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Will the Real Glolindir Please Stand Up?

Updated: 6 days ago



The young elven wizard Glolindir is known for recklessly lighting things on fire and endangering friend and foe alike. Thankfully, that has changed over the course of the last nine novels. Like his companion, Lloyd, Glo has seen quite a bit of growth. The trials he has faced, both professional and personal, have left their mark on the young elf. Forced to face his own shortcomings, Glo has had no choice but to mature.


In this second post in the “Where Are They Now” series, I’d like to present some examples of how Glo has developed throughout the books. Initially, the young wizard started off his journey feeling very assured of his abilities. Yet he quickly found that his confidence was not firmly founded in reality:

 

⁣  The orc had closed half the gap to the lead wagon when Glo spoke the words that released the spell, “Nullam Telum.” A projectile of arcane energy leapt from his finger and spiraled out toward the charging creature. The purple missile met the beast in midstride and connected with an audible thud.⁣

  The monster appeared neither shaken, nor hurt. Instead, it merely glanced down at its chest, reached up with its free hand, and touched the smoldering spot. ⁣

  Glo’s eyes went wide. This huge orc was far tougher than he imagined—he had severely miscalculated. He watched in horror as the creature dropped its hand and turned its feral gaze toward him. An evil grin spread across the monster’s maw, then it charged. ⁣

  Glo froze in place, unable to move a muscle. He had been so sure of himself. He had studied his spells and creatures and practiced his art tirelessly. Yet none of that had prepared him for this. Here was a real live monster bearing down on him, fully intent on ripping him limb from limb. It swiftly closed the gap between them and would be on him in seconds.⁣

  My father was right. He was woefully unprepared to cope with this. At that moment, he wished that he had listened to his father’s advice and stayed in the safety of their elven home.⁣⁣  

 

In his desire to help, Glo’s reckless use of his abilities becomes an issue for his companions as well. This is explosively illustrated a few chapters into the Ruins on Stone Hill:


⁣ ⁣  This skeletal mage was far too dangerous to enter into a head-to-head battle with him. Either he or his friends were likely to get hurt if he didn’t end this quickly. He needed a spell that would do the job in one shot. The elven wizard could only think of one. ⁣

  The moment the acid stream stopped, Glo jumped out from behind the wall. Just as he thought, the skeletal caster was preparing another spell. This time it was aimed at Lloyd.⁣

  Glo did not hesitate. He lifted his hand, pointing a finger at the tall skeleton, and spoke the words, “Ardens Manus.” In response, a cone of searing flame shot forth from the young wizard’s hand and flew toward the skeletal mage. ⁣

  The stream of fire engulfed the creature, setting its tattered robes aflame. Unfortunately, the cone of fire also caught the side of the large cauldron beside the creature. There was a sudden spark and then a loud boom! An explosion rocked the top of the tower. A ball of flame erupted from the cauldron and expanded outward a few yards in all directions. ⁣

  The skeletal mage was instantly turned to dust by the ball of fire, but the force of the explosion extended far beyond that. It fanned out from the center of the tower, blowing the other two skeletons right off the top of the circular structure. ⁣

  Seth’s and Lloyd’s quick reflexes were all that saved them. Both man and halfling dove for the ground just in time. They were buffeted against the parapets, but otherwise were not blown off. ⁣

  Glo was not so lucky. The force of the explosion hit him full in the face. Had he been any closer to the blast, he would have been badly injured. As it was, he was thrown back through the doorway and into the stairwell. Glo lay on the landing, the world spinning around him.⁣

  After a short while, the whirling stopped. He slowly raised himself up on his elbows and looked around. A small crater stood in the center of the stone floor where the cauldron had been. It was surrounded by a huge burn circle, smoke still rising from that area. All five of the skeletons were gone. ⁣

  Lloyd and Seth slowly rose to their feet. Glo sat up further, but his eyes blurred. His head pounded and his body felt sore. He blinked a few times and his vision finally cleared. He checked his arms and legs but nothing felt broken.⁣

  At that moment, a voice sounded from underneath him. “Do you mind?” He looked down and saw that he was sitting on top of his gnomish friend.⁣

  Glo quickly got up. “Sorry, Aksel.” Unfortunately, the swift movement brought another wave of dizziness with it. Glo felt a steadying hand grab him.⁣

  Lloyd stood next to him wearing a big grin. “Those were some fireworks!”⁣

  Seth sounded less enthused. “Yeah, way to go, Glo. It’s a wonder you didn’t wake the whole keep.”⁣ ⁣⁣ 

 

Later in Ruins we discover that Glo, like Lloyd, is from a noble background. That combined with his father’s emphasis on his studies left the young elf woefully bereft of understanding social nuances:

⁣   

⁣  A voice roused him from his studies. “Are you busy?”⁣

  Glo looked up from his book. Lloyd sat up, a troubled expression on his face.⁣

  Glo put his book down and closed it on his lap. “I can talk a bit. What’s on your mind?”⁣

