fantasy, short, stories

‘Ihi – A Tale of The Mountain Enai part 2

A few days after their fight with the humans, Narya and the other mountain Enai tried to resume their daily activities such as learning herbal medicine and crafting weapons and jewelry. Yet none of them could forget what they saw, and the nightmares continued to haunt them. One day Brym showed up at Narya’s cave while Heri was at work.

They met in the kitchen where Narya offered him some raspberry juice.

“I don’t know I about you, but every time I close my eyes all I see is are the faces of the Ihi we killed and the pile of bodies we left behind,” he said after finishing his drink.

“I feel the same. Their screams still haunt my dreams. I tried praying to the Lady of the stars, hoping that she will make these dreadful images go away but nothing works… I can’t help thinking whether we did the right thing by killing them. What would our Lady think of this? We weren’t supposed to interfere with the lives of the Ihi,” Narya replied as she pulled up a chair next to Brym.

“Maybe we should ask her? It’s summer, but she mentioned that we are always welcome inside her husband’s realm.”

“Yes she did. But it’s so hot there it burns my skin to even touch the gates. I can’t enter and Heri is still at work.”

“You can’t but your son can. He’s part fire Enai. Surely he can go there and pass a message to our Nefiria?” Brym suggested.

“Now there’s an idea…I’ll ask him,” Narya replied.

She left the kitchen and headed outside, where Ori was flying around with Gwen and Gwyn.

Narya called out his name.

“Yes, ari. What is it?” Ori asked as he landed next to the cave.

“I want you to head to Lord Fiehri’s palace, and pass on a message to Lady Lavinia. Tell her that Brym and I would like to speak to her.”

Ori agreed and bade goodbye to his mother and the twins, before flying towards the volcanic palace. He noticed two fire Enai outside the gates.

“Who are you and what you do want?” one of them asked.

“My name is Ori, I’m Heri’s son and I’m here with a message for Lady Lavinia from the mountain Enai,” the boy replied.

Hearing this, they opened the gates allowing him inside. Ori swiftly flew in and made his way past a the flames, pool of lava and series cavernous corridors towards the throne room. There Lord Fiehri’s queen sat on a hematite throne. The earth goddess was barefoot and dressed in a green silken gown with her ginger hair loose, adorned with a wreath of flowers, a golden necklace with sapphires and emeralds.

Ori landed next to the throne and bowed to her before speaking:

“Nefiria Maanteri, my name is Ori. I’m here with a message from your servants, the mountain Enai.”

“Well aren’t you adorable…You remind me of Little Spark, my son Ieskr. He’s a man now, but he looked a bit like you when he was your age, minus the wings of course and the hair color. You must be one of the hybrids. Which of my husband’s servants is your parent?” Lavinia asked smiling at the boy.

“Heri is my father.”

“Oh yes, Heri of course. Now I see the resemblance. Your father is one of Fiehri’s best blacksmiths. So what is your message?”

“My mother Narya and our neighbor Brym wish to speak to you.” he replied.

“Your mother and Brym are welcome to see me here. You may tell them to meet me tonight in the courtyard outside the palace, where it is cooler. Now before you go, you deserve a little treat for carrying such an important message. Do you like honey cakes?”

Ori nodded in response. Lavinia summoned a servant and tasked him with bringing some honey cakes from the kitchen. The servant returned with a whole tray full of them. Ori soon ate his fill and thanked the goddess.

“It was lovely to meet you Ori. Goodbye!” the goddess stated.

Ori bowed as he bade her goodbye, before flying out of the volcano.

A few minutes later he was back at his parents’ cave, where he delivered the message to Brym and his mother.

That evening, Narya informed her husband of the plan to visit the volcanic palace. Knowing that this meeting could take some time, Heri decided to use the opportunity to teach his son how to cut and polish a variety of crystals, which they could later use in jewelry. Ori was delighted and eager to spend some time alone with his father, as such occasions were rare. Usually Heri was so tired after a full day of working at the forge, all he wanted to do was to eat something, bathe and tell Ori a bedtime story before heading off to bed.

Narya glanced cheerfully at the duo, as they sat by the fireplace with a sack full of crystals, before saying goodbye and departing from the cave. The sun was setting by the time Brym joined her. He reached into his pocket and took out a yellow crystal. He cast a spell on it to light their way.

Silently they journeyed past the caves, towards the highest peaks where the volcano stood. Upon arrival, they headed towards the courtyard, where Lady Lavinia sat by a stone table. The enclosure was lit with a series of flaming torches, mounted on the walls in each corner of the compound. There were two stone chairs next to the goddess. As Brym and Narya approached her, a servant came over with three goblets of mead and a selection of nuts in a ceramic bowl.

“Nefiria Maanteri.” Brym and Narya spoke in unison, as they bowed to the goddess.

“Hello Narya and Brym. It’s good to see you again, please take a seat,” Lavinia uttered, gesturing towards the chairs.

The mountain Enai sat down and helped themselves to the mead. Brym ate a handful of hazelnuts. Then Lavinia spoke up:

“So what was it that you wish to speak to me about?”

Brym finished eating, before telling her the story of their encounter with the humans. Lavinia remained silent throughout, listening carefully to every word, while sipping her mead.

“Like Brym and many of our friends who were there that night, we all feel terrible about what we did to the Ihi. I can’t help thinking that we deserve some punishment for this. After all, we swore not to intervene in the lives of mortals,” Narya added once Brym had finished the tale.

Lavinia finished her drink before replying.

“You made an oath not interfere with human lives. During your fight with the mortals, did either of you or any of your friends try to revive the deceased after killing them?”

Brym and Narya shook heads. “No, Nefiria. We would never do such a thing. We all know that it’s against your laws to use your healing powers to resurrect a mortal.” Brym responded.

“In that case, there is no need to punish any of you. As far I’m concerned all you did was to defend your land. If humans died in the process, it was Lord Makar’s will to send his Morkrai after them. That is not a crime. You didn’t break any laws. The nightmares and the guilty feelings are just the results of your conscience. I created you as a peaceful and loving race, one that feels empathy for others and would not kill in cold blood.” Lavinia stated.

