The Prophecy of the Faerie Hunter

By Cinaed

Chapter One

On the Path of the Goddess
Jilikien gazed around the forest in awe as the gates closed with an ominous boom, the sound not quite registering in his head. So many different trees.. He had never seen so many, all stretching their limbs up towards the clear blue sky, each one of them relishing the warmth of the sun. His home, since he could remember, had been the same patch of faerie forest with the same exact trees, never changing at all, for the trees were immortal and had never needed rain or sun; which was the reason why they grew underground. He tilted his head backwards, breathing in the dozens upon dozens of new scents. The elf opened his eyes as Truciler moved beside him.

"Don't step off the path," the Fire Elemental advised quietly. Jilikien looked at him in puzzlement, and Truciler sighed. "Look down." The elf obeyed and found that they were standing on a dusty path. "It's Suolo's Path."

"Suolo's?" Jilikien repeated, sounding doubtful since he never trusted the other's words for an instant. It was then he realized that speaking around his swollen lip had become far easier. He raised a finger to his lips, and found that while they had passed through the Gateway, the elf's lip had been healed. A likewise cured Truciler sneered, looking condescending.

"And you call yourself a faerie, Elf. Any faerie should recognize the Goddess's Path.."

"Oh, shut up," snapped Jilikien, but nevertheless he knelt, running long, slender fingers through the dust experimentally. Yes, this was the Goddess's Path, now that he studied it carefully. He could feel the magic that ran through the trail, tugging at his fingers as it flowed like a river down the ordained route. The elf got back on his feet as Truciler leered at him once more.

"Oh, shut up," Jilikien repeated irritably, glaring at his traveling companion who continued to smirk with a superior twist of his fiery lips.

"Well, let's get moving. Fate waits for no one," drawled Truciler, shifting back to his human form with a faint grimace of distaste while Jilikien turned towards the woods once more to hide an amused grin.

"True, true." The elf tugged on a lock of dark blue hinted with silver, frowning as they began to walk, the elf falling behind the older faerie. "Truciler? What do you think that last line of the prophecy means?"

"The part that goes 'for in the Darkness's fall, an even more frightening destiny lays'?"

"Yeah, that part."

"I think it means we've screwed ourselves over royally by being the prophesized ones, but we can't do anything about it, so we might as well deal with it." Jilikien blinked.

"Well, you aren't very optimistic, now are you?"

"I know the facts, Elf, and the facts all point to things that are generally not associated with happy things. Death. Torture. Fear. Something even worse than the Faerie Hunter.."

Jilikien shuddered at the thought. What could ever be worse than the Faerie Hunter? The elf decided it was time to change the subject, and questioned, "Why did you want to come with me, anyway?"

If Truciler saw the tremor, he gave no hint of it as he replied. "Besides wanting to be there to laugh at you when you messed up?" Ignoring Jilikien's glare, he half-smiled and continued. "It was getting too stuffy in there. All those damn /elders/ with their damn /rules/-" Jilikien made an odd sound, and the faerie rolled his eyes, stopping his original tirade to begin another one. "Oh, come off it, Jili. Just because you're a babe and don't want to say /scary/ curse words doesn't mean I'm not allowed to!" When the elf merely made another noise, a cross between a murmur and an exclamation, the Fire Elemental rolled his eyes and began to turn, growling, "You're /such/ a child.." His words trailed off as he realized that Jilikien hadn't been making sounds because of him, but another. Or rather, many others.

As Jilikien continued attempting to say a strangled word from his throat, Truciler eyed the humans armed with knives and pitchforks with distaste, raising a regal eyebrow.

"Are we supposed to be scared or something?"

. . .

"Er, I think we were," Jilikien murmured to him, and Truciler rolled his eyes, even though he knew the elf couldn't see him, seeing as they were tied to a pole, facing away from each other, in the middle of a large encampment within the forest, nowhere near the Goddess's Path.

"Shut up, Elf. What I want to know is how the hell those country bumpkins had magical gloves so I couldn't roast them."

"Silence, foul fiends!" Truciler rolled his eyes skyward as his lips instinctively curled in aversion. "Prepare yourselves for death, for we shall destroy ye monstrosities!"

"Okay, even I want to hurt them now," muttered Jilikien.

"Oh, like you did when they captured us?" The words of the Fire Elemental were sickeningly sweet, for they both knew the elf had just stood there and stared as he was bound hand and foot by their captors with an odd- looking golden rope.

"Shut up," Jilikien snapped back at the same time one of the 'country bumpkins' yelled, "Silence!"

"Look, we're faeries. We don't have to listen to the idiotic ranting of idiotic humans," Truciler stated, sneering, and received a hard blow to the cheek for his remark.

"Hey, leave him alone!" Jilikien strained at his bonds as he protested in anger. The humans ignored him and moved in on the Fire Elemental, their eyes blazing with sheer loathing.

"Ready to die, faerie?" snarled one of the humans, hefting a wicked- looking dagger as he did so. Truciler made no reply, smoothing his face into a blank look. It seemed that, despite their earlier possession of magical gloves, they didn't know that mere mortal weapons could never hurt a Fire Elemental. Pathetic human-made weapons melted before they could even touch his skin. "Fine then, prepare ye for death!"

