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The Eye of Phoenix (Fantasy Adventure Novel)-3

Updated on July 7, 2017

THE EVELIN

Three weeks passed by. The East Wind brought along with it an unexpected cool breeze. High in the sky, the sun was completely veiled, not a patch of blue could be spotted. The people of the ShangeLilar stopped what they were doing. They perked up their ears, listened carefully to the howling wind.

“Strange, nothing like this has ever happened for as long as I remember,” Taijun, the oldest man of ShangeLilar spoke grimly as he looked upon the gathering clouds.

Stealthily, the Faredale River that ran through the heart of the land began changing color. As the dusk befell, the water no longer appeared crisp clean, but dark red as if blood had been spilled in it. Poor fishes, many of them dead with their stomach flipped upwards. A few left barely alive, struggling helplessly amongst the floating bodies of their kindred, gasping desperately for air.

“What’s happening to the water and fishes?” exclaimed King Hillden as the guards lit up the riverfront with torchlight.

“The water is tainted my Lord,” answered Ken. “Tulan, a fast growing alga has invaded our waterway and stole the living spaces from those poor fishes. The dark red you see is the vicious plant coming to bloom. It’s a sign I’m afraid.”

“A sign…for what?” asked the king nervously.

“War stirs up again in the Further Land, where the river originated. Its terror spreads fast and wide. It’s coming our way,” said the man gravely.

“War…I thought it was over a thousand years ago,” breathed the young king astounded. “You told me the Glodius, who had once dwelt here, treasured this soil to a great extent that they even created a new race to protect it. This kingdom is safe, beyond the reach of all evil things, you said, a holy place blessed with beauty and lasting peace.”

“The Final Great War was fought and won, my Lord. Yet the tussle between good and evil never ends. Men dwell in the free lands could never get rid of the need and hunger for wealth and power,” uttered Ken. “Nowadays, the flames of war are not burning on all lands but in certain regions rather,” he glanced at the gloomy sky and added, “darkness deepens. Not until those clouds break I might have more to tell.”

“What shall I do in the main time? How can I appease the fear of my people?” inquired the king in a worrisome tone.

“I have been studying the stars for some time,” Ken spoke after a long pause. “On the seventh day, the clouds will part, and by the nightfall the riverbed may run clear once again. However...”

“What…tell me,” the young king demanded.

“I’m afraid evil will find its way into this blessed realm.” Ken responded heavyheartedly.

“What do you mean? What future have you foreseen?” the king inhaled deeply.

“It’s difficult to say Your Majesty. Hopefully, when the sky clears up, I may have more to report.”

They stood side by side near the bank. For long, no one spoke a word.

As Ken had predicted earlier, on the seventh day, the sun shone through gray clouds, and by dusk, the Faredale River ran once again crystal clear. Ken knew those changes were merely the beginning of something far dreadful. A force of evil was approaching, threatening the prospect of this very land.

Deep into the night, unable to rest, Ken strolled to the riverside. High in the sky, a swarm of stars glinted against a pool of blackness. A sudden mild breeze disturbed the high weeds and sent a pass-wave across the face of the serene water.

“Who’s there?” Ken scanned the surroundings alertly.

A long figure, graceful and unbent, towered over the edge of an out-thrusting crag, looking down at him. Above the stranger’s head, a full moon shone brightly against the night, and dusted his princely frame with a coating of silvery splendor. His face was youthful and stunningly fair. His wavy, long dark hair rested neatly upon his broad shoulders. In white he clad, with a silky girdle tied about his waist.

“Who are you? Why are you here alone at this late hour?” asked Ken skeptically, fixing his eyes on the stranger’s flawless countenance.

The young man smiled, not at all offended by his boorishness, “You need not to fear me.” His bright eyes trained on Ken’s stupefied face evenly. “I have been waiting for you, son of Roy Brightman—the greatest explorer ShangeLilar has ever seen. Like your long deceased father, you are also a wise man of a kind.”

“You speak of my father as if he’s an old acquaintance, yet thirty-two years have passed since his boat got lost in the sea…and you appear no more than twenty years of age,” Ken stated suspiciously.

“I know many things, but not by looking at the stars,” said the man. “And I come tonight to offer you my assistance.”

“Assistance…why should I trust the words of a complete stranger or accept your help? Besides, you look awfully young to grant me any valuable advice,” Ken snorted. “Who send you here and for what purpose? Speak frank.”

“Appearance can be deceiving,” said the man not at all offended. “For the past seven days and nights, you have been deeply troubled by the signs. You know what I am speaking of: the sudden change of the water color and those dead fishes—the land of ShangeLilar is facing a terrible threat. The peril may last for ages to come.”

“Watch your tongue young fellow. How dare you cast such horrid extrapolation?”

“Truth I speak, for you have also sensed it.”

“I do not deny you just demonstrated a flare of remarkable insight,” Ken’s voice calmed down a little, “nonetheless, a chap like you…”

“Chap,” he laughed. “I have seen more weathers than any of you that dwell on the earth.” the man’s eyes pierced his thoughts.

