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Old 07-26-2009, 07:14 PM
Kerrah Kerrah is offline

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This five-chapter story will be about the Four Gods, a pet project to me and Timolas. In case you do not know what they are, the Four Gods are a bunch of Azerothian deities whom the humans like to think of as their pagan pantheon but who stretch further back into the mists of time than humankind's existence.

Chapters one to four will be about each of the four gods, showing what they stand for and what kind of people they attract under them. Chapter five will focus on the humans' special relation with these deities and show my personal view of how the Holy Light was introduced to humanity.

Anyways: enjoy.

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Chapter one
The Viridian Messenger



The glade was silent and still, as peaceful as if it had never seen a single living thing. The sun cast its rays from the blue sky above, attempting to light the forest floor but incapable of penetrating the innumerable branches of the trees. Here and there a few insects buzzed in the air or some drops of water from the earlier rainfall still fell from the leaves, but otherwise the place was completely soundless.

A frog which had previously been staying still, laying in the ground, jumped into the air, as if to see over the tall undergrowth and find out whether anything was happening. Just as it reached the highest point of its jump, a dark hand sprang out of the low branches of a tree, snatching it mid-air. A lean humanoid creature stepped out from the midst of the leaves, holding the small critter before its eyes and staring at it intently before looking at its left, where another of its kind had appeared.

Men'nuth, the chieftain of the Shadowtooth tribe, watched as his kind appeared from the midst of the trees. He smiled inwardly at some of them, who had been mere children when he last saw them but were now fully grown and strong. There were almost fifty of them, all dressed in light leather loincloths and trappings, with knives at their belts. Elders, men, women, children, babies, all were present, gathered in one place at last.

The Shadowtooth tribe was not like the other peoples of the world. They were not like the Amani of the east, who sought to tame the land with their agriculture. They were not like the Gurubashi of the southeast, who sought to tame the mountains with their masonry. They were not like the bull-people of the south, who sought to tame the wildlife with their 'great hunt'. They were not like the moon-children, who lived beside the Great Lake and sought to tame the universe with their magics.

The Shadowtooth tribe lived like the animals of the wild; each on their own or with their most intimate family. They hunted for food each day and gathered the fruits of the land, never taking more than they needed to survive, never killing unnecessarily. They lived in caves or on the branches of trees. They had long ago moved to this distant forest which was now called the Shadowtooth Valley, and were shunned as savages by their kind elsewhere. The Zandalari mockingly referred to them as 'dark trolls' for both their uncivilised lifestyles and uncommon skin colours.

Men'nuth looked at the troll nearest to him, his son. The last time they had met, three years ago, Men'heva had just come of age. Now he looked as ready to become chieftain as any among them. The old troll silently spoke a thanking prayer to the Spirit of the Land, who had blessed him with a strong heir. After finishing, he looked at his son's eyes and waved a hand before him. "What do you see?"

Men'heva looked at the ground and was quick to point at two broken branches in a brush before him. "None of us has touched these. Someone has been here."

The chieftain nodded and smiled, his son continued looking, and eventually found some disturbed undergrowth. "Three footsteps... Nothing before or after them." His eyes went up and he brought his face to the bark of a nearby tree, smelling it. "The person has touched this spot with a hand, I can smell the sweat. Judging by the stench, I'd say Zandalari."

Men'nuth slightly patted the frog in his hand and asked: "Final analysis?"

"A Zandalari outsider, probably a scout, travelled through here this morning or the previous night, covering their tracks until this point. They probably thought they saw one of us and took a few hasty steps, snapping the twigs and leaning at a tree, before continuing their journey, wishing we will not notice this spot."

The father smiled at his son, but shook his head. "You fail to see all the details, my son. Feel these tracks, they are still warm. And besides, if the person who left them had been here before the rain, steps these heavy would have turned to puddles. These were made mere minutes ago."

His son let out a silent laugh. In the wilds, there was no room for loud expressions of emotion. "It is not possible. Our tribe was coming to meet at this clearing from all possible directions. Someone would have seen an outsider if one was still around."

Men'nuth walked to where the tracks begun and pointed at the first step. "Nobody leaves this heavy steps just walking around. The troll whose foot made this fell at least ten feet before landing here. That proves it."

The son lowered his eyebrows, now seeming inpatient. "Proves what?"

The father brought up a hand and presented what he had caught. "That this frog made the tracks."

For a second, nobody spoke or moved. Then the chieftain dropped the critter into the ground and it glowed eerily. In a puff, the creature grew and changed shape, until it stood tall as a troll. Just like Men'heva's smell had said, it had the light blue skin and tall posture of one of the Zandalari.

Men'nuth bowed down before the stranger. It took a moment, but the rest of the Shadowtooths present quickly understood what this meant and fell into the ground, their noses touching the ground as they showed their humbleness. The chieftain spoke: "I welcome you to our dear home, Prophet. We are honoured beyond belief to receive the son of the Spirit of the Land as a guest."

The tall troll smiled and motioned for the others to stand up. "And I am happy to be here and receive your welcomes and honourings. I am surprised you were able to so quickly solve this little puzzle I left you when I arrived. What gave me away?"

Men'nuth pointed upwards, above the first of the three footprints. The others of his tribe saw a severed branch twenty feet above the spot for the first time. "No troll can jump high enough to do that and survive the fall."

The prophet nodded. "Ah. I thought I was playing my role as a frog badly."

"There is not a child of the Spirit of the Land that you could not pose as, I suppose, o Prophet."

"I would think so," the troll said, smiling at something. As he did, for a moment he was a bear, but then he turned back. The trolls all around gave gasps. Men'nuth found himself rolling his eyes as he heard his son say: "How do you do that?"

"I am not of this world," the prophet exposited, casually waving an arm at the surrounding woods, obviously meaning the entire plane of existence. "When you travel to a foreign land, you are not a commoner or king there but a stranger, not locked to any role of theirs. I am a visitor from the world of the spirits, the land my father spawned me from, and therefore I am not locked to any role here, not that of a troll or a bear."

Men'nuth nodded his head and told his son: "A lesson to you, my son, in case you wish to be the chieftain. Do not question the Spirit of the Land or his prophet."

As the tall one gave a grin at the talk. The elder frowned. "What is so amusing?"

"Oh, it's just that throughout the world, the other peoples also refer to my father as the Spirit of the Land, but all by your language. Most of them do not know that Men'nesth'esh, or Mnesthes as it is often said, has a meaning. The only exception are the Amani. They refer to him as Muel'zala."



The prophet looked at the worshippers around him. They were the closest to Mnesthes, the Viridian God, his father. The Shadowtooths were the only humanoid people in this wide world who truly lived in accourdance to the True Way, as animals. While it was sad to think they were the only ones, it was also amazing to behold there were any at all. The sweet lure of civilisation had stolen so many away, into an unnatural state of living where they did not necessarily even have to obtain their own food.

Perhaps one day, with enough work, he could obliterate all of that and reduce the world into its infancy, where only those survived and thrived who deserved it. But for now...

The prophet turned to face Men'heva, the chieftain's son, and said: "You are a great tracker, and will surely make a wise chieftain once your father passes away. Pay heed to his teachings now, for he will not be amongst the living for a long time."

There were gasps around him and the prophet wondered if it was something it had said. The chieftain grasped his shoulder and stuttered: "I'm sorry, what? I am... not..."

The prophet cocked his head and looked into the troll's eyes. "You will die two weeks from now, in a rainy night. But don't worry, it'll be quite peaceful and painless."

Men'nuth wasn't really calmed by the words. "But, but, but..."

The prophet sighed and for a moment, his skin flashed a darker colour before returning to bright blue. "I am sorry, but I do not see the reason behind your sudden shock. If it was something I-"

Then the chieftain's son was standing up and had stepped to face the prophet. Looking furious, he said: "Now look here! You come in here quite uninvited and then casually announce my father is dead! You should..." Then he realised whom he was talking to and backed a few steps, his dark purple face turning almost black with a sudden blush.

The prophet smiled at the son's bravery. The blood of warriors flowed through his veins. He waited just a second before speaking: "Your father has lived a long and fulfilling life. I do not see why natural death is something to be feared for one such as him. Remember that the Spirit of the Land is not the god of life, but of the eternal circulation of life and death in this world."

He spread his hands and looked up, and then he was a bird. He flapped his wings and flew onto a branch, grasping it with his feet. He looked down on the mortals and spoke through his beak: "You all know it more than well, the rule of the wild: for life, there must be death. The bear must eat the salmon, the elk must eat the oak and the plants grow with the life energy of dead animals. Were there no birth death would devour the world, but were there no death the consequences would be just as bad."

He jumped from one branch to the other and dug for insects from the bark for a second before speaking again: "So be not saddened when your loved ones die. Their spirits will join the world, and thus become one with your god. Their bodies will also feed the eternal circle, and thus will the world continue its course."

Some of the trolls seemed to understand what he was saying, others did not. He did not care at the moment but turned to look at the chieftain again. "Maybe you should tell the others what has led to me being here, Men'nuth, so they will know."

The old troll put his incoming death aside for the moment but instead turned to gather everyone's attention. "Please, my children, listen to me. Gather around, for I have a tale to tell which it is important that you know."

Some of the trolls who had been at the back earlier were only now coming forth, close enough for the prophet to fully see. He appreciated the fact that there was no hierarchy among the trolls as they stood, except for the presence of the chieftain. Even the title of chieftain was merely a ceremonial post, and held little authority except the right to serve as their spokesman when the prophet visited.

Among the Shadowtooths any troll was ranked in importance by the traits that Mnesthes gave them: those born tall and strong spawned great families and were respected by others while those who were weak and could not fend for themselves died away. It did not even matter which gender they were, for any Shadowtooth capable of learning some task was taught it without that restriction. In the troll cultures outside this land the idea of a woman in charge of her family was something to be laughed at.

Men'nuth pointed a hand south and began explaining: "Nearly a year ago I was struck with a wanderlust like that of legend. You all know the stories that certain old trolls are afflicted with a will to travel out of this land and see the world, and will always find their destiny waiting for them. The Spirit's Call. I heard it and answered.

I went south and left the forest. Beyond were the mountains of red stone whose name we know not. I climbed them and found the valleys beyond full of people. That is where my will to go south ended, so I chose the Spirit of the Land had sent me to see this spectacle. I observed the strange folk and found them to be the moon-children, or Kaldorei by their own tongue.

There was a tall woman in white clothes who led them west, pointing at the tallest mountain. Above their company was a tall blue flag with a golden symbol of three arrows coming out of a triangle. I left them alone without letting myself be seen and prayed to the Spirit to show me what to do next. In response he sent me the Prophet." The chieftain looked up at the large bird, as if asking whether to go on.