"Do you all have to talk with 'ye' and 'shall' and the like? It really is quite annoying," was Truciler's lazy drawl as the weapon-wielder purpled in fury and hoisted his dagger high above his head.

"Abominable miscreant, die!" he roared, preparing to strike down. Ignoring him, Truciler twisted his head slightly, and caught sight of the elf's bluish hair.

"Is it just me, or are they all obsessed with death?"

"I think you're right," Jilikien replied, sounding weak but amused.

Truciler turned his chin back just in time to watch as the man brought his knife whistling down. The Fire Elemental sneered at the knife. That is, he sneered until the blade sliced through his shirt and flesh. His sneer transformed into an ugly grimace of pain as he sucked in his breath.

"Truciler?" Jilikien sounded panicky as he wrenched at his cords once more, recognizing the gasp for what it was: a sound of pain. "Leave him alone! He didn't do anything to you!" The men continued to ignore him as their victorious gazes fastened onto the injured Fire Elemental.

Truciler's chest heaved as he attempted to force into the back of his mind the throbbing of the long gash that began just below his collar bone and ended where his ribs split off. Dark crimson blood stained his silk finery, but the faerie didn't notice, fire-blue eyes glazed over in pain. As he wheezed loudly, Truciler forced himself to meet the cruel green eyes of the man who had wounded him.


"How did I acquire this weapon made by the gods?" Truciler's eyes widened in shock and alarm even before the man continued. "Ah, I see that ye have figured it out. Good for ye. I, faerie, am a Hunter." Jilikien snarled at the despised word, sounding astoundingly savage as he lunged against his restraints. Truciler, meanwhile, forced an unhurried, composed smirk onto his face, despite the excruciating agony with which his upper body was tormenting him.

"Ha, I didn't realize one of the grand, terrible Faerie Hunters would be as pathetic as you," he taunted, although even he could tell his voice was much weaker than before the dagger's graze. "My companion and I expected someone imposing, someone we'd know to fear as soon as we laid eyes upon him!" He eyed the Faerie Hunter, looking scornful. "We certainly didn't expect you.." His words were cut off by another thrust of the knife; this time the blade bit deeply into his shoulder. Unable to help himself, Truciler cried out, the sound a sharp, pained-filled shout.

"If you can't face the consequences, faerie, don't make me cause them," stated the Hunter in a cold voice, idly looking at the ruby blood as it slid down his dagger. "You know, I always thought that faeries didn't bleed." He smirked in icy amusement. "How wrong I was."

Truciler had had enough. His voice was cold enough to freeze a man's blood in his veins. "Listen to me, Hunter, and listen well. Have you ever heard of the clan of the Teknun?" He paused, and when the Hunter didn't reply, sneered dangerously. "Of course you haven't; otherwise you'd be running as fast as your pitiful mortal legs could take you." He ignored the agony of his shoulder and chest and straightened, pride evident in his upright frame. "The Teknun Clan was the mightiest of the Fire Elemental families, and certainly no contemptible human, Hunter or not, could ever kill them. Certainly not you." His mocking tone sharpened to pure hatred. "The only reason you captured me, Hunter, is due to my youth. Trust me, that will never happen again. I'll make sure of it." His eyes flashed, and he added, in a tone of finality, "Say good-bye, mortals."

The Hunter's eyes widened, and he began to scramble backwards, looking frantic, but it was far too late. With a nasty smirk, Truciler took on his true form, and everything was fire and screams.

. . .

"You burned my clothes."

"Get over it, Elf."

"My mother made these clothes for me, I'll have you know!" Jilikien grumbled to the Fire Elemental, trying to brush the ashes from his now filthy clothes with little success.

"Am I supposed to care? I just saved us you both, you fool." The elf frowned when he noticed the faintness of Truciler's exasperated words, and finally looked up, just in time to see Truciler slip back into his human form and stagger, blood flowing heavily from his wounds.

"Truciler!" The elf leapt forward to catch his companion in his arms, holding the Fire Elemental in a secure grasp to his chest. He looked down at his fellow faerie's crown of blazing red in worry. Even if he disliked Truciler, the Fire Elemental was another faerie, and faeries stuck together, even on Suolo. "Truciler, are you okay?"

"Get off.." Truciler feebly tried to shove him away, but the elf hung on, sitting down on the ash-covered ground and ignoring the fact that he had just ruined his garments from tip to toe.

"Truciler," he exclaimed, looking down at the blood that was now smearing his own grimy shirt, "he hurt you!"

"Get.." The Fire Elemental's reply was a gasping whisper that was cut off by a shudder as his wounds continued to bleed heavily. "Get.. The path.." Truciler's pain-glazed eyes fluttered close, and he breathed out a faint, bitter, "Oh Suolo Teknun.." His entire body instantly relaxed, and his head lolled onto Jilikien's shoulder as the Fire Elemental lost consciousness.

