Naiara: Chapter Two - The Consilium

Written by RenScotson

Chapter Two - Consilium

The Year 471 of the 4th Age, twenty years ago, during the 1st month of Draco,
the beginning of spring for the winged people of Caelumarcis.

"Why must I go? Is there no place for me here in this city? Here where I have spent most of my life since the razing of Stelladomus. Where all my friends are, where the last of my family remains. Everything I have come to know and everyone I know and love is here." Naiara asked, pleaded. She fought her overwhelming grief as she knelt in the large circular pillared chamber of the grand citadel in Caelumarcis, where the elder council had gathered.   The elder that stood before Naiara sighed, "Think of your people and not of yourself or your family, filia." The elder, Nementh, who was very tall and still deceptively strong for his age, represented his people in regards to their safety and protection. He was once a proud and mighty warrior but now served his people as an elder of the council, and eldest of his family's house.   She did not wish to be parted from her family and friends, to give up on her hopes and dreams of becoming a champion or huntress of the divine Asadela, the Lady of Air. To be able to serve the Stormlady against the evils within the Void. Failing that, she had other aspirations of becoming a seamstress of various styles of beautiful and luxurious blouses, dresses, and gowns.   But it was not the time for such luxuries as her people were at war with the enemies that surrounded them. She had been living in Caelumarcis, the capital of the nation of Zephyrus. Hidden high in the mountains, it was one of the last cities of her people, the Caelumani, the sky elves. The ruling council of her city had as austere attitude regarding the defense of their borders. Those that did not meet their high standards of training as warriors did not stay within the walled mountain city or its citadel for long. All the remained outside were various small safe havens, or exile and solitude.   Elder Falaern, a well-respected individual in the center of the council, rose from his seat to address the council. "We, the Caelumani, are being surrounded on all flanks by vermin, dwelling in the shadows of our last, grandest aerie. Yet these pests remain ununited against us, divided by their own territories and differing interests. We are at war, and we are not the empire that once held domain over Vanras, Vartha, and Vahryn, where now our enemies hold and gather strength where we once prospered. We have receded to the safety to our ancestral lands, blessed with the guidance from the Stormlady. And while we have her blessing, we will hold our ground until we can reclaim what was once ours." The venerable elf was the eldest of the council, his hair long and silvered. His wise voice echoed in the chamber, his voice surprisingly loud and resonated within most of the councilors gathered here, despite his frailty.   The Caelumani had to stand alone, undaunted, with none of their former allies to aid them as the surrounding kingdoms and empires of old had fallen silent to the Caelumani's blight. Their closest neighbors were to the north. The Nixvani of Glaciaeris had not been seen in some time, feared to have been overrun by giants. The Cythan Empire to the southeast lies in ruin and shadow by unknown means, and no word has ever returned from their forest druid kin far to the south in Elvusilva.   Elder Nementh continued, "We must do what is best for our people first, but at the same time, we are doing what is the best for you." He looked out through an open arched window and gestured to the city of towers, then turned to look upon the distraught young elven woman. "This city has been your entire world, yet there is so much more beyond it. We have provided you with every opportunity to serve and to learn what you are capable of doing. You have tested many trials, but have not yet found your calling. We do not conscript you to punish or exile you, but to provide you an opportunity that the city does not. We ride the winds, but not every bird that has wings is capable of leaving the nest right away. Sometimes, they need guidance."   She heard his words, but could not bear to look upon him. Her wings were a disability that she grew up with, while the other children, her friends, and her family were all capable flyers. She was not alone; there were those who by accidental injury or battle who were unable to recover the use of their wings. Still, for the most part, their home, their city was not built for them. Most of them became Gryphus riders, for battle, fishing, or transportation of various goods and supplies, while others joined the farmers and druids of the secluded farms and gardens of Arventus to the south.   She was not gifted with the ability to channel the arcane magics like her mother, Kalinyra. Nor was she blessed like those who call upon the powers of the divine like her father, Bemarmir. Or draw upon the primal forces of nature like the druids of Arventus. She felt clumsy with a sword and shield or when wielding a spear. She, however, had not yet been trained or even attempted to use a bow.   Attempts to practice with melee weaponry brought to her memories of the city of her birth, Stelladomus, razed by giants from the north. She was just five years old, still a toddler by elven years, but she still remembered all too well the horror occurring all around her. The roof of her house cracked, just about to collapse upon her as she stood paralyzed in confusion and fear, seeing the giant raiders outside her home slaughtering her kind. That same traumatic fear hindered her attempts at training to be a Paladin or Gryphusrider, who often were involved in countering their attacks.   She tried every alternative opportunity she could. She wasn't even green-thumbed, but farming or gardening to grow and gather provisions sounded like a better task to her than facing her childhood fears and nightmares.   