Hi there ^^ erm, well this is the first chapter of Tale of the Elves, hope you enjoy. Check my bio for information about this series. This only has one mention of nudity in it, and it is more of a build up to the actual storyline than anything. I don't write wank stories, this is a story with an erotic element. But don't worry, there will be something rewarding next chapter, and in the ones to come. Thanks! (Btw, the themes up there are the main ones that will appear throughout the series / trilogy)
Constructive Crit. Welcome.
Beneath the vast canopy of green summer leaves, the horse trotted between trees, it's flanks mottled green with rays of sun dappled through the branches above.
Atop the large, dark grey beast sat a man, head held high, a look of contentment and peacefulness upon his face. He was dressed in a simple linen shirt and a brown pair of breeches rolled up to the tops of a pair of black riding boots. His cloak was slung over the back of the saddle.
Sheathed in it's scabbard, a sword of two thumbs width was strapped to the steeds side. It's hilt glittered faintly in the afternoon sun, the ruby set in the pommel glaring brightly. The reins hung slack in the man's hands as he directed his steed along a hard-beaten path between the trees.
The saddlebags attached to the horses sides seemed to be umcumbersome. It seemed as though the man was travelling extremely lightly, and he might have been a common peasant were it not for his sword. His face, too, bore tell-tale signs of an extraordinary life. Though his face was handsome, his eyes a light brown and deep, a thick, knotted scar lay upon the skin beneath his chin, and the skin on his face held marks much the same.
Suddenly, the peace of the woodland was disrupted by a single, piercing scream. It sounded near, and the man started in the saddle. There was also the unmistakable sound of a blade being unsheathed somewhere into the trees on his left. Jumping from his horse and unsheathing his sword from it's side, he launched himself into the undergrowth off the path.
He ran towards where the noise had been, and soon emerged on the edge of a small clearing. Snapping his head side to side, he caught sight of the disturbance on the other edge of the clearing, beneath the shadows of the trees. He could make out five, maybe six figures, wrestling with another on the ground.
It was a woman, of that he was sure. He got to the group surprisingly quickly, the sight becoming more clear the closer he got, his feet padded and noiseless on the thick grass and leaves. Four of the figures were holding the woman down, while one stood over her. The man noticed that the woman was soaking wet, and clotheless.
He felt as if he had intruded on something indecent. The woman's face and her earlier scream, however, told the man that she was not in this position out of choice. Her eyes briefly met his between the legs of the man standing over her seconds before he was behind him. He hooked his arm around the man's throat, pulling it backwards under his chin and snapping his neck instantly.
Looking down at the body, the man realised with disgust what they were doing. The man who he had just killed had his manhood on full show, his breeches unlaced and around his upper thighs. With no time to revel in deeper disgust, the man was suddenly aware of one of the bandits holding the woman down holding an evil-looking knife.
The man grinned, rolling his sword in his palm. This is what he was, who he was. He was Arealam, mercenary and former knight of the empire. Striking down the bandit next to him by burying the sword deep in his chest, Arealam moved just in time to see the one with the knife place it at the naked woman's throat
"One more move." He snarled, pressing it against her skin so beads of blood appeared there, "And I'll slit her throat from one ear to the other. Drop the sword." Arealam did not obey immediately, and the bandit pressed the knife harder, making the woman hiss in pain. It was then that Arealam became acutely aware of the woman's eyes changing, becoming paler somehow.
Kneeling, he laid his sword on the floor, not taking his eyes from hers. "Good." Hissed the bandit. The others did not release their hold on the woman, still holding her firmly to the floor. The two dead men were not of concern to them. "Now-" The bandit had no more time to say anything else, however, as a flash of blue light suddenly flared by his chest, and he was suddenly flung backwards into the rows of trees, landing in a heap on the floor.
Not questioning his advantage, Arealam surged forward, picking up his sword and screaming a savage war cry. One more bandit fell before his sword, before the woman was able to move. One arm released, she reached up, inhumanly quick, to the face of the bandit on her other side.
Her hand gripped his throat, knuckles turning white, and Arealam blanched as she snapped his neck with her bare hand. The one remaining bandit, sickened and horrified at the deaths of the others, had already started running towards the edge of the clearing. Arealam made to run after him, but the woman softly laid her hand on his chest. "No. Let me." She breathed, her voice as sweet as birdsong.
She raised her palm pointing towards the fleeing figure, and her lips moved in the ghost of words. Looking back towards the man, Arealam gasped as he suddenly dropped to the ground, clearly dead. For a few seconds after he dropped, the two figures stood silently where they were.
For the first time, Arealam looked at the woman properly. He found it disconcerting that she was already looking at him. Shock hit him as he saw the tips of her ears, pointed and poking through her light brown hair. An elf!
She was exceedingly beautiful, as all elves were fabled to be. Falling to one knee and planting his sword in the ground, Arealam bowed his head. "I am honoured to be in your presence, O elf." He said, his voice shaking slightly. Elves were told to be whimsical and strange beings.