The prophet dropped down and landed on the ground, looking at the surrounding tribesmen and women. "I was guided to Men'nuth by an inclination much like the one that led him to the discovery. He told me about what he had seen, describing the travellers in much detail, and I understood they were worshippers of the Blue Lady, Zinine.

I sent your chieftain back north to his home and told him to collect you all and that I would meet you. Meanwhile I was a bird and flew to the city of the moon-children..." He felt his self as a bird vanish and instead he became a night elf maiden, tall and slender and beautiful.

Her voice was different as well, fitting this self. "In a guise, I approached their queen Azshara and spoke to her of what I now knew. She told me she knew well of these traitors, for they were led by her daughter, Aszune. The princess, along with many of the magi of the moon-child court, had converted to Zininism. They call themselves the Kelani, or Scribes. When the queen demanded they turn back, they fled their city en masse and moved west."

She folded her hands over her chest and eyed the trolls. This self felt a sense of superiority toward them, which was probably a part of what it meant to be a night elf. She focused a little and pushed that part aside for now. The feelings of one self should not affect how she drove her father's cause.

She spoke more to the trolls: "I struck a bargain with Queen Azshara that will benefit both of us. If a nation under Zinine's children is founded in the Stonetalon mountains, they could compromise your existence and turn the wilds of that land into fields and villages and mines, which is unthinkable for the Spirit of the Land. Azshara for her part wishes to have her daughter and the other magi killed to show all under her rule what happens to those who rebel."

She waved a hand at the gathered tribespeople and simply stated: "You will meet her army in the eastern edge of the mountains half a year from now, in the first day of summer, and lead them to these Kelani. You will take them past the enemy defences, through holes you will have found before the moon-children came. You will help the queen's forces slaughter these unsuspecting chosen of Zinine and put an end to their attempts. You will succeed, and my father will be pleased."

She looked at the trolls and then changed again. The self that was a dark-skinned troll like them took over, and the prophet shook his broad shoulders. Chieftain Men'nuth walked forth and bowed. "The Shadowtooth tribe will do as the Spirit of the Land commands." Behind the old man, his tribe once again fell into the ground, groveling in submission.

The prophet put a friendly hand on Men'nuth's shoulder to say goodbye, but felt sorrow and unsureness. His words still weighed heavily on the old troll's mind. He felt a presence slipping into his own soul as he let the female self take over once again. She became the likeness of the chieftain's late mate, as she had looked when she had passed away years ago. Her gentle voice spoke words which flashes through her mind: "Do not fear my love, we will be together again."

She then rose into the air and was a bird as before. The spirit of the old troll woman moved aside, her message said, and the self of the swallow took over. With no mission of importance to be done and no thinking needed, the prophet let that self indulge itself and for the longest time, she became an ordinary swallow, even if one flying toward a specific target.

Suns set and suns rose, the moons in between lighted her wings and she stopped from time to time to catch some food. Even though she didn't have to find subsistence, she felt that it was betrayal towards her father if she went against the rules of life that all living things, his subjects, had to obey.

Finally she arrived to her destination, a small ruined stone building east of the great mountain and north of the great lake. She landed on a pillar and looked around herself, taking in the once-proud temple, which was being swallowed by the surrounding woodslands. There was no record of the civilisation which was responsible for its creation, no one remembered even their name anymore. Instead the land they had once inhabited was wilderness, overrun by animals and plants.

She felt proud for her achievements.

She stared at a marble wall, one of the few still standing. She focused her mind, casting the self of the swallow aside for a moment, and the vines covering the white stone pulsed and grew. They twisted with the rage of the Land and in a loud crash, brought it down. Were swallows able to smile, this one would have.

A group of night elves ran into the ruins, alarmed by the sound of crumbling stone. They saw nothing there, but a bird sitting on a pillar.

She let the self of the elf take over and became one of them. They had been looking the other way, so from their point of view she appeared out of nowhere when they saw her walking toward them. "My friends, we meet again," she announced smiling and spreading her arms as if to embrace them. They were all men; she knew she could convince them to do as she said better in this form. But on the other hand, they were all bandits and brigands and rebels; she knew they would be easy to convince to do as she said in general.

She wasted no time, but spoke immediately after they had taken their hats off in greeting. "You will be troubled by the armies of the Queen no more. I have heard a rumour - a reliable one - that she will be drawing much of them to her capital in preparation for a military campaign against some upstart nation. If you lay your men down for a few weeks, you will get your chance to rise up and seize power from her dictatorial rule in the soldiers' absence."

The elves smiled and nodded and the prophet looked at them. It wasn't hard to guess where Azshara sent her gathered army after it had dealt with Kelani, but these poor people were too desperate, wanting to make a difference, to stop and think about it.

And so the circulation continued: From life to death and death to life. From wilderness to civilisation and civilisation to wilderness. And so long as this kept on, the prophet would be there to help with the last part.
Next up, Zinine.
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Last edited by Kerrah; 10-11-2009 at 02:19 PM..
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Old 07-27-2009, 04:32 AM
Timolas Timolas is offline


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Kerrah, I must say you truly depicted the Prophet in a wonderful manner. I love how you set the stage for the Kelani as well.

My only points I'll make are that by switching the Prophet's gender in writing from he to she proved confusing at first glance, even though I know you were trying to point out that the Prophet is not restricted in such a manner. And he could probably have done without shapeshifting as much with the dark trolls. And finally, it was Mueh'zala instead of Muel.

Nice work, looking forward to the next one.

Last edited by Timolas; 07-27-2009 at 04:56 AM..
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Old 07-27-2009, 05:31 AM
Kerrah Kerrah is offline

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My only points I'll make are that by switching the Prophet's gender in writing from he to she proved confusing at first glance, even though I know you were trying to point out that the Prophet is not restricted in such a manner. And he could probably have done without shapeshifting as much with the dark trolls.
I was originally going to use the pronoun "it" to refer to the prophet during the part told from hir perspective, but that looked retarded.

I admit there was a bit too much transformation mess-around, I realised that during my final read-through, but fixing it would have required a lot of work since the pronouns are tied to it so I let it pass.
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True glory consists in doing what deserves to be written; in writing what deserves to be read; and in so living as to make the world happier for our living in it.

Co-creator of UFS, a joint urban fantasy setting.

Last edited by Kerrah; 07-27-2009 at 05:46 AM..
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Old 07-28-2009, 10:04 PM
Gurtogg_Bloodboil Gurtogg_Bloodboil is offline

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I liked it, especially how you tied it all in to the Warcraft III campaign. Taking a little plot hook and exploring it.

It’ll be good to see the future installments and learn more about the history of the 4 Gods that are at the center of the Great War.
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Old 08-04-2009, 05:06 PM
Rowan Seven Rowan Seven is offline

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An interesting start, and the use of Aszune is a neat touch. I'd practically forgotten about her, and you have me intrigued about how this will tie into that Warcraft III mission. Your take on the Shadowtooth Tribe is compelling as well, though the dark troll "savageness" one would expect from those who live as animals felt somewhat smoothed over. Then again, this was a pseudo-religious gathering so it makes sense for them to be on their "best behavior." I also liked how you didn't reveal what race the gatherers belonged to until later. Considering some of your other stories, I wasn't certain whether this was a troll or early human/Azotha gathering at first. By and large, the prose was good and quite readable, though errors occasionally crop up ("dearly home" instead of "dear home," "Tallepine" instead of Shadowtooth," etc.). And as Timolas said, the pronouns were a bit distracting at times but otherwise you did a great job conveying the Prophet and his mystical nature. So, all in all, a strong beginning.
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Old 08-05-2009, 03:15 AM
Kerrah Kerrah is offline

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An interesting start, and the use of Aszune is a neat touch. I'd practically forgotten about her, and you have me intrigued about how this will tie into that Warcraft III mission. Your take on the Shadowtooth Tribe is compelling as well, though the dark troll "savageness" one would expect from those who live as animals felt somewhat smoothed over. Then again, this was a pseudo-religious gathering so it makes sense for them to be on their "best behavior." I also liked how you didn't reveal what race the gatherers belonged to until later. Considering some of your other stories, I wasn't certain whether this was a troll or early human/Azotha gathering at first. By and large, the prose was good and quite readable, though errors occasionally crop up ("dearly home" instead of "dear home," "Tallepine" instead of Shadowtooth," etc.). And as Timolas said, the pronouns were a bit distracting at times but otherwise you did a great job conveying the Prophet and his mystical nature. So, all in all, a strong beginning.
The Aszune tie was actually Timolas' idea from the time when we planned out these things. At first he was going to make a WC3 map about this subject, but from what I understand he's abandoned the project by now and I felt that the basic plot was too good to pass.

The following four chapters will be all me, so expect a sharp decline in quality.

(PS. Thanks for the typo notes.)

----

If anyone can find a Monty Python reference in that chapter, by the way, they get a pat in the back.
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True glory consists in doing what deserves to be written; in writing what deserves to be read; and in so living as to make the world happier for our living in it.

Co-creator of UFS, a joint urban fantasy setting.
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Old 08-15-2009, 10:07 AM
Inquisitor Inquisitor is offline

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Most impressive. You've made progress from when I was last around. I don't mean to imply that your stuff was bad back then- on the contrary, it has always been good. Now, as Rowan said, this is a very strong beginning with well depicted scenes and few spelling/grammar mistakes.

I look forward to more. I apologize for not providing better feedback. I will endeavor to do so in the future.
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Old 08-15-2009, 10:23 AM
Kerrah Kerrah is offline

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If I can recommend something to you, Inq, there's Blood and Light, my magnum opus, at the end of that link.

It's 292 pages long in MS Works, so I can understand if you say no, though.
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True glory consists in doing what deserves to be written; in writing what deserves to be read; and in so living as to make the world happier for our living in it.

Co-creator of UFS, a joint urban fantasy setting.
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Old 08-15-2009, 10:35 AM
Inquisitor Inquisitor is offline

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If I can recommend something to you, Inq, there's Blood and Light, my magnum opus, at the end of that link.

It's 292 pages long in MS Works, so I can understand if you say no, though.
I'll take a crack at it. Ten pages a day and it's done in a month. I have other projects going on so it may take me longer than that to finish reading it and assembling feedback, but it will be finished eventually.

Mission accepted.
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Old 10-11-2009, 02:08 PM
Kerrah Kerrah is offline

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I'll take a crack at it. Ten pages a day and it's done in a month. I have other projects going on so it may take me longer than that to finish reading it and assembling feedback, but it will be finished eventually.

