Ty’lana walked to her room, trying to think of what to do next. Part of her was appalled at the life changing decision she had just made, while part of her was methodically planning how to leave her home, forever. She entered her room and stood in the middle, looking at every corner. This had been hers for the 350 years of her life and now she was about to leave all and probably never return. She felt the growing hollow feeling that threatened to overwhelm her, more than anything in the world she wanted to curl up in a corner of her room and cry. She closed her eyes tight and clenched her fists.
No, she will not give in to despair, not now, not ever. Feeling more in control of herself, she began to pack. She put the mythril dagger with her other weapons, a bow carved from priceless ashwood, a quiver of blue fletched arrows, 2 long daggers, 4 short throwing daggers and 2 slim elvish swords. She frowned at the last one, she had no idea where she would end up but one thing she was sure of was that she would have to travel light. She was comptemplating dropping the sword when there was a knock at her door. She stared at the door for several seconds, wondering who it could be. The knock was repeated.
“Come in,” said Ty’lana. She waited expectantly as the door opened and the last person she expected, walked in. It was Thernil, her twin brother.
The two siblings stared silently at each other, after what seemed like an age he turned away and looked around the room. He was as tall as their father and where Ty’lana had short curly hair, he had long dark locks that he wore braided. His handsome face was expressionless as he spoke. “I see you are preparing.”
“Yes,” answered Ty’lana awkwardly. He nodded. The atmosphere in the room was uncomfortable. Ty’lana had no idea what to say and felt her brother was in the same predicament as well. That was no surprise, they had never been close. Due to the obvious fact that both were potential heirs to the throne, they had been practically reared apart. Their mother, Queen Elsira had tried to prevent that by bringing them together every chance she got, but was unable to bridge the gap that had been created by the knowledge of the impending leadership trials. How possible was it for 2 people to relate, when they knew they would be fighting each other in the future?
Ty’lana decided to take the first plunge. “Why are you here?”
Immediately she regretted the question as she saw Thernil flinch. His gray-green eyes, identical to hers, darted everywhere else except her face. His gaze finally slid to the long slim elvish swords on the bed, he noticed the distance between them and the other small pile of weapons.
“I hope you are not leaving those behind.”
“I might have to, it’s…………”
“You can’t!” cut in Thernil with an intensity that frightened Ty’lana.
“You can’t,” he repeated in a softer tone. “Mother gave them to you, they mustn’t be left behind.” Ty’lana saw pain and grief in her brother’s eyes, she turned away to give him some privacy. Queen Elsira’s death, 30 years ago had shocked the people of Firlaya.
She was the daughter of Lord Rhienan, admiral of Firlaya’s naval forces. Before she met King Neylan, she and her twin brother had lived most of their lives sailing the seas. Ty’lana remembered that day clearly, she had been at the harbour, waiting for her mother. They had planned on going sailing, just the two of them.
Elsira arrived late; Ty’lana noticed her red eyes and realized with a start that her mother had been crying. Before she could say a word, Elsira told her not to worry, that everything was fine. Ty’lana kept quiet, planning to ask her later, but just as they were about to board the boat, a messenger from the palace ran up and said that the king wanted to see Ty’lana. “Now?” asked Queen Elsira with a frown.
“Yes, your majesty,” replied the messenger respectively. Elsira sighed and turned to her daughter. “Go and see your father my dear, I will still go out.”
“Alone mother?” asked Ty’lana. Elsira smiled “Of cause my dear, I have been sailing long before you were born and…” her smile faltered, “and I need to think. We’ll talk when I get back.” Ty’lana watched her mother sail away, not realizing she was seeing her alive for the last time. She followed the messenger back to the palace to find her brother with the king. The reason he sent for them was because of an emergency meeting with prominent lords and ladies, over border security. The twins were always invited to such meetings, because one day, one of them would be the ruler of Firlaya and must not be ignorant of what it took to rule a kingdom. The meeting lasted for hours, and then the storm started. Ty’lana was worried, hoping that the queen had returned.
Suddenly Neylan stopped speaking; he stood up, visibly shaking. Thernil looked worried.
“Father, are you alright?” He asked. Neylan didn’t answer; instead he stumbled to one of the long windows in the room. With increasing dread, Ty’lana stood up. “Father…”
“Elsira,” groaned Neylan, then Ty’lana realized she was finding it difficult to breathe. She held her chest and tried to breathe, from the corner of her eye she could see Thernil was gasping as well. Ty’lana heard the others in the room mutter worryingly, some tried to help her and her family, but the symptoms only worsened .Voices lessened as Ty’lana felt water entering her lungs, it was everywhere. She was alone, vainly trying to stay afloat, but the waves were too strong. She was pushed below the surface, again and again. Strength was nonexistent. From afar she could her someone yell. “Saranil! Break the link! The death will take them all! Break the link now!!”
