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“Seledra. You are Tel'Quessir, and you are my A’Sum. Nothing else matters.” It was winter, 1262. I had begun to notice that I was different from the other elven children. My mother sat at her writing desk poring over menus by wandlight, trying to decide what meal she would try to pass off as her own cooking this night.

“But O’Si, the others call me a mongrel. When we play Sun versus Moon, both sides push me away, say I’m not one of them.”

My mother’s violet eyes flickered cold for a moment before she returned to her menus. “Seledra, you are better than those common chaff moon elves and those snot-nosed sun elves...”

“But O’Si...isn’t O’Su a moon elf?”

Mother’s mouth spread into a chilly smile. I shuddered. “Why yes. He is. And perhaps it is something that your father should remember more often about his people. If a hundred, a thousand of them were to die, it would be of little concern to anyone but themselves. Like vermin they are. Common. And unremarkable.”

My face fell. No matter how much I hoped for the contrary, I knew I was my father’s daughter and not the product of my mother’s forbidden passions with someone who had warm blood in their veins. What must she think of me then? “But O’Si, doesn’t that make me...”

“No! Your father may be common, but you are MINE. MINE, MINE, MINE!!!” With a great flourish of my mother’s arm, the menus flew to the floor. Mother was standing now, breathing heavily, teeth gritted and tugging her hair for a few moments until finally, after seemingly having regained her composure, she began to use Prestidigitation to move the scattered menus back onto her desk. My mother was not, after all, one for manual labor if she could possibly help it.

I thought the danger had passed. “So...if O’Su is common and unremarkable, and I, as your daughter, am not, then what are you?”

“I don’t wish to talk about it, Seledra. It doesn’t matter anyway.” She sounded resigned, perhaps a little sad or wistful. But if I had listened just a little closer...

My curiosity got the better of me. “What are we, O’Si? I want to know!” But I was young. I didn’t know any better. The look on my mother’s face made me run towards the stairs that led to my bedroom. But I was unable to outrun my mother’s rage, or her Ray of Frost spell.


~


“Aren’t you going to visit your Mother today?” Ralenthra was gazing at the calendar I had hanging up on my kitchen wall. I was sitting at the dining room table examining the various takeaway menus in my possession, stopping every once in a while to scour my Druid handbook for information about curses and how they can be reversed for Aelthas. “It’s her birthday,” she continued. “Isn’t that what you...er...people who know where their mothers are do?”

“I sent her a gift.” I said nonchalantly.

I didn’t have to look up to know that Ralenthra raised an eyebrow at me.

“It’s a nice gift.” I countered to her silence. “I can’t visit her. I’m busy. I’m sure she understands.”

Ralenthra hoisted herself up on to the counter, plucked an apple from the fruit bowl beside her and took a generous bite. “You have the day off.”

I slowly looked up from my papers. “I’m planning our meals for the week, trying to find a way to reverse Mother’s curse on Aelthas, and I have to practice the dance for your upcoming ritual. Also? I just don’t...want to deal with her madness today.”

Ralenthra crunched her apple thoughtfully. “Understood,” she said, after swallowing. But something caught her eye. “Is that...is that Drizzt Do’Urden’s memoirs I see hidden under the Seven Little Fortunes menu?”

I grimaced in embarrassment but confessed, all the same. “It’s the first volume, yes.”

“And?”

“He’s a bit of an odd sort. He talks about events he could not have possibly witnessed and of course, everyone else being evil but him makes any information that came from anyone else instantly unreliable. He’s narcissistic, vain, whiny, self-absorbed-”

“Wait, shouldn’t you like him then?” Ralenthra grinned.

I rolled my eyes and continued.“Shut up. He’s a got a creepy idea that his sisters all want to sleep with him...”

Ralenthra took another bite of her apple. “Typical.”

I made a face. “Really?”

“Really.”

“Ew. Anyway, I want to like him. Because he’s good and all, you know, fighting the good fight. But...he makes it rather difficult. In fact, he’s kind of insufferable.”

“And yet?”

I cover my face in my hands. “And yet I can’t put it down for long.”

Ralenthra finished her apple. She hopped down off the counter, opened the window that was over our sink and tossed it outside that window into the compost bin below. “Let’s see it then.”