“Who…who are you?” Ken swallowed, and with a trembling voice he probed, “What are you—shall I say?”

“Have you heard a race called Evelin?”

Ken’s face turned pale. “E—Evelin?” his jaw dropped.

“I assume the answer is yes,” the man spoke with a mild tone. “I’m one among the blessed race. Many have forgotten our existence.”

“Good gracious. I, for one, have not forgotten,” Ken stumbled on words. “My father told me stories concerning your kind prior to taking that faithful trip. If you indeed belong to the incredible Evelin Clan, then you had also fought in the Great Battle that was described in the book of EldLune, a fight that had decided the fate of the mankind a thousand years before.”

The young man beamed, but did not reply.

“Is this a dream?” Ken murmured, pinched his forearm really hard, and frowned in pain.

“Does that clear your doubt?” the Evelin stood still.

“Father had once told me that you are the most beautiful and gifted being ever walked the face of the earth. ‘If you are lucky enough to meet one,’ he said, ‘consider it bless of a lifetime’. This moment, I can’t believe my luck.”

“Your father was an agreeable man, intelligent, hearty, as well kind with words,” returned the Evelin. “The first time I met him, he was a lad in his late teens, collecting wild herbs in the mountains.”

“He once told me that he nearly suffered a fatal accident in his youth. He lost his footing, trundled down a steep slope while collecting a hundred-year-old Ginseng, and broke his back in multiple places. It would take a miracle to save his life, and miracle indeed had occurred. A man with amazing healing power appeared out of nowhere. With a simple touch, the broken bones were healed. He said the man had fair features, like a flawless image springing out of an enchanting dream, and his name is…”

“Angoles Silvermoon, the 13th and the last member of the Holy Race,” the young man stated calmly. “And that name belongs to me.”

“How can this be?” exclaimed Ken. Eyes widened in amazement. “You are an Evelin…an Evelin now stands in front of me…”

“Do you not believe your sight, your ears or the memory of your father’s?”

“I have doubts about my own exceptional luck, to be frank,” Ken responded earnestly. “Why out of all men, I alone receive such honor?”

“Honor…” the Evelin’s uttered softly.

“What a blessing to meet an Evelin face to face. My father told me after that encounter, his fortune changed for the better.”

“He planted the seed of his own mirth. Roy Brightman was generous enough to offer me the Ginseng, which he almost got killed to obtain. He said it’s the most valuable possession he had ever possessed other than his own life. An interesting fellow, what could an Evelin possibly use it for?” Angoles laughed brightly. “I have lived too long as is. However, the ingenious root did save the life of another—an old man who was tormented by a dreadful long-term illness. The Ginseng helped him regain health. A few years later, his granddaughter married a young man who loves to travel and explore the wilderness. They named their only child—a son, Kenneth, meaning fire born.”

“What a strange fate,” Ken exclaimed.

“One good deed repays with another. You are chosen not by chance, but by the benignity of your ancestors.”

“Was his final hour painless and placid—my father?”

“He did not suffer much. Does that thought comfort you? A moment before his mind slipped away, he captured a glimpse of a splendid sight of the undying land beyond the Gray Sea and the glorious light of Molinge that never wanes.”

“My heart is at ease knowing that he rested in peace,” Ken bowed his head and muttered a silent prayer. He then raised his glance, “You stated earlier that you are here to aid me. What menace have you detected that is fated to pass?” His keen eyes fixated on the Evelin’s face.

“Like father, like son, forthright and sensible,” said the Evelin. “A month from now, a crowd of two hundred on board of a large boat shall arrive at the Eastern Shore, among them, the future Queen of ShangeLilar, and her close companion, Ordela Green. The wedding of your beloved king, Bowen Hillden, will take place two months later. The nuptials of Lady Green shall follow the next spring.”

“Indeed, the King plans to wed the princess of Aion. The wedding day is set on September 9th, a date that was chosen with great care. The celebration shall last the entire month,” said Ken. “You have also mentioned another wedding. Does our imminent predicament have anything to do with…?”

“A fellow that travels with them carries an ominous omen of Black Crow,” Angoles went on with a grave voice. “Be aware of him, he’s no mere wanderer as he proclaims to be. His arrival brings great evil to this land and its people.”

“Tell me who he is,” Ken urged. “I shall do all I can to prevent him from entering the Gate of the Elstillis.”

“Unfortunately, his advent cannot be stopped,” announced the Evelin.

“What’s the use of such warning, if I’m powerless to fend off the horror of the prophecy?” Ken shuddered and cried in dismay.

“He’s a captain from the City of Sardin. Like his forefathers, his blade has tasted the blood of countless souls. A fierce battle broke out in the Valley of Rosebay, where he fell into an ambush, and his men were annihilated. On a high cliff he fought with all he might, until an arrow pierced his shoulder. He dropped into a tumbling river below. That day, ten thousands of lives perished. He alone survived the combat and was rescued by a ship, yes, the same ship that carries the future queen of ShangeLilar,” the Evelin’s eyes glistened against a pool of blackness. “You see certain fate cannot and should not be challenged, Ken, Son of Roy Brightman. His destiny was written the instant he came into the world, and he will live and die according to his lot.”