“But what of the nightmares? How can we stop them?” Narya asked.

“That is unfortunately beyond my powers. The dream world is the domain of Fiehri’s sister Vea, as is any of the magic associated with it. Maybe a small offering and a prayer to her will stop the nightmares. I would suggest leaving some moonstones and crone-wort by the side of your beds tonight. That and praying to her before you fall asleep should help.” the goddess suggested.

“Thank you for your advice Nefiria,” said Brym.

They stayed in the courtyard for a while, finishing their drinks before saying goodbye to their Lady and departing from the palace grounds.

Before heading home, they stopped via the woods to collect some crone-wort before returning. Both Heri and Ori were asleep by the time that Narya got home. After a hot bath, she changed into her nightgown and strode into the living room, where the boys had left the polished crystals. She found three moonstones in the pile and took them into her bedroom. She placed them next to the bed along with the herbs before whispering:

“Lady Vea, Nefiria Tahtizda, brightest of the Erai and bringer of dreams, I ask that you grant me a good night’s sleep and chase away the horrors that keep tormenting me.”

Having completed her prayer, Narya crawled into bed and wrapped her arms around her husband before dozing off. Meanwhile in the cave next door, Dri helped Brymir with the same ritual. They both participated in the prayer to the moon goddess before drifting off to sleep. That night, for the first time since before their encounter with the humans, both couples had a good night’s sleep.


Back in the human province of Lavinium, the day before the army was scheduled to return to Isfienia, Lial made his decision to cease being a temple guard and join the local army. He explained the situation to the priestesses and his colleges at the temple. Later he met with General Rekihais at the temple and informed him of his decision.

“You should really hurry up and pack everything in that case. We’re setting off for Isfienia at the crack of dawn. Once there, you will report to Prefect Telius at Dux Kernis’ fortress. He will have some paperwork for you to sign, then you can begin your training,” the General stated.

“Thank you sir. I will start packing at once. Goodbye and I’ll see you tomorrow.” said Lial.

“Goodbye and good luck. I’ll see you tomorrow,” Rekihais uttered as Lial prepared to leave the tent.

As the former guard left, he spotted Kiia again, as she and the other Arhian soldiers sat on the ground outside their tent, eating some soup.

“Hello again,” he greeted the Arhian warrior, “I guess I might see you at some battlefield in the future. The war is still ongoing. I’ve decided to join Dux Kernis’ army.”

Kiia swallowed a spoonful of soup before replying.

“Oh I doubt that… I’m not a fully qualified soldier, just trainee at the Atarai academy. My unit was sent here because most of the Arhian army are currently in Ifirium, as the Emperor requested. He needed their help to take the city back from the usurper Dux Verenios. That was before Lady Lavinia’s temple came under attack. By the time the Emperor found out, and realized his mother and sister Princess Lorli were trapped inside, it was too late to send any reinforcements from the capital. Instead the Emperor ordered trainees from the Arhian military academies to travel to Lavinium. Now that the royal family is safe, I must return to Naitoria to complete my training. I have two years left until I graduate,” she said before resuming eating her soup.

“Oh I see… And what do you intend to do once you have graduated?” Lial asked.

“I’m from a noble family, so my career options are limited. Once I’ve graduated and I turn eighteen, I’m supposed to marry an Arhian nobleman of my father’s choosing. I’d like to stay on at the Atarai academy as an instructor like my teacher Prefect Siaka, If my future husband agrees to this that is. If not, I guess I’ll just stay at his villa and raise our children.”

“And is that really what you want? I’ve seen you on the battlefield. You’re a true warrior. You don’t strike to me as the type, who would just settle for being some Dux’s or Marchio’s wife, stuck at home with his children.” Lial commented.

Kiia finished her meal and passed the empty plate to another soldier collecting them, before replying.

“I’m an Arhian girl. We’re not like other Gragiyans. In Arhia, the women must obey the men. What I want doesn’t matter. I have to do as I’m told. My father says I must marry then, that’s what I will do. He’s a powerful man.”

“Yes, I know your father. Everyone know Lord General Levorian. He’s the highest ranking military officer in the whole Empire, a member of Emperor’s High Council. Also, two of your brothers are in the Arhian army aren’t they?” Lial asked.

Kiia stood up before answering.

“Yes, my oldest brother Levon recently got promoted to Centurion of the first legion, Leiron is now a Lieutenant in the ninth legion. I have two more brothers: Mahos is still at the Atarai academy and Aeon recently graduated. He’s now married to my best friend Auria and training to become a blacksmith.”

“So you’re from a military family. Your brothers got to choose their professions, and all you get to be is a housewife to some rich nobleman. Looks like you have to live the rest of your life as a Ducissa or Marchionissa, married to an older man whom you don’t love at all. That doesn’t seem fair.”

“That’s Arhia for you. Life’s not fair, but it’s all I’ve ever known. Anyway I have to get ready. We’re marching back to Naitoria tomorrow,” Kiia added as she glanced at her fellow soldiers as they headed back to their tents.

“Fair enough. Oh, before you go, I wanted to ask you for a favor. Could you leave some flowers and maybe some food or wine at the sight, where the Enai killed the Misoans?”

“You’re asking me, to honor our enemies with an offering?” Kiia asked with a puzzled look on her face.

Lial shook his head, “No, not the Misoans. I wanted to thank the Enai. They killed them and saved our lives in the process. It’s too dangerous to leave anything inside their realm but this is near the border, so they should see it.”

“That I can do. I’ll ask my friends for help. We can gather flowers. We can’t spare any of our food, but there might be some wine available. I’ll see what I can find.”

“Thank you. I would do this myself but I need to pack for tomorrow’s journey to Isfienia. So I guess this is goodbye. Good luck with your training! It was a pleasure to meet you.” said Lial.

“Goodbye and good luck to you too Lial!” Kiia stated before heading back inside her tent.


Later that evening, on the other side of the mountains, Heri was returning home after work. He had only just left the volcanic palace, when he noticed Ori flying towards him, carrying a bouquet of flowers in his hand.

“Lietr!” the boy exclaimed as they embraced.