  Lloyd gave a deep sigh. “Women, I don’t really understand them.”⁣

  A wry smile crossed Glo’s lips. “What makes you think I do?” ⁣

  “You’re really smart.”⁣

  Glo chuckled. “No one is that smart.” ⁣

  “So, you are telling me that even with your brains you don’t understand women?”⁣

   Glo let out a derisive snort. “Heh. I don’t even understand Seth most of the time.” ⁣

  Lloyd hung his head as if in defeat. He obviously needed some kind of encouragement, but Glo had no idea how to explain it to him. He finally decided the best thing to do was to share his own experiences. Maybe if he heard someone else’s troubles, he would not feel so alone.⁣

  “Growing up in a noble elven household, I was privately tutored. The few people my age I met were at social functions, and they were mostly pampered nobles. I never had anything in common with them.”⁣

  Lloyd gazed up at him, his eyes filled with sympathy. “I’m sorry to hear that.”⁣  ⁣


 

Farther along in Ruins, Glo’s lack of social etiquette becomes painfully obvious in his budding relationship with the half-elf merchant’s daughter, Xelda:


⁣  Glo went with Aksel to Pheldan’s shop. There he ran into Xelda. She greeted him in excellent elvish. “Quel amrun. Nae saian luume.’” It meant Good morning. It has been too long. ⁣

  Glo felt bad. He had come to enjoy these daily lessons, but today he would have to cancel. “Amin hiraeth, Xelda. Amin aa’ il govad yassen lle sina re” which meant I’m sorry, Xelda. I cannot meet with you today. ⁣

  Her smile faded. “Why not?”⁣

  “We are headed up to Bardon’s Gap. There’s a giant destroying farms up there.”⁣

  Xelda’s expression darkened, her voice thick with emotion. “That is indeed horrible, but why must you always be the one to face these dangers?”⁣

  Glo was taken aback. He had not expected such a fervent reaction from her. “It is what I came here for—to help people with my gifts.”⁣

  Xelda turned away from him, folding her arms across her chest. Her tone was icy. “And what if you die in doing so?”⁣

  Glo was at a loss for words. He could not fathom why the young half-elf had suddenly grown so cold. “But…Xelda…if I did not…I wouldn’t be who I am.”⁣

  She whirled around and glared at him, her brown eyes aflame with anger. “Fine!” she spat. “Go ahead and get yourself killed. And for what? Fame? Glory? Those are hollow trophies to put upon one’s shelf.” ⁣

  Glo’s eyes went wide. He hadn’t known she had felt so strongly about this. He took a deep breath and tried to explain once more. “It’s…not…like that. I don’t care about the fame or the glory. My gifts were given to me for a reason—to make this world a better place. If I do not try, then what good are they?”⁣

  The anger in her eyes abated somewhat. She glared at him a moment longer, then turned her back on him. “Well then, you should go. Your destiny awaits you.” She took a few steps, then stopped. “I just hope you can live with the lonely path you have chosen.” With that she strode away across the store and disappeared into the backroom. Glo suddenly felt numb. His eyes lingered on the doorway where she had disappeared for he knew not how long. A familiar voice finally made him turn away.⁣

  “What was that all about?”⁣

  Aksel stood next to him. Glo shook his head, still uncertain as to what had just happened. “I do not know. I merely told her I would be away today—that we were hunting down that giant. I am not sure why she got so upset.”⁣

  Aksel merely shrugged his shoulders.⁣

  “Xelda’s always been a fiery one, just like her mother,” Pheldan said. The old half-elf teetered over to join them. “I never quite knew what would set her off either, but if I had to guess, I would say you got under her skin, young elf.”⁣

  Glo raised an eyebrow. He had never thought of it that way. As far as he knew, he and Xelda were merely friends. He gazed at Pheldan uncertainly. “Should I go talk to her?”⁣

  Pheldan slowly shook his head. “It’ll do you no good. Xelda’s a stubborn one. Once she’s made up her mind, I’m afraid that’s that.”⁣

  Glo felt like an idiot. His stomach churned from the mixed emotions that welled up inside him. If Pheldan was right, he had ended any chance of a relationship with Xelda before it had even begun.⁣  ⁣

 

Though Glo shows sparks of heroism and does come to the aid of his companions, he still hadn’t quite gotten his abilities under control. This is evidenced in the Serpent Cult when he blows up the Cape Marlin lighthouse:


⁣  As he exited from under the stairs, stones began to hurtle down around him. Some came rather close, but somehow they all missed. When Glo reached the center of the room, he stopped, reached into a bag at his waist and pulled out a pinch of sulfur. His arms began to twirl around in a circular pattern. He made a wide arc with them then drew his hands together at his waist. Glo then peered up towards the top of the lighthouse. He was just in time to see a stone hurtling directly for him. With no time to dodge out of the way, Glo flinched. Mere inches from his face, the rock hit the shimmering field that surrounded his body. It appeared to hang there for a moment, then it neatly bounced off to the side.⁣

