The Legend of Elle

Prologue

The year 11,284 AP (After Peace)

The tolling of the school bell penetrated the dreams of the mermaid. The elderly woman opened her strange eyes slowly to remember exactly what she was doing in a school. The years just seemed to multiply as she glanced around her history room; the walls were covered with scenes from famous battles. What the ancient would never tell her students is that most of them were paintings that she had done when her hands were not so gnarled and scarred. The wise eyes of the elder fell on her first painting of the war scenes, and the crowning achievement of her painting career, the one of her only true friend Elle. Elle had seen through the mermaid's shyness and befriended her when she was new to the area and had taught her a useful little spell. A spell to transform her beautiful scaled tail into a pair of legs, at least for a short time; a spell she now employed in order to teach her first class in another 4 minutes.
The old woman stirred her bones to get to her desk in order to hide the small pool in the corner of her room by pressing the hidden button on the bottom of the wood paneling. The old machinery groaned into movement and effectively hid the pool under a false floor. Her knees creaked as she settled into her chair. A sigh escaped her lips as she looked around the empty desks thinking longingly of her bed. Regardless if you're 247 or 18,286, 7:15 a.m. is a disgusting time to start class.
The door opened and a white-haired girl stuck her head into the classroom. The Orma flashed a quick smile and asked, "Is this Madam Cibic's history class?" The old mermaid's eyes showed a small trace of amusement as she asked, "Who wants to know?" The Orma girl hesitated and finally said, "I'm Moni, Horu's daughter, of the Second Kay-eng of Hoshi." The mermaid's eyes hardened slightly, it was true that she had a Moni, Horu's daughter, on her class list but Madam Cibic had had no idea that one of her students would be a cousin of the Orma royal family. The year is the 5,273 of the Hoshi family's reign and the fact that Moni was of the Second Kay-eng, or rank, of Hoshi meant that she would be the bluest blood in the classroom. Second Kay-eng also means that Moni is a member of the family second in line for the throne. "In answer to your question, yes, this is my history class. I am Madam Cibic and I would like to know what place in Second Kay-eng that you hold," the disguised mermaid said.
"I am first of the Second Kay-eng and there is only my younger sister after me. We are fifth and sixth in line for the Orma throne," the Orma hesitated and finally said, "I'd prefer if you didn't broadcast that information though, it would be. distracting to the other students." The old woman finally smiled and said, "I will do as you request as I would have asked that of you anyway. I'd suggest that you find a seat as class begins in another three minutes."
Moni stepped inside the class room and found a desk midway into the room and on the side farthest from the windows; she took the very end seat of her row and got her notebook out of her bag. The other students filed in with more noise and hubbub than the old mermaid had thought possible. As soon as the bell rang silence fell, that is silence except for the rustlings of paper and bags.
The professor stood in front of her students for a moment, sizing them up for the workload she had planned; some would most definitely not complete every assignment, and she identified the possible troublemakers by their smug expressions. She cleared her throat and addressed the class, "Good morning students." They replied only partially awake, "'Morning."
The old woman's eyes twinkled as she looked at her less than thrilled first period, "I know it's early but I do have some interesting historical events in store for the year and I expect you all to be here on time and ready to learn. I'm sure that you will all be pleased to note that I did not say awake. After all, I know people who have absolutely zero love for history and since I know that this history class is required I'm not going to require that you all become enthusiastic to come to class every day. I do expect you to do the work and I hope that I can keep you entertained enough for you to, at least, be awake during class.
"I'm sure that most of you are familiar with current events. For those of you who have no idea what's going on you'll just have to listen more often because current events are not what we are going to cover in this class. In fact, this class will be challenging for those of you who do not listen and for those of you who have 'better' things to do with your time. I believe that everyone here can pass this class with flying colors. I've done enough talking so if someone would answer my question you won't have to listen to any more of my 'first-day-of-class' speech. Would someone please name all six races of elementals?"
No hands were forth coming.
"You can answer that question or you can do a full-out essay on the elementals, I'd suggest answering the question," Madam Cibic said with a threatening tone.
One hand raised itself tentatively.
"I'm sure that more of you know what the six elemental races are," the disguised mermaid said with a frown. "Answer my question or do a seven page essay."
The classes' eyes boggled, none of them were looking forward to homework on their first day of class. Several more hands joined the first to hang negligently in the air.
Madam Cibic scowled at her class and said, "In the future I'll expect more of a response from the entire class but for now. you, in the center of the third row. Answer the question." The old woman called on one of the people whose hand was not in the air and the boy looked around him to see who was going to answer the question. "Come, come boy. I'm sure that even you can tell me what the six elementals are," the disguised mermaid said. The boy assumed a confident air, "Zelati, Orma, Damiliahi, Rafita, Vay and Queja."
The old woman frowned, "I'm completely of the old school attitude so when you answer one of my questions you will stand up to answer. So stand boy."
The boy smirked and stood, "Orma," Madam Cibic interrupts, "Your name and then the answer." He seemed to be fighting not to laugh but when he spoke his voice was steady, "Zamel Garih and the six elemental races are Orma, Zelati, Damiliahi, Vay, Queja, and Rafita." With each race he named the boy, Zamel, made a different face and as is predictable the class erupted in laughter.