"Rise, human." Came the soft voice of the elf. "I should be honoured to be in your presence, for you have just saved me from a most unpleasant experience." Her voice contained authority, and Arealam rose unsteadily to his feet. His position was not made easier by the fact that she was totally naked before him, and beautiful.
His eyes roamed without him telling them to. Biting his lip, he forced himself to meet the elf's eye, away from her perfectly formed body. He was surprised to see her smiling. "I apologize for the state of my undress," she said softly, turning away from him, "but those brigands caught me unawares while I was bathing in yonder stream," she motioned forwards, through the trees.
"I was unable to stop them. Normally, of course, they would be no match for an elf, as you saw, but I am afraid I was complacent. The handle of his knife was quick to blacken my thoughts." She turned slightly and pointed to a gash he had not noticed before, on her forehead. "I only awoke before you arrived, and my magic was slow to come after being unconcious."
"Bastard!" Came a sudden, sharp growl from the shadows beneath the trees. Seconds later, something came hurtling through the air over the elf's shoulder. The knife seemed to slow, centimetres before Arealam's chest, before planting itself in his heart. The noise from the surrounding trees seemed dulled as he looked down, blood now pouring from the wound.
The ground behind him rose up to meet him, and he was suddenly staring up at the piercingly blue sky. A wordless moan escaped his lips as the pain of the wound hit him. His hands clasped around the handle of the knife, and his vision swam as the blurred image of the elf appeared into it. She was saying words he could not hear.
He screamed as she wrenched the knife free. That he could hear. Was she trying to kill him? He wriggled weakly in her grasp as she laid a palm over his chest, blood now streaming from between his lips into his short beard. It frothed as he moaned and spat.
It felt as if there were worms in his chest. Worms, crawling under his skin, inside the muscle. They itched, they burned. His hands rose limply, clawing uselessly at the back of the elf's smooth hand. "Be still, Human!" Was the first thing he heard as his hearing suddenly came rushing back.
He gagged and spluttered as the blood pooled around his head suddenly swam over his face and streamed back into his mouth. He felt it running down his throat, he could feel the warmness of it suddenly sweeping through his cold body. He felt the cool touch of the elf's palm on his chest.
Gasping once the blood was gone from his mouth, he gagged and rolled onto his side. Looking down, he stared at the place where the knife had been. Skin covered the spot, seamlessly smooth. His shirt was torn, but that was a small price.
He gasped. "How...?" But the question answered itself. She was an elf, a being of magic. "Thank you." He could not express the depths of his gratitude. He raised himself onto his elbows, noticing the elf at the edge of the clearing once more, staring into the trees. "Where did he go?"
"He ran." Muttered the elf. "I would go after him, but he is no major problem. We are on the border of the elven capital. It is surrounded by wards that will not let him get too close if harbours no ill thoughts for the elven kind. Though if he does, he might be able to get further in than he wishes..."
She turned to look at him again, staring at him with beautiful, unblinking eyes. As ever, she seemed surpremely unfaltered about being naked this close to a man. Looking at her form, Arealam felt a rising pressure in the groin of his breeches. The elves were fabled among the races as being the most beautiful and well-proportioned, and it was true.
"I left my clothes on the stream bank. I will go and fetch them. You, saddle your horse and meet me on the path directly north of here in five minutes." With that, she disappeared through the trees. He did not ask how she knew of his horse.
Five minutes later, he sat astride his horse in the afore mentioned place, sword strapped once more to the saddle. He shivered as he caught sight of the elf making her way through the trees. She moved with grace, yet he knew she could kill him in an instant, perhaps without even putting a worthwhile amount of energy into it. She was now clothed in a simple, fitted white dress that ended breezily just above her knees. She walked barefoot.
Arealam's insides squirmed at the sight of her. She was dressed so simply, yet she shined with a beautiful radiance that would have had any weaker man crawling at her feet. Her lightly tanned skin was smooth beyond comparison, and her figure rivaled that of the goddess of beauty.
"You will accompany me to our city." She said as she reached the horse. "My mother would want to properly reward you for preventing such...occurences." She looked up at him with deep green eyes. "You saved me from something I dare not think about." She said softly.
"I need no reward." He spoke with honesty and respect. "You saved my own life." He pointed to the tear in his shirt. The elf smiled. "Still, my mother would still see it as a poor compliment of our thanks. Be honoured: no human has entered one of our cities for over four hundred years."
Arealam knew of the war that had raged between the two races four hundred years ago. A truce was called after a hundred years of fighting, but the elves had sunk into their forests, and were rarely seen or spoken to after that. Their secrets of magic and nature were no longer shared, but tales of their beauty and knowledge carried on living.
Before he could speak again, the elf had taken a running leap at the horse. Strangely, it did not move as she did so. It seemed oddly calm in her presense. Her hand entwined with the harness as she gracefully leaped into the saddle in front of Arealam, not shaking the saddle at all.
"That was impressive." Laughed Arealam. The elf smiled in return, pushing a braid of hair behind her pointed ear. Arealam noticed that the thin dress had pulled up her thighs as she sat with her legs pointed forwards. He shuddered. "Hold my waist," came the command, "we will be travelling faster than you have before, I think."
