Carbanthel, Crown of the Elves, a Beryl gemstone, has been cursed by a dark spell which demands the crown to be passed on from the queen bearing it to her eldest kin, a she-elf. If the queen fails to accede before her death, her kin shall be taken to the ShadeStar, a world of shadows.
The curse cannot be cured.
The spell cannot be broken.
The crown cannot be destroyed.
‘What news, do you bring, Tornelis?’ questioned Theodwin. His tone concerned.
‘Lady Caladrin… My lord..’ was all Tornelis could say.
‘Speak, I demand.’
‘My lord, Lady Caladrin was murdered by the riders of South.’ Tornelis stammered. His eyes never leaving the ground.
Theodwin fell to the floor.
Theodwin Elajor was the king of Dasalor, one of the finest and most prosperous kingdom among the Eleven Elven kingdoms of East. He was the kin of Theonis, the mighty, who slayed the demon of dark, Golviel, alone. Theodwin was married to Caladrin Zelpher, princess or aranel of the kingdom of Delthel. Lord and Lady Zelpher were killed in a war ages ago. Their only kin was Caladrin. After the birth of her first child, Aolyn Elajor, Caladrin claimed the throne of Delthel. Aolyn was raised in Dasalor by her father.
It was the day of the Crowning Ceremony. 1600 years later, Lady Caladrin was returning to Dasalor to crown her daughter, the Carbanthel, while she was brutally murdered by the rivals of king Theodwin. The legacy which had to be passed on by the queen to the aranel, failed.
Unaware of the news of queen’s murder, the king’s palace was being fancily decorated by Caladrin’s favourite flowers. The palace looked heavenly beautiful. But things were completely cold in the Throne room. The king sat gloomily on his chair surrounded by his fellow court-elves. The causes of his concern were many. Her wife had been murdered, she could not crown Aolyn with the Carbanthel, her body was still missing, and most importantly, Aolyn would be taken to ShadeStar without the Carbanthel. Unpleasant thoughts had taken charge of Theodwin’s mind.
Everyone was seemingly quiet in the Throne room when one of the court-elves, Hethurin, spoke, ‘Your majesty, we should declare the mishappening among the people. They are busy preparing for the queen’s arrival.’
Theodwin didn’t budge an inch, neither did his expressions changed. He sat there like a frozen glacier. Hethurin and Tornelis exchanged glances.
Tornelis spoke, ‘My lord? Are you alright?’
‘Aolyn…’ Theodwin muttered in a low sound.
‘My lord?’ Tornelis asked in confusion.
‘I need to see Aolyn,’ Theodwin got up from the chair hastily as it fell on the ground. ‘Get the aranel to the open room in the west. Be quick!’ All the elves gathered there nodded and left the Throne room.
‘Cainis!’ a melodious sound filled the hallways of the palace.
‘Cainis!’ It was princess Aolyn. She was a beauty to which all things were drawn. Fairest elf who dwelt in the East. Her golden hair shone like bright lights. Her skin had an unusual glare. She was the most beautiful elf-princess alive.
‘Tornelis,’ Aolyn rushed towards him as she located him passing by the halls. ‘Have you seen Cainis? She was supposed to help me get dressed for the ceremony.’
‘Your grace,’ Tornelis greeted her, ‘I’ve been looking for you. Lord Theodwin sends orders. He wishes to see you.
‘Now?’ Aolyn questioned in doubt. ‘I’m supposed to get dressed. Mother will be here soon. The ceremony may start any moment now.’
‘It’s important.’ Tornelis answered in a serious tone, ‘His majesty waits for you in the open room of west.’ He put forth his arm directing Aolyn to move towards west. She went with him without questioning.
Aolyn spotted her father standing by the balcony of the open room. The floor was covered with golden leaves. Their number more than usual. She walked in. Tornelis followed her.
‘Father,’ she spoke ‘you wanted to see me?’ Theodwin turned, his face portraying deep sadness. He looked towards Aolyn and without speaking, shifted his glace towards Tornelis. He understood the eye-command, nodded, left the room, and closed the gates.
‘Sit, child.’ Theodwin gestured Aolyn to sit on the beautiful wooden couch lying on the left.
‘What disturbs you, father?’ she asked, her tone low. Theodwin let out a sigh and muttered, ‘I’m afraid you mother might not return.’
‘And what makes you say that?’ questioned Aolyn.
‘Aolyn, my lad, you might remember Elenil.’
‘Elenil, son of Edraele, from the Kingom of Garthwen. Yes, I remember him. Why?’
‘He killed you mother while she was returning to Dasalor.’ Theodwin’s eyes got wet.
‘What are you saying, father?’ Aolyn stood up furiously, her voice got high. ‘Mother’s dead?’
