Beauty. One word. One simple word. Yet, in six letters none other element of language conveys such a complex plethora of meaning. Art, music, nature, struggle, emotion. Many different aspects of existence. All ever present in every day life and each one's viewpoint on the earlier mentioned simple word made an appearance the day of my birth.
Let's focus on another word with respect to the introduction of my spirit into the Alfheim: Tradition. All elven societies share this. Some make reference to the idea with reverence, using powerful phrases like undying heritage and unyielding honor. Others use a different inflection when discussing the term (usually whenever the Svartálfar are mentioned). During these times, one can hear utterances of foul practices and cruel deceit. Fortunately, my Ljósálfar kin adhere to the niceties of the former.
The island city of Shael'La is a certain type of tradition personified. As with all Ljósálfar societies, the place of my birth is located in the middle of a storm-riddled sea. It combines two of the most revered qualities that my people yearn for; the most stunningly gorgeous yet notoriously dangerous maelstrom of the elements known to all of Fey-kind. Equal days of calm, sun-filled skies transforming the silver-sanded beaches into miles of shining swords shearing the lush, emerald forests from the ever shimmering sapphire that is the sea. Equal nights of unbridled, thundering tempests daring to mask the many tiny opal eyes that adorn the ebon face of night. One soothing the soul with promises of uninterrupted, peaceful reflections. The other challenging the spirit with warnings of unpredictable, chaotic opportunities. This very location exemplifies the concept that i was created from, born into, and eventually would become. The agent of duality.
Most noble families in elven societies are allowed special privileges, so the dictations of the passer-bys from both realms of Alfheim and Midgard have confirmed, and Ljósálfar society strays very little from the norm with this respects. The esteem household of Ora'vion resides in, what is referred to by the “commoners” as, Shina La'vor den Kinre.
Each residential silver spire of this appropriately nicknamed location stabs into the stratosphere parting the clouds they pierce through the dense trees that engulf my home city. Every tower shares certain qualities. The most intriguing of these similarities is the shape. There are twenty-five floors to each home. The first ten from the mount of the spire down are all rounded into perfect circles. These floors provide a panoramic viewpoint of the surrounding sky and land. The eleventh floor down juts out from the oblong pattern in a rectangle shape that comes out horizontal to the horizon created by the meeting of sky and sea. The remaining fourteen floors adhere to a square-like formation for each floor until the whole construct enters the ground. The effect created from the mechanization of elven architecture resembles gargantuan platinum longswords thrusting into the forest as if launched down by a band of god warriors to claim that territory as their resting place. Thus, the common translation of the Ljósálfar name of Shina La'vor den Kinre is Shining Swords of God-kin.
There is a specific reason for the structure of these interesting “swords”. Each of these floors represent a level of experience for the Ljósálfars that call that building their domicile. Contrary to one's most basic notion, the levels of education descend instead of ascend. Upon completion of a year of learning, the aspiring protégé transcends to the next floor all the way down until they reach maturity, both within themselves and with respects to their understanding of Freyr’s teachings.
The very butt of the handle of Ora'vion's sword is where my life begun and it is a special tale indeed. For on the night of birth in a noble's household, a special ritual commences that determines the destiny of the newest addition in the family. The process of bringing a life into the world of Alfheim is quite chaotic. Magical influences are always exerting their will on the very fabric of reality, pouring their spiritual might into every aspect of existence. The two most prominent deified figures in my society are Thor, god of storms and fighting, and Freyr, god of elves and beauty. I bring these individuals into the light due to the entrancing event that transpires on nights like this one.
Thor’s hand is always striving to snatch an potential artist or wizard from the delicate fingertips of Freyr. The pair made a wager long ago, it is said, in that a competition between elements of their powers will determine the course Ljósálfars will take through life. It will be either the unpredictable and dangerously enticing blade of a warrior, or the subtle and enchantingly wild power of a mage. As such, a vastly powerful and chaotic storm always accompanies the ushering in of a new noble's life. Likewise, a siren of Freyr (usually a female relative of the mother) also maintains a position in the chamber. Nature is strangely symbiotic during these nights. The fury of the storm builds as the labor continues to come closer to completion. The aforementioned siren begins a mystical song of motherhood that, with the elven god's energy, permeates the air with ethereal force. The goal of this ritual is to determine at the moment of release which sound can be heard the clearest between the thunder of the storm and the voice of the Ljósálfar songstress.
