The Elven brothers, Part I
The sky was a pure ochre glaze the night of the fire. Anyone witnessing
the tragedy from a distance would have been hard pressed to realize what
they saw. There should have been no question as to why no one seemed to
come to the Aster family’s aid, but Aluim and Veldren did question. Years
later they would come to forgive the horrible event that a group of raiders
perpetrated upon their quiet home, but not before they would vow to become
the heroes that were so needed that night.
Smoke, like some kind of living entity, rolled towards the Elvin children’s beds. Through the growing heat and sound of the blaze they slumbered unknowing of the danger so close. Just outside of their door their mother lay unconscious and dying, she had fought to get to her sons but the unforgiving smoke accosted her just as she had reached their door. She had been raped and left to die by a troupe of human raiders when they realized that she had no possessions worth stealing. If only their father hadn’t died when they were young the story of Aluim and Veldren Aster could have been different.
Black and intangible, the demon crawled over the young boys. The soot-filled substance worked its way into every orifice, choking and nearly killing the boys before one of them finally awoke. By pure happenstance, it was the young Aluim.
Panic in the form of a cold sweat washed over the young elf’s body making him go into a shiver that shook his small frame uncontrollably. He sat for a moment in a motionless torment not knowing what was going on. He saw his older brother, the person who had always protected him, with his life slipping away with every breath and felt his own fragile existence ebb. Then like a tiny babe he found a voice. “Atara!”, he screamed in his high pitched voice but his mother had already been taken by the ebony killer.
Veldren, hearing his brother’s cry awoke. His face was covered with the smoke’s darkness but Aluim could see his brother’s keen green eyes and he knew that he would know what to do. Veldren, however , was as panicked as the smaller boy as he watched the bright fire beneath their door rise and fall with anger ready to devour the rest of their tiny forest cottage. His narrow knuckles whitened as his grip tightened on his thick goose down blanket.
“Brother!”, he shouted at Aluim, “Mani is happening? Manke is Atara?”
Aluim’s face drooped with the sudden realization that Veldren was frightened and confused. His normally jovial visage was a pained mirror of desperation and sorrow. Finally a single wet tear fell from his emerald eyes and he resigned himself to his fate. His thoughts were then turned to his father and why he was taken from him so long ago. Maybe, he thought, this night would be the night that they would be reunited.
The fierce song of the fire pulsed through the elf’s pointed ears. He could hear the malicious hate with which it consumed his home and he could feel the enormous power of it as it pushed towards him. Suddenly and without warning the walls fell and searing burning embers flew towards the stunned boys, motivating them to flee the lost cottage. Veldren scooped up his younger brother and pulled him to safety.
That night, under the ocher glaze of the sky and the black billowing clouds, the two young Aster boys had needed a hero. They were alive, but just barely. Their mother had been lost and their home was now a pile of ashes. Veldren held his brother close to him until the morning came when Aluim’s tears no longer fell from his face and the fire no longer burned, save for the fire that now took hold in their hearts. The fire that egged them on to become the much needed heroes of Britannia.
When finally the sun did rise over the Aster boys, destiny had played its hand for better or for worse. It would be their fate. They were to become heroes to serve and protect the weak, to someday save those two boys that did not survive that night....the same two Elvin boys that they had been that night....who had died that morning... and who were born again as Elvin men from those children’s ashes with the light of a new day.