"Do you all find something amusing?" The old Zelati questioned. An instant hush fell over the class.
"I suppose that you think you are funny Zamel Garih. Am I right?" The wise woman's eyes flashed. "In point of fact Madam Cibic I do not think that I am funny at all," Zamel made a theatrical pause. "I believe that I am hilarious!" The boy exclaimed and the entire class erupted. "Do you all really want to spend your time writing an essay on the elemental races?" The old Zelati questioned harshly. Complete silence fell in the classroom. The steely voice of the fragile woman continued to roll over the deathly silent class, "Did you all just find something to laugh at? I can give you something far more amusing, a 7 page essay on the elemental races. How does that sound? Amusing no? You all aren't laughing did you not like my joke? I know that I would not have appreciated any of my teachers assigning such a project on the first day but my job is not to make you enjoy this class; my job is simply to teach you all history and teach you I will. If I must discipline the entire class just because of one delinquent child I will. My punishments mean that everyone of you will remain at this school until I am satisfied that you all know the material. You all seemed to have forgotten that this class is required and I will not tolerate being ignored in my own class room!"
The woman's voice softened and she said in a gentler tone, "However it is my goal to teach you all in a style and way that have made my career enjoyable and it is not my intention to give you any homework on this first day. If you would all show me respect than you can expect like in return; if I get respected then you might look forward to an easier class for first period. If you all choose to not pay attention than I can promise that you will all be here next year." The woman than turned to the boy who caused the scene," By the way Zamel, you may be seated but remember that I hold the final say in this class. The headmistress, the superintendent, the deputy head, and even several of the Hoshi have been my students over the years. If you have a bone to pick about the way I teach you will have a hard time convincing those in charge that I have lost my touch."
The students mouths dropped at the list of such influential people being taught by such a strange teacher, Zamel even fell over. "Now, now," the disguised Zelati said, "That's nothing to get excited over and boy if you don't sit properly in your chair you will be spelled into it." Zamel instantly got into his chair properly. "That's better. Now then back to the discussion on the elemental races, who can tell me what the main qualities of a Vay are? Well actually first I want every Vay in the room to stand." Five students rose from their seats to be acknowledged as their true selves. "Right then which of you will tell me the main qualities of your race?" The frail woman said. The five students all glanced at one another and one by one they sat leaving one girl standing. Cibic gestured pre-emptily for the girl to speak, "Come, come child. Don't be shy."
"I'm not," came the firm reply, "I am merely debating on what point to bring up first. My name is Kanoni A'marie and the Vay are the people of the air. The typical Vay has a set of beautiful wings," Kanoni accompanied her words with the action of spreading her wings. "As you can see most Vay have wings which could be called gossamer and filmy yet they are surprisingly durable and can withstand even tornado force winds. The Vay are a passive aggressive type of people and guard the secrets of our element jealously. I don't know what else it is that you want to know about the Vay. You'll have to inform me if I have missed any information that you find important," the girl finished and stood politely at attention for Madam Cibic to speak.
"Well done, you brought the classes attention to many key points which will come up later in the study of our history. You may be seated," the professor said. "Now then I would like every Damiliahi to stand." This time there were eight of the element present in the class. "I would like one of you to tell the rest of the class about the Damiliahi so choose your representative yourselves," the old woman creaked into her chair and waited for the students to choose who would speak. Once again the students standing sat one by one until only one student stood only this time it was a boy to volunteer. "My name is Dmitri Zamir and the Damiliahi are the earth element of the six races. Unlike the rest of the elements we Damiliahi are mortal. We of the Mother also number far more than any of the other elementals as We are the flowers, trees, plants, animals, elves, wood nymphs, and druids of the world. We live closely involved with every race most especially with the Zelati and the Vay but We do not limit ourselves to anything. We Damiliahi are most understanding of humans and are content in our roll in the grand Wheel of all things." When the boy had finished he sat down without being told and awaited the response of his teacher.
The old woman's eyes glinted with humor as she said, "I can tell by the look of you Dmitri that you are one of the elves of the Damiliahi but I am curious to know if any of the People of Her that are in animal form at this school." "I do know of a few that are currently attending the Academy but I do not recall any names being mentioned to me," he answered. "Well then I had better keep my eye out. In any case we should move on to the Queja, so will every Queja in the room please stand," the woman asked and one by one three students got to their feet.
"Well I suppose that it shouldn't take too long for all of you to decide who will do the speaking so make your selection." She was interrupted by one of the girls standing. "We know Madam Cibic and have already chosen. I am Zemara and I will be speaking for the Queja." The other two students sat and Zemara continued, "The people of darkness are all known as Queja and the most well known fact is that the Orma and Queja have been fighting for thousands of years. What is not as well known is that some Queja posses immense power. Suffice it to say that some Queja can shape-shift, create things with their mind, and move from place to place in the space of a few seconds."