  Glo let out a heavy sigh. Thank you, Ves! ⁣

  His momentary relief was swiftly replaced with anger. He glared up at the top of the tower, barely making out shapes moving at the top of the stairwell. Glo’s resolve hardened. He pushed his hands out in front of him, palms facing outward, toward the top of the lighthouse, and spoke a single word. “Augue.”⁣

  A small bright red ball of light appeared between his palms. It hung there for a split second, pulsing as the light intensified, then shot away toward the top of the tower. The angry red ball streaked toward its target at incredible speed. In less than a second, it traversed the distance to the top of the stairwell. As it neared its target, the ball suddenly expanded—it was now ten times its original size. It hung there for a fraction of a second longer, and then exploded. Bright red light flooded the top of the tower, accompanied by the whoosh of the expanding flames. High-pitched screams cascaded down from above—they were punctuated by a dreadful roar. It was a low, guttural sound that echoed off the inside walls of the stone tower.⁣

  “What was that?”⁣

  Glo’s eyes had been fixed on the scene above. Gazing around now, he saw that the others had joined him in the center of the tower. “I’m not sure...”⁣

  Boom! A loud explosion suddenly rocked the building, the ground trembling beneath them. Glo shook his head in bewilderment. His spell wasn’t supposed to do that.⁣

  “Oh, my gods!” ⁣

  That was Ves. She was staring upwards, her expression incredulous. Glo followed her gaze his own jaw dropping. The entire top of the lighthouse had disappeared. A large patch of blue sky was now visible where the floor of the lantern room had been moments ago. Daylight streamed in, clearly illuminating the inside of the structure. Large cracks developed in the walls, starting from where the top floor had been, and swiftly running down the sides of the lighthouse. Small chunks of rock began to break away and careen downward, and it wouldn’t be long before the entire tower came crashing down upon them.⁣  ⁣


 

Thankfully, after a number of awkward encounters, Glo finally meets someone of like mind and similar interests in the Dark Monolith:


⁣  “And what about you, Wizard Glolindir?” Elistra asked turning to face him again. “Do you want me to come along?”⁣

  Glo eyed her curiously. She stared at him with a straight face, but he could see the mirth in her eyes.⁣

  “Oh, most definitely,” he replied. “After all, we cerebral types need to stick together.”⁣

  She gazed at him for a moment then burst out laughing. It was a light, airy sound, almost musical in nature, and Glo found it quite charming.⁣

  Gryswold rose from his chair. “Now that that is settled, I think it’s time we call it a night. After all, tomorrow is a big day.”⁣

  As they rose to leave, Elistra turned to Glo and whispered, “Thank you for believing me.” She reached out and touched his arm again. ⁣

  “You’re welcome,” he replied. “I could tell your insights were genuine.” ⁣

  Her eyes were filled with curiosity. “Really? And just how do you know that?”⁣

  It was his turn to smile. “My mother is a rather accomplished psionicist. She taught me enough of the basics that I can recognize it in others. I would guess that you are a seer... and... a bit of a telepath.”⁣

  Elistra gazed at him with clear respect. “You really do know your psionics, then.”⁣

  Glo found himself intrigued by this woman. She had a keen mind and was rather attractive. Further, she seemed quite approachable.⁣

  “You know,” Elistra continued, her eyes dropping shyly away from his, “it’s not a subject I get to talk about very often.” She paused a moment, then looked back up at him. “Would you care to continue this discussion? Perhaps over a drink?”⁣

  She was obviously a strong woman, but at that moment she seemed quite fragile, almost lonely in fact. Glo found himself suddenly wanting to spend more time with her.⁣

  “I would love to,” he said with all sincerity. He extended his arm, and she gleefully looped hers through it.⁣  ⁣

 

Glo and Elistra ended up in a relationship. Unfortunately, it wasn’t fated to last. She disappears in Princess of Lanfor after leaving him the following note:


⁣  My Dearest Glolindir,⁣

  ⁣

  I am so sorry that it has come to this, but I must leave you. Please know that this is not my first choice. Were I to stay, I would be placing you all in grave danger. Do not worry. By the time you read this, I will be safely away. Thanks to the distraction I foresee you providing, Anya will never catch me. ⁣

  ⁣

  I know this is hard, but please do not try to find me. Trust me, it is better this way. Just know that for the first time in a very, very long time, I felt what it was like to be loved.⁣

  ⁣

  You will always have a place in my heart,⁣

  Elistra⁣

  ⁣

Glo read the letter again and again, his hand shaking as he read it over. Numbness spread through his entire being as he looked up from that letter, his breath coming in short, ragged bursts. It felt as if the whole world had come crashing down around him.

