The Tragedy Of Mordain Thaendil

Mordain Thaendil stood as a towering, intimidating sight at the back of the tavern. The man was tall, his build average. His face was cruel and demanding, his hair a thick mane of black that fell down to his shoulders. His dark eyes fell upon all those within the tavern. Mordain stood draped in black robes, along with a black cloak, the hood worn upon his head. In his right hand, he held a tall staff. Its wood was black, and atop it sat a dark-purple jewel. Beneath his robes, at his side, was a sheathed long sword.

In front of Mordain, sitting at the table, was Lathaon Thaendil, Mordain’s cousin. Lathaon was both shorter and slimmer-built than Mordain, though the two did look similar. Lathaon’s hair was brown, and it fell roughly about his head. He was dressed in simple clothing; brown shirt, black trousers, black boots and a travelling cloak. Like Mordain, a sword was sheathed at Lathaon’s side. However, the item that drew most attention was Lathaon’s staff, Naxtiaa. Its wood was smooth to the touch and coloured a mystical green, almost making it seem as if the staff itself were made of marble. A red gem sat atop the staff, glowing faintly. And from beneath the gem, two elegant feathers hung. This was the sign of Lathaon’s magical prowess.

Across from the two elves, sitting on the other side of the table, was a small, fidgety man. His eyes darted back and forth from the two, and occasionally off to something that neither could see. It was slightly unnerving, though Mordain dismissed the man as an idiot.

“So, you know something about these thieves then?” asked Lathaon.

The mayor of Ordail had offered a high reward for the capture, or killing, of a group of thieves who had been stealing many valuables from Ordail’s noblemen.

The man nodded feverishly. “Yes, yes, I know things. I know these thieves.”

“And what do you want in return for your information?”

“I need gold, yes, gold. I need gold!”

Lathaon dropped a pouch of gold on the table. The man picked it up and weighed it eagerly, judging the amount held within.

He smiled and looked back at Lathaon. “If you want to find these thieves, you should look to the east. Yes, the east, that’s where you’ll find them.”

“Can you be more specific?” Lathaon pressed, growing eager.

“There’s a cave, a cave on the coast. They have their base there, yes, in the cave.”

“Thank you for your assistance.” said Lathaon, sitting back in his chair.

The man began laughing, though it sounded more like a rasping cough. “Oh no, thank you, yes, thank you!”

The man darted from the tavern, moving with darting speed before anyone could stop him, though no one tried. Once he was gone, Lathaon turned to Mordain, a smile upon his face. Mordain’s face remained cold, as always.

“I guess we have a place to look.” said the younger cousin brightly.

“It would be foolish to go there. We do not know the numbers of these thieves, nor do we know their skills.” replied Mordain.

“We’ll just take a look. Then when we know that they’re there, we can tell the City Guard. They’ll finish the job for us.”

Mordain sighed. He knew there would be no convincing Lathaon against this course of action, so he accepted it. “Very well, cousin, we will go. But only to have a look!”

Lathaon put on a mocking face of shock. “Mordain? Are you suggesting that I might want to do more than take a look?”

Mordain sighed once more, though Lathaon could not keep the smile from his face.


Mordain and Lathaon had remained in the tavern until nightfall. Now that darkness had cloaked the land, the cousins ventured out, moving swiftly down through the town to the coast. Lathaon walked ahead of Mordain, the older cousin keeping an eye out for any trouble. Mordain was more cautious than Lathaon, far less willing to leap into situations. It was Lathaon’s boldness that had landed the pair in a number of troubling situations over the past. However, Mordain still stuck by Lathaon, as he had sworn to do after Lathaon had revealed to Mordain the truth behind his origins. It was because of Lathaon that Mordain was no longer a part of the Dark Elf Empire, though the horrors he had witnessed, and practiced, in that dark place would remain with him till his dieing day. It was the source of his brutal methods and crueller, less trusting mind. It was what had made him so different from Lathaon.

The pair arrived at the docks. There was no need for stealth; the residents of Ordail were not their enemies. The thieves were, but the pattern that they had displayed revealed that they only struck every three nights, and their last stealing run had been made last night. Tonight, Ordail would be safe.

“Come on, we’ve got to head east, down the beach.” said Lathaon, leading the way down to the sandy shores of Weissland.

Mordain followed, moving after Lathaon, though the younger cousin moved far faster than the older. They were down on the beach relatively quickly, moving in an eastern direction. The moon was out this night, shedding its light across the world. It was easy enough to see where they were going, though there was no sign of a cave yet.

The pair moved as quickly as they could through the darkness, both casting out with magic to try and locate the cave that they sought. It was no where to be seen, though they kept advancing.

After a few hours, Lathaon stopped, believing that a small rest was in order. He sat down on the sand, resting his staff beside him. “I don’t know if we’ll find this cave.”

“Perhaps the man was lying.” said Mordain, his tone showing that he certainly thought the information they had been given was flawed.

“Did you think he was lying? Because I didn’t.”

Mordain could see that Lathaon believed the man. Once again, he knew there would be no convincing him otherwise. “Then what do you want to do, Lathaon?”

“I think we should take a short rest and then continue on.”

Mordain nodded, seating himself on the sandy ground. He looked around, staring primarily at the Sea of Strength. What lay beyond? No one, save for a few, throughout Weissland knew. It was a mystery. As far as most of Weissland’s people were concerned, the world could very well stop along the coast, for they had little interest in venturing forth to see what was beyond.

The moments moved by slowly, but soon Lathaon decided it was time to move on once more. The pair rose and began the search anew, moving away from the cliffs that lined the beach in order to give themselves a better chance of seeing the cave. It took a long time, and the search was fruitless for most of the time, but finally they spotted it, nested comfortably along the cliff wall.

Moving closer, Mordain and Lathaon crouched down behind a rocky outcrop. Peering over, they could see two guards outside, standing in the light cast by two torches placed within the cave.

Lathaon turned to Mordain. “Can you get rid of them?”

Mordain nodded. Rising slowly, he held his staff and spoke the words of Black magic. A shroud of darkness swept about him and he was completely concealed from view. Drawing his sword, he walked towards the guards; they could not see him. Moving behind them, he slit their throats and let them fall to the ground, dead. Only then did he cast off the magic that concealed him.

Lathaon came over quickly. “Come on, let’s hide these bodies.”

The two of them dragged the corpses to one side. Then, using his own magic, Lathaon buried them beneath the sand. Moving back to the cave, the pair ventured in.


The cousins had moved into the cave, but it had given them nothing. They were a good ten minutes into it, and so far it had just been a single, long passage. Mordain was growing weary of this.

Just then however, they heard voices up ahead. Stopping, they strained their elven senses. They could pick up that a number of their foes were gathered in a chamber at the end of the passage. Lathaon looked at Mordain and smiled before continuing on. Mordain, after sighing once more, followed.

Crouched at the corner of the end of the passage, the cousins stared beyond. The chamber was large, and seven men stood within, some large whilst others small. All were armed, and all looked dangerous. One stood atop a stage, looking down on the rest. He was dressed in black trousers and a dark-green shirt, with a form of leather jacket overlapping his clothes. The jacket had no sleeves, and its back fell down to the man’s knees. In addition, there was a hood that came up over his head. The man’s face was cruel, his eyes dark and his hair black. A thick beard tumbled down his front. A chest was laid beside his feet, the laid open to reveal a bounty of wealth within. The man was running his fingers through it.

