The sunrise shone a glorious florid orange on the horizon. The warmest hue upon a rainbow that brings gentle passion to those who see it. Reminding people of a new day that will allow them to start a new.
For Tanis and Laura, the sunrise meant another day of torment for both of them. Currently seated on the lush green grass at the palace garden. Both watching the golden petals stretch and illuminate in the blue sky.
Tanis looked at Laura, who was currently admiring the view in front of her and saw the same blue color on his wife’s eyes. The eyes he came to hate the moment they met his, during their wedding.
How can this forced marriage work out? He thought to himself still scanning his wife’s innocent face.
“Uhm, Tanis. You think they’d allow us to separate once this forced marriage doesn’t work out?” She looked at Tanis, who was taken aback by the sudden movement and smiled sweetly.
“I think not,” he replied. “You father — the elf king — thinks I am the man the prophecy states. The man who will claim the highest throne in the land of Ishgar. But I tell you, I am not that man your father seeks. I am a half-blood and that reason alone will make the people of Ishgar throw me out of Qualinesti if I haven’t married you.” Laura looked at him with eyes full of pity.
“We never know what the future holds, Tanis.” She shook her head slightly. “We never know,” She repeated then stood up from where she’s seated. “I will take my leave for I have an important matter to attend to.” With that, she left Tanis alone in the palace garden, unmoved.
Tanis roamed around the palace and admired the designs engraved on the wooden walls. The walls depicted the history of the elves for thousands of years. Ancient writings explained each major event that changed the land of Ishgar to what is it today.
“So elves are brought about this world by a mysterious tree called Kyrnn.” Tanis tilted his head and tried deciphering the ancient writings he has never encountered before. “This is one of the disadvantages of being a half-blood. You can’t naturally read ancient writings.”
He wondered more and his feet led him to their room. The door was partly open so he had the urge to take a peek before entering. What he saw almost broke his heart. Laura crying while seated on the floor beside the bed.
Her innocent face was covered with tears but her beauty still remained. Tanis wanted to wipe the tears away but held himself back.
Even though we’re husband and wife we aren’t that close for me to act that way towards her.
He silently left and tried to erase the image of his wife crying by wandering around the palace. During his adventure, he overheard something he wasn’t supposed to hear.
Laura went to her father’s chambers to convince him of separating her and Tanis. She loves Tanis but she isn’t desperate to force a man into marriage.
“But father he isn’t the man the prophecy says,” she gently said.
“He is the man the prophecy says, Laura!” Her father’s voice echoed in the entire room.
“But he is a half-blood father!” Laura couldn’t hold her anger anymore and exploded in front of his father. “I-I’m sorry father,” she said the moment she realized she had raised her voice.
“I forgive you but I wouldn’t separate you and Tanis.” Laura heaved a defeated sigh and excused herself.
Her mind wandered while walking to their room’s direction. The memories of meeting Tanis for the first time came flooding back to her.
When she learned about the marriage, she was strongly against it but her father insisted, which left her with no choice. She asked her knights and assassins to search for information about Tanis, the half-blood.
The moment she gained knowledge of him her heart started reacting strangely. Every information she received was Tanis’ good deeds all over Ishgar and neighboring lands. How he helped the people of Ansalon build their houses after the Draconians raid, how he taught elf children who aren’t royalty to read and write, how he saved a maiden during a war between Palanthas and Tarsis, and many more. People even bestowed him the name ‘Half-blood Salvino’ which means half-blood savior or protector.
Laura fell for him because of the things he did for the people of Ishgar. He is a selfless man who always thinks of others first before himself.
Laura immediately went inside their room and the tears she was holding back burst. She held back the sobs trying to come out from her mouth to avoid people from hearing. She heard something on the door which made her wipe the tears hurriedly.
“I forgot to close the door again,” she said then stood up to close the door properly. “I have some more matters to attend to so I have to stop this drama.” She walked towards the table inside the room and examined some documents sent by the other kingdoms in Ishgar.
“I should have stayed in the room,” Tanis said in a panic. “I shouldn’t have heard that!” He frustratingly pulled his hair.
After overhearing the conversation of two council members, he decided to go back to the palace garden. There he pondered over what to do after hearing what he heard.
