The Curse of Robellon

The twin moons rose from behind the black mountains that smoke with sulphur, making the air smell of rotten eggs. Elnor is rummaging at the base of the mountains looking for the sickly-looking Gumbelle flowers. She finds some and picks them up with her three fingered hand and gently places them in her pouch.

A noise startles her. She looks around trying to pin point where the sound came from. She turns slowly moving her back legs tentatively around to face the forest, while she stomps her front ones to signal that she knows someone is there and to beware.

Suddenly, a massive arrow strikes her at her side and another through the side of her head. She falls with a thud, dead before she struck the ground.

Then, out of the ground came one creature that floats off the ground. It moves closer to the centaur and studies it.

The wraith turns to the direction where the arrows came from. Behind a massive tree emerge a giant holding two massive crossbows.

I told yah, they don’t look like they use to,” the giant growled. “They all changed. Changed by the curse.”

The wraith hovers for a moment looking at the giant then disappears back into the ground. The giant turns and enters the forest.

Elnor lies there. Only the sound of the wind is heard.

Soon, a large raven swoops down from the sky and talons grip the end of the massive arrow that is embedded in Elnor’s side. With a mighty flap of its wings, the arrow is yanked out leaving a gaping hole. The second arrow is soon removed in similar fashion.

Entrails, brain matter and broken bones litter the ground. The raven lands a short distance from Elnor and in a shimmering mist transforms into a creature with goat-like legs and a bald triangular head of mainly forehead with beady eyes, slim nose and pointy chin. It ambles towards Elnor and mutters a few silent words while it moves it hands with three fingers on each in an arch and then sweeping motions across the lifeless body.

Nothing happened. Only the rustling of the leaves are heard. The creature waits. Then, out of the ground come little insect-like creatures that scurry to pick up the scattered pieces of Elnor and begin to put them back into place. The bodies of these insects then merge with Elnor to fuse everything back together and in a matter of moments Elnor looks like she was never shot. A sleeping centaur.

The odd creature who summoned the magic, walks unsteadily behind Elnor and lifts his leg to give her a kick on the rump, is soon flying up into the air and landing on his massive head. He shakes the stars from his eyes and sits up. Elnor’s backleg stays outstretched and she gently pulls it back before standing up. She stretches herself and turns toward her saviour.

Thank you Rectalyn,” Elnor speaks in her sing-song voice. “You saved me again. Why don’t you just let me die?”

Rectalyn smiles as he stands. “And miss having the chance to kick you in the butt?”

Elnor laughs. “Oh, I think you like the pain of me kicking you!”

Rectalyn laughs too but sounds like a frog croaking.

Aye, I do like to feel the pain,” he replies as mirth slowly ebbs away. Elnor walks up to him and places her arm on his shoulder. She bends down and kisses him. “One day when the curse has come to its end, we will be like as we were before,” Elnor whispers. “But we must stay strong until the prophecy is fulfilled.”

Rectalyn nods and together they walk hand in hand toward the black mountains. As they turn the bend, the wraith emerges from the ground and follows them.

The cave which they call home was surprisingly suited to their needs. It had a brook that bubbled from an underground reservoir that supplied their water within a separate chamber to the main one where Elnor and Rectalyn would either sleep or eat. The cave is illuminated by diamonds in the walls that refract the light of a small fire in the middle of the main chamber.

Rectalyn walks to the brook to wash and clean himself. Elnor gently pulls out the Gumbelle flowers she collected earlier and places them on a natural ledge. There is only five. She smiles as she gently picks them up and puts them in a glass jar that is on the same ledge. She replaces the lid and with a tap on the glass with one of her three fingers the sickly colour of the flowers slowly fade and they are looking healthy and full of life. Elnor smiles.

I don’t know why you risk your life getting those stupid flowers.”

She sighs and turns around to view her lover. “We’ve been through this many times,” Elnor whispers.

I know. But it sure beats asking you how your day was, doesn’t it?”

Elnor smiles and walks up to Rectalyn who is dripping wet from his wash and rubs his bald head.