Mission accepted.
Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto.

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Chapter two
The Ivory Brothers



The legion of soldiers begun to march the snowy road, leaving behind the slain, inhuman cadavers of their enemies. Their swords, lances, halberds and pikes were stained with blood and at the very end of their procession were carried a few hundred dead human bodies, those they had lost in their most recent battle. And yet, the men seemed determined instead of sad.

After the losses from the fight that morning, there were five thousand, eight hundred and thirty-nine of them: nineteen hundred and nine light infantrymen, seventeen hundred and fifty-seven heavy sword-and-buckler-men, eight hundred and ninety-one light cavalrymen, seven hundred and eleven lancers, five hundred and sixty-nine longbowmen...

As well as the general and his brother. They were required by tradition to know the roles of every man working under them, and their family traditions weren't to be lightly ignored.

General Felix Perinany sat on the back of his horse, Plaincrosser, and spoke to his brother, Perrin: "What do you think, how surprised will the Alteracians be when we turn up at their doorstep in the stead of the gnoll warband?"

Perrin merely grunted without speaking. He was always like that, and for a good reason. This time, however, he had another grievance to trouble him: His shield, which their father had made him, had been broken in the battle. He held the two halves in his hands, trying to press them together so it'd appear whole again. The picture of the head of a wolf sneered at Perrin, as if insulting him for letting the shield break. Letting out a curt sigh, the man threw the rent pieces of armour away.

Felix watched one of the pieces fly left and fall next to a gnoll body impaled with its own spear. After the battle had ended, the general had ordered for all the corpses to be cleared from the road and then have their weapons stuck into themselves. It was a gnoll custom of degrading their fallen enemies; they believed that a warrior and his weapon shared a special metaphysical bond, and sticking one into the other was a spit on the dead soldier's honour.

The Perinany Legion rode through the scene they had created and Felix could not help but think of a book he had read as a young man. In it, the hero had walked through an endless field of swords sticking out from the dirt. Though he hadn't really understood what it meant back then, now he thought he did. He anxiously shifted his weight at the saddle and hesitated before speaking to Perrin again.

"Do you think our family's task will ever end?" When his brother gave him a questioning look, Felix continued: "When Severus Perinany was given the responsibility to be humankind's protector, the wizards of Dalaran said it'd last until war was gone from the world. Will our family live like this forever, marching from battle to battle, living on rations and always in haste to sire a son?"

Perrin shrugged. He didn't seem too concerned, so Felix decided to drop the subject. Soon the field of blades was behind them and the road begun to lean upwards. Hopefully they'd reach the city of Alterac before nightfall.



Lord Magnus Kravekat stood on the balcony of his keep and watched over the rooftops of the city of Alterac. He was the monarch of this young kingdom, its capital built on the high mountains in a great valley by his great grandfather. The land lived through the profit of trade: the fair folk in the south sold their wines and grain here in exchange for iron, hides and wool. Some of the trappers and pastors out there accepted the Kravekat family's rule, others didn't. It truly did not matter, as they all had to come to Alterac to sell their goods, whatever the case.

In the ancient times, the Alterraki tribes had shepherded in these mountains, not caring for what took place outside. It had ended when Thoradin came, demanding that all men move to his flat land and bow to him. Some resisted and died, others moved into the foreign environs. Lord Kravekat did not know whether he was related to that ancient race; the studies of his ancestors had merely indicated them to be Maret and Bhelgar nobility. Both tribes had lived in what was now known as the Arathi Highlands. It was a shame, really, because there were people in here who knew their families originated from the Alterraki, and they did not appreciate the rule of a 'foreign' Lord.

Kravekat tore himself away from the unpleasant thoughts and focused on the matter at hand. Looking beyond the dirty hovels, the busy shops, the few larger mansions of the nobility, the fully packed marketplace and the small stone wall, he saw the army marching toward his gates. It was funny, really, that a day ago he'd been told that the gnolls would reach Alterac around sunset and he'd thought he would watch them coming, here on the balcony. It didn't turn out like that, apparently.

Alterac had a great strength compared to most cities of the continent: The land around it had nearly no resources to forage, so invading armies would quickly run out of food. That was how Lord Kravekat had planned to take care of the gnolls: he'd let them siege his city until they starved, and then send his men to finish what was left. Alterac had more than enough spare supplies to survive a few week's siege, and he had sent riders ahead of time to stop traders from walking into the blockading gnolls. Luckily, his city didn't have to live through the invasion, an aiding hand had stopped it.

The riders at the front of the marching army were now fully visible. Where the army of any kingdom would have had the banners of a dozen noble houses flying above their knights, this one had a dozen with the same image: the scarlet raven against a light gray background. The Perinany Legion's heraldry was known, and sometimes feared, across the continent. Under the banners rode the heavy cavalry: some of the only commoners in the world allowed such an honour. Well, assuming the word 'commoner' could be used to refer to any member of the Never-ending Legion.

Accourding to what had once been common knowledge and was naturally now becoming a legend, the Perinany Legion had been birthed two hundred years ago in northern Hesperia. The kingdom of Arathor, whose borders reached near the newborn city of Dalaran, had General Severus Perinany guard their western border with a legion under him. He had received a distress call from the wizards of the city-state, telling him that the trolls of the Ambermill woods were attacking and they would not survive the raid. Against the orders of King Thoradin II, Perinany had abandoned his position and marched to the aid of Dalaran.

Even though exiled from his homeland and discredited from his House, Perinany had shown no regret, saying he was more than willing to sacrifice all he had to save the lives of innocents. Inspired by his chivalry, the founders of Dalaran, some of the original one hundred wizards of humankind, offered his family the power to do such work until war itself was scoured off the face of Azeroth.

From the day on when Severus Perinany accepted the offer, his family, and by an extent the families of every single soldier in his legion, could only sire sons instead of daughters. What was more, the soldiers and their offspring were all magically bound to the leadership of the eldest descendant of the first general. Perinany took a vow to defend the human cities and towns that had rejected the rule of the Arathi and were therefore not under the protection of Arathor's armies. Before his death, his heir repeated the oath, and so did every Perinany since.

Lord Kravekat had not known of the Legion's presence within his very homeland until four hours ago, which made him more than slightly embarrassed. He had not had any scouts in the north, unwilling to potentially waste lives to gain intelligence he considered obvious (namely that the gnolls were marching south).

By now even the end of the army was passing into the valley. The city gates were being opened for the small retinue that had split apart from the heavy cavalry; the general himself was coming to visit Kravekat. The monarch nodded his head, having expected such an event, and turned to enter his room. He had best wear something grand in preparation to the men who had saved his kingdom, as well as prepare ways to test if certain rumours about the latest Perinany were true.



Perrin Perinany sat on his saddle and silently watched the 'city' slip past. The commoners were looking at them in awe, their eyes full of the respecting kind of fear. That was always what happened when they visited a town they'd saved. The general's brother sighed to himself and idly loosened his sword in its scabbard.

He wondered if it was natural to not feel one bit bad for the dozen gnolls he'd slaughtered during battle, but still regret having that shield break. It was so easy to not care for the lives of a bunch of faceless mooks while it was so easy to almost cry about the piece of lifeless metal and wood.

He was shaken out of those thoughts when he saw a girl among the crowd who reminded him of Mina, his wife-to-be. She looked at the riders like everyone else, but she didn't seem afraid. This girl looked curious and puzzled, she was looking because she wanted to know what the incoming riders looked like, not because she wanted to know whether they'd torch her hometown.

Perrin missed Mina greatly then. It'd be at least two more years until he would be allowed to take some time off and go meet her again. Two years seemed like an eternity. The general's brother sighed sadly and shook his head, trying to forget it all and think about the situation here and now.

The town of Alterac was a relatively small place. It'd probably be nothing more than a mountainous village if the area didn't have its profitable iron mines, sheep herds and furred animals. The place was obviously smaller than Strom (any place was small compared to Strom), but it also paled in comparison to southern city-states such as Firezne or Nephers. Anywhere else in the world, this wouldn't constitute the capital of a kingdom.

The houses were small but sturdy, with all their chimneys slowly releasing smoke. The town wall had been exceptionally well made for such a small settlement, though getting good quality stone in a place like this was obviously easier than in most places. The keep Felix was taking them toward didn't seem to have well-manned defences; the local ruler trusted his walls would hold invaders away and the small castle wouldn't be needed.

Perrin had already had to invade and occupy a city of humans once. Ever since, he'd mentally taken notes of defences at every larger settlement he'd visited, just in case. This one wouldn't stand a chance if there ever was a need to attack it.

The Perinany brothers passed the pair of manors beyond which the keep stood. A small group of halberdiers stood in attention on both sides of the road leading to its gate, all dressed in the colours of the banners decorating the building's stone walls, orange and black. The royal family's crest was simple: a swallow flying inside the crescent moon. No real symbolism behind that particular bird came to Perrin's mind at the moment.

Felix brought their company to a halt before they rode between the soldiers. A lone figure stepped directly before the keep's closed gate from amongst the soldiers and unfurled a scroll, reading from it: "Be ye welcome to the home of the Alterraki if ye come with intentions of honour and peace. Salute the people and the land, and they shall host you until you choose to leave."

Perrin didn't really understand. It was a good thing he was never the one who did the talking. Felix made his horse take a step forward and spoke back loudly: "We come with thoughts and hopes as pure as the feathers of a dove, even if our weapons be as dark as the coat of a crow. We salute the Alterraki and their land, and are thankful for their hospitality." To make a point, he took off his helmet and did a slight bow. Perrin and the others followed the example.

The Alterac spokesman smiled and walked out of the way. The castle's gate opened and the Perinany riders led their horses in. A small cadre of stablehands rushed to take in their horses while the armoured men themselves dismounted and followed a servant up a set of stairs. Several corridors and some more stairs took them to the throne room.

It was a grand room, decorated from top to bottom with warm coloured rugs, paintings, pillars, busts of former kings and beautiful courtiers. At the end of it sat a large man in a white fur coat holding a sceptre. Somehow, the same man who had been at the gates when the riders had arrived was now standing beside his king, reading from a new scroll:

"I give you His Highness Lord Magnus Kravekat of Alterac, the King of the Mountains, the Great Father of the Alterraki, the All-knowing Sage of Our Time, the Hero of Humankind."

Kravekat stood up and his visitors knelt down (the others again following Felix's example). He looked at them for a moment and then casually said: "Rise."

