Fantasy where heroes don't follow the rules
White Elves: Lifespan 100-110 years.
Appearance: born in the common-form. Average height - 6 to 6 1/2 feet. Hair the color of metal: gold, silver. Prominent feature: can see invisibility, can see in the dark.
Contribution: Glass fabricators
Cities: Yl Elyuon (capital)
Namesake: Have a ‘y’ in their name to represent tree branches. Each ‘y’ in their name accounts for how many branches they have successfully grafted. They are given one ‘y’ at their birth, but the ‘y’ is taken away if they do not successfully graft by the age of twenty-two.
Torc: Elyulara Mylanthia
- “A Youngling’s Guide to Eloshian Races, year 2,862”
Cohthel buckled closed his bag and followed Markie out of their shared room. Crossing the hanging walkway, they reached a sign which said “infirmary” and pointed down the left-branching walkway.
Markie took more steps and turned. “You okay?”
After Cohthel woke, he laid a long time in bed trying to imagine himself in Atalixsphere’s position: if he’d been hurt and left in, say, the Dwarven Realm. Mother couldn’t afford to fly and see him and he, injured, could not go home. He would feel abandoned.
Did Atalixsphere have a family? No one knew. She refused to associate with anyone in the caravan. Not that he cared, not when she called him feebleminded. But did she know she’d be attacked after she said that? Bones broken, face caved in, animal burned into her skin?
Remembering her agonizing cries yesterday, he would not permit himself to leave without at least asking her if she… well, not okay. Of course she wasn’t. But ask if she was comfortable, okay being alone until her family got there…Oh, but what was he thinking? Of course she liked being alone. She slept outside the caravan ring and chased all conversations away.
That was before someone hurt her. Animal branded on her skin. Still chafed from her last words to him clinging to his self-worth like a well dug-in burr, his worry for her still rose just high enough that it took priority. Not much higher. Just a smidge above even, high enough for him to remember his mantra of kindred kindness always. “Markie, I’m going to check on Atalixsphere. I’ll be quick.”
“Evermore, don’t waste your time on her…”
But Cohthel strode down the walkway, following the stone signs for “infirmary” in flowing elven-style script.
Hands shoved deep in both pockets, he came upon the stone building with four pillars fronting the porch. Beside the double doors on a papered sign in unmistakable lettering read: Common-form only for entry. He stepped into the cool rush of atmosphere, greeted by an elven receptionist at the front desk. She gave him directions to Atalixsphere’s room down the left wing. Though carved from the same stone as the rest of the buildings, tapestries and blue rugs draped the interior, the windows colored with blue stain. He turned the glass knob on the glass frosted door and stepped inside.
Atalixsphere, in common, turned her long bandaged head to look at him. “Evermore!” His name burst out of her mouth with such agony, Cohthel jerked to a stop.
She crumbled next into a heart-wrenching sob, though the salt must pool and sting in her covered, injured eye. “Don’t leave me! Don’t leave me!” She writhed under the blue sheet, dragging the cast keeping her broken leg in place with her. All ten of her common-form fingers reached out to him and she made efforts to sit. The small representation of her white wings on her back had been bound by giant swaths of white bandages around her chest. “Don’t leave me here!” The blue sheet fell away as she swung both hooved feet over the side of the bed, exposing the ugly animal brand on her black-furred hip.
“Atalixsphere will remain in Yl Elyuon to recover,” Kitannia reported. “She is badly hurt but they have reassured me she will make a full recovery.”
How cleverly Kitannia’s words stripped away emotions and care with cheap words devaluing the misery, scraping away all emotions so it’s just a fact to be reported, a statistic to calculate. She broke no encouragement to keep everyone from their duties who quickly forgot the injured kindred now drowning beneath careless words delivered in her place. Cohthel would never again rely on words alone to show him the truth.
