The Chronicles of Infel

The Legend of the End Witch

Chapter 002

Once upon a time, in an age long forgotten by humans, long before the Elves stepped foot upon the earth, there was the Kingdom of Illdar. It was a great kingdom, rich in gold and in fabric, in white stone, and in sheep. Its lands stretched from the far eastern mountains to the western plains. It had only one great city—a palace, surrounded on all sides with towns, villages, and farmland.

The King of Illdar was a tyrant. Though his kingdom was vast, he desired ever more, and he took what he hungered for from his people. Food, wine, livestock, labor—all were subject to his whims. Any who spoke out against his domination were punished cruelly, ostracized and shamed, if not worse; for the King controlled a vast army, and these soldiers marched throughout his land in a constant patrol. It was not uncommon for them to have rough ways with the villages they swore to protect. So the people of Illdar lived in fear.

The King, too, was a glutton, and sought out the company of many wives. Though they lived with him in his palace, served by servants, given all manner of pleasures, they themselves were as slaves to the King. They bent to his desires over pain of death.

 

The King’s army marched throughout the land until all that could be marched upon was marched upon, and all that could be taken had fallen to the control of the Tyrant King. More and more he demanded pleasures in food and drink and jewels and women, and soon a decree was issued.

Each family in the land, the decree proclaimed, must send two daughters to the city of the King, the eldest and the youngest. There they will live as the property of the King, in affluence and in wealth, and will receive all that they desire, until such a time as they are dismissed.

Those who do not comply, the decree continued, will be condemned, and the army of Illdar will wash over them like a storm.

The people of Illdar had no choice but to obey.

Soon the King’s palace was filled with young girls, and the King was pleased and his lusts were sated. In turn he kept his promise. The girls lived like queens, empresses of the green hills of Illdar; but they were all but happy. For the decree proclaimed, too, that no one else should lay a hand on the King’s pleasures. No love was to blossom, no man was to take what was the domain of the King.

The King built a wall around his palace so that none might steal his treasure away. Therein the young girls remained.

 

The city behind the wall came to be known as Weist Trelliact, the City of White Lilies; all the women inside the King’s wall were made to wear dresses of white.

Inside this wall, amidst the many girls that the decree had brought, a young woman of particular beauty and grace was locked.

Sylvanis Roune—a girl fifteen years of age; both the eldest and youngest daughter of a family of cattle-farmers whose land had been taken by Illdar. Her hair was a dusty, sun-touched gold and her eyes were a dazzling green, like the scales of an emerald serpent. Her face was smooth and her skin was bronzed from days spent in the field. Her voice was soft, and she moved slowly and with grace.

She endured much pain when her parents relinquished her. They set her on a horse, gave her a satchel of bread and cheese and lamb, and sent her towards the King’s city. Sylvanis was filled with sadness as she journeyed to the City of White Lilies.

 

Now, on the brighter side of a tale very bleak, Sylvanis Rone arrived in the city of the King before his wall had been completed. It was a time when the White Lilies were not as caged as they would soon be. They were permitted to wander back and forth around the palace, in the surrounding countryside if they chose, but to return at nightfall, when the King wished for them. Amongst thousands of women, Sylvanis went unnoticed for a time.

In fact, as time passed, and as she spent her idle days wandering green hills around the palace, she met a boy. And the two fell in love.

The boy’s name was Deyus. He was fair of face and body, the son of a blacksmith, and he was seventeen. His hair was dark and brown, and his eyes were amber.

The two often spent time together, before the wall was complete. In the evenings, when she was feeling brave, Sylvanis would sometimes slip passed the guards, out into the fields to meet him. They spoke together, laughed together, and grew very, very fond of one another. And Sylvanis found that with Deyus beside her, the loss of her family pained her less.

Yet even with its silver lining, the thunderhead will still bring its storm. The girl was too lovely to remain unnoticed forever.

One day, as the King looked over his city from his castle, admiring the lovely young flowers his decree had brought, his eye happened upon Sylvanis.

The King was stricken with lust. Her beauty was above all others, and he longed for her. He ordered that she be brought before him immediately.

But amidst all of the lilies that surrounded his palace, his attendants could not find her. Though they sought her out for some time, she was never found. The King sent soldiers and magistrates and servants to find the girl, and all returned with one who was not her. The King grew angry, and impatient.

One evening, as the King rose from his bed and brushed aside the naked and sleeping women laying there, he stood on his balcony and looked out over his city. By chance he glanced down towards the gardens at a stream that flowed through them. There, on the grass, he saw Sylvanis and Deyus talking and being merry.

Oh, the King was filled with rage. That one of his lilies had been plucked from his garden by another made him furious beyond measure. He tore through his chambers and ordered guards after the two with haste. But by the time the soldiers arrived, Sylvanis and Deyus had disappeared.

In unbridled anger, the King ordered his wall to be built with thrice speed. The soldiers of the palace were ordered to keep close watch over the girls. No longer could they leave the palace grounds to wander the countryside, or to enter the city. They were to be caged.

So it was, and so they were. The wall was finished, and the white lilies were closed inside.

Sylvanis was filled with sadness.

One day, however, Sylvanis found herself in the palace gardens, near the stream where she and Deyus would spend time. She hid here very frequently, to slip from guards or be unnoticed as she could. This stream flowed through a garden, thick with shrubs and trees and grass to hide in, and out through a grate in the King’s great wall. Often times she would sit by the grate and watch the world outside.

On this day, as it happened, another sat beside the grate.

Sylvanis was overjoyed in a time of sorrow as she saw her lover’s face. The two, she and Deyus, made a plan to eachother there, that they would meet every night beside the grate. Every night, Sylvanis would sneak down to the stream, and every night Deyus would wait on the other side. The two would talk through the grate, and their hands would meet through the iron, and they, in the small ways they could, would be happy.

A year passed. Sylvanis was now sixteen, and Deyus eighteen. His skills as a blacksmith had become good, and one evening as they sat with fingers laced through the metal grate he spoke to her.

“Sylvanis,” said he, “For too long I have been kept from you, and for too long I have loved you and been never able to express it. But I am a man now, and I have learned well my father’s teachings, and I am a man of talent. Won’t you run away with me and leave this place behind?”

At this Sylvanis was filled with joy, and her heart began to soar. She, too, had wished this. But her joy was short lived. For all she wished it, they still were separated by this wall far too high to climb, and far too deep to tunnel.

“Worry not,” Deyus said, “For I have the tools of my father, and his blessing as well. One week from today, I will return. I will take my tools, and my talent, and pry the grate from this wall. One week from today, you will be free.”

And Sylvanis was overjoyed. Tears sailed down her cheeks, and she leapt into the water and pressed her lips to the grate, and for the first time the two kissed.

What a simple, thoughtless action—that splash into the stream.

Sylvanis thought little of it. As she and Deyus parted ways they were much too happy to consider what evil may have been watching.

Yet in the shadows, unknown to the couple, a soldier of the King’s army stood. He had heard voices, and the splash of the stream, and had come to investigate. When he saw the young couple, he hid. And he listened.

The soldier rushed fast to the Tyrant King. He threw open the palace doors and knelt before his liege. He told all he had overheard about the plot to steal a lily from the gardens.

The Tyrant King was wroth. He ordered an ambush on the two one week from the day. There he would capture Sylvanis and make her his own, and he would make an example of Deyus. Thus was his plan.

And the King waited, pleased and cynical.

And Sylvanis waited, filled with joy.

And Deyus waited, filled with courage.

And in this way did the week pass.

Chapter 002 End

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