Suddenly, a cold gust of wind enters the cave causing the small fire to flicker to point of being put out sending the cave into a sudden dimness. Rectalyn turns around bearing his sharp teeth and ready to rip to shreds anyone who dares attack, while Elnor stands ready to defend herself and their home.

The gust of wind stops and Elnor and Rectalyn wait for someone or something to come towards them from the entrance of the cave.

Oooo, fire. I have not seen this in a while,” a voice said from behind them.

Elnor and Rectalyn turned around quickly but sees nothing.

Oh really? How lovely,” says another voice from the entrance of the cave.

Elnor and Rectalyn turn quickly but see’s nothing. In unison, the two start to utter enchantments to protect them as they stand close to each other.

Oh you shouldn’t do that. It won’t help, you know,” says a voice.

Who are you?” Elnor demands.

Now, now, don’t be alarmed,” says a voice. “We’re just enjoying your fire. No harm done.”

Show yourselves, you cowards,” Rectalyn snarls.

Oh, how dramatic! We should have fun with this one,” says the voice that entered from the cave entrance.

Enough!” Elnor screamed. And with clap of her hands and a shout of “Eleka, Eleka, Markati Sutrakti”, a clap of black lightning strikes where the voices came from and screams are heard throughout the cave. So loud that Rectalyn and Elnor cover their ears.

I think we’re in trouble,” a croaky voice says.

Elnor and Rectalyn stare in surprise to see an old male and female dwarf elves sitting side by side by the fire holding on tightly to each other.

We didn’t think you would be able to do that,” says the female elf. “I guess we were wrong.”

Who are you?” Rectalyn demands.

I’m Hillme,” says the female elf. “And I’m Hillsey,” says the male elf. “We’ve twins. Old twins of the old forest and old ways,” they reply in unison.

Why are you here and why did you try to scare us? Answer me!” Elnor demands with a stomp of her feet.

We wanted to have some fun. That’s all,” Hillme says. “It isn’t like we did you any harm, did we?” Hillsey asks. “We were just having fun and didn’t do you any harm, did we?” they say in unison.

You could have asked but we know you not,” Rectalyn replies. “You had no right to enter our home without asking and we have every right to be angry at simpletons like you.”

Simpletons? Simpletons! I should let you know that we are best to be your friend than enemies,” Hillme says. “Yes! Yes! How dare you call us simpletons for we are far from simple!” says Hillsey. “We are not simpletons, no no we are not,” they say in unison.

Silence! I will ensure you be silent for eternity. And you know I can,” Elnor says as she glares down on the two old elves who cower together, scared speechless.

Ah, so you’re still alive.”

Elnor quickly turns to see the giant on its knees crawling into the cave. Rectalyn launches himself at the giant, who flicks him away with a swat of his hairy hand.

Elnor catches Rectalyn in midair and with her back legs flick dirt into the eyes of the giant, blinding him.

Wait…,” the giant begins but receives a sharp kick that breaks his jaw causing him to fall to the ground. Before he can push himself up, his hand is broken by Elnor stomping on it. The giant lets out a cry of pain and slumps unconscious on the ground.

Oh my. You are violent aren’t you?” says Hillme. “Very violent indeed,” says Hillsey. “What a violent person you are,” they say in unison.

Elnor with Rectalyn by her side ignore the babbling elves.

Something is amiss, my love,” Elnor whispers.

Yes, I’ve just noticed it too,” Rectalyn replies softly.

Shall we combine our magic to expose the threat?” she replies.

Let us wait to see what transpires. We are trapped here with that giant blocking the way out and we know not of what these two elves may do.”

Elnor stands silently with her lover as they wait for what seems like an eternity.

Then from the ground in front of them the wraith emerges. It looks around the cave and floats to examine the unconscious giant and the elves who looks on in wonder. Then it floats to hover a few feet away from Elnor and Rectalyn.

Are you the chosen pair?” a voice is heard within both Elnor and Rectalyn’s mind.

I don’t understand,” Rectalyn replies. “We know not of a chosen pair as you ask. What are you and why are you here?”

The wraith did not reply as it hovers in front of them.

