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Chapter 2 – Part 1


“I’ll be right back with the tools!” Aerin called over her shoulder to Brylla as she sprinted down the basement stairs.


She and her sister were planning a surprise for their mother, who would soon return from a short trip. They were going to transform the front garden of the house into a blooming paradise. Something their mother had always dreamed of doing, but never found the time. The servants could have done it, of course, but the sisters wanted to do it themselves.


The place was more like a dusty warehouse than a basement. Stacks and stacks of old documents (things from their father’s work), toys from their childhood, more sealed boxes, some ancient chests, an axe hanging on the wall… The garden tools had to be here somewhere…


The air was stale and had a faint musty smell. There was only one small window, which barely let in any light. And cobwebs everywhere.


“Aha!” She exclaimed as she spotted a bucket with various garden tools on an old table. Gloves, scissors, two small shovels, and two mini forks. A rake and a hoe leaned against the wall and on the floor, under the table, was a watering can. “That should do it.” She muttered as she bent down to grab the watering can and put it on the table.


Aerin paused for a moment and took a deep breath, her hands on her hips. Her eyes wandered around the place, without much interest, until something caught her attention.


A narrow door blocked by an old, tattered armchair. A faded painting hung on the door.


Aerin frowned, intrigued.


“Are you still alive down there?” Brylla’s impatient voice came from inside the house. The door to the basement was in the corner of the large kitchen.


“Almost done! I’m just looking for the tools!” Aerin lied as she walked towards the mysterious door.


“Do you want me to come and help you?” Brylla asked from the kitchen.


“No need!” Aerin said and pushed the armchair out of the way.


Then she noticed the door was locked with a heavy iron padlock. “Damn it!”

What was in there? Aerin’s curiosity grew by the second. “Fine…” she muttered before walking away. After rummaging through an old desk drawer, she came back with a skeleton key and a smug smile.


The elf girl used the key, and the door opened with a loud creak that echoed down a narrow staircase. The stairs led down into another room.


Aerin moved aside to pick up a lantern she had seen among the clutter, lit it and then went back down the stairs. When she reached the room, she found it was smaller than the other, but too stuffy and very warm. There were no windows. It was a little claustrophobic, to be honest. There were a few old candlesticks with candles that had melted long ago.


“What is this place?” She whispered.


When Aerin raised the lantern and lit the place better. She gasped in surprise to see some beautifully crafted Elven swords carefully mounted on the wall.


Who did they belong to? Her father? Her grandfather?

There were some stunning fresco paintings that covered the walls of the room. They seemed to tell some ancient story.


There was also an old wooden mannequin wearing dark silver armor that was scratched and worn out. Some parts were broken.


Next to it was a dark oak table and there was a chest on top of it. The chest had no lid. It probably broke at some point.


Curious, Aerin approached the table with her lantern. An old blanket was inside the chest. Once it should have been white, now it was yellowed with age. The blanket was made of cotton silk, delicately embroidered with silver threads at the ends. It was still soft and looked expensive. There were some old yellow-stained letters in the chest.


She picked one and opened it. There was nothing written on it, or so it seemed. But for a second, as she moved her hand casually, the lantern’s light hit it in a way that made something shimmer on the paper. Words appeared… But as quickly as they came, they vanished, and Aerin couldn’t repeat the movement. She tried with another letter and nothing happened.


“What is this? Some kind of fairy magic?” She raised an eyebrow, puzzled.


Then she saw a large framed painting on the wall that she hadn’t noticed yet. It was a canvas with a map of the faerie region, where the kingdoms were divided by colors and symbols. The frame was rich, finely crafted gold. She examined the map with great interest, for she had always been curious about that region. There were many rumors and legends, but she knew little about the place as it was an avoided and even forbidden topic in some Elven cities.


The Blackcrystal Forest, the boundary between the two regions. Beyond it lay Eshelean, the land of the Fae, where wonders and dangers lurked in every corner. She traced her finger over the map, following the names of places she had only heard in stories.The drawing of a high mountain called Black Ash mountain, Eregiond, Thadria, The forest of Ereglond, Thellondë, Londoriath, A lake called Aeluin. She moved her gaze to the north and saw the region of Egios, Eregserin, Aramoor, a mountain with a black hole (marked with a red X and a skull) in which it would be a region called Uden.

