Several thousand years ago.
The air was warm and a bit humid on that bright day in early summer. It was one of those afternoons that feels like it should go on forever, with a soft breeze rustling through the leaves and the occasional chirp of a robin, or the rustling sound that comes from a squirrel moving around in the trees. Later, in the evening, the fireflies would come out just as they always did, flitting about…almost teasing, as if they wanted to be chased by one of the small laughing children from the village. Deep within the forest stood a man. He wore his brown hair just a bit shorter than most of the men in the village, but it still fell down to his shoulders. At the moment, that hair was about to get in his eyes from the breeze, but he didn’t seem to care. In fact, his sapphire eyes were almost glazed over, as if he was lost in his own personal universe. One would probably think to look at him that nearly anything would slip by him quite unnoticed, but at the slightest rustle in the bushes the eyes narrowed, and the man spun around with lightning reflexes, his bow drawn straight and true toward the source of the unknown noise.
“Calm down Laucian…it’s only me,” said the smiling young woman who walked out of the bushes. She held up her hands in jest, as if to show her surrender, “Nice greeting, by the way.” The man removed his arrow from the bow, but his eyes stayed narrow, his serious face making quite the contrast to the grinning woman who stood beside him. “Felosial, what are you doing here?” he asked his sister, “I thought you were to be out today, walking along the ridge with your friends.”
She shrugged, “I was…we barely made it out of the village when they started arguing again. I doubt they even realize yet that I’m gone, but I’d much rather spend the day with you than I would listening to them bicker.”
“Well, you can just forget about that. You’re to go home, and fast; I’m waiting for someone, and I don’t intend for you to-” Stopping suddenly, he held one finger up to his lips in a gesture of silence. Curious now, the woman looked intently around them, but didn’t see a single thing. She turned back towards her brother, “What are-”
“Ssh!” In a whisper he told her, “There’s no time for explanations…I think he’s here…hide.”
“But why should-”
Still using his low voice, but now with more urgency, he warned her again, “HIDE! Now!” She dove into the bushes, just barely in time to avoid being seen by the man who walked slowly toward them. He was wearing a dark brown cloak over his robes, clasped together at the neck by a shining red jewel. The cloaks hood was drawn up over his head, doing an excellent job of hiding the features underneath.
In a deep, almost soothing voice, the cloaked man spoke, “Well well…what do we have here? All alone. And in the most dangerous part of the forest, too? If I didn’t know better, I might ask if you were up to something.”
Laucian silently and stealthily readied his bow, that it might be drawn if the need should arise, “And I might ask the same thing of you, Soveliss. I’ve been watching you now for a fortnight, and I know what you’ve been doing, although I don’t know why. It’s time for you to put an end to this madness!”
Soveliss tilted his head in consideration, “Perhaps you’re right, my friend. When I think back to all the pain I’ve caused, all the tears that have been shed on my account…perhaps you’re right.” Laucian, thinking that this hadn’t been so difficult after all, let the corners of his mouth turn up a little as he relaxed the grip on his bow. This turned out to be a bad idea, as Soveliss chose just that moment to rip the bow out of Laucians grip and snap it into two very nice looking, but very unusable, pieces of kindling.
Tossing them to the ground, he advanced a step toward Laucian, “But then again, perhaps you’re wrong. When I look ahead to the pain your family--nay, your whole village--will feel if you never returned home…Yes, I think you’re quite wrong indeed. It’s not time for me to ‘stop this madness’ after all.”
Never faltering at the advance, Laucian stood straight and proud, reaching his full height of six feet, four inches, “Do what you will to me, Soveliss. You won‘t get away with it. You will be found out, and someone will stop you. It may not be today, and it may not be me, but somebody will stop you.”
Even if he’d wanted to, Soveliss wouldn’t have been able to control the laugh that escaped from him, “And who would that be, my dear boy? Surely you can’t honestly think that somebody else in your pathetic little village could be smart enough to figure me out!” At this point his voice grew deeper, more menacing, “It’s too late my friend. I’ve planted the seeds, and they’re growing better than even I could have forseen. Your village is not much longer for this world.” He paused for a moment, watched Laucians eyes grow wary, “And neither are you…Though I’m not sure exactly how to end it; I could be nice, and give you a painless death…but it does sound more appealing to torture you a bit first. Oh, but don‘t worry. I wouldn‘t dream of letting you die alone.”
From her spot in the bushes, Felosial watched as Laucians eyes widened. He gave the slightest nod of his head, telling her to run for it as he said aloud, “Soveliss, what are you talking about?”
“Don’t play dumb with me, dear boy,” came the answer, “I know just as well as you do that your sister has been hiding in the bushes this entire time, listening to every word we say. Quite rude, don‘t you think? Her eavesdropping that way…It might be polite of her to join us.” Soveliss raised his arm, and the air around him started to quiver with an unseen force.
“RUN!” yelled Laucian, but it was to no avail. As Soveliss’ arm stayed steady in the air, bright green sparks appeared, and began to move toward them both.
“I can’t!” shouted Felosial, as she tried her hardest to move away, in any direction. The sparks circled rapidly around her and drew her toward her brother, “He’s pulling me in!”
The sparks continued to grow and spin, turning into glowing green ropes that bound the two of them together on the ground, with Soveliss standing over them.
“Although I am rather enjoying the looks of sheer terror on your faces,” he said, “I can’t keep this up forever. I have other, shall we say, appointments. Any last words before you meet your end?”
Laucian held his head high as he started to growl, “Only that--”
“Too late, my friend,” Soveliss chuckled, “And goodbye…Forever!” He brought his outstretched arms together, and with a whoosh, a resounding crack, and a flood of colored lights, they both were gone. Soveliss bent down to pick up the discarded pieces of Laucian’s bow. He would hide it somewhere on his way back to the village, he thought, beginning to whistle as he walked leisurely away.