The Crown Wars: Autumnal Storm

Unrelated stories that take place in a setting besides Star Wars...

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ValynDyral
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The Crown Wars: Autumnal Storm

Post by ValynDyral » Fri Jan 12, 2007 8:57 am

Dawn was coming.

A faint greyness permeated the visible horizon, past the trunks of ancient trees, past the eastern hills. Ghostshapes slid through the forest, racing over the carpet of dry, fallen leaves with nary a single crack to mark their passing.

They communicated in gestures, as they ran:

Go left.

Reroute, then retreat.

Pick off any stragglers.


At length they reached a suitable place. The path through the forest dipped between two massive trunks, their sprawling root structure half unburied and extending for some tens of meters in any direction. Barely visible even in movement, marked only by the faint swish of their cloaks, they took their positions. Some into the roots, some onto low-lying branches, some ahead of the road. And then they waited.

____________________

~Elven city of Mirath Nalenir, Eastern Forests of Illefarn~

Athain Narashael penned the final stroke, in the final letter, in the final word. The sheet of paper before him was now utterly full of faintly glowing script.

He whispered unceasingly as he worked, a faint but steady stream of invocation that charged the air with breathless intensity as he folded the paper in on itself, then again, and a third time. Then the folds became narrower, then some undone, and done once more.

When it was finished, the paper had taken the approximate likeness of a swan. Athain mouthed a final word.

The little paper swan stretched its wings, slowly. Its paper beak scratched against its paper body as it preened. Athain smiled a small smile and gently picked it up, and walked to the far end of the plaza where a stream snaked around a beech tree and then meandered eventually out of the city. The paper swan looked up at him.

His smile lingered, and he knelt down and, gently, laid the swan on the surface of the water. It began to float along with the current, gradually getting faster. Just before it passed beneath an arch and was lost to Athain's view, it craned its neck back and looked at him. He but lifted a hand in farewell.

The silver mage called Athain Narashael looked up at the lightening sky.

Dawn was coming.

____________________

Their bows creaked faintly, as arrows were notched and strings pulled as far back as they would be coaxed to go. Below them, the enemy marched.

In ranks eight deep and twenty long, they passed beneath. Their armor gleamed in the faint light - perfectly interlocking plates of glittering mithral, each inch inscribed with beautiful runes. They could see from their vantage points what the runes read, but dared not - the Vyshaantar were insidious in their tricks.

They did not fire, and the first column passed by.

The second was as the first: resplendant in their armor, their bloodred cloaks, their curving longblades. The soldiers marched in silence, in disciplined detachment.

They did not fire, and the second column passed by.

The third column bore fewer soldiers, escorting a pair of figures garbed not in armor, but in crimson cloaks, their faces cowled, their passage eased by silver-shod staves.

Behind them, more columns marched - an endless train, on as far as the forest would allow those hidden to see. This was no reconnaissance party - this was a host.

They pulled back their bowstrings a bit farther. One of the marching soldiers paused, his ear twitching.

They fired.

____________________

Athain leaned against the tree, watching the sunrise. Brilliant shades of red polluted the clarity of the sky, setting the world's dome aflame. Its beauty did nothing to ease the faint knot in Athain's chest.

It was a blood dawn.

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xfiend1013
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Post by xfiend1013 » Fri Jan 12, 2007 3:36 pm

The sacred grove was a long blessed place, defended by ancient treants, spirits rooted in the holy soil, nourished by the goodness of the sun and the purity of the water - which had never been spoiled or dirty in the long age that the elven magics had existed to sanctify that place.

And as the red sun set, B'swor watched with keen green eyes that reflected the pale gold of the sky and spreading mist, and he prayed and worshipped and gave the offering of the first crop to the treant, who had rooted to that place in the First Time, and, it was said, would remain there until the end of the Age.

"Rillifane gives and takes as the seasons require. The past is done, the future soon will be so." He said, but in the ancient language of the druids, unknown to any outsider. "The rains of Aerdrie sustain us and succor the game of Sullonor."

The fountain flowed pure. B'swor had been told to use it's water in the healing potions he was crafting, to mix it with the ginsing he pulled there, after offering the gift of honey to Ehlonna, and then to add mandrake, but only after an hour of advice from the treant on how to protect himself from the shriek of the pulled root.

The treant was offering no advice. It spoke in the slyvan tongue, occassionally in the deep, low slow speech of the treant, and some of it's words came only as the whispering secrets oaks tell one another.

It was worried.

"The fountains will flow with elven blood and darkness will fall upon the grove and as the grove goes, so follows Mirath Nalenir. It will be the end of me."