“All this wealth, it’s all ours. You’ve done well, lads.” said the man on the stage.

There was a loud cheer from the men.

“We’ve stolen most of the stuff worth taking, boss. What now?” asked one of the men.

The man on the stage smiled. “There are still prizes to be sought out in Ordail, and one of them is right here with us.” The man turned instantly to look at Lathaon, his eyes meeting those of the elf. “Grab them!”

Men rushed to where Mordain and Lathaon were concealed. They grabbed the elves, pulling their staves from their grips and pinning their arms behind their backs. The cousins were held before the man on the stage, clearly the leader of the thieves group. He was handed both staves, but he only take an interest in Naxtiaa. He held it before himself, looking at its flawless structure.

“You should learn not to trust gibbering men in taverns, elf!” taunted the leader.

“Give me back my staff!” snapped Lathaon.

“It’s my staff now, you pathetic maggot. You’ll both be dead very soon.” smiled the man.

Mordain kept his hard gaze fixed on the leader, never saying a word. Speech was not needed yet. The leader noticed Mordain’s heavy gaze though.

He pointed at Mordain. “You, what have you got that’s worth taking? Tell me and just maybe I’ll let you live.”

Mordain said nothing.

The leader hopped down from the stage and walked up to the captive elves, slamming Mordain hardly in the stomach. Mordain gasped in pain, attempting to double-over, though he was held fast by the man behind him. He raised his angered eyes to meet the leader’s gaze once more.

“Well, what have you got for me?” asked the leader once more.

Mordain opened his mouth and spoke three words of magic. Instantly, the leader and the man behind him were knocked to the ground, racked with pain. With a quick spell, Mordain sent a burst of pain into the man who held Lathaon, just enough pain so that he released the elf, staggering back slowly. Lathaon turned and used his own magic; a powerful spell was cast, engulfing the man in flame.

Mordain spoke two words; his staff flew back to his hand and Naxtiaa to Lathaon’s. The pair stood back-to-back, the remaining four thieves closing in around them, swords drawn. Mordain drew his own sword and blocked one attack, pushing back against the blade. He spun his staff, striking the man in the head. He was knocked back, but not stopped.

The combat continued, and in the next few moments, Lathaon and Mordain found themselves separated, fighting two men each. The leader and one of the other men rose slowly from the ground, having recovered from Mordain’s spell. They turned and drew their weapons charging towards Lathaon. The elf raised a protective shield around himself whilst he chanted the words of another powerful fire spell. Lowering the shield, he unleashed a ball of flame that hit two of the men, erupting upon impact to engulf them in fire.

Mordain floored one of his foes with a blow to the head from the wood of his staff. The other was more tricky, but Mordain was finally about to strike him down when it happened.

Mordain felt horrendous agony rush through him, filling both his mind and body with fear and horrible torment. His sword and staff fell from his hands, and he himself collapsed to his knees, his hands clutching his chest. No, not now! He rasped and coughed, blood splattering the ground as he did so. He unleashed a terrible roar of pain and horror, a sound that echoed throughout the entire cave.

Before him, Mordain saw the thief swinging his sword down towards the elf’s head. Mordain was helpless to save himself, knowing that the pain could not be overcome until it passed.

“Mordain, no!” he heard his cousin shout.

A ball of fire hit into Mordain’s attacker, killing the man outright. Turning his head slowly, Mordain looked to his cousin with gratitude as the pain slowly subsided. But just then, the bandit leader thrust his sword through Lathaon’s shoulder. The young elf made no scream, just stared forward in blank shock before falling to the ground.

“Lathaon?” said Mordain weakly, unwilling at first. Then his vengeful eyes turned to the leader. “Damn you!”

Mordain threw himself up, sword in hand, rushing towards the leader. Batting the leader’s sword side, Mordain plunged his blade deep into his foe’s heart. As the big man fell to the ground, the remaining thieves fled the cave.

Mordain crouched over Lathaon. He was alive, but would need help as he was bleeding badly. Mordain tore away a section of one of the bandit’s clothing and tightly bound Lathaon’s wound. Taking another piece of material, he strapped Naxtiaa and his own staff across Lathaon’s back. Then, he lifted his cousin from the ground, swinging across his shoulders. Slowly but surely, Mordain walked from the cave, back towards Ordail.


Several hours later, Mordain stood over Lathaon. Lathaon lay in a bed within the house of a healer in Ordail. The healer was a woman, young. Her magic was sufficient to heal the wound, though it would take time to fully repair the damage. She had told Mordain that Lathaon would be left weakened for a week or so, due to the effects of the magic. He was asleep for now, and Mordain stood protectively over him.

The thoughts of failure would not leave Mordain’s mind. Because of him, his cousin had been badly wounded. Because of him, because of that awful poison. No one truly escapes Rathor. Mordain had to get rid of the venom, he knew that much. If he did not, it would continue to hinder him, continue to be a constant thread that would easily put both himself and his cousin in danger, as it had done this night. He knew little of it, and even less of how it could be removed. But he did know of those who would be able to shed light on how to remove it. However, in order to find these people, he would need to return to Rathor, not something he favoured doing. Yet he knew he had to. He was no use to his cousin in his current condition.

Mordain crouched down, putting his mouth close to his cousin’s ear. “Lathaon, I am weak. I swore an oath to serve and protect you, but I cannot do that, not weakened as I am. I care for you as I would a brother, Lathaon, always remember that. I expect I will be gone for some time, but no matter what happens, everything I do will be to fulfil that oath, to ensure that it can be fulfilled.” Mordain stood up. “Farewell cousin, until we meet again.”

Mordain turned and walked from the room, closing the door quietly behind him. He walked down the hall and into the healer’s room. She was sitting at her desk and was slightly startled when Mordain entered.

“Can I help you?” she asked cautiously.

“I am leaving for some time. Can I trust that my cousin will be safe in your care?” replied Mordain, fixing her with his heavy gaze.

“Yes, he’s safe here sir, don’t you worry about him. What should I tell him about your departure?”

“Tell him that I am leaving to find a way to help him, and help myself.” Mordain’s voice was hinted with longing and despair; he did not want to leave his cousin alone.

“I will tell him. Good luck sir, with whatever you’re doing.”

Mordain did not reply; he walked from the house and out into the streets of Ordail. He needed to reach Rathor, as soon as possible. There were no boats that would take him there directly. He would have to sail to Anubien and then continue on horseback, or foot if need be.

Mordain walked down to the docks. By now, it was early morning. The boats would be up and running soon enough. Upon reaching the docks, Mordain sat and thought. Still, his mind was filled with failure, but he forced it aside and focussed on the journey ahead of him. The poison that plagued him was a result of his fleeing from Rathor. During his escape, a Dark Elf had struck him with a poison arrow. The poison was one of the most dangerous venoms in the known world; it would not kill its victim outright, but it drastically reduced their lifespan and plagued them with bursts of searing agony, along with hindering their movement. There was said to be no cure, but Mordain had overheard the elves of Rathor speaking of a way to remove it many years ago. Now, Mordain would return to Rathor and seek out the man whom he knew had spoken of such a thing; Mokdra Sarbiss.

