Lost Horizons

 

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Chapter 1

The night was closing in fast. Ellron stood looking out across the cliffs. He rested his aching arm on the hilt of his sword. The sword glinted dully in the shadows. He was tired of this war. The Belrog had seemed to be endless as they scuttled forward. Wave after wave of them had advanced toward his troops. He had lost half his army in one day and they were good men and women. Poor and honest soldiers who believed they were fighting for the freedom of their families. Ellron knew the truth of the war and had been training his men for this battle for five years. 

His wife was standing beside him and she rested her hand on his shoulder. She kissed him gently on the brow. Ellron had not told her yet of what ultimately needed to be done to stop this war once and for all. He did not know if he could do it alone. He was about to speak when she said, "Ellron we have done well today. We have turned them back." She had fought as well as him that day and he loved her all the more for her courage. 

"Yes...we have held them back...for now." Ellron replied. 

"Surely now the others will help us once they have seen how many we have lost today." She had said while her hand dropped from his shoulder. 

"Some of them may...others I know I cannot trust..." He had replied while wiping the sweat that fell freely from his face and dripped from the end of his dark beard. He looked out across the battlefield where the crows were already picking at the corpses. 

He turned away in silence and walked back to their tent. His wife followed. When they got there he told her to gather the council as they had much that needed to be planned and discussed. 

When she left he knelt and prayed to the gods of Aeon to guide him in his decisions and to give him a sign. He kept his eyes closed and waited. A gentle breeze began to circle Ellron and a piercing white light surrounded his body.  The gods had spoken to him. They had showed him a glimpse of the future. If he did not defeat the Belrog there would be a great empty darkness. He saw his people as slaves and many others from other worlds tortured and killed for pleasure. 

Ellron stood up and bowed his head honoring the gods who had blessed him with this vision. He thought of his wife and knew then that he must do it alone. If he took her with him he knew she would die. He took off his royal cloak and folded it neatly on the bed. Then he shaved off his beard. He could hear the council arguing loudly with his wife. He smiled when she told them to be silent. She had such authority in her voice. He took out a faded robe from a chest in the corner of the room. 

Ellron held the cassock gently in his hands and remembered...

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Chapter 2

Ellron was afraid that day when his mother waited with him at the gates of the monastery. He had held her hand tightly and she knew he was scared. The gates were black and the monastery behind it was made of limestone. It was an immense structure. There was a monk standing behind the gates and he smiled at Ellron. His face was mostly hidden by the hood of his monk's robe. At first Ellron looked down and away from the monk and then peeked back up at him. The gates opened. The monk stood there and bowed first to his mother and then to Ellron. It made him smile to see this short man in a brown robe bowing at him. The monk took off his cowl so that Ellron could see his face clearly. He had a short white beard and his face was covered in crease marks. The monk squinted and smiled and knelt down so his face was level with Ellron's face. When the monk spoke he whispered and would cough occasionally as if he had trouble breathing. 

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