“Hi Ori, these look pretty. Where did you get them from?” Heri asked staring at the flowers.

“The twins and I found a large pile of these under a cliff, on the other side of the mountains. There was some blood on the ground too and bodies of the Ihi, all just lying there lifeless. So many souls taken by the grim judge’s Morkrai. I think that something terrible must have happened there…” Ori responded with in a sombre tone.

This revelation made Heri remember the day they slaughtered the humans. The thought that his son had now seen the aftermath filled his heart with dread. He couldn’t bear to tell his little boy the truth about what happened that fateful night.

“Show me,” he requested.

Ori nodded in response, and began to fly towards the other side of the mountain paths with his father in tow. They soon noticed that other Enai were also heading the same direction, no doubt with their children having noticed the same sight. Gwen and Gwyn soon joined them, as did their parents along with several other families. It took the adults a little longer to descend towards the lower regions, for only the young ones possessed wings. By the time they had arrived at the destination, most of the children were busy gathering the flowers. Some of the girls decorated their hair with them.

Heri took a closer look at the sight. The human bodies were in various stages of decay with most partially eaten by scavenger animals, rats and carrion birds. His first thought was that the flowers were left by the humans in memory of their loved ones, who had passed over to the Halls of Makar. But then as he came closer, he noticed something else. Next to the piles of flowers were jugs of wine. Brym was equally puzzled by the sight. Wine and flowers was an offering, which the mortals normally left for Lord Silyan and the woodland Enai, thanking them for their protection from trolls and other wild beasts.

“I don’t understand. We killed so many of their kind. Why would they thank us? Heri asked as he grabbed one of the jugs of wine.

“I think I do.” Narya replied, “I remember thinking there was something strange about those Ihi. The way they looked differed from the locals from Lavinium. Their skin was lighter and the clothing they wore looked odd. Also when Brym spoke to them, they acted as though they’ve never seen an Enai and they didn’t seem to understand Gragiyan at all. This must have been another nation. That’s why they’re thanking us. We killed their enemies.”

“If that is the case, then what we did wasn’t murder. We killed them to protect our own realm but also by doing so, we saved some mortal lives. The lives of the Ihi, who live on the other side of these mountains.” Brym commented.

“You’ve no idea how much that puts my heart at ease, to think that something positive came out of our actions. It’s times like this that make me feel proud to be a mountain Enai. This is something we can tell the children when they ask about what happened here. We saved human lives. We should take this wine with us and celebrate.” Dri suggested.

Those that overheard their conversation agreed. They stayed there for a few more minutes gathering flowers and jugs of wine before heading back to the caves. Dri and Brym decided to organize a party at their house. Narya helped her with the cooking, while the others brought jugs of wine, mead from the volcanic palace along with many other delicacies. Soon the cave was full of guests chatting, drinking, singing, dancing to the sound of flutes and harps. The festivities continued throughout the night.

Ori by Rose Goga,

fantasy, short, stories

‘Ihi’ – A Tale of The Mountain Enai’ part 1

After a long day of working at his Erai master Lord Fiehri’s forge, the fire Enai Heri put his tools away and bade goodbye to his fellow smiths, preparing to leave the volcanic palace for his home in the nearby caves. As much as he loved his wife Narya, being married to a member of the mountain clan had certain disadvantages. Unlike the fire Enai, these mountain elves were the servants of Lord Fiehri’s queen, Lady Lavinia the goddess of earth and harvest. Although their realm was located a short walk away from the volcano, they were unable to withstand its scorching heat unlike the fire clan. So Heri and his wife lived in a cave with other mountain Enai and he often spent a large part of his free time commuting between the two realms.

Having left the forge, he fetched the remnants of his lunch from the kitchen. He put his coat and shoes on and slowly began the descent from the volcano. His lunch comprised a flatbread sandwich filled with troll meat, lingonberries and fresh herbs. Despite several years of living with the mountain clan, most of whom were herbivores, Heri enjoyed the taste of a roasted troll. It was a bit of a guilty pleasure that Narya didn’t approve of, hence the reason why he only ate meat at work.

Trolls were a nuisance to the fire clan. These large and extremely ugly-looking, wild beasts lived deep underground, usually in the same spots where the fire Enai dug their mines. They also had an obsession with shiny objects and loved to steal any crystals or gems they could get their claws on. Lord Fiehri knew that one troll was big enough to provide food for most his servants and their families, so he regularly ordered the Enai to set up traps inside the mines. Some of the trolls they caught, occasionally escaped the mines and ran off into the woods where they were hunted down by Fiehri’s brother Lord Silyan and his woodland Enai. Those who didn’t escape, were swiftly killed. The fire Enai cooks chopped them down with razor-sharp axes, and threw them into a huge pot to be roasted over hot volcanic ash. The slow roasting made the troll meat very succulent and tender.

The sun was setting by the time he had left the volcano. Heri consumed the rest of his sandwich whilst continuing his walk down the mountain path towards the caves. As he stopped for some water from the nearby stream, he heard the sound of wings flapping and a child’s voice shouting “Lietr!”

Heri smiled and glanced upwards as the little figure flew towards him. The duo lovingly embraced each other. Even at six years old, his son Ori was a curious sight. To the untrained eye, he looked like your average fire Enai child with tanned skin and pointy ears. Yet any member of the fire clan knew that he was part mountain Enai. Not only had Ori inherited his mother’s silver hair, but he also had tiny transparent wings stretching from his shoulders. The little fire-mountain Enai hybrid was barefoot, dressed in a plain silver tunic and matching shorts.

Greeting Ori on his way home was usually one of the highlights of his day, making the commute worthwhile. Heri loved the way he would always appear out of the blue, in the same cheerful and playful manner. It reminded him of himself at that age minus the wings. The wings were what made Ori special. They gave him a look of innocence, which masked his mischievous side. Like many of the mountain Enai, he often used his wings to sneakily glide into tiny hideouts and eavesdrop on conversations. Being part fire Enai, he also had the ability to set objects on fire with a spell. Though Ori hadn’t quite mastered the fire magic skills yet, Heri knew all too well, that it would only be a matter of time before he did. He would have to make sure his son wouldn’t use that power to cause any damage. Luckily this seemed unlikely given Ori’s gentle and kind nature.

