Our legend begins in the far away land of Zaron. It is here where the human Kingdom, Kupa Keep, and the elf Kingdom, Highrule, have been at war for eons. However, as with every story worth telling, there are always exceptions.
A lone human baby, taken in by the elves, seems to be a treasure to the royal family. He grows up with them and becomes close to the young Elvish prince. The two become inseparable, and soon stumble upon yet another lone and abandoned human in the woods…
Being a prince, Kyle wasn’t allowed to do many things on his own. There had been always someone with him since he was very small, and soon that responsibility was going to be passed down to the treasure of the royal family, Stan, the human baby that had grown up with Kyle and trained from a young age to become his personal knight and guard. After he’d acquired Stan, and he’d grown up enough by human standards, they went everywhere together with less restrictions on Kyle’s part. As long as someone was with him he was alright to go out and do things? Fine, he’d take Stan and claim it to be training so they wouldn’t get into trouble later.
And that’s how they happened upon someone else.
They had their favorite spot in the woods where they liked to play, one such a place where Kyle had grown them a tree-house from his plant-related magics and they’d spend the day goofing around and having fun. They walked hand-in-hand as per usual, Kyle stopping only briefly as his ears raise. A noise catching his attention somewhere close, which prompts Stan to stop a step or so before him.
“Do you hear that?” Kyle asks, concerned.
The noise happens to be coming from what appears to be a rather bulky human child. His brown eyes searching for something even he couldn’t seem to remember. The first thing that’s clear about him, as he crashes through the underbrush and stops short in front of the other two, is that he’s about the same age as Stan. The second thing that’s immediately noticeable is the crimson red blood running down his face from his hairline. His eyes seem fuzzy, confused, concerned. His movements jerk in alarm. He doesn’t know what to make of the two before him, or seem to have the slightest idea of what he should do now that he’s confronted with this situation. The boy’s clothes are somewhat singed, his hair a mess. It looks like he’s barely escaped a barbarian raid or something similar. He stares, dumbfounded, and opens and closes his mouth before he finally speaks to the two. “What’s going on?”
“Stay back, Kyle.” Well, Stan at least knew when to take his job seriously at least, and didn’t seem in the slightest bit worried about the well being of the other human in front of them. He knew humans were bad, after all, considering the war waging between the two Kingdoms. It was how he was raised. But Kyle, being as stubborn as he always has been is pulling his arm away from Stan’s comforting and firm hold before moving around him, making sure this other human child understood he had no weapons or anything of the sort on him, and moving extremely slowly, approaches. “We’re just going for a walk, are you alright? You’re bleeding.”
The boy frowns at the defensiveness of the other child, almost like he’s never encountered something like this before-- but then the Elf is moving towards him and he nearly takes a step back. Nearly. He hesitates mid step, a hand lifting slowly to touch the wetness he felt on his face. "I don’t know.” He looks at the red on his fingers. How had he not realized he was bleeding so much? He teeters a bit, dizzy from the head wound.
Kyle is moving quick, not liking the look in the younger boys eyes as he sways a bit, and curls his hands around his arms so that he won’t topple to the ground. Looking concerned down at him, he ignores his Knight’s plea to just leave the other human alone and lifts his hand to softly touch the base of the wound. “Let me help you.” He mutters, as magic flows through his fingers very gently and eases into the wound, repairing the flesh so that he won’t bleed out anymore than he already had. The human stills at his touch and gentle tone, eyes closing as the magic slowly makes the pulsing in his head cease. But… he still can’t remember what happened. He can’t place where the wound came from, or even where he himself had come from. There’s only one thing he can remember.
“I’m Eric.” He chimes to the Elf, eyes flickering open to look at him. “Who are you?”
...The trio grow together, the humans moving from being like younger brothers to the elf prince to becoming his most treasured companions as they grow to match his age in the blink of an Elvish eye.The two humans both take interest in different studies, one delving into combat while the other reveals a talent for magic. Soon enough, a discovery is made that steers their happy and carefree friendship to a grinding halt.
