Oella and Ultan of the Shell
The tale of the Dark Elf, Ultan of the Shell, and Oella, a Fae queen, began in the forlorn years following the Scouring of the Great Grove. Disillusioned with his own kind's cruelty and lust for power, Ultan fled the gloomy eaves of Durham Forest and searched for a new purpose. Years of travel led him to the far east of Peltas, where a familiar sight awaited: an ancient woodland full of mysteries and dangers.
Mesmerized, Ultan ventured deeper into Mistwood. Slowly, cautiously, he explored the strange energy that permeated the forest and all who dwelt in it. The Rhythm, the Sylvan Elves he met called it. It was beautiful.
By chance or fate, Ultan’s pass crossed that of a radiant Fae within days of arrival. Oella felt the stranger’s sorrow, and where many of her kind would have expelled him or worse, she approached Ultan peacefully. The two conversed for a while, each seeking a greater understanding of the other. A queen among her kind, Oella was wise and charming and beloved by many, but it was her passion and love of life that captivated Ultan’s heart and inspired him to seek her out again and again.
Ultan’s curiosity amused Oella, and she humored him with a handful of chance meetings. She learned that he was sagacious in his own right, kind-hearted, and determined to prove himself worthy of Mistwood. She was even more surprised by how driven he was to learn and master the ways of her kind. This was a daunting task even for Sylvan Elves and nigh-impossible for an outsider. Yet Ultan persisted.
As decades passed, the pair’s curiosity in one another evolved into trust and respect, then turned to friendship. Over time, this became love. The other Fair Folk disapproved. Oella cared not – she inducted Ultan into her court as her knight and champion.
Many ventures together led the lovers to the charred remnants of the Great Grove itself. There, Oella and her handmaidens sought to find the source of lingering corruption and a way to heal it. But all they found was death. Twisted monstrosities, maddened Fae and Sylvans, assailed them on all sides.
Oella’s handmaidens would have surely perished were it not for Ultan’s courage and skill. Heavily outnumbered, he fought with the ferocity of a dozen warriors and bought the queen’s retinue time to withdraw. His injuries were grievous, and he would not have lived were it not for a miracle born from Oella’s love. She held Ultan and poured her very essence into his terrible wounds. It was an act guided by desperation and instinct in equal measure, and it bound their spirits together. Ultan awoke soon after, changed. Fae magic flowed through his veins. He could feel its power, and to his joy, he felt closer to Oella than he ever imagined possible.
Upon their return, Oella named Ultan as her consort – a faithful friend and ally to rule by her side. His bravery and sacrifice had earned him a modicum of respect among the Fae, but it may be many centuries still before the Fair Folk accept Ultan as one of their own.