After their greeting, Ori followed his father towards the caves. They were only mere minutes away from their destination, when suddenly they heard the sound of heavy footsteps from the other side of the mountain path, marking the border between the mountain Enai realm and the mortal province of Lavinium. In addition to this, there were voices shouting something in an unrecognizable tongue. The commotion caused Narya, and various other Enai to come out of their caves to discover what was going on. A group of children slightly older than Ori volunteered to investigate the situation. Ori wanted to go with them but Heri forced him to stay insisting that he was too young. As the volunteer scouts took to the air and flew towards the direction of the noise, their parents considered whether it was time to fetch their weapons.

It didn’t take long until they returned and announced their findings to the others. One word was all it took to get everyone’s blood boiling and that word was “Ihi” – the Enai word for human/mortal. It had been almost a century since the last time either of the immortal clans had seen a human on their lands. Nearly a hundred years of peaceful existence among their own kin, and the freedom to go on with their lives as they had always done.

Long ago the four Enai clans; the war god Lord Atar’s warrior elves, Lord Silyan’s woodland Enai, Lord Fiehri fire Enai and Lady Lavinia’s servants made a promise to their Erai Lords not to intervene in the lives of the mortal folk. This vow proved easier for some than others. For example the warrior Enai rode the skies on their flying horses, only watching human battlefields from a distance. The fire clan lived inside a volcano. Most of them had never seen an Ihi in their long lives, unless they had any dealings with the mountain Enai. Lord Silyan’s servants kept their distance, staying in the trees when they saw humans enter their woods. The mountain clan struggled the most, as their realm shared a border with a human province and the mortals would occasionally wander off into their land. More often than not, these clashes with humans ended in bloodshed, as the mountain clan took up arms in an attempt to drive them away from their realm.

As the children returned to their parents, Heri and the other Enai men retrieved their axes, spears and bows from the caves in preparation for defending their land. Their neighbor and Narya’s friend Dri embraced her twins Gwen and Gwyn, as she watched her husband Brym grab his ax.

“Why must we always resort to such violence? Why is it that whenever the Ihi enter our lands it always ends in bloodshed? This is not the Enai way. We’re a peaceful clan. That’s what our Lady Lavinia taught us. Can’t we at least try to reason with them to avoid the needless slaughter?” she lamented to her husband.

“You’re right, we are a peaceful clan. They’re the ones who come here uninvited, into our lands, threatening our way of life. We’re just protecting ourselves,” Brym explained.

Dri glanced at her children again before responding:

“If only you could see what’s happening in the mortal realm right now. Every time our girls fly to the other side of the mountains, all they see is people fighting, homes on fire, death, destruction and misery with the grim judge’s Morkrai lurking in every corner as more souls are gathered to enter his kingdom. The Ihi are at war with each other.”

“Dri is right. There seems to be a war going on. It pains me that our children have to see this. They deserve better. They should be gathering flowers and berries, flying in the starlit skies chasing fireflies or dancing in the fields, instead of watching humans kill each other,” Narya commented.

“It’s not our fault if the Ihi are at war. It’s their war, not ours. I say we let them kill each other. We swore an oath not to interfere with human lives and I intend to keep that promise. If they leave our lands on their own accord, I won’t hurt them but if they don’t listen to reason, I will use my ax to chase them away,” Brym replied.

“That seems fair. Still I refuse to participate in this. Go if you must. I’ll save my bow for chasing pesky trolls away from our home. I’ll stay here with the twins,” his wife stated.

“As you wish. I respect your decision. Also it’s best if our children don’t see this. I’ll see you later in that case.” said Brym.

Dri bade goodbye to her husband as did their children. Many of the mountain Enai women also decided to stay behind.

“Can I go with you? I’ve never seen an Ihi up close.” Ori asked his parents as they got ready to join the others.

Heri shook his head, “No, it’s not safe. You’re too young. You need to stay here with your mother.”

“Actually Heri, I want to come with you. You might be in need of a healer of a fight breaks out.” Narya commented.

They both glanced at Ori, who made no attempt to mask his disappointment. Whilst they understood his curiosity, taking him with them posed several risks. Though immortal, the Enai could still be wounded and, at just six years old, Ori was still learning how to use his healing powers. He was also too young to use a weapon.

“Maybe Ori can stay with Dri and the twins for a while? If that’s fine with her that is,” Narya asked her neighbor.

The twins grinned at the thought of spending a few hours with their favorite playmate.

“Yes of course. I was planning to head out with Gwyn and Gwen to collect some wild honey, blackberries and rowan berries for pancakes. We will be home before it gets dark. Ori is more than welcome to join us. He can even stay for the night,” Dri replied with a smile.

“That sounds great. I love pancakes,” Ori’s face lit up with a newfound joy.

Ori flew towards the twins Gwen and Gwyn. Within seconds the trio started doing somersaults followed by a little dance. This short, carefree moment of pure bliss made everyone smile.

Ori quickly bade goodbye to his parents, before flying off with the twins as they joined Dri in her search for pancake ingredients. Content that their son was in safe hands, Heri and his wife left with the other Enai venturing further towards the border of their realm.

Silently they climbed past their caves in the highest peaks, towards the lower regions where the human noises were more audible. Even though she had decided to take her bow, Narya was incredibly reluctant to use it in unless absolutely necessary. The thought of killing humans filled her heart with dread. She really hoped they could force the mortals to leave without violence. As they approached other side of their realm, she worried about how their little boy would react to seeing their clothes stained with human blood.

In addition to the bow, Narya also carried a sack of yellow quartz crystals, which her clan used as lights during the night instead of flaming torches. She took out a handful and whispered a spell to make them glow and fly around the clan lighting their way. They continued their descent past the highest peaks, towards the lower regions of the mountains.

What puzzled everyone the most, was what had led the humans to encroach into their lands. With a war going on it seemed unlikely that they would just wander there without a good reason, given how hostile the relations between the two races had been in the past. The only logical explanation they could think of, was that the humans were desperate for either food or medicine and, thus decided to risk their lives by trespassing into Enai territory.