As suddenly as it started the water was gone and Ty’lana felt herself falling into darkness.
She welcomed it.
When she awoke, she knew her mother was dead and she blamed herself. If she had gone with her, maybe she would still be alive. The king locked himself in his chambers for 3 weeks. This caused fresh fears. The king could die from grief, who would be his successor? He eventually emerged, a subdued and changed elf and asked to see his wife.
From the day the queen disappeared, her brother, Lord Erlon searched. He did not eat or sleep till he found her body. The entire realm mourned with the royal family and all knew a shining star had been extinguished.
“Ty’lana.” Her brother’s voice brought her back to the present. She faced him, from his expression; she knew he had also relived their mother’s last moments.
“I wanted to give you this.” He handed her a tightly rolled scroll. She took it.
“What is it?” She began to open it. His next words surprised her.
“It’s a map of Rivendell.” She looked at him.” It must be 10,000 years old; several land marks would have changed by now.”
He nodded. “True, but this map is actually 4,000 years old.”
Ty’lana was puzzled. “How is that possible?”
“Before the civil war, there was communication with Rivendell. Palantirs were used.”
Ty’lana nodded slowly. Palantirs were large transparent, glass-like spheres which had been created with magic. “The last time our palantir was seen was just before the civil war. Many feared it had been destroyed in the war,” said Ty’lana.
“Yes. There are books in the Great library that talk of Rivendell and its rulers,” he paused. “Why did you choose exile?”
Ty’lana was startled by the sudden change in topic. For a few seconds she was silent.
“I wanted to live,” was her answer. Thernil said nothing.
“What of you Thernil? What would you have chosen if our positions had been reversed?”
He took some time answering. “I would never have chosen exile.”
Ty’lana kept silent. How different they both were. The twins were startled by the knock on the door.
“Come in,” said Ty’lana, wondering who it could be. King Neylan entered the room, carrying a velvet wrapped bundle. He was surprised to see Thernil. After the twins greeted him, Thernil asked to be excused.
“No,” replied the king. “You might as well see this.” Ty’lana and Thernil exchanged a look as their father untied the bundle. The covers fell away to reveal a spherical glass-like structure, the colour was as dark as the night. They were looking at a palantir.
The twins were speechless. Ty’lana forced herself to step forward and touch it.
“Father, is that….?” Began Thernil before his voice trailed off. He was unsure of what he saw. Neylan nodded. “Yes it is, one of the great seeing stones, lost during the civil war and found 400 years ago.” Ty’lana withdrew her hand.
“We were just talking about it, why are you telling us about it now?”
Neylan looked at his daughter. “You are leaving for Rivendell. Once you get there I would like you to maintain contact with us.”
Ty’lana was confused. “But I am to go on exile. Isn’t that against the law?”
“The law requires you dying or leaving, it never stated that you should not communicate,” answered Neylan. He glanced at his son.
“After all it is necessary for us to know where you are,” he paused “and how you are doing. For a few seconds, Ty’lana was at loss for words. “I…..I don’t know how to use it,” said the princess. Neylan wordlessly gave her a leather bound book with elvish inscriptions on the cover. It was half an inch thick and measured 4 by 5 inches.
“In there,” he pointed, “is all you need to know about how to use the palantir. Study it diligently and it will be extremely useful. I’m sure the elves of Rivendell will allow you use theirs but it will be wise if you knew the act.”
“Have you used it father?” asked Thernil. Neylan’s face darkened as he answered.
“The first time was about a hundred years ago. I had studied the books on palantirs and felt I had mastered the technique. Lord Clithar was concerned because of the great will and concentration that is needed to send a message,” he paused “I found out that was the least of our concerns.”
“What did you see?” asked Ty’lana. It took some time before he could answer.
“I saw a blazing eye, filled with malice, hatred and inexplicable evil. The presence behind the eye demanded to know my name, I refused but with great effort. It tried to suck me in, I remember groaning with pain then Clithar took it away from me.”
“How did he do it?” asked Thernil. Neylan smiled dryly.
“He noticed that my hands were in direct contact with the palantir, so he used a blanket to cover it and wrench it from my grasp,” the smile disappeared from his face, “but we decided not to ever attempt using it again until 15 years ago. Clithar and Mage Saranil were against it from the start. I insisted. This time I had Clithar, Saranil and 2 other high level mages with me and when I looked into the stone I only saw darkness.”
“What does that mean?” Ty’lana sounded worried. Neylan shrugged.
“I don’t know; that is why I need you to learn how to use the palantir, so when you reach there you can tell us what happened.”
