Part Five: Traveling the edge of the Tylpea Mountains

Lasselanta looked before them. Large mountains topped with snowy caps filled their view and she sighed, happy. The edge of her home was in site, her land of Mori. If only they could travel through the heard of the mountainous land and see her true home, but she knew that wasn't possible. She was in a state of revere when she nearly ran into Arowyn and Belock, who were stopped.

Arowyn looked back at her. "We must cross that? Perhaps there is another path?"

Lasselanta watched Arowyn for a moment. The elf-maiden seemed truly worried about approaching the mountains and Lasselanta supposed that most of them had never seen mountains before.

"Never fear, Lady Arowyn, the Typlea mountains are dangerous, I will not hide that fact, but passable. I have lived here since my birth and know the paths well." Then added silently to herself, 'though this path is truly one of the most dangerous we will probably encounter.'

Marewyn came up even with them and laughed a little. "And I had thought the Lady Arowyn to be fearless."

"I have never claimed that, Marewyn, and I am not above proclaiming that I am afraid." Arowyn replied and Lasselanta rolled her eyes at the two.

Eluwen rode slightly behind them, content it seemed. "They are truly beautiful, Lasselanta."

"Thank you, Eluwen," Lasselanta smiled, thankful for her kindness. The smile quickly faded as they grew closer and entered into the dark path. "We often call this the path of the Dead."

Arowyn looked at her. "And why's that pray tell? Wait, never you mind that. I spoke not a word of it." She stopped in her sentence.

Lasselanta shrugged it off. She led them on, despite the feeling of apprehension amongst the group of maidens. She knew this land well and knew that if they did no pass the mountain paths before night fall, the creatures would be apon them.

But nightfall came and wearily they continued on. The horses were uneasy, yet gave no rider trouble save Arowyn's mind, to which she said nothing.

"We should rest," Marewyn announced and as if she expected the others to follow, prepared to dismount.

"No," Aranel said in but a whisper.

"It is not safe here." Lasselanta finished for the Jenisinian maiden.

"The horses are uneasy. We should not have come this way. They hear voices that contradict mine." Arowyn spoke, voice filled with fear. The looked back at her.

"It's the Tyl." Lasselanta muttered, dearly frightened.

"Tyl?" Marewyn settled back into her mount.

"Spirit beasts. They take the shape and being of any they cross. Only your spirit can kill them, or so I have been told." Lasselanta told them gravely.

"And how do we do that?" Arowyn asked.

Lasselanta shrugged. "Perhaps we should run." By silent command, the horses lept foward in response. But their escaping flee did not last long. Arowyn gave a cry first, grasping at her head and fell of her mount. Such had never been heard of by the Enorihin.

Eluwen grasped her throat and tryed desperately to keep her glowing sword in her hand. Her horse lept into the hair and she tumbled to the ground. "No!"

Aranel was lost, no longer did her wisdom comfort her as in so many days before this. She cryed aloud and wheeled her horse about, frantic.

Marewyn felt as if she were empty. She mourned for the emptiness, yet did not mourn for it because there was nothing to mourn. It was agony.

Lasselanta forgot all warrior trained skill and weilded her sowrd with a loseness unheard of. She felt as if she were a child in the midst of a battle ment for an adult.

"The Tyl!" She managed to shout.

"Make them stop!" Arowyn cryed in pain, still on the ground where she'd fallen. Eluwen grabbed her sword tightly, no one would take it from her hands.

"Spirits must fight spirits!" Aranel cried with what seemed the last of her wisdom. As soon as the agony came, it silenced and the maidens fell apon the ground still as if dead. No sign of an attack could be found, no sign of tragedy marked.

"Stop it! Stop shouting!" Arowyn called to the strange misty darkness.

"Stop what, my dear Lady of Enorias." And image appeared before her in the image of her long dead mother. "There is nothing to stop. You are safe now."

"Am I dead? Naneth (mother)?" Arowyn was in disbelief. If she was dead, what had killed her and how? Where were the others? Something wasn't right. Then the image faltered slightly and Arowyn's eyes narrowed. "You are not Naneth!"