 

Elistra sudden departure left Glo emotionally fractured. With the help of good friends, however, he began to work through the process:


⁣  When Alana spoke, her words were soft. “May I see the letter Elistra wrote you?”⁣

  Glo hesitated a moment, then reached into his robe and pulled out the parchment. Alana carefully took the letter from him and read it over in silence. After a minute or so, the lady knight handed the parchment back to him, her eyes brimming with moisture. ⁣

  Alana wiped the tears from her face, then reached over and grabbed the wizard’s arm, her light hazel eyes fixing upon his. When she spoke, her tone was heartfelt. “You need to stop being so hard on yourself. Elistra obviously cares for you deeply. What she did was an ultimate act of sacrifice.”⁣

  Alana placed her other hand over the wizard’s heart. “Carry that here where it belongs. Let it strengthen, rather than diminish you.”⁣

  The tall elf’s eyes now brimmed with tears. He reached down and placed his hand over the lady knight’s, his voice thick with emotion. “Dear, sweet, Alana… thank you. You have opened my eyes. I will endeavor to do as you say.”⁣

 

Glo’s progression both professionally and personally does not end there though. In the Baron’s Heart, at the behest of Lady Gracelynn, he decides to take on Andrella as an apprentice:

  ⁣

  ⁣⁣  The monarch’s eyebrows raised slightly as an idea came to her. She cast a sly glance at Glo. “Perhaps you could work with her, Glolindir?”⁣

  The color abruptly drained from Glo’s cheeks. He hesitated before answering. “I’ve never had a student before, but I can try.” ⁣

  A delicate smile formed across Gracelynn’s lips as she reached out and grabbed the elf’s arm. “Anything you can do would be greatly appreciated. She’s always been headstrong, but since her father’s death she’s gotten even more so. If she continues down this path without proper guidance, I’m afraid of what might happen to her.” ⁣

  Glo gulped, his face strained with uncertainty. The wizard had certainly gained confidence since Aksel first met him. He was far more seasoned now, but Aksel imagined teaching to be a daunting task. Furthermore, Glo’s father had been his first instructor. Aksel could only imagine the issues that might raise for his elven friend.⁣

  A forced smile touched Glo’s lips as he nodded to Gracelynn. “I’ll do my best.”⁣

  Gracelynn responded with a genuine smile and a squeeze of the wizard’s arm. “Thank you, Glolindir. Your involvement eases my mind.”⁣

  …⁣

  Glo arched an eyebrow at Lloyd, then thankfully redirected the young lady’s attention. “Andrella, since we appear to have some time on our hands, would you like me to work with you on your spell casting?”⁣

  “Do you mean it?” Andrella spun toward Glo, her entire face lighting up with glee. Her exuberance was so infectious that it lifted Lloyd out of his glum state.⁣

  Glo’s lips creased into a faint smile. “Yes, dear. I think it would be in all our best interests.”⁣

  “Well then, yes! Sure. Absolutely!” Andrella threw her arms around the wizard and squeezed him tight.⁣

   Lloyd noted the tactful way that Glo had broached the subject. Andrella might not have reacted so well if she knew it was her mother’s idea. Still, Gracelynn had a right to be concerned. Lloyd was also worried for Andrella’s safety. Smart and talented as the young lady was, he knew firsthand just how dangerous the world could be. ⁣

  With little else to do, Lloyd escorted a beaming Andrella down to the courtyard. He listened with thinly veiled amusement as she pelted poor Glo with all sorts of questions about spellcasting. ⁣

  To his credit, Glo took it all in stride. He answered each one of Andrella’s questions with profound patience. Lloyd knew the wizard’s greatest fear was ending up like his father. Yet from what Lloyd could see, he had little to worry about. Glo was the exact opposite of the critical mage.⁣

 

Later in the Baron’s Heart, Glo’s experience as a mentor helps him to finally come to terms with his father issues:

  ⁣

⁣  Andrella led Glo to the end of the courtyard, opposite the gardens and Maltar’s tower. There was a wide dirt area there, with standing wood dummies for the castle guards to practice on. ⁣

  Glo’s stomach felt somewhat queasy at the thought of training the young lady. Visions of his father kept popping into his head. You’re barely an adequate wizard yourself. How do you expect to train someone else?⁣

  Glo railed at the image in his mind. I may not be as experienced as you, old man, but at least I won’t scar her for life.⁣

  Andrella lined up at the edge of the dirt square and took aim at one of the mannequins at the other end. She gazed uncertainly at Glo. “Does this look right?”⁣

  Glo stared blankly at the young lady, suddenly feeling quite inadequate. What in the world am I doing? I have no idea how to train someone? ⁣

  The tall wizard cleared his throat. “Ahem… sure. Go ahead. Um… I’ll watch you.” ⁣

  Nice, Glo. Real smooth and confident, the wizard derided himself. Yet as he observed the young lady, he started to notice little things. First, she held her breath. Second, her brow scrunched and her eyes narrowed to slits. Finally, her shoulders rose nearly to her ears. ⁣

  “Radius Ardens.” The familiar words fell from her lips as a red hot ray streaked from her outstretched finger. It raced across the yard and missed its motionless target by nearly two feet.⁣

