“Our visitors are about to arrive.” The old King of the High Elves announced.
Surrounded by members of the Kingdom’s advisory counsel, he watched in awe as the trees began to bud. Spring, it seemed, was coming early this year. Some of the fruit trees burst into bloom and his smile widened at the expressions that crossed the counselors’ faces. None of them had ever seen anything like this happen before, and he knew the reason why nature was acting as it was now. He had invited the Eagle Claw family for a visit and they were on their way. In fact, they were almost on their doorstep. It was time to prepare a place for their guests to stay, as well as tell the counsel members what was about to happen.
“I want the house by the lake prepared to receive special guests. The forest is sending us messages, telling us to get ready for them. They will be arriving shortly, so we need to make haste.” The old King ordered.
“But that is King Elrohir’s house.” One of the advisors exclaimed.
“He is to be moved into the house on the Island. He will want to be alone with his bride for a while.” The old King smiled as he continued to get things organized so his plans would go through smoothly.
The advisors shot questioning looks at the old King and each other as they watched him prance around in excitement. The gleam in his eyes spoke of trouble and the advisors knew him well enough to be concerned. They wondered what he was up to this time. He had changed since he stepped down from the throne and they wondered if his age was affecting his mind; there were few Elves that got to live past the age of twenty thousand years.
The old King knew what they were thinking and he couldn’t blame them, just as he knew they would reconsider the matter and change their minds after mulling it over for a while longer. That was the way of High Elves. They had to have time to weigh all the pros and cons and debate the matter before deciding what to believe. He realized they thought he had been acting strangely since the first visit Lothrariel and Rothliel had made, and it was easy to see why. The repeated visits from the two ancients had made his actions more suspicious to his counselors, but it wasn’t for them to question the ways of Royalty. They wondered if the ancients had bewitched him and if it was possible? He let them question the matter, because the knowledge of the ancients was not something they were familiar with, yet. In the meantime, their confusion gave him time to act without anyone approaching him directly on his actions. He was finding that stepping down from the throne was giving him the freedom to act in ways he never suspected, and he was enjoying the experience.
“Elrohir isn’t going to like having his possessions removed without his consent.” One of the advisors warned.
“Leave my son to me. I know what I am doing.” The old King replied.
“Silas, are you sure about this?” The old King’s closest friend asked.
“I told you. I want grandchildren to spoil before my time to walk into the Myst comes. It is also time things started to change in this Kingdom. We have become staid and dull.” Silas insisted.
“Why now?” The old King’s friend wanted to know.
“Why anytime? It has to begin sometime. A friend of mine explained it in a few shocking words, and after thinking about them, I have to agree. In case you think I rushed into the actions I have taken, I will admit it took me a while to come to the same conclusion he did. I believe he is right. Those who refuse to bow to change are doomed to remain stuck in the past; if they are rulers, they eventually cause their Kingdom to fade into the Myst. I want to move forward with the rest of the Empire, and I definitely don’t want the High Kingdom to become a thing of the past.” King Silas pointed out.
As King Silas spoke, a small group of children walked past. Each child was dressed in the same manner and every one had a book tucked under an arm as they headed for the study hall. It wasn’t time for lessons, but they were off to learn about philosophy. There was something seriously wrong with their children when they would rather read about ancient thought than play. They needed to run and enjoy their youth while they could, like other children in the Empire. None of the young Elves in the High Kingdom laughed and that told him they were not happy. They were raised to be miniature versions of their parents and he had decided that was boring. Yes, he concluded, it was definitely time for his people to change.
“We have been around longer than any other Kingdom in the Empire, Silas. I doubt if we will disappear overnight.” The old King’s friend pointed out.
“And if we did, who would miss us? Who amongst us can honestly say that we have enjoyed our lives, that we had fun as children? Look at our offspring, not one smile amidst the lot. They are miserable and don’t realize it because we haven’t shown them anything different. I am not saying we are totally lost in our misery. There are some who are open to change and have a streak of mischief in their soul, but that is rare. We need to move ahead, the High Kingdom needs a shaking up.” Silas was adamant in his decision.
“You have done something, Silas. What is it?” The old King’s friend wanted to know.
Silas smiled smugly, but didn’t say another word. He watched as the meeting broke up and the advisors left the area before he turned to his friend to confide in him. He wanted to make sure there was no one around to hear his answer.
“Angureir, I sent for the Eagle Claw family and they are on their way. In fact, they are almost here. I can feel them coming and so can everyone else and don’t tell me you can’t, because I know better.”
Angureir gave a pained groan as he answered. “Please don’t tell me Marious is coming back. Not him. It took us over seven years to get over his last visit.”
“Not Marious and Tamarak. They did what they could but we need a more powerful couple. We need Elves who are looked up to and respected, Elves who are considered legends. The pitiful increase of population in the High Kingdom we had when Marious and Tamarak visited was more than we had experienced in a long time, and it helped with our problem, but we need a massive influx of children.” Silas declared.
“What have you done?” Angureir’s eyes rounded in horror.
“I invited Gabriel Eagle Claw and his entire family and you know he is every bit the Elf our stories claim.” Silas replied with a smug grin.
“I met Eden once and she is a force I wouldn’t want to butt heads with. I can admire that, even respect her for her being the way she is, but their children are considered uncontrollable.” Angureir warned.
