It has been 8 long years since I lost them. It has been 8 long years we have had to barricade ourselves from the others. Everyone is losing hope. Things were supposed to improve and have instead only gotten worse. It has been 8 long years of hopelessness, fear and barely surviving.
I was born in the forest. I have longed to return. The last 8 years has only made that longing worse. My parents, Alane and Larandar, were sent here, shortly after I was born, as envoys to the proud humans and our snobbish cousins. The envoy set up on one of the few uninhabited islands within the deltas of Marienburg.
We set up houses and a community, even raising what little of plant life was there. I grew up with the trees planted upon our arrival. They were nothing compared to those that we left behind. How I long for those giant majestic trees. My sister was born without ever seeing those trees.
Gallina was born 15 years after our arrival; I was 20 at the time. There were not many elves close to my age. Most were either adults or Gallina’s age. I often got into trouble because I didn’t fit in. The human children would make fun of me and the young ones only wanted to play baby games. I once ran afoul of the human authorities. They beat me and dragged me back to our island. I was sure my parents would have a word with me over having to obey the humans because we were representatives of the Queen, but instead I was greeted by Ravandil Surefire. Ravandil was the only real guard we had and the only one we needed. You never saw him but he saw you. After the humans left, he seemed to appear out of the shadows near me.
“Torendil, you will never honor the Queen if you continue down this path.”
“Why should I care, we are never going back to the forest.”
“You think the Queen’s eyes are restricted to the forest? There is much you have to learn. I can teach you, come back here tonight.”
I came back that night. Ravandil was a Waywatcher and he wanted to train me as his apprentice. I am sure my parents wanted me to be diplomat like them but that was never my calling. I trained every night with Ravandil. He showed me everything it would take to be a Waywatcher and protector of our home. I was starting to appreciate our lives here but then everything changed. That was 8 long years ago.
It started with rumors of some human hero coming to “save” everyone from the current leaders. They besieged the town and the internal fighting got worse and I had to help Ravandil keep the others out of our community, it took all my training. I don’t know how long the siege had been going before it happened, the event that changed everything. Even during the attacks my parents still felt the call of their duty and continued to be envoys to the current leaders. The explosion could be seen the city over. My parents and a few of the other elders were in the tower during the explosion. I learned all of this a few hours after the explosion, Ravandil told me. I told my sister.
Things went from bad to worse. I had no time to grieve as the celebrations gave way to food riots. We had to fight for what little food we could find. Ravandil was in charge of our island and he decided to secure our borders. We built barricades to keep the others out. The only problem was that it kept us in too. It was up to Ravandil, myself and a few of the other elders to secure our island and gather the food we needed. This kept us busy and still some of the scum came to steal from us. We left the heads with arrows in each eye socket just outside the barriers to deter others. This only worked for so long as the food shortage became worse. Apparently some of the humans were blaming us for their problems, as if we even cared about them. There was a large riot that encompassed the entire city. We fought because that is all we could do. Keeping the humans out was impossible. Ravandil forced the young ones and myself into a cellar. The last thing he said to me was, “Keep them safe.” We could hear the fighting outside. I don’t know how long we waited but it was well after the sound of fighting had died away before we came out. Ravandil and most of the elders were dead. Most of the houses had been destroyed, a few even burnt down. The trees were in a similar state to the houses. I cried but the young ones didn’t understand as they had never seen the forests. A few elders survived the battle, hurt and the spirit broken. The riots passed by us and ended a few days later. From what I can tell, the hero, that came to “save” everyone, was found dead.
I was finally able to mourn the passing of all our brethren, my mentor and my parents. The city started back like it was before the war, but slowly declined from there. I decided to keep the barriers around our island up and even fortified them into walls. We barred ourselves off from the city. Gallina wanted to take up where our parents left off. I was reluctant to let her, but finally caved on one condition that I would be her personal bodyguard. The lords of the city disregarded her, not even granting her an audience. She was persistent and asked every day. The lords finally granted her an audience but did not listen to her requests for assistance. Gallina lost hope that day. I knew what I must do on that day. We were not wanted here. It is time to return to the forest. My people’s spirit is broken. It will cost a lot of money for moving and for supplies. I cannot just muster them all at once but I have been working on it for the better part of these last 8 long years. Making connections with some of the scum, but I will do whatever it takes to see that my people make it back to the forest. 8 long years have passed and several more years lie ahead but we will walk among the forest again.