  “Dragon dung!” Andrella swore, balling her hands into fists. She cast a glance at Glo, her cheeks reddening and her hand going to her mouth. “Oops. Sorry.”⁣

  Glo’s lips curved into a thin smile. “It’s quite alright. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said the same thing when a spell’s gone awry.”⁣

  Andrella let out a bell-like laugh. “Fair enough. Just promise not to tell my mom.”⁣

  Glo chuckled softly. Andrella’s mom was a pussy cat compared to his father. “I promise. Would you care to try again?”⁣

  The young lady nodded. “Alright—though I’m not sure it will be any better.”⁣

  Andrella’s ability to laugh at herself eased Glo’s tension tremendously. He believed he could help her, but vowed to do it in a non-critical way. I refuse to criticize her like my father did me. ⁣

  A subtle approach suddenly came to mind. Glo inched closer to the young lady as she prepared another spell. ⁣

  Andrella shifted her gaze to him uncertainly. “What is it?”⁣

  “If I may?” The wizard slowly reached out and placed his hands on her shoulders. He gently pushed on them until they relaxed under his grip.⁣

  Andrella’s mouth twisted sideways. “I had no idea I was doing that. Is there anything else?”⁣

  Glo gave her a weak smile. “It might help if you actually breathe through your casting.”⁣

  The young lady’s brows knit together. “I’m holding my breath, aren’t I?”⁣

  Glo merely nodded in response.⁣

  Andrella let out a closemouthed laugh. “Maltar always chastised me for doing that.”⁣

  Glo grimaced at the mention of the irritable mage. Maltar had been nearly as critical as his father. “Yes, well, Maltar chastised everyone for everything.”⁣

  “He was an ornery old coot,” Andrella agreed. ⁣

  Glo arched an eyebrow at her. That did not seem like something she would normally say.⁣

  Andrella saw his puzzled expression and chuckled. “I guess I’ve been spending too much time with Kalyn.”⁣

  “Probably.” Glo laughed as he spoke, his own tension now all but gone. ⁣

  Andrella narrowed an eye at him. “Do you think you could show me how it’s done?”⁣

  “Certainly.” Glo lined up the target in one fluid motion, and with practiced ease brought his will to bear. “Radius Ardens.”⁣

  The red ray leapt from his fingertips, arching across the yard and striking the dummy square in the chest. ⁣

  “That was perfect!” Andrella said with clear admiration.⁣

  The wizard slowly dropped his arm and faced his pupil. “Actually, it was hours and hours of practice.”⁣

  Andrella’s face clouded over as she bit her lower lip. “Do you think it will take me that long?”⁣

  A deep compassion welled up inside him for the apprehensive young lady. He understood only too well what it felt like to doubt yourself. Glo placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder. “I think you’re farther along than you realize.”⁣

  He gently spun her back around to face the dummies across the yard. “Now it’s your turn. Take a deep breath and let it out slowly as you aim.”⁣

  Andrella gave him a weak smile, then did as he suggested. She took a deep breath and let it out gradually as she raised her arm.⁣

  Glo continued to direct her, his tone smooth and even. “Keep your body relaxed. Empty your mind of all else but the spell.”⁣

  Andrella’s shoulders remained loose this time, but her forehead creased once more.⁣

  “Don’t overthink it,” Glo cautioned softly. “It’s a simple spell. No need to force it.”⁣

  Andrella gave him a small smile, the lines in her brow disappearing. ⁣

  “Very good,” Glo praised as he circled around behind her. From what he could see, she was lined up perfectly. “When you’re ready, just say the words.”⁣

  Andrella hesitated a couple of moments, then spoke the words in the spellcasting tongue. The red hot ray jumped from her fingers, speeding toward the dummy and striking it dead center.⁣

  Andrella leapt up into the air with glee. “I hit it! I hit it!”⁣

  She spun around and threw her arms around Glo’s neck, while still jumping up and down. “Did you see that? I hit it!”⁣

  Glo was nearly as enthused as she, but could have done without the leaping about. He put his hands on her waist and stopped her from shaking him. “I did in fact. That was very well done.”⁣

  Andrella let go and gave him a quirky smile. “Well, I had an excellent teacher.”⁣

  Glo felt the warmth rise to his cheeks. “I don’t know about that. After all, I just gave you a few pointers.”⁣

  Andrella’s hands went to her hips, her mouth pressing into a thin line. “You’re too modest, you know. Now I see why you and Lloyd get along so well.”⁣

  Glo cocked his head to one side and nodded. “We do have some things in common.”⁣

  Andrella’s hands dropped from her sides. She shook her head, then turned to face the target again. “One more for good luck?”⁣

  Glo ushered her forward. “Be my guest.”⁣

  Andrella lined up the target perfectly. She let out a slow breath and raised her arm in one smooth motion. “Radius Ardens.”⁣

  The ray sped from her fingers, colliding with the dummy’s head. Flames erupted from the appendage, and a moment later it fell off the top of the dummy to the ground below. In mere seconds it had burnt to ash.⁣

