They were laughing, dancing, skipping across the scattered stones along the small stream that flowed behind their residence. Even as a young elven child barely thirteen years of age, Gilfan possessed the agility of his father. His companion for that morning, his human neighbor's daughter Marie, was grinning as the pair reached the opposite bank of the small stream.
"Let's go watch the sunrise, Marie! I heard if we get there in time we can see the ... what is it?" Gilfan asked as Marie suddenly stopped her grinning, her eyes looking ahead, wide with pure horror. Gilfan followed her gaze, and his jaw dropped.
Before them lied a charred corpse. With a half-burned straw hat that both the children recognized.
"G...Gil? I think th-that is Farmer Tim..."Marie stuttered.
"What monstrosity could have done this..." his question faded away as he spotted a set of large animal footprints leading away from the burnt corpse of Tim Jameson. He could have easily laid down in the deep footprints and still wouldn't have matched its length if he had extended both his arms upwards, and Gilfan was tall for his age.
"Gil, I think we ought to head back... and tell Daniel about this." Marie suggested, and Gilfan readily complied. They sped towards the village of Beika, their home, not even caring that they stepped into the stream, wetting their cloth shoes. Had Marie and Gilfan been more observant, they would have noticed blood flowing down from the upper area of the stream.
* * *
"Did you manage to find it?" asked Athena quietly, as her apprentice, Dionna arrived from behind, interrupting her meditation. Athena and Donnia were both Vails, a race that is similar to the Elves, except for their body which were of light gray tone, a distinct difference from that of the Elves, who possess bright and fair skins. Athena was also a pagan of great renown in the Union of Fury as well as in the Alliance of Light, and her prowess in casting elemental magics and spells was unquestionable. It was understood that she was a member of the courageous and victorious party that involved the destruction of an evil Vail Death Apostle, Lord Ashnah, and she accomplished the feat working alongside the legendary Trodgor the Elf Ranger and his wife Lily. She took in Dionna as an apprentice after the young girl's family was slaughtered by a group of deranged Vail assassins mind-controlled by Ashnah.
"No, master." said Dionna. "But I have managed to locate its latest victim. It was a local farmer. I saw the result of the atrocity... Pray tell, master, how are we going to fight against this behemoth and live to tell the tale?" Her voice was bordering on desperation and fear, yet she managed to conceal it with her crave for adventure.
"I do not know, Dionna. Our priority now is to locate the beast and its rider. Did you do as I told if you stumble upon the corpse?"
"Yes, master. I have cleaned up the scene and summoned enough Magic Roots to cover the charred ground."
"Then," Athena sighed, "we must now hope that we can keep this quiet throughout the ordeal. Keep on scouting. I need to report back to the council in Iris in three hours. They await our news."
"Yes, master. Shall I send an emissary to our friends in the Willeoseu region?" said Dionna.
"No, my young apprentice. We must keep this quiet for as long as possible. The Alliance of Light must not know the return of the Astaroth clan ... at least not for the time being."
"Understood, master. I will carry on." said Dionna, and with that, she quickly melted into the shadows of the fir trees cast by the rising dawn, leaving Athena to her meditation.
* * *
"Tell me again about what you saw," said Daniel Allter, a local priest in the village of Beika.
"Are you certain about this? If I catch you lying to me, Gilfan, you will be helping to clean the chapel for a week." Daniel and Gilfan were alone in the priest's office, and the latter recounted the story about the charred corpse of Tim Jameson, a local farmer.
"Yes, Father. I am not lying to you. We-me and Marie-found the body just across the Filius' Run." said Gilfan obediently. He did not enjoy cleaning altars. "We immediately ran back here. Marie was crying all the way back. But I just don't understand how it has disappeared! We know what we saw, and we saw a dead body with a half-burned hat of Tim Jameson's!"
He was on the verge of angry tears. After listening to Gilfan and Marie's encounter with the charred corpse, a group of adult volunteers went to confirm their story. But when they arrived at the indicated spot, they found only fresh new roots of a nearby tree. After finding no signs or clues of anything burned, the group dismissed the report as the imagination of infants. "I don't understand..." Gilfan repeated softly. "It was there, I know we saw it ..."
"It's alright, son," said Daniel in a patronizing voice. "I was once a child too. I used to speak of things I really want to happen, and then there were days when my mind just came up with stories to go along with my imagination. It's normal to have these thoughts, but sometimes, we have to make sure it's nothing too serious such as death of a villager."
"Father... even you don't believe in me?" Gilfan asked in disbelief. Father Allter was known to be the most understanding and devout person in all of Erina.
"Son... what I believe is that you were just craving for some kind of adventure in your life! Now why don't you go help the farmers with their harvesting? I'm sure they need a lot of assistance. Go along now, I need to look into this matter." It was a dismissal. Gilfan kissed the priest's hand and left the chapel as the priest's assistant looked after his departure.
Hi all. First off, thanks for stopping by and read this bunch of bullcrap I just wrote because I couldn't sleep. This story is based on LedZepMan's "The Tale of a Ranger" that featured a heroic Elf Ranger named Trodgor and his fight for vengeance. I am honestly inspired and impressed by LedZep's writing skills, and so .... I thought I might give it a shot! Thanks again for reading, I would happy to know if you can point out some grammatical mistakes or syntax error or even any inconsistencies because I know I made some but atm i really don't have to strength to go over them.
Have fun all, and may the Goddess be with you all!
GO Alliance!!!!!!! ... oh no, I mean YYYYAAAAYY SPPPPAAAAIIINN!!!!!!
Oh and by the way, the word they censored in the title is h.e.l.l., you know, the smoky plane where the demonic forces dwell? yeah u get the idea