He gazed up at the Quariras Mountains. Named after the myth of the Quariath fairies. It is said that the fairies lived in the mountains guarding ancient relics and treasures from the world. He had read scrolls about the fairy king. A creature of light said to be able to grant unspeakable magical abilities. A wish master. He is determined to find the fairy king. He thought of his pilgrimage as a last chance to regain his place amongst the elves of his village. The old dusty scroll said that the fairy king lives with the Quariath fairy tribe. Their village is hidden somewhere in these mountains. It was not just the scroll that told the story. He has heard the tale since childhood and unlike most people he chose to believe in the fairy tale. Stories have been told about warriors and mages who have traveled the mountains and never came back. That did not scare him. Uncertainty was never something he feared. “The future is unwritten” he would say. “We must write it ourselves.”
Eckxio had traveled from the northern country called Burnahdujf. He had been preparing himself for this day. The day that he would explore the mountains and find the sacred grounds of the Quariath fairies. He was stubborn and was willing to die in this journey. He only had his pet fairy to accompany him.
He walked the dirt path that leads to the mountains. On his map, the path coiled around the three mountains. “This is it Nana. The path will take us to the mountain on the right. After we explore it we move to the one in the middle.” He told his paploo fairy. The furry creature flew around his neck and played with his pony tail. Eckxio slapped Nana with his hair playfully. “You know I don’t like that.”
The paploo fairy flutters four leaf like wings. It had small narrow eyes with a cat like nose. It swirled around Eckxio trying to annoy him. It was the only companion Eckxio had. Paploo fairies are rare and only three inches in size. It was a fluke of the gods for Eckxio to find such a rare creature.
He contracted his scrolls and puts them in a bag hanging from his waist. He adjusts his sword and shield on his back to make himself comfortable. He did not carry much, but his weapons were heavy. Elves don’t usually wield such long heavy weapons. They are known for their magic skills, archery and small swords. At only five feet in height and petite frames, elves were not made for muscle work. Eckxio was the only exception.
The elf was restless. He had incredible energy and stamina that he had built over the years. He would walk for days tirelessly, sometimes without food. Soon he arrived at rock bottom and was eager to start running up the path. Then he saw men in armor patrolling the very entrance of the mountain.
The queen’s soldiers were patrolling the gate. Eckxio recognized them. They were Borothorns. Low ranking puppets of the queen’s army as he phrased it. “Ironic that on the same day I try to go up the mountain the queen’s puppets patrol it.” Eckxio approached them and just as he reached the gate, they formed a phalanx in front of him.
“Soldiers of Verday. I am only going to say this once. Get out of my way” demanded the elf arrogantly. Nana hid behind his pointy ears. The Borothorns only grimaced. They were clad in green and bronze armor. Helmets shaped like beetle heads. Square shields and long double edge swords with no point, made for chopping.
“The queen has forbidden anyone from going up the mountain.” Said the leading Borothorn. “Anyone who dares to defy the queen’s rules will be seriously punished.”
“The mountains do not belong to the queen.” Eckxio remarked. “She dares call the mountains her own.”
“Listen, you scar faced half man.” The Borothorn said.
“I am an elf.” Eckxio quickly replied.
“I don’t care. No one is allowed to go up the mountain until further notice. Your journey must be postponed. Come back another day, elf.”
“I demand to speak with your Leahthorn.” The elf stood his ground.
“I am afraid she is busy. You can complain all you want, but if you want to go up the mountain you must come back another day or taste our steel.” The Borothorns stepped closer to Eckxio as if to threaten him. Eckxio was not afraid. They were bigger than him; about one foot taller and their armor was thicker. They could all surround him and slice him to piece with their large swords, but Eckxio stood confidently. He was sure of himself. He leered at them and took a step closer. He was ready to draw his sword and shield on his back. “Listen. I have to go up the mountain. Not tomorrow or the day after. I am not going to get in the way of your scavenger hunt.”
“You are a cocky stubborn one aren’t ya.” The leading Borothorn put a smirk on his face.
“Tell me what the queen is looking for. It can’t be so important that you are blocking the way.” Eckxio asked impatiently.
“That is not for you to know little elf. I will give you one last warning before I…”
“What in terra is the trouble!” Yelled someone from within the phalanx. The Borothorns broke the phalanx and from the middle emerge a woman. Her armor was different from those of the Borothorn soldiers. Her armor was round, firm and with flower embroidery. Her armor was colored with a green base, yellow edges and blue highlights. Her helmet was peak and carried long white plumes on the apex. It was an elegant steel cloth. She sported her blond curls cascading over her pauldrons. Her eyes were a cold blue and leered at Eckxio. “Identify yourself.” She commanded.
“My name is Eckxio of Evee Iris village in the Spirituah forest. I want to go up the mountain path. I would like to know why you are blocking the way to the mountains.”
“The queen is having us search the mountains. That is all I can say.” Said the blond woman.
“Daneera is my name.” She finished his sentence. “Leahthorn of the queen’s army.”
