King Thranduil sat in his throne, his long, slim fingers tapping lightly on the arm of it. His crown of interwoven sticks and berries rests upon his head, the ends of it accentuating his high cheekbones. He wears a greenish blue tunic of silk, and black deerskin pants, soft soled dark blue boots of the same material upon his feet. A black-haired, blue-eyed young elf woman stood in the doorway with her companions and a white wolf with golden eyes at her side. She has a couple deadly-looking daggers, what appeared to be an alchemy bag, exploration kit and a black crescent moon mark under her right eye. Her armor was dark, bluish black leather, styled in an almost leaf-like pattern, with a circlet of jade studded with sapphires on her brow. Her companions were just as strangely dressed, but all of them had an aura of strength. One of them, an auburn-haired elf woman with violet eyes, shuddered. The black-haired woman with red eyes snickered.
“Serana.” The black-haired elf woman said without turning around.
“You are NO fun, Mikayla,” Serana snapped. “Selana is more fun than you.” Mikayla simply smiled then walked toward the throne. Her companions hurried after her. Mikayla bowed then fixed her blind blue eyes on the Elf King.
“Greetings, Elf King. I am Mikayla Black-Briar,” Mikayla said. “These are my companions Karliah, Serana, Akhara, Ariana, Selana, Wind Runner, Lunaris and Solaris.” Her companions bowed. Only Serana was reluctant. Lunaris tucked a strand of her long white hair behind her ear and regarded King Thranduil with gray eyes. Mikayla tilted her head as the throne room doors opened.
His daughter, Erulissë, stood in the doorway, wearing her usual black leather armor with silver stitching, her everyday long daggers on each hip. Her long waves of mahogany brown were pulled back from her face by nine small braids that had been braided until they were one, the rest of her hair falling loosely to her waist. She wore her traditional circlet of beaten silver, and the blue tattoo on her right jaw and the scar on her left temple stood out since they were not covered. Mikayla turned to face the young elf warrior woman.
The two elf women regarded each other.
“You must be Erulissë. You are his daughter,” Mikayla said softly. “Karliah, tell me what she looks like.” Karliah described Erulissë to Mikayla.
“How can she be an Alchemist’s Apprentice if she cannot see?” Erulissë wondered. She was unaware she’d spoken aloud until Mikayla spoke, and mentally cringed at her uncharacteristic blunder.
“I can tell what a herb is by the shape, the feel, the smell. I may not be able to see but my skin is hypersensitive and I have a good sense of smell.” Mikayla answered. King Thranduil rose from his throne and walked to stand in front of Mikayla. She faced him head bowed. He rested his hand on her hair, smoothed the long black strands gently, then tipped her head up, regarding her with his regal, ice blue gaze. The wolf at her side snarled and Mikayla stroked the white fur to calm the wolf.
“You and your companions are welcome here,” King Thranduil said. “Erulissë will help you and your friends get settled.”
The scarred, tattooed female bowed at the waist, right fist over her heart, the other behind her back, a gesture of warmth and respect for their visitors.
"Follow me in a moment, please," she said, then went over to her king and father, speaking in rapid Elven. After several fierce questions and replies, she seemed satisfied. She kissed his left cheek, which seemed to have some significance, for his icy gaze melted under the caress of that one action.
"Diola lle, Ada,"
she said, then returned to them. "This way, if you will." She led them down the hall and made no effort to hide the curious glances she cast at them.
"What are you staring at?" Serana snapped. Mikayla turned to her friend.
"Serana, that was rude," Mikayla scolded then turned to Erulissë. "I apologize for my friend's behaviour. She didn't want to come with me but I insisted on her coming. Serana is one stubborn vampire."
"Out of curiosity, can you understand Elven?" Erulissë asked. Mikayla nodded. Suddenly she winced and placed a slim, elegant hand against her brow.
"Are you alright?" Erulissë asked. Mikayla nodded. The crescent moon under her eye began glowing. Mikayla spoke but her voice had a strange echo to it.