There were a few dark spots scattered around that might have been small towns, and higher up, a region painted all black: Alandrys. She saw the symbol of a crescent moon in the middle of the black misterious large region, representing the Moon Court. It was located right after a long range of high mountains, called The Spine.

There were also a few small islands and other faded continents reaching beyond the edges of the painting.


It was then that Aerin’s pendant blinked and glowed with a silver light. That had never happened before and the elf girl grabbed the pendant, startled. “What the hell?”, but it blinked one last time and stopped, returning to normal.

She took a step back, confused, and stepped on a loose plank. *creeak*


Aerin knelt on the floor, placing the lantern down to her side. “It’s loose.” She muttered to herself, removing two planks. It was indeed a false bottom.

Inside there was an empty glass bottle, a small statue of Gadya – the Lady of Fire, an old parchment with some faded runes written on it, and a silver box.

Aerin frowned and picked up the box. The following was engraved on the lid:


“Dagger made of frozen fire,

razor sharp and shiny black,

that is what you will require

for a faerie to never come back.”


She opened the box and inside, there was a beautiful dagger made of pure obsidian. Its dark blade had a faint red glow, as if a fire was burning inside it. With it was a slightly wrinkled note: “For protection.”


Aerin felt so confused. What was this all about? And why was all this hidden in a secret room in the basement of her family’s home?


She stood up, holding the dagger, admiring the details of the hilt. She lightly touched the blade, and it burned her finger. She gasped and dropped the dagger, which clattered on the floor. It felt like not just her finger, but her entire body had been pierced by hundreds of blades. It was a brief but agonizing sensation. She gripped the oak table for support, as her legs turned to jelly and she feared collapsing on the floor.


“Are you ok?”


Aerin heard Brylla’s voice behind her. The tone was a mixture of astonishment and concern.


“I’m fine.” Aerin lied, turning to face her sister.


“What place is this?” Brylla asked, looking around.


“I have no idea.” Aerin took a deep breath.


“Now I know why our parents never let us come to the basement when we were little.”


“Who does all this belong to?” Aerin asked, staring at the ancient armor and swords.


“Maybe our father? Or our grandfather? Our father was a soldier in his youth. He said he even spent some time in the faerie lands.”


Aerin said nothing. She had a thoughtful expression. Brylla continued:


“Our grandfather was known as a faerie friend. And they say that he fought many battles alongside the Fae. Perhaps all of this is his. Our father had a hard time dealing with his death. Maybe he kept all of this as a memory. I don’t know.”


Brylla bent down to pick up the obsidian dagger.


Aerin opened her mouth to warn her sister not to touch the blade, but nothing happened when Brylla held the dagger, admiring the details.


“What were you going to say?” Brylla asked.


“I got burned when I touched the blade. But nothing happened to you.” Aerin replied with surprise.


“You must have cut yourself by accident.” Brylla replied without giving much thought. “It’s a powerful weapon. It wouldn’t be strange to have a weird reaction if you’re hurt by one.”


Aerin wrung her hands nervously. She felt a sudden surge of fear and curiosity, as if the dagger had awakened something inside her. She blurted out, “I don’t know who my real mother is…” She looked at Brylla with a scared expression, wondering what this meant.


Brylla frowned as she placed the dagger into the silver box, where she assumed the weapon belonged. “Aerin, you never cared about that before. Why now?”


Aerin hesitated, as if she was afraid to speak aloud about her fear. “What if she is…I mean…Have you ever thought that she might be…a fae?”


“A fae?” Brylla was shocked by the absurdity of the idea. She couldn’t help but laugh. “That’s ridiculous! Our father said she was an elf he met on one of his trips to Vinegriand.”


“Yes, but…”


“You never had a problem with iron. Faeries hate iron. Many people here even use iron as protection.”


Aerin sighed, still worried.


Brylla touched her sister’s shoulder. “I think you spent a long time down here. In this stuffy place. It must have fried your brain in this heat.”


“Very funny. I’m dying of laughter.. see? Ha. Ha. Ha, ” Aerin said in a sarcastic tone.


Brylla chuckled. “Come on, let’s get back to work in the garden. Let’s close this room as it was and get some fresh air.”


And so they did. Aerin didn’t say anything else. She put the planks back in place and left with her sister.


“A fae? Really?”


“Oh, shut up!”

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