“If you won’t allow me to explore the mountains may I at least know what you are searching for?”
Daneera approached Eckxio. She removed her helmet and more blond mane fell on her pauldrons. Her face was sharp and her stare was cold and serious. She was nine inches taller than Eckxio. “I will give you one last warning.” She said. “Walk away from here now unless you want to be one foot shorter. There are fifty of us and only one of you.” The Leahthorn walked away and Eckxio just stood with arms cross. He refused to walk away.
“I can find another way up the mountains you know.” Eckxio said.
“Go ahead. All gates of the Quariras Mountains are close. Unless you love to climb then there is no way.” Daneera told Eckxio as she walked away. He gritted his teeth and began to seethe. He was at the peak of berserking through all the soldiers.
Suddenly a Borothorn came running towards Daneera. His armor clanked as he ran. Unlike the other Borothorns, he wielded a spear. “Leahthorn Daneera, we have found something that could lead us to the Quariath fairies we have been looking for.”
Daneera quickly jerked her head at the soldier and grimaced. “You fool!” she exploded and drew her saber. Eckxio put a long devilish smirk on his face. “I had a feeling we were searching for the same thing.” He drew his sword from his back. The white steel shines with sunlight. He carried his shield in his right hand. It was also made of white steel with the word “faith” written in elfin codex on its center. The Borothorns drew their swords with a long hissing sound of steel. “Sorry little elf, but you are not allow to know.” Said Daneera with a dirty smirk. “We will have to get rid of you if you refuse to leave.”
“Nana lend me some fire mana.” He told his fairy. The tiny paploo then swirls around Eckxio’s left hand over his sword, granting him mana from one of its four round belly buttons.
The gorgon eye on Eckxio’s fist opens its eye and absorbs the mana. The Borothorns ran to attack. Eckxio lifts his sword over his head, pointing it to the heavens. With sunlight the white steel creates a blinding flash. The light stung like a slingshot to the eyes. All Borothorns surrounding him were blinded by the white flash. Eckxio quickly ran to the gate to avoid any bloodshed but then Daneera stopped him. She swung her elegant saber with carved roses on its steel. “I knew you were looking for the Quariath fairies. What does the queen want with them?” Eckxio asked and lashed his white steel.
“I could ask you the same thing, stupid elf.” Daneera blocked with her saber. She swung her blade fast with power. It was light and rapid. Eckxio’s sword was powerful but heavy. He blocked with his sword and Daneera’s saber vibrated. The Leahthorn swung again and Eckxio slapped her saber away with his shield then he swung and wounded her arm. His sword and shield were heavy but had learned to battle with such weight. The sword and shield were made of rare white steel called zeustous, said to be the steel of the realm of light in the northern country. It was forged by dwarves. Eckxio had spent a year studying weaponry with the lovable dwarves.
He was a hard target since he was shorter and moved rapidly. Speed of an elf, physical strength of a human. Daneera stepped away from Eckxio. She thought that her sword had broken after that collision. “What kind of steel is that?” She asked, her eyes bloomed in awe.
“Sorry, but I won’t tell you. It is my little secret.” Eckxio said with a sneer. Suddenly, the Borothorns charged at him. They had recovered from the effect of the blinding light. Five of them charged at Eckxio. “Nana, air mana,” he told his pet fairy. The little paploo quickly swirled around Eckxio, granting him more mana and then hid inside his chest armor. The elf blocked two swords with his shield and swung at the neck of a Borothorn. Blood sprayed and fell on Eckxio’s silver armor.
Suddenly Eckxio’s left foot sunk into the ground. Earth Magic, he assumed. The Borothorns began to hurl rocks. With his shield, he blocked most attacks and took damage from behind. One Borothorn ran at him with an arm covered in gravel. The Borothorn swung, Eckxio ducks and then climbed over the arm and on to the back of the soldier. He sunk the white steel and pierced the armor followed by the sound of breaking bones. He jumped off the Borothorn and onto another driving his blade through armor again. Eckxio’s silver armor was now covered in blood.
“Kill him he is just one man. Use your magic!” Daneera yelled at her soldiers. It infuriated her watching how one small elf was able to take down many of her men. Not even magic was able to stop the elf. “I have never seen an elf this strong. He is not even using his own magic.”
Eckxio kept on dodging attacks. He rolled on the ground, jumped and sunk his blade into another Borothorn. They hurled large rocks at him with earth magic. His shield protected him and no rock was able to dent his shield of white steel.
“I am getting tire of this. Haven’t you had enough?” Eckxio said as he fought. Then something wrapped around his neck. He thought it was a rope, but it was too damped and leathery to be ropes. He looked to his side and saw Daneera pulling on a vine. The vine constricted his neck and chokes him. The Leahthorn pulls and the elf loses air and balance.