  Glo raised both eyebrows. He had never seen such a raw display of power before.⁣

  Andrella peered back at him, her mouth hanging wide open. “Is that supposed to happen?”⁣

  Glo forced himself to smile at the young lady. “Not exactly.”⁣

  Andrella’s face abruptly fell. ⁣

  Nice going, Glo, the wizard silently chastised himself. He immediately stepped forward and placed an arm around her shoulder. “Look at it this way—I’d hate to be on the receiving end of that.”⁣

  Andrella gazed up at him, a smile returning to her lips. “It was pretty awesome, wasn’t it?”⁣

  “It was indeed,” Glo agreed, though he silently wondered just how much power lay hidden within the young lady.⁣

 

In City of Tears, first in the Rise of the Thrall Lord series, Glo once again runs into Elistra. Thankfully his personal growth allows him to come to understand and forgive her:

  ⁣

⁣  A gypsy sat at a round table in the middle of the room, but she was most definitely not Elistra. The woman appeared to be a middle-aged human with swarthy skin and dark curly hair. She looked up from her tarot cards as they entered the tent. “Would you like your fortune read? Only five copper pieces.”⁣

  Aksel traded a puzzled glance with Glo, then addressed the woman. “Um, we actually came to see Elistra.”⁣

  The gypsy stared at him, her expression unreadable, then went back to laying out her cards. “There is no Elistra here. For a silver piece, I can do a life reading for the both of you.”⁣

  Glo had heard enough. Even if Elistra had been here, she obviously didn’t want to be found again. He nudged Aksel and gestured with his head toward the tent flap.⁣

  Aksel motioned for him to wait, then turned back to the gypsy. “Actually, Elistra is an old friend of ours.”⁣

  The woman didn’t look up from her cards this time. “Old friend or not, I still don’t know her.”⁣

  Glo nudged Aksel again and silently mouthed, “Can we go already?”⁣

  “Fine!” Aksel answered him in kind, then addressed the gypsy one last time. “If someone named Elistra does happen to stop by here, can you please let her know that Glolindir was looking for her?”⁣

  The gypsy woman froze in the midst of laying out her next card. She peered up at Aksel, her eyes narrowed. “Did you say Glolindir?”⁣

  “Yes, I did,” Aksel replied, holding the woman’s stare. ⁣

  The woman pushed back her chair and stood, at the same time holding her palm up toward them. “Wait here.” She went to the back of the tent and pushed her way through a section of curtain.⁣

  The next few minutes passed agonizingly slowly. Glo found himself growing more and more anxious with each passing moment. Just when he thought he could stand it no more, the curtain in back of the tent parted.⁣

  A blur of blonde, red, and black rushed through the opening and threw itself straight at him. Before he knew it, a set of soft arms wrapped themselves around his neck and a pair of warm lips pressed up against his. ⁣

  Startled at first, Glo swiftly found himself lost in that kiss. The warmth of her body, the honeysuckle smell of her hair, the taste of her lips all brought back memories of a time when he had been extremely happy.⁣

  At first he didn’t want it to end, but then something inside him rebelled. She had broken his heart. No matter how much she missed him, he wasn’t about to forgive her so easily.⁣

  Glo slowly pulled away and gazed at the woman in his arms. The gentle curve of her face, the way her nose crinkled when she smiled, the sparkle in her violet eyes—these were just a few of the many things that he had come to love about her. He realized if they stayed in each other’s arms much longer, he would completely cave in to her charms.⁣

  Mentally chiding himself, Glo spoke to her in a tone more formal than he intended. “Elistra. You look well.”⁣

  The seeress’ face turned a bright crimson as she extracted herself from his embrace. She set about straightening her dress, most likely to hide her embarrassment. “Um, yes… Well, thank you, but I haven’t exactly been sleeping lately.”⁣

  “Maybe something’s been preying on your conscience?” Glo couldn’t resist taking a jab at her. Truth be told, though elves didn’t exactly sleep, he hadn’t rested well either since the two of them parted ways.⁣

  Elistra’s face abruptly fell. She clasped her hands behind her back and stared at the ground at her feet. “Perhaps.”⁣

  The tension in the room had grown so thick that it could be cut with a knife. Seeing how awkward things had become, Aksel decided to make a hasty retreat. “Um, I think I’ll be leaving. You two obviously have a lot to catch up on.”⁣

  “Thank you, Aksel,” Elistra responded in a barely audible voice.⁣

  Aksel gave her a sympathetic smile before exiting the tent.⁣

  It was just the two of them now. Elistra continued to stare at the ground, refusing to look Glo in the eye. An awkward silence fell over them until she finally broke down and spoke again. “So, how have you been?”⁣

  Miserable? That’s what he felt like saying, but he refused to give her the satisfaction. “Pretty busy, actually. We spent the last couple of weeks hunting down the Baron of Ravenford’s killer and recovering his heart.”⁣