B'swor rose, plucked the mandrake. There was no maddening scream. He offered another bit of honey to Ehlonna and took the herbs and the jug of water to his distillery. If elven blood were to flow in the fountain, the potions would be needed.

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Post by Pryde » Fri Jan 12, 2007 7:17 pm

Ciritha Erestir giggled slightly as she watched the elven children at play. The young boys and girls ran around in a circle passing a small ball to each other using only their feet. It was a game Ciri had played herself long ago when she was their age, which, if you consider how long elves live, wasn't really that long ago. Sure, she had reached a mature age, but in the eyes of most elves she was still an elfling. That didn't bother her, though, she lived her life by her own rules, much to the chagrin of her father. She regretted leaving her family home under such circumstances but, like the animals of the forest, she needed to be free. That was nearly two years ago, and in that time she has seen more of the world then she ever would have seen had she lived quietly as a Lord's daughter.

Through her musings she barely noticed a change in that morning's mood and her keen senses picked up a peculiar sound that drew her attention. To the east a flock of birds erupted from the trees flying low over the city as if fleeing from something. Ciri slowly climbed to her feet and listened, not another sound could be heard but something was definitely not right. Whirling on her heels she ran back to the inn to fetch her bow and swords, somehow she had a feeling she was going to need them...
"Ol' Doc doesn't hide, he hibernates." -- Doc, Star Wars: The Old Republic

"What do you call it when you kill someone and take all their stuff?"
"Adventuring!" -- Tallis and Hawke, Dragon Age 2.

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Post by ValynDyral » Mon Jan 15, 2007 8:14 pm

"Fall back to the sentry po - "

The shout turned into a gurgled scream as the captain choked on his own hot blood.

Baelfir, shadowed guardian of Mirath Nalenir, huddled with another of his number beneath and between the roots of an ancient, grasping ash three as Vyshaan troops ran by. His breath came in gasps and, as the sound of battle gradually moved away from the pair, it was all he could do to hear anything at all over the rushing blood pounding at his ears.

"How many?" He half-whispered.

"Twenty thousand, at least." Replied his partner, after a labored moment. Baelfir could see blood streaming from one of his ears, and wondered if the other elf could hear from it anymore. "Are you ready?"

Baelfir nodded, and in unison the two warriors slunk from the roots and stood tall, one clutching his already bloody longblade and the other his bow. The scene surrounding them was one of morbid serenity - the battle had moved on, and in the utter silence, only the lingering echoes lent any credence to the notion that any fighting had been done here.

Though, the corpses that littered the path were strong clues in their own right.

Baelfir and his companion began to run. The Vyshaan host had breached the outer position, but there were four other points of ambush between there and the city. The Vyshaantar were running through the forest now, their numbers endless but coordinated only through the efforts of the attendant mages. One had been struck dead in the initial attacks. Baelfir passed the corpse of a second in his silent flight. That meant two battalions were without the ability to communicate with whatever general led this army.

The rangers stopped in their tracks, frozen in place like cats that had heard a sound. Baelfir grabbed his partner by the shoulder and pulled him behind a tree, just as three score Vyshaan knights, gleaming in their armor, ran past. They waited until the soldiers were some seconds gone, and then their flight resumed in all its silent urgency.

The cries of battle were getting louder, now. The Tel'Bael'Fir must have made a stand, rather than allow the enemy any closer to the city. A ruinous decision, in Baelfir's mind.

They forced their way through a dense thicket, and nearly collided with a red-cowled Vyshaan wizard. Past him, a battalion of golden knights were locked in vicious melee with rangers. The spellweaver turned in alarm to face the two, his fingers wreathed in silver streams of arcane brilliance - a half-formed spell with which to sunder some unfortunate enemy. Baelfir's partner pulled back his bowstring.

But the wizard was the faster - the silver light rushed forth, burned away the archer's clothes and face, reduced his magnificent bow to so much ash. He began weaving his fingers immediately in the incantation of another spell. Baelfir did not afford him the opportunity - a slash of his blade separated the wizard's hands from his body. Another ended his cry of pain, as his head toppled to the forest floor.

Another battalion had arrived to bolster the Vyshaan forces. The rangers sounded the retreat, withdrawing in waves back into the deeper forest. His sword held loosely, Baelfir ran forward - he could not circumvent the knights before him, he would have to fight his way through if he were to rejoin the others.

A knight turned to face him, and sword clashed against brilliantly forged sword. It readily became apparent that the Vyshaan warriors were more than Baelfir or any other ranger's equal in the sword dance. Baelfir considered the poor wisdom of engaging one for only a moment, before he very immediately ceased to consider anything at all.