‘Yes, Aolyn. Your mother is dead.’
Aolyn fell to ground. She couldn’t control her tears. She sobbed as Theodwin got down and tried to console her.
‘Why did Elenil kill mother?’ she asked in a cracked voice, ‘Elenil loved me, he wanted to marry me. Why would he do that?’ tears continued to fall from Aolyn’s eyes.
Theodwin got up. He thought for a moment and spoke ‘Caladrin was murdered in south. Garthwen is the only kingdom in south. Edraele took revenge from us because we did not let him claim the throne of Delthel after the death of your grandparents.’
Sadness consumed Aolyn as she listened to her father. She closed her eyes and began crying again and she passed out.
Night had fallen. Darkness had covered the sky and hearts of the people of Dasalor, as they heard about their queen’s death. There was complete silence in the palace. Aolyn opened her eyes, she was lying on her bed. Her father sat beside her. Cainis and fellow maids stood by her bed.
‘How are you feeling now? Better?’ Theodwin asked Aolyn as he caressed her hair. Aolyn did not speak. She nodded her head in affirmation. Theodwin kissed her forehead and left.
Cainis came and sat beside Aolyn and smiled as she looked at her. ‘Someone wants to see you, aranel.’ Cainis said.
‘I don’t wish to see anybody, Cainis.’ replied Aolyn in a low voice.
‘Believe me, your grace, you really want to see this person’ Cainis smiled again.
Aolyn silently watched Cainis as she walked out of her room. Her eyes were fixed on the doorway when she saw a shadow of a he-elf marching towards her room. At once, she knew who it was and she jumped out of her bed.
It was Daenorin, an elf-wizard, or the greatest elf-wizard of that time. He was a tall, well built, and handsome elf prince. He was the son of Denethor, a distant relative of Theodwin’s cousin. He proved to be a loyal servant to the king when he lost his life saving Theodwin at war. Theodwin gave a high rank to Daenorin in his army. But Daenorin did not really seek much pleasure in serving the king by his fighting skills. Rather, he possessed some extraordinary magical powers which were given to him at birth by an Elvish goddess.
Aolyn was delighted to see Daenorin. She rushed towards him as he took her into his embrace. Aolyn started crying again and Daenorin tried to console her.
‘Aolyn, this is no time for crying over what’s gone’ said Daenorin. ‘I come to warn you.’
‘Warn me? About what?’
‘The guardians of ShadeStar are coming to take you, Aolyn.’ Aolyn gave a fightened look to Daenorin who then spoke further ‘You don’t need to worry. I came here to save you. I can stop them from taking you for some time, but you have to find the Carbanthel soon. I can’t keep them away for long.’
Fear could be clearly seen in Aolyn’s eyes. They talked about the matter for a while and Aolyn fell asleep after Daenorin left.
Aolyn is standing on the grounds of Silver Haven. A place where all Elvish spirits are sent after death. The grass is white in colour, there is no sky, just silver haze all above. The place is beautiful and elves in white roam around. They walk with closed eyes. No one talkes to anyone. Aolyn steps forward to ask someone where is she and why but she can question none. After walking for a while she spots a known face. Its Caladrin. Aolyn is overjoyed to see her mother and rushes towards her. Caladrin opens her arms to welcome her child and takes her into embrace. ‘You are alive, mother,’ Aolyn says telepathically. ‘No, child! You are dreaming,’ replies Caladrin similarly. They talk within their minds and Caladrin speaks again, ‘I’ve come to meet you in your dreams because there is no other way of doing so,’ Aolyn listens carefully. ‘I can save you, Aolyn.’
Aolyn woke up and took few minutes to get back to her senses. She could hear unusual noises coming from outside her room. She came out of her room and questioned a maid passing by about the noises and chaos. She was completely blown when she heard that the guardians of ShadeStar were arriving to take her. She rushed to find her father. The palace had become a complete mess. Aolyn rushed towards the Throne room. Theodwin was discussing some serious matter with the fellow courtmen. Aolyn could infer this by their expressions. Daenorin was also present in the room. All eyes turned towards Aolyn as she entered into the room.
‘Aolyn, you should not be here,’ Theodwin said in a commanding tone.
‘Father, I come to tell you something about…’ she couldn’t finish and Theodwin commanded again, ‘Go to your room I say, Aolyn,’ Theodwin’s eyes widened.
Before Aolyn could speak anything, Hethurin entered into the room and greeted Theodwin, ‘Apologies, my lord, Lady Rossiel is here. She wishes to see you.’
‘Increase the forces, barricade the inlets. No one leaves or enters the palace without my orders.’ Theodwin commanded and was about to leave when Aolyn shouted, ‘I know how to find the Carbanthel!’ Silence consumed the room, all eyes turned towards her.