Perrin was starting to figure out what was going on. He smiled a little as Felix stepped forth and gave a magnificent boast of his own, using terms as great as the king had. So, the monarch of Alterac had heard ahead of time that Felix Perinany worshipped Muhar and prepared to meet him as he would a fellow Muharist king. That was nice.

"...and the inspiration of a hundred soldier generations to come," Felix finished his description. "I am honoured to be here, milord."

Kravekat smiled now that the formalities (or just the religious formalities) were done with. "I am honoured to have you here. I most sincerely thank you for protecting my people, too." He turned his head to Perrin, who only realised he was expected to speak several moments after it became awkward.

"Excuse my brother," Felix rushed in to help. "He was born mute and can not introduce himself, but allow me..." He coughed and stated: "This is my brother, Perrin Perinany, an invincible warrior and the bane of all who stand in the way of humanity." It was much simpler than what he and the king had used, but Perrin was satisfied enough.

King Kravekat took the whole mute thing in his stride, smiling and nodding at Perrin. He was, however, just a blink too fast in asking Felix: "So, another Brother of Ivory I get the pleasure of meeting. Most delightful."

"Yes," the general spoke, "I did not expect to meet one of my kind here. I had heard most of the people who moved here were Bruxist."

"They have kept their faith from the tribal times," the King said, nodding. "I have faced some conflict between religions once or twice now, but it has gradually died down. The Lightist missionaries from Arathor are making visible progress, so I assume it won't be long until I must face the bitter critique of Golden nobles instead of Maroon ones." He laughed at his own joke, his blond beard gleaming against the light of the nearby candles.

Felix seemed amused as well. "I know your blight. Our father was a Lightist, and he never seemed awfully satisfied with us picking our grandfather's religion over his."

"Ah yes," Kravekat exclaimed. "Lenar Perinany, the most famous Lightist convert of his generation. I remember that when my father heard of it, he said that To Khenan will cease its role in protecting lands outside Arathor and return under the rule of the Thoradins."

While Felix raised an eyebrow and asked what the monarch had meant with 'To Khenan', Perrin smiled, self-satisfied. He remembered enough of their childhood lessons on Tionian to translate the phrase into 'the Legion'. Actually, he was fairly sure that 'Perinany' meant something in that language as well... After all, their family did originate from the steppes of Tionia.

It was funny, actually. Their ancestors before Thoradin's time probably only ever spoke Tionian and did not even know more than few words of Lothian. Then, for the duration of Thoradin's life, humanity had mostly been crammed inside one city, with all the services and education in Lothian. No wonder the language had overpowered its counterpart enough to be widely referred to with the name 'Common' nowadays.

After the King finished explaining the word to Felix, he suggested they move on to dine. "The Alterraki had a proud food culture due to their pastoral lifestyle. You should be pleased with what my chef has produced."



The dinner had indeed been something to be pleased over. Felix stood on a balcony and looked at the snowy town, smoking his pipe. He sighed and thought over the discussions he'd had with King Kravekat.

The door behind him opened and Perrin joined him. The general offered his brother some pipe and then pointed at a manor just near the castle. "Is it just me, or is that the most ugly house we've ever seen a noble live in?"

Perrin examined the building while puffing tobacco for a moment and then nodded his head, smiling. After he gave the pipe back, they fell into a comfortable silence. The full moon on the sky shone brightly.

Felix laughed a little. "I've been thinking recently, and there's something amusing I've noticed. Of the five basic relationships between people listed in the Muhakelan, ours comes closest to the one of an elder brother and younger brother, except that you are the elder brother despite being younger than me."

Perrin shrugged. Despite being nominally a Muharist, he'd never shown much interest in the workings behind the religion. While he would think of the army strengths and defenses of places they visited, Felix was always interested in seeing the little nuances and workings of power in different countries. Alterac was not the vassalage-based monarchy of Arathor, but neither was it the republics of Hesperia. This was something new to him. Felix almost believed that this would one day be the greatest nation of the continent, but he was too cynical to bring himself to think that Arathor would ever lose its power as the greatest country of humankind.

"It don't get much better than this, don't it?" He asked. Perrin shook his head.

Somewhere in the distance, a wolf howled loudly. The brothers smiled and Felix laughed a little.
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True glory consists in doing what deserves to be written; in writing what deserves to be read; and in so living as to make the world happier for our living in it.

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Last edited by Kerrah; 10-11-2009 at 02:25 PM..
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Old 10-26-2009, 12:28 PM
Timolas Timolas is offline


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I'm sorry it took so long to read; but I remembered and got around to it.

I always love what you write, but I admit this is probably my least favourite piece so far. Mostly because it just jumps into a really long history essay, presenting no interest, very little character depth and no plot. I'd just have suggested you present the goal of the Perinany Legion alone as one of the first things, skip Kravekat's perspective, and then list the history once the reader has read enough to care about it.

It was an interesting piece as regards background lore, but it wasn't a rollercoaster. It was hinted at that the Perinany fought some gnolls, and then march into town and the story ends.
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Old 02-26-2011, 06:10 PM
Kerrah Kerrah is offline

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Chapter three is on (probably permanent) hiatus because of creative problems, but here's chapter four for you all.

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Chapter Four
The Maroon Father



The pages of history turn, and ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend inspires lore, and even lore is long forgotten when new legends are given birth. In one era, called the Time of Thoradin by some, an era both significant and meaningless, a wind rose from the mountains overlooking the great highlands. The wind was not the beginning. History does not begin, and neither will it end. But it was a beginning.

It blew down between the snow-covered peaks, slowly descending as it moved east. Over the grasslands covered in hard rime it went, carrying cold air into the deep, dark valleys. As it blew over a certain bluff, it ran into a wall of warmth. Dozens of braziers and campfires were heating the air ahead, keeping the people comfortable. The wind glid onward and passed through a small crowd, entering a ceremonial ring empty except for two men.

Tharn hardly felt the cold wind on his back as he screamed at the top of his lungs and slammed his body against the man in front of himself, grabbing his body and twisting him sideways. The opponent's fingers on his back felt like red hot knives, but Tharn didn't let himself flinch. Pushing the fellow into the ground, he slammed his body on top of him and grabbed his wrists, avoiding frantic kicks. The foe's breath smelled of ale and old, rotten meat.

Hefting himself a bit up, he pressed his knee against the man's hairy chest and said: ”I win.”

The ring of people around them burst into applauds. Tharn stood up and offered his hand to the man he'd just beat, who took it to pick himself on his feet. ”Rematch, Uln?” He asked.

Uln, the chieftain of the Vereka tribe, shook his head. ”Nah. I was never much into wrestling. I'm much better with a weapon.” He bent over to pick up a shirt. Tharn realised that it was actually quite chilly to be in nothing but his pants. Upturning a palm, he caught a snowflake on it.

“By learning to fight by my bare hands, I've made sure I'm never unarmed”, Tharn said softly, flexing his shoulders and cracking his fingers. Hankin, his son, joined him and tried to hand him his coat. Tharn shook his head and turned to the other chieftain. ”How's hunting been?”

Uln scoffed, pulling the shirt over his head. ”You know it's been bad, Tharn. All the game's run off to Gann lands.”

Tharn laughed. ”I guess Brux chased them here. I've had three times the mouths to feed these past few months.” Autumn was always a hard time for hunters, but it was even worse when you had refugees arriving at your home every few days. ”Good to see you, though, Uln. I didn't think you'd come.”

Uln smiled widely and slapped Tharn's back. ”Did you think I'd skip a chance to join you in battle? The last time we fought together... against someone besides each other, I was barely a man and had more fun than any time since.”

Tharn gave a hearty laugh. Back then, he'd have thought it strange to wrestle an old acquaintance before exchanging greetings. He had been young and impatient. ”Did any of those gnolls escape us? I never found out.”

”Not that I know of”, Uln answered and put on a fur cloak. ”I need to see to my tribe for a bit. I guess I'll see you in the meeting.”

Tharn nodded and watched the other man go. Only when he was gone did the red-haired chieftain take a shirt from Hankin. ”Thank you, son”, he said and looked at the dissipating crowd around the wrestling ring. Most of them were from Gann and Vereka, but some members of other tribes had come to see the fight as well.

As Tharn started getting dressed, his son crouched to run his fingers through the dirt in the circle and said: ”When this is done, will the foreigners leave our lands?”

”We'll see, Hankin”, the chieftain replied calmly. ”If I have my way, we're leaving with them.”

”I can't believe you want to fight the Cult head on”, Hankin said passive-aggressively. ”You've always thought it's best if we stay on our land and let everyone else worry about their own business. Why are you the first to talk politics now?”

As Tharn sat down to pull on his socks and boots, he shook his head. ”With the Cult gaining strength, I want the next man I kill to be one of them. I like fighting most of the people I've invited here, and our battles have often been necessary, but right now, we need to unite our forces. Just like with those gnolls when you were a child, there's a threat too big for any tribe to face by themselves.”

Hankin nodded his head, and yet his expression said he didn't really understand. “It's just too... too much like something an Ivorist would do.”

At that, the father gave a hearty laugh. He decided to not speak his mind though. Soon the two of them walked upward, onto the edge of the valley. Uln was the last tribe leader invited to arrive, and the meeting could be had as soon as everyone was ready. Tharn inhaled some more of the cold air and looked around himself. The small camp his tribe lived in had by now grown into something more.

First there had been the refugees from the east, running from the Cult. Their numbers had grown the village gradually. Some of the worshippers of Muhar had even started farming outside the valley last summer, which had confused most of the Gann greatly, since they did not understand such a practise. Now all the chieftains who had come here had brought their warriors with them as well. They had set up temporary tents on the edge of the more permanent residences. All in all, there were perhaps eight thousand people here. It was more men in one place than Tharn had ever heard of assembled.

Climbing above a bluff, he watched the distant south. A couple of tribes lived in the swamps on the other side of the gorge, but there was no easy way to contact them on such a short notice. But that was not what he was looking at. Directly south of the valley was a great cliff, rising above the ocean. No tribe had settled there, not since since one long ago whose tents had been struck by lightning. It was considered holy ground, watched over by the Gods, now, and called the Storm Cliff, Stromgaard in the tongue of the western tribes.

The chieftain turned his eyes away from the far-off geographical feature and instead looked at the people gathered nearby. They were in a small opening, knee-deep in tall, dead grass. A withered tree stood behind them, with a single bird drooping on a branch. They were seven tribe-leaders and an Azure mystic. The farthest people represented were some Viridians who lived on the forests of the mountains north of the lands of the Westers. The Alterraki had refused the call, unfortunately. Each man (and the female mystic) was accompanied by a second. Most, like Tharn, had chosen their firstborn sons.

