Chapter Twenty-Eight – Through a Tangle of Roots

A semblance of confusion still reigned at the center of Eld’rin, but the lower district was quiet, save for the footsteps of two lone elves, who walked side by side along the system of roots. Their steps were wandering, yet they knew where they walked. They said nothing, but remained silent, their own thoughts and each other company enough.

At length, however, one spoke.

“Where will he go, Eltuthar?” asked Ilrin.

“Somewhere safe,” replied Dilmir, looking ahead. “He’ll take my parents with him, so that Alfimir can’t find them.”

“Do you think he’ll ever come back? To Eld’rin, I mean?”

Dilmir considered for a moment. “Yes,” he said decisively. “He’ll come back, some day. He’ll find a way to lift the curse that Sonlen gave him. When my training is complete, I’ll join him and help him search.”

They walked on, silent once again, for nearly a minute, until Ilrin broke the silence again.

“Why do you believe in him?” she asked. “How do you know what he says is true, and the council is wrong? They were right about the consequences of his discoveries, after all.”

Dilmir was silent for a moment. “…Because I have to,” he finally said, suddenly realizing it. “I believe in him because I have to.” It was clear to him why this was so, but every time he tried to put it into words, his thoughts became jumbled and confused.

“I don’t think you should try to hide your power anymore,” said Ilrin, interrupting his thoughts.

“Why not?” asked Dilmir, surprised.

“Well,” said Ilrin, “the council kept on bringing up all the things you could do, without mentioning the things you did do.”

“I hadn’t done anything yet,” laughed Dilmir.

“Exactly,” said Ilrin, serious. “Their fears were based off of what you did to the wolves. That was all they had seen. I saw how Eltuthar used his magic when I was at Arath Imil. I may not approve of Eltuthar’s reasoning the way you do, at least not yet, but Arath Imil showed me that magic can be used as more than just a weapon. It can be used to help to bring beauty to whatever it touches, and spread kindness, peace, and love to those that use it. That’s what you have to do, Dilmir,” she said, suddenly stopping and turning to him. “You have to use it. Use it so that it can be seen for what it is, and for what it can bring.”

Dilmir looked at her for a long while, suddenly realizing fully just how lucky he was to have her as his friend. His face broke into a smile. He knew now why he had to believe in Eltuthar. Ilrin had said it for him.

Silently, he put his hand in hers and, together, they continued walking down the tangle of roots.

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