As they came down from one of the hills, they heard the noises again and glanced down. The sight made it clear these were not civilians but an army. There were least sixty, possibly more, armed men in leather armor with horned helmets equipped with swords and axes. Remembering his wife’s plea, Brym decided to speak to them and descended from the hill.

The warriors were shocked when they saw him, as though they had never seen an Enai before. Their reaction surprised the elf, for the locals were accustomed to seeing mountain Enai. He swiftly approached them and spoke up in Gragiyan, the only human language he knew:

“You have no right to be here. These are our lands. You must leave now. If you stay we will kill you.”

The human soldiers remained silent, still in shock. One of them shouted “alfar” and stared in awe pointing at Brym. Another came up to him and touched the Enai’s face as if trying to see if he was a dream or a real being.

This angered the Enai and prompted him to grab his ax.

“How dare you touch me? Go back to whence you came or I will kill you all!” he bellowed before rising his ax ready to attack the humans. The soldiers didn’t move, still bewildered by what they saw. Soon the other Enai descended from the mountain and took their places by Brym’s side.

They drew their weapons, as a small group of soldiers stepped towards the Enai and a fight broke out. Swords and axes clashed. One of the human swords slashed Narya’s arm. Heri responded by grabbing her attacker’s hand and whispering a spell to set him on fire. As the soldier burst into flames and screamed, Heri rushed in to help his wife. He call out for another Enai, who swiftly whispered a healing spell to treat her wounds.

Once her wound had disappeared, Narya drew her bow and began to shoot. Heri continued to cast his fire spells on other humans, while the other Enai fought with their weapons. Once some of Narya’s arrows killed a few humans, she decided to help the other Enai by healing their wounds. The elves were so relentless at killing mortals, they swiftly slaughtered over half of the soldiers and tossed the bodies off the cliff. The humans began to retreat, having realized that it was impossible to kill an Enai and that wounding them only slowed them down.

The elves followed them in pursuit, determined to make sure that they left their realm. They shot more arrows at them until the last soldier had escaped back into the human province of Lavinium.

“Good riddance. I’m glad that they’re gone. I hope that they never return,” Brym muttered, as they began to make their way home.

No-one else spoke on the way back to the caves. As they climbed higher up, they briefly stopped and glanced down at the pile of bodies on the ground below. Some were scorched, others were bloodstained with carrion birds already pecking at the corpses. Narya shed a tear thinking of the soldiers’ families, who would never see their loved ones again.

Once they reached the caves, Heri and Narya bade goodbye to their friends before heading home. Brym did the same. As he entered his cave, Brym noticed that all the crystal lights were off, with just the fireplace in the middle of the cave as the only light. He swiftly removed his shoes and cloak in the corridor before leaving his ax by the fireplace. Hee walked past his children’s room where the twins and Ori were sleeping. The peaceful sight brought a smile to his face. He checked the bedroom to see if his wife was there but she wasn’t. Instead he found her in the kitchen.

“Oh good, you’re back,” Dri said as she saw him enter the room.

They embraced each other in silence for a few minutes. Then Brym spoke up:

“I thought that you would be asleep already.”

“No, I tried to go to bed once the children were asleep but I couldn’t sleep for some reason. So I came here for some elderberry wine,” his wife commented,“This is the one that Cri likes to make. It usually helps me relax. Do you want some?”

Brymir nodded. Cri was his wife’s twin and he was fond of her wine. Also after everything that had taken place, Brym really needed a drink.

Dri swiftly took out a ceramic jug from the cupboard along two goblets and poured some for herself and her husband.

“So what happened out there?” Dri asked once they had emptied their goblets.

“We found an army of at least sixty Ihi soldiers close by, inside our realm. I tried to convince them to leave but they wouldn’t listen. They were acting really odd, almost as though they had never seen an Enai before…” he began.

“That’s really strange. Surely they would be used to seeing us by now. After all our children fly into their realm almost daily..”

“I know…It was very strange indeed. They looked different too. They were pale and they wore horned helmets like I’ve never seen before. Anyway, I feel awful about what happened. I really hoped that we could have avoided the bloodshed. I tried to reason with them but they wouldn’t listen. They refused to turn back, so we had no choice but to use our weapons to chase them away. You did the right thing by staying here with the children. I’m glad that they didn’t see this,” Brym commented as he stared into her blue eyes.

“At least you tried and for that I thank you. I know that there’s no malice in your heart. I can see from the look in your eyes that you took no pleasure in killing them.”

“You’re right rakaserdu, I did not. I’ll never forget the look on their faces as I dispatched them to the Halls of Makar with my ax. I hope that they are at peace now in the afterlife. Surely the dark Erai would have pardoned those who lived noble lives…” Brym whispered as Dri gave him another hug. He held her tight, stroking her long silver hair.

They remained in the kitchen for a few more minutes, before heading to bed. Despite the wine and his wife’s loving embrace, Brym couldn’t get the image of the pile of human bodies from his mind and woke up several times in the night.

The following morning Ori left their cave and flew home. He showed up just as Heri was about to leave for work.

“Lietr!” he shouted and threw his arms around his father.

Heri embraced him.

“So did you see the Ihi? What did they looked like?” the boy asked.

“Yes, I saw them. I’ll tell you later. Right now I really have to go to work. Lord Fiehri will be furious if I’m late. The last time he whipped me as a punishment.”

“Fair enough. I’ll see you later in that case. Noraiohi.”

“Noraiohi,” Heri responded before leaving the cave.


Meanwhile back in the mortal realm, Lial, one of the guards from Lady Lavinia’s temple was rummaging through a pile of bodies in search for survivors. They may have managed to stop the Misoans from capturing the temple, but their casualties were still high. After turning over another lifeless corpse, he paused put his hand over his mouth to try to stop the gag reflex. He turned away before spotting a familiar face, his friend Maxil lying on the ground with his leg trapped underneath a pile of bodies.

“Lial! Help, I can’t move. I think my leg is broken,” Maxil cried out in agony.

“Hold on. I’ll get some help,” Lial replied before dashing off towards the field hospital.