At the end of her explanation the girl sat and looked around the room apparently not caring what she saw but Madam Cibic could see the way her eyes darted from face to face taking in who was shocked by the information and who was not. "Well then, I suppose that we should be moving onward. The next race I want to stand is the Rafita," the old woman said and at her words four students stood, including Zamel Garih. "You should know the drill by now so I won't say it all again." The students all caught each other's eyes and one by one all sat except for Zamel. "I should have known," the woman sighed under her breath. "Well?" She questioned louder.
"Do I really have to repeat my name as you already know it?" The boy asked. "Yes you do," the woman reproved. The Rafita sighed gustily; "Well it was worth a try." He obviously collected himself as he stood up straight, "I am Zamel Garih and I am one of the fire people, the Rafita. And the only thing I am allowed to reveal about the Rafita is that our tempers burn as fast and as hot as that of whose image we normally take." The boy sat and grinned mischievously at Madam Cibic. "Well that's not everything that I wanted you to cover but it will have to do as you are forbidden to reveal more about the Rafita. For the classes information the Rafita jealously guard their secrets and will kill anyone they think is too curious.
"Well then I suppose that the Zelati should be next as they are the only thing that could possibly cool the temper of a fire elemental. So you all know what to do," the disguised Zelati said. Madam Cibic discovered to her chagrin that there was only one Zelati whom she was teaching. The girl didn't stand but instead raised one hand, "Madam Cibic I apologize for not standing but as you can see it is physically impossible for me too." The woman smiled and said, "Yes I know I wasn't expecting you to. So what can you tell us about the Zelati?"
The girl smiled a hesitant smile, "I am Kalista Leahon and the Zelati are the people of water. The Zelati ordinarily take the shape of a human's idea of a mer-person with a few changes such as the tattoos that cover our bodies. The tattoos are really a history of the Zelati that none but another of us can understand. We live underwater in cities that every other race has found unexplorable and unless one of us takes you to the city you will never find it. We are a mysterious and recluse people who do not meddle in the affairs of others. I think that that about covers it Madam Cibic." Cibic smiled and nodded, "Yes that does just about cover it, I would only like to point out that the Zelati are generally laid back and calm unless something were to happen to their homes underwater and then you will discover exactly why humans fear tsunamis." The class chuckled and Madam Cibic threatened, "You may think that it's funny now but just wait until it happens to you." An instant hush fell over the class as they all contemplated what would happen if a giant wave were to swamp their home.
"On a lighter note, if you'll all pardon the pun, the Orma are the last race to be called so will all of the Orma please stand," the disguised Zelati said. Fifteen students stood at the woman's words and among themselves they decided who would speak, as it turned out it was the young girl from earlier, "I am Moni, Horu's daughter. The Orma are the people of light and as Zemara implied earlier our sworn enemies are the Queja. My people are upstanding and proud and will never admit defeat, well I'm sure that you can all imagine why that would be a problem with married couples," the class chuckled gratefully at this different approach to a race. "Luckily not many couples I know of have that problem but it does kind of make you wonder. Humans know the Orma as angels just as they know the Zelati as mer-people and the Queja as demons but as we all know humans can make mistakes in their portrayal of things they never actually get to see. For example, most Orma do not have wings but I suppose that the addition wouldn't entirely be bad, in any case we all know that our laws forbid a human from ever returning to their people if they see one of us. The exceptions of course being those near death and those who have been lost long enough to become delirious." Moni finished what she was saying and sat down amidst the applause of the other Orma in the classroom along with a few the rest of the class. Madam Cibic noted down those who weren't clapping just to identify a possible future conflict.
"Well said Moni, now then to continue on with important information that you need to know for this class," Madam Cibic said. "As you might have noticed Dmitri mentioned in passing that he was 'of the Mother' this is a significant part of any history. Why is this so important? Well the reason is the structure of our entire world.
"The highest authority in our world are the duo of Father Time and Mother Earth. The fact that Dmitri said that he was 'of the Mother' refers to the fact that the Damiliahi are under the express direction of the second of the parents of everything. The next highest in the hierarchy of our society are Athena, Gwenynwyfar, Yemana, and Samdarman. They are, of course, the three goddesses Justice, Judgement, and Temperance and the final one is the only god that humans are at all familiar with, he is the god of dreams. Some ancient human civilizations did discover the names of the goddess' but the information has since been discredited by the foolish human 'single god' belief. In any case, I will not poke holes in the human idea of religion until a later date for it becomes important during the study of our history," at this point the bell interrupted Madam Cibic's lesson. The students instantly stood to leave, "Sit back down!" The ancient Zelati's voice was cold and brittle; "You may only leave this class when I excuse you. The bell has no control over when you leave this class, I do." The woman paused, "When you are all seated I will release you but not until then." The students who were standing sat and Madam Cibic waited for ten seconds and then said, "You may go."
The students all filed out of the class talking about the lesson. The old woman sighed and massaged her temples. The rest of her day was boring and dull, only her first period showed any talent. But by the end of seventh period the final bell was a relief. She had forgotten just how exhausting it was to maintain the spell. Well, she thought, at least I don't have to teach any more classes today. Madam Cibic collected her things and wondered exactly how she would begin next lesson; in any case that was tomorrows problem. She got to her feet and locked her door as she left.