~The Land of Man ~
Once he arrived in the center of the forest, Ean looked carefully around him. The Elder Oak was the biggest tree in Oldwoods. That is because he was the one that gave life to the entire forest. Through him flowed one of the most powerful magic there were, nearly as powerful as the Goddesses. The boy came closer…
“Elder Oak, I need your help!” said the boy, but the Elder Oak remained silent. “Please tree spirit! I need your help! Winter came in the vale and my friend, Iya Tiki is missing!” Ean shouted. The tree remained silent once more. “Nobody remembers her… I have her ribbon; I found it in her deserted room. Nobody can help me… Please talk to me!”
The Elder Oak’s branches stirred and cracked and the tree was coming to life. His voice was grave and old voice. A voice that hasn’t changed in ages.
“Your friend is at great peril. The snow Queen has her now. If Iya does not escape, the Queen will take her magic and claim it for her own.
“Are you sure we’re talking about the same elf?” he said confused. “Iya does not have magic. She failed her magic test yesterday.”
“In time, she will find her magic. But until there, she is vulnerable. You must help her escape. Should you fail, your friend will die along everyone else.”
“And how am I supposed to do that? Where is this snow Queen?”
“Go to the Land of Man. Climb a mountain covered in ice. Your friend awaits you there.”
“The Land of Man?” Ean said. “Few elves have survived that place to tell the tale. I’m doomed to fail even before I’ve begun.”
“You have a power of your own, young Ean. Find it, and you may survive.”
The tree went silent for a few minutes. Ean was shaking in fear. The Land of Man? Who was this goddess? Why would she want to hurt his friend? Eventually, Ean raised his eyes and looked at the tree.
“Is that it? That’s all the advice you have for me?”
“When you need is great, the Oracle will come to your aid.”
“The Oracle? What Oracle?”
The elder Oak did not answer. Then he said again:
“Careful the way thy footsteps fall. Mystery lies ahead and Mystery lies behind. Thread carefully on the path you choose.” Said the Elder Oak and then he went silent.
“Wait a minute! I’m not ready for this!”
The Elder Oak didn’t answer. Then, Ean went to him and grabbed one of his branches. A moment later, Ean opened his eyes in an unknown meadow.
“Where am I? Ean said while looking at the forest above him. “This must be the Land of Man.”
The meadow was poorly lightened because of the big threes. Large drips of water were coming down o him making their way through the labyrinth of leafs. Ean got out.
Once he reached the end of the forest he saw a river making its way through the plains. Far away to the north, he saw a huge chain of snowy mountains surrounded by a thick fog. “I think those are the mountains I’m supposed to get. Hmm… is that a canoe? I think I would get there faster if I go upstream.” Ean went to the canoe and placed it on the water. It was light, but intact. He placed his backpack in the canoe and started to paddle.
Half a day later, he was standing at the base of the mountains, eating. “It would be better if I made it to a city until tomorrow. I don’t have that much food left” he thought. After he finished eating, he started to walk on a tiny path that made its way through the mountain, hoping he was taking the right one. Not too far from the place he stopped, he saw a sigh. Moving closer to it, he saw that there were two cities. Shaenlir - North and Ryva - South. He kept going until he saw a small cave in which he decided to stop for the night. Because of the high peaks, the Sun had already set. He found some dry grass and some brambles and two stones. After a few failed tries and a bruise to his finger, he managed to make a fire. In the morning, something shiny got his attention. A small amulet with a sapphire in it was standing near the place where he made the fire along side a pouch full with gold coins. “What luck!”
Ean took the gold coins and the amulet and then he got out of the cave. After a half of day of walking, he got to an ice covered bridge that connected two peaks. Beyond then, on a high plateau he saw the city gates.