The Silver Talon, an epic fantasy by A.J. Cunder

Name: Orthel

Race: Elf

Date of publication: Third season of the New Era

Age at time of publication: 45-50 summers

Occupation: Soldier with the Sartanean Military 

Family: Mother, Lyka; father, Hoyl; younger brother, Ayl; younger sister, Eva. Older brother, deceased

Orthel was the first of his family to be born in Farahdin. Before migrating to Sartanae, his family had lived in the Frozen Lands, what was once Exoter. As a child, Orthel always wished one day to travel back to his family’s ancestral home. He would listen for hours as his father recounted the magical lands of the northern regions, flowing plains of ice and snow. His father also spoke of the dragons, and the order of the Ryù that offered peace to the lands and protection in times of disaster.

When Orthel had lived through five summers, his parents enrolled him in the Sartanean Academy, a school for those who wished to become professional spell casters. “That was my first desire,” Orthel explained, “to become someone who the rest would admire.” The job of spell caster was two-fold. One duty was to remain in the city and assist other elves with magical tasks, if their own magic was not sufficient. Another was to travel the land and visit other elven cities that weren’t large enough to employ their own spell casters. Sometimes, the spell casters would also visit human cities, often under the guise of an entertainer, and amaze the children with fantastic tricks. Or they would sprinkle some magic over the city or village, strengthening the buildings and making crops more fertile.

Orthel spent ten years advancing in his schooling, until the Sartanean army went to war. At the time, the government did not publicize who they were fighting against—in fact, they never did. Soldiers simply left their homes at a moment’s notice. Orthel remembers watching his brother leave for some unknown battle. “I stood at the doorway and raised my hand in farewell. I asked where he was going, but he said he could not tell.” That was the last time Orthel saw his brother.

Several months later, Orthel and his family received news that his brother had been killed. The next day, Orthel quit the Academy and enlisted in the Sartanean military. Reluctantly, the general and governor of the city accepted him. But by the time he was ready to join a regiment, the war was over and the soldiers returned home. Orthel persisted in attempting to discover what purpose the military had for fighting. “I wanted to know why my brother had been killed. But to this day, his death still leaves a hole that has yet to be filled.” In an effort to assuage his pain, Orthel turned to religion. “I had heard a story once when I was younger about a benevolent Creator that brings those who have died into a peaceful realm. I clung to this belief, trusting that my brother had gone to a better place, perhaps to rest eternally under a graceful elm.”

Orthel is still a devout Believer, and although he did not find out what battle the elves had fought, he became friends with another elf named Savatay. Even now they remain close companions.

Read on to discover how Orthel’s life becomes intertwined with Arius’, throwing him within inches of the arms of death, and how he and Savatay help Arius in his quest to defeat Contemno and reclaim the magical Scepter of Dragons.

    

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