#47: Are There Elves Here?

Before we left the magic animal reserve, Reggie mentioned something about there being a portal to the Fey Realm in the adjacent island nation of Kapoor. We’d all heard the story about how oppressive and scary the elves were. I’d heard all my life about the tragic history my Orc ancestors had with them. But Gin, Dara, Tilly, and I were adventurers now, and we wanted to see something if it sounded interesting. Traveling to a different world sounded like something adventurers should do. We decided that since we didn’t have anything pulling us in any specific direction, traveling to Kapoor in order to travel through the Fey Gate would be a pretty good next adventure.

We traveled to the port town of Manos and bought tickets for a ship headed to Kapoor. We used a bit of the money we’d gotten from King of Valnan to pay for it. It felt really weird to be able to just pay for convenience. Before I realized we had money, I was getting ready to craft another boat out of whatever we could find lying around. It was a relief to be able to let someone else worry about navigating the ship while we traveled. 

The ship docked in the city of Dhanri. I thought my tribe worked hard, but they had nothing on the people of Kapoor. I couldn’t believe how fast they were unloading the ships. After disembarking, I was still shocked at the crowded streets. I had been to Anglachel a few times with the hunting party before, and Anglachel is a massive city, but I think that because there is so much of it, the streets never got this full. Everyone was moving with purpose. Everyone except the four of us. We had no idea where we were going.

“Where we headed, Dara?” Gin asked, looking up at Dara expectantly.

“We’ve only just gotten here, Gin,” Dara began. “I know about as much about this place as you do.”

“I doubt that,” Tilly said under her breath.

“Are there elves here?” I asked, surprised. I had never met an elf before, but the streets were swarming with them. It was full of a mix of dark-skinned elves and humans.

“Well, yeah,” Dara answered. “The nation of Kapoor was founded whenever the River Elves traveled to the human and Mascara nation of Tag. The Elves began to work with the humans and eventually pushed the Mascara out.”

“What do you know? I didn’t know that,” Gin commented.

“O.K., O.K.,” Dara relented. “If we’re looking for a gate to the Fey Realm, we probably want to start with some kind of church. I know the River Elves essentially forced their religion on humans by co-opting elements of their native culture. Most people actually don’t know that,” Dara explained.

“Gods, we don’t need a history lesson,” Tilly complained.

“So we need to find a church,” I repeated.

“I bet that guy could take us to one!” Gin exclaimed, pointing at a man pulling a cart loaded with seats for passengers.

Gin raced up to claim the cart, but not before a finely dressed elf sat in it before he could get there. It took us a few tries to actually get one, but finally, a muscular human that couldn’t have been over 18 agreed to take us to the closest temple of Pro’Va in what he called a rickshaw. He only spoke a handful of common words, so it was challenging to communicate. He raced us through the streets of Dhanri at a perfect speed to take everything in. There were shops set up all along the street, not unlike the market district in Anglachel. What was different were the bright colors. Clearly, the stall owners knew they had to stand out if they wanted to compete here, and that they did. Stalls would have elaborate tapestries covering the tops and drapes in reds, blues, and yellows scattered throughout.

It didn’t take long, with the various smells wafting from food vendors, that it had been quite some time since we’d had a proper meal. Once the young man dropped us off at a tall, multi-level temple, we took a quick break to pick up some street food. An older human man was manning a stall beside the temple. He had two giant pots on either side of him. He also didn’t speak much common, but he did understand once we showed him a few pieces of gold. He scooped out some orange rice from one pot and an assortment of meat and vegetables, with a similar orange hue, into a magically created bowl. This is similar to the street food in Angalchel. You had to eat within an hour, or the bowl disappeared, and the food would spill everywhere. One bowl looked like enough food for all four of us. We gave him three pieces of gold and sat down on the curb of the street.

Gin was the first to grab a bit of it, and immediately regretted it.

“Ahhhhh!” He wailed. “Hot, hot, hot, hot. . . . “ 

He wasn’t stopping until someone helped him. Dara pulled out a stone he collected from a river in The Jungle and changed the word “Riwante.” He raised his hand that wasn’t holding the rock over Gin’s mouth, and water poured out of it. Gin began to calm down.

“It is really spicy, guys,” Gin finally said.

“I think we figured that out already,” Tilly teased.

We all tentatively dug in, and it was incredibly spicy. The food I ate growing up often contained chilies, but it did not have this level of heat. However, once we got past the spiciness, the flavors were rich and something totally unique. We eventually finished all of the meal and sat the soon-to-be disappearing bowl on the curb before heading into the temple.

The temple itself was made of stone and shaped like a pyramid. It was as tall as some of the tallest trees in The Jungle. We walked through the door and were blown away. It was beautiful. There was a tiled floor creating an interwoven intricate pattern. There were clear pillars carved from some sort of crystal. It looked magical. A clergyman, he was elven wearing a long, draping orange robe, approached us and began speaking in the same language everyone else had been using. He must have been able to tell from the looks on our faces that we didn’t understand. He lifted his hand and pointed one finger to the sky, and performed a circular motion.

