fantasy, short, stories

Erenkanti – Lord Silyan’s Message

The dark haired young Enai warrior Oren was the first to notice a young golden eagle tracking them in the clouds. The bird itself was not an unusual sight for Lord Atar and his Enai. They were from the area and as the Enai warriors spent most of their time galloping across the skies, such sights were to be expected. This was different though, unlike most of the birds they regularly encountered on their travels, this particular eagle had been following them for several hours and it showed no signs of giving up the chase. After studying its flight Oren finally told his Lord about the bird.
“My Lord Atar,” he called out.
“Yes, Oren. What is it?” answered the war-god.
“That eagle has been following us for many hours now. Shouldn’t we do something?” – the Enai warrior asked.
“It’s a bird, nothing more. Just leave it,” – Lord Atar responded indifferently.
“Yes, my Lord,” said Oren.

He tried vainly to forget the bird, though suddenly the eagle swooped towards Lord Atar and landed on the god’s shoulder. At first Atar tried to ignore it, but then it quickly began screeching something into his ear. Whatever message it carried, it must have been important enough for Atar to order his Enai to stop and land atop the nearest cliff face.

The war-god waited until all his warriors had landed safely and dismounted from their horses before taking his place on the rock and announcing:
“The eagle brings a message from my brother Silyan. A few years past, one of Silyan’s Enai confessed to reviving a dead mortal and entered the Halls of Makar. My brother has chosen to forgive his servant, however he seeks to ensure that such a forsaken crime will never happen again. It falls to me to remind you that, as the Erai of death, my brother Makar is solely responsible for deciding the fates of mortals. Unlike the woodland Enai, you as my servants have no power to revive the dead. Yet these very laws apply to your clan. As an Erai, it is my responsibility to enter the Halls of Makar to collect souls of brave warriors. If my brother or his queen catch any of you within their realm, the punishment will be severe. Do you each understand?”
“Yes, my Lord!” the Enai warriors shouted in unison.

Having successfully delivered the message, the young eagle flew away.

And a few days later yet another golden eagle made its way towards Lord Fiehri’s volcanic palace. A fire Enai was gathering water from a nearby mountain stream when the bird made a few passes overhead before finding a small opening in the rocky cave below. The Enai tried his best to chase the bird away as soon as possible. Yet the eagle managed to escape and carefully avoided the flames before making its way into his master’s forge.
“My Lord Fiehri!” – shouted the Enai.

The god of flames turned towards his servant before responding:
“Yes, what is it Heri?”
“An eagle has flown into your domain. It followed me as I was fetching water from the stream and it’s managed to sneak in through an opening in the hillside. I tried to be rid of it but it’s too fast and it won’t go,” he explained.
Fiehri carefully rested his newly made axe down on his throne and glared at Heri with bubbling hostility.
“Get it out of here! Right now!” he roared.
“Yes, my Lord!” Heri assented, and once again he tried to drive the bird away. The eagle continued to glide around the forge avoiding the Enai with ease. Despite his best efforts, the fire Enai was unable to force it from the room.
“Heri, I told you to get rid of that bird. Why is it still here?” Fiehri scolded.

The fire god was now furious. He ordered Heri to remove his shirt and the fire Enai did as requested. Fiehri whipped him until his back was raw and covered in lines of blood. Hearing the commotion his son Ieskr appeared and took pity on the poor Enai.
“That’s enough father! Please let Heri go. I’ll deal with the bird,” Ieskr proposed.
Still enraged, Fiehri took a deep breath while looking at his son before his attention again turned to the fire Enai.
“Very well. Heri, you may leave,” he ordered.

Much relieved, the Enai took a bow and rushed from the forge leaving Ieskr alone with his father. Fiehri decided to resume his work while the young Erai observed the bird as it encircled the scorching room.
“This is intriguing. I’ve never seen an eagle like this before. I wonder what it’s doing here…” Ieskr commented.
“I don’t know and I don’t particularly care either. I just want it to leave my palace,” Fiehri responded while continuing to craft his weapons.

Ieskr decided to try and lure the bird out. He left the forge and headed to the kitchen where he asked the cook for some raw meat. He swiftly took a full plate back to his father’s workshop. Ieskr carefully placed the dish on the ground, stood back and waited. The eagle flew in and took the bait. Having quickly devoured all the meat, the bird hopped on to Ieskr’s arm.

Instead of going outside, the young Erai decided to take the bird to his room in the tallest tower of the palace. Once inside, he left the bird with a bowl of cool water before rushing back towards the forge. There he carefully crafted a steel cage from some scrap metal lying around and hurried back to the room. He placed the water bowl inside and waited for the eagle to climb in. Ieskr quickly gathered a handful of small obsidian stones and placed them around the cage. He then put his hand onto the cage and whispered a spell causing a yellow coating to form around it.
“Sorry my little friend. I don’t mean to imprison you but this is the only way I can protect you from the heat. As long as you stay inside the cage you won’t overheat or struggle to breathe,” he told the bird before he took to bed.

