Hello, everyone. Here I am, writing my first single fic (as opposed to the multi-fic I used to write with PH, Alex and Tara) and posting it on 2 message boards thanks to PH who kindly pointed to this forum for me. I started developing this story a long time ago, but only on February 5th, 2003 I decided it could be worth writing and sharing with others. The theme is not too original; it's probably the most classic RPG-ish plot, with a whole lot of magic babbling and very delayed action (the first 6 chapters will be introductory, with just a little action starting on chapter 3), but I hope the characters will eventually earn a place in someone's heart. Oh, and PH, if you're reading this, I assure you that I came up with the names of the characters before I started reading GLR, and there is no connection whatsoever between Eric Eatan and Erik Iverson; I thought of changing his name, but it was a part of him, so I decided to keep it as it was. For that same reason I didn’t give the elves “elvish” names. I simply kept the names my imagination originally dictated when the story was not meant for anyone else to see. The title of the fic will not make sense at the beginning, but I promise it will before the fic ends; if I get to finish it, that is. As for the title of chapter 1... what can I say, I haven't been able to get that song out of my head yet, and it kind of fits in. So, there it goes!
Chapter 1: Change the world
Centuries ago, the world was populated by countless kinds of beings who shared many characteristics with humans, yet kept little or no contact with the human race. Which world? It doesn't really matter; all beings who develop a spoken language tend to give their world the name of the element that holds them anyway. How many centuries? Say two, if it's so important; if, like Eric Eatan, you're always asking a lot of questions in order to understand the world around you. And I guess the next question would be... who was Eric Eatan? He was an elf; still is, probably. A Merial, to be more precise. The world he was born into was inhabited by different races of elves, faeries, sprites, sylphs and other creatures; each with their own particular traits that made them different from all the others. There were also millions of animals like the ones you must be used to seeing. And yes, there were humans too. Though, by the time when this story begins, Eric had only heard a few vague rumors about them. No humans lived in the wide southern area of the lush forest of Lumms. The region where Eric lived was home to large populations of Neinis and Dassels (two races of small plant faeries), Lurians (even smaller light faeries), the occasional Nirwas (water sprites), a few Kraggletups (small non-elemental sprites who were rarely seen), and two races of elves: the Merials and the Elvins.
Merials and Elvins had many things in common when compared to other species; especially their strong presence and their unlimited lifespan (they didn't die of old age) made them stand out from all other creatures in that region. However, the differences between them -the physical ones, but especially the cultural ones- kept their interaction at a minimum most of the time. Elvins were generally tall, and had the strongest presence. They had a natural talent for magic, and in many cases devoted their lives to deepening their knowledge of magic and the world in general. Their leaders would engage in endless discussions which were often more philosophical than practical. The Merials would accuse them of being vain and having no grip on reality. Merials, on the other hand, were noticeably smaller in size and, while magic wasn't so easy for them to master, they were much faster and more agile than Elvins. They moved graciously and adapted quickly to their surroundings, making a good use of whatever they had at hand. Exploration and fighting skills were commonly developed among Merials, who took pride in conquering any threat that came to them. The Elvins would often consider them inferior creatures, with little capacity for reasoning and an overly impulsive nature. Of course, in most cases those accusations were as false as the ones the Merials made to the Elvins. But there was so little contact between them, that few had ever thought of proving them wrong.
Eric Eatan was different. He new that from the beginning, since he was a little child. His mother was an explorer and his father was the town's most renowned blacksmith. They had both been born over 2000 years before him, and often considered that a good enough reason not to take Eric's thoughts and opinions into account. They encouraged him to think for himself, but whenever he had a thought that contradicted the normal state of things, he would be dismissed for being too young. "You'll learn as you grow up," was the answer he kept receiving. But that didn't discourage him. On the contrary, he kept reminding himself of all his thoughts and ideas so that when he was old enough they would be taken into account, and he would prove everyone that things didn't have to be the way they'd always expected them to be. And that a young child could be right. And when he became older, he would make sure that everyone in the town had a voice, even the younger ones. That was one of his greatest dreams. The other was becoming a warrior. He had often seen warriors come in and out of his house wielding strong and shiny weapons, and had watched them part to defend recently established settlements from any aggressors. And he had also read about them, and heard countless stories about the brave warriors who, many thousands of years ago, had fought against all elements to earn the Merials their current place in the world. He'd also read and heard about evil warriors who had caused pain and suffering to everyone who crossed their paths, and despised them deeply. If such heartless beings were still leaving their marks on the world, he wanted to help vanish them from existence. He wanted to be a strong and noble warrior, because warriors had the power to change the world. Fortunately for him, that was a call his parents did respond to, and as soon as Eric turned 10, his father began to supervise his training.
