Go to Chapter 2
Friday, March 18, 2011
After asking on my Facebook what my readers preferred to read, I have decided to post this one. I plan to post just one chapter at a time, but this one is actually going to be the prologue and Chapter 1. PLEASE let me know what you think of it! (Note: a couple of people have reported trouble posting comments on my blog, which is weird because I have it set so that ANYONE can post a comment. If you have trouble, try posting as anonymous, if that doesn't work, please let me know!)
The Diamond Elf
318 years prior to the story, a great human sorceress was given as a gift to the King of the Elven realm. The Elven King had already been handparted twice, and decided to make the sorceress his 3rd bride. For the King especially needs to have as many children as he can, because elves do not have children easily. His first wife had given him only one child, and that child had died of a rare Elven illness long ago. His second wife had given him 3 children, 2 females and then a male. At the time of his marriage to the sorceress, they were aged 900, 600, & 300.
The sorceress, now Queen, did indeed become pregnant by the Elven King, but no one realized this until it was much too late to stop the Queen’s fate. See, she was obsessed with diamonds, and demanded to be presented with as many as could be found. In her obsession, she used her sorcery to absorb the diamonds into her body so that no one else could ever take them from her.
What the Queen did not realize was that the diamonds were not simply being absorbed by her, but were in fact bonding to her unborn child. This caused the child to incubate for an unnaturally long time, even for elves (who have a 21 month gestation). By the time the child was born (7 years later), she was made out of diamond & magic rather than flesh & blood.
Her birth killed her mother, and her shocked father regarded her as a monster. He tried to kill her before anyone could find out about her, but he found that her skin was already too hard to pierce mere minutes after birth, and that no blade, no matter how tough, could penetrate or wound her.
This foiling of his rash plan made him come to his senses, for normally, he would never have considered such a thing, and her value as a future invincible champion became apparent. So, he watched her grow as any normal child would, human or elf, and gave her to his royal Master of the fighting arts as soon as she could walk. Then, he waited.
Finally, her 21st birthday arrived, and he smiled his most satisfied smile, for many things happened that year.
First, she reached her age when time slows for an elf, causing them to appear to age one year for every 10 human years. Second, she was an expert warrior, and even if she lacked some skill, she could not be hurt, wounded or killed. In fact, no one had ever found a way to scratch her skin. Third, he was officially the oldest living elf, at nearly 1110 years of age; the only elf older than him had just died of old age.
Last, and most importantly, from an Elven King’s point of view, she was paired with the youngest son of his best friend in order to try to conceive a child. He hoped that her human blood would make it easier for her to have children.
It did not.
Many years passed, and the king died, leaving the crown to his 450-year-old (at the time) son. (The eldest sister had died, and the new Elven King’s older sister had declined the crown because she felt she was too old to rule at 750.)
More years passed, each one seeing an improvement in the diamond elf’s skill, and an increase in her discontent.
Then, on her 300th birthday, as her time to once again try to conceive drew near, she refused to perform her duty. She argued with her brother about it, and about the way he treated her in general, as if she were his personal bodyguard, servant & dog all in one being.
In anger, she left the Elven realm – the first elf to do so in over 300 years; her father had sealed all the borders to the human realm shortly after marrying her mother due to the start of a long and bloody human war.
The diamond elf donned concealing clothing, and kept her ears covered at all times as she observed human affairs. She had no need for a job to support herself, for she had a wealth all her own, but she was never content without something to do; preferably something good. So, she chose to defend a human king who was wise and pure of heart; who was being invaded and overrun by a ruthless and power-mad Emperor.
She joined his army, and quickly rose in rank, becoming something of a legend, until the day when she defeated the Emperor’s main general single-handed, nearly winning the war. As a reward, she was promoted to the rank of Commander of the King’s entire army.
She has remained his most valuable weapon in the 10 years since then.
Gabriel wiped sweat from his brow as he entered the last figure into his master’s ledger, and thought finally! Perhaps his master would allow him some free time now that all his pre-assigned tasks for the month were completed a day and a half early.
Gabriel was a slave to the Emperor’s current favorite General, Harper Grey. General Grey had taken one of King Collin of Arminta’s most vital strongholds early on in the war, and had been posted here ever since.
General Grey had been nervous lately, because King Collin’s main General, a woman(!) by the name of Chelindra, had recently evicted all of the Emperor’s troops from Arminta, except for him, and he was afraid that she might try to retake this stronghold.
But that did not concern Gabriel, in fact, he half wished she would, for as a slave, he would merely be sold to a different master.
Gabriel sighed in disgust at his wishful thinking. He had been a slave all his life, born to one of Master Grey’s slave women. For some reason that he could not figure, his master had singled him out, and educated him to be a combination of steward, valet, and liaison between General Grey and any of the Emperor’s subjects who preferred to speak a language other than common.
Gabriel often wondered if his master knew that he had unintentionally created an extremely knowledgeable, semi- scholarly slave. Even if Gabriel was captured in an invasion, he was so valuable that whomever purchased him would probably treat him better than they treated their most trusted lifelong servant.