“I am going to put you in a cage and throw you into the dungeons of castle Verdeh.” Daneera promised. She pressed more of her mana into her spells and more vines whipped from within her vambrace and wrapped around Eckxio’s body. Borothorns took advantage and aimed to kill the elf. Then a ball of fire began to swirl around Eckxio’s body and burnt the vines. When the Borothorns saw fire they immediately withdrew. The fireball swirled around Eckxio’s body creating a ring.
“Scare of a little fire.” Said the elf wiping the sweat off his forehead and slides his finger down the scar that ran from his upper right forehead, down the nose and to his left cheek. The scar brought a painful memory, but he quickly shoved it. “Thank you Nana” he said and the furry creature hid in his silver armor.
“Just me and you then blondy” he challenged.
“I will enjoy digging your grave little elf.” Daneera said and licked her sweaty lips. Eckxio dashed with great speed. Daneera gasped at the speed of the elf. He thrust his white sword and she tried to parry it. She managed to deflect one blow and then went for his neck. Like the wind, Eckxio lashed his sword and sent Daneera’s saber flying. The saber then pierces through the armor of one of her soldiers. Just as Eckxio was going to deliver the final blow, Daneera summons a wall of earth. She forces the ground to rise with her mana and stopped Eckxio’s attack before it could pierce her.
“Luck of the gods, blondie” Eckxio mocked. “Your blood would have been mine.”
“I am sure you know this already but you are on the queens blacklist.” Daneera said from behind her wall of earth.
Eckxio surveyed his surroundings. Borothorns lie dead on the ground. His silver chest plate was covered in blood. He felt Nana shivering inside his armor. I am sorry Nana. He looked at his sword and saw his reflection on the white steel. The Tharos sword and shield. That is what the dwarves named it. This is so redundant, he told himself. Why don’t I just run? He realized that he was enjoying slaying men. He enjoyed killing humans. He took his anger out on them.
He raised the Tharos sword over his head pointing to the heavens. With the light of the sun, it created a blinding flash. All his foes were now blinded. Eckxio ran towards the gate of the mountains. He got so caught up in battle that he almost forgot why he was there. He ran until his foe was far from sight. I spilled unnecessary blood. The Tharos sword did not have to wound them. He had forgotten of the magic of his sword. He could choose for his sword to cut through flesh or not. He realizes the death of those men could have been prevented.
Up a pair of wooden stairs he went, covered in moss. Although the soldiers were far from sight Eckxio just kept running. As he ran he began to think of five years ago. His mind took him back to the past when he first left the elfin village of the Spirituah Forest.
He remembers being the only elf in the village without the gift. The gift that every elf had. The gift of a long life span. The deep connection with nature and the four elements of fire, water, air and earth. Elves were gifted with great magical power. Their magic was greater than that of a human. Their connection with the natural energy was deeper and purer yet Eckxio struggled tremendously with this aspect. Not only that but he was not healthy like the other elves. He got sick too often and his mother had to keep an eye on him. Even his younger brother Lannie had to take care of him. Eckxio grew up watching all the other elves in the village learning magic, casting spells except him. His parents spent a great deal of time trying to teach him to connect with the natural energy. His peers mocked and humiliated him. They hinder him for being the only elf to ever be born without the gift. They called him “gray blood.” A term for non magic elves.
His brother Lannie grew jealous of him. His parents would give Eckxio all the attention and Lannie was left alone. Lannie was a prince, a musician and was skilled with air and water magic. Lannie attracted many girls of the village. He lived the life that Eckxio could not yet he still envied his brother. Although Eckxio had to live without the gift he kept his chin up and his spirit high. He never lost hope. He never lost faith. He was stubborn and believed he would one day learn magic like the rest of elves. It was difficult for him. He barely had friends. The other elves would bully him and cast spells on him. Eckxio only knew hand to hand combat.
He got the idea of developing a hand to hand combat for the elves. However no one supported him. Elves were known for their magical abilities, not for physical strength or hand combat. The elves were smart creatures and did things intellectually. Eckxio was like a human among them.
By the age of fifteen, Eckxio was really depressed and felt great emptiness. Until one day, his brother Lannie told him of a tome that his father kept hidden away in the dungeons of the village. It was called the Grimoire of the Earth. A book of earth spells that he could use to learn on his own. It is said that the grimoire was written by the apprentices of the pioneer of magic. The legendary Prodigus Kollos.
Eckxio went looking for the grimoire in the dungeons of the village. He found a passageway that lead to an underground chamber behind the throne of the king. Inside the chamber, he found the grimorie. Eckxio ran away into the forest with the book and began to read it. His brother Lannie had sent guard elves to capture him. His own brother had framed him. No one believed Eckxio. Being the only non magic elf, it would make sense for him to steal the grimoire of the earth.
Afterwards, his father, King Sherwood exiled Eckxio to never return to the village again. The grimoire he had stolen was believed to be sacred and an important artifact passed down from generations of elves. His father did not want to exile Eckxio, but the people of Evee Iris wanted the ungifted elf out of the village and so they got their wish.
Ever since then Eckxio has been living in exile. A loner. A drifter of the Verday country.
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