His left side was suddenly afflicting with a blooming warmth, a warmth that fast spread throughout his body. On its heels followed numbness, though that spread a bit more slowly.

He could see, through blurring vision, a patch of morning sky through the thick canopy above. A knight stepped forward, and blocked it. He raised his sword.

And then Baelfir saw nothing, anymore.

_______________________

Athain strode, neither slowly nor urgently, to Corellon's cathedral. The mages of the athenaeum, all of them, had been summoned.

Alarm and contingency spells had gone off, foul portents had poisoned the sight of all those who could see such things. The Tel'Bael'Fir were dying - all of them. Some nameless horror was slaughtering Mirath Nalenir's rangers, and at last report, more than half of them were felled. That had been an hour ago.

Athain mused that some great magic was to be worked with the mythal, around which the cathedral had been built - some ritual, for which all the mages would lend their power.

His pace quickened, a little.

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xfiend1013
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Post by xfiend1013 » Fri Jan 19, 2007 3:35 pm

Whilst elves piled into the elven cathedrals to witness the miraculous magic woven of the mythal, B'swor took a different route, clambering up the spiraling stairway that wound round the gargantuan oak at the center of the druidic grove.

Each step was on wood, steps formed without cutting the tree, grown by the tree itself as it had been shaped by countless druids who had inhabited the tree, sometimes even binding themselves into the tree after they had shrugged off their mortal coil.

B'swor climbed carefully while ahead his animal companion, the dire rat Gilnesh, scampered with a quick ease, despite the incredible height they were achieving.

He had been told to go to this place by the druid in charge of the grove, before he had left to see to the public magic of the mythal.

B'swor often was confused by the commands of the druid. He was ancient, even by elven standards - it was said that the old druid had been there in the first age, that he had helped take control of Faeurun from the ancient dragons and god-men.

Now, he seemed a bit senile, and often spent more time in his animal forms than as an elf. Even nature herself, who granted youthful regeneration to powerful druids, had seemed to be unable to slow his ancient progression towards death.

B'swor looked down, even though it was often not wise at such heights, but, he reasoned, if ravens were not afraid to soar, then he should not be afraid to climb. Squirrels, he remembered, climbed - even the odd little humans he had been studying for so long - they climbed, and did so well.

Far below the elves seemed insignificant. A bird passed between him and the ground and landed in the jumble of branches that cast a plethora of shadows down onto the green moss and grass of the grove.

Far off, he saw someone approaching the ancient healing spring. It was a wounded elf, one of the ranger-defenders, the Tel'Bel'Fir, carried by one of the green-cloaked clerics of Lanthelorn.

"The fountains will flow with elven blood and darkness will fall upon the grove and as the grove goes, so follows Mirath Nalenir. It will be the end of me."

B'swor remembered the words of the tree, and they seemed to return to him on the whispering winds.

He plucked Gilnesh from the branch and sat the rat upon his shoulder, whispering to the creature in it's own language.

"Hold on, Gilnesh, we are going to fly the rest of the way."

He thought of ravens, of the beauty of birds and of flight, and he did not wish to become one, he merely filled himself with the awareness that he was a raven, that he could be in form what he was in spirit - any creature of the Earth.

And then he flew to the top of the tree, to what seemed to be the top of the world, as his rat squealed in fright. Finally, he perched, feeling the wind blowing strong around them all.

An army was approaching.

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Post by Pryde » Tue Jan 23, 2007 3:15 am

Ciritha stood off to one side of the spacious room inside Corellon's Cathedral as the mages worked their magics. Under normal circumstances a sight like this would have brought great joy to her hearts and the hearts of those around her, but a sense of urgency marred the occasion. Ironically, in spite of her foreboding, she couldn't help but think of her father. If he were here he'd be amongst the circle of mages as well, and had he had his way so would she. Though it was true that as a child she showed some promise in the arcane talents her spirit was too wild and free to limit herself to a life of quiet study and discipline typically attributed to mages. Naturally, her refusal to learn at the magic school caused a bit of friction between her and her father and ultimately led to them parting ways. She regretted having to leave in such a manner, but she could no longer tolerate her father's intrusion into her life. She loved her father, but she needed to be free. A pity she'd find herself in a predicament like this. Relations between the Vyshaantar and Illefarn had always been tenuous at best, it was only a matter of time before one attacked the other and all hell broke loose. And given the current circumstances one could only assume that that is exactly what has happened...
"Ol' Doc doesn't hide, he hibernates." -- Doc, Star Wars: The Old Republic

"What do you call it when you kill someone and take all their stuff?"
"Adventuring!" -- Tallis and Hawke, Dragon Age 2.

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