BY SHAUN LAFOUNTAIN
As the morning light shined in through his window, Kenin awoke from his heavy slumber and stretched, rubbing the sands from out his eyes. Outside, the elven villagers of Tomanu were on their daily businesses of farming, conversing, and transporting goods; this hauling of goods outside the village was known by the guild to be a treacherous journey, one that Kenin had never experienced before but heard many tales spoken of during the summer’s festivities. Some of the younger elven men didn’t make it back alive. Standing up from his bed, Kenin looked into the dresser’s mirror and combed his long blond hair; he could hear the marketplace thriving from the inside of his hut. No doubt, the merchants were earning their share of gold and silver. An elven short sword rested in the corner of the hut and next to it was a leather sheath. The insignia of Tomanu rested on the handle of the sword and its emblem rested on the sheath. Prepared to face the day ahead, Kenin took hold of these items and adorned them to his side; he had yet to face combat but knew the potentials given the latest threats.
The lands on the outer reaches of Tomanu had grown accustomed to the evil presence of black magic and murder. Many ages ago, the elf wizard Mahaldrin had cast his spells to cloak the village of Tomanu from the threats of humans and dragons alike. The spells he cast ensured the village complete invisibility, but greed and power took hold of Mahaldrin, and he left Tomanu to pursue his own malicious self-interests, black magic for personal profits to be specific. Mahaldrin left Tomanu vulnerable, susceptible to the attacks of the dragons and to the raids of the barbarians from the east. The dragon’s ferocities knew no bounds, and Tomanu had been scorched by the dragon’s breath on more than one occasion.
The dragons forced the elves to relocate, moving them further and further east. Angered by the thefts of gold from their lairs by some of the elven teens, the dragons flew over Tomanu at low altitudes, leaving the entire village ablaze with men, women, and children running for their lives. Some dragons attacked by land, striking villagers with fire, claws, tails, and teeth. For some time, the elves lived nomadic lives while running from the dragons, packing as many salvaged belongings as they could and headed across the merciless terrain towards the east. But the barbarian raids from the east were the worst of all.
The barbarians were vicious in their conquests: raping, pillaging, and murdering the elves, all for the conquest of new lands and properties to claim as what they felt was rightfully theirs. The elves refused to go after being thwarted by the dragons, so they stood and fought the best they could, but in the end the barbarians butchered nearly everyone at Tomanu. For the few remaining survivors, starting anew meant relocating again. When the elves of Tomanu moved up north, the barbarian attacks subsided. The dwarves in the mountains of Azaskaban made sure of this, as their hatred for human barbarians guaranteed the elves sanctuary. There was a new war being waged; a war between the dwarf miners and the human barbarians. This was around the time when Kenin was born in the new reinvigorated village of Tomanu.
Kenin stepped from out the front door of his hut and into the hustle bustle of the market streets. A few families walked along with some elven children skipping and frolicking at their parent’s feet like mischievous young pets. Kenin was tall and lanky, but still intimidating in his presence. Some villagers stepped aside as he passed along, other elven men stared him down as if looking for a fight they couldn’t possible offer him. Kenin preferred to ignore the jealous rather than engage in childlike combat with unruly weaklings. There was a certain pecking order even amongst the elves, and it was an order Kenin wanted no part of.
Through his peripheral vision, Kenin could see a young elf approaching him, a man he had never seen before until today. The man stared and fidgeted, appeared to be nervous in the confrontation with the six foot six Kenin. Kenin was cautious, uncertain if this man was a true threat to him as this man’s bizarre behaviors unfolded. Walking further along, the man ran up to Kenin in a feverish pace. Before Kenin could even take hold of his sword and sheath, the man forced open Kenin’s hand and thrust a scroll into it.
“She lives, Kenin,” he whispered softly. “And she stills loves you.” The man ran off through the crowd as fast as he appeared. Kenin clenched the scroll and watched as the mysterious young man disappeared within the roaring current that was the elven people.