The evening of my arrival featured one of the most historic concerts in the documented in my people's long and illustrious heritage. Curtains of torrential rain as thick as dwarven beards veiled the eyes by blending the ocean with the sky. The only way to gain any perception of what lay beyond a stride in front oneself came from the staccato pulses of violet illumination as chaotic lightning darted through the steady drumming of the rain.
From inside the tower of my family, the emerald robes trimmed with silver and etched in orange runes wavered in the candlelight positioned in a circular pattern to match the design of the walls. The guttural moans and groans of a female engrossed in the most precious of nature's processes were barely audible above the thunder's accompaniment to it's choral partners the rain and thunder. The siren's ballad began at the first signs that the pushing had commenced. Matching the volume of sound produced from the storm, Mantil Ora'vion, high songstress and sister of the future mother Tsiana Ora'vion, countered the rumbling bass afterthoughts with her serene soprano tone. The tones oozed and clashed as the appointed time neared until the crowning moment was at hand. As newborn flesh met with air, the crescendo of the storm and performer reached their climax. Although both competitors had the support of their respective gods to the fullest possible measure, neither source could be claimed as dominant. A perfect harmony of high and low met the tenor tones of a babies releasing cry, and one other eerie counterbalance could be heard startlingly near.
It was apparent that my life would be something unique. A life of storms and beauty. A respect for both. None knew what lay in store that night, but every entity involved knew that a piece lay missing. The mysterious alto joining at the last moment of the ritual threw both Kord and Freyr to the winds as to what might be transpiring. It became apparent to every Ljósálfar and god involved the following day though as a fresh wild hound pup was brought to the very room of the previous night's proceedings.
My journey into this world was adjoined to another. The alpha female of the Callan (Wolves) des Ora'vion, guard hounds that protect every noble in our house and frequently are used for hunting both for sport and survival, brought a new pup to the ever-growing clan. Here was the source of the completion of our quartet. However, the extreme amount of magical energy centralized around the area of the ritual held unexpected consequences. The joining of voice to song encompassed the pup in the ritual and twisted the nature of the beast. Infused with fey blood, the residual energy of the god's influence siphoned off into the new vessel transforming the dog into a monstrously unstable form. The master of the hounds was quick to snatch the newborn away and spirit him to the nearest archmage. A solution was quickly calculated and another ritual commenced. The power stored in the animal's blood was transferred into a special pendant with a special purpose in mind.
The resulting creature was brought to my presence the following day. For the power stripped from the animal left him unable to begin the normal regiment that would befall a hound of the house. So, it was decided that due to the dog's obvious ties to the ritual and his present condition, he would be raised as a pet.
The connection that we shared over the next twenty-five years became paramount to any that a master could claim over his charge. For the pendant possessed a number of special properties. The one I learned of first is the primary reason for the almost symbiotic relationship of Faolan and I. It enables the direct sharing of our minds. We can speak without words, feel without touch, and know without thought. Every amazed gaping stare that we have received in our lifetimes from acting in perfect unison or our actions perfectly complementing one another ensures us that we are something to behold. Faolan and I share much more than minds though. I guess it is unsettling to some to see an animal and Ljósálfar to have mirror eyes. The same swirling tempest of sapphire and emerald frequently lock gazes, knowing each other unequivocally.
It is through this connection that the realization of my life's path came to fruition. For the wild desire to see the world and break free the confining cage that is the island of Shael'la filled my closest companions heart as much as mine own. Some would say that there was a defining moment in the building where I learned the framework of Ljósálfar existence that caused this. It could have been the first time I learned of all the races that exist in Alfheim and Earth, fueling my need to meet someone who shares my condition. Or it might have just as easily been the story of the lost city of Cendriane. Disappearing from a tragedy that none know much of. Moreover still, the first time Faolan and I were allowed to step foot into the fresh air of the city we call our home, feeling the calling of places unknown. That is probably closer to the truth. For we have always felt leashed, the pair of us. Barely restrained and waiting we were.
I find myself now in the jungles of Brazil, a realm apart from mine own, reflecting on the day I set out to find many things. A force powerful enough to return the essence of the amulet back to my wolf without destroying him. A yearning to find that which destroyed one our most revered ancient beacons of civilization guides my hand as well. But mostly, Faolan and I just want to see. To see as much as we can before our life path is complete.