"Mother, what is it?" Mikayla asked. She listened to the response only she could hear. She turned to Karliah who groaned.
"Not again." Karliah muttered. Suddenly a tremor ran through Mikayla who blinked as the crescent moon ceased glowing.
"I hate it when Mother does that." She said. Karliah grimaced.
"How does Lady Nocturnal do that?" Karliah asked.
"She's a Daedra. Who knows how she does the things she does." Mikayla responded. Ariana -a red-haired, green-eyed girl- stumbled and fell. Mikayla was at her side instantly.
"I'm okay." Ariana said. She got back up. Lunaris spoke.
"Good thing Erik isn't here. The jerk would not let you forget you fell." Lunaris said. Ariana looked at Erulissë's scar curiosity in her green eyes.
"How did you get that?" Ariana asked.
"In a battle against the giant, bloodthirsty spiders that inhabit the darker parts of Mirkwood," she responded. "I hope none of you had the misfortune of meeting them. They're nasty things with a penchant for trying to eat dwarves especially," she added. "I have another one from the same battle on my thigh. Ah, here we are."
She paused in front of a giant, oaken door carved with intricate forest scenes and pushed them open.
"All of your rooms are connected by slightly hidden doors, but you seem like an intelligent lot, so you should be able to find them," Erulissë paused. "Are any of you hungry or anything?"
"You realize there is a slight problem, right?" Serana asked Mikayla in a soft voice.
"You'll manage. You always have." Mikayla replied just as softly. Solaris blinked twice then tapped Lunaris' shoulder.
"Hey, Mikayla? Your hands are on fire again." Lunaris said. Mikayla glanced at her hands. The flames went out. Ariana gave Mikayla a serious look.
"Not my fault, kiddo." Mikayla said.
"I hate being called that." Ariana said.
"I can't believe we're stuck with an eight-year-old." Akhara -who had been silent up until now- said. Wind Runner was shuddering.
"Is she alright?" Erulissë asked.
"Wind Runner hates spiders." Mikayla explained. The wolf at her side snarled softly.
"Stop that, Astral." Mikayla said patiently. Astral pressed closer to Mikayla then began to growl. Mikayla opened her mouth to speak but a blur suddenly shot from the room beyond. Astral grew huge then leapt, slamming into the O that dared attack her mistress. The Orc sent Astral flying. She slammed into the wall with a yelp.
"Astral!" Mikayla cried. She rushed to Astral's side and knelt down. She glared at the Orc fury radiating from her body and her eyes blazing. "Forbidden Guardian I call to thee
Rise from the ground to protect me
SO MOTE IT BE!"
Mikayla cried out, her voice echoing with power.
"Mikayla! NO! The last time you tried that spell the energy cost nearly killed you!" Ariana cried.
A creature rose from the ground and killed the Orc. It bowed to Mikayla then vanished. Mikayla fainted.
Never before had Erulissë been so shocked and enraged-never before had an Orc been able to penetrate the deep winding halls of Mirkwood, and her grey gaze turned into a tempest, the different shades of cloud swirling and crackling like grey lightning. Without realizing it, she had drawn her daggers and her lip was curled. Before she could act Astral whined nudging her mistress. Astral tipped back her head and howled. Ariana knelt at Mikayla's side.
The Elven warrior princess stirred herself out of her position, sheathing her daggers so fast they were a blur and put a staying hand out towards them.
"Stay here, please," she said. "I'll go and fetch Ada. He can help with Mikayla." She whirled and sprinted off towards where she knew he would be-his study. She barreled right in, forgoing the usual formal knock. Thranduil looked up from where he stood at his desk, dressed in some of his more casual court attire."Ada, amin anta lle tua,"
she said. "Asca,"
she urged. His brow furrowed, for he knew she would not be so demanding in normal circumstances, and he followed her as they raced back to where she had left Mikayla and her companions.