The Return of the Shadow – Part 3–Frozen heart

by Apr 6, 2003Stories

All of the pain was gone, but then again so were the emotions. After the shadow released my heart all of my emotions were frozen. It was an odd sensation, to not feel anything, but it was also, in some ways, a relief. I no longer had any drive to do anything, I never felt pushed to do something.
I escaped into the blacknees that had once been my heart. An interesting side effect of having a frozen heart was that my senses were sharper. I was able to comprehend things at a much faster speed and I was vividly aware of everything going on around me. I could sense life everywhere, but I felt no joy. No petty emotions yammered at me every moment. It was…peaceful, and I would have been glad if I my heart had not been frozen.
I did not know how I knew my heart had been frozen. I supposed it came with my new heightened awareness of everything around me.
I was aware of Grenya’s presence and the shadow’s presence. It was an evil presence, full of power and magic, but I wasn’t frightened of it the way Grenya was. It interested me.
I also knew I was an elf, part Silvan and part Laequendi. Grenya had taught me all about elves when I was a child. I was about Twenty now, give or take a few years, I could sense it in my body. I remembered my mother too. She was one of the Laequendi. I had no memories of my father, but I did remember another, an elf like me, one who was my counterpart, one I fit with. But the memories were vague, wisps of smoke in my mind, and when I tried to see them clearly they disappeared.
All of these thoughts entered my mind in the time of a few moments, and then they too, were gone.
The shadow was growing. It floated up to me and hovered there for a few moments.
“Are you free?” Its voice was harsh, cold, and cruel, it was more of a statement than a question. I could not answer; I just nodded my head.
It turned to Grenya.
“Teach the child the use of all weapons, my vessel must be well prepared.” My nursemaid nodded.
“Yes my lord,” she said
“And have her back before dusk, it is time to begin her training.” I had no idea what it was talking about but I let Grenya take my hand and drag me toward the back of the cave, this shadow was a force far stronger than I had imagined.
Grenya led me once again to the weapons room. She picked up a rack of weapons from the wall and I hurried over to assist her with it. She led the way through the caves with me following with the back end of the weapons rack. It was heavy; all the weapons were made of steel.
We reached a small door in the wall and Grenya opened it. A cool breeze washed by us, and sunlight flooded into the tunnel. It was blinding; the only light I was used to was the torchlight in all of our caves, which was dim in comparison. I nearly dropped the rack but Grenya didn’t notice she was too busy enjoying the sunlight. After a long while my eyes adjusted enough to let me take in my surroundings.
We were on a small hillock, covered with grass. Behind us was the wall of the huge mountain the cave was hidden in. The sun was shining brightly directly above us.
I gazed across the bright, grassy field, it stretched for many miles, but at the border there was the makings of a large forest. My keen eyes spotted several rabbits and a few deer on the field.
Grenya picked up my bow, now that I could see it better in the light of the sun I realized it was of Elven make. The wood was yew, engraved with elvish script, which I could not read. The design was of rain, and water, flowing smoothly down the bow into the ground below. It was a beautiful work of art, strung with an elven hair.
“Lady,” said Grenya, jolting me back into reality,”We must get started.”
“Yes Grenya, let us begin.” I picked up the quiver, which was of the same make as the bow only leather with a pattern of leaves on it and put an arrow to my bow.
Grenya walked over to a small tree and marked a target on it with her knife.
“Go on milady, shoot for the center,” she said. I aimed down the length of my shaft and noticed the arrow was made of mahogany tipped with gold, I wondered how Grenya or the shadow had found such fine weapons and who had they belonged to before they came into the shadows posession.
I aimed and fired. My arrow had hit the outer rim of the target.
“Again lady,” Grenya prompted. I fired again. The arrow hit dead center now that I had gotten adjusted to the new distance from the target. I shot three more right into the center before Grenya told me to take a few steps back. I did so and shot at the target again, after three arrows on the center of the target she told me to step back again. I repeated this process until I was more than one hundred feet from the target.
“Truly, lady, you have the skill of your kind with a bow.” Grenya complimented,”now you can practice with a moving target.”
“Where?” I asked.
“You can hunt game in the field, it will be good practice since you have obviously mastered an immobile target.”
We set off across the field. It was longer than it looked to get to the middle of it. Once there we scanned the field for signs of prey. I spotted a rabbit at once and gestured toward it. Grenya crept slowly toward it and then yelled. The rabbit ran from her while I tried to shoot it. I missed every time I shot. While I was gathering up my arrows Grenya spotted other game. We repeated the same process we had with the rabbit on all the other game we could find. At the end of it all I had managed to do was shoot a deer in the leg and it had still gotten away.
The sun was halfway to the horizon when Grenya motioned for us to go back. When we arrived at the mountain I was panting, the only exercise I usually got was walking around the cave. Grenya picked up a sword and I groaned.
“All right then, perhaps a smaller weapon for milady,” I nodded my head fervently and Grenya went back to the rack. She came back holding up a pair of knives, except longer than ordinary ones. These too were Elven. I grasped the Ivory handles and again wondered where the shadow had gotten such fine weapons. The handles fit my hand perfectly and the blade was beautiful, fine tempered steel with elvish characters on the front and back, if I was to have elvish weapons perhaps Grenya could teach me the language, I wondered if she knew it.
Grenya worked on foot movements and stances again, just as we had with the sword. The knives felt perfect in my hand, like the bow, perhaps I had an affinity for elvish weapons because I was one. I worked with the long knives until the sun was touching the horizon, doing blocks, fighting positions, and a few attacks. I helped Grenya load the rack back up and carry it inside. I was tired and I was just about to go back to my cave and sleep when Grenya reminded me I had to go to the shadow. I would have been afraid if I was still capable of that feeling, as it was I was a little nervous-it was the closest feeling I could conjure-about meeting this thing that had frozen my heart and made Grenya so terrified.
Grenya led the way to the back of the cave, there were no torches here and it was pitch black. Grenya opened a door in the wall-I had no idea how she knew her way around in the dark- and pushed me inside.
“I’ve been expecting you,” it said.


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Found in Home 5 Reading Room 5 Stories 5 The Return of the Shadow – Part 3–Frozen heart

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