Ty’lana said nothing; she looked at the book in her hands. In the morning, she would leave the shores of Firlaya forever and yet her father was giving her a mission.
She was confused. Neylan noticed her expression.
“I assume you have some questions.”
“Yes. Why didn’t you send someone to Rivendell when you first used the stone and saw the evil eye?”
“Two reasons,” replied Neylan, “First, we have no idea if the elves are still at Rivendell, they may have left for the Undying Lands. Second, the council of ruling lords and ladies has refused to send anyone to find out what has happened to the elves. Their reason; the risk is too great.”
“There are those who would ignore the risk,” said Thernil.
“Like Lord Erlon,” said Neylan “there is no one who can equal his love of adventure except Elsira.” A look of pain and grief appeared on his face.
There was uncomfortable silence as the king struggled to control his emotions.
He turned to his son. “Thernil, please give us some privacy.”
Thernil bowed, glanced at Ty’lana and left the room.
Father and daughter stared at each other in silence for several moments.
Neylan sighed. “Except for your length of hair, you look exactly like your mother. I find……”he hesitated. “I find no fault in your choice of exile. Your mother would have been proud you chose life.”
For the first time Ty’lana noticed the slump in her father’s shoulders. He was weary with the burdens of the realm and the leadership trials. He had been a kind father, showering equal attention on his two children. She could hardly imagine how he must have dreaded the outcome of the trials.
“Father……..” she began. He continued as if she had not spoken.
“Ever since she knew that you and Thernil would be born, she tried to have the law changed. It didn’t work of cause but she kept trying, even till the day she died. Elsira came to me asking once again if I would help her in submitting a petition to the council.”
Neylan looked away. “I refused.”
Ty’lana saw her mother’s tear filled eyes. “The council would never have agreed.”
“Even if, I should have tried. Maybe……maybe if I had Elsira would…….”
“No father, don’t say it.” Ty’lana interrupted. “It was never your fault.”
Neylan turned back to her. It pained Ty’lana to see tears in the king’s eyes.
“How can you know? And now come dawn I will lose you too.”
Ty’lana said nothing. The king looked around the room.
“I must leave you to prepare and rest. May peace favour your sleep.”
Ty’lana bowed as her father left the room. She stood in the same spot for several minutes wondering what to do next.
Ty’lana slowed Maethor to a walk. The mearas snorted softy. Ty’lana patted his neck gently. He could sense his mistress’ anxiety; Ty’lana felt he knew they were leaving home forever. She had been stunned to see that many people had turned up to see her leave. It had left her dazed and amazed. She was given a lot of gifts by the people. She knew that it would not be possible to take even a third of what was given but she didn’t have the heart to reject what was offered.
She glanced at the figure beside her. Thernil had been silent all the way to the harbour. Their father was riding ahead with Lord Clithar. Ty’lana looked at Clithar’s horse. It had more load then she expected for a simple journey to the docks. She shrugged; maybe he had somewhere to go after her departure.
Her uncle, Lord Erlon was standing by the gangway He bowed to the king and the twins. He frowned at Clithar and noticed the bags on his horse. He raised an eyebrow.
“Going on a trip?”
“Yes,” replied Clithar . “I will be joining you.”
Both of Erlon’s eyebrows were raised now. “WHAT!?”
The twins stared at Clithar in surprise as Neylan tried to appease his brother-in-law.
“We trust you completely; the council just wanted him to give an account of the trip.”
“I see,” said Erlon icily. He glared at Clithar. “Welcome aboard the Whitesea.”
“Thank you,” said Clithar warmly. Erlon boarded the ship, followed by the warrior.
The king and the twins stood silently for several moments. Words were hard to find.
Ty’lana did not want to say goodbye. She looked at her hands, they were shaking. She clenched her fists and looked at her family. They regarded her solemnly. Neylan drew her into a fierce hug. “I love you my daughter…..I am so sorry.” Ty’lana was on the verge of tears, it took a lot of effort to control her voice. “It’s alright father.” He eventually released her. She turned to her brother. He seemed hesitant to approach her. She read guilt in his eyes. She grabbed him and hugged him. “Do not blame yourself,” she whispered “this fate was decided for us before we were born.” She drew back and smiled sadly. “Take care of father and yourself. Remember I love you both and I always will.”
She turned and led Maethor onto the ship.
Standing side by side, father and son watched the graceful ship sail, fading till their keen elven sight could see it no more.
Hi everyone, sorry this is a bit late. Here are some explanations.
Ty’lana’s horse is a “mearas” i.e. a special horse like Shadowfax the legendary horse of Gandalf. The horse’s name is Maethor which is Sindarin for “warrior”.
I hope you enjoy the story. Have fun!!!