~


I excitedly rolled out the large parchment detailing my grand plans for breaking into the Hall of Records. Aelthas and Duglan, my constant companions, took a gander.

“You’re going to do WHAT to WHO?” Aelthas stared at me, eyes wide.

My beau had obviously gotten to the part where I seduce a priest of Deneir (or as many as I have to) in order to get access to the ‘Forbidden’ Spellbook section at the Vault of the Sages. Why have the books around at all if they’re not going to be read? “Oh, that. Don’t worry about me. I’m still a virgin, after all.”

“You are??!” both the boys exclaimed.

I thought of Thralia, and blushed. “Well, technically, yes.” I answered, and then I clarified, “Anyway, I’m not using anything south of my waist for this job. I don’t have to.”

“You sound pretty confident.” intoned Duglan with a wink and a smile. “Want to give us a demonstration?”

“Shut up, Duglan.” Aelthas said with a scowl. He turned to me, and brushed a stray lock of hair behind my ear. “Seledra, why? Why are you doing this?”

“I need to sow the seeds of chaos. After you cast the spells to bend the wards around the university and open up all those portals, most of the mages will be too busy trying to shut them down to detect what’s going on at Everdusk Hall.” It made perfect sense to me at the time...

Aelthas held me, not ungently, but with some urgency, about my shoulders. “But that’s the thing with chaos. It’s unpredictable. You could get burned. And then all of us will suffer. Is it worth it?”

I sighed. “Aelthas, what are you?”

He raised an eyebrow, as if he wasn’t sure where I was going with this. But he humored me. “I’m a human. But my mother is a half-elf.”

“What kind of elf?”

He shook his head in irritation. “Why does it matter?”

I answered calmly. “Answer the question. Surely you must know.”

Aelthas sighed and rolled his eyes even as he concentrated. “My mother was raised by her human mother. My elven grandfather died young. Some sort of accident. He was...a moon elf. From Evereska.”

“See? You know what you are. And I bet you could tell me where your human ancestors hail from as well.”

“Seledra, I don’t see-”

“I DON’T KNOW WHAT I AM, Aelthas! Don’t you know how unsettling that is? And don’t you think that if I had any other options at my disposal, that I’d use them? Whatever my mother is hiding from me, she’s hiding it very, very well. And father is no help at all.”

Aelthas gulped and stared at me a while. Duglan had already retired to a nearby chaise and draped a book over his face to escape the awkwardness. My beau sighed and kissed me on the forehead. “Very well, sweet heart. It’s your choice. Just...don’t get caught, all right?”

“Don’t worry. If I get caught, I won’t say who helped me. I love you, Aelthas. And I will never betray you.”


~


Late into the night, I could still hear Ralenthra howling with laughter as she read Drizzt Do’Urden’s memoirs. I peered over my covers at the next two books from the drow’s autobiographical series as they sat, waiting for my perusal, on my nightstand. There was to be even more to follow, I had heard. I scowled.

I turned my back on the tomes to stretch. Ralenthra had really put me through a workout today. After the dance practice, she still had energy to burn, and decided that she also wanted to draft me into becoming her sparring practice partner. I must have broken three wooden swords today because I wasn’t fast enough to hit her. I comforted myself with the fact that when I do hit, I hit hard. And no, I don’t mean her.

Wielding the sword today made me think more on my goals of embarking on an adventuring side-career. My hands would tingle with anticipation every time I went to the mailbox, as I hoped that each day will be the day a summons comes from Captain Tagen, or whoever Tagen is working for, telling us to pack our bags and head out somewhere kind of dangerous.

It didn’t come today, but hopefully something will come soon. I just know that something good is going to happen...

~


I dreamed...

I saw a short, red-haired human girl fitted into finery worthy of a lady-in-waiting; watching the Glittersmokes buzz about the girl was Thralia, who looked like she was giving detailed instructions, either to the gnomish seamstresses or to the human girl...

I saw Ralenthra, poring over what looked to be this very diary. Looking over her shoulder was Tordrin, who was pointing out something of note to my friend. Ralenthra’s eyes widened...

I saw a drow male reclining on my mother’s bed. He seemed to be arguing with a striking-looking female sun elf who was attempting to use my mother’s scrying mirror. A soft grey cat hopped on the bed beside the drow and swatted him in the face. The sun elf laughed. The drow fell off the bed unsuccessfully trying to swat back at the cat. The sun elf laughed even harder...

