The hunter looked down at the chair with trembling anticipation, knowing that in his current condition it would demand unimaginable pain to ease into it; every limb would ache, still-brittle bones screaming for respite lest they forsake the body they support. He sat down. The agony was unspeakable, a searing spasm up his recently broken left side, a goodbye token from Galberk Hagero, from foot to jaw. He squeezed his watering eye, the one he still had, tight shut, clamped his right hand over his mouth so hard that the knuckles clicked. His teeth grated against each other as he locked his jaws together, but a high-pitched, jagged moan still whistled from him. He breathed in heaving gasps, through his nose, snot bubbling out onto his hand, his twisted body shaking with the effort of remaining seated. The price of battle, he mused in-between pain and self-loathing; that he allowed himself to be felled by a dwarf without taking proper precaution. The spasm passed. Renneleth moved his limbs cautiously, one by one, testing the damage. His leg was on fire, his foot numb, his neck clicked with every movement, sending vicious little stings down his spine. Pretty good, considering. At least his hand was functioning. He bent down with an effort and snatched a quill between two fingers, wiped the snot and tears on the back of his hand, then began to write.
To Her Majesty Queen Yu'syu, to Divine Draxus, to Esteemed Carylduil, to Learned Elith Sianicen, to Eluvial of Greenvale, to the Noble Siblings of the Sheltering Wing,
I write to you out of necessity and due to dire-most circumstance. I am aware murder was committed upon Greenvale guards of recent, the grief of which is still felt even among my people in Feywoods. We have not forgotten our kin in the fair city of Elisara, and so when Eluvial told me of the incident I decided to lend him what aid I could muster in my capacity as seasoned Taur'otharie tracker. We spoke to witnesses claiming they saw a dwarf leave the crime scene, and we speculated that dwarf to be Galberk Hagero who, of recent, was reported indulging in various island-wide killing sprees. Eluvial mentioned the dwarf had some sort of fell item in his possession; that Eluvial was told by first-hand witnesses that Galberk exploited this item to devour the spirits of demons. It was sufficiently unnerving information that I determined to hunt down the dwarf to confirm, or dismiss, the allegations.
I came upon the dwarf in the human settlement of Hamley. He was questioned and openly admitted to having committed the murders. His retort was that "nobody questions the Demon-King Galberk." The subsequent conversation was not traded in words, but steel. I regret to write I was unable to fascilitate Galberk's capture.
Know that my bow is yours as long as Galberk roams unchecked, but let my letter also serve as a warning that you fortify your defenses and keep a wary eye out. I have seen what this dwarf is capable of, the destruction that follows in his wake, and I am unsettled. I do not know whether Galberk acts on behalf of the Stewards of Hammersong, but I doubt it. Even so, lone operator he may be, his appetite and capacity for destruction should not be dismissed.
To the Esteemed Council of Feywoods, to Lady Kellenri, to Hunter Styvn,
Gwaidae, my kinsmen, I regret to herald grim tidings. It has come to my attention that our Greenvale kin have suffered lives lost at the hands of the dwarf known as Galberk Hagero. I have reason to believe this dwarf means harm upon all elven people, thus I intend my letter as a warning to keep a stern eye on our borders.
The matter is further aggravated by the dwarf being in possession of a relic of inconceivable power; lone he may act, yet the threat he poses is of singular magnitude. I ask that we meet at earliest possible opportunity so that I may brief you in person.
To the Keepers of Thain, to Mialee Galanodel, to Dace Sontan,
I have not met with you on many occasions, but I recall Dace Sontan as an honourable and righteous man. I intend my letter as a warning; that a dwarf by the name of Galberk Hagero has been encountered present in Hamley, admitting to murder and killing without provocation. The dwarf is presumed to be in possession of a fell relic capable of summoning forth minions of the Netherworlds, a relic he liberally uses to accrue his power. You can understand my concern.
As the appointed guardians of the island, know the threat for what it is: severe and island-wide. I would ask to convene with a member of your guild, either Mialee or Dace, at earliest possible convenience so that we may trade words in person.
Jungle Law Enforcerer Registered Member #1180
Joined: 7:46:29 am GMT 10/05/07
Recently returned in Greenvale after many weeks of travelling and researches, among which an extraplanar visit, in his room, within the guest house, Elith finds the note brought in as correspondence, reads it few times, making sure to properly understand its content, then shakes his head.
-Demons, why it always has to be about demons and killing sprees? Why never about a gold chest found at the end of a rainbow?-
Reclutantly, he moves his gaze from the hammock to the door; then he sighs, and heads out.
This Galberk Hagero dwarf called himself Demon-King, I wonder if real demons are aware of the happenning and their thoughts on the matter.
Chuckling at himself, imagining demons devouring a so called "king", he moved north. Perhaps, meeting Renneleth and Eluvial in person could shed some light on the grim topic.
The chuckle subsides as the old elf realizes that this was the second demon-influenced dwarf to reckon with. Remembering the first, a cold shiver ran down his spine.
Halla be damned.
Elith passed a hand over his chest, feeling old scars.