The image laughed, a deep laugh. "Clever child of the horse-people, but you will not escape the deepths of your mind. You might as well be dead."

"It's my mind!" Arowyn replied.

"You no longer control it." It laughed again at her and her hands balled into her fists. Tears brimmed her eyes and hopelessness threatened to consume her. She didn't want to be trapped forever in her mind, she didn't want to die. "You can no longer win." It shouted at her, taunting her.

It was true, she couldn't. Yet apart of her ached to beat this foe and to prove that she could do it. She collapsed to her knees, crying into her hands. What had become of her?

"I am sure dear General Koid would hate to see such a thing." It spoke to her, softer this time. "He would hate to see the strong woman he looked after for so long wither into a helpless lady. He tryed so hard to keep you strong. You let him down."

"No! Leave him out of this!" Arowyn shook her head, the pain of her friend's death coming to the front after so many years.

"And what of your mother, sweet Elrioniel? She would not want to see her dear daugher so weak. She raised her to be strong, but then again, she wasn't strong herself. She was killed."

"Stop it!" She cried.

"And Saraniel, your dear half elven friend. She admired you, thought you could overcome anything. She looked up to you, now she'll have to look down.

"What of your father, the great King Elorfidion? Did he not crown you his heir? Now look, it appears his heir is not strong enough, not capable of ruling a kingdom if she cannot rule herself."

"Enough!" Arowyn cried with such a force that the beast drew back. "My failures are my strengths also!" Slowly she stood, finding the will to beat this beast. "I do not have to justify my actions to you! You, who cowers behind imagery and mockery! You," She advanced towards it. "You, who brings up memories of loved ones to knock one down! You, who attacks without being seen! No, I am the stronger person, I am the stronger race here! Begone from my mind, or I will smite you where you stand!"

Lasselanta awoke to a silent battle feild, but no figure walked about. How long had she truly slept? On either side of the valley stood deep with still soldiers, lines with spears up raised. The sight was terrible, for she saw two lands to which she recognized.

On the far side from her were soldiers upon horse-back with rich banners waving. They were clad in light armour yet stern faces. Amongst them was Queen Arowyn, proud upon her stead.

On the other stood soldiers clad in her own lands colors. Spears replaced their banners and wary faces stared back. Leading her own people was Lady Marwyn, face frowning and eyes staring only at Arowyn.

Lasselanta could not understand what was happening and when both sides began to race towards each other, feared that she would be crushed. Instead, the armies seemed to move around her. She could hear the clash of metal and she winced.

No one seemed to mind her as she wound her way along the battle grounds. At last, she came to Marewyn and Arowyn. Tears streamed down Arowyn's fair face and almost regrettfully she plunged the point of her bright sword into Marewyn's stomach. But Arowyn's victory, if it could be called that, came at a high cost. Behind her, Lasselanta saw herself and watched herself slay Arowyn, stabbing her in the back. It was a cowardly action, one she would never dream of doing.

Lasselanta's eyes grew wide. "This is not real! This is not real!" She clenched her eyes to find darkness about her. Confusion swept her up again before she realized it was the Tyl at work. "You will not defeat me! I am the Warrior Princess of Mori, Lasselanta and you will release me!"

Aranel open her eyes to find herself abed in Jenisin. Had she dreamt the whole quest? Created Eluwen, Marewyn, Arowyn, and Lasselanta? She could not have. It was all to real. There had to be some explaination.

"Awake, my love." Colinda gently touched her shoulder.

"Colindo, what day is this day?" Aranel asked urgently.

"Todays is the fourth of April, day of the council meeting that your father requested."

Aranel looked at him. The council? So her dream was that of foresight. Relief filled her. It was simply her gift, playing with her mind. Yet, it had seemed too real and felt so real. There must be answers within the dream, there must.

Slowly, she dressed, in the same garment she had worn the very day of the council in her dream. She was staring into her reflection when something seemed wrong. Colindo was the one to bring her the news, yet her father had told no one but herself. "Colindo wouldn't have known. Something is not right here."

"Sir," a young human soldier bowed his head before his superior.