“Then will you at least provide me with his name?” Ken importuned. “I shall remember it by heart.”

“You will learn who he is once you meet his eyes, unfathomable, detached and cynical sometimes. The coldness melts as soon as he steps on the soil of the Blessed Realm, for he hears a calling ever so attempting, but it was not meant for him,” the Evelin paused briefly and added, “He comes for the crown jewel of ShangeLilar, and he will not rest until he claims it as his own.”

“Alas, dark days shall soon befall us. Yet, you tell me there is nothing I can do but watch it unwind.”

“The force of evil conjures more tricks than those who possess pure conscience. Stand strong Ken, for the sake of your people. Winter is coming to this land. Without thoughtful preparations, many lives will perish.”

Ken swayed as if struck with a puff of sudden chill. “Win…winter…did I hear you correctly?” Only in books had he read about it. The outlandish scenery and unimaginable devastation, to him, the word breathed an aura of a pure fantasy. However, this minute, it sounded more like a death sentence.

“Yes, winter, and I am not assuming such possibility. It will come to pass regardless of your desire,” said the Evelin.

“What kind of power engenders enough force to alter nature?” Ken muttered, reluctant to accept the terrible foretoken.

“A marvelous treasure lies in the heart of the Sacred Wood of Dorlan, safely guarded within the towering crystal walls and protected by royal sentinels. People here value it greatly, for they believe the stone brings good fortune to the land and its keeper. However, it’s no ordinary jewel but a fallen ember from the Star of Vola that possesses astonishing powers. The removal of the gem may bring disaster to the land, and that shall cause the change in weather,” said Angoles in a soft but clear voice.

Ken inhaled deeply. Never before had he heard a statement frightening as this. The precious treasure the Evelin talked about must be the Eye of Phoenix, the heirloom of ShangeLilar. It was quite sacred how the stone came about the land long ago.

Falling from the sapphire sky, and lightening the dark valley in a flash, it glowed with tremendous warmth and power. All plants in the wood bloomed overnight…

Ken recalled a passage from the book of EldLune. The page, which it was written on, had turned brown, but the words were clearly visible to the eyes.

“I know the treasure you talked about,” Ken uttered. “The Eye of Phoenix, we call it here, a rare diamond, big as a fist. What kind of power does it possess, that losing it might create such inconceivable chaos?”

“Have you heard the tale of Lady Lalunna?” the glint in the Evelin’s eyes quivered.

“Who is she?” said Ken, baffled.

“Nearly a thousand years have passed. Few now live remember her. Yesterday it seems to me,” the Evelin let go a sigh, “Beautiful she was, full of life and vigor and short lived also, perished at the tender age of seventeen,” with that he fell silent and his face grew dim.

“How did she die?” sensing his grief, Ken inquired carefully.

“She thought she was betrayed by the one she loved. She fell into dark despair, and was consumed by the wrath of the sea,” said the Evelin. “Since that day, a curse has been cast upon her soul and she was condemned for an eternity.”

“A sad story…what does her ill fate have to do with the future of ShangeLilar?” said Ken perplexed.

“A time to challenge the curse draws near,” said Angoles. “Six years from now, this land will become her new home. At the moment of rebirth, she shall harbor no memory of the past. She is your future Queen, the one and only child of your beloved King Hillden. As her guardian, you shall witness her birth, protect her and shield her from harm until she reaches the age of seventeen.”

“What will happen then?” asked Ken anxiously.

“That future is too far to see even for an Evelin, but one thing you must keep in mind, her life force is bound to the stone of power. Without its protection, she will not last,” his eyes strayed to the distant twilight. The edge of the sky was turning pale. “Dawn is almost here. I must leave you now.”

“Please wait,” Ken beseeched. “You have yet told me what kind of power does the Heirloom of the House possess?” He spoke eagerly; terrified that Angoles might disappear without rendering the answer.

The Evelin thought for a moment and said, “When the Final Battle was fought and won, the Glodius gave each Evelin a choice. As you might have learnt, five of my kin perished forever on the battlefield, and four went to ‘MoHaven’ seeking lasting peace. I was spared of the decision on the ground that I have a promise to fulfill. The Glodius granted me the Stone of Ellendier and passed it onto this blessed realm. The earth-bound star has the power to heal the sick and dying. If it falls into a wrong hand...” he fell silent again.

“But I can’t accomplish this task alone,” cried Ken. “Will you accompany me to the palace and meet with my king, and tell him what you have just told me?”

Angoles shook his head in vain. “Daylight is marching across the land. Our meeting must end. Your king is too young and inexperienced; help him understand the danger that is threatening the kingdom. Take this advice: store as much of food as possible, and keep a watchful eye on that stranger from the distant land. The stone of power must remain in the crystal palace at all costs,” with that he turned and disappeared behind the cliff.

“Come back, Oh, come back,” Ken captured no sound but his own desperate voice echoing in the air. “I wish this is a mere dream,” he brooded. “Somehow, my heart tells me it is only the beginning of a long nightmare,” he vexed.

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