Mokdra Sarbiss was a dark sorcerer, also possessed of an extensive knowledge of poisons. It was he who created the very poison that now plagued Mordain, and that was where the poison earned its name; Mokdra’s Kiss. When Mordain had been a part of the Dark Elf culture, he had heard Mokdra speaking of an old magic that was rumoured to lie within the Defiled Kingdom. It was said that this magic could cure all illness, for a price. This was Mordain’s best shot.

Hours passed and the docks slowly spurred to life. Mordain looked around and approached several captains, asking if their ships were travelling to Anubien. None were, but they did finally direct him to the captain who was.

“Victor Arkat, at your service sir.” said the man, holding out his hand to shake with Mordain.

Mordain did not offer his own hand. “I have need to reach Anubien very soon, captain. When does your ship leave and how much will it cost me?”

Victor Arkat was a man shorter than Mordain. He was of average build, with deep, green eyes. His hair was dark, and it was rough and untidy. He was dressed in fairly basic clothing with a short sword at his side. He seemed decent enough.

“Well, err,” Victor withdrew his hand slowly, seeming rather embarrassed, “we’ll leave within the hour. As for cost, well, just chuck in whatever you think is a fair price and we’ll see if I agree, eh?”

Mordain handed the man a heavy pouch of gold.

Victor’s eyes lit up. “Oh yes, I think this will be quite enough! Hop onboard, Mr?”

“My name is not important.” said Mordain as he walked past the man, boarding the ship quickly.


The boat had been sailing for some time, and the port at Anubien was finally coming into view. Mordain had spent the entire journey sitting behind one of the stairways, still deep in thought. No one had disturbed him, since they knew nothing of him. Now, as the ship neared the dock, Victor approached him.

“Right, well, we’re almost there. Half hour or so and we’ll be in.” said Victor, his eyes shifting around. It was clear that he was uncomfortable in the presence of Mordain.

Mordain looked up at the captain. “Good. I will be gone as soon as the ship makes port.”

“Can I err, can I ask what you’re doing in-”

“No you may not!” snapped Mordain, cutting Victor off. The elf rose, standing over Victor. “Now leave me, captain. I do not wish any company.”

Victor nodded before walking away, though not without casting a few glances back. Mordain walked to the edge of the boat and stared forward the Anubien. He had not been there for many years. In fact, he had not even been to the Isle since he escaped Rathor. It brought back a lot of dark memories returning to this place, memories he cast from his mind.

The ship entered the dock and after some time, ramps were cast down and both passengers and crew departed. Mordain walked quickly through the town, straight to the stables, though the walk itself took some time. As he walked, he took in the city around him. Anubien was a pleasant city, the architecture clearly High elven. The buildings were tall and pleasing to the eye. Small gardens were dotted here and there. It was a city abundant with life.

Upon reaching the stables, Mordain walked right up to the owner. “I seek a good steed, for I have a lot of ground to cover quickly.”

“Okay, well this here is a fine steed, a good horse. He’ll get you far, and fast too.” said the man.

“Very well, I’ll take it.”

Mordain dropped another heavy pouch of gold into the man’s hand. The man stood back to count his gold as Mordain mounted the horse and rode it from both the stables and the city. He knew he had to head north. It would be unsafe to travel through the Howling Peak, much safer to go round.

Mordain had been riding for many hours, when suddenly he was struck by the poison again. He roared in agony, clutching at his chest once more. The horse stopped, rearing up in response to the sudden howl from its rider. Mordain fell to the ground, rolling in horrible pain. He could not take it for much longer, and then it subsided. It was gone as quickly as it appeared. He rose slowly, climbing back onto his horse to continue his journey.

Mokdra Sarbiss lived within a tower, built on the edge of the Howling Peak mountain range. The tower would be protected, but Mordain knew he could overcome the guards. There would be few, as hardly anyone ventured into Rathor. Fear was the Dark Elves greatest defence for their nation. But Mordain did not fear them, not when so much was at stake. Fear had been blinded within him, banished from his mind.

The night dragged on, Rathor was drawing closer, and Mokdra’s Tower even closer. However, Mordain chose to stop for a small amount of time, recollect himself before continuing on. Reaching Mokdra atop his tower would not be easy. Mordain would have to be prepared.

Drawing his horse to a stop, Mordain dismounted and sat on the ground. He breathed slowly, looking at the world around him. To the south lay the Howling Peak, a dangerous mountain range that made travel between Rathor and Lathor very difficult. Mordain recalled travelling with raiding parties as they rampaged through the mountain range, bursting into Lathor to capture unsuspecting High Elves. The Dark Elves would then drag their captives back to Rathor. Few were ever heard from again. Mordain hated the things he had done in this place, and he feared the things he might have done if he had remained. If it had not been for Lathaon, who knew what could have become of Mordain.

Time passed slowly, birds flying past occasionally, always travelling towards Lathor and away from Rathor; even nature had forsaken this place. One day, Mordain hoped that he would return here and learn everything he could about his past, his true past, the past he had forgotten. He did not know who his parents were, nor where he was born. It was a horrible feeling, to not know one’s origins. And then, in the isolation he had found in that hallowed land, Mordain cried. Tears fell freely from his eyes, something he had not done in a long time. He had denied himself the ability to cry for so many years, telling himself that he had to stay strong for his cousin. But now, he was all alone, unsure of the future and past alike. It was too much for him to take. It was some time before the tears stopped.

Shaking himself to shed the last of his tears, Mordain rose and mounted his horse, riding on once more. He arrived at the tower, though it was still a mile off. He knew he would have to leave his horse here and continue on foot. He tied the horse’s reins to a tree and then began walking. The tower was built on the very edge of the Howling Peak mountain range. The ground beneath the tower was formed from sharp shards of stone that had fallen from the mountains, collecting in number over the vast time of the mountains’ existence. It was difficult to walk across, and if Mordain had not been wearing heavy boots beneath his robes then his feet would have been cut to shreds.

Walking slowly, Mordain approached the tower and crouched down, peering at the front door. Two large wooden doors provided entry to the tower. Mordain looked up, gazing at the terrible bastion before him. The stone it was built from was black in colour, as dark as the night itself. It must have been around five hundred feet in height, and every hundred feet up or so, large spikes emerged around the walls. Cages were hung from some of the spikes, the rotting corpses of prisoners long dead still festering within. The entire place looked as if it had been pulled from a nightmare.

Swallowing deeply, dispelling all remnants of fear, Mordain continued on towards the door.


There were two guards outside the tower doors. Mordain walked straight towards them, showing no hesitance. He walked towards them until one of them called for him to halt. They were clad in black chain mail and dark cloaks, short swords strapped to their sides and shields across their backs.

“Identify yourself, and tell us your business here. Mokdra does not wish to be disturbed unless it is urgent.” said one of the guards.

Mordain recognised these two however, and he knew they would remember him. Slowly, moving with purpose, he raised his head so that his eyes met theirs.

“Mordain?” asked one of the guards slowly.

“Good to see you, Carkus.” Mordain drew his sword and tore it across the first guard’s neck, cutting deep. The guard fell to the ground, dying shortly after gasping for air briefly.

