I have been making a lot of portraits with Artbreeder and getting better at them. This one was originally supposed to be Se’lorn, someone Eldor once knew, but when I saw it I knew at once that was Eldor! So it may not be perfect, but it is pretty good. Also, this is Eldor as he looked when he was a young man. He looks a bit more aged in the Legend of the Singer Duology, especially Sorceress of the Dryads, but doing that well is not something I have figured out yet!
Eldor is the human father of Tara-lin. He was once a Valor Knight of the Valor Hall (more like a scout, spy, or assassin than the medieval armored Knight, though with many similar associations in legends and the minds of the populace – and, in many cases, in their own minds). He met and fell in love with Lìrulin, an elf huntress, on one of his last, most dangerous missions, and she saved his life. He requested leave and they went to the forests of Elethri, where they married and where Tara-lin was born.
Here’s an excerpt (edited slightly to prevent spoilers):
Footsteps alerted Tara-lin to the approach of another. She turned and saw her father crossing the sward towards her. She ran towards him. “Hello! What are you doing here at this time of night?”
He smiled at her. “Coming to see you,” he said, then added, “You often seem kind of sad. Are you sad right now?”
“I wouldn’t say I’m sad,” said Tara-lin. “But I look at you. I love you. I want you to stay with me. I get to play with you so little, now, though it’s been more often recently than it was at first. I love your advice. But you’re getting old. You’re so much older now than you were when I was young.” She swallowed, then began again. “I’m sad for Mom and Lyan, too. And I think I’m sad for you. There’s so much you’re going to miss.” She was speaking very quickly now, but slowed down a little to say what she had to say next. “And I think, for all I know, and for all the dryads have taught me, I fear death. When I think of it, there’s a cold emptiness in my heart. So I think I’m sad and afraid for you, too,” she said, speaking more quickly again, and then, a little more slowly, “but who am I to talk to you like this? It should be the other way around. I don’t have the business to feel this way. Why am I asking you to comfort me?”
He closed the distance towards her and took her hands in his. He kissed her lightly. “I love you, Tara-lin. I want to comfort you and be with you.”
She nodded, tears spilling from her eyes. “I love you, too, Dad. But I don’t know how to love well when life is so short.”
“I know, Tara-lin. I know you love me. And sometimes I don’t know how to love well with such a short life. It’s weird to think about. But let me tell you something, since you asked me. Shall we sit down first?”
Tara-lin shrugged. He took her – she clung to his arm – over to the tree, and they sat down under its eaves. She leaned into him, relishing his closeness. “Tara-lin, I’m not afraid of death. Ever since the first time I walked into Nightshade Castle, I haven’t feared death. I just have not. I did fear Nightshade, and I can still hardly believe that I walked into Nightshade a second time.”
She nodded. You didn’t exactly walk into Nightshade the second time. You were captured and taken, she thought, but she did not speak. It was irrelevant.
“Neither do I think often of it,” Eldor continued, meaning death. “I try not to. It fills me with a fear of a different sort, or maybe it’s only sadness. I love you. I love Lyan. I love Lìrulin so much. It’s why we were so drawn to each other that she went into Icecrown with me. It’s why I married her. I cannot call it foolish, even knowing the sadness that comes of it. We were, and still are, so in love with one another. It is a love which has only grown and burned brighter as the years pass. What would have been foolish – perhaps even a victory for the nightmare – would have been for us to think ahead, to foresee a sorrow which is not even yet upon us, and so not to follow our hearts, not to follow love and joy. But I can’t even imagine doing that. How could we not seek to be one? We were in love!”
Excerpt taken from Sorceress of the Dryads Copyright ©2022 Raina Nightingale
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