DEATH CLOSES IN...
to brag, but I am rather skilled in battle, and I have to say I did kill a good many Neon-Okachi in just a few moments. I
was armed with a Ta'xaman bone knife (very light, not in the least heavy), a long, Haxcranyan silver sword, many sharp, poisened
arrows (Ta'xaman feathers, by the way), and a long willow spear. My battle dress was a light, deerskin tunic with a simple
cut and design, and stretched in a way that there's enough room to move in it but it's not too baggy and loose. Elafango was
particularly agile that day, leaping over the upraised swords of Neon-Okachi
and darting between the many swift arrows that were aimed to her. I kept Ouralwin in sight, vowing to not lose my little sister.
Not that I really had reason to worry. Ouralwin rode Sathold into the midst of the conflict, skillfully swinging her long
sword as she went. Nevertheless, I took great care to keep her in sight. After piercing the heart of a particularly large
Neon-Okachi, I raced after her, so fast that, as graceful as Elafango was, the white battle mare nearly crashed into Sathold,
veering to the left just in time. Riding next to my sister, I scanned the battlefield for one I knew would arrive soon: Blaxioadda.
away I heard a familiar screech as flame-red monsters rained from the sky: Ta'xamas. With my long ash-tree bow and a well-aimed
Ta'xaman feathered arrow, it seemed like a young Ta'xama shot into the sky towards
it's kin, and pierced the stomach of the lead Ta'xama. The fire-birds screeched in fury and zoomed into the battle, clawing
at frenzied horses, raising warriors into the sky and letting them fall to their death. Wild tigers growled and leapt at enemies,
eagles endlessly battled the fire-birds, hawks furiously challenged gargoyles, and thousands of elves fought thousands Neon-Okachi.
It was a very, very tense conflict.
in the midst rose the last person we wanted to see, his towering form rising against the sky, above all his foul minions.
Ouralwin immediately rode toward him, her sword upraised. I shot after her, desperately willing in my mind to stop her. How
could she possibly think that she could kill Blaxioadda...alone? I called her name, but there was no stopping her. In my heart
I knew that I would never let her fight alone, that she and I would fight together, side by side, and if die we must, then
die we will. Ouralwin would not be left to die alone. I raised my sword and together we fought our way through the thickets
of the battle, riding ever closer to Blaxioadda.
last we reached our Enemy, and I was immediately reminded of long ago, when I had fought Mefa, before I even knew he was my
brother, before I'd ever heard of Ouralwin. Mefa and Blaxioadda, the two were so alike. Only Blaxioadda was at least twice
as powerful, infinite times as cruel and power-hungry, and smarter. But we had to destroy him. As was our intention as we
leapt off our horses and ran within the reach of the Great Enemy's massive sword.
seemed Blaxioadda had been waiting for us, which was not surprising, although I don't think either I or Ouralwin had thought
he'd been expecting us that much. As we ran toward him, (my shoulder barely reaching his knee), he swung around and nearly
knocked me out with his man-sized sword. I managed to dodge it, but a man from Soradya behind me wasn't so lucky. Glordyan
and Arrow Feather began clawing at Blaxioadda's face, and I used the distraction to my advantage, stabbing his thigh. Ouralwin,
being even nimbler than I, jumped onto his hip and began climbing up his back. Again and again I stabbed his feet, but soon
realized I might as well have been poking him with a twig. Gathering all the strength to my legs, I leapt as high as I could
and grabbed hold of his flailing arm. Just as I had reached Blaxioadda's shoulder, Ouralwin's gripping toes failed her, and
as I reached out to catch her, we both fell to the ground. Ouralwin seemed alright, although I'd badly hurt my knees, for
I'd made the mistake of landing on both feet with my knees straight as a ruler. I shook off the pain, concentrating on Blaxioadda.
Mefa had been so much easier to kill. Glordyan and Arrow Feather swooped in once more, so I took the time to aim a poisened
arrow at his heart, nearly being backstabbed by a Neon-Okachi in the process. The aim was well, and my flame-red weapon hit
it's mark. Blaxioadda staggered for a moment, then ripped out the arrow. I watched as Blaxioadda fell to his knees. My eagle
friends were distracted by a few Ta'xamas, but that was quite alright with me. Unthinkingly, I ran forward with sword in hand,
ran to once more tear his heart... and that was my fatal mistake...
with his last ounce of strength, reached out with his mighty hand and managed to wrap his fingers around my waist... and squeezed.
I felt the blood rushing to my head, felt my heart beating a thousand times faster, as if determined to live, I felt my sword
slip from my numb fingers, felt my body give in. My captor threw me fast and far, I crashed into hard rock, and lay there,
my body broken, using the ant-sized strength that I barely had left, fighting Death.
I'd been there before. I knew I'd be there again. My heart slowed, my brain begging for peace, for nothingness, for the end
of pain. I'd been ready to give in when I saw Ouralwin rushing up to me, her face showing such terror, such fear. I'd never
seen Ouralwin so afraid. If she hadn't been my sister, I'd have thought she was completely fearless. She kneeled beside me,
her sword on the ground, her eyes wet with tears. Her face was tinged with a slight, pale green, as it always was when she
cried. "No, no," she whispered, her warm tears falling onto my breast. Only the sight of her face gave me the will to live.
My eyes grew heavy, my blinks were longer. I knew there'd be no coming back, as there had last time. Though I might've been
young for a Goddess, I was old. I'd escaped the grasp of Death once, but no more. I knew that I would die. But I fought, fought
to open my eyes again when I blinked, fought to forget the pain in my heart, fought the luring comfort of Death. I watched
as my desperate sister, my closest companion, reached into the folds of her cloak, revealing a few leaves. Gaeamsulth leaves.