The other guard, a man named Roldamar, drew his own weapon and parried a blow from Mordain. Mordain spoke three words from the lore of weakening. Roldamar’s sword bent, the metal becoming floppy and useless. It was useless. The man stared down at the sword then back at Mordain, just as Mordain’s blade was plunged into his neck. Roldamar fell to the ground, dead. Mordain threw the doors open and walked past.

The tower opened up instantly into a wide chamber, a staircase rising in the middle. The staircase snaked around a thick pillar, allowing access to every level of the tower. Mordain had little interest in fighting the rest of the guards, though there would be few. Speaking more words of magic, he consumed all the light in the tower, covering it with impenetrable blackness. Then, he blessed his own vision with the ability to see through the darkness. Moving to the staircase, he began to climb. He could hear the men and women of the tower trying to restore order and light to the building. If anyone sought to run past Mordain as he ascended the stairs, he would cast them off, letting them fall to their deaths.

It was a long climb, for the tower was tall. Mokdra’s private quarters were atop the tower, and Mordain knew that was where he would find the old sorcerer. Staring through the darkness, Mordain could see the tortured victims that were locked within the tower. He remembered all of the Dark Elf techniques, all of their horrible methods. Escape was all but impossible for a prisoner.

Finally, the long climb came to an end and Mordain stood before the door to Mokdra’s quarters. Mordain took a deep breathe before throwing the door open and walking in, closing it behind him.

“About time someone came up here! Get these torches lit!” Mokdra barked; he had not yet learned of Mordain’s presence.

Mordain released the magic that he had placed on the tower, flooding it with light once more.

Mokdra’s face changed instantly. “Mor… Mordain Thaendil?” he asked cautiously.

“You still remember me then, old friend.” Mordain replied, meeting the Dark Elf’s gaze.

Mokdra was an old elf, perhaps five hundred years old. He was clad in black leather, a dark green collar sitting upon his shoulders with a cape of the same collar draping down his back. His face was cruel, his skin pale. His cheek bones looked as if they had been chiselled into his face, for they created what looked like two spikes on his cheeks. This was simply a result of a lack of fat around them, though it was still a very strange sight.

Mokdra staggered backwards, groping for a sword. “What are you doing here Mordain?”

Mordain raised his staff and spoke words of black magic. Slowly, Mokdra’s hands began to throb and they were then engulfed in searing pain, steam rising from his very skin. “I need some answers about the poison you gave me!”

Mokdra had fallen to his knees, trying to halt the pain in his hands. He stared up at Mordain with hateful eyes. “What do you want to know?” he spat.

The good thing about Dark Elves is that they hold no loyalty. They break quickly under interrogation. Mordain crouched in front of Mokdra. “I want to know how to get rid of it.”

Mokdra laughed. “You can’t get rid of it, you fool!”

“That’s a lie! Before I left here, I heard you speaking of a way to cure all afflictions, something that would give health, in exchange for a price.”

Mokdra’s face flared with recognition. “Ah, yes.”

“Tell me!” roared Mordain, clutching Mokdra’s throat with a tight grip.

“Well… there is said to… be a place… in the Meiroi Wood… in Sirth…” spluttered Mokdra, struggling to breathe.

Mordain released his grip. “Go on.”

Mokdra breathed deeply before speaking again. “It is said that, in the north of the woods, there is a shrine. The shrine, they say, is dedicated to an ancient power, an embodiment of magic from before the times of Drathmor. It is said that this power can rid a soul of all their afflictions, but for a price.”

“What else do you know?” asked Mordain, now intrigued.

“Other than that, Mordain, all I know is that it is in the north of the wood, closer to Ciruenalysal.”

“The Order of Light dwell there, surely they would have found this place long ago.”

Mokdra laughed slowly. “This shrine, Mordain, can only be found by those who are truly looking for it.”

Mordain leaned close. “What do you mean?”

“In order to find it, you must be sure, you must know, that it is truly what you want. The shrine is magic; it will only show itself to a soul who knows that they want it.”

Mordain rose, staring down with venomous hatred at Mokdra. “If you are lying to me, Mokdra, then I promise you that I will end your life. And if I ever see you again, I make the same promise.”

Mordain turned, drowning the tower in darkness once more before making his way outside.


Mordain returned to his horse and began the long ride back to Lathor. He was thinking over what Mokdra had told him. Seemingly, this shrine would be protected by very powerful magic if it could literally conceal itself from others. Indeed, it would have to be powerful magic to hide itself from the Order of Light. What he wanted to know was more about this price that he would have to pay. He knew there were very few things he would not willingly part with to remove this poison, but he wanted to know what the price would be.

As he rode onwards, he thought of Shaellana. He missed her a lot. She was the one person on the face of this world that he cared for, other than Lathaon. Yet he cared for her in a different way; he cared for Lathaon as he would for a brother, yet he cared for Shaellana as he would for a lover, for that was what she was to him. He had known her for many years now, having met her during travels throughout Cerylia. He had loved her from the moment he had laid eyes upon her, and she had felt similarly about him. It was she, and she alone, who could bring a smile to his face. He had to meet her again.

Mordain thought over where he could find her, for he knew he had to. Not only did he crave the sight of her, but he knew she would be able to help him in his quest. She had a special power, an ability she had acquired some time ago during a journey into the Defiled Kingdom. Dark magic had struck her, afflicting her eyes and blinding her. However, she had found her way to a healer and the healer had worked their own magic. They managed to restore her eyesight, but she gained something new as well; she could see into the very souls of those around her. Her vision could transcend flesh, wood, rock and soul. Nothing could be kept hidden from her. That power had saved her life many times.

Fireath! That is where he would find her! Mordain recalled her telling him of her new home there, a home she intended to take up a more permanent residence in. It would also give him a quicker route to the shrine that he sought; he could leave from Anubien and travel to Dacorn, then south to Fireath and then on to the forests of Meiroi.

The journey back to Anubien was long, taking many hours. Upon his return, it was late. He led his horse down to the docks and lashed it to a pole as he sought out another captain who could give him passage to Dacron. It did not take long; the route between Dacron and Anubien was popular for trade. There were always ships sailing back and forth. Mordain found it strange that men could live out their lives doing little more than sailing from Anubien to Dacron, and back again. It seemed so… tedious to him.

“Climb on board, sir.” said the captain after being given a pouch of gold from Mordain.

Mordain led his horse onto the large ship, lashing it below deck in a section of the ship that had been designed for just that. Once his horse was secured, Mordain took up a position at the head of the ship, standing as an isolated figure wrapped in darkness.

Within the hour, the ship was cast off and began its journey to Dacron. The journey to Dacron would be far shorter than the journey from Ordail, taking only a few hours. All the time, Mordain thought of Shaellana, thoughts of his quest cast from his mind for the time being. He had never felt for anyone as he felt for her. It was a strange feeling, a warm feeling, a good feeling. And he knew she felt the same way. They had shown their affection many times, both feeling the same way. When Lathaon was finished with his travels, Mordain hoped to settle down with her somewhere. That was what he wanted.

The boat moved through the night sky before finally reaching Anubien early in the morning. Mordain said nothing to the captain as he walked from the boat, taking his horse with him. He was tired however and needed rest. Mounting his horse, he travelled to the nearest inn. Once more, he lashed his horse outside and entered.