Lial managed to find a medic and sent him over to help Maxil. He was just about to head out again, when a female voice called out his name. He turned to see a tall, teenage girl, dressed in leather armor with her shortly cropped, brown hair hidden under a silver helmet, decorated with a blue horse.

“Yes Kiia, what is it?” he asked the Arhian warrior.

The girl approached him before responding.

“I’ve been looking everywhere for you. General Rekihais wants to see you. He’s inside the temple by the altar. ”

“I see. Thanks for telling me. I’ll go there now.”

Lial left the battlefield and climbed the hill towards the temple. He walked inside and made his way towards the altar, where the General stood watching a priestess light a series of candles.

“You asked to see me sir?”

Hearing his voice, Rekihais turned away from the altar to face the guard.

“Yes, Lial. I’ve been told that, you were the one who came up with the idea of luring the Misoans into the Enai lands. The elves reacted just as we predicted. They slaughtered most of them and we caught the rest as they tried to escape from the mountains. They must have had a fire Enai with them, some of the bodies were scorched. Anyway, your little stunt made a massive difference and I don’t think we would have been able to stop the attack without it. We could use a man like you in Dux Kernis’ army. Have you ever considered joining the ranks?”

“It’s never occurred to me before. I’ve spent most of my life living near the temple so this is all I’ve ever known.” Lial replied.

“Well I think that you should consider my offer. The monthly wage of a lower-ranking legionnaire is bound to pay more than what you’re currently earning as a temple guard.” the General suggested.

“I will consider your offer. Now I really should get back to my duties. Is there anything else or can I leave?”

“No, that will be all. I’m staying in the temple for a few more days. So think about my offer. Once you have decided, come find me here and let me know. If you decided to join you can march with us back to Isfienia. Goodbye for now.” Rekihais added.

Lial bade him goodbye, before departing from the temple. He headed to the field hospital to check on his friend. Now reassured that Maxil was in good hands, Lial returned to the temple to resume his shift. Here he remained for the rest of the day. As another guard arrived to take over, Lial left the temple and slowly made his way down the hill towards his home. He soon noticed that the light was on, which was odd considering he lived alone and wasn’t expecting any visitors, so he hurried inside. There he soon found his mother sitting by the fireplace.

Seeing him enter, she quickly rose from her chair and rushed straight into his arms.

“Oh Lial… I’m so glad that you’re safe. Your neighbor Selanus let me in. I spent most of the day here waiting for news. I heard the battle. They said that hundreds died. I thought that the Morkrai had taken you too.”

Lial suddenly remembered why he had given a spare of pair of keys to Selanus. Once a month he and Maxil worked the night shift at the temple. Not only did it pay more, but it also had another advantage; any guard who worked two night shifts in a row was entitled to a day off to catch up on sleep. Last year Maxil talked him into going to The Blind Troll tavern after their second shift. The plan was to have dinner there and maybe a glass of wine. One glass of wine soon become several, and by the time they left the Blind Troll, Lial was so drunk he fell over several times and lost his keys somewhere on the way home. After that incident, he visited the local smith and had an extra pair of keys made, which Lial gave to his neighbor just in case he lost his own again.

“Oh yes, I forgot that Selanus has a spare key. No need to worry. I’m alive. We won the battle. We managed to lure the Misoans into the Enai territory and the elves killed them. They slaughtered our enemies. I wish there was some way that we could thank them.” he replied.

His mother was silent for a while, pondering over a suitable response.

“Well, it’s too dangerous to enter their lands but maybe they would accept an offering similar to that which we leave in the forest for Lord Silyan and the woodland Enai…” she suggested.

“That’s not a bad idea. Thank you mother,” said Lial.

“I might help you prepare something for the elves tomorrow. For now you really need to rest. I visited the market earlier. There’s some chicken soup in the kitchen if you’re hungry.”

Lial nodded and followed her into the kitchen. After the meal his mother left the house while Lial took a bath and got ready for bed.

fantasy, short, stories

‘The Stories They Told Their Children’ anthology book preorder on Amazon

I have some really exciting news. All nine of my fantasy short stories will be out as an eBook on Amazon on 11th October 2022 via Fantasy World (FW Books). The anthology book ‘The Stories They Told Their Children’ is now available for preorder on Amazon.
fantasy, short, stories

Tiriyanin’s Riddles moodboard & main themes

My fantasy romance novella ‘Tiriyanin’s Riddles’ tells the story of Emperor Tiriyanin and his two mistresses Skaraila “Darhija” (orchid) & Akrila “Lereia” (rose). This is a complex polyamourous relationship, in which the Emperor encourages his concubines to become friends and get along as they all live together in his palace. Being with him means sharing him.

I’ve created a moodboard to give you an idea of the main themes of the book.

In addition to polyamory and families and fantasy elements this novella deals with some dark themes including depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress as well as other issues. The lovers’ happiness is wrecked by a series of tragic events threatening to destroy the life they tried to build together.

The Gragiyan Empire is inspired by ancient Rome. Emperor Tiriyanin’s characters was inspired by various Roman Emperors including Augustus, Vespasian and Marcus Aurelius. His mistresses are inspired by a book called ‘Empress Orchid’ by Anchee Min.


‘Tiriyanin’s Riddles’ – new novella cover reveal, royal titles & court etiquette in the Gragiyan Empire

I’ve recently started working on a new project, a fantasy romance novella called ‘Tiriyanin’s Riddles’, which is set in the Gragiyan Empire, the same universe as my short stories. The mythical universe is a continent resembling ancient Rome, comprising four provinces where humans live among Erai deities, four different Enai clans and water Enai (mer-folk).

‘Tiriyanin Riddles’ tells the story of Emperor Tiriyanin and his poly-amorous relationship with two mistresses Ducissa Skaraila “Darhija” (orchid) & Lady Akrila “Lereia” (rose).

As an introduction to the world, I would like to explain some of the titles used to address the imperial family as well as some of the rules of etiquette at the Emperor’s court.

