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In this case, The Elfin Spires are real, but unreachable by mere mortals without a rather painful price. Aric, the protagonist, is NOT a mere mortal, but his mixed heritage prevents him from reaching the legendary Spires without a pointy metal invitation...
For the Elfin queen, Aric becomes a terrible (in the old sense, not in the sense of "really bad at it") warrior. As Buffy (or was it Willow) once said, "Love makes you do the wacky"...
Jack London (1876-1916)