“Karana,” he said. “Now, that’s better. You can understand me now, yes?”

“Yes, we can!” Dara exclaimed. “That was a translation spell, and you did it like it was nothing. You must be really skilled!”

“I simply channel the essence of Pro’Va, the god of the natural world,” he said.

“Father, I had heard of a god named Kawma,” I said. “I was told he was the god of nature. Is there more than one?”

“Child, the domains of the gods are not as clear cut as everyone thinks,” he advised. “But yes, the god you know as Kawma is one and the same as Pro’Va. Different lands have different names for the divine. And I am not priest. Here my parishioners call me swami. Why are you here?”

“We want to travel to the Fey Realm! We heard there was a gate here,” Gin answered.

“Ahh, so you are pilgrims,” the swami said.

“Yeah! That’s it!” Gin quickly replied before any of us could contradict him.

“That explains your interesting collection of people. It is truly rare to see an orc and a goblin here,” he said.

“We just love Kawma so much! We want to honor him,” Gin lied convincingly.

“It is an honor to welcome you. I have tools for you,” the swami said.

He supplied us with a map and gave each of us something he referred to as a sacred seed. Apparently, it is traditional for pilgrims of Pro’Va to plant these seeds on the other side of the portal. It sounds to me like an excuse for members of the church to do work for the River Elves.

With the map, the portal wasn’t actually that hard to find. I took the lead, and Dara helped to figure out anything I couldn’t. Eventually, we made it to a river that was marked on the map as the River Sayanna. All that was left to do was follow the river upstream. It started in the city and moved into a much more open green space. We could see houses in the distance that clearly indicated the rural part of Kapoor. Eventually, the river lead us to an outcropping of trees. These trees looked harder, sturdier than the trees I was familiar with in The Jungle. I was used to seeing the ground covered in vines and various flowers, this was all green grass. As we walked into the forested area, it was subtle at first, but became clear that all of the plant life was becoming progressively more dead. We saw a grouping of black husks of trees that grew together in an arch shape. 

“I think that was the gate,” Dara said.

“This doesn’t feel right,” I said. “Everyone stay on guard. I don’t know what is going on here.”

“I don’t know if whatever caused this is still here,” Tilly said. “Listen, this place is as quiet as a graveyard. And kinda looks like one, too.”

“It could be something spiritual, but I don’t really sense any sort of presence here other than us,” Dara observed.

“So I guess we’re not going to the Fey Realm,” Gin sighed.

“Is there anything we could do?” I asked Dara.

“Maybe. At Arcana University, I read about this spell that could transfer life from one creature to another. It was something used by really dark wizards to steal life from children and stuff. But maybe we can use there here,” Dara theorized.

“You’re not giving my life to these trees,” Gin said. “I don’t care how cool the Fey Realm is.”

“No, I think we are carrying children,” Dara said.

“The seeds!” I realized.

“Yes, I think I might be able to transfer the potential life of the seeds into the trees that form the archway,” Dara explained.

“So what do we do?” Gin inquired.

“Just give me your seeds and some time,” Dara said.

Dara spent the next hour drawing an intricate magic circle in the dirt in front of the archway. He then drew a diamond design over top of the entire circle. He placed one seed at each point on the diamond. He then carefully walked into the center of the circle and took a deep breath.

“You’ve got this!” Gin said encouragingly.

“I hope so. I’ve never tried to channel anything this powerful before,” Dara confided.

“We’re here if you need us,” I reminded him. “We’ll rush in if it looks like things are going bad.”

“Thanks, that actually helps,” Dara said. “O.K., everybody ready? I’m not entirely sure how this will play out.”

“C’mon, Dara, you’re a bleedin’ genius,” Tilly said.

Dara extended his arms out on either side of his body, and his hands began to glow with a sickly green light. Then he started to chant.

“Reseverne Forcineri Consumé. Reseverne Forcineri Consumé. Reseverne Forcineri Consumé!” He finished raising his voice to a shout and slamming his hands onto the ground below. The green color extended from his hands and touched each of the seeds. The glow became brighter and brighter until it was hard to look at. Finally, the color raced back along the diamond shape back into Dara’s hands. But this time, it wasn’t just his hands that were glowing; it was his whole body. His face shifted to an expression of brief panic, then realization. He dashed to the archway and threw his hands in the middle, where the portal would be. The green drained from his body and seeped into the ground below. Color began to return to the trees that composed the arch. They began to regrow leaves and even bloom orange flowers. Dara stepped back, and the space between the arch began to shimmer and took on a silvery hue.

“You did it, Dara!” Gin exclaimed. “You saved the portal!”

“I did,” He said, his voice indicating a hint of disbelief. His body began to sway and fall towards the ground, but not before I could run up and catch him.

“You O.K.?” I asked.

“Yeah, just a little tired. We should probably go through the portal now. I don’t want to have to do that again,” Dara suggested.

“We really doin’ this?” Tilly asked.

“We are,” I confirmed. “We’re adventurers.”


These stories serve as inspiration for the upcoming short story collection, Tyranny of the Fey. The collection will be released in Fall 2023. You can get a $1 preview now!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *