About the Author
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AUTHOR: John Garrett
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SYNOPSIS: A young, bitter Elf undertakes a solitary journey, in search of a weapon that could be the last hope of his people.
Jorr had never seen snow before. It wasn't the kind of weather that Elves traditionally preferred, and so they had little to do with snow.
Stepping shakily out of his boat, Jorr's foot sank deep into a mass of the damp substance. If the wetness of the sea couldn't get through his oiled leather boots, he knew this snow would fare no better. Still, the cold was unpleasant.
He stood and stretched, satisfied that he could do so after three long days on the sea. He looked out over the vastness of icy, dark gray water he had just crossed and frowned. It had taken so long, it was hard to believe that he had sailed across the narrowest part. Crossing that water again was not something to look forward to.
Then another thought - depending on what he found here, maybe he wouldn't have to?
In any event, he was here now. He still had a good distance to travel if the maps were correct.
Jorr grasped the side of the small boat that had been his home for the past three days and pulled it completely onto the shore.
The snow had stopped falling, yet there was plenty of it already on the ground here. The day was overcast, but was beginning to get darker, and the wind wasn't helping with cold or visibility. Waves of snow dust were washing over him. He pulled the hood of his cloak over his bald head. He had waited too late. The hood had collected snow inside of it, and now it fell down past the side of his face and down his neck.
What a vile substance!
He resigned himself to the sensation, then looked around some more. The snow-covered beach was stark white, contrasted with a row of dark, dead trees a short distance away.
A very lonely place.
Jorr dragged the boat through the snow up towards the trees. He was so tired, but he had to get to those trees and start a fire, or he might fall asleep and freeze to death.
If that happened, the hope of the Elven people would die with him.
Grasping the small pouch he carried reminded him of how painfully little food he had been able to bring. The Elves had little enough at all in these dark times, and Jorr had hidden away as much as he could before his trip. It was not mucht. He had hoped for a bountiful forest where he could hunt, but as the island had grown into view bit by bit he had realized the forest was dead.
Just as the Elders had said it would be.
They were right about this, but that didn't mean they were right about everything. In Jorr's opinion, the Elders were wrong about most everything, and were not relevant any longer. Only a little time left, and they would see that he was right. Although he was but fifty years of age, and considered a child, he felt he was the one seeing reality, while the Elders were content to meekly accept their fate.
Shivering, Jorr realized that he was standing around freezing instead of building his fire.
Leaving his boat by the forest edge, he made his way through the trees and found what he considered to be an acceptable spot to make a fire. There was a row of trees grown tightly enough together to block much of the wind and the snow, so beside them the ground was only lightly covered.
Jorr opened his pack and withdrew the Fire Element.
The dull red rock glowed warm in his hands. Powerful guilt came over him. Although snow was new to him, the Elven people were no strangers to cold. They lived in a land that was nearly all desert, and the nights were as mercilessly cold as the days were hot. It seemed every night you would wish for the same burning sun that you cursed during the day.
Fire Elements were precious. They represented the last vestiges of magic the Elves still possessed. Supposedly they were used as children's fireworks back in the Before-Times, but now the few they had left were critical to surviving the cold nights of the ShirraLand Expanse where the Elves resided.
All Elves were now taught to make a fire as soon as they could hold a stick, so Jorr knew he could make one from the wood in these dead trees if necessary, but he couldn't take the chance that there would be no forest here. He had to be sure he could survive his journey, so he had stolen one of the Fire Elements the night he left.
It would all be worth it. He did this not for himself, but for all the Elven people.
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