The town where Eric lived stood out for being the closest to the Elvin city of Ayrus. There, life went on quietly and smoothly most of the time. At least when viewed from the outside. The council were always dealing with internal conflicts, which left its members with little time to tend to their families - those who had families anyway. That was the case of the Shimmer couple (their last name was actually a deformation of Shim-el, which meant blessed star in an ancient language which had long since become out of use among the peripheral Elvin settlements who were in permanent contact with other races). The Shimmers were the youngest married council members; they had been married for barely over 100 years and their jobs didn't live them much time to spend with their 11-year-old daughter Mariel. Being left alone didn't upset Mariel as much as being left out of most of her parents' lives. When they came back home, they'd rarely mention any of the subjects they'd been discussing. They did ask Mariel how her learning was going, and did their best to prove her that they cared for her. But she felt like she barely knew who they were. The main thing she had learnt from them was to be independent. She would often go out and do research on her own, and she would do her best to make friends. That was not an easy task, though. She was the second youngest Elvin in the city, the youngest being her 7-year-old friend Jasmine. Jasmine was nice and loved having fun, and she liked Mariel a lot; but there were too many things Mariel couldn't share with her. She tried to explain some of her deepest thoughts to Jasmine a few times, but her friend wouldn't understand her and would always suggest playing another game. Mariel needed someone with whom she could share her views of the world and discuss her ideas to make things better, but just like Eric she was always told that those things were too big for a child her age, and that she would have plenty of time to discuss them when she was older and more experienced. The only one who sometimes listened to her was her neighbor Primrose.
Primrose was 288 years old and had recently moved out of the house she used to share with her parents and her 2 younger brothers. That was probably the reason why she often got engaged in discussions about independence with the young Mariel. Primrose also liked Mariel for her determination -which she secretly admired-, for her great intuition and perceptiveness, and for her ability to understand and use magic. Primrose was a sorceress; not nearly the most skilled or experienced in the city, but a sorceress nonetheless. And Mariel really looked up on her and loved learning the secrets of magic by her side. Mariel was determined to become a sorceress herself. So Primrose introduced her into a realm of silent voices and eternal energies which could be wielded only by those who managed to understand their true nature. She taught Mariel about the different domains of magic and the tangled web they formed, web which held the balance of reality and for that reason should never be broken. She taught her how, for example, life magic was divided into 2 domains: the physical and the ethereal. And how a protection spell could only be cast by someone who had studied the ethereal domain, and physical enhancements could only be achieved by using physical magic; but both domains held the key to casting healing spells. She also taught her about more specific domains that derived from life, like the domain of plants and the domain of connection, and Mariel became especially interested in the latter. So Primrose went on to explain how the connection domain could help her feel someone else's presence within a range that would grow as she became stronger, how it could also help her understand the nature of things around her, and even other sentient beings if she was good enough, and how protection spells could also be cast from the domain of connection by first establishing a strong connection with the being she wanted to protect. Mariel studied all the lessons avidly, and Primrose was proud to have such an enthusiastic apprentice. So she also taught Mariel to recognize different types of herbs and prepare simple potions, and finally introduced her into the 6 elements of magic.
"As you know, magic can take many forms, and those forms compose a wide and tangled web," she unnecessarily reminded Mariel. "Sorcerers have divided the knowledge of those forms in order to understand them better. So far you've began to explore some domains of the widest element: the element of life. But there's much more to elemental magic, and it is important for every magic user to know and understand all 6 elements. These elements are Life, Air, Water, Earth, Fire and Light."