The inn was small, though it had a warming feel to it. Mordain approached the man behind the counter.

“Can I help you, sir?” he asked.

“Give me a room for the night.” replied Mordain, his voice cold.

“Aye sir, here you go. That’ll be-”

Mordain took the key, slammed a number of gold coins on the counter and walked away before the man could finish. He would run out of gold soon; he needed to restock. Climbing the stairs, he found his room. It was simple; a single bed and a chest for any belongings he might have. Mordain climbed into the bed quickly and slept; the first sleep he had experienced in some time.


Mordain had left the inn, and indeed Dacron, before sunrise, riding south towards Fireath. He could not wait to see Shaellana, and he knew that she was only a few hours away. What would he say to her? He did not know. He knew one thing though; he wanted her help with this quest of his. He wanted her to be with him, so that he did not have to face this challenge alone. He wanted her to there with him, to give him someone else that he could draw his strength from.

It took time to reach Fireath, and as he rode Mordain stared at the beautiful land around him. Ciruenalysal was dominated by vast, open fields of lush grassland, as if it were taken from a fairytale. Plants grew in abundance and birds flew freely through the sky. It was a marvellous land.

Mordain rode into Fireath, moving his horse slowly towards the stables. Paying the stable hand a portion of the small amount of gold he had left, he left his horse there in the care of the stable staff. He walked through the streets of Fireath, finding the architecture to be very elegant. The buildings, for the most part, were stone, carved beautifully. Their roofs were lined with wood, harvested from nearby forests. It was quite an extravagant place.

Mordain tried to remember where it was that Shaellana had bought her new home, but he did not have to look long; she found him. Shaellana emerged from one street, moving straight towards him. Her skin was smooth and soft, tanned to perfection. Her hair was curly, dark brown in colour. It tumbled down about her head, though it was kept from her face. She wore a dark red dress. An expensive item, thought Mordain. And her eyes; they were milky white, nothing more, yet Mordain found them as beautiful as ever.

“Mordain Thaendil, what brings you to my doorstep?” she asked, smiling as she walked towards him.

He smiled back, holding her in embrace as soon as she was close enough. The two kissed, no hesitation, no nothing but desire and passion. Mordain drew away. “I missed you.”

“And I you.” replied Shaellana, taking his hand in hers. “Come, I’ll show you my new home.”

Shaellana led him through the streets. Her house was but a ten minute walk from where he had met her. It was nestled on a street corner, rising above the buildings around it. The stone was smooth and grey, the wood around the roof painted dark red, as was the front door. The whole house had a very warming feel to it.

Entering, Mordain found the first room was large. A wooden staircase ran up one wall to lead to the first floor, whereas two archways on opposite walls led into the remaining rooms of the ground floor. Shaellana led him through to the room to their left. It was furnished as a living area. A fireplace sat on the west wall, the entrance being on the east wall. Bookshelves lined the north wall and two armchairs, along with a small table, were situated beside the south.

“Sit down, I’ll be back shortly.” said Shaellana, gesturing to the seats.

Mordain did so, sitting himself in the armchair closest to the fireplace; he was cold. Since being afflicted with the poison though, he was always cold, never completely warm. The fire helped though.

Shaellana returned shortly with two warm drinks. She placed them on the small table and sat down in the remaining chair. “So tell me Mordain, how have you been?”

Mordain raised the cup to his lips and took a refreshing drink. He had been deprived of food and drink for the past day or two. “I’ve been busy, following Lathaon around. That one doesn’t know when to quit, I can tell you that!”

The two exchanged a laugh; Mordain tried to remember the last he had laughed as they did so.

“How is Lathaon?” asked Shaellana.

Mordain sighed; he had hoped to keep such matters from the conversation for a time, but he guessed he would just have to get right down to business. “He’s recovering…”

“Recovering? What happened?”

“He was stabbed, through the shoulder, by a bandit lord. We were hoping to locate them and turn them in to the City Guard, get some more gold. They knew we were coming; we’d been set up. They attacked us. I tried to help Lathaon, but the poison…” Mordain’s voice grew both weaker and angrier as his speech progressed.

Shaellana took his hands in hers. He felt her warm skin come into contact with his own. “It’s not your fault, Mordain. You can’t control what happens.”

“But if it wasn’t for this wretched venom coursing through me, I could have saved him! He was only stabbed whilst trying to protect me!” Mordain could not contain himself much longer.

Shaellana reached in and kissed his cheek, drawing him back to her instantly. “You don’t know that. Poison or not, it could have happened just as easy.”

Mordain sighed. Shaellana had such a way of speaking to him, such an understanding. “You may be right, but the poison is a weakness that I need to rid myself of none the less.”

Shaellana smiled. “And that’s why you’re here, isn’t it?”

“No, I came to see you.” He paused. “But yes, I would like your help. If you don’t want to come with me then that’s-”

Shaellana laughed. “Mordain, I’m happy to help you.” Now she paused. “I thought there was no cure?”

“I went back and spoke to Mokdra. I persuaded him to tell me what he knew. I learned that there is a shrine, hidden in the north of Meiroi Wood. Based on the information I have, it should lie in the part of the forest that is within Ciruenalysal.”

“I’m sure Mokdra was happy to see you.” smiled Shaellana. “Well, I’ll come with you and do what I can to help you find this shrine.”

Mordain smiled. “Thank you, it means a lot to me.”

Shaellana smiled back. “I know it does.”


Mordain woke up the next morning. Rolling over, he found the comforting sight of Shaellana lying next to him. The night past would be one that he would remember for a long time. He felt so lucky, almost as if he did not deserve her. She was so beautiful, so kind and caring. He was cold, filled with too much anger. But she defeated the anger in him, just by being with him. The smallest sound, the simplest touch; his rage would wash away. He felt as if he was only real when he was with her.

He did not want to leave. He did not want to go on this journey. He did not want to even get out of the bed. He wished he could lie there forever. But he knew he could not. Shaellana had agreed with him the night before that they would leave on this day. She understood how important curing this poison was to him.

“Good morning.” said Shaellana slowly, rolling over in the bed to face him.

Mordain smiled, running one hand through her hair. “Morning.”

The two kissed. It seemed to go on forever, though in truth it was relatively brief. Shaellana was first to draw away.

“We should get ready.” she said, rising slowly from the bed.

Mordain did the same, donning his shirt and trousers before putting on his dark robes and cloak, pulling the hood up over his face. He sheathed his sword at his side once more and took a firm hold on his staff. He turned to Shaellana; she was dressed in scarlet leather armour, along with a red cloak. Two short swords were sheathed at her side, their blades curved slightly. They were of elven design. She was a beautiful sight, so fiery in her appearance. Red was her colour, and she suited it no matter what form it took.

She walked towards him, embracing him slowly and kissing him again. “Come on, big journey ahead of us.”

Mordain smiled. “I’m glad you’re coming with me.”

“And I’m glad I’m going.”

The pair walked from the house, walking side by side towards the stables. Every second person they passed, at least, greeted Shaellana. She seemed to be well known in the town. Reaching the stables, Mordain retrieved his horse, and Shaellana took hers. Her horse was a beautiful brown, its main and tail dark. The saddle was rimmed in crimson, as were the reins. Truly, red was Shaellana’s colour.