Official Titles

The correct way to greet a member of the imperial family is to bow in front of them and address them in the appropriate manner. “Your Highness” or “Your Majesty” are the most common.
You can also refer to them by their titles:

Aefling – the Gragiyan term for royal consort, the husband of a ruling Ifresija. He has no rights to the throne, as he is neither of royal blood nor chosen by the High Council. However, any children he has with the Ifresija have the right to succeed. Although she has the freedom to choose her spouse, it is expected for the Ifresija Prisis to choose a man of noble status as her Aefling.

Ifresija – the Gragiyan term for Empress, it can refer to either the Emperor’s wife or mother.

Ifresija Prisis – the Gragiyan term for an Empress ruling on her own. There is a law that states if the Emperor’s only legitimate child is a daughter, she may legally become his heir to ensure that the royal blood line does not end upon his death. There have been very few Ifresjia Prisis in the Empire’s long history.

Ifresir – the Gragiyan term for Emperor.

Ifreya – the Gragiyan term for Princess, referring to the sisters or daughters of the Emperor.

Ifrey – the Gragiyan term for Prince, referring to younger brothers or younger sons of the Emperor.

Ifrey Prisis – the Gragiyan term for the Emperor’s oldest son and heir.

Other noble titles include:

Ducissa – the Gragiyan term for a Duchess.

Dux – the Gragiyan term for a Duke.

Marchio – the Gragiyan term for a Marquis, a noble title lower than of a Dux.

Marchionissa – the Gragiyan term for a Marquess, the wife of a Marchio, a noble title lower than that of a Ducissa.

Rules of Court Etiquette

  1. Only members of the Imperial family are permitted to call the Emperor by his first name. Everyone else must refer to him by his title. His mistresses may call him as they wish when inside his private chambers and the palace gardens. When appearing with him at any public event they must address him as Ifresir or “Your Majesty’.

2. It is considered rude and improper for an Ifresija to feed her children in public. A nanny or wet-nurse will be should be used for this purpose.

I am currently editing the story and I hope to publish it at some point in the future, possibly later this year.

For now can check out the cover art by Rose Goga

fantasy, short, stories

Maps of the Gragiyan Empire and Misoa

The fictional universe known as the Gragiyan Empire features heavily in my fantasy stories anthology ‘The Stories They Told Their Children’, most prominently in the final one ‘The Atarai’ as well as my new short stories. It’s also the setting of my new novel ‘A War of Blood, Mountains and Sand’, which focuses on the five year conflict between the Empire and the Northern kingdom of Misoa. The story begins in the small fishing village of Varges, in Misoa. The sequel ‘Tiriyanin’s Riddles’ takes place 30 years later and most of the action happens in the imperial palace in Ifirium, in Gragiya province. There’s one scene at the Orealisi Oasis in Niralis.

The Gragiyan Empire is made up four provinces:
Gragiya – the heart of Empire with the nation’s capital city Ifirium.
Arhia – a Sparta style, formally independent military region with its main city Naitoria.
Lavinium – a mountain province with its main city Isfienia.
Niralis – a sparsely populated desert region with its only city Maerorium and the Orealisi Oasis.

Made with by Evin Kierans

And here’s a new, more detailed map with the major Misoan cities added.

The castle fortress city Idursa is the capital.

Map by Skylar Woakes

Map by Skylar Woakes

fantasy, short, stories mythology

A Brief History of the Gragiyan Empire

‘The Atarai’ – My final story in the anthology offers the reader some insight about the history of the Gragiyan Empire. After recently completing the final edit of this story, I’ve decided to share more information about the unique status of the province of Arhia and more details about the rulers of the Gragiyan Empire.

As mentioned in ‘The Atarai’, the provinces of Gragiya, Niralis, Lavinium and Arhia originally existed as independent entities. Gragiya was the largest and soon its rulers decided to create an Empire by uniting it with Lavinium and Niralis. Arhia remained separate for several centuries, co-existing and trading with the Empire but keeping its own traditions. It wasn’t until Emperor Akim of the Erocatien dynasty wanted to marry an Arhian princess called Aminn and so he decided incorporate it into the Gragiyan Empire. He achieved this by allowing Arhia to maintain its regional dialect and ancient traditions. This meant that Arhians continued to regard themselves as separate from the rest of the Empire. It was very uncommon for anyone born in another province to marry an Arhian citizen or gain the rights to live there. In all of Gragiyan history this has only occurred once, in the case of General Levorian’s son-in-law, Commander Lial who was originally a temple guard from Lavinium province.

In addition to Emperor Akim, another important member of the Erocatien dynasty was his cousin and heir Vecatian, whose reign started with Ergon’s rebellion. After the slaughter of the rebels outside of Ifir’s temple and Ergon’s execution, Vecatian restored the peace and ruled for ten years without any problems. When he died, his son Vecatian II was just ten years old. This meant that for the first five years of his reign, Vecatian II’s mother Empress Loraila ruled as regent. Once he was old enough Vecatian II took to the throne and his mother retired to Lady Lavinia’s temple in the mountain province of Lavinium. Shortly afterwards a war between the Gragiyan Empire and the neighboring kingdom of Misoa broke out after a series of raids by the Misoans. It lasted for five years ending with the battle of Niralis desert in which Emperor Vecatian II and Arhos’s best friend, General Levorian of Arhia successfully defeated the Misoan army. Misoan King Olig and his heir Prince Hral were both killed. After the battle Vecatian II met with Olig’s younger son, Prince Arkon of Misoa to discuss the future of their realms. Prince Arkon agreed to establish trade between the Gragiyan Empire and Misoa. He and Vecatian II’s sister Princess Lorli became King and Queen of Misoa. I plan to cover this war in a future story.

Vecatian II married a noblewoman called Alya from the desert province of Niralis and they had a son called Tiriyanin, later known as Tiriyanin the Great. Tiriyanin’s greatest achievement was rebuilding the Gragiyan Empire after the war and making it prosperous again. Tiriyanin’s only surviving, legitimate child was a daughter named Emaeka. After Tiriyanin’s death she succeeded him becoming the first Empress of the Gragiyan Empire and the last member of the Erocatien dynasty.


