coppery taste of blood, much like that which he had tasted so long ago in The Hells, when he had still been created of flesh, creating a need for more blood, deep within Lavalors own psyche. As the boy faded towards death, Lavalor felt his lifeforce now truly joining with the blade, infusing him with a sudden, agonizing surge of magical energy.
Realizing his magic had just grown stronger, but in agonizing pain, he saw that Tetra was now also writhing on the ground, realizing because of his previous efforts to binding himself to her, she was now sharing his pain. Even as he experienced the pain, unlike his old form, he was still able to act, as long as his thoughts would remain clear. While wishing to continue feeding on the boys’ essence, a part of him knew that if he continued, Tetra would not be able to survive. The voices that he had stumbled across in her mind were growing louder, and he should not have been able to hear them without journeying deep within her psyche, yet he was. Fearful, that the woman would be too damaged to continue his needed journey, he reluctantly he jumped backwards, ripping himself free. He protected Tetra, while hungrily searching for any other threat to her. Anyone for that matter, as his thirst for blood had suddenly grown.
Instead, what he observed was the old man holding the little girls wrist as they both ran away from the docks, as quickly as they could, while the little girl cried out in confusion and sadness. She looked at her new friend, the one who had given her back her sight, not knowing why the men had attacked her. Lavalor was disappointed that he had no one else to feed upon.
Tetra felt her sudden series of pain subsiding and managed to climb to her knees, seeing Lavalor protecting her. The she saw the bloody body of the young man lying still next to her. Tetra watched as what little blood that flowed from his wound was being greedily sucked down into the sands he now lay dead upon.
Angered at the boy for attacking her, she felt for a brief moment that she enjoyed the fact that he lay there dead. She looked at the glowing blade that hovered above her kneeling form, protecting her, astute enough about magic to know that she and the madman had now somehow become tied together. Unsure of how, or why. Her brief satisfaction of the boy’s death was quickly pushed aside as she forced herself to gain control of her own thoughts, and feelings.
Sickened by the result of Lavalors’ actions, she quickly stumbled to her feet and grabbed Lavalor by the hilt, forcefully shoving him back into the sheath at her hip as he fought against her. She ensured that he stayed there by holding him within it, her hand holding the pommel still.
Dazed and not wishing to see Lavalor harm anyone else she quickly envisioned the campsite that Telerex had set up, not needing a portal, as did the mages. She quickly set aside her usual loathing of having to use her magic for something so trivial as travel and she suddenly arrived to the campsite. Upon arriving and feeling dizzy still, she tried to take a step towards Telerex, but instead, she collapsed unconscious onto the soft grass.