‘What did you say?’ Theodwin asked in suprise.
‘Father, I can get the Carbanthel. This is what I came to tell you. Last night, mother came into my dreams. She showed me the way to enter into the Silver Havens. If I get there somehow, I can bring the Carbanthel,’ Aolyn finished, but everyone looked at her as if there was more to come.
When Aolyn didn’t speak any further, Theodwin turned and walked towards his throne again. He sat and commanded everybody, except Aolyn and Daenorin, to leave the Throne room.
People left at once, and all that remanied was a vast space with 3 elves filling it.
‘Aolyn, you know there’s no way to get into the Silver Havens…’ before Theodwin could complete Aolyn interrupted, ‘But father…’ this time Theodwin didn’t let her finish, ‘And if there is one…’ he continued, ‘there’s definitely no coming back. I have lost my wife, Aolyn, I cannot lose you.’ Theodwin’s words were full of concerned emotions.
Aolyn was about to say something when a loud thud disturbed them. Ignoring the sound, Aolyn began to speak when a louder noise shifted her attention towards itself. All 3 of them swept out of the room in hurry. Everyone was rushing towards the origin of sound. They soon reached the palace garden where all other elves were gathered.
To their amusement, they saw these star like objects shining in the sky which kept getting bigger. In a while, those stars started shooting to the ground and began taking forms of a human figure. A bunch of figures took shape, all covered in black robes. They were the guardians of ShadeStar. Mere sight of them sent a chill down through Aolyn’s spine. They were The Shadows. Their heads, arms, feet, everything was unseeable and ethereal. But their shadows revealed everything. Fingers covered with sharp metallic rings, pointed nails, huge ghostly feet, and an unusually frightening body shape. There stood 7 Shadows, each of them looking for someone. Aolyn hid behind her father.
‘How do you dare enter the premises of Dasalor, without the consent of his majesty!’ Tornelis exclaimed in a bold voice while taking out his sword.
The Shadows turned towards Tornelis. Without answering one of them moved towards him and stopped a feet away. He searched for something around him and stepped back when he couldn’t find it.
‘Speak, I demand, you filthy creature!’ Tornelis now had his sword pointed towards the Shadow’s neck. The Shadow turned and touched the sword with his invisible finger and to everyone’s surprise, the sword melted.
Meanwhile, one of them spotted Aolyn and let out a screeching sound, to which all the other Shadows followed him. They moved towards Aolyn and stopped.
‘Put forth the Carbanthel,’ he spoke in a cracked voice. Aolyn was frightened. She didn’t speak or move. The Shadow repeated again, ‘Put forth the Carbanthel.’
‘I… I do not have it,’ said Aolyn.
‘Very well,’ was all Shadow spoke and he let out his arm to grab Aolyn. Aolyn moved back and Theodwin tried to protect her. The Shadow turned his eyes towards Theodwin and everyone froze. Aolyn got scared as hell. The sky started turning dark. The Shadow had just grabbed Aolyn’s arm when a shiny bright light shone from left. It was Daenorin. He stood at a corner and was chanting a magic spell in elvish-tongue. As the bright light touched the Shadow, he let out a sharp screeching sound and let go of Aolyn’s hand. Soon the light touched all Shadows and they disappeared.
The atmosphere was normal again. Theodwin commanded the court-elves to gather in the Throne room. Aolyn and Daenorin also followed.
‘They will return again, sire,’ Daenorin spoke.
‘I’m well aware of that,’ said Theodwin, ‘We need to do something.’
‘Let me go the the Havens, father.’ Aolyn requested and before Theodwin could say something, Aolyn spoke again, ‘Think about it for once, ‘If I do not get the Carbanthel, they’ll take me with them. I’ll become one of them. I have to go to the Silver Havens, and if I don’t return atleast I’ll have my mother there.’ Aolyn’s tone was serious.
Theodwin thought for a while and let out a sigh before he finally spoke, ‘Alright, my lad, if this is what you wish, then be it. Your mother has given birth to a brave child. And I have full faith on her. Go to your mother, Aolyn, and may you return safe.’ Aolyn was overjoyed to hear these words.
‘I wish to go with her, sire.’ Daenorin said with pauses.
Theodwin smiled, ‘Certainly, Daenorin. I give you the responsibility of my child. Get her back to Dasalor as I send her.’
Daenorin nodded. Aolyn looked at Daenorin and smiled. It was the first time she had smiled after the news of her mother’s death.
‘Commence the preparations for my daughter’s journey, they leave early morning tomorrow.’ Theodwin said and left the Throne room.