  Elistra glanced up at him and attempted a smile. “Yes, I heard about that. I never had any doubts you would revive him.”⁣

  Glo snorted with mild amusement at her attempt to bolster him. “I appreciate the vote of confidence, but it was touch-and-go there for quite a while.”⁣

  Her smile faded, replaced instead with an expression of keen sympathy. “I’m so sorry. It must have been hard.” Her voice dropped to barely a whisper. “I wish I could have been there with you.”⁣

  “I wish you had been there as well,” Glo admitted, mentally kicking himself as soon as the words left his lips. His cheeks began to redden with embarrassment, which he quickly covered with another jab at her. “So, when we jumped ship, was it your plan all along to use the distraction to break Anya’s crystal?”⁣

  Elistra’s face fell once more, her eyes haunted with guilt. She dipped her chin ever so slightly. “Uh huh. I figured it would be my one opportunity to destroy the crystal, but in the end all I could do was take a shard.”⁣

  “I see.” Glo did his best to keep his expression impassive, but inside he felt the farthest thing from it. A war waged within the elf. Part of him reveled in seeing her suffer, but another part of him absolutely hated it. He covered his inner turmoil by continuing with that line of questioning. “Where did you go from there?”⁣

  Elistra bit her lower lip and shrugged. “Straight here to Lukescros. With the faire starting, it’s easy to blend in.” ⁣

  “That makes sense.” Glo agreed, his eyes still locked with hers. ⁣

  She put her hands in her pockets and shifted her feet around, but continued to meet his gaze. He could see how uncomfortable she was. Truth is, he didn’t feel any less awkward than her.⁣

  Glo mentally chastised himself. This is getting nowhere. Stop dancing around it and ask her what you really want to know.⁣

  The tall elf took a deep breath and dove straight in with the question that had burned in his mind since she left. “In your letter, you said if you stayed, you'd be putting us all in grave danger. In danger from what, exactly?”⁣

  Elistra closed her eyes, her face contorting into a pained expression. “My brother.”⁣

  The moment she said it, a flash of insight struck Glo. His mother had always told him he was somewhat psychic. In fact, Elistra had told him the same thing. He narrowed his gaze as he shared this sudden suspicion with her. “Is this brother of yours the Theramon that advises Anya?”⁣

  Elistra’s eyes snapped open wide. She eyed him uncertainly for a few moments, but then the hint of a smile crossed her lips. “You really do have a touch of the gift.” She gestured to the table behind her. “If we could sit down, I’ll tell you everything you want to know.”⁣

  Glo raised a single eyebrow at her. “Everything?”⁣

  “Everything.”⁣

  “No more secrets?”⁣

  Elistra shook her head back and forth as she spoke each word. “No more secrets.”⁣

  “Okay.” Glo felt more than a little skeptical as he followed her to the table. Is she truly going to tell me everything?⁣

  Elistra picked up the tarot cards and idly shuffled them, her face contorting as she struggled to gather her thoughts. This was obviously hard for her. Still, if there was going to be trust between them, he needed to know the truth—or at least most of it. When she finally met his gaze again, he could see the sadness in her eyes. “I might as well start from the beginning. My brother and I are Elans—immortals.”⁣

  Both of Glolindir’s eyebrows rose at the sudden revelation. Wow. Immortals? Didn’t see that coming. ⁣

  He had read about Elans and other immortal beings in works from his father’s rather extensive library. The Elans were a race from the higher celestial planes. Being immortals, however, they typically did not interact with beings of fixed lifespans. With that single answer, she had raised a dozen more questions in his mind. “Alright. So then, what brought the two of you to our world?” ⁣

  A feeble smile spread across the immortal seeress’ lips. “We came here to stop the demon hordes from climbing their way out of the abyss.”⁣

  Glo steepled his hands in front of him as he considered her explanation. On the surface, it sounded quite plausible. Since before recorded history, demons from the lower realms had been trying to claw their way up into the world of Arinthar. Many wars had been fought over the millennia to drive the hordes back into the abyss. In fact, it looked like they were almost on the verge of another one.⁣

  Still, her explanation didn’t quite track with her fear of her brother. “That sounds like quite the altruistic undertaking.”⁣

  The corner of Elistra’s lips lifted ever so slightly. “Not exactly. If the demon hordes were to successfully overrun your world, it would only be a matter of time before they moved on to ours.”⁣

  Glo pressed his lips together into an upside-down smile and nodded. “That’s a fair point.”⁣

  Elistra went on with her story, absently shuffling the tarot cards as she spoke. “We first came to your world more than half a millennia ago. After a couple hundred years amongst your people, we realized just how fragmented your world was. Worse, we discovered that many had fallen under the sway of the demons and actually worshipped them.”⁣

  Glo winced from the weight of her words, but knew from firsthand experience that she was not wrong. Both the Serpent Cult and the Assassin’s Guild had worshipped the powerful demoness, Salisma Tanj. “It’s true, there are some very twisted people in this world.”⁣