"They have awaken, or are begining to."

The Captain nodded his head and moved aside the animal skin doorway

that divided his room from the sleeping maidens' room. He had thought

them an odd bunch. Each had a different ear, all pointed as was the

elven appearance, but each varying in sharpness.

He had not recognized four of the maids, though his eyes often strayed

to a dark haired maid of obvious woodland decent. The fair haired was their

princess, Lasselanta. He had heard that she had set out over a few

months ago on a journey that none were to know. She, he moved to a

different tent. A princess of this land must be treated with high

respect.

Indeed, as the soldier had said, they were awakening. One was even

curled into a ball in the corner, looking back at him catiously. Her

ebony hair was about her and her fierce eyes made him raise his chin.

He was in command.

"I assure you no harm."

"And of the others?" She asked.

"They will awake shortly." He told her, but she seemed

dissatisfied.

At that moment, the maiden that had caught his fancy, sat up, clutching

her throat. "Marewyn," she addressed the other, the feirced eyed

one. "Is it all over?"

"I believe so, Eluwen, but we are not out of danger."

Eluwen, that was her name. Her voice was sweet music to his years and

knew instantly whence she came. He remained silent, simply listening to

their conversation, when he snapped out of his dream upon seeing the

Enorihin elf sit up. He was not fond of her instantly, never was fond

of Enorihin elves.

"It was a dream, all a dream," she spoke. "I was afraid it was

real. Where are we? Who are you?" Her question directed towards

him.

It irked him that she spoke so, but guessed she was a high lady of

Enorias and so was used to knowing what was happening. "Where you are

is safely past the Paths of the dead, the edges of Mori. Who I am is

the High Captain of the Guard of Mori, Morco."

She bowed her head slightly to him in respect. "Well met."

"Where is Lasselanta?" Eluwen spoke and instantly he looked apon

her fair face.

"She is in her own tent, as proper of our royality." Morco

informed her.

"May we see her?" She asked.

"Of course, once the last of your party awakes." Morco bowed

deeply to Eluwen before speaking soft words to his guard and departed to

see about Lasselanta.

Morco returned some time later to see that Lasselanta had found her way to the other maids. They were sitting in a small group, fur blankets wrapped about their shoulders. He listened to them silently. The horse-woman, as he called her, spoke angerly in a foreign tongue that the others, save one, did not understand.

Morco watched Eluwen pleasently and occasionally caught her eyes, to which he looked away quickly.

It was some time later when he was alone in his tent that the lovely maiden came to him. He stood instantly and bowed his head.

"I am the Sheildmaiden of Loidennd, Lady Eluwen." She began softly with down cast eyes and slowly turned them up. He loved those eyes.

"I was sent by your Princess Lasselanta to request that you allow us to pass."

"Of course, whenever you wish. You are not being held here." He replied and she seemed shocked. "Though I wish you not to go." Morco didn't realize what he said until it had escaped his lips.

"If it were to my heart to decide, then I would not." Eluwen told him. "For though I know you not, I wish to know you."

"If there is any thing I can do, name it." He replied earnestly.

"I fear to ask of you this."

"Please, do so."

"I have long thought that I should have sent an errand rider to my father." She began. "If you are as taken with me as you say, then ride to my father, lord of Loidennd and ask for my hand and rally troops for a coming storm."

Her eyes were so pleading that he had to comply. He took her soft hands in his own rough hands. "I will do all this and more. I will be standing there with a boquet of flowers and a smile to welcome you home, when at last you do."

Eluwen smiled, but her eyes were somewhat sad. "I do hope to see you standing there again. But that may not be certain." She cast her eyes downward and remained silent until the bickering in the next tent flowed into theirs. "I must go. They cannot be in the company of each other long before they begin to argue." A smile danced across her face and she took out a long sheet of parchment. "It is a song I wrote. I will you to have it. Cormamin lindua ele lle (Until we meet again)."

Then she left him to stare after her before he looked down at the song." Lìrë, istnna ilya i nai na vanwa. (A song, to remember all that may be lost)" He read a line within the song.