They trotted their horses down through the town, taking their time so that they could admire the beautiful architecture. Mordain looked around him; such a wonderful place. He saw children running in the street. They were far luckier than they knew. Say they were like him, say they had no idea who their parents were or where they had come from; would they still be running in joy? He doubted it.

He looked over at Shaellana. So beautiful. So loving. She was the better half of him, the part that made him whole. Once the poison was gone, perhaps he could show her the same affection that she showed him.

“It should only take us half a day or so to reach the Meiroi Woods. We can spend the rest of the day looking for this shrine of yours. If all goes well, we should be back tomorrow.” said Shaellana, smiling as she turned to him.

“The faster we get this over with, the faster I can try and put it all behind me.” replied Mordain. “Thank you, for coming with me.”

“I’ll always be happy to help you Mordain, because I will always love you.”


By late afternoon, the pair stood within the Meiroi Wood. They had passed through Fargon, which in ages past had sat within the woods of Meiroi. However, Drathmor’s armies had torn the city apart and burned the forest around. Though the city had been rebuilt, the wood had never truly recovered. Now, the Meiroi Wood advanced far less into Ciruenalysal than it used to.

The Meiroi Wood was a beautiful place, on the surface. The trees grew tall, their beautifully green leaves creating a vast roof over the forest, denying the sunlight access. Because of this however, plants beneath the trees were unable to grow. It was an ironic thing; the trees, so beautiful, were bringing death to the smaller plant life. As a result, the forest floor was covered in death leaves and rotting plants. In addition, there were taints of necromantic power that clung to the forest still, even though Drathmor’s Reckoning had occurred a thousand years before. The forest stood as a testimony to the power of the Great Necromancer.

Mordain sighed deeply. “Let’s hope the shrine proves easy to find.”

He was about to step forward, but stopped, finding Shaellana’s hand resting on his arm. He looked to her; she was smiling, something she did just about constantly when she was with him. He smiled back as she leaned into him, the pair kissing once more. They felt themselves leave their bodies, one soul moving to the body of the other. They felt as one; they felt like nothing could tear them apart. Nothing.

The kiss was long; Shaellana drew away first, still smiling. “Come on then, we’ll start looking.”

Walking side by side, they wandered into the forest. The trees towered over them as immobile sentinels. It was strange to think; some of the trees could well have been there when Drathmor ravaged this place.

For many hours, Mordain and Shaellana wandered further and further into the woods. They could never find anything. There was no evidence of anything having being built within the forest. There were no tracks that could lead them to the shrine, tracks left by those who had travelled there before. There was nothing. The pair scoured every inch of ground they passed for some sign of the shrine, anything that might lead them to it, but they found nothing.

Night settled in, and they had found nothing of the shrine. Deciding that rest would be a good choice, so that they would be refreshed and ready to carry on in the morning, they stopped beneath a massive tree, lying comfortably on the bed of dead leaves that coated the ground.

Mordain lay with his back against the tree, Shaellana lying upon him, her head resting on his shoulder.

“Never leave me Shaellana.” said Mordain. “I can’t stand not being with you. Every day is another trail when you’re not with me.”

Shaellana looked up at him, kissing him on the cheek. “I’m always with you Mordain, you know that.”

“In spirit yes, but I cannot hold a spirit, I cannot kiss a spirit and tell it how much I love it.” Mordain’s eyes fell upon her. “I want you to travel with Lathaon and I. Would you do that for me?”

“Mordain, I’ve got a home in Fireath. I don’t think I want to start travelling again, not just yet.”

“But we could be together, all the time. No more waiting to see one another, no more nights spent longing for the company we grant each other.”

Shaellana smiled and kissed him again. “Your cousin won’t travel forever, and when he’s done with his adventures, you can come and settle down with me.”

“I don’t think I can wait for that.” replied Mordain, turning his eyes from her.

She put her hand on his cheek, bringing his head back round towards her. When their eyes met once more, she kissed him passionately, and he kissed back. Their arms wrapped around one another with such ease; it was as if they’re very bodies had been made to hold one another. They were meant to be together. Everything one wanted rested within the other.

Time stopped for them as they kissed and held one another, arms and fingers moving across their bodies, weaving up and down. The love they felt bound them together, in a way neither had thought possible. Words were not needed. The silence was far more than enough.

As Mordain kissed her and ran his fingers through her perfect hair, he knew that he had to find the shrine. He wanted to find it. He wanted to be rid of this wretched poison, this terrible weakness. He wanted to find the shrine. He truly wanted to.


Waking the next morning, Mordain found Shaellana lying in his arms, her head still resting on his shoulder. She looked so tranquil. Then she stirred, her milky eyes snapping open. She sat bolt upright, looking around.

“Shaellana? What’s wrong?” asked Mordain, concern registering in his voice.

“There’s something here, in the forest. I can sense it, I can almost see it.” She replied, still looking around.

“What is it? What can you sense?” Mordain’s hand reached and grabbed his staff.

“There.” She pointed to the north. “There’s something over there.”

Mordain rose, one hand holding his staff and the other holding his sword. Shaellana followed behind, her short swords held firmly in her grip. They advanced slowly, cautiously. Neither knew what to expect, but both felt prepared.

Mordain walked past the trees, half-crouched in a hope to catch whatever this thing was by surprise. Shaellana followed behind him, moving in the same fashion. They moved past tree after tree, still unsure what awaited them. But then they were upon it, as if it had risen from nowhere.

What they saw was not a creature, but a place. A large, jagged rock was jutted sharply from the ground, a large archway built into it. Within the archway, stairs could be seen falling away into darkness. The pillars that lined the archway were inscribed with runes; if they were meant to say anything, then they were from a language that neither Mordain nor Shaellana recognised.

The pair advanced cautiously.

“Is this the shrine?” asked Shaellana.

“It must be.” And only then did he remember Mokdra’s words. He turned to Shaellana. “Of course, I remember now. The shrine can only be found by those who truly want to find it!” he turned to it. “It must be protected by powerful magic.”

Shaellana nodded. “Yes, there is a lot of magic surrounding this place.” She paused. “Black magic.”

Mordain turned to her. “I practice Black magic Shaellana. It is not something that I fear.”

She moved towards him. “But I do. Is there no other way?”

Mordain shook his head. “No, this shrine is my only chance to be free of this damned poison. Shaellana, I want to go in there and see if what Mokdra told me was true. I want to be rid of this venom that courses through me!” he paused. “But I won’t do any of that without knowing you’re supporting me.”

Shaellana said nothing for a time, looking deep into Mordain’s eyes. After some consideration, she leaned forward and kissed him. “I support you Mordain, in whatever you do.”

They embraced momentarily before turning to the shrine, hand in hand as they stood before its entrance. The darkness held within seemed to want to swallow them whole. Mordain felt fear within him; he feared the unknown that was within this place. But, looking down at his chest and then to Shaellana, he knew that his fear would have to be overcome.

The pair walked through the archway, descending the stairs into the darkness. Cracking the butt of his staff off the floor and speaking a single word, Mordain brought a purple glow from the top of his staff that illuminated the blackness before him. The walls were grey stone, and murals of things long past had been carved into them. The skill of the architecture was incredible, surpassing even the work of the dwarves. Whoever, or whatever, had made this place had been very skilled.