“Eighteen of us there are”, he said loudly, joining the rest of them. He idly noted that he was the only person present besides the Azures to not carry a weapon. As if having read his father's mind, Hankin handed over a spear. “Nine peoples we represent. One enemy we face.”

“Thoradin”, Uln said grimly. He had his hands crossed and a large sword strapped to his back. Apparently, whatever business he'd had with his family had not taken long.

Sher Cattan, a frail, old chieftain, Ivory from the northwest, shook his head. “I'm still to be convinced that it's worth it to make war on this man and his cult.” Tharn hoped Hankin was not showing his approval for that doubt. Cattan continued: “He says he wants unification. He wants humanity as a single nation. That sounds to me like what Muhar preaches. Why should my tribe fight against it?” He stood tall, bold around people who look ready to kill him for speaking such things. Despite his weak appearance, he was a very brave man.

Byna Snakebite, chieftain of the horse-tamers, the Uliren, spat onto the ground. “If I captured all the wild animals of the world in cages, it would not be a good thing, would it? He has no right to make us his prisoners!” Her red hair flowed around a little in the wind as she looked fiercely toward Cattan.

Khaine Alttuul of the Highwind tribe nodded his head and asked: “I have heard rumours that the Cult takes the women and children of defeated tribes as slaves. Is this true?”

“Something like that”, Uln answered and scratched his stubbly jaw. “Thoradin gives them the options of joining his tribe or dying like their warriors did. And when they choose death, he refuses to have them executed. He is a coward.”

The other shared looks. The Viridian chieftain, Zha'ginev was his name, gave Uln a despising look. He was very long and lean, with a wild beard and vivid blue eyes. It was hard to say how old he was. “Perhaps this false prophet merely respects life. Better that these tribesmen live on as slaves than that they are slaughtered for no reason.”

Before the argument could progress any more, Tharn lifted a hand, summoning silence. He licked his dry lips, looking around. For weeks now, he had been thinking of how to say this, but now it all seemed to come out without restraint as he opened his mouth to speak: “I know that Thoradin's motives are less honourable than he claims. I know... because I am his motive.”

Tharn shouted wildly, swinging his axe at an Ivory tribesman running up to face him. As he felled the man, he saw a frightened woman run out of a tent with two children, a boy and a girl. The girl looked at the slain man and screamed: “Papa!” She pulled off from her mother's grasp and ran toward Tharn.

The mother let go of her son and pushed him forward, into the woods, screaming: “Go, Thoradin!” Then she turned around to pursue her daughter, never looking back at the boy who was vanishing into the darkness.

Tharn lifted his axe. One chop, and the girl was down. Another, and the mother lay in the grass, next to her husband and child. The son had gotten away. The wolves would get him. Tharn turned around and ran to join the others.


“I killed his family. Erina, my sister, had ran away with a man from his village and they refused to send her back... It was a night-time raid. Me and my tribesmen were young and full of ale. Slaughtering the lot of them was a foolish thing to do.” He looked at the others. Their expressions ranged from disgusted to surprised to understanding. “He was the only one that got away, I think. They weren't expecting us.”

Zha'ginev stepped forward and spoke: “A violent reaction for a perceived wrongdoing. And now he is repaying with equal disproportion. You wish for us to fight for your cause, knowing that this is nothing but a vendetta?”

“No”, Tharn replied without any doubt in his voice. “That is not what I mean. Thoradin's threat to all of us is very real, but his stated motive for this war is a lie. He does not clash against our tribal way of life because he thinks it'd be better for us all to live as a nation like the Elves; he just lost his own tribe due to a feud and feels his life ruined by the existence of separate clans. He isn't really the bringer of some new faith, the Light, that is truer than the way of the Gods; he simply lost his Muharist tribe to my Bruxist one and had to live with the Mnesthian Arathi who shunned him for his origins. He just doesn't trust the Gods so he wants to replace them! We can not trust our future to the tantrums of a young man I wronged!”

He took a deep breath and tried to calm himself. Rage and upset was reserved for battles. Shaking his head, he looked at everyone in turn. “I have listened to the refugees' stories of this so-called prophet. His actions scream of trauma and revenge. Who knows what he'll do if he becomes King or some such? Perhaps he'll start hunting down my family line in revenge. Perhaps he'll try to force his own faith down everyone's throat. We can not trust him not to.”

Silence fell onto the opening. The bird on the branch of the tree took flight eastward. Ever so slowly, the leaders lifted their hands beside their heads, each saying: “My tribe and yours, allied for now. Our foes be gone.” It was a simple ceremony, but most rites that every god's follower shared were like that.

Giving a relieved sigh, Tharn started lifting his hand. However, he was cut off when Hankin stepped forward and cleared his throat. “Stop, father. Before you make this decision, I challenge you into battle over chieftainhood. In a crisis like this, the Gann deserve a better man than he who caused the problem in the first place.”

The father's mouth opened in shock. Was this truly happening? Everyone else let out surprised noises. Hankin looked a little nervous, but determined, perhaps even angry at his old man. Tharn turned to face his offspring. “I accept.” If he hadn't, he would have given away his title by default.

Uln stepped in front of the two. “I will be your witness. And as an aside, I will be disinclined to ally myself with the Gann if they are led by someone without any experience in being a chieftain.” That made Hankin blush slightly, but he ignored the comment.

Byna, the female chieftain, smirked a little. “According to tradition, the father should be given a day to prepare since he already battled Uln today, but I assume he'll ignore that privilege.”

Tharn ignored her. “Son”, he started, his voice quiet but strong. “I let that young boy live twenty years ago and it came back to haunt me. I don't intend to repeat my mistake.”

Hankin didn't seem surprised by the promise, but it still made him snarl a little. He spoke back in a furious whisper which everyone heard: “Don't expect me to do the same for you. If you're right about Thoradin, there's a chance he'll leave us alone in exchange for you.”

“He won't”, Tharn said. “But enough words. To the ring.” He stood back and fingered the spear in his hand a bit before turning back toward the valley. In a proper duel both combatants were allowed three weapons. He'd fought alongside his son enough times to know Hankin would pick an axe, a sword and a knife. As the entire group of leaders walked back down the slope, Tharn emptied his mind. Thinking things through too much would just lower his performance.

As they stopped next to the ring, Khaine Alttuul of the Highwind tribe stepped forward and eyed the two would-be combatants. “Is this how Bruxists deal with their problems, then? Is this how the Maroon Warlord encourages the solving of issues amongst family members?”

Tharn spat into the grass, planted his spear there and started removing his coat once more. “Better one of us die today than both of us live years in hate”, said the father while his son silently walked off to get three weapons. Besides, he had two other sons and a daughter. His line was not going to die out with his firstborn.

Soon Tharn was once more barechested, wiggling his toes in the sand beneath his feet. He was holding the spear, with a knife at his belt and a shield in his left arm. Most people didn't count a shield as a weapon, but they hadn't learned to fight the right way. Hankin returned with the predictable weapons and walked into the ring. He threw off his coat, but kept on his shirt and shoes. Someone spoke, but by this point there was no avoiding the violence. Tharn and Hankin stared at each other for a moment before charging at each other.

Everyone who had fought with or against Tharn in the last fifteen years knew his skill with the spear was truly frightful, so it came as a surprise that Hankin didn't try to get rid of the polearm as soon as possible. As Tharn thrust it, his son tried the riskier tactic of rolling under and stabbing at his stomach from the below. The chieftain let go of the shaft with his left hand and slammed his wooden shield at Hankin's face, buying himself enough time to step back.

Hankin used his left hand to bring himself back on his feet, and before he even had time to steady himself, he was charging Tharn with the sword at hand. The father kept dancing backwards, buying himself time. Though he would still have to stay inside the ring... Suddenly digging his feet into the sand, he brought down his spear to skewer his son.

Hankin's dodge was half a blink too late and the blade of the spear cut his side, causing blood to spurt out onto the sand. Tharn blocked the sword with his shield, only to find Hankin using his left hand to pull the spear off his grip. Making a hasty decision, the father spun away from his son, trying to twist the weapon out of the younger man's grasp.

Hankin won that contest, ripping the spear for himself and throwing it off the ring. Before he'd regained his balance, Tharn was at him, stabbing the knife furiously. His movements were a bit jerky due to the wound he'd took from that spear.

Tharn saw it coming whole two seconds before it happened. Hankin parried a stab with his sword and grabbed his axe with his free hand. When he brought it up, it was met by his father's shield, which sent the weapon flying off. The two men's eyes met, full of icy fury. Tharn took the distraction of that moment to make another attack with his knife, catching Hankin's fingers and causing him to drop the sword. The spectators all gasped, sure the battle was over already.

Hankin crouched down, pushed his father in the chest and kicked his knee. Of course, the knee. He knew Tharn's old injury, and he couldn't be blamed for abusing it. A spike of burning pain ran through the old man's body, causing him to recoil. He saw the knife come out, and knew he had to get out of range now.

Rolling backwards in the sand, he breathed hoarsely, trying to block out the pain that movement was causing to his knee. Hankin was kneeling over the pick up the weapons. Tharn steadied himself and threw his knife. This was his last chance to win easily.

The blade sank in Hankin's chest, making him howl painfully, but it was not a killing blow. Not yet. The son slowly pulled the weapon out, threw it off the ring, and picked his sword and axe up. He was bleeding from his side, his hand and his chest, and yet he'd keep fighting. “You've lost, father. You have no weapon.”

Tharn slowly stood up. The pain from the knee pulsed in him, stronger than his heartbeat, filling him with the essence of battle. “I am a weapon.”

The two of them charged at each other, Hankin slashing the axe and sword together at Tharn, who backstepped at the last moment and then rushed forward. He grabbed his son's wrists to keep his weapons at bay while headbutting the boy in the face. There was a sickening crunch when the nose broke, and the chieftain felt blood spill on his face. His own blood, in a way.

Hankin pulled back and tried to ready his weapons once more, only to have his father step forward and knee him in the midsection. His breath knocked out of him, riddled with pain, he had no chance when Tharn pulled the weapons from his hands and threw them out of the ring. Letting out a bloodthirsty gurgle from his throat, the boy pulled out his knife.

Tharn stepped forward and punched Hankin's throat. A blank, shocked look came on the son's face as his windpipe was crushed. In one last attempt at defiance, he stabbed where the punch had come from, blinded by his own blood, hitting only thin, cold air. He fell on his face, twitching, and after a few more moments even that movement stopped.

Tharn stood tall, breathing deeply and staring at his son's back. Everyone was dead silent. He felt like he was going to be sick from the pain of his knee. Only the icy wind and the occasional snowflake made it any less worse. He took the deepest breath he remembered ever taking and said: “The Gann tribe will join the others in figthing the Cult.”

