Torches flickered among the windows and archways of the treetop building. The elder elf, in his deep, melodious tone, began his next tale.
“Now we shall talk about Gilandras. I tell not of his slaying of the last great wyrm, or even of his long protection of the elven races. Instead we shall speak of his last encounter in this world, with a force even he could not withstand.
“As you all know, Gilandras often ventured out into the wild forests searching for the evil beasts of Unhamil, and sometimes he would spend years alone on the hunt. One hunt on a summer night such as this, under the same stars you see above, he was resting in a clearing when he heard a song unlike any he had heard before. It came from the trees and flowed out across the clearing, the sounds as sweet as a summer rain. He stayed still so as not to surprise the voice that evoked such emotion in him. He heard in this melody the praise of all that grew, of the creeks and rivers which fed the roots of the forest. He heard an homage to the sun and moonlight that gave the lands warmth. And as he stood perfectly still, lost in the melody, the singer emerged from the trees before him. She struck him instantly as the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Her raiment was that of simple green cloth, though it sparkled as if silver was sewn into it. She danced into the clearing, her graceful movements matching the song. And where she stepped flowers grew up as if trying to caress her.
“It was then that Gilandras stood and began his own song. For a brief moment, their songs became one, but upon recognizing this second melody, she stopped and ran, fast as a deer, back into the woods and was gone.
“He chased her but could find no tracks, nor did he hear her footsteps. He searched for weeks, but to no avail. Years passed, and he was set about many tasks by his elven lords, but he never forgot her. Each night, in the wilderness, he would sing out to her and of his love for the world that her song had inspired.
“One night, at the beginning of Fall, he was singing when he noticed a second melody had joined his. He rose and walked in the direction of the second voice, careful not to stop his own melody. Through a dense patch of trees he passed, and then into a clearing which contained a small waterfall at the far end. There, the elf maiden sang, though this time she looked at him and smiled. She held out her hand, and Gilandras took it in his. They moved through the forest, singing and dancing for the rest of the night, and then lay down in the fields to watch the stars.
“Gilandras fell fast asleep, and in the morning, his companion was gone. Through the day he searched for her, until dusk and then night came, and she returned to him again, singing and dancing under the stars and silvery moonlight. Countless were the nights they spent like this, until Gilandras found a desire to return home, and spoke to her for the first time of a feeling that was his own.
“He professed his love for her and asked that she return with him and be his wife. At this, she turned from him, her eyes filled with tears. She then turned to him and held him close as she whispered in his ear, revealing to him that she was not an elf, but Lunare, Goddess of Nature. Although the elves during this time lived very long lives, Galandras still was mortal, and she could not love him back in the same way.
“Gilandras walked back to his bow and quiver, and gathering them up, walked into the forest to the East after the bright red star that appears during the fall. He followed this star into the winter and was never seen again by the elves.”
The older elf pointed up at the red star now in the sky. “That is why we call that the Star of Ellos Amal, or the Star of Lost Love. When that star rises higher in the sky, you can see three stars rise up after it, for that is the Bow of the Hunter, forever chasing unattainable love. Now, there are many interpretations of this story, but indulge me by hearing mine. I believe the story means that although one may be great, one must always be diligent to not be led astray by temptation. Gilandras meant much to his people. He was their hero and their protector. But when his heart was broken, in his weakness, he left the world and his people behind to chase the unattainable. It is the wise who know their own weaknesses and face them rather than fleeing from them.”