  Elistra laid out a tarot card depicting a frolicking minstrel—the Fool. “Yes, that became rather obvious. Unfortunately, my brother is logical to a fault. He determined the only way to guarantee that the hordes never reach our world is to destroy the stepping stone in between.”⁣

  Her words sent a cold chill up Glo’s spine. “And by stepping stone, you mean…”⁣

  “…your world.” Elistra confirmed as she laid out another card. This one depicted a black knight on a pale horse—Death.⁣

  Glo let her words sink in for a moment. Demons, undead, Thrall Masters, and now an Elan, a powerful immortal, wanted the destruction of their world. Things just keeps getting better and better. ⁣

  He squinted his eyes at the immortal seeress. “And I take it you disagreed with him?”⁣

  Elistra met his gaze with a strained laugh. “Oh, my dear Glolindir, I did worse than that. I killed him.”⁣

  “You did what?” Glo’s eyes went wide at her completely unexpected response. How exactly does one kill an immortal being?⁣

  She laid out another tarot card, this one of a small green reptile clinging to a tree branch—the Chameleon. “Technically I destroyed his body. His essence, however, lives on by jumping from host to host.”⁣

  Well, that explains that. Still, it left Glo with a lot of questions. He leaned forward in his seat and tried to phrase his next query as delicately as possible. “Pardon my asking, but what exactly did destroying his body accomplish, then?”⁣

  Elistra put down the deck of cards and locked eyes with him. He suddenly noticed the dark circles that had formed under hers. She looked positively exhausted. “The only way he can return to our world is in an immortal vessel. Since he no longer has one, destroying your world would destroy him with it.”⁣

  Glo was dumbfounded. She had sacrificed her own brother to save their world. That took a special kind of person. He gazed at her with newfound respect. Still, something nagged at the back of his mind. “So, if your brother can jump from host to host, doesn’t that mean he could take over your body as well?”⁣

  Elistra responded with the slightest of nods. “Yes. He's been chasing me ever since. If he catches me, he will take my body, and destroy your world without a second thought.”⁣

  The stark revelation washed over Glo like a bucket of ice water. All this time he had been harboring resentment toward this magnificently brave woman, when she had done nothing but try to protect their world.⁣

  Glo felt incredibly guilty, but at the same time his heart went out to the beautiful seeress. He reached across the table and placed his hand over hers. “That’s a terrible burden.”⁣

  A weary smile stretched across Elistra’s lovely lips. “It hasn’t exactly been easy, constantly moving from place to place, never making any attachments”—she paused and reached across the table, brushing his cheek with her fingers—“until you, that is.”⁣

  Glo understood everything now—all the sacrifices she had to make and why she had left him and the others. He took her hand in his and kissed her palm. ⁣

  Moisture welled up in her eyes as they both rose from their seats. For the second time that night, she wrapped her arms around his neck and they kissed. This time, however, he did not push her away.⁣

  That kiss went on for a long, long time. Their lips finally parted when they had almost completely run out of breath. Glo drew her close and held her there in a tight embrace. “You’re not alone anymore. From now on, we’re in this together.”⁣

  Elistra melted into his arms and began to sob uncontrollably. He could feel her entire body shudder from all the centuries of pain and sorrow. He wrapped his arms even tighter around her and held her there until she had cried it all out.⁣

  When she finally lifted her head from his shoulder, she wiped a hand across her tear-streaked face and managed a partial smile. “Look at me. I must be a mess.”⁣

  Glo grinned back at her, his heart full of love for this amazingly strong woman. “A beautiful mess.”⁣

  Elistra smacked him on the arm, then kissed him again. ⁣

  Their reunion had turned out to be a blissful one, but unfortunately they still had many trials ahead of them, not the least of which was dealing with the Princess of Lanfor. When their lips next parted, he posed the question of how to handle the wayward monarch. “So Aksel showed me Anya’s shard. What would you like us to do with it?”⁣

  The corner of Elistra’s mouth upturned into a twisted smile. “My brother is the real power behind Anya, but from what I’ve heard, he’s finally done with her.”⁣

  “So what does that mean?”⁣

  “That means if you give her the shard back, it will make little difference. Even if she patches it, the crystal will never be completely whole and she won’t be able to break any more dragons.”⁣

  Glo let out a deep sigh, feeling as if yet another weight had been lifted off his shoulders. “That’s a relief.” He peered into her violet eyes and saw the sparkle had returned to them. “So—now what?”⁣

  Elistra grabbed him by the hand and dragged him toward the back of the tent. “Now, my dearest Glolindir, I think we’ve earned some long-overdue alone time.”⁣⁣

 

Glo’s overall growth has helped him hone his craft and develop solid relationships with his companions and his love. Still, he has many more challenges to face including a near death experience in Tomb of the Gods and a final confrontation with the Thrall Lord in the upcoming Children of the Baleful Moon.


Thanks for stopping by to read this second in series of character updates. I’ll be posting more here in the months to come.


FP



  

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