Uln slowly walked into the ring, quickly checking Tharn for external wounds. After having found none, he slapped his friend's back and said: “You killed him well.” Some of the others watching murmured their approval as well.

Shaking his head, Tharn turned to face the lot of them, trying to keep his deep grey eyes stern. “We'll make our stand at Storm Cliff. Prepare to move your peoples south as soon as Thoradin comes here.”

The others gasped, sharing looks with each other. “What?” Asked Zha'ginev, outraged. “Why blaspheme the Gods whose glory we strive to protect?”

Sher Cattan looked in the general direction of the proposed battle site. “And besides, by going there we will only lock ourselves in a place that we can't escape should they surround it. There will be little food there. Thoradin doesn't have to fight us, when he can just make us starve.”

Tharn shook his head and gestured wildly with one hand to emote as he spoke: “Trust me, Thoradin won't do that. He wants to prove that his way is mightier than our ways, and he wants to defeat me. He won't get that satisfaction by sitting still and watching us die of hunger. He's going to charge us as soon as he gets there. On the cliff, we will be in a superior position, and we'll have a chance to flank him. And as for the Gods... if the Gods know what's best for them, they'll wait until after the battle to punish us for this transgression.” Stepping forward, he bent over to grab a handful of sand stained with his son's blood. With a little grunt he threw it in the air and watched the red specks fly south along the wind.

“Who is with me?” He asked. “And who wants to go home and pray that I win without them?” Staring everyone in the eyes, he waited for their words.



It did not take even a week until the camp heard of Thoradin's approach and started moving south. On the way, they sang of death and honour.
I had a really hard time writing the fight scene because I knew I couldn't injure Tharn badly, lest it be implausible that he'd fight in the upcoming battle versus Thoradin, but I had to make the fight feel even.
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Old 02-26-2011, 06:55 PM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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What the... You're still alive?! It's been a while.

Anyway, I wanted to ask how you can call the fight even when Tharn comes out with no superficial wounds. Granted, the bad knee would be just as crippling in a battle. Meh. You built this forum: you can do whatever you want.
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Old 02-27-2011, 02:49 AM
Kerrah Kerrah is offline

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I couldn't make Tharn win by a hair, and I didn't want to, either, but I still didn't want to make him win effortlessly either.

I should probably have had him suffer some injuries, but done is done.

Thanks for your feedback.

Stay tuned for Chapter Five, which will be abuot Thoradin. With any luck, I'll have it out this decade.
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Old 02-27-2011, 12:25 PM
Gurtogg_Bloodboil Gurtogg_Bloodboil is offline

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Interesting take on Thoradin’s origins, not what I would have anticipated. Kind of a messianic figure for the Light, I suppose. It took the onus of being conquerors off his tribe, the Arathi, and placed it more on the religion he was spreading (which I assume the Arathi embraced). I would have assumed him to have just been Arathi nobility but this way characterizes a more difficult rise to power.

Though wasn’t the primary motivation of uniting the human tribes to form a united front against the aggressive trolls?

It was also cool how you (intentionally or not) characterized the early Holy Light worshippers as a cult the same way the tidbit in Lands of Conflict did.
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Old 03-01-2011, 11:47 AM
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As I said on MSN, great dialogue and characterization and I was also impressed at the son turning on the father, which was unexpected and really characterized the Bruxists.
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Old 03-01-2011, 12:21 PM
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Like I said to you through msn when I read only the frist three paragraphs and when I finished reading it. Fantastic Kerrah your writting has really improved over the time, and despite it seems you haven't written in a long time you still have that magic touch that I love.

I am also glad, atleast I feel this was written with love.
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Old 03-01-2011, 01:22 PM
Kerrah Kerrah is offline

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Interesting take on Thoradin’s origins, not what I would have anticipated. Kind of a messianic figure for the Light, I suppose. It took the onus of being conquerors off his tribe, the Arathi, and placed it more on the religion he was spreading (which I assume the Arathi embraced). I would have assumed him to have just been Arathi nobility but this way characterizes a more difficult rise to power.

Though wasn’t the primary motivation of uniting the human tribes to form a united front against the aggressive trolls?

It was also cool how you (intentionally or not) characterized the early Holy Light worshippers as a cult the same way the tidbit in Lands of Conflict did.
My inspiration for telling the origin of the Church of Light like this was the thought: "Would Kenzuki be so biased in favour of the Holy Light if it wasn't so obviously Christian, and was instead, say, Muslim." That led to the idea that Thoradin, while uniting the humans as a nation, also united them religiously, like Muhammed did.

I'll try to avoid any further allegory regarding this connection, lest the fic become opinionated, crass or inaccurate.

I admit I kind of lost my sight of the trolls in coming up with this story. I'm gonna try to explain why they weren't mentioned by the pagans in the fifth chapter without it being too obvious an excuse. We'll see how that turns out.

Also, no, I did not know that the RPG materials have ever addressed the origins of the Church of Light.

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As I said on MSN, great dialogue and characterization and I was also impressed at the son turning on the father, which was unexpected and really characterized the Bruxists.
I wish I could have given the Muharists some characteristic that would make them memorable. In retrospect, maybe making them stick to their family even when it leads to their own destruction might have been a nice angle to aim for.

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Like I said to you through msn when I read only the frist three paragraphs and when I finished reading it. Fantastic Kerrah your writting has really improved over the time, and despite it seems you haven't written in a long time you still have that magic touch that I love.

I am also glad, atleast I feel this was written with love.
Actually, when I started writing it, my main thought was: "This will be the manliest fanfic chapter I've ever written." I don't have any specific love for the Bruxists, though some of the elements that they're surrounded with are really fun to write of.

I'm glad that you all liked it. I'll try to take less than half a year for my next update.
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Old 08-29-2011, 01:37 PM
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Oh hey, it took three days less than half a year to finish Chapter Five.

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Chapter Five
The Golden Dawn




Opening his eyes, Thoradin shook his head and sat up. He was drenched in sweat, as he always was after waking up from one of his dreams. Staggering out of his bed, he almost fell face-first into the nearby wash bin. The water was pleasantly cool when he splashed it on his face. Picking a towel, he pressed it against his face for a half-minute, trying to commit every detail of his dream in his mind.

Finally, he put the towel away and walked nearby, grabbing writing supplies. He started writing on a scroll, mouthing the words as he did. “Tonight, like often before, I was gifted with a vision in a dream by the Holy Light, which shines upon me and the rest of my people. As always, in the vision the Light took form as a tall, pale-skinned man with bright eyes and great wings expanding from his back, made of glittering crystals that chimed and reflected sunlight, causing his surrounding to be filled with melodic sounds and an otherworldly glow. In my first vision, when I asked him what he was called, he said he was nothing but a dream. I have chosen to call him Naaru in my mind and writings, for that is the word for dreams in the western tongue.”

He took a pause as he had to adjust the scroll to make room for further writing symbols, and to rest his hand. He had only learned how to write a year ago, and it still took considerable concentration for him to do it. Some of the more learned Arathi told him he often misspelled words, too, but it did not matter so long as the text was understandable. He turned to the tent flap and called out: “I have awoken. Please ask someone to bring me breakfast.” One of the guards outside grunted and walked off.

Turning back to the scroll, Thoradin wrote what Naaru had told him tonight. It was hard to put some of it to words. Sometimes when he thought hard, he seemed to remember no words being spoken at all, but rather just ideas and images appearing in his mind as he stood before the dream-messenger. Finally, after he had gone through what he remembered, he furled the scroll tight and sealed it with wax. Around the same time, a servant brought his breakfast.

Ria was a captured warrior of one of the defeated Bruxist clans. Rather than be executed, she had chosen to swear fealty to the Arathi and serve as she was ordered for three years, so long as she was not forced to join battle against Thoradin's other enemies. She wore thick linen clothes and had her grown her hair long, making her look so unlike her former Bruxist warrior-self that it was sometimes hard to remember she'd slain two of Thoradin's soldiers before being captured. It didn't help that she was twice Thoradin's age.

“Good morning, chieftain”, Ria said and put a bowl of warm soup, a spoon, a pewter mug and a pitcher of water down on the ground, next to the rug Thoradin was sitting on. “It's snowing outside. I recommend putting on a cloak.”

“Thank you for the food. I don't see you wearing a cloak, though”, Thoradin said and started eating.

“I can stand the cold. When I was your age, my father would send me and my little brother to hunt a boar during the first snowfall of the year, wearing nothing but our breeches, shirts and boots, and armed with nothing but a single javelin, which we had to share.” Ria could change between being a motherly figure and a grumpy elder with ease. It often made Thoradin chuckle, though he tried to hide it.

Pouring himself water, the young man stared at the scroll he'd sealed for a moment and asked: “What news during the night?”

Ria walked through the tent while she spoke. She always seemed to be edgy, inside, like she was afraid that the tent would fall on her if she sat down. “The under-chiefs need you to make the decision for two groups of people. One is a clan who arrived last night to negotiate joining the Arathi, while the others are enemy scouts, captured in battle.” Her voice was a bit strained. She was like that every time she spoke of Thoradin's enemies, since her own clan had been an enemy before being conquered.

“I'll see to them in a few minutes”, Thoradin said as he finished his soup. “Please leave me.” She did as told, and he started shaving. Mirrors were no rare thing among the human chieftains, but Thoradin had something no other man did. The blade he held in his hand reflected light almost as well as the mirror itself, and despite its lack of care, it never went dull. The prophet had initially cut his face many a time with the blade after he'd received it as a gift from the elves he'd met in the north. They had used magic to make it.

Magic. Thoradin's forehead wrinkled in thought as he shaved. The devotees of Zinine possessed that elusive power, and yet they refused to share. Keeping whatever they learned only to themselves and their apprentices was a holy mission to them. They certainly considered their arcane arts too important to sell to the highest bidder, or give to a chieftain. The elves had spoken of “human-magic” with disgust, like a Bruxist scoffing at the war-arts of Muharists, but the fact was that any magic was better than none at all.

After wiping his shaving-blade and putting it away, the prophet dressed himself. Originally, he had worn simple, earth-coloured clothes to signify that he was more of a messenger than a leader, but the outfits his followers had made for him were very beautiful. He would feel like he was insulting their work if he chose to not wear the gifts he'd been given. He chose an outfit made of the smooth wool of mountain-goats, with with a handsome black and yellow overcoat. Before leaving, he grabbed the Sceptre of Light from a rack next to the tent entrance.

