The Elven Princess

The Realm of the Shadows

”Shamans, or mortal human beings who can communicate with the voices of other worlds, are rare, and powerful beings who can venture into the immortal lands, in and out of the cosmic lands, without losing their sanity, and only a fragment of their lives in the journey.

Six shamans are born in every century. They are granted a lifetime longer than that of the mere mortals, which erodes away as they venture into the lands which are unsuited to their physique. They are the messengers of the future in all of the lands, and that is why it is but their onus to keep journeying into the worlds.

The Shamans can only enter one world at one time, unlike the immortal beings, who can travel through the portals without any consequence. These mortal beings, however, are not permitted, and may lose more than their lives if they attempt thus. ”

Nimuel ran her fingers on the index, and turned the pages of the book. Aelanor leaned in, but Lady Saelther didn move at all. Her eyes were closed as if in an attempt to relate the information with the Shamans puzzle.

”The Shaman did say that it was his first visit to the elven lands, ” Aelanor said after a while, ”so that must mean that all the Shamans look somewhat similar. Elves do have a keen sense of recognition, and my mother not able to recognize the man for who he was. ”

She took a deep breathe as her thoughts drifted back to her mother. Nimuel chirped in.

”I think I have found something, which will help us move forward. ”

She picked up another book which she had brought from the shelves, but it was definitely not anything the mortal lands had ever seen. The gold cover of the book was encrusted with precious stones, and the pages were as soft as feathers, and as white as a dove. Aelanor was sure it was surely dove feathers pressed in the form of pages. Nimuel picked them up softly with her fingers, and turned a few pages.

”It says here that the elven lands stretch for a few empires, due West, where The Realm of the Shadows starts ” she looked up.

”How is that supposed to help us? ” Aelanor said.

”Remember the Shaman said that we have to go where the dusk goes to sleep, didn he? ”

”But he also mentioned the place where the dawn wakes up, which is due East. What about it, then? ”

”Oh, you
e right. What do you think, Mother? ”

Lady Saelther opened her eyes slowly, took a beady look at both of them before answering, ”I think both of you are correct. ”

She picked up the paper on which Aelanor had scribbled down the puzzle.

”When allies come together, the powers of the dark do fly… You definitely need allies on your journey, without them it is impossible to find too many answers. The gong that sounds in the distance beckons… This could be the gong in the East, the Morning Bells. That is an unexplored realm, even the travelers like Lord Dalyor avoid those places. Perhaps, that is where your destination lies?

The shadows guide the way… Hmm, this is a bit more complicated. It is said that there are evil shadows in the Eastern Realm, yes, but you cannot just walk there by yourselves. Again, there is The Realm of the Shadows in the West, which we elves avoid. The Shadow Princess is one vengeful creature, and not many who set foot in that realm comes back, and if they do, they
e heavily influenced by their magic. It never fares well. ”

She sighed and looked thoughtfully into the embers that were slowly turning deep scarlet, belching out dark smoke.

Aelanor asked, ”What is on the other side of The Realm of the Shadows, Aunt? Is there someone who we could trust? ”

Lady Saelther thought for a moment before replying, ”Plenty. There are the Misty Mountains of the Dream Isles, and the Kingdom is favored by the forces of nature. The life there is prosperous, and the Queen is revered by all. Word is that she would help whoever comes to her door, for a little price. Nothing much, just to keep her subjects happy.

I believe that you could get her to help you, since the Queen is so concerned about the welfare of her people, she should help you. But the only way to go to the capital city of Eglarest is through The Realm of the Shadows, and I don feel comfortable sending you out there. ”

”But Mother, you said that we are the only ones who can solve this without getting tainted by this curse, ” Nimuel said.

”I know, my child. But I am a mother too. ” Lady Saelthers face betrayed the sadness she felt.

”We have no choice, Mother. Either I will lose you, and Father, and all the Kingdom to this curse, or well have to take the risk and delve deeper into this quest, and hopefully find a remedy to end this all, or die trying. ”

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