"Truciler? Truciler? Truciler!" The elf cradled his companion in his arms, very much aware of the scarlet blood that was staining both of their shirts. He had to get Truciler something to heal him, and fast. Anxious, he looked around for anything, but the Fire Elemental had destroyed the entire campsite, and half the forest besides, in his massacre of the humans. That was another thing Jilikien would complain about as soon as Truciler was healed: how dare the Elemental destroy a /forest/? Hefting the rather light faerie halfway into his arms, Jilikien began to drag Truciler in the direction of smoke that hadn't come from the Fire Elemental's rampage. Maybe there would be someone there to help, someone who would heal Truciler and not try to kill them..

He had completely forgotten about the gods-made weapon, which lay unhurt within the ashes that had once been a Faerie Hunter and his minions.

. . .

With an almost hysterical sob of relief, Jilikien spotted a tiny, homey cabin as he entered a clearing. Thank Suolo! His arms shaking from exertion, the elf dragged the still-unconscious Truciler towards the small house. The people inside would help Truciler, they /had/ to help! He collapsed against the door, only then aware that he was out of breath and fatigued. Why did he feel so dizzy all of a sudden? Back home, he could run for more than twice this distance carrying things much heavier than Truciler and not even break a sweat! He didn't notice when the door opened, too busy trying to breathe and get his wrists and ankles to stop hurting so much. He did, however, notice when a harsh, contrary voice spoke.

"Get away from me, faerie! We don't want your kind around here!"

Without a reply, Jilikien let Truciler slowly slide to the ground and crumpled, lifeless, at the young man's feet.

. . .

When Truciler awoke, he knew in an instant that he was in a human- made bed. For one thing, it was very uncomfortable, and for another, it was /cold/. A faerie's bed was magical, and warmed or cooled depending on what temperature the faerie wanted it to be. Truciler, needless to say, thought the hotter the bed was, the better. Great. He was in a mortal's bed. What had Jilikien gotten them into this time? His eyes still shut, he listened for any sounds to tell him where he was. He heard the sound of a roaring fire, and immediately relaxed, the hisses of the flames soothing to his ears. He could still feel his wounds, but the pain was dulled.

Truciler noted these first few things with an odd sense of detachment as he focused on more important matters. Someone had propped him up so that he could take in air easier. He could hear the breathing of three, no, four people in the room, two with the quick, sharp breaths of someone who is agitated, one with the slow breaths of someone who is calm, and the final with deep, even breaths, the breathing of one who dreams.

"Sir, we cannot keep these faeries under our roof! Faerie Hunter Al-" The voice was one of a young mortal, her high and nervous voice hurting Truciler's ears.

"Forget about Algeatus, my dear Prilagena. This Fire Elemental killed him, so we don't have to worry anymore." It was a human who breathed in a composed way, his voice low and filled with patience.

"You don't know that for certain, sir! Algeatus might be still out there, searching for these two! And if he finds out we took them under our roof and cared for them, he'll have our heads!" This was the last non- sleeping person, another human male, his voice deep but just as anxious- sounding as the female mortal's.

"Tender, for the last time, that explosion was the death of Algeatus, and it was made by this Fire Elemental. This faerie has to be one of the Teknun, the most powerful Elemental clan of them all!" Truciler decided quite quickly that this person who everyone called sir was a good and smart fellow, for a mortal.

"But, sir!"

"No buts! Algeatus is dead, and maybe now we'll all sleep in peace!" The calm mortal's tone held no room for argument, and the other two mortals sighed. At that moment, Truciler decided to make his presence known.

"Where's the elf?" he demanded, his eyes flying open to glare at the three mortals who stood at the foot of his bed. The young woman (Prilagena) uttered a shocked shriek and promptly leapt into the young man's arms, who collapsed under her weight after only a few seconds. Truciler couldn't help but flash a nasty smirk at the two who were sprawled on the ground before focusing on the older man.

"Welcome to our humble abode," was the calm response of the ancient, who must be this 'sir' everyone kept being respectful to. He hadn't jumped at all, and Truciler couldn't help put look the man over, wondering who he was.

The old man wasn't a normal, pathetic mortal; Truciler could instantly see that through his faerie eyes. The man was too nimble and yet too wispy to be ordinary. He looked as if a mere breath would knock him off his feet, and yet there was an energy that burned in his knowing gray eyes, a shadowy, intense energy that seemingly sucked the strength from his very limbs and into his eyes. The old man's face was bleached of all color, which made his irises seem darker than Truciler knew they were. His locks, curled and unmoving as they came to rest on his shoulders, were the color of a dove's feathers, lustrous and looking velvety to touch. But of course Truciler would never touch a /mortal's/ locks, even if he didn't seem that human.

"Who are you?" he instead questioned in a gruff, severe tone, narrowing his eyes at the old man. The man smiled, revealing two rows of perfect, even teeth that flashed pearl-like in the glow of the crackling flames.

"I," the old man stated evenly, "am Enruoƫ." Truciler's eyes widened in horror as he realized that Jilikien had gotten them into even worse trouble than before. Now, however, they were magnificently and utterly screwed.

- TBC -