Lord Makar character origins and inspirations

Lord Makar the grim and extremely light-sensitive god of death appears to be a favorite for many of my readers so I decided to share some information about my inspirations for the character. My main inspiration for Lord Makar came from the god Hades from Greek mythology and a character called Mandos (also known as Námo) the Vala from J.R.R.Tolkien’s ‘The Silmarillion’.

Like both Hades and Mandos, Lord Makar is depicted as a grim character associated with the land of the dead. Another similarity he has to Mandos is that he performs the function of the judge of the dead and the declaration of fates. Lord Makar is the king of the underworld which is known as the Halls of Makar, inspired by the Halls of Mandos. When writing the story of his origins I tried to think of a reason why he would choose that dark place as his realm. Unlike the Greek god he is inspired by, Lord Makar had the freedom to make his own choice without being coerced or tricked by others. This is how I came up with the concept of him being extremely light-sensitive and thus terrified of bright lights which is ultimately what drove him to create his kingdom underground.

I never envisioned him as an evil entity but rather as someone whose role requires a cold and emotionless demeanor when performing his duties. I decided to contrast this by giving him a softer side depicted by his loving relationship with his queen.

While both Mandos and Hades have queens, neither of them were an inspiration for the character of Lady Morae. Unlike the Greek goddess Persephone, Lord Makar’s wife is a goddess of sorrow who was always destined to become queen of the underworld. The pale enchantress Lady Morae is associated with darkness and sadness which makes her the perfect soulmate for Lord Makar. She entered the underworld willingly and remained there out of love for her husband who never did anything to force her to stay.

fantasy, short, stories

Twitter Q&A

I recently hosted a Q&A session with some of my Twitter followers. In addition to discussions about my fantasy stories we also had a chat about Tolkien’s works and my inspirations as an author. Check it out:

@danielhorcic asked: Favourite plot/subplot from your WIP(s)?

That’s a tough one. My favorite main plot from the anthology would be Avarrin’s love story. My favorite subplot is the scene in the ‘Prologue’ where Lavinia takes pity on Makar and helps him to create the underworld.

@Kiraofthewind1· asked: When did you first decide to write your stories? What inspired you to start?

I’ve been making up stories since I was a child but very few of them were written down. I decided to write my current fantasy stories anthology during the first lock-down in Finland. I was inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘The Silmarillion’.

@mirna0722 asked: favourite character from your anthology?

It’s a tough call between Avarrin and Lord Makar. I like the way Avarrin’s character develops during the story. He goes from living a carefree life to learning to deal with loss & new responsibilities. I love Makar’s complex nature and the way so many people misunderstand him.

@mirna0722: They are both great characters! You probably already know I have a soft spot for Lord Makar! You’ve created a beautiful character.


@_angry_Elf asked: I got a Tolkien one, Who is your fav of the Noldor and why?

Galadriel, she’s one of the oldest and most powerful elves in Middle Earth. I really enjoyed reading about her backstory in ‘The Silmarillion’ and the tales of the House of Finarfin – one of the few none violent Noldor houses.

@_angry_Elf: aye, House Finarfin is nice^^ I do also enjoy Galadriel she is super nice.My fav has to be Fingolfin and his house^^ tho I do like my asshole Feanor and some of his sons lol . I like the Noldor a lot, they have been a huge inspiration for me.

Fingolfin was awesome just because he fought Morgoth in single combat. I used to think that all Elves were good until I read about Feanor and his sons in ‘The Silmarillion’. The only good member of the house of Feanor was Celebrimbor.

Note: To those unfamiliar with the Noldor, they are a clan of High Elves which appear primarily in Tolkien’s ‘The Silmarillion’. By the time of ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of The Rings’ the only Noldor Elves left in Middle Earth were Lady Galadriel and Elrond Half-Elven (part Noldor ancestry).

@JessSFrankel asked: How early did you set up the conflict in your WIP? I’m a big fan of the first five or so pages, but other authors take a bit longer. I love your descriptions, by the way.

Thanks. If by conflict you mean the main themes of the story they are mentioned in the first few pages, at the end in my ‘Prologue’. Unlike most mythologies, the Erai pantheon act like the Valar of Tolkien’s Middle Earth in that, most of them have little interest in mortal lives.

Notable exceptions include the king and queen of the underworld. Instead the stories focus on the complex relations between their servants, the immortal Enai and humans.

@JessSFrankel: Interesting. I’m working on a story now about a race of people like a cross between fae and elves. They’re aware of the various myths that humans have, but they don’t consider themselves an offshoot of the human race. I haven’t figured out how the rest of the story will go…

That sounds intriguing. In my stories the Enai are mythical beings. Despite being called “elves” by mortals, they’re actually demi-gods.

@diane_asther asked: just a simple q: how long will it be?

It’s short story/ novella length. Currently just 38 pages plus some illustrations by commissioned artists.

I would like to thank everyone who participated in this Q&A. To my followers here on WordPress, do you have any questions for me?

fantasy, short, stories mythology


Ever since I can remember I’ve always had a vivid imagination. As a child and throughout my teenage years I would often come up with stories, though only a few of which were written and many were left unfinished. As I grew up I abandoned the hobby but maintained an interest in mythology, folklore, horror and fantasy particularly the works of H.P. Lovecraft, Andrzej Sapkowski and J.R.R. Tolkien.

The original idea behind these tales has been in my head for many years but though only recently I finally made a decision to write them down. The following set of stories act as an introduction to the culture, traditions and beliefs of the inhabitants of a fictional continent that later became known as The Gragiyan Empire comprised of four provinces: Gragiya, Arhia, Lavinium and Niralis. The fictional Gragiyan and Enai languages are phonetic with each letter pronounced as it is written; names such as ‘Cri’, ‘Dri’ are meant to be pronounced as (Kr-ee), (Dr-ee) and the same goes for nouns such as ‘lietr’ . The names of the races are always referred to in the plural so Erai, Enai and Morkrai may refer to a single being as well as groups of individuals.

Writing these stories has been a very liberating experience for me and in many ways it has had a very positive impact on my mental health. I feel that it’s provided me with a much need source of escapism away from the grim reality that started with the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. I would like to thank my family and friends for their continued support.

Iza Forestspirit