The Taker

Quinbi stood before the podium nervous and afraid. The government officials and news reporters waited impatiently for her to begin. She was the first Eldren this generation had seen.

The Eldren had once been of Elvish kind. Many ages ago, a small band of Elven split from the main group. They withdrew in protest of the values of the time, which they felt were corrupting Elvish moral fiber. These changed their name to Eldren, thereby renouncing their identity as Elvish, and relocated to the large island, Ta’ Bough. There they remained until this Eldren, Quinbi, washed up on the shores of Babylonia, terribly malnourished.

“I have come to plead for my kinfolk. We are in great peril.” Quinbi began sounding older and more confident than she actually was, “Our land has suffered a series of disastrous tragedies. The rains, which have been inadequate for years, have now stopped entirely. Crops have failed. These have been terribly lean years, but no worse than we have survived in the past. However, these days are unlike any other we have experienced.

A violence, with its instruments of death and torture, has settled upon our island. Its servants are the insurgents, a group of wild-minded Eldren who lust for power and the freedom to inflict suffering. They are vicious and without mercy.

In the course of their madness they have destroyed or poisoned the wells that have seen us through past lean years. In our land, there is only fighting and blood, no food or clean water. Still we struggle on, being a resilient, strong people. But we desperately need your help.”

She could clearly see those who occupied the seats of power weighing the benefits and costs of wading into a war-torn country teetering on the brink of famine. She felt failure nipping at her heels.

Desperation caused her voice to quiver, “Lack has been in our country for many years. It has slowly been building its strength; always it calls to the Taker. Now, he stalks our country. Hope is still present, though weak and fading. She keeps the Taker at bay.

Unfortunately, his twin daughters Give and Give have been besieging our land. They are a howling evil. The elder daughter consumes the physical strength of her victims, while the younger the mental and emotional health. When they have driven all Hope from the land, it will collapse. Then the Taker will have a legal right to invade.” She shuddered, “He consumes all life. It is a slow and horrible death.”

The room was silent; no one moved. Then the clock struck the hour and her speaking session was over. Everyone moved at once. A Sprite reporter yelled over the noise and confusion, “We will make your story known. Awareness can move mountains.”

A rock dropped in Quinbi’s stomach. She had failed.