Recorded here is part I of The Great Legend of Sirilla, a collection of Sirilla’s greatest heroes. This is the story of Elsha, the elf heroine who brought back the king Rauto from the Dark Lands beneath the surface where dwell all perished mortals.
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An unmistakable ring echoed off the cliffs. Then all was silent. The only one close enough to hear was the elfchild Elsha, on her way back from carrying water from the lake. Elsha recognized the whir as a sharp sword completing its deadly task. She dropped her water jugs and ran to the source of the disturbance. There, on the rocks, lay the beloved Rauto, king of Elsha’s home, Sirilla, cloven in two. An evil cackle sounded to the west, and the elfchild whirled around just in time to witness the evil sorcerer Thivero disappearing into the mists, clutching a sword dripping with blood. Without a second thought Elsha raced to the palace to break the terrible news to the king’s administration.
An unimaginably dragging week passed. The kingdom was in disarray, having no leader respect and obey. The king’s administration attempted to regain control, but it was not to be. Without the thread, the pieces of fabric will fall apart altogether.
Elsha was in desperate need of solitude. For days, strangers would knock on her family’s door to ask Elsha about the king’s last moments. Elsha would speak to none of them. Finally, at the end of those first seven morose days, the elfchild stole away to the entrance to the Forest of Nightwood, the one place where she knew she would be alone. Or so she thought.
Elsha was unaware that she was not the only creature inhabiting the forest threshold. As soon as she sat upon a vast, iron-gray rock, she heard someone – or something – call out her name.
“Who’s there?” she responded bravely. Only a moment later did Elsha find herself seated next to a petite, misty green-colored figure. The figure smiled at Elsha prior to introducing itself.
“I am a spirit,” it replied, “your guardian spirit, to be precise. You needn’t reply, it is true you have a guardian spirit, and I happen to be yours. What I am about to say will have to be concise, and may be confusing. But I want no questions until I am done explaining.
“You saw the king Rauto just before he was taken to the Dark Lands. You saw also the sorcerer Thivero, his murderer. You know well that there lies an entrance to the Dark Lands that no elf has ever discovered. All this, however, will soon change. There are no accidents, no mistakes, and it was not merely chance that forced you to look upon that awful sight. You have been chosen by the Ancient Mystics to assist those before you in the everlasting war between good and evil. This peril shall never cease, and will last until the end of the Times. You may have guessed that your battle is with the evil Thivero, the one who murdered your king.
“The kingdom cannot function without its king, as you have undoubtedly seen in the last week. If Rauto is left to the Dark Lands, Sirilla will perish, along with all its inhabitants. Unless you yourself can destroy Thivero, there will be no Island of Sirilla. You can probably hypothesize now what you must do, can you not?”
For the first time Elsha was allowed to speak.
“You want me to travel to the Dark Lands, kill Thivero, and bring back King Rauto?” Elsha replied miserably.
“Yes,” her spirit stated simply. “You see, you were chosen not only for your courage, but for your wisdom. You must leave, and you must leave now. Thivero is very clever and very sly. Only those who can see him can kill him, and he can only be seen by those with the ability to fight him. Thivero knows this, so he will take precautions. He saw you watching him, and he will not rest until he kills you, too. He will be here, make no mistake, and you must leave immediately so as to escape his notice. I can give you these things . . .”
“Stop,” Elsha interjected. “This just isn’t possible. I’m merely a child, I cannot leave here. I must help my family, they are in want of my assistance. Please, you must understand.”
“There is no understanding. There is no comprehending. There is only action, and if you do not leave now, the world of your people, the fate of Sirilla, shall collapse. I can give you supplies, the Elixir of Content, which will satisfy your appetite for one day. The only other thing I can give you is this—-“
The spirit produced, seemingly out of nowhere, a slender, graceful silvery sword.
“This sword,” the spirit explained, “is an enchanted one. Whenever you place it upon the ground and say, `Lilio ridomini’ the sword will point towards the underworld. You must not forget this, as it is the only tool to help you find the way to the Dark Lands. Use it well. With this I can give you no further advice. You must go now.”