All night Aolyn couldn’t sleep. She was happy as well as scared. The sun was up and so was everyone in the palace. Aolyn and Daenorin stood on the gates of the palace with their horses, all prepared to leave. Theodwin kissed her forehead and said something in elvish tongue. The she-elves sang a traditional song and threw flowers in their way. In few seconds, Aolyn and Daenorin were out of sight. Theodwin muttered in a low voice, ‘Farewell, dear kids.’
The way to Silver Havens lied in the Swornwood forest of the kingdom of Lensel. It was a three day ride from Dasalor to Lensel. The elves reached there without difficulties.
‘There lies the Swornwoods.’ Daenorin pointed towards the huge mountains covered with lush green trees. ‘That marks the end of the elvish territory. No one knows what lies behind it.’
This was like an adventure in wilderness for Aolyn. She had never been to other kingdoms before. Infact, she had never gone out of Dasalor.
They used to ride in daylight and rest at nightfall. Four days later, they finally reached the Swornwoods. At the edge of the forest, Aolyn and Daenorin got off their horses to take a view of what stood ahead. They could clearly see that it was completely dark inside the Swornwoods. Not even a single ray of light could pass through the giant trees.
‘Are we sure about this?’ Aolyn asked Daenorin.
‘Well, we can return if you wish to become an invisible creepy creature,’ Daenorin joked.
Aolyn smiled, ‘I’m glad you are here, Daenorin.’
‘I swore an oath to protect you, aranel. I will die but won’t let any harm come to you.’ Daenorin replied.
Aolyn smiled again, ‘We should keep going.’
They got on their horses again and entered the forest. It seemed like darkness had consumed them. They had moved for many miles but the way to the Silver Havens was not showing up.
‘I think we are lost,’ Daenorin said as he got down from his horse. Aolyn got down too. They walked in opposite directions in order to decide where to head. Suddenly, something pricked Aolyn’s feet and she let out a scream. Daenorin came running towards her. A thorn had pricked the ball of her feet. Carefully, Daenorin removed it. To their surprise, the thorn became alive on removal. It converted into a leech like creature and started moving and dividing, rapidly. In few moments, their numbers increased and they moved in the same direction.
‘I think we should follow them,’ Aolyn suggested. Daenorin agreed.
After walking for a mile or two, the creatures suddenly disappeared into the ground. The elves stood at their place and examined the situation. While waiting, they saw a bright light approaching towards them, a sun like object. The light started fading gradually, as it hovered infront of them and they could see a shiny silver globe take form. It was beautiful to watch, and both elves could easily guess that they had found their way.
‘How do we get in it?’, asked Aolyn.
‘Uhh.. I think we should just step it.’ Daenorin replied.
Aolyn gave a confused look to Daenorin.
They were startled by a sound that came from inside the shiny globe. Soon, a hand appeared from the light. Aolyn recognised her mother’s hand from her ring. She came forward to hold it when a voice stopped her, ‘No! Do not come any near, Aolyn,’ it was Caladrin, ‘You would not be able to got out once you get in.’
Another hand appeared from the light with the Carbanthel.
Before Aolyn could speak, Caladrin placed the crown on Aolyn’s head.
‘Go forth, dear child, and stay safe.’ Caladrin spoke, ‘Mother loves you.’
The hands disappeared and so did the shiny globe. It all happened in mere seconds. Aolyn couldn’t even speak to her mother.
In Dasalor, it was the day of the return of Shadows. There was no clue of Aolyn and Daenorin in neighbourhood kingdoms. Theodwin was worried. And soon the Shadows arrived. They began destroying the palace when they couldn’t find Aolyn. People ran for their lives. No one could fight the Shadows.
Theodwin and his fellow elves stood forth with swords and bows in their hands. The war continued when Aolyn and Daenorin finally, arrived the palace. Seeing the chaos, they exchanged glances. Both knowing the reason behind the war.
They ran inside in order to find the king. They were startled to see what stood ahead of them in the open room. One of the Shadow had his sword on Theodwin’s neck and all others alive were captured by the Shadows.
‘If not your daughter, then you shall become one of us,’ the Shadow frightened Theodwin.
‘Release him, I command,’ shouted Aolyn from the gates of the hall.
All eyes shifted to Aolyn and faces were filled with joy to see the princess with the Carbanthel. Theodwin was overjoyed to see her daughter.
The Shadow released Theodwin, at once. Without speaking, the Shadows turned into smoke and left. Theodwin rushed towards Aolyn and kissed her forehead. Aolyn hugged her father. Peace was restored in Dasalor. Later, Daenorin and Aolyn married and Theodwin gifted the kingdom of Delthel to them. The curse still lies on the Carbanthel.