The Story of Anilla's Parents
Tia'wen Starheart was in love. She knew that she shouldn't be, at least not yet. After all, she was still young. She was only the elven equivalent of 16 human years, and she had barely experienced the world. And, worse yet, she was in love with a human.
Tia sat on her bed in her room, which was inside a little hut in the middle of a forest. She was looking out of the window, daydreaming, when she heard her father's voice.
"Tia!" He opened her door and walked into her room. "Tia, where have you been all day? You were supposed to help your mother make dinner tonight, and instead she had to do all of the work herself." He waited a few seconds, but Tia continued to gaze out the window. "Tia, answer me!"
Tia nervously played with her long, straight, jet black hair. He - her lover - had said that it was beautiful. He had said that she was beautiful. No one had ever said that to her before.
"Nowhere, Father." Tia didn't look him in the eye. "I was only walking through the forest and playing with the animals."
Her father rolled his eyes, though Tia didn't see this. "You know that I don't believe that. Now, tell me. Who were you with?"
Tia bit her lip nervously. Her lover had said that her lips were as red as a rose, and that he couldn't stop kissing them even if he wanted to. "I..." She couldn't lie to her father. She was never too good at lying. "I was with a male, Father. We didn't stray far from the hut..."
Her father sighed deeply and sat down on the bed next to her. "A male, Tia? What forest is he from?"
Tia swallowed hard. "He isn't from a forest, Father. He...he's from the city."
"Shendar City? Tia...is he a half-elf?"
"No, Father. He's a human."
Tia looked at her father to see how he would react. His expression was blank, and he didn't respond for a minute or two.
Finally, he spoke. "Tia, I'm sure you know how I feel about this, so I won't mention that part. You...you're an elf, Tia. You love other elves. You don't love humans."
Tia didn't hesitate. "But I love him, Father."
"No, Tia, you don't." Her father stood up and walked to the door, and then he turned around again. "You will not turn out like your sister did. You do not love humans. Do you understand me?"
She tried hard to fight back the tears. "Yes, Father. I understand."
Darin Liadon had just arrived home after his visit to the forest outside the city. He had been with Tia'wen again. He couldn't get enough of her. She was beautiful, and he loved her.
She was a lot younger than him. She had told him that, in human years, she was only 16. He was 25. But age didn't matter to him. All he knew was that he loved her, and he had told her that today. She had told him that she loved him too. It made him the happiest man alive when she said that.
Darin sat down on his bed and looked out the window. He remembered back to the day that he met Tia, which was only a week ago but seemed so very far away because of all that had happened in between. He had decided to venture outside Shendar City, and he walked through a grassy field. He could see a forest in the horizon, and wondered what it was like. He decided to go and find out.
When he arrived at the forest's edge, he found that he was a little frightened of the place. It was thick and he didn't know what kinds of wild animals were inside. He had also heard stories that some elves lived in forests, and he didn't want to risk meeting up with one.
Despite his fears, his curiosity was too strong and he walked inside. It wasn't long before he saw a young girl with long, straight, jet black hair talking to a squirrel. She was feeding it a nut. He could easily see her pointed ears.
Darin couldn't see any harm in talking to an unarmed girl, so he spoke up. "Hello, there."
The girl spun around and looked at him. She looked afraid. "Who...what do you want?" Darin thought her voice sounded like music.
"I...nothing. I was just taking a walk and I saw you, so I decided to say hello. My name is Darin. Darin Liadon. I come from Shendar City."
The girl seemed to be less nervous now. Remembering her manners, she smiled. Darin thought her smile was beautiful. "Pleased to meet you, Darin. My name is Tia'wen Starheart, but my friends call me Tia."
Darin smiled back and walked up to her. "The pleasure is all mine, Tia."
Darin returned to the present after remembering this happy moment that took place last week. They had spent the day together, and he had visited her every day after that. Tia had told him just yesterday that her parents would not approve of him because he was human. He wasn't going to let this stop him. He loved her too much.
Tia left her hut that night after her parents were asleep. She had packed up the few belongings she owned and walked out into the night. Her father had said that she would not turn out like her sister. Silaqui had run off with a human only a year earlier, and Tia was about to do the same.