The stairs wound down and down for some time until they led Mordain and Shaellana into a long chamber. The chamber was perhaps thirty feet across and a hundred feet long. A ten-foot wide walkway led down the middle to a platform at the end. Beneath the walkway however was an impenetrable darkness, out of which sixteen thick pillars rose, eight on each side of the walkway, each evenly spaced. They reached the ceiling, obviously intended to support it. Carvings of ancient beasts and battles long past were upon the pillars and the walls beyond. And at the end of the room sat a large statue. At this distance, it was hard to see what the statue was of, and so Mordain and Shaellana began to walk down the walkway.

They reached the end of the walkway and stood upon the platform. It was rectangular in shape, perhaps thirty feet in breadth and twenty in length. And there in front of them sat the statue. It was of a creature that neither of them recognised. It had the head of a lion, but the torso of a human. Its right arm and hand were human, but its left arm had been replaced with what looked like a snake. Its legs were covered in fur and its feet had been replaced by hooves. Finally, upon its back, were two large wings. It was a strange creature, something Mordain could not recall from anything he had ever encountered before. No lore or history book he had ever read mentioned anything like this.

Then he noticed something; the creature’s eyes were glowing dark purple.

Suddenly, the shrine itself shook, the ground trembling; the source of it all seemed to be the statue. Then, slowly but surely, the head of the statue moved, lowering its gaze downwards so that its eyes rested upon Mordain and Shaellana.

“What is your business here, mortals?”

Mordain moved to stand in front of Shaellana, between her and the statue. What this thing was, he did not know, but he knew that it was dangerous.

“What… what are you?” asked Mordain slowly.

“Something far older than you could comprehend.” replied the statue, its eyes still resting on Mordain. “Tell me what you want, mortal. You have within you a need to find this place, and now that you have found it, you must tell me what you seek.”

Mordain stepped forward, his hands gripping the front of his robe. “I want you to remove this.”

Mordain tore away the front of his robe to reveal the flesh beneath. Rooted in the middle of his chest was a terrible darkness that stemmed out across the rest of his torso, dark tendrils moving to clutch at his body. The poison beneath his skin was moving constantly. It was a horrible sight, to see a venom as dark as night rippling beneath his skin.

The statue released a roar, its head thrashing from side to side. Though its head moved, there was no evidence that it could move the rest of its body. Its eyes returned to Mordain. “Yes, mortal, I can cure you of your affliction and grant you new strength.”

Again, Mordain thought of the words of Mokdra. “For what price?”

The statue laughed. The ground beside Mordain cracked and split, chains being thrust from the ground. They bound Mordain’s wrists, pulling him down to his knees. Shaellana screamed and moved to free him, but she was cast back by an unseen force. When she landed, a wall of black fire rose out of the ground, barring her path back to him.

“What is this?” roared Mordain, struggling against the chains.

“This is what you wanted, mortal. This will be the cure to your affliction.” said the statue. It paused, observing Mordain as he pulled on the chains. “Stop squirming!” roared the statue, arcs of magic erupting from its eyes to strike Mordain. He screamed in agony and sagged slowly, no longer struggling. “My magic will cleanse the poison from you. It will fill your body with a strength you would not have thought possible and grant you a greater power in magic. You will become stronger than you ever dreamed.”

“But… what is the… price?” said Mordain, breathing heavily.

“You will be unable to advance any further in power, both physically and magically.”

“What else?”

The statue seemed to smile. “You will know hatred and anger. These feelings will fill you. But you will not know compassion, beauty, love.”

Mordain stared up at the beast, shock registering in his eyes. He would no longer feel love? But then… Shaellana!

“Yes, mortal,” said the statue, “you love this one. The price for your renewal, is the loss of your love for that woman. You will remember the feelings you had for her, you will long for those feelings to be returned to you; but you will feel nothing.”


“That is what will be taken from you! I will grant you power, and strip you of love.”

“No! You cannot do that!” shouted Mordain, once more trying to break the chains.

“Oh but I can, and I will.”

“No, I can still change my mind!”

The beast laughed. “It is too late for that, mortal. The time for choice is long gone. Now, it is a time for change.”

“What will happen to her?” he asked frantically.

“Nothing. She will be unaffected. She will keep her feelings for you, feelings that you cannot return to her. You will walk each day knowing that another has a deep love for you, but you have no such love for her.”

“No… please!”

“It is too late, mortal!”


It was Shaellana, calling to him from beyond the flames. He turned his head to stare at her.

“Mordain, I will always love you! Never forget that, please don’t forget!” tears were streaming down her face and his face alike.

“I love you Shaellana! I promise you, I will never forget how much I care for you!” said Mordain, his own voice roaring over the fire.

Shaellana stared on, completely helpless to stop what was about to happen. “I love you!”

“Enough!” howled the statue. Its eyes fell upon Mordain, heavier than before. “Embrace your new existence!”

Magic rocketed from the statues eyes, striking Mordain. Agony of a formerly unknown level filled him. The chains that bound him were torn from the floor as he was raised into the air, the magic pouring into his body. The darkness upon his chest was driven from him. He felt his strength grow, just as the statue had promised. He felt his magic rise to a new level, just as the statue had promised. And he felt his compassion and love drain away, just as the statue had promised. Those warm feelings, the ones that remind him of Shaellana and kept him going, were drained away. He felt cold, terribly cold. Rage filled him and he fought against the magic, finding that the statue was struggling to contain the power it had given him. But the statue’s work was not done yet. Pure darkness flooded around him, coiling about his form to create new robes. The robes were dark blue, almost black in colour. A pattern, created from slightly light fabric, was woven into the robes. The pattern resembled waves. The rims were coloured slightly brighter and runes were inscribed upon them; the same runes that marked the archway leading into this shrine. The runes glowed faintly, a faint purple glow leaking from them. Upon his hands, gloves identical in colour to his robes were created. And in his hands, a staff was forged. The wood was black, yet smooth and shiny. Upon its surface were runes identical to the ones on his robes, and just like those, these runes glowed slightly. Atop his staff sat a carving of a raven, its eyes glowing purple, yet far brighter was this glow.

Finally, the transformation was complete and Mordain was lowered to the ground, the agony finally subsiding. He breathed deeply; only anger and hatred coursed through him. Nothing more. He felt cold and empty within. A great part of him had been stripped away.

The statue laughed. “And now you are cured, mortal. Walk with power through your miserable world.”

“I… feel… cold…” said Mordain, his words faint yet filled with unsurpassed fury.

Mordain raised his head slowly towards the statue. As his eyes met that of the beast, all the delight was washed from the statue’s face, replaced with a look of shock and fear. Mordain thrust his staff towards the statue, words of Black magic spilling from his mouth. A beam of pure Black magic erupted from his staff, shooting into the statue and obliterating its head. Mordain watched the rock fall. He roared in anger, a call that echoed throughout the entire shrine.

Turning sharply, he saw Shaellana standing on the other side of the fire, fear and sorrow upon her face. With a simple word and a wave of his hand, Mordain dispelled the fire that kept her from him. Instantly, she ran towards him, moving to embrace him, but Mordain moved his free hand to stop her.

“Mordain..?” she asked, her voice quivering.

“I feel nothing, Shaellana. Not for you, not for Lathaon; not for anyone. I am empty.” His voice was cold, colder and darker than it had ever been before.