You were dead and now alive. How?” the question echoes in Elnor’s mind.

Rectalyn brought me back to life.”

The wraith move closer toward the two, and before they could do anything, passes through them and in a flash, Elnor and Rectalyn are transformed into humans, their true form. Dressed in fine silks and with gold crowns on their heads, they stand on the balcony of their castle that overlooks the town. In the distance are the mountains rich with trees and wildlife.

The King and Queen of the Kingdom of Robellon, a magic kingdom where dragons and unicorns serve as ministers and guardians of the people. Where animals and insects and humans live in harmony.

Is this real,” Elnor asks. She gasps. “My voice! It’s normal again.” Tears flow down her face.

It seems real enough,” Rectalyn replies in his deep baritone timbre.

Elnor looks at Rectalyn. His handsome face with strong jawline with bread and the long wavy hair is as she remembers him. She steps close to touch his face.

He leans forward to kiss her gently on the lips. They step back to look at each other.

Your majesties.”

Elnor and Rectalyn turn towards the voice that spoke to them. The unicorn draped in gold and whose blue eyes look on with patience.

I am glad to see you Rowan,” Rectalyn says with a smile and walks to his old friend and rubs his nose.

It is good to see you again your majesty,” Rowan replies.

How did you find us Rowan,” Elnor asks as she comes alongside Rectalyn. “What has happened to the curse? Are we truly free?”

The unicorn remains silent for a while before walking to the edge of the balcony and looks out toward the city.

The curse is still active I am afraid,” Rowan says softly.

Elnor and Rectalyn both look at each other with uncertainty written on their faces.

But it has weakened,” Rowan says as he turned his head toward his rulers. “Else, I would not have found you.

But how did you find us? Even our magic could not find a way out of the prison we were kept in.” Rectalyn asks.

The vale of time has weakened and with luck I was able to select a parallel time flow to enter and visit the alternative versions of the world we live in,” Rowan explains. “I have been doing so for over one hundred years.”

The King and Queen is surprised by this revelation. Rowan turns and walks towards them.

Your kingdom is safe for now, but if you do not find a way to reverse the curse, the vale of time will reach out and grab you and bring you back to the place where I found you.”

So our children are dead?” Elnor asks dispassionately.

Yes,” Rowan replies. “They did all they could to find you. But alas they did not have the power or knowledge to do so. They did not even know you when you were taken by the evil dragon, Saptucus.”

He tried to rule Robellon but all the animals, humans and insects banded together to fight him. We have had peace for over 50 years since we defeated him and today Robellon has been rebuilt and thriving under my administration. Your memory has not been blighted and your subjects still remember you from the many stories and books that have been written about your majesties. Some of us have long life to help keep these memories from fading,” Rowan smiles in his unicorn way.

Elnor and Rectalyn both hold each other close as the sun begins to set.

But the curse is still working and if you do not defeat the off-spring of Saptucus, you will find yourself back where you were by month’s end when the twin moons are in alignment. And by that time, I will not be able to pass through the vale of time to reach you as the time flow would have been altered. I fear I would not be strong enough to find you once more.”

“We understand. Thank you Rowan for all you have done,” Rectalyn says. The King and Queen both walk to the edge of the balcony to look upon their city they thought they would never see again. The sound of happy families and children laughing fill the air. The cry of birds and dragons are heard in the distance. Peace reigns and the people are contented.

“Rowan?”

“Yes my Queen?”

“Have the people been told of our return?”

“Not yet your highness.”

Elnor and Rectalyn both look at each other.

“Maybe it is time we let them know,” Rectalyn smiles.

The rulers of Robellon both stretch out their arms and with a simple enchantment fireworks sparks from their finger tips and the sky is illuminated with their image. The cry of joy from the people sounded like an earthquake that reverberated to the far corners of the land.

Rowan smiles to himself as the King and Queen both wave to the people below. But he soon retires to start making plans for the attack on Saptucus’ offspring, who without a doubt will know his enemy has returned. Let the celebration continue for now. For a war will soon descend upon them and there is much to do before the final battle begins.

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