On days when he was really daydreaming, Gabriel even imagined what it might be like if General Chelindra recaptured the stronghold, and set him free! But where would he go? What would he do? Hrmph! What mad fool would ever even consider freeing a slave, let alone one as valuable as I am?
Gabriel was roused from his daydream by the sound of his Master’s footsteps.
“Gabriel! A messenger just arrived alerting us that that wench Chelindra is on her way bearing a message from King Collin. I doubt I care to hear anything she has to say, but since she’s not at the head of an army, I suppose I should be courteous. Have a guest chamber prepared, and see to it that she gets everything she needs while she’s here. I’m going to retire for the afternoon, inform her that I’ll listen to her over dinner,” General Grey ordered.
So much for free time, Gabriel thought as he watched his master leave. He shook his head over the General’s tactic. The Master thinks that by making Chelindra wait, he will either intimidate her, or put her in her place as a woman who waits upon him.
Gabriel thought it was more likely to anger her, but his Master never listened to him.
When Chelindra arrived, everything was ready for her visit.
“Greetings, I am the slave assigned to serve you. If you will follow me, I will show you to your quarters where I have a bath awaiting your pleasure,” Gabriel informed her as he covertly studied her appearance. She wore an odd uniform consisting of a plain leather tunic, trousers, gloves, boots, and a hooded cloak, all dyed onyx. She had indeterminate colored hair and eyes, and dirty, dust-covered skin, what little of it he could see. She carried a small travel bag.
“I do not require a bath, nor chambers. I wish to see your master immediately,” commanded a surprisingly young voice that held the tiniest hint of an accent. Though, he couldn’t place it.
“I regret to inform you that my master is resting, and does not wish to be disturbed until dinner,” Gabriel said. He heard a soft growl as she considered his words.
“Very well, lead me to the chambers you have prepared.” She motioned for him to precede her. They walked in silence, and in a few moments, they were entirely alone in her chambers. Gabriel hated this part.
“If you would like, I would be happy to assist you in your bath.” He wondered if she cared whether he meant what he said, and if she would use his body to relieve hers of tension. Just once, he would like to be free to say no, but a slave risked death when he uttered that word.
“What is your name?” She asked unexpectedly.
“My name?” Gabriel questioned.
“Yes, your name, as in what I should call you,” she replied somewhat acerbically.
“Slave,” Gabriel answered automatically.
“I beg your pardon?” She blinked.
“You asked what you should call me, well, you should call me slave,” he clarified.
“Yes, perhaps, but don’t you have a name?” She asked.
“Why do you ask?” Gabriel wondered aloud.
“Because I do not believe in, nor condone slavery. Because I serve a king who would banish slavery,” Chelindra replied casually, as if she were discussing the weather, and yet, she conveyed an intensity that outlined the depth of her passion about the topic.
In that moment, Gabriel was so impressed by her ideals and her conviction, that he knew that no matter what the future might bring, he would always be loyal to her above all others. Even his own master, whom he held no love for anyway.
“Gabriel,” he answered.
“Well, Gabriel, I have decided to take a bath, but I do not need you to assist me. However, if you wish to help me, you can tell me how many men General Grey has, specifically his officers,” Chelindra informed him.
“He has 21 officers. Each commanding 100 men, more or less, and all of them will be attending this evening’s meal,” Gabriel answered helpfully.
Chelindra nodded in satisfaction. “You may leave me now.”
“Do you wish me to send a maid to assist you?” Gabriel asked in relief.
“No, but before you go, take these clothes, and have the wrinkles pressed from them.” Chelindra pulled a bundle of lavender from her travel bag.
Gabriel arched his left eyebrow in bafflement; this color did not fit the image of a legendary General. She must have seen him, for she asked,
“No, my Lady.”
“You find this color inappropriate?” She asked with a knowing smirk.
“I have no opinion, my Lady, I am only a slave,” Gabriel demurred.
“Of course,” she replied in a tone that belied the statement. “Well, Gabriel, if you find the color a bit too feminine for someone like me, so too will your master and his men. Now do you see?”
Gabriel nodded. “Yes, they will think of you as a woman, and underestimate you. It is a sound tactic.”
“But?” Chelindra prompted.
How did she know? He sighed.
“Well, why would a legend such as yourself even bother with such tactics? If rumors are true, you are invincible, so where is the point of this game?” He asked.
“That is a very intelligent question from a “mere slave.“ I think you are not what you seem. In answer, I will tell you that I like to wear feminine things. Too often, people think that I try to be, or wish to be male just because I possess a small amount of skill in warcraft. There is no truth in these assumptions; I am a woman, and a General. Thus, I do have to compromise my style of clothing to fit both my desires, and my practicality needs,” Chelindra explained, then seemed to be surprised to find that she had done so.
“Hence, I am holding a plain uniform, exactly like the one you are wearing, only it is lavender rather than black.” Gabriel smiled in understanding.
“Don’t worry, I’ll have this pressed, and returned in no time. Enjoy your bath,” Gabriel bade as he exited the room.
Just outside her closed door, Gabriel pressed Chelindra’s clothes to his face to inhale their scent. It was the scent of hope. His master was a fool. One day, this woman would free him. Pity that day couldn’t be today.
Go to Chapter 2
Go to Chapter 2