Shaellana backed away slowly, falling to her knees. Tears streamed down her face. “I’ve lost you! You’re gone!”

Mordain saw her tears, he could see her sorrow; but he felt nothing in response. He remembered everything he had felt for her, but he could feel none of it now. “I have to go. This journey is over.”

“Where… where will you… go?” she asked, tears stilling flowing from her.

“I will return to Lathaon, after I pay one final visit to an old friend.”

“I… no! You must… feel something for… me! There must be some love… in you!” screamed Shaellana, running towards him and grabbing his arms, shaking him. “You can’t just stop loving someone! You can’t!”

Mordain pushed her aside gently. “I am sorry, but love means nothing to me. Not anymore.”

He walked past her, raising the hood of his robes. Waving his hand across his face and speaking a few words of magic, an impenetrable darkness was created within the hood, hiding his face. Never again would another being lay eyes upon his face.


Two days later, three guards stood outside the tower of Mokdra Sarbiss. They spoke idly; guard duty was such a waste of time. They all felt as if their talents could be put to better use.

Then, something stirred in the darkness before them. One of them notched an arrow in their bow, raising it to the approaching hooded form. The other guards drew their swords.

“Identify yourself!” called one of them.

In the next instant, the guard was struck down by a bolt of magic. The guard with the bow loosed his arrow, but the arrow melted away in mid air, the hooded man still approaching, uttering words of magic. The guard with the bow was struck down with another bolt of magic. The final guard stood before the man as he came right up to him.

Mordain Thaendil approached the man. As the guard swung his sword, Mordain batted it aside easily with his staff, the sword not making any dent or mark upon the staff. Grabbing the man’s throat, Mordain hurled him through the wooden doors that granted entrance to Mokdra’s tower. The doors flew open as the guard skidded along the floor unconscious.

Mordain walked into the tower with no level of hesitation. He moved towards the staircase, raising an aura around himself as he went. The arrows fired by the few guards brave, or foolish, enough to oppose him bounced off harmlessly as he climbed the stairs. Guards tried to confront him, but he threw them effortlessly from the stairs. After he had sent three to their deaths in such a fashion, the soldiers gave up and fled.

Mordain rose through the tower and burst into Mokdra’s chamber. The old elf seemed startled at first, but not afraid. A dark smile crept across his face.

“I see you found the shrine then, Mordain.” said Mokdra, laughter edging its way into his voice.

“You… you knew this would happen to me, didn’t you?” asked Mordain slowly.

Mokdra laughed openly. “Of course I did! You no longer know leave or beauty or compassion. The time has come, Mordain, for you to join the Dark elves once more.”

Mordain advanced towards the elf quickly, and now fear was upon Mokdra’s face. Mordain grabbed him by the throat, holding him at arm’s length in the air. He watched as Mokdra struggled for air, Mordain’s iron grip crushing down on his throat.

“You knew this would happen, and now you expect me to join you?” roared Mordain. “You destroyed everything I cared about! Because of you, all the warmth has been stripped from me!”

Turning sharply, Mordain hurled Mokdra into his desk. The elf cracked against the wood and fell in a crumpled heap to the floor. Mordain advanced and picked him up once more, holding him close.

“You pathetic creature! You have no idea what you’ve done!” the anger in Mordain’s voice could tear a mountain in half, such was his fury.

Turning again, he launched Mokdra into a wall. The old elf crashed into the stone and Mordain could hear bones break as he hit the floor.

“I… beg you to… spare me…” said Mokdra weakly, blood seeping from his lip.

“You knew that the magic of that place would tear the love from me, and yet you have the nerve to ask me for mercy?” shouted Mordain. “I hope you burn!”

Mordain spread his arms, speaking words of Black magic. A dark purple circle materialised on the ground, tendrils of power rising from it. As the final word of magic left Mordain’s mouth, the circle erupted, sending a massive force of push rushing in all directions. The walls of the tower were blown away, magic streaking down through the stone, exploding as it went. The tower was being demolished.

Mokdra shrieked as the magical tendrils bound him, crushing the very life from him. Mordain watched as the final traces of life were stripped from him. Then, he moved quickly from the room, descending what remained of the staircase as the tower continued to collapse about him. Using his magic, he destroyed much of the rubble that fell towards him. Finally, he stood outside the tower; just in time to see what remained of it fall to the ground.


The door to Lathaon’s room in the inn opened and Mordain entered, though he doubted his cousin would recognise him. Yet Lathaon did.

“Mordain?” Lathaon asked slowly, almost cautiously.

“Yes, cousin, it is me.” replied Mordain, his voice cold. His voice had remained the same ever since the events that had taken place in the shrine.

“Mordain, where did you go? What happened to you?” asked Lathaon as he rose to look at his cousin up and down. To Lathaon, Mordain seemed larger than before, somehow different.

“I went to rid myself of that wretched poison… and I succeeded.”

“You did? That’s great!”

“No, cousin, it is not. As the poison was torn from me, so too were a number of other things; my ability to see beauty, my ability to care for things, my ability to love. It’s all gone Lathaon; I feel so empty.” Mordain’s voice was filled with a sudden spark of rage, but he suppressed the feeling.

“But… if that was going to happen, then why did you go through with it?” Lathaon was obviously confused now.

“I had no choice!” said Mordain, but after calming himself, he continued on. “Besides, I had to do it. I made a pledge to you that I would serve and protect you, but with that poison inside me, there was no way I would be able to do that. It was because of me that you received that terrible wound. That was my fault, mine!”

“Mordain, I would never have asked you to-”

“Don’t Lathaon! This is the way I am now, and I shall have to live with it. At least I can do what I swore I would now.”

Lathaon smiled awkwardly. He did not know what to do, or what to say.

Just then, there came a knock at the door. Mordain turned to see the innkeeper standing there.

“Erm… there’s a woman downstairs waiting to talk to you.” He said, pointing to Mordain.

Mordain walked past the innkeeper, descending the stairs. In the main hall of the inn, he found Shaellana. Her face was red from tears shed only recently, but she did not look as if she would cry again. She gestured for Mordain to follow as she walked from the inn. Mordain did so. They walked out into the night air of the streets and headed down towards the docks.

Shaellana was first to speak. “I don’t hate you.”

“Perhaps you should, perhaps that would be better for both of us.” replied Mordain.

Shaellana smiled. “You know I’m stronger than that.”

“Yes, but I wonder if you will want to walk beside me knowing that I cannot feel for you anymore.”

“I understand that you can’t, but that doesn’t stop me caring for you. You promised me you would never forget how much you loved me. Well now I promise you that as long as you remember that, I will always be with you. I want to travel with you, Mordain. I want to help you.”

Mordain turned to her. “If that is what you want, then that is your choice. I wish I could say sorry and mean it, but I can’t. I do not feel sorry for anything that has happened, but know that I want to be.”

“You don’t need to apologise. It wasn’t your fault.”

Shaellana reached her face into the darkness of his hood and kissed him on the cheek, the last kiss he would ever receive. This was Mordain Thaendil as he was destined to live out his days. Mordain Thaendil, the guardian of Lathaon. Mordain Thaendil, the Mage of Shadows.

Mordain Thaendil, the tragedy.

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