I saw Kronk, flanked by Selune and a half-elf Heartwarder as he carried a human girl child on his shoulders. The snow was falling softly. Cardinals and Blue Jays circled about the girl as she laughed. Kronk and the Heartwarder seemed to be looking for something, and they finally stopped at Joon’s Curry Stand in the Market District. Everyone ate heartily.

I saw Silverymoon Palace. A bolt of lightning struck nearby.

I saw Magnos and Jonah, with Scamp wrapped around his master’s shoulders like an old woman’s fur collar, outside the Map House. They were discussing something rather animatedly, with Jonah’s expression going from dubious to more dubious to annoyed to resigned...


~


I awoke with a start. I couldn’t shake the feeling that the vignettes I bore witness to were connected somehow. And I wondered why I wasn’t there.
butterfly_sunrider: (Default)
I'd been a busy little bee for the past fortnight or so. With many of the druids taking their vacations, there had been a lot of hours to cover at work. The dance Ralenthra was teaching me had kept me occupied for a few evenings as of late. It was time for some harvesting and canning of the fruits and vegetables from my garden. There were, of course, intermittent visits from Methrammar. Finally, I kept myself especially busy thinking of reasons why not to give Magnos that amulet yet:

I'm sure he has a lot of studying to catch up on. And he's probably busy bragging to everyone in earshot about what an amazing job he did during his first assignment. And there are girls, I'm sure, or one, I don't know, that he's wanting to...see. Friends to converse with. New languages to learn. New robes to buy. Halflings to hit on. Suckers to swindle. Besides, maybe I should get this thing polished and appraised, in case he doesn't like it and I have to sell it. And...I don't have anything to wear. Not that I care what I look like when I see him, but when I go out, I want to look presentable, don't I? And my hair is a little flat on this side. Oops, I broke a nail! That just won't do. Is that a dark cloud in the sky? Looks like rain. Besides, he may not even want to see me. And I might not necessarily want to see him, so there! Of course, when I was at the Goat the other night, I looked for him, but that was just so I could avoid him. Yes.


One of the druids that worked the evening shift was sick, so I agreed to cover for her. Not having to report for work till the toll of three, I spent the earlier part of the morning lolling about in bed reading one of my older books, Delilah's Delights #43: The Half-Elven Highwayman. In fact, I had not read that particular tome since I was barely more than a child. Not since I first met Aelthas. I had to give him some credit. It took him two years to break my heart. But then again, maybe he just hadn't the opportunity before then.

Despite the fact that I was 100 years old at the time, there was a certain amount of inequity in the relationship. I looked...mostly mature, but the relationship between Aelthas and I resembled something like a human girl of 13 being courted by a human boy of 18. A handsome, brilliant and charismatic boy of 18. I was starstruck.

Two years. Two years of picnics, stargazing, and dinners and dancing at Helmer's Wall, the Stagstand, and the newly-opened Sorlar's Smiling Satyr...

I pointed up to the sky. "Look, Aelthas! It's Angharradh! Isn't she beautiful?"

Aelthas grinned and poked me on the tip of my nose, "No, you silly little fool! That's Valessea."

Father would have been so upset had he known that I had made such a mistake. Angharradh is especially sacred to moon elves. I frowned. "But I thought..."

Aelthas threw back his head and laughed. "I'm just kidding you, sweetheart. She's both! Come here." Aelthas tangled his hand in my hair and drew my lips to his. After we parted, he produced a pair of shears from his pack. "May I?"

I was genuinely puzzled. "May you what?"

Aelthas' countenance softened. He whispered tenderly, "May I have a lock of your hair, Seledra?"

I blushed furiously. "Aelthas...I've never had my hair cut in my life! I'm not supposed to cut it until..."

"Until your 120th birthday, I know. It's just that..." Aelthas ran his fingers through his hair. "...it's such a long ways off! I'll be an old man by then. Maybe you'll have forgotten me." He pouted. I could never resist that pout.

"You will never be an old man, Aelthas. I know you. You'll be a great wizard someday..."

"I am a great wizard!" he remarked incredulously.