CLANG! CLANG! The sound of steel against steel echoes through the courtyard as the two humans of the Elf Kingdom spar. Stan has grown tall and strong, all muscle and power. His sword clashes against Eric’s magic shield as the budding wizard defends. Eric’s confidence blooms off him in waves, a striking grin across his face each time he successfully blocks Stan’s attacks with his summoned shield. And not too far off, the young prince watches with an interested look on his face, leaning against a tree with his arms crossed against his chest. This was something he’d grown used to watching because more often than not his parents didn’t want him partaking in such violent behaviors. Princes had people to do those things for them after all.
“What are you sparring for this time? A lovely maiden’s hand?” He calls. The question is enough to distract the both of them, and Eric nearly loses his own hand. He jerks back just in time, Stan’s swing narrowly missing where his shield had faltered with the loss of focus. It helps that Stan pulled back as well.
“While I’m sure the Elvish maidens would kill for a chance at me, I couldn’t destroy all of Stan’s chances by sparring for a maiden. I’m too good of a friend for that.” The momentary flash of concern for his nearly lost limb is quickly covered by a cheeky grin that Stan huffs indignantly at. Kyle also scoffs at that, and pushes away from the tree to step over to the both of them, or at least as close as he can be considering he isn’t sure if they’re going to keep on with their fight or not. “How very noble of you, Eric.” There’s a slight laugh when he says that, but it isn’t malicious, only a tad irritated if anything. He’s met then with a grin from Eric, the human’s hand raising to his chest and eyes on Kyle. “Of course, there’s no maiden I would want, either. I wouldn’t dare bestow the best prize of all only to take it away, my love. ”
Even if he was being an asshole about it, Kyle still manages to grow a few pink flowers on the wooden crown he wore, while looking away bashfully. Such flowers only bloomed when he felt a rush of affection only his lover could manage to drag out of him, and his magic tattled and made his feelings visual. It was something he was working on, and made a rise of victory rush into Eric’s chest. Stan only raises his sword again, clearly looking to continue what they had started, and seeming a bit put off by the display. Seeing as Kyle was still at an acceptable distance from the mock fight, it seemed reasonable he could spur his fellow human back into action and away from the Prince. “We were just practicing, my lord.” His gaze turns a bit sharper to Eric. “My chances wouldn’t be destroyed by the likes of you, anyway! I can easily best you.”
“Myeh myeh myeh.” The brunet is quick to mock his friend. When he opens his mouth to further comment, however, he’s interrupted by a sudden commotion near the front of the castle. “What the fuck is going on over there…?” The others aren’t sure either, but Stan doesn’t like it and is going to lower his sword and move over to Kyle in a few protective strides. Kyle is moving his gaze toward where the noise is coming from. “I don’t know. Maybe we should go back inside though?” The prince suggests, a hand raising to hold out to Eric. He takes the offer, closing the distance and taking the Prince's hand. The three begin to move, heading toward the castle. They don't make it all the way there, however, before a wave of the castle guard is surrounding them.
“Halt!” An elf, decked out in silver armor stretches a hand toward them, primarily toward Stan and Eric. “Apologies, your Highness, but the King and Queen have given us a command.”
Something like this has never happened before, though it was something Kyle always secretly dreaded especially with how hostile they still were to the Human Kingdom. One hand still tight in Eric's he frowns and pulls him closer, not understanding what this was about just yet. “What kind of command? Why have you stopped us from going inside?” His guard is up instantly, and even Stan realized that he should probably hold onto Kyle as well. The guards look less than friendly with the three of them at this very moment.
“Eric is to come with us. You and your guard are free to continue on as you will.” The royal guard states through his helm. Eric’s brow furrows, trying to think of what he could have done to warrant this.
Kyle's eyes narrow, and his hand curls more vice like around Eric's. “He will be going nowhere until someone tells me what this is about.” No longer in imminent danger, Stan also moves to the other side of his Prince and Eric so they can't make a swipe for the wizard-in-training while Kyle tries to figure out what the hell is happening. The flanking helps Eric feel more secure, that's for sure, but these knights look dead serious-- or he guesses their body language does. Those helmets don't show much. The head knight speaks again, “We are not at liberty to explain, my Prince, please step aside under order of the King and Queen of Highrule.” Eric's eyes flicker to Kyle and his fingers squeeze the other's. Having the Prince at his side is definitely good for him. These knights can't harm him, so Eric is sticking close.