The next day he opened the cage and the eagle followed him to the dining room where he and his parents had breakfast.
“It seems that our son has a new pet,” Fiehri commented to Lavinia during their meal.
“I’ve never seen an eagle behave like this before. Why is it following us?” Ieskr asked.
Lavinia took a look at the bird as it flew towards her.
“This is no ordinary eagle, Little Spark,” she said knowingly just as the bird landed on her shoulder. “It’s an erenkanti.”
“A what?” asked Fiehri.
“Erenkanti, is a term used by the forest Enai for messenger birds. I’ve seen these before during my time in the woods. Silyan has it placed under a spell that will mimic our speech, repeating whatever he or his Enai have spoken. It will not leave until it has delivered its missive. Any bird can become an erenkanti. Silyan often uses owls at night, though this is the first erenkanti eagle I’ve come across. Based on the way it’s behaving, I assume the message is intended for us,” Lavinia explained.
“So what message does it carry?” Ieskr questioned.

The eagle screeched something to Lavinia’s ear. Having finally fulfilled its mission, the spell immediately broke and the eagle flew out from the palace.
“So…what did it say? Ieskr asked.
“It’s a warning for the Enai. We need to gather the clans of the mountain and fire Enai and make an announcement.” she stated.
“Heri, come here!”Fiehri bellowed.
The fire Enai hastily entered the dining room.
“Yes, my Lord,” the servant replied.
Lavinia was about to speak when she noticed the dried blood on the fire Enai’s back.
“Fiehri, what have you done this time?” she asked her husband, her voice calm but stern.
“I may have over-reacted slightly,” the fire god admitted.
Lavinia sighed before approaching the Enai.
“My apologies Heri, my husband should never have treated you like that,” she said as she touched his back softly before uttering a spell that caused the wounds to disappear.
“Thank you, my Lady,” the fire Enai answered reverently.
“Heri, listen carefully. I need you to send message to my servants, the mountain Enai. They are all to come here to the palace in a few days,” she instructed.
“Yes, my Lady,” Heri acknowledged the request with a nod.

Heri soon hurried off to the mountains while the rest of the fire Enai began to make preparations for a feast and to arrange rooms in the nearby caves for the mountain Enai. A party of this magnitude had not been seen inside the palace since Fiehri and Lavinia’s wedding. It took several days to ready everything for the gathering. The chefs prepared dozens of dishes for the occasion and they took out several barrels of mead from the cellar. Dragging vast stone tables and chairs outside, the Enai converted the open courtyard into a large dining space to accommodate the mountain Enai who were unaccustomed to the palace’s scorching heat.

Finally the day came and the whole mountain Enai clan entered the palace courtyard. The fire Enai showed them around and escorted each family to their rooms. Once the festivities had begun and everyone sat down for their meal, the hosts decided the time had come for the announcement.

“How do you think we should proceed Fiehri? Should I speak first or do you wish to start?” Lavinia asked her husband.
“You may start and offer your greetings to everyone,” Fiehri said.
Lavinia stood to face the crowd and raised her glass before speaking:
“Thank you for coming. I would like to welcome you all to our palace. I want tonight to be a celebration of peace and friendship between the Enai clans. To the mountain Enai, I want you to know that you are always welcome here and should any of my servants ever wish to see me outside of the autumn Elori season, you will be well received in this realm.”

The crowd reacted with applause, Lavinia took a sip of her drink before sitting down. Fiehri then stood, towering over the table.
“There is another reason we have organized this event. We recently took a message from my brother Silyan. As some of you may know, not long past, one of his servants abused his healing powers to revive a dead mortal and later entered the Halls of Makar in another attempt to bring her back. In doing so he violated our very laws. My brother Makar is responsible for deciding human fate. The Enai are absolutely forbidden from interfering with his work.” The god solemnly looked over the crowd as he spoke. “That forest Enai had no right to act as he did. We must make sure that no Enai will ever commit such a crime again. To the mountain Enai, as my wife’s servants you also have healing powers and, just like the forest Enai, you too are forbidden from reincarnating the dead. To my servants, though you have no such ability the laws of each domain apply to you. If I discover that a member of either clan has entered the Halls of Makar, or broken our creed, there will be severe punishments,” Fiehri declared forcefully before sitting down.

This time there was a cold silence. Shocked by the last statement the Enai stopped eating and stared at each other. Sensing the tense atmosphere, Ieskr rose.
“Please everyone, calm yourselves. We are not trying to frighten you. This was meant as a warning, one that I hope you will all heed. If you continue to follow our laws, as you always have done you have nothing to fear. As my mother mentioned, tonight is a celebration of peace and friendship between the Enai clans. Therefore I propose a toast to friendship and to the Enai!” he announced and raised his glass. His parents immediately stood and did the same.

This time there was much clapping and cheers, with many shouts proclaiming “To friendship and the Enai!”
With the declaration over, the feast continued throughout the night. The guests slept in their rooms for most of the morning. Later, once roused they ate before making their way back to the mountains.

The event left an impression on both clans. The friendship between the mountain and the fire Enai persisted. They often mingled and traveled between the realms and there was plenty of trading. While the fire Enai taught some metalwork to the mountain Enai. There were even some inter clan marriages. Yet the point they each remembered was Fiehri’s warning.

The mountain Enai kept their distance from mortals and were at pains not to interfere with their lives. Relations between the two races even took a violent turn when humans became curious of the mountain folk. Those unlucky people who wandered into the Enai caves were only to be chased away by the elves and their freshly crafted weapons.

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