The Forests of Adrimon
Written by: Jonathan Mariucci
Arvellon gazed down across the valley from the tower's highest window, surveying the landscape. There were pockets of tall pine dotted here and there among the hills and switchbacks. The land looked ragged, as if it had been carved by a giant's blade. She pondered that possibility and smiled. It reminded her of the stories Elrick used to tell when she was young- about the giants who carved the world.
The air was a constant rush at this height. She leaned out onto the small sentry's balcony and looked toward the west. Her smile faded and a look of seriousness replaced it. The sun was drawing down over the land, blanketing the sky in hues of vibrant orange and crimson.
She fancied that the trees on the far horizon marked Adrimon's domain, though she knew better than that. Arvellon spent the better part of her evening here, watching the stars slowly pierce the bright sky above her. She witnessed an evolution of color as the red hues gave way to purple and then to navy, a hundred thousand colors between. Watching it was a gift, Elrick often said, one that brought with it a feeling of tranquility and a profound closeness to the natural world.
It was a strange thing she thought, feeling both tranquil and anxious at the same time. She caught herself wondering about the future. It was something she'd often done while peering into the heavens. "What will tomorrow bring?" she thought aloud.
Just then, looking skyward, a shooting star appeared and streaked swiftly toward the west, followed by a strong current of wind. It was low in the atmosphere. It was brilliant, long lasting, and seemed to defy the night's darkness with it's light. Bumps formed on her arms and tickled her neck as she pondered the irony. Brilliant. Long lasting and defying the darkness... headed westward.
She felt energized, filled up, as if she were a container holding the very elements of life. She breathed deeply and realized that she was experiencing something she had never felt before: the thrill as magic coursed through her veins!
A wellspring of mana seemingly limitless flooded outward from her body. Her eyes glowed with silver electricity and her hands seemed to emit light. She turned them over and then spread them wide, drawing a circle in the air. As she did so, a great veil was lifted in the area between.
Arvellon's heart beat furiously as she realized she was peering into the realm of the fey. Beyond the circle she saw a different landscape. From this height she saw nothing but foliage. She was in the center of a great tree, its arms extending in a dozen directions above and below her. She felt a rush of tingling electricity and then the portal collapsed.
- - -
Elrick wondered why Arvellon was late. "Arvellon?" he shouted from the foyer. They had both agreed that they would head out toward the Forest. That they could see "what they could find". Of course Elrick was strictly against the two entering the wood, but he wasn't against taking her to the outskirts.
Arvellon had made it abundantly clear that he was to be ready at dawn. When she wasn't he had hoped she had forgotten. He sighed in dismay when he heard footsteps from the second level of the tower. She appeared at the stairwell soon after.
"Arvellon?" Elrick stated with disbelief. "It is evident you've put a great deal of thought into this trip, but you do realize we'll only be gone a fortnight. That’s too much!" She stopped in her tracks, some distance between them. She was so overburdened she could barely move. "Don't worry about me, you'll be carrying half of this." she grinned.
Elrick watched as the youth made her way down the stairs and out into the courtyard. He shouted behind her: "Arvellon, hang on now. We aught to discuss expectations about this journey." She ignored him and tended to the horses she already had fed and waiting.
When Elrick emerged into the sunlight he stopped and readjusted his glasses, he was nearly blinded. Arvellon's aura was much brighter than usual, her threads were woven tighter. He knew instantly what that meant- that she had found her wellspring. The place in each of us that could be tapped to perform feats of magic.
The wood elf sighed, resigned to the fact that the next several days were going to become much more important.
- The End -