"Just like the types of elemental beings?," Mariel asked. She had learned about elemental beings from the books her parents regularly gave them, from stories she had managed to gather and a little from direct experience during her exploration trips into the forest.
"Exactly," Primrose responded, surprised at Mariel's knowledge. "Sometimes I wonder if my teachings are useful at all, or if you already know everything I'm saying."
"Oh, yes, they are useful!," Mariel assured. "I have learnt a lot being with you. Things I couldn't have found out on my own. And I'd like to know more. I want to be a good sorceress just like you."
Primrose was flattered. She moved her long and wavy black hair to cover her blushing cheeks. Her appearance contrasted with Mariel's straight, bright golden hair and her sky blue eyes. Primrose was also taller and thinner; at least now that Mariel was still growing, but she'd probably always be thinner than her young friend. Her skin, however, was as white as Mariel's when she wasn't blushing like now.
"Will you teach me to wield all 6 elements?," Mariel asked.
"I will teach you some, and some you will have to learn on your own," Primrose told her. "Be patient. You have plenty of time, and mastering the elements will take you many years; even centuries. you're a fast learner, but you'll have to give yourself time. If you're disciplined and constant, one day you will find your base element."
"My base element?"
Now Mariel was intrigued.
"As you must already know, all elemental creatures have a base element; an element which they can easily control, allowing them to use simple spells with no effort, and master more complex spells with relative ease. In the case of Dassels, for example, that element is life. Dassels are plant-related beings and can control plants at their will. Lurians have control over the light element and can create bright lights and manipulate them effortlessly. Elves are non-elemental beings, but we Elvins have a natural gift for magic and those who dedicate them selves to magic can master an element. That then becomes their base element, and they gain the ability to wield it for the rest of their lives."
"Does that mean I can only learn to use one element?," Mariel inquired, confused.
"No; you can learn more tan one element. You can even get to wield all elements with enough time and effort. But once you've found your base element, it will be easier for you to use and understand its magic. It will be natural to you."
"And how will I know what my element is?," Mariel asked Primrose.
"You'll know when the time comes. Be patient. You're still to young," Primrose told her.
"I hate it when they say that to me," Mariel complained.
"But it's the truth. For now, you listen and learn. Then one day you'll become a powerful sorceress."
Mariel wasn't wholly satisfied with that answer, but she realized that arguing would be useless. It had always been so.
"What's your element," she finally asked Primrose.
"I... haven't found it yet," Primrose admitted.
Mariel was appalled. She didn't expect that answer, not from her mentor.
"I guess there are some things for which I'm still to young too; it will be long until I get recognized as a true sorceress by anyone who has reached their adult height," Primrose sighed.
"Doesn't that bother you?," Mariel queried.
"I've learned to live with it. The future comes if you wait long enough. It's the way things are."
"They don't have to be that way," Mariel insisted. "We're already here; we're alive and thinking and feeling. There must be something we can do instead of just wait."
"Yes, we can learn and prepare ourselves for the future," Primrose pointed out.
"And what about the present?," Mariel inquired.
"You're precocious for many things and that makes you too eager. You'll have to learn to be patient."
"I'm not impatient. I just think some things should be different. Don't you?"
"Things have been the same way for many thousands of years."
"Then maybe it's time for some of them to change," Mariel insisted.
"Be patient. You'll learn when you grow up," Primrose assured.
"I hope not. That is the one thing I don't want to learn."
"Change the world, then," Primrose joked.
"I don't think I can change it on my own," Mariel answered. "But I really want to do something good. I want to make at least one thing better."
"You don't sound like the little girl you are," Primrose pointed out.
Mariel sighed, frustrated. Primrose would never understand. Unless not until she could do something to prove her point. Until she proved she could be useful for the world without having to wait at least 500 years to be considered a fully grown adult. For now, she was alone in this. But some day, somehow, she'd find a way.
I'll be posting a poll with each chapter. You can choose to answer them when you post your comments or just ignore them.
Poll for chapter 1:
What do you think Mariel's element will be?
(Please don't reply to this poll if you've read chapter 2).