“The King and Queen can suck my ass until I am told what in seven hells is happening.” The ground is sprouting little vines with thorns on them below the Prince's feet to broadcast how clearly angry he is at the moment. It's mostly just stray emotions causing his magic to go wonky, but also a threatening display. Kyle's parents, of course, have full rule over Kyle- and their orders are clear to the Knights. The armored group moves to surround the three boys, set on their mission. “We're only permitted to tell you when the human is in custody.”
“You aren't taking him anywhere without me.” This doesn't feel right, not at all and he's getting kind of nervous about this. Especially because it doesn't seem like the guards care about what he's saying in the slightest.
“Unfortunately, we have no choice in the matter and neither do you. This is on order of the King and Queen.” They're moving forward, intent on removing Eric from the other two. Eric is pressed right up against Kyle's side, eyes darting across the circle of guards around them.
“Kyle,” Eric starts, “They're not listening to you. I can't think of anything I did that would be this bad.’
They always listen to him, so this is a strange and upsetting wake up call honestly. He's turning to look at Eric, letting their eyes lock. “I don't know what to do.” He admits. Before his grip becomes just a bit more loose. “Just… go with them for now. I'll figure out what's going on. I won't let them hurt you.”
Eric gets in trouble sometimes, sure, but never this bad...and usually Stan and Kyle are in on it, too. He's never had the royal guard come after him like this, though, and it's jarring. “Why the hell would I do that? This is different than normal. I don't trust it.”
“I can't fight them, and they won't let us just go.” Fighting will only end up with his humans being hurt and he wouldn't be able to live with himself if the guards hurt them because they just didn't want to listen. “It will be until sundown at the longest, I swear to you.” To prove this, Kyle takes his free hand and cups the side of Eric's jaw before very softly kissing him. This makes the guards a bit uneasy seeing as public displays of affection weren't something typically done in elven society, but with how things are turning out he couldn't really care less. Eric wants to protest more, but the lips against his silence him before the two break apart. He frowns, eyes darting to the disapproving look he's all too familiar with from Stan at their relationship. It's not met with a cocky smile from the brunet this time, though- and that makes Stan falter. This is no time for their typical shenanigans. Eric heaves a sigh, his fingers slowly sliding out of Kyle's. He steps away from his friends, the guard quickly moving in around him to take him away. Only one remains behind to talk to Kyle.
“Your pet human is the lost Prince of Kupa Keep.”
The elves are quick to rejoice in this news. They have the human Prince! The only heir to the human throne! The human prince’s world is turned upside down. The elves throw the young man in their dungeons, seal him there with spells to block his magic, and leave him trapped. They threaten his life for the Stick to the humans. The betrayed prince’s rage festers in his cell and his friends can do nothing to free him. Not at first. The human prince is locked away for two years as war rages until his friends see their opening....
Kyle had been confined to his room for many moons, his parents unable to trust him with freedom after he proclaimed that he would save his love if it was the last thing he ever did. Honestly it took him awhile but he was making good on that proclamation.
With Stan's help, Kyle had escaped the confines of his bedroom and snuck down to the dungeon where Eric was kept, as a child he had made a game out of knowing guards routes so he could sneak around the castle when he wasn't supposed to, so this was merely literal child's play for him. The only real difficult part was getting the keys from the guards and get them away from Eric's cell. That came with less finesse then he'd like to admit. He was kind of short on time and frustrated as all hell so he'd simply went the more aggressive route and tangled them in vines before nicking their key and went about freeing Eric. “Let's get you out of here. I'm so sorry it took so long.”
A long time was an understatement for the human, a disheveled mess from the last time Kyle had seen him. His life had turned upside down that day, the Elvish Queen and King he'd viewed as family suddenly scrapping him away as a pawn in their political turmoil. A comfortable life of semi-luxury and magic became the same dark cell, day in and day out. He almost doesn't believe Kyle's really finally come. He pushes himself to his feet, soles of his shoes dragging along the floor toward the Prince. His eyes find Kyle's, the deep brown dulled and hardened. “You said until sundown.”