She left her parents a note, just as Silaqui had done. She told them where she would be living in case they wanted to visit, although she knew they wouldn't. She didn't hate them, but she loved Darin too much to give up on him and follow her parents' orders.
Tia knew where Darin lived. She had been to his house only the day before. She knew how to get there, and even though she was afraid of walking through the city by herself at night, she had no other choice. She prayed to the Great Mother, asking for her protection as she made her way through the empty streets to Darin's house. It wasn't long before she was at his door.
She was going to knock, but then decided to try to the door. It was unlocked. Tia walked quietly inside and shut the door behind her. She made her way to Darin's bedroom, and she could see the dim shape of his body in the bed. He was asleep.
Tia put her things down and walked over to the bed. She had never been in the same bed with a male before. She was nervous, but she loved Darin. She wanted to be with him. She climbed into the bed next to him and held his hand.
Darin stirred, rolled over to face her, and opened his eyes. He didn't seem surprised. "Hello there, Tia. Have you decided to stay with me?"
"Yes, Darin. I need to be with you. I love you."
Darin smiled. "I love you too, my beautiful Tia'wen."
He undressed her slowly. She did not resist because she wanted to be with him. He was already naked, and it wasn't long before she was too. She had never seen him, or any male, naked before. She was nervous.
"I'm scared, Darin."
He looked into her eyes lovingly. "I'll be gentle." And he was. They made love for the rest of the night, and Tia wasn't scared anymore. They loved each other.
Five years passed, and Tia'wen and Darin were still together. It had been hard for Tia, living amongst humans. Almost every day that she left the house, she had to put up with stares and name-calling. Even Darin was ridiculed for loving an elf. But they put up with it and made it through five years in Shendar City. They had each other, and that was what mattered.
Tia had taught Darin about the Great Mother. She had always been a devout worshipper of her, and she wanted Darin to be too. He tried, if only to satisfy Tia, but he didn't have the same gifts that Tia had. He could not talk to animals like she could, and he did not have her seemingly magical ability to heal the sick and wounded. Darin discovered, within the first few months with Tia, that she was not only beautiful, but magical.
It was in that fifth year that Tia became pregnant. She and Darin were very happy when they found out that they were going to have a child. It was something that they had talked and thought about for the past year or two, and it had finally happened.
Nine months later, Anilla was born. Tia and Darin had decided to go with the human tradition of giving their child Darin's last name, and so she was named Anilla Liadon. She was a beautiful baby, and looked very much like her mother. Her parents raised her with all of the love a child deserves, and more.
It had only been a month after Anilla was born when Darin was awoken in the middle of the night. There had been a noise outside their room. He walked quietly out of the room to see what had happened. He saw a raven perched on one of their chairs.
Darin stared at the bird, and the bird stared back. He didn't have to think twice; he knew what that bird stood for. He sat down heavily in a nearby chair, and he started to sob. It was Eraia, the goddess of death. And she, or a messenger of hers, was here in their house.
Tia awoke to the sound of Darin's sobs outside the room. She quickly picked up Anilla from her cradle and walked out to see what had happened. As soon as she saw the raven, it looked her in the eyes, and then it looked at Anilla, who was still sleeping.
Tia sat down next to Darin, and prayed out loud to the Great Mother. She prayed for Darin and Anilla's lives as well as her own. But this was not the Great Mother's realm. It was Eraia's.
The raven spoke. "I am here for the child. For Anilla Liadon." It looked pointedly at the baby in Tia's arms.
Tia shook her head vigorously. "No, you can't take her. She's ours."
The raven made a sound that was probably supposed to be laughter. "Is she? She may be now, but I can take her whenever I wish. And I wish to take her now."
"Take me instead, then." Tia didn't even hesitate.
Darin looked at Tia. "Tia...no. I can't lose you."
"We have no other choice, Darin. Anilla will live."
The raven seemed amused by this exchange. "Well, then, this seems to be a difficult decision for you. All right, I will take either Tia'wen or Anilla. Your choice."