Outside, he surveyed his camp. He often compared it to an ants nest in his mind, and he meant that in the best way possible. Ants were busy creatures, always accomplishing things and never fighting one another. The two guards hailed him as he walked past them, and then started following him. They were former Bruxists who had converted to the Light, and had painted a golden sceptre on their shields to announce their faith. To speak the truth, the item was an ages-old symbol of the Arathi chieftains, and had nothing to do with the Light, but the newcomers of the clan had fixated on it and chosen it as the symbol of Thoradin's new religion. It wasn't even golden in reality, but made of bronze.

Very few had converted, thus far. Thoradin had to make clear that he was a chieftain first, and a prophet second, in order to keep the peace. If people thought he was going to force them to abandon their Gods, he would die within an hour. Once humanity was gathered together, he could show them the Light. If they only listened, they would see the flaws of their Gods, and join his flock. Nobody would have to be forced.

At the bottom of the hill, he met the under-chiefs. They consisted of the family of the previous chieftain of the Arathi and some of the chieftains who had joined Thoradin out of their own will. When they saw the prophet, they bowed their heads and greeted him. “Well met, chieftain.” Everyone here was Arathi, so there could be only one chieftain. Thoradin had created the title of under-chief to help lead such an unprecedented, large clan.

“Well met”, he spoke to them and stood there, with his hands behind his back and the two converts at his sides. They planted their spears to the grass, and held their shields at their sides. “Ria told me that someone wishes to join the clan. Is is a deserter from the enemy's force?”

“No, chieftain. A small hunter clan from the southern reaches of the highlands has come to join you. They seem to be under the impression that if we had reached them before they reached us, we would have slaughtered the lot.” Faral Trollslayer was a tall man with a grim face, but a very powerful bearing. He always got straight to the point, and something about him made it obvious he was a born leader. He was a great warrior, and it was hard to remember that he came from a Zininist family.

Thoradin frowned a bit at Faral's words. This happened all too often. Truth be told, he did not want to give anyone an option about joining, but neither did he want to kill people who refused. Thus, he tried to think about the executions as little as possible, and tried as hard as he could to press people if they said no. “Bring their chief to me, please.”

“Yes, chieftain”, Faral said and left after bowing. His chainmail shirt rattled as he moved.

Connor, the eldest son of the former Arathi chief, cleared his throat and said: “We also captured a small group of enemy scouts. They are nine in strength. Three of them died during the skirmish, and they killed two of our men.” Judging by his tone of voice, someone he knew had been killed.

Thoradin stared down on Connor (which was hard, considering he was almost a head shorter than the warrior) and said: “Keep them chained until we've defeated their clans. If they do not swear fealty after they lose their war...” He did not finish the sentence. He did not like speaking the words that would follow, and he knew that some of his followers thought him a weakling because of it.

A silence fell to the ring of people. Connor and his younger brother shared a few words, while their father made a point of ignoring the matter. Corinus Montium, the first chieftain to have joined the Arathi willingly, and the most pious Lightist convert thus far, gave Thoradin a little supportive smile. He had painted the Sceptre on the front of his leather chestplate. Seeing him always cheered the prophet up.

After a few more moments, Faral Trollslayer returned alongside and old man with limbs so thin it was surprising he could even support his weight. He had a long, white heard and a bald head, and was bent forward. Yet, he walked without a walking stick, and easily managed to outpace the under-chief escorting him.

The chieftain stopped in the middle of the ring of people, and looked at each one of them. His eyes were squinted, as if it were a bright summer day. Finally, he turned to Thoradin and said: “I suppose you're the prophet.”

“You are right”, Thoradin said, keeping his hands folded behind his back. “I am Thoradin, the chieftain of the Arathi.”

The old man nodded. “I'm Jocan, the chieftain of the Cliffclimbers. Pleased the meet you.”

Thoradin could feel the guard at his right tensing up to punch the man for his lack of respect. He laid a hand on the soldier's shoulder and whispered: “Calm down, Siegfried.” Turning back to the chieftain, he pretended nothing had happened. “Well met, Jocan of the Cliffclimbers. I understand you have come to swear fealty and join your clan with mine.”

Jocan spat onto the grass nonchalantly and asked: “Or else you'll kill us all?”

“I would prefer that no one suffered that fate”, Thoradin said simply. “But if it comes to that, each man and woman will choose their own answer to my request individually. I refuse to let a chieftain dictate this for each of their people.” He tried to keep his voice steely and strong, but wasn't sure if it was working.

The old man nodded thoughtfully and muttered just loud enough to be heard: “I doubt anyone has joined you after hearing that you had their chief executed, though.”

Thoradin's patience was finally wearing thin. Barely restraining his irritation, he pronounced: “You would be surprised. But I have much business to attend to yet today. Please name your choice, Jocan of the Cliffclimbers.”

There was a long, tense moment where the two men stared at each other, trying to judge each other's worth. Finally, Jocan straightened his back a bit and said, in a much clearer voice than before. “Honestly, why do you want to unite the tribes?”

Thoradin stood tall, but he finally turned his eyes elsewhere. He watched the camp spreading around them. “This is a response to what the trolls are doing.”

“I'm sorry, what?” The prophet felt a little tinge of pleasure from having finally caught the chieftain out of balance.

“He speaks the truth”, Corinus said grimly. “I first ran into the Arathi when frequent troll attacks drove my clan south from Northeron. The troll tribes are uniting their forces. After joining forces with Thoradin, we rescued many clans, but too many stayed up there and died.”

Jocan frowned and fingered the hem of his shirt. “Why do I not know of this? All I have ever been told is this... cult.”

“We tried warning the people of the Highlands about the trolls, initially”, Thoradin spoke and crossed his hands across his chest. “The trolls are a distant thing, here. They live far away, and few people have even seen one. Word of imminent threat from them simply does not carry as much weight as it should.”

“Well, it certainly worries me”, Jocan said and ran his hand over his balding scalp. “My grandfather fought trolls, and I had nightmares of his stories about them for years. Do you swear that what you tell of their danger is true?”

Thoradin stepped down from the hill-slope, coming face-to-face with the other chieftain. He felt momentarily annoyed that he was of equal height with the old, bent man. “I promise on the souls of my parents, that I do not lie.”

“Then you have my loyalty, and that of my clan.” The man looked a bit pained, kneeling down, but he was swift about it. “Until my death, whether it be by sword or illness, I hereby swear to be loyal and loving, your subject forever.”

Thoradin was about to say something, when suddenly he saw a caped figure from the corner of his eye. Throwing himself to the grassy ground, he heard a sound as something flew over his head. The under-chiefs surrounding him sprang into action, shouting and drawing weapons. Jocan fell next to Thoradin, an arrow sticking out of his chest.

The prophet sat up and cradled the old man, fingering the haft of the arrow, trying not to twist it in the wound. The man was still alive. “I'm sorry”, Thoradin whispered and closed his eyes. “You did not deserve this.”

Suddenly, he felt elevated, heightened. He knew this feeling, though he had never felt it while awake before. He felt like he was talking to Naaru. Opening his eyes, he saw his hands aflame with golden glow, and somehow, instinctively, he knew what to do. He forced his will down, focusing on the wound, and before his eyes the arrow burned away, and the wound closed itself. The others around him – those who had not ran after the assassin – gasped and stared.

The glow vanished, and Jocan gasped, pushing his fingers against where the wound had been. “Uhhh...” He stared down at his bloodied chest, and fainted. His heart was still racing, and he breathed, but the shock had knocked him unconscious.

Thoradin laid the chieftain on the grass and stood. “It's a miracle!” Corinus cried. “The Light brings salvation to those who believe! Arrows and swords are powerless in the face of the Divine!”

The prophet slowly nodded. He wasn't sure about what had just happened, but there was no other explanation. Siegfried was approaching him, holding a sneaky-looking man by the neck. “Just... interrogate him, or get rid of him... I don't care”, he said and turned to leave, refusing to look at the prisoner. “After being visited by the Light, I don't want to deal with that kind of scum.”

He left the opening. Siegfried and the other guard quickly handled the prisoner to someone else before following him. He heard Corimus say something, but couldn't catch the words. Right then, he wished he could shoo the guards away as well. He wanted to be alone.







”Papa!” Claudia screamed as she and Thoradin watched the brute strike down their father, and ran toward him. Thoradin felt frozen in fear, watching the hulking man who was heading toward them. In mere moments, he would be upon Claudia.

“Go, Thoradin!” Mother shouted and pushed him toward the forest before turning to try and save Claudia. Surprising himself, Thoradin ran toward the forest. Behind his back, he heard the screams of his sister and mother.

He stopped at the first tree, peeking from behind it. The man with the axe stared down on Thoradin's family, all of them bloodied and unmoving. Without pity, or guilt, he turned and ran deeper into the village, to go find others.

Thoradin ran into the forest, tears flowing down his cheeks.


With a shout, Thoradin sat up, a hand flying to cover his sweaty face. This wasn't the first time he'd had that dream. Not by far.

As he scrambled toward his washbin, he wished that he knew which clan it was that had killed his. Not for revenge, of course, just... just for closure. Not knowing was the worst, because he could never know whether that man from his dream had come to justice.

Ria poked her head in through the tent flap. “Everything all right, chieftain?”

“Yes, Ria, thank you for your concern. Just... bad memories”, Thoradin spoke before washing his face to rid it of the sweat.

“It's still three hours until the battle”, Ria said. “Are you absolutely sure you do not want to join your troops?” She was very obviously criticising his choice. Raised a Bruxist, she had a hard time respecting a leader who did not join combat.

Thoradin chuckled a bit as he dried his face. “I'm not a warrior. I never was.”

Ria sniffed a bit and said: “You fought in person against my former clan.” She no longer held even the slightest pretence of humility toward him.

“I spent most of that fight swinging my sword at the air, hoping it'll scare off enemies from attacking me”, Thoradin said sardonically and picked himself up from the floor. “I am not being a coward, I am being a realist. It is better for everyone if I stay out of battle.”

“And that... trick you performed on Under-chief Jocan yesterday? Would that be worth nothing to your followers?” Ria had now stepped fully into the tent. For the first time in months, Thoradin felt conscious about being in nothing but his underthings in front of the woman.

“I'm not sure how it happened. I don't know if it'll happen again...” He muttered hesitantly as she took another step toward him. “The dogma of Light that I deliver preaches to avoid conflict, and to embrace peace. What if the Light forsakes me once I enter a battle on the side of the attackers?”

“I don't know about the Light, chieftain”, she said silently, but fiercely. “But I know what a good man is, and if a good man has power such as yours, he uses it rather than hesitating. And if the Light you worship denies you the power to save lives, then it is no Light anyone should follow.”