Atalixsphere hopped over to the stunned Cohthel on one leg, her hoof making a sharp clack! clack! clack! on the stone floor before she reached the rug, where he stood, and threw both arms around him, clinching him so tight he feared bruises. Her body shook, the tips of all ten fingers digging into his back as if to anchor herself there.
“Don’t leave, don’t leave,” she cried into his neck, her long face drooped over his shoulder.
Cohthel swallowed, realizing Atalixsphere suffered a bad reaction to the pain medication. “Healer!” he shouted over his shoulder, toward the door he didn’t have time to close. “Healer!”
An elf in a floor-length blue dress and platinum hair swaying above both hips swished into the room. “Atalixsphere! Get back in bed!”
“No! No!” Atalixsphere clung impossibly harder, making it harder for Cohthel to breathe. Pegasi had frail legs, which made them lighter for flying but worthless to carry anything on their backs while walking. Cohthel didn’t know how she gripped him so hard.
Two more healers arrived, and between them and Cohthel, they pried Atalixsphere off him and dragged her toward the bed. She thrashed her one hoof, denting the bedpost. Forcing Atalixsphere on her back, a healer produced a medical patch and stuck it on the pegasi’s forehead. Within moments, Atalixsphere relaxed, eyes closing.
Cohthel let go of her arm and backed away.
“I am very sorry for what she did to you,” said the one who picked the fallen blue sheet off the floor and covered it over the sleeping pegasi. “She’s been having these fits ever since the Caravan Master informed her she would stay here. Do you know Atalixsphere?”
“I’m…” What was Cohthel to the unfriendly pegasi? “…In the caravan with her. I came to say goodbye before we left today. Is her medication causing these fits?”
“The medication is a blood-numbing agent for pain. There are no side effects. These fits are her own. She says she wants to go with the caravan. Of course, you see the state she’s in and can’t walk or fly, and the Caravan Master explained to her she can’t ride in the sick wagon back to the Pegasi Realm.” The healer’s eyes softened when she looked at the pegasi. “I feel her agony being left alone here and so far from home. Of course, we will employ activities to prevent her from becoming idle and reflective. The Caravan Master has paid for her entire stay, which we approximated would be a month, and then Atalixsphere can fly home.” Still looking at Atalixsphere, the healer asked in a hushed tone, “Any idea who branded her with the word animal on her hip?”
Cohthel shook his head.
“Unfortunate. The sedative is temporary and will wear off soon. She’ll have another fit if she sees you when she wakes so it would be best if you go, otherwise, she’ll get out of bed again without regard to her leg, face, or wing.”
Cohthel nodded and the healer breezed out of the room. Cohthel didn’t immediately follow, but the facts remained: Atalixsphere couldn’t ride in the sick wagon because they needed to keep it open for others who may get sick and injured, and he couldn’t stay here because…
Well, the caravan would reach Malandore in nineteen days. Atalixsphere would take forty to recover. He could not delay getting Markie to talk about Father.
Atalixsphere’s long ear twitched. Waking up.
He couldn’t stay here because he didn’t know Atalixsphere. They were strangers and he’d feel awkward making that sacrifice for someone he didn’t know. He couldn’t stay because she wouldn’t even appreciate it. “Are you feeble in the mind?”
Her large nostrils flared and her closed eyes squeezed tighter.
He couldn’t stay because he would have no way home after she recovered. He had no money to pay for a room in Yl Elyuon for his stay, or horse or flight to take him home afterward, and he couldn’t walk home because he had no way to carry enough food for nineteen days, or protection if bandits attacked him like Atalixsphere.
Atalixsphere moaned, lifting arms too sedated to go very high before thumping back on the mattress. “Mmmaw…” she forced, head shaking back and forth. “Ahhh…”
She would stay here and she would be fine. The healer said so. Said so. “We will employ activities to prevent her from becoming idle and reflective. The Caravan Master has paid for her entire stay.”
She would be fine.
Cohthel walked out of the room before she woke.
And told the receptionist at the front desk he was taking Atalixsphere with him.