Darin looked terrified. "Tia, I can't lose you. I won't lose you." There were tears on his face.
Tia turned to him, and there were tears on her face as well. "Would you rather lose Anilla? Our only daughter?"
"No, I..." Darin looked down at Anilla, and then back up at Tia. He loved them both. "I'll go with you, Tia." He turned to the raven. "I'll go with Tia. Take us both."
Tia grabbed Darin's hand and held it tight. "Darin, no. You have to stay here and raise Anilla. She needs you."
"I can't live without you, Tia. I won't be able to do it. Bring Anilla to your sister. She's always wanted a child. I know our daughter will be in good hands with her."
The raven interrupted them. "Well, it's settled then. I will take Darin and Tia, and Anilla will stay. I will give you until tomorrow night at midnight to say goodbye and to bring Anilla to Silaqui. I won't be late." With that, the raven flew out of a window and off into the night.
Tia and Darin did not sleep that night. They spent it holding each other and crying. Anilla, oblivious to what was happening, slept peacefully through the night and into the morning.
The next morning, Tia and Darin brought Anilla to Silaqui's home in Elftown. They had visited her only a few times, but really only because both Tia and Silaqui were afraid to walk across the city to visit each other. Tia and Darin weren't bothered on this trip; or, if they were, they didn't notice it. They were too busy thinking about that night and what fate awaited them both.
They knocked on Silaqui's door, and she opened it. Silaqui knew something was wrong immediately.
"What happened, Tia?"
Tia, Darin, and Anilla went inside. Tia spoke. "Silaqui, we need your help. Please, will you take Anilla and raise her? Treat her as if she were your own child. Darin and I...we can't take care of her anymore." There were tears in her eyes.
Silaqui was taken aback. "What...what happened? What's wrong?"
Tia shook her head. "That's not important. Please, will you do it?"
Silaqui nodded her head slowly. "Of course I will, Tia. You're my sister and I'd do anything for you. Will you come to visit her?"
Darin shook his head. "No, Silaqui, we won't. It's not that we don't want to...it's that we can't."
Silaqui shook her head in confusion. "I don't understand."
"Good," Tia replied. She held Anilla close to her chest, and kissed her. "I love you, Anilla. Always remember that. May the Great Mother always watch over you and protect you from harm." She handed the child to Darin.
Darin held his daughter close. "I will miss you, little one. Don't forget us. We'll never forget you. I love you."
He then slowly handed Anilla to Silaqui, who held the baby close to her. "I will raise her as if she were my own, Tia'wen. I promise you that."
Tia wiped the tears from her eyes. "Thank you. Goodbye, Silaqui. May the Great Mother bless you and this house so that no harm will ever befall you or Anilla." She and Darin walked out of the house together and didn't look back.
Silaqui kept her word. She raised Anilla as if she were her own child, and Anilla grew up to be just as beautiful as her mother. Gavin, Silaqui's human lover, was not as pleasant to be around; he hated children. He allowed Anilla to stay, but he refused to take care of her. When Anilla was four years old, Silaqui discovered that she was pregnant. When she told Gavin the news, he couldn't take it. He left the house and never returned.
Talas was born nine months later, and Silaqui raised both him and Anilla by herself. Silaqui was a good mother, and she didn't favor one of the children over the other. They were raised well and lovingly.
When Anilla was six years old, she asked Silaqui about her parents. Silaqui knew this day would come, and was upset that she couldn't give Anilla a real answer.
"Well, Anilla, your mother's name was Tia'wen Starheart. She was my sister, and an elf like me. Your father's name was Darin Liadon, and he was a human. This is why you're a half-elf, just like Talas.
"Your parents loved you very much, Anilla. About a month after you were born, they brought you here and told me that they couldn't take care of you anymore. They wouldn't tell me why, so I'm afraid I can't tell you where they are now. That is all I know."
Young Anilla looked confused. "Are they still alive, Silaqui?"
Silaqui shook her head. "I honestly don't know, child. We can only pray that they are alive and well somewhere, and that they will return for you as soon as they can."
The Story of Anilla's Parents, Part 2