The storm had passed, washing over Beldatz with sudden fury, washing the streets off the blood that had stained it during the Maehvindra elves’ ill-fated hunt for the half-elf girl, Niriko.
It had failed to wash the leaden weight off a young elf-witch’s heart.
Deeta was shivering. She was standing over the northern cliffs, staring at the waves clashing against the rock and further in, against the juts of wrought stone and natural reefs of the Maze of Entry. She had walked all night, slinking away from her brother and the others in their company, climbing the Stag Steps that carried her past a monastery where she heard a soft bell humming.
And now she stared at the sea, the mythic origin of her people. It was said that all elves look longingly upon the sea, but as the sun hinted of its presence over the horizon, Deeta did not feel it. She felt nothing but a horrible void in her chest, and she felt the anguished pull of the cliff’s edge.
She felt like giving in and surrender to that pull.
“No suicides over my cliffs.” A soft, husky voice startled the elf witch. She had heard no one approach, but she was not alone any more. She turned around and saw nothing, then she felt the spray of water sprinkle over the skin at her back. No wave would reach this high, unless…
“Sea witch…” Deeta said, her voice a monotone. Indeed, between herself and the sea stood another elf woman, but not a Maehvindra, for the newcomer’s skin was tanned, the color of wood and clay, her impossibly long hair thick, wavy and green, her deep eyes the color of the deep sea. “Viryuni.”