"Yes, I said that before I was banished into my room and not allowed to leave like my own personal prison." Slowly, Kyle's hand reaches for Eric's cheek as he had years ago, a longing look upon his face. Eric’s eyes flicker between Kyle’s face and the opening of the hall behind him. Years ago, he may have embraced the Elvish Prince. He may have leaned in to kiss him, but not now. He very suddenly rushes past him, sprinting toward where he knows the courtyard is, and the elves prized possession.
...But imprisonment had changed him. The scorned prince had developed a plan for when freedom finally came. He had heard the elves tell of their ages old tree that houses the magic needed for immortality, and he was determined to take it in vengeance. He would take it, become a god, and destroy everyone who wronged him. There was something he hadn’t accounted for, however.
Kyle and Stan could do nothing but chase after their friend as he tore through the castle like he was somehow on a mission. Neither aware how true that was until they were standing in the garden that held the Immortal Tree that the Elves held in the highest regard, where the Stick of Truth was once plucked from its foliage. "Eric??! What the hell are you doing, this is forbidden!" Kyle warned just as Stan decided this had gone on far too long and pulled his sword from his side and charged at what was once their friend. Eric doesn’t seem to even hear them.
The newly freed human halts his steps at the roots of tree, palms outstretched to press against its trunk. His voice rings out in Elvish words, intertwined with magic- words any well-versed Elf would recognize immediately as powerful and forbidden. Words found only in the heavily guarded book of ancient texts. Words the human should never have found. A bright purple glow illuminates him, the tree withering under his fingers as his eyes light up with power. Stan’s footsteps reach his ears as the other human charges, and Eric’s eyes swing around to meet him. Magic erupts through the ground, cracking along it until it reaches Stan, twisting and morphing his body. Kyle doesn't want to hurt him, that's very evident as he tries to keep back and let Stan handle this, but the second those words start to tumble out of his mouth, Kyle's eyes widen and he shoves off where he'd decided was safe towards Stan.
Kyle's fingers grab onto the back of Stan's tunic just as his skin starts to get covered in bark as a tree begins to grow out of him, his own magic trying to stop the transformation but to no avail. "STAN- Stan-- no, no Eric, stop! You're going to hurt him what the hell are you doing?? That's going to kill you!!" Eric still doesn’t seem to hear as he finishes the Elvish chant. Only when the words die in the back of his throat does he respond, stepping forward toward Stan and Kyle with a wicked grin. “Kill me? Have you read about this tree, Kyle? It’s the tree of immortality ! With this, we can-” He’s cut off by his own sudden lack of air, black sludge streaming up behind his lips as he falls to his knees. It pools between his hands on the ground, coming out of him like a thick waterfall.
Kyle's worst fear realized in an instant. The purity of the tree swallowed up Eric before his very eyes and rejected the seething hatred within him. The trees power was never meant for revenge or hatred, he knew that. Always knew that. Which is why as he saw the ancient tree die, and Eric become incapacitated, he pulled away from his best friend so that he could drop down to his knees beside Eric and try and surge soft and gentle magic into his chest, try and save him. "No, please. I just got you back-" his voice cracked on a sob as he tried to wipe up the mess pouring down his chin. Tiny blue flowers sprouted where he was crouched, indicating his distress. The only reply Kyle receives is an airless gurgle, Eric’s hand lifting toward him for just a moment before he slips, body thudding onto the ground and black muck with a sickening splat like raw meat on a hard surface. The flow of tainted magic slows from his nose and mouth as the glow fades from the human’s eyes, leaving them hollow and lifeless.
The Elf Prince could do nothing but watch in horror as his friends suffered. One friend becoming a tree before his eyes as the other choked on his own corruption at the hands of the Immortality Tree’s purity. The Elf Prince lost two friends that day, and grew into a King alone. The new tree of immortality containing one friend still stands in his garden, and the Wizard Prince’s body was returned to the humans.
Ever since then it’s said that only pitch black flowers grow in the Elf King’s Garden.