She reached out to the healers about her wings, but they were unable to help without further injuring her wings, which they were not certain could be healed afterward. She performed various stretches and exercises to help strengthen her wings. Still, it was not enough when she was called to be reviewed by the elder council.   Nementh stretched out his hand and lifted her chin to meet his silver eyes and silvered hair. "You cannot grow here anymore, filia. But out there, you can find your purpose, your calling. And there is a great honor in the opportunity to defend your people, even from afar. I take no pleasure in sending you out there child, but it must be done for all of our sakes."   He turned to address his fellow elders gathered in the council. "I, Nementh Nesethal, eldest of my house and greatfather to young Naiara, decree she is to be transferred to the service of the Vigilate. To learn from them and to continue her growth outside Caelumarcis, immediately upon collecting her belongings and gear for her journey, and one final farewell to her family. May the Stormlady Asadela, bless her future."   The elders of the council all agreed, and Naiara was devastated by their unanimous decision. She was gently lifted to her feet by two of the council's guards and taken back to her home.   She crumbled to the ground at the entranceway to her home; she could not find the strength to stand. All she could do was cry and shiver on the cold cobblestone. The door slowly opened, and dark brown garnets stared at her, wide-eyed. Young Arienh, her sister, didn't completely comprehend what was going on at the moment. She rushed over to embrace her older sister with a loving hug not only with her arms but with her wings as well. They stayed like this for a time, until Arienh's gaze shifted. She quickly moved behind Naiara, spreading her wings as if to shield her older sister, and shouted: "Leave her alone!"   An elven male with dark brown hair and red agate eyes smiled, "But she is alone, little one. However, she will be joining the rangers of the Vigilate. While we might find ourselves alone at times, we are never that far away when called upon." Naiara turned to look at him as she slowly began to calm her emotions and began to accept what was to become her future. "Greetings puella, Naiara. I am Elyithon, and when you are ready, I will be your mentor in archery, survival, and weaponry. We'll be taking a gryphus to camp at dawn to resupply and transport you to our training grounds."  
  She had spent the rest of her day saying farewell to her friends, then with her family till the very next morning.   Naiara had gathered all of her possessions and was prepared to say her final farewells, per her greatfather and the council's decision. Elyithon had spent some time with her explaining this clearer as to what she would be doing. "The Vigilate is the first line of defense, guarding the borderlands of Zephyrus to our west, and Vahryn to the east. It is no easy task, and we suffer more losses than the other orders. Those of us that live will serve and teach those that come next the sacrifices of those before them."   Elyithon was kind to Naiara and seemed to understand her circumstances more than he would say. He also didn't seem to like this place all that much, not that he rushed her to depart, but just seemed uneasy being in the city. The outsider looking in from the outside perhaps, and not liking what he sees. Naiara couldn't help but feel the same way, now that her fate was to be the same as his.   She stood before her family's house once again, remembering the time spent here since Stelladomus. It was a grander, more luxurious home than most, no doubt, due to the higher statuses her parents hold. Her father is a priest in the magnificent cathedral of Asadela, the Lady of Air. And her mother is an arcanist, keeper of knowledge in the grand library, and warden of some of the magical defenses that protect Caelumarcis.   Although it was not her choice, Naiara was beginning to appreciate the opportunity she has been given to serve her people. What once was a desire to serve the divine above has become an honor to serve and protect her loved ones here at home. Standing outside her home reinforced her for what she would be fighting for while she was away.   Her gathered family was sad to see her leave, embracing her in turn. Her father, Bemarmir, held out to her a masterfully crafted axe. "This belonged to one of our elders, Aerenwas, he also served as a ranger of the Vigilate long ago during the days of Vanras. May its keen edge strike true for you in your inevitable battles."   From her mother, Kalinyra, she was given a book that she was very fond of when she was younger. The Pyrravin Caudex, which tells the tale of a Caelumani huntress from long ago who claims to have hunted ever creature known to them, and those forgotten.   "May Ashelynn guide your aim, and Asadela give you favorable winds." Her mother spoke, much to her surprise. Her father was the priest in service to the Stormlady, while her mother the arcane chanting librarian and ward-keeper. While acknowledging the divine, she had never seen her genuinely embrace the faith before, much less speak its prayers.   Then lastly, her younger sister Arienh, who embraced her tightly. Naiara loved her sister, but couldn't help but feel jealous of her. She was a promising young student chosen to be trained as a paladin. An honor few Caelumani were ever chosen for, and something Naiara desperately attempted and failed. Though she did not wish the circumstances reversed, only different. She was likely to see her sister before the rest of her family, outside in the battles to come. It filled her with hope for the future yet, at the same time, an uneasy dread. She did not wish to see her family in any perilous danger, most of all, her younger sister.   Naiara departed silently, her grief still close to the surface as she waved one last farewell. She kept her head held high and resisted turning to look back, even as she heard the soft sobbing cry of her younger sister.   