With that, the spirit vanished. Elsha was left to say one last farewell to her beloved home.
“Goodbye, my people,” the elfchild whispered. “May I find you, Sirilla, just as you were before.” So the elfchild Elsha strode into the Forest of Nightwood without a backward glance.
Once inside the darkness, Elsha found that not only could the sword point her way, but acted as a magic illuminator, lighting the path for her but no one else. Or so she thought. It was then that she heard a twig snap directly to the east. Elsha turned to the source of the noise.
“I’m sorry,” a strange voice apologized. “I might have revealed myself hours ago instead of wandering behind you, making you uncomfortable. Allow me to introduce myself.” Elsha then saw a strange creature perched upon a tree branch about five feet off of the ground.
“I am a woodnymph,” he answered, “and my name is Cyro. You’ll have never heard of woodnymphs, I suppose, but here I am and here I shall stay. I can make myself invisible to the eye of the elf, but many other creatures can easily spot me. Nymphs are the only creatures who can see your enchanted light. Lucky for you, we are on your side.”
“That’s a relief,” stammered the stunned Elsha. “But . . . now that I think on it, I could use your help. I have only my sword to find my way through the forest, but I do not know what other unfriendly creatures may be lurking in the darkness.”
“That I would be glad to help with. And ’tis fortunate that I showed up, too, because it looks like you have some trouble up ahead.” Cyro pointed to the west. There in front of her stood a trio of forest goblins, carrying wooden lances and cackling menacingly.
“Who do you think you are?” Cyro inquired boldly.
“Why,” replied the left goblin, “we are the forest goblins. The loathed, the dirty, the hated, the henchgoblins of Thivero. We’re the ones who carry out his unpleasant tasks. Such as killing you.”
“Is that so?” laughed Cyro. Elsha could not understand why he was making so light of this.
“I think we should take these henchgoblins seriously,” she whispered into Cyro’s ear. Cyro still looked unconcerned.
“Just keep talking to them. I’ll handle this.” So Elsha kept them talking to the best of her abilities. Before she knew it, Cyro had sneaked up behind the forest goblins and, in three quick strokes, knocked them all out.
“You see,” Cyro stated triumphantly, “goblins are cruel, but very easily distracted. It is nearly impossible for one person to single-handedly deal with them, but when one partner can distract them and the other disorient them, they can be easily destroyed.
So for the next few days, Elsha and Cyro made their way through the Forest of Nightwood, killing the henchgoblins and using the enchanted sword to locate the Dark Lands.
About a fortnight after Elsha’s departure, she and Cyro found themselves staring at a massive, ebony-black gate.
“Well,” Cyro said, “if this isn’t the gate to the Dark Lands I’ll put on a flowery pink dress and skip up and down the lane singing folk tunes in a high, feminine voice.” Fortunately for Cyro, this was the exact spot of the gate to the Dark Lands.
“Cyro,” Elsha turned to him suddenly. “I cannot thank you enough for all your help. You know perfectly well I could never have done it without your support. But you must turn back now. Understand, I alone must enter these evil gates, for I alone can destroy this shadow of evil.” With that, Cyro departed.
Elsha took a deep breath and opened the gate to the Dark Lands. There, before her very eyes, lay a wide-awake, emerald-green dragon. Elsha had never seen a dragon before, but had learned much about them from the hours she had spent reading old legends. The only way to successfully kill a dragon is to trick it somehow. The only issue was that Elsha did not know how to trick him.
Just then a thought suddenly came to her, as if something invisible had placed it inside her mind. The Elixir of Content. Silently she thanked her guardian spirit, for she knew that the spirit was the one responsible for Elsha’s idea. You see, dragons, while not especially bright, were immensely fond of food and drink. Hoping the dragon would know what the Elixir was, she cautiously called out.
“Dragon,” she said, “if you only knew what was in this bottle I am sure you would not need to consume me. In fact, I have here what is known as the Elixir of Content.” At this the dragon poked his head up in interest. Standing up, it emitted a titanic cascade of fire, narrowly missing Elsha’s right arm. A tree exploded into flame behind her.
The dragon made his way to Elsha, leaving a wide open hole leading to the Dark Lands. She slowly and deliberately placed the bottle on a rock so the dragon could drink freely. While he ducked his head, she raced past him and scrambled into the hole, fearing what would be on the other side.
When she emerged on the opposite side, in front of her was none other than the evil sorcerer Thivero.
“You are here at last,” he informed a shocked Elsha. “Come with me, for I wish to show you something.” Thivero led Elsha down a dimly lit path with heavy black sconces lining the walls. He opened a large door with strange, circular symbols on it, a form of writing unfamiliar to Elsha.
When Thivero opened the door and Elsha looked behind it, she was horrified to see, in front of her, her beloved King, Rauto, lying unconscious on the floor, chained to the walls.
“Too bad for you,” Thivero muttered, “I am the only creature who possesses the key that will unlock your king. To get it you must fight me. Unfortunately, no one in Sirilla has the power to beat me, and that includes you. So you may fight if that be your will, but I would advise against it.”
Elsha was terrified beyond emotion, but then in the back of her mind she heard her guardian spirit’s words, “Unless you yourself can destroy Thivero, there will be no Island of Sirilla.” She knew she had to destroy him. Her spirit would be behind her, and she knew that the Ancient Mystics were as well. With this encouragement, she lifted her enchanted sword and swung.
Beating Thivero does not come easily, and he was incredible at swordplay. He blocked every swing she took. Metal clashed upon metal. Sparks flew, giving the room an amber-colored glow. For what seemed like ages they fought, Elsha finding talent she never knew she possessed. Then, while Elsha’s and Thivero’s swords were locked, Thivero stuck out his leg and tripped Elsha, who fell on her back, her sword clattering several feet away from her. Before she could blink an eye, Thivero had grabbed the sword and now strode towards her, both swords pointed to Elsha’s heart.
“You see, little child? You cannot beat me. You are good, you have talent, but I am better.” It was here that Thivero made the error that was to be his demise. Before killing Elsha, he crossed both swords in front of his chest and raised his eyes towards the ceiling. Seeing an opportunity, Elsha grabbed hold of a black bar above her head and heaved her body forward. Thivero stumbled backwards, losing grip of Elsha’s enchanted sword. She rapidly snatched it up off the floor and struck Thivero straight in the center of the chest.
He gave Elsha one astonished glance before his eyes glazed over in death. Never again would he harm another creature.
Elsha ran to Thivero’s body and grabbed a large golden key from his shirt pocket. She took the key to Rauto and carefully unlocked the chains. His eyes fluttered, and he looked up at Elsha.
“Where am I?” he asked. “Everything’s so fuzzy . . . I was fighting Thivero . . . And I saw him swing his sword . . . And then I blacked out. I’m – I’m not dead, am I?”
“Not anymore,” Elsha smiled. “You were, but Thivero is gone, and you are alive. Now we must hurry and make it out of the Dark Lands while we can.”
“There is no need for that,” a misty voice called out. It was her guardian spirit. “I’ve come to fly you home. You may be asking, Elsha, if I could fly you, why wouldn’t I just fly to the Dark Lands and free Rauto?”
“I think I can tell you that,” Elsha answered slowly. “I was the only one who could get the key from Thivero because I was the only one who could kill him. Besides, you’re my guardian spirit, so you couldn’t have flown anyone else.”
“You are right,” responded the spirit. “Rauto’s own spirit departed when he did, but now that you have brought Rauto back, his spirit has regained its strength as well.”
“Yes, my child,” Rauto added. “The entire kingdom of Sirilla is in your debt, as I am sure you know. I cannot thank you in words, but I would appreciate it if you would let me make you my advisor. My administration needs someone like you, and I will need much help to get the kingdom functioning again, as I am sure it has been in disarray while I have been gone.”
With that, the two spirits, Elsha, and Rauto left the Dark Lands to restore order to the populace of Sirilla. Thivero was destroyed, and the longevity of the kingdom of Sirilla was ensured for many years to come.