Silas smiled widely as he chuckled. “I heard the same thing, and if it is true, all I can say is that it is past time we were woken up from our state of deep sleep. I haven’t told anyone because I don’t want this news spread all over the Kingdom. I am telling you now because I believe you can keep a secret. If I hear differently, I will be very disappointed.”
Angureir didn’t need to be told what his friend was talking about and he would keep quiet, but he had the definite feeling Silas had bitten off more than he could chew. Gabriel and Eden’s brood were considered wild and unruly, even in Daroth’s Kingdom. What were they going to do with them here? Another thought struck right after the first. Gabriel and Eden, here together? That means Silas had asked a boon from Daroth and it had been granted. The great general and his Tratchar Life Mate had come to perform their fertility spell.
Angureir controlled a sudden urge to laugh as he considered what the effects of that spell would mean to his people. There would be an increase of High Elves like the Kingdom hadn’t seen in centuries, which was definitely needed if they were to continue to have any status in the Empire. The sudden changes would probably leave their people in a state of shock, but Silas was right, it was needed. He thought of his own childless children and wondered if Gabriel and Eden could really help them as they had the Grey Elves. They had worked wonders in Ingwër’s Kingdom. He thought of his three bonded children; none of them had produced offspring. Their hopes and wishes for babies to make their lives complete had gone unanswered; perhaps this was the answer to their prayers.
Silas watched his friend think the matter through and smiled as he noted the shudder. He reached over and patted Angureir on the shoulder and spoke words of assurance.
“Things will work out, you will see. I haven’t had a vision telling me exactly how, but what I saw told me the results and they were heartening.”
Angureir looked at Silas in indecision for a while as he pondered the situation. He wondered if he should ask what he considered the most obvious question. He was almost afraid to hear the answer, but he needed to know, just as they all would.
“What did you see, Silas?”
“Children. Lots of children and they were having fun, laughing, playing and smiling. Their eyes were shining with happiness and so were those of their parents. I saw a prosperous Kingdom filled with life and hope for the future, not one that looks worn and ready to disappear into the Myst. You had grandchildren in that vision and so did I. We were dangling little girls and boys from our knees and they were giggling. I want that vision for myself as well as for my people. I am choosing life for my Kingdom, not a slow death seeped in stagnation and gloom.” Silas admitted.
“Well”, Angureir admitted, the idea did sound very appealing.
Angureir did want grandchildren to sit upon his knees. He couldn’t imagine what life would be like as Silas described it, but it had merit. He looked at the signs of spring that surrounded them, it was everywhere, like a time of rebirth, it was a good omen. He smiled as the thought struck him that nature was sending them a message. Life was about to come into their world and perhaps it would rejuvenate those who were already living on the land. He would see what would come of that thought and the dream it held.
As for the early spring, it hadn’t come that much sooner than usual, only a few weeks and that had happened before in the past, though the timing was very fortuitous when looked at in a visionary’s standpoint. Silas was a canny Elf and he knew what this meant.
“Maybe the children won’t be the horrors rumor makes them out to be.” Angureir decided.
“From the little I have been told, they are full of life and energy as children should be, but they are not bad. I have also been told that Gabriel and Eden are capable of keeping them relatively in order. They have been well trained.” Silas informed his friend.
“Well trained at what?” Angureir wanted to know.
“What are all Eagle Claw children good at?” Silas asked.
“Military strategy and sword play.” Angureir admitted.
“Add that to the fact that four of them are strong Tratchars and you could have your answer for why we are having an early spring this year.” Silas pointed out.
“A Tratchar is powerful, but I haven’t read anything about the talent that would lead me to believe that they can control the weather.” Angureir noted.
“Neither have I, but they can influence the state of the plants and trees. Look around us. I would say our forest is feeling the effect of their presence already. The trees look healthier than they have in a long, long time.” Silas replied.
“You have more than just having Gabriel and Eden’s power to influence their spell in mind, don’t you? What devious plan is running though that brain of yours?” Angureir wondered.
Silas smiled as he considered telling his friend what he had in mind, before deciding it didn’t really matter if he knew or not. They had nothing to lose by his telling his thoughts to the Elf.
“I am hoping that by having the family here, we can find some way to manipulate the powers that make us what we are into influencing one of the children into returning one day to stay. We need new blood in our lineage, why not an Eagle Claw Tratchar?
“It will never work. The Eagle Claws are bound to Daroth for some reason and that is something they take very seriously.” Angureir commented.
“There are six children, perhaps one will find a Life Mate amongst ours.” Silas spoke his wish aloud.
“A Life Mate for one of those boys won’t be born for a hundred years or more yet and, as I hear, the older girl has already been recognized as a future Life Mate by King Garoldth’s youngest son, Endiku.” Angureir pointed out.
“That still leaves the younger girl and from what I hear she has talents from both sides of the family.” Silas acknowledged.
“You are hoping for a miracle.” Angureir stated.
“With the way things have been going, that could be what it will take to make the High Elven Kingdom powerful once more. The wars have taken a heavier toll on our people than anyone will admit and ,if we don’t change our ways, we will cease to exist. These children could bring us life and a different outlook about how we live. At this point, I am willing to accept anything I can get for my people, even if it is no more than a wish and a hope.” Silas admitted.
Angureir could see his friend was right but knew better than to place his faith in hopes and dreams. Until now, he had thought Silas shared that thought. He would sit back and watch, like his friend, and together they would see what happened.