He turned to look into her deep blue eyes. “When did you become so wise, Ria?”

She shrugged. “Perhaps I was always wise, but you only listened to me now, chieftain.”

He wanted to step toward her, but found himself so close that there wasn't enough room. Instead, he embraced her and kissed her deeply. He felt her hands on his back, and then intelligent thought fled him.







Walking in the battlefield, Thoradin looked at the dead bodies and frowned. He had gone with Ria's suggestion, which in turn had made her swear to be his loyal subject for good, rather than just his captive, bound by honour to do as told. She had saved his life from an enemy in the battle, for the first time using a weapon in his name.

The world was changing, today, and she was just the smallest part of it. Corinus had wielded the Light to heal the wounded as well.

There were others walking among the casualties of war at Storm Cliff. Some were seeking wounded amongst the dead, and some were searching for valuables to steal from those who no longer had use for them. Thoradin pretended to search for wounded, but in truth, he looked at the faces of the slain closely.

“Chieftain”, Ria started. Ever since this morning, her voice was much more gentle to him than it was before. “You will not find the face from your dreams here. Please, this is a day of great triumph to you. Let go.” She spoke softly enough to not be overheard by the others. The two honour-guards kept their distance to allow the two of them privacy.

Thoradin hesitated for a moment, and then sighed. “Very well. Let's return to the under-chiefs.”

They walked for a long while, dodging bodies and trying not to slip on the bloody grass. Thoradin looked over his shoulder, at the view down the cliff, south into the sea. “Before you joined us, Ria, we visited an elf settlement in Northeron. They had buildings made of stone, that could not be moved from one place to another.”

Ria scoffed. “Sounds like something a Muharist might enjoy.”

“According to legend, this cliff is under the protection of the Gods themselves”, Thoradin said thoughtfully. “Perhaps I can prove the might of the Light by settling our clan here.”

She did not seem impressed by the idea. “Only a fool dares the Gods, chieftain.”

“I've always been something of a fool...” Thoradin muttered as he passed a grouched figure in a green cloak inspecting some corpse.
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Old 08-29-2011, 01:56 PM
Kerrah Kerrah is offline

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Epilogue


"I've always been something of a fool..." The man muttered to himself as he passed the prophet. Once he was a safe distance away, he straightened himself and stopped looking at the bloodied face of the dead chieftain. There was a sad smile on his currently human face.

He looked around and the thousands of faithful dead. So much sorrow, so much pain.

Without caring if someone was watching, he focused himself, feeling every fibre of his being shake for a moment, squeezing through miniscule holes in the fabric of existence. The scene around him faded for a moment, and then reappeared. The bodies had vanished, but the landscape was the same. The prophet walked at a random direction, searching for something with his gaze.

Eventually he found what he was looking for. Chieftain Tharn was standing near the edge of the cliff, still wearing his armour and looking confused. "Where am I?" He asked aloud.

"It does not matter so much", the prophet spoke as he approached the chieftain, who turned to look at him. "What matters is where you are going."

Tharn rubbed his chin, thinking over the prophet's words. "I do not know your name, stranger, but your bearing speaks volumes. I am dead, am I not?"

"Yes", the prophet answered simply. "But you died a dead of valor and bravery. I have come to take you to Brux. He was delighted when he heard of you, and asked to meet you once it was possible." He felt himself changing, and without slowing his pace, he became a bear.

Tharn nodded his head, accepting what was told without question, and not even blinking at his guide changing shape. "What of my friends? My family? Will I meet them again?"

The prophet spoke his language with no difficulty despite not having the mouth of a human. "Eventually. But among those who died today, only you were invited to the Father of Battles. It is a great honour."

"I understand", Tharn said and looked around himself. "But... what now? The so-called Prophet of Light has won. Has the time of Gods passed?"

The prophet turned around to lead Tharn away from Stromgaard, and said without looking behind himself. "We shall see. The future is not carved in stone. Time will tell whether the Gods will mark this world again."

"Very well then", Tharn said and followed his guide. "Take me to the one whose name I cried when faced the blades of my enemies. It is good to know that in the end, my faith mattered to someone."
The end.
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Originally Posted by Pliny the Elder
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  #21  
Old 08-29-2011, 02:07 PM
Timolas Timolas is offline


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As I said, it was 10x worth the laptop battery to read your updates. I loved Thoradin's characterization, especially him not being the warrior you'd expect, and the epilogue with Tharn fit perfectly into the cosmology of the Four.
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  #22  
Old 08-29-2011, 03:31 PM
HalfElfDragon HalfElfDragon is offline

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I shall read it when I have more time to do so.
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  #23  
Old 08-30-2011, 07:37 AM
Zula Zula is offline

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There isn't much to say, only that it was worth the wait, and that I loved your charaterizaton of Thoradin.
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  #24  
Old 09-02-2011, 06:51 AM
Kerrah Kerrah is offline

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Here's some information on the characters which didn't fit in the fic itself. I'm putting it here in case someone wants to reference them in Great War or something.

Ria later converted to Lightism, married Thoradin and became Queen Maria I of Strom.

Corinus became the first Bishop of Strom. About a decade after the foundation of the kingdom, he was assassinated by pagan extremists who fled Lordaeron and were never heard of again.

During the Troll Wars, Siegfried defended a rebel troll village which was separate from the war from human soldiers. Though he was paroned by Thoradin for the crime, he and his descendants were given the appellation Mogarin, "Troll-friend". This name later morphed into the family name Mograine.
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Originally Posted by Pliny the Elder
True glory consists in doing what deserves to be written; in writing what deserves to be read; and in so living as to make the world happier for our living in it.

Co-creator of UFS, a joint urban fantasy setting.
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  #25  
Old 08-20-2012, 03:11 PM
Kerrah Kerrah is offline

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The lost chapter, which I will release in two parts.

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Chapter three
The Azure Hermit

Part 1



Miela cried and ran, the insults of her friends and family echoing behind her. She vanished amongst the trees, and heard some of them give chase. She sped up, ducking under branches and feeling the barbs on bushes tear her simple clothes.

The faster she ran, the faster they chased. She felt her lungs burn, and her feet start to stumble against stones. Someone threw a stone at her, and it hit her shoulder. She cried in pain and almost fell face-first into the ground. She foolishly took a look over her shoulder, and saw that all of the ones behind her were men. Their exact motives frightened her, and she ran even faster.

Everything became a blur, as she ran across the forests she'd spent her life in, further and further away from her home village. The landscape became less and less familiar for her, and eventually her flight was slowed down because she no longer knew the right paths through the trees.

And then, the trees thinned out and she left the forest. There was a cliff ahead of her. She skidded into a halt. Below the cliff, she saw a great valley and a river running west. Someone threw another stone, and it hit her in the lower back. Jerking forward, she came on her knees right in front of the drop.

Miela slowly picked herself up, and heard the sounds of chase behind herself. She turned to look at them, and saw them form a half circle to stop her escape. One of them smirked disgustingly and started advancing toward her. The thrill had made him forget that they had originally chased her away out of fear.

The girl closed her eyes and jumped down the cliff, aiming for the river down in the valley.

She never had time to hit the water. After closing her eyes, she suddenly felt a breeze against her back, and then a pair of strong arms grab her shoulders. She felt claws cutting through her clothes. She froze, her whole body going stiff.

Her eyes turned upward, seeing brown weathers, and great, dark wings beating the air. A humongous bird of prey had caught her mid-air. Its talons held her tightly, as it carried her onward.

As soon as she looked down, she wished she hadn't. She was still at least a hundred paces above the ground, and the bird was not descending.

Taking a deep breath, she willed herself not to panic. If she started screaming and flailing, the animal might drop her. Regulating her breathing, she calmed herself down, managing to stay still until another problem presented itself.

Miela felt herself start to shiver. She felt very cold because of the winds buffeting her. She was only wearing her normal cotton clothes, which were definitely not made for flying. Trying to curl up caused the talons holding her to tense, so she abandoned that idea. “There is no other solution”, she whispered to herself and closed her eyes again.

She reached for the warmth within. A spark of... something, that she had found by accident. It beckoned to her, and she sometimes found herself reaching for it without having intended. At first, when she had touched it something had happened: a seemingly random event like a gust of wind. And yet, through slow experimentation, Miela had found a pattern, and eventually learned to control it.

And then, last night something had gone wrong. She had been too careless, too rushed. Too easily tempted, experimenting inside the house, instead of alone in the woods. Someone had dropped something, and the sound had caused her to flinch. The explosion had blown half the room into pieces, only leaving her untouched.

“Witch!” The townsfolk had cried. They had heard distant stories of the people of Zinites, who could do things by willing it to happen. Those distant infidels, who worshipped some blue goddess. And thus they cried “Witch!”

And now, Miela closed her eyes and tried to reach that spark within. She tried to relax, and keep her mind calm, and then she found the spark jumping at her. Cautiously touching it in her mind, she imagined it as a little flame. She kept her “hands” far enough to avoid being burned. The sudden ease made her suspicious, so she felt around the spark, and tried to sense its warmth. The coldness of her body seemed distant as she focused on this.

Slowly, she poked at the power within, teasing its shape and feeling its texture. She needed warmth, and within she found warmth. Doing something that has no physical allegory, she warmed her body. The cold bite of the wind faded, and she even felt the air in her lungs radiating with wonderful heat.

The enormous bird of prey flew her westward, down from the highlands, as if chasing the setting sun. It followed the river. Miela wondered if she could pry herself loose and drop into the waters without dying...

They were nearing a lake, and Miela could see the ocean in the far southwestern horizon. She wondered how far she could let this beast carry her. It was obviously carrying her for a reason. She didn't want to get eaten. Maybe if she dropped into the lake, she could avoid its notice. She wasn't that bad a swimmer...

As the bird neared the lake, it dove down, until it soared just a short drop over the water's surface. Miela tried to focus to bring forth her power and harm the bird somehow, so it'd let go. However, suddenly the blue screen below her broke and something humongous jumped into the air, colliding with the huge bird. Before the stunned girl's eyes, a fish with teeth as large as a house bit down on the bird's neck and severed its head in one blink of an eye. As the fish dove back into the water, the eagle's dead body plummeted into the dark, cold waters.
To be continued.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pliny the Elder
True glory consists in doing what deserves to be written; in writing what deserves to be read; and in so living as to make the world happier for our living in it.

Co-creator of UFS, a joint urban fantasy setting.

Last edited by Kerrah; 08-21-2012 at 05:52 AM..
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