I continued despite his interruption. "...and you'll use the Wish spell to remain as young and handsome as you are now." I lowered my eyes. "Besides, I could never forget you, Aelthas. I love you so!"

Aelthas lifted my chin and looked at me with a twinkle in his eye. "Ha! If you love me, you'll let me have a lock of your hair."

I bit my lip nervously and blinked. "Will it hurt?"

Aelthas caressed my cheek and smiled. "I'll be gentle, sweetheart. I promise." And with a snip, off came a small curl.

I didn't feel a thing, but I had to be sure. "Is there...blood?" I squeaked.

Aelthas laughed. "Oh gods! There's red everywhere!" And then he mussed my hair before kissing me again.


~


I had truly loved him, hadn't I? And I thought that maybe he loved me too. A scant few days before he betrayed me, he even introduced me to his parents. Perhaps he thought I would have forgiven him. And he certainly didn't see my mother's act of vengeance coming.

It was because of Aelthas' betrayal that I spent nearly the next 20 years studiously avoiding men like him. Brilliant, charming, and talented humans were off the menu. And so was anyone looking for a commitment, which left many of the elven boys in Amalith rather put out. Of course, there was a ranger or two that would be gone for weeks, even months at a time that I found...comfort with when they passed through our village, but for the most part, I followed the advice Tathshandra gave me the day I left Silverymoon to train with my aunt: Don't shit where you eat.

Aelthas was my first male lover, and of course I will never forget him if for that sole reason. To give credit where credit was due, though, he was quite good. The second? A wood elf ranger who could have used a bath. Six was on the Midwinter holiday while everyone else was celebrating on the ground below. Eight...Fodoric the gnomish bard. Oh, the giggling. Nine was up in a tree. Not smart, as we fell out of said tree. I twisted my ankle, he broke his wrist. Ten was a sweet half-elf out of Waterdeep. He liked to be tied up. Twelve through seventeen were some of the boys from the village. I only said I'd followed Tathshandra's advice for the most part. Eighteen was very nearly a heartbreaker. Twenty-one...was a dwarf. Twenty-two I think I wore out. He actually fell asleep. That was on a trip to Everlund. Twenty-three and twenty-four? Twins. At the same time. On my birthday. Twenty-seven was a bad call. I very nearly took a vow of chastity after that one. Twenty-eight, Duglan, an old school friend, changed my mind. Thirty and thirty-one were at the Greengrass Festival this year, before I met Ralenthra. Thirty-two was...lovely, delicious, wonderful. And finally there was Methrammar, making it 33.

Nearly twenty years I spent trying to wash Aelthas off of me with the touches of other men. But no matter what, like a madwoman, I kept feeling him everywhere.

But it occurred to me as I looked back on those days this morning that I no longer felt my heart ache for Aelthas. Perhaps it had been some time since it had. And maybe I was just using the hurt he had caused me as an excuse to not, as Ling put it, "follow my heart."

I checked the gnomish timepiece that sat on top of the bookcase behind my bed. It was about to chime the hour before midday. There was plenty of time to get ready, get to the Conclave, do what I needed to do and get back home in time to leave for work. Splendid!

I needed that hour. I spent half of it in front of my closet stark naked trying to find the right ensemble for the occasion. I didn't think my new cheongsams from Shou Lung would be appropriate under the circumstances. Green? You wear green all the time! The white dress with cherry blossoms embroidered on it? So last season. What is this purple shimmery thing doing in here? Is that Mother's? Goodness, that's low cut! Hmm. I need a bit more coverage than that, I think.

Finally, I chose a strapless, filmy, petal pink frock that clung to my every curve, yet was light and loose enough to flutter in the wind.

I bathed, put my hair up, dressed (with matching slippers, purse, and white parasol of course), slipped the ruby amulet into my purse and headed out the door towards the Conclave.
butterfly_sunrider: (God is my DJ)
Bon Jovi - Bed of Roses. Part of a High School Flashback Superplay :)
butterfly_sunrider: (God is my DJ)
Cathy Dennis - Too Many Walls. Part of a High School Flashback Superplay :)
butterfly_sunrider: (God is my DJ)
Tori Amos - Doughnut Song (Live). If "Boys for Pele" doesn't speak to you yet, wait. It will.

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Butterfly Sunrider

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