He sat on the grass then stood up. Thinking over what the right thing to do he started walking to and fro. Biting his inner cheeks while constantly ruffling his wavy red medium length hair.
“A silver for your thoughts,” a voice behind him said.
He held his chest from surprise and took deep breaths before looking at who dared surprise him. There he saw Laura smiling from ear-to-ear. Her blue eyes sparkling like those of the ocean’s surface when the golden rays from the sun reflect from it.
“What are you doing here? I thought you have an important matter to attend to,” he didn’t intend to sound harsh but Laura’s hurt face says otherwise. “I-I didn’t mean to sound like that.” Tanis tried to explain but Laura nodded her head to dismiss the topic.
Tanis cleared his throat and looked elsewhere. “How’s your day?” he asked out of the blue to remove the awkward atmosphere he accidentally triggered.
“Tiring but fun.” A smile slowly crept on her face which caught Tanis off guard. Her beauty struck him and slowly he felt something he never felt before. He knew what the feeling was because he saw it in people’s eyes and actions every time. It was love but the love he felt made it harder for him to decide what to do.
Not knowing what to do at the moment, he decided to act distant to avoid further attachment. He only nodded his head in response to cut the conversation short. He then excused himself and wandered around the palace once more.
As months passed by, Tanis’ still acted distant which made Laura cry every night. Those nights brought nightmares to Tanis for he could hear them so he decided to enter their room late every night. Within those months, Tanis came to a verdict that he will leave Laura and Qualinesti to search for a solution.
“Tonight I’ll leave without a trace,” he told himself while inside the library located near the palace. The library is full of books some were hardbound with wood, some were documents tied together with a golden rope, some were scrolls, and more.
He chooses to search for spell books to look for a potion that will make him erase his presence for five hours. Five hours is enough for him to leave Qualinesti and create some distance. The moment he found what he’s searching for he prepared everything for his expedition.
Night came and the moons brought light to Qualinesti. Tanis waited for Laura to fall asleep before starting his plan. After hearing the soft snores, he carefully got out of bed and grabbed his bag.
Before taking a step out, he glanced at Laura one last time and smiled bitterly. “I’ll come back and when I do I’ll tell you my true feelings. But if things don’t go according to plan I hope you search for a man who would love you more than I.”
Tanis immediately left before his resolve could shake from the sight of his sleeping wife.
It has been three whole days after Tanis’ departure and Laura felt devastated. She thought that Tanis highly disapproves of the marriage and decided to leave. Within those three days, Tanis already traveled a long distance.
Nighttime came again and Tanis set camp inside the forest of life and death. The cold breeze caused by the lake made him thought of Laura. If she felt cold and has someone to hug her.
“I’m sorry Laura. I have to leave because I can’t watch you die while I claim the highest throne.” A tear slipped from his eye which he immediately wiped. “If I haven’t heard of that conversation I might be by your side now but I am glad I heard it because I knew the consequence of being the ruler of the land of Ishgar. If being the ruler means taking your own life force I’d rather be the simple half-blood I am now.”
Tanis looked at the lake and saw his own reflection. The vivid memory of that conversation echoed in his mind.
“The prophecy is happening sooner than later,” the council member said.
“Yes, but if the prophecy happens it means Princess Laura will die. The prophecy told me that a half-blood will rule over Ishgar for thousands of years but in exchange, his wife will suffer causing her death,” the other one replied.
“That is the sad truth. Half-bloods are known to be powerful than us but in order to get that boost in power, they have to marry a full-blooded elf maiden. This has happened before but the half-blood didn’t know the consequence of his power and-”
“I immediately left after hearing some of the conversations because I don’t want to hear more of the suffering I might bring Laura if I happen to gain power. I left to save her but I’ll come back once I find a solution to this problem. If there’s no solution so be it. I’d rather live a poor life instead of being glorious at the expense of having my wife die,” he told himself.
The three moons illuminating Ishgar was shining ever so brightly. The silver moon, Polaris. The red moon, Kitiara. And the black moon, Raistlin. Each moon symbolizes the gods of Ishgar. Now, their reflection brings comfort and strength to Tanis who set out on an expedition.