May, 2014

Bits of crumbling stone pattered softly to the ground. Merasiel shook her hand to remove the fine white dust that remained after she had brushed her fingers against the ruined wall. People once lived here, she thought to herself. Many people. And died, apparently. The thoughts brought little emotion, and her attention was easily diverted by a continuous drone of words.

“..appears to be Greek? Or Roman? Or Greco-roman? Looks just like ruins I’ve seen in pictures back on Earth. Did you know….”

Merasiel sighed and tuned Gestlin out again. All of the years she had lived had given her ample opportunity to see places that were once vibrant and alive be pillaged of their souls and left to stand as mere shells and a stark reminder of what was, and could be, lost to time. They ceased to interest her. Sometimes she wondered if she should be counted among those ruins. She brushed her fingertips gently against another section of wall and a faint cloud of powder puffed away into the air. More small bits of stone crumbled to the ground and lie still.

April, 2009

The only sounds to be heard in the Great Forest were those of night beasts and their unfortunate prey. Somewhere above, an owl sang from the darkness and Merasiel looked upwards into the canopy. The forest had always had a wild element to it, but this was different. It was too wild. Too untamed. Merasiel’s expression assumed its natural state: a frown. Mendelel and she had completed their service to the humans who had been responsible for breaking the spell that held them locked away inside Mortuturesihad. In gratitude for their freedom, the pair had agreed to forestall their return to Elven lands to aid the humans’ Lord Wallace in his Crusades. Somehow they had defeated the Vasar, driving them from the Huallapan lands. And now, Merasiel and Mendelel were free to resume the lives they had once led. Only, Merasiel had heard nothing of Estrelere during the crusades. The humans who served had never ventured into the Forest and knew nothing of her home. The elves who had joined the armies were all from Sylvilara, and if any of them knew anything, they remained silent. Merasiel’s frown deepened, threatening to become a scowl.

“Don’t look so sour! We’ll be home tomorrow.” Mendelel looked up from the campfire and Merasiel met his gaze. His face glowed red in the firelight and he smiled. “Home,” he repeated, then looked back to the fire he tended.

Merasiel’s frown softened, and then her lips curled upwards in a rare smile. “Yes, home. It will be good to see…everyone again.”

Mendelel stilled and his expression became guarded. “Merasiel, we were asleep for nearly a thousand years.”

“I know what you’re going to say.”

“No, hear me out. I know you hope he still lives. That he waited. But…” his courage seemed to falter as he looked up from the fire once more. Merasiel’s jaw was clenched and her expression dangerous. Mendelel look a deep breath and pushed on. “He would be well over a thousand years old. Anything could have happened.”

“Stop. I understand.” Merasiel looked as though she wanted to say more, but instead she drew her rough cloth blanket around her shoulders and settled down to sleep, ending the discussion. Sleep wouldn’t come, though, and her mind twisted alternatively with hope that she could resume the life she led before, and fear that she would never be able to do so. Time will have changed him. Time will have changed them all. How many of those I knew will still be there?

In the gray light of early dawn, the pair cleared their camp and shouldered their few remaining belongings. No words were spoken; Merasiel had not slept well and was in more of an ill temper than usual. Mendelel had become accustomed to his friend’s dour moods and wisely avoided discussion with her. As the morning drug on, Merasiel’s disquiet grew, and when they stopped for a midday meal, Mendelel appeared just as concerned.

“We should have seen a scout by now,” he said quietly as they packed up their belongings.

“I know.”

“Merasiel, I—“

“Quiet.” She held up a hand and listened. “What do you hear?”

Mendelel’s eyes scanned the tree line around them. “Birdsong. Little else.”

Above them, a raven cawed. “This is wrong.” Merasiel said, then picked up her backpack and took off into the forest at a brisk trot. It took Mendelel a few moments to catch up with her and they glided through the forest, their dread growing with each passing moment.

When Merasiel stopped suddenly, Mendelel nearly collided with her. He twisted awkwardly and fell to the ground, nearly smashing his head on a stone. Merasiel barely registered this, her attention completely focused on what lay before them.  An uneven, moss-covered stone road cut through the overgrown forest, visible in patches beneath fallen limbs and bushy undergrowth.  What did show of the roadway was even worse:  individual pieces of stone were missing or chipped, and the road had obviously fallen into disrepair many years ago.  Several yards away, only just visible in the thick of trees, stood a partially collapsed ruin that once was an archway marking the entrance into the Elven city of Estrelere.

Merasiel took a hesitant step forward, then another and another before breaking into a full run. Somewhere in the back of her mind, she distantly heard Mendelel shout a warning, but she would not stop. She ran along the broken road, jumping over tree roots that had encroached upon the stone, until her feet carried her into the city proper, or what remained of it. She turned in circles, her eyes shifting from one destroyed structure to another. The forest had long since reclaimed the once vibrant city. Full grown trees twisted around broken, collaped buildings, and thick brown vines twined their way to gaping rooftops and beyond. Where once there were statues, gardens and carvings, only crumbled stone and wild growth remained. Mendelel once again caught up to her as she fell to her knees, overcome by grief. Her face was hidden, masked by her hair and upturned hands, but she shook, and a single sob came from her bowed head. Mendelel sank to his knees next to her and lay a hand on her shoulder. They remained there for a time, the only comfort to be found in each other. The sound of Mendelel’s voice whispered softly from behind her. It shook with a great sadness and she lifted her hand to her shoulder and gripped his tightly.


“A Estrelere, gal-anor.
Gal ithil. Gal-gîl.
Mi dol-lui!
Liltha-ind iastil-min.
I gwaith cae-dinen.
Iosta ui.
Iosta-si mi-guir. *“



Mendelel’s voice faded and once more they were consumed by silence. Merasiel released his hand and stood, her expression stony behind the tracks of tears down her cheeks. Somewhere within, sorrow was devoured by rage, and the silence of the ruins was shattered by her inhuman howl of defiance against the fate that had claimed their home.


*Lament for Estrelere

O Estrelere, light of the sun.
Light of the moon and stars.
How brightly you shone
In a time of darkness!
Dance and song no longer grace your ways.
Your people lie silent.
Only grief remains.
You sleep evermore.
Sleep now in death.