• Prologue
    Kistran stared out her window and rubbed her swollen abdomen ruefully. She grimaced as another contraction rippled through her and wondered when he would arrive. As she stared out at the forested backyard of her humble home gazing serenely as the sun set over the river Dancing Moon, she thought over the last twelve months. She and her husband had shared a blissful retreat from the rest of the world due to having a bit of gold saved from the sale of one of their prized swords. Her husband worked at the smithy in the nearby village of Havenshire. Beringer would actually be closer to home but the town was hardly more than a hamlet and a smithy was not to be had there. A tear rolled down her cheek as she remembered those blissful days of long walks In the woods, cuddling with him by candlelight, and working on house chores while he sat smoking his pipe or carving some small trinket for one of his many children. He loved children very much and would spend hours telling them stories while he worked or showing them how he made the knives, swords, and armor that he created. They would stop in every afternoon and gather around him as he gave out his trinkets and told his stories. There wasn’t a child in any of the nearby villages who didn’t know the name Ravenshed. They had spent many nights praying to the goddess for a child but he had been called off to war before she was able to tell him that she was with child.
    Now she was ready to deliver the child and her husband was gone from her. He had been killed in battle near Kentansville when the dwarven army attacked by night. It had been completely unexpected and some suspected that someone in the Elven scouting party had been a traitor but none could prove it’s validity. She sighed and rubbed her eyes with the back of her wrist. She wore a simple white tunic with three green stripes around the cuffs signifying her rank as healer. She knew the art of herbs but also knew that taking anything for the pain in her abdomen might cause her mind to cloud and she had questions to ask the wizard upon his arrival. Just then she heard a knock on her door and as she turned away from the window she gave a soft gasp of surprise and collapsed to the bed in fright.
    “Sheldon!” She cried in a desperate attempt to sound irritated, “you could have caused the baby to pop out just then!”
    Sheldon chuckled softly, “My dear Kistran, I highly doubt that frightening you would have caused so much fuss, however it might be wise for you to lie down now as soon I will deliver her.”
    “How do you know it’s a girl?” Kistran asked a bit taken aback.
    “The prophecies child, remember I’m one of the few who still read them and can understand them.”
    “You think that this child is the one then?”
    “Yes, but if she is we are about to enter into the darkest time of our history.”
    Kistran nodded gravely and lay back upon the bed her brow furrowed in thought. All her life she had heard the stories and legends of a child that would be born without parents who would lead the Elves back to their original home. She would not only be a mighty warrior and a strong leader but also a very powerful sorceress. One who could wield her powers for good or ill as she chose. The prophecies did not specify whether or not she would be a good leader only that she would be a leader.
    “Well if it is a girl I will name her Calanthra.” She thought to herself, then mulling over the prophecy a bit more she turned wide eyed to Sheldon, “How is it that she is to be born without parents? Her father is dead, so does that mean that I am to die as well?”
    Sheldon merely shook his head as he continued to walk to and fro muttering to himself and grabbing blankets, warm water, leaves, and other necessities for the birth of the child.
    “Sheldon please tell me,” she pleaded her face turning ashen, “I’m not ready to die!”
    Sheldon finished with his preparations and walked to her side, took her hand in his and patted it gently while speaking, “My child, don’t get yourself worked up over the details of the prophecy. The prophecy will be fulfilled as it should be and as with any prophecy it can be dangerous if you try to read too much into what is unsaid. ‘Born without parents’ can mean many things,” he rubbed his hand over her forehead muttering words she couldn’t understand as he did so, as she drifted into unconsciousness his words reverberated in her mind, “fear not child, prophecies are what they are.”
    * * *
    Sheldon hurried along the windswept mountain peak tugging his billowing cloak closer about him as he walked quickly up the path. He carried the basket in his right hand and in the other a scroll of parchment. The child that lay sleeping in the basket was very special but he knew not how things would turn out. “Stupid prophecies.” He muttered under his breath, “Spent my life studying them and still they elude me.” He kept walking glancing towards his destination from time to time but otherwise keeping his head bent against the wind and the now falling rain. He had hoped to have been there before the storm began, if he had used a spell to carry them to his destination he would have been warm and dry in front of his fire place at home but with such a delicate task in hand and no way to know precisely what to expect; he had chosen to go on foot. He pushed on stepping over stones and branches that littered the path and occasionally pushing aside the overhead branch that hung too low – the prophecy buzzing inside his head like a busy bee but twice as noisy and three times as annoying.
    “A child born without parents shall restore the balance once lost. Before the balance still in question meets its mate the counterweight shall be weighed heavily upon it casting the world into a dark and stormy time. From the depths of the vale shall come a mage bent on destroying the very essence of living the reign of the mage shall equal that of the restoration of the balance. To prevent the mage from coming the balance must be restored but in order to restore the balance the mage must first wage war. From the bosom of the remaining Aldurrian race a sorceress born and bred in the arts of her ancestors will lead a victorious reunion with her country and she will be forced to choose to either join the mage or fight against him. To join the mage would cause a darkness to fall upon the land for time and time again but to fight the mage would bring darkness for a time.”