Chapter 18

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The sighting of FireQueen at Khyrhyelle's Last Rites coupled with his arrival to the Towers by the dragon led Uriel to research them as well. The dragon was a mystical beast like the unicorn, though more temperamental. The unicorn was a benign vegetarian. Even when accosted, it would much rather flee than take part in an altercation though this was due in no part to cowardice. But the dragon was viewed as a predator. It was carnivorous and could communicate in the language of men. Though Uriel could understand the feelings behind an event such as the FireHunt, it still saddened him to think of such a majestic creature being stalked and killed. But then, he never had a dragon breathing fire down at him.

The early recollections of Ullyna and FireQueen led to thoughts of the Dryad who lost her life in the attempt to rescue Uriel from the SoulSlayers. He knew little of the lives of elementals and examined those inhabitants of Khaballe next. What he found surprised him. The elementals were a complex substructure of the elements themselves. There were four distinct races mirroring each one of the elements and each race was ruled by a king. Albera, a dryad or wood spirit, actually was a relative of the earth spirits, the gnomes. Her replacement, Vento, was a sylph, an air elemental. The other two races were the salamanders and undines, fire and water elementals.

The elementals lived deep in their own environment and rarely allowed themselves to be seen by humans though they worked secretly on their behalf. The witches, however, shared a common bond of magic with the elementals and the two interacted when the need arose.

Traditional teaching held that the elementals led an existence for the benefit of humanity. As an elemental progressed in that fashion, it began to have a purpose of its own. When this occurred, there was some discrepancy as to whom an elemental owed its allegiance to. Some of the elemental kings, particularly Niksa, the undine king, had become obstinate concerning this point. He felt elementals should at that point help their own kind to attain a separate existence. But the matter, in question for centuries, still had not been settled. The result was that an elemental usually made its own decision and the respective elemental king decided what their future relationship among their kindred would be.

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