Healing leaves. Squeezing the juice out of them, she rubbed them gently against my lips. But they would not help. Death was
closing in. Gods are immortal, but when their pain is as great as mine was, darkness creeps over their hearts, and they lose
the strength to live. For a moment, my lips moved soundlessly, trying to utter words, trying so hard. At last, my voice came,
beautiful as ever, but smothered with pain and sorrow. "My sister, my Ouralwin Luthiadain, my companion, you know I must die.
Yes, my sister. My sister. My sister."
no," Ouralwin whispered."I'm going to save you. Don't give in, Arwenerindil. Don't give in. Not now. No."
eyes met. Her sea-grey eyes, and my river-blue ones. She knew I would die. She knew it very well. But she wouldn't let her
heart believe it. I knew she was going through great pain, watching me die before her eyes. She bit her lip in determination.
set out to destroy Blaxioadda," she said."And to that I hold. I will defeat him. Just stay alive, Arwenerindil. Watch me fight
him. You will not die." And with that, she picked up her sword, shining red with blood, and with great valor and courage,
she ran so fast her legs were a blur. Weilding her bear claw knife, she thrust it into Blaxioadda's gut. She knew it wouldn't
kill him, but the more pain Blaxioadda had in death... well, the better. In his pain Blaxioadda was now human-size. Rising
up, he wielded his sword, and the two fought in combat, thrusting here, stabbing there, twisting here, jutting there. Blaxioadda's
coal-black eyes, with flickers of furious fire, were contorted with pain, but still he was a match for my sister, valiant
as she was. At last, she managed to place a nice gash in his leg, forcing him to fall to the ground, laying down on his back.
Ouralwin stepped forward, her sword tip barely an inch from his throat. Her voice cold and unforgiving and filled with sadness
and agony, she said, “How dare you kill my sister? How dare you! You have been defeated, Blaxioadda, the Accursed. You
killed my sister, and now I am going to kill you. Once you die, who is going to stop all your crazed Neon-Okachi from killing
each other? How does it feel, to be defeated by a single, barely of age Goddess, who has to watch her own sister die? May
torture follow you to the Land of Death."
I suddenly shouted. Ouralwin raised her eyes to meet mine, her face full of question. I tried to explain to her. "Don't you
understand, Ouralwin? He doesn't deserve the enter the Heavens of Death. Torture won't follow him there. I've been there,
Ouralwin! Peace is all that reigns there, whether one deserves it or not. Don't send him there. Don't."
Ouralwin stepped back, sheathing
her blood-stained sword. Blaxioadda lay there, as if unsure if this was a trick. My sister walked towards me, when all at
once all strength was sapped from my body. I closed my eyes, and gave in, now with a peaceful and content smile on my lifeless
I watched as Arwenerindil Hathuldin closed her eyes, how a smile seemed to form on her face, how she did
not open her eyes once more. I watched as I was too late too save her. I watched as the one I wanted to save most was beyond
my grasp, how I'd failed to save her. For a long time I kneeled beside her, holding her in my arms, stroking her raven-black
hair. Tears streamed down my cheeks, and I knew my face would be a wet moss green from crying. Arwenerindil had died. Blaxioadda
had escaped. At last I set her down and stood up. I felt a familiar hand on my shoulder, and I turned around to see Laokothwyn,
the selkie. His eyes met mine, and all at once I knew he loved me. I picked up my sword. The battle had ended. A few Elves
wearing the Salonnwyn colors rushed up with a horse and rode away with Arwenerindil. They would bury her in Imladdriln, and
while they did so I would be at the funeral, watching as my dead sister sunk into the grass and disappeared. Sathold and Elafango
came up to me. Elafango would be mine now. Laokothwyn, not having a horse at hand, mounted Sathold. I would have let him ride
Elafango, but I figured in her grief Elafango would prefer one who was particularly close to Arwenerindil, as I was. We rode
in silence, until at last we came to the shores of Ithaliad. Elafango meekly wandered off, and Sathold followed her to try
to comfort the poor mare. Laokothwyn stepped into the water, and I followed him. We waded deep until at last we dove forward
into open sea, and I watched as Laokothwyn shifted into a seal, gracefully curving with the tide. I watched in amazement as
I myself turned into a white harp seal, forgetting sadness in my pure joy just to be in the water. My breathing steadied,
and I twisted and curved and turned and sped after the Selkie. At last we swam back to the shore. My body began to change
back to an Elf, and Laokothwyn back to man. I stepped close to him, and he held out his hand to me. Suddenly, the sky became
vivid with golden light. A large white pegasus descended from the sky. The rider was clothed in white, his hair fair and golden,
his eyes flickering green. It was E'menost, God of Creation. In his arms was a bundle of blue and green. As the pegasus landed,
he held the bundle out to me. I took it, my heart beating fast. I unwrapped the cloth, and lying there was a baby. She had
silvery-golden hair, like the Sun and Moon united. Her eyes were all the colors of the sea: blue, green, white, black, violet.
She had little freckles across her nose on her thin face. She looked up at me, her eyes wild with delight. I looked at E'menost.
His voice clear and powerful, the Creation God announced,
"She is the Goddess
of Survival, so her Goddess name is Emenwyn. It is prophesized that she will be the one to destroy Blaxioadda. She has inherited
both your wilderness skills and her father's love of the water."
The amazed Selkie
walked over and watched his new daughter in admiration. "What should we name her?" I asked him. He thought about it for a
"Lyra," he said finally,
"Her name will be Lyra, for in the World of the Selkies, the name Lyra means 'Child of Land and Sea'."
We stood there
for what seemed a long time in awe of the newborn Lyra Emenwyn. E'menost remounted the pegasus. Just before he flew off, he
"Remember this, for it is very important. As long as that child lives, hope can always be found."