Elyithon awaited her near the outer wall, tending to a silver-white feathered Gyphus, and one of the largest she has ever seen. They were chimeric creatures larger than a horse, but with the body of a mountain lion and the wings and head of a falcon. Very territorial omnivores that the Caelumani had tamed some time ago, since being prized battle mounts and ever-watchful guardians as well as beasts of burden and used for transportation.   "This here is Akos, I would have named him Broadwing, but that'd be rude, and he'd bite my head off." Elyithon jokingly said, trying to lighten up her mood unsuccessfully while scratching the top of its head, something that Akos seemed to enjoy thoroughly. Naiara was still troubled from leaving home but took some comfort it rubbing and ruffling the feathers at the gryphus's shoulders, right between its wings to the creature's delight. Her father, a few years ago, while visiting a friend, had her introduced to help take care of younger gryphus. It was a memory that should typically bring joy, but only bringing her to the brink of tears.   "Careful, we need him awake for traveling to the Vigilate spire. Now let's get you and your gear strapped in for the journey. We should arrive there before dusk if the winds are in our favor." Elyithon helped her with various straps and belts, making sure nothing would fall off while they were in the skies. The rider and passenger even buckled themselves to the saddle, as gryphus were faster fliers, and even faster when diving, known to descend so quickly that their riders could blackout.   Even from here, she could see the tall tower that the Vigilate operates out from and sends out their rangers. It was only accessible near the top by the Caelumani and Gryphus riders. And on its high ground nearly touching the clouds, it was a watchtower capable of seeing the majority of Zephyrus to the north, and south into the ruined lands of Vartha.   While flying, she saw the magnificent trees and grove of Arventus to the east, where the druids of the realm were gathered. Here they provide provisions for the rest of Zephyrus, as well as raise and train Gryphus and their riders. They also passed over the serene waters of Caritaquae, before finally reaching the training grounds at the base of the Vigilate spire, on top of a grand hill and large open field, where she could still see much of Zephyrus, unlike in the mountains that surround Caelumarcis.   As Naiara gathered her gear, as well as helping carry some of the goods they were transporting to the training grounds, Elyithon called over two other elves of similar age, trainees like she was about to join. "Naiara, this is Sihnion and Malyrra, who you will be living and training with until you all are officially rangers of the Vigilate."   Sihnion was short and scrawny for a Caelumani, and also appeared the youngest of the two, with short dark brown hair and orange topaz eyes. Malyrra was very slender, not seeming to be capable of drawing back the string of the bow upon her back. Her hair curly dark honey brown, neck-length, and her eyes like golden-yellow citrines. Naiara wasn't one to judge or hold it against them, she felt out of place here as well, and it seemed nice to be paired with those in similar circumstances.   Before Sihnion could speak, Malyrra eased Naiara's burdens and threw one of the bags of provisions at him, "We can show you around later, you're probably tired from all that flying on the back of a gryphus. Let's show you to your quarters, lady Naiara." Although seemingly friendly, Naiara couldn't help but sense some sarcasm when referring to her as "lady." She was unfamiliar to her, so Naiara could only assume she was from one of the smaller havens and was poking fun at her being from the capital of Zephyrus.   Her quarters being a hastily set up tall standing one-person tent and uncomfortable looking bedroll and a sack for a pillow, which was not precisely what Naiara expected, but she also realized this might be a luxury out in the wild. It would take some time getting used to it. "Rest up, and we'll see you at dawn for breakfast, before Elyithon, and the others push us to our limits, and the others bore us with survival lessons. Night!" Malyrra quickly departed, leaving Naiara alone. And before contemplating what she has just gotten herself into, she collapsed unto her bedroll, overwhelmed by everything that had occurred today, having been unable to process it all until now.

Version Three of my draft, and written using the pro version of Grammarly.


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Uht Ceara
18 May, 2020 13:38

You did some really great worldbuilding in this chapter without it being to obtrusive, for example, the use of the term filia. You didn't need to explain its use as it was evident from the context. Just be careful that you don't use the dialogue as a tool to set the scene too much (maid and butler dialogue) . Another thing to bear in mind, is to keep track of what you have already told the reader. You don't need to remind the reader every time that Asadela is the Lady of air, or repeat the memory of the giant invasion. Have a little faith in your readers ability to learn. I like the way you directed the reader's attention to the character's attention when you describe how she could not bear to look at the elders. Still a little bit to much of telling, but you already know that, so i won't harp on about it   Also in terms of an editor, if you're looking to go the traditional publishing route, you look for an agent and then once your book has been accepted they'll assign you an editor to work with

19 May, 2020 01:46

Thank you once again! The tips and advice are very helpful! And I'm leaning towards self-publishing, no clue where to begin looking for an agent or editor. And from everything I've heard it's really hard to get a fantasy novel published as the market is so flooded with that content. Will continue to research into this thank you.

Uht Ceara
19 May, 2020 17:47

I haven't yet finished anything to begin the publishing process so i can't help you too much there.