His hands burned as he placed them on her slim waist, and they were off. She was right; she was obviously controlling the horse to run faster than normally would have been possible. Wind lapped at his hair and stung his face as they rode, and forgetting himself, he wrapped his arms fully around the elf's waist. She didn't seem to mind. In fact, he thought he heard her chuckle.
They swerved off the path into the undergrowth. Normally, the branches would have swiped and clawed at them, but they didn't touch them. They seemed to bend out of their way as they approached, creating a sort of corridor through the forest, only to close up behind them. Arealam stared in wonder at the magic.
The scent of her skin wafted into his face as they rode. It was intoxicating, a mix of wood bark, pine needles and other naturely things. Closing his eyes, he breathed deeply. The smell was slightly overpowering, and he started to feel dazed, as if had consumed a small tankard of ale.
They rode for at least an hour. Arealam guessed it would have taken him fives times as long to travel the same distance, and never to this place; there had been too much undergrowth. They were stood in a beautiful glade, where a small pool of water fed by a trickle of water glimmered on the left. The bare grass on the right looked untouched; pristine green blades of grass that stirred faintly in the breeze.
"We must dismount here." Came the elf's cool voice from infront of him. After the sound of the wind rushing past his ears for the past hour, her voice startled him. "My people will have already been watching us for some time, but it would be best to show respect when entering the kingdom."
Before he could ask where said kingdom was, Arealam's gaze rested on the far edge of the glade. The trees there seemed to shine with a liquid glow, and the space between them, while almost perfectly transparent, seemed oddly mottled or hazy, as if surrounded by a film of water.
The elf had already dismounted lightly from the horse, hitting the ground without so much as a thump. Arealam got off with much less finesse; he was a talented rider and knew how to dismount, but he couldn't help making the scuffles and thumps that were nescessary as he dismounted.
"It still amazes me how like children humans are." The elf smiled, her eyes twinkling. "Always knocking into things, and with their dull senses." Arealam was stung. "Aye, but if you are so sharp of sense, why is it that a bunch of half-wit brigands were able to approach you whilst you bathed?" he sniped back.
"I did not mean to offend." Came the quick reply in her strange accent, and he believed her words. "I am aware of the faults of my own race as well as others, I was merely making a statement. I will not let loose my words so easily from now, forgive me." Arealam nodded his head. "But in answer to your question, I was taken by surprise. I had sunk into such a state of relaxation that my senses were almost the same as a human's. It took me a while to gather my thoughts long enough to summon magic, which you saw."
Her tone told Arealam he shouldn't broach on the subject. He said nothing more as he took the reins of his horse and followed the elf across the glade. She stopped just before the trees, and before the hazy barrier that surrounded them.
"I will warn you," said the elf, turning and looking into his eyesm"the magic that surrounds our capital is strong; none but an elf can pass without effect. I will help you get through, but it will still be unpleasant. The barrier is a mix of emotions, thoughts and memories of our race, thousands of years strong, held together with the strength of hundreds of spellweavers. You may see things you can make no sense of, things that make you feel emotions you did not know you had. Whatever you do, do not try and force the feeling away. You would die, and perhaps kill me through you."
"It is meant to kill trespassers, none of which could ever mean us anything but harm, for if they did not mean us harm, the magic would have turned them away from this place by now. You only managed to get here because you are with me."
Arealam nodded, a sense of trepidation rising in his gut. He looked sideways at his horse. "Won't-"
"No." She cut in. "Horse's minds, though beautiful, aren't as intricate as a human's or an elf's. She will not be affected." Arealam took her at her word, and let her pull the reins from his grasp. He laid his palm in her offered one, feeling her small, cool hand wrap around his own as if he were a child.
She stepped through the barrier, disturbing it slightly. A few seconds later, it had changed back, giving it it's transparent look again. She turned and looked at him through the haze. "Come." She said, and he was surprised to hear her voice unchanged. "Step through." Taking a deep breath, he abided.
It was if he had passed through a sheet of lukewarm water. The feeling was pleasant, and he was suddenly filled with a feeling of contentment and happiness that was not his own. A smile lingered upon his face. Moments later, though, this changed to one of such anger he thought he would die of the pressure forcing itself from within his skull.
Visions flooded into his mind. He could not make sense of them. One, an elfen child, climbing the roots of a massive golden tree. This quickly changed to another, of tongues of flame burning a city hidden within the trees to ashes, smoke pouring into the sky, changing again to one of a brute of a man burying a dagger in a weak-looking elf's chest...
He collapsed onto the leaf-strewn floor, body shuddering. His emotions changed rapidly, from hot, white anger to serene calm, to a mix of both and back to anger. A choked gurgle escaped from his mouth before a last gasp escaped him, and he lay still. The elf, shocked by the vigour of the effect the boundary had on him, knelt down beside him, laying her palm on his cheek.
She lifted her head up, looking into the canopy of leaves. "Genrde." She called into the trees. "Genrde altovisá!" Her voice echoed strangely in the seemingly empty forest.