Pointless thought, the bloody dwarf already was.
Elith shakes his head again.
Demon-Dwarves, either phisiological, or by enchantment, are a grim topic indeed.
Registered Member #23855
Joined: 12:40:02 am GMT 06/14/14
In the time of roses she followed the druid into the sacred grove, where her kinsman lay still; guarded by Fey and the earth itself. Gazing at the horrific damage, she rubbed her side as if it still ached, remembering....
Thoril's charred and broken form, unmoving on the bed.... and the sound of song as she chanted into the dawn hours, bathing the burned face.
Now there was another face to bathe.
Carefully she unpacked the ewer of water from the sacred pool, and crushed the healing herbs she had picked in the shimmer of starlight, into the silver bowl. There was something about damage that came from the bearer of the Libre – it was always worse than it should be, and took longer to heal. Softly she chanted as she laved the sharp scented potion into wounds not yet closed.
It was a wonder that he had forced himself to consciousness long enough to write the message that brought her in haste from her errand. As the hunter's spirit wandered, Kellenri remembered the pain of her own wounds at Vera's hand, and fiercely pushed away anger that came with the memory. Thoughts carried weight, and this time was for healing. Calling to her mind the piercing beauty of starlight, and Mielikki's voiced that once had whispered to her, she chanted again, as the delicate Fey flew around them.
By dawn his breathing was easier. She packed her things and left the beauty of the grove to journey south. She must find Eluvial.
It was raining, still. A soft rain that coated everything in cold dew, collected on the branches, on the leaves, on the needles, and dripped off in great fat drops that soaked through Renneleth's wet clothes and onto his wet skin. He squatted, still and silent, in the damp brush, water running down his face - both his faces, the missing right side and the remaining left - the bright point of his arrowhead glistening with wet. He was motionless, still like a rock in a windless desert, the intake and expulsion of breath barely felt the lungs. He felt the great motion of the forest and heard all its thousand sounds. The countless crawling of the insects, the blind scuttling of the moles, the timid rustling of the deer, the slow pulsing of the sap in the old tree trunks. Each thing alive in the forest was in search, in hunt of its own kind of food, and he was the same, although Renneleth's hunger would only be sated with vengeance. He let his mind settle on an animal close to him, moving cautiously through the woods to his right. Just a deer. The forest grew silent but for the endless dripping of water from the branches. He closed his eye and felt the rain patter against his skin, heard the water lapping on the shingle at his boot. He knelt by the stream, looking to the water that mirrored a sky on fire. It had begun. Galberk had warned him his wrath would be set upon Feywoods next, but even though the prospect of facing a hundred fiends released by the Libre Magnificare was unsettling to the bone, Renneleth mustered a small smile with what lip he had left. Allies had answered his call, friends and strangers alike from near and far, and Feywoods was ready. His heart's home would not suffer defeat, not tonight, not ever. The elves were ready for war!
Registered Member #23855
Joined: 12:40:02 am GMT 06/14/14
The brilliant displays of light and sparkle were done. In a rare moment, the Council had emerged from their chambers to draw on the wellsprings of Source, lending strength to Narade, as she set new wards for the battle that would come. They shimmered deceptively beautiful... the color of trees in late spring; but Narade slumped, drained from her efforts. Kellenri moved to her for a moment, humming softly with a hand on her shoulder, flowing healing into the mage's slender frame.
Moving from there, Kellenri paced before the gate with words to encourage; then paused letting the peace of the forest settled around her, as if it were a mantle. The scent of roses lingered, in delicate contrast to the reason for their preparations. Drawing a breath she gauged the strength of those who had come to the aid of the woods -- and their vulnerabilities.
She had arrayed most of the archers the Council had sent them behind the chasm. Needle strong, they would darken the sky with their arrows. The heavy weapons were in rows before the gate, composed and determined; and well prepared for the foe they had been warned of. Klak stood near, who had aided the woods many times, his matter of fact sturdiness a comfort. Dace, the steadfast Keeper and soldier of Torm was here. Good, good. She nodded as her grey eyes ranged to the mages, Eluvial and Narade, who would position themselves at will, to be where they were most needed.
Another nod, nearly imperceptible. Edric, Elohiir, Rita, the healer Melissa... they were unknowns. She would spend her Clarity spells on them, and hoped they would hold against the terror. If only Renneleth were here... but he scouted far afield, watching Galberk's movements. A link, between the Libre and themselves.
Checking the sacred Cleft of the Guardian Oak, she found all in readiness, but the brunt of the attack would come to the gate, she thought. A moment she rested her hand on the living bark, knowing it's life in her blood, and hers in its leaves, as flows of Source pulsed through them both. Wistful, she could have lingered there... But no. Returning to the demand of the moment, she calmly took her place among the fighters, as the woodland life went on around them, unconcerned.
A gentle quiet descended on the forest, as the restless sounds of armor stilled, and the defenders settled in to wait. They were ready.
Registered Member #23855
Joined: 12:40:02 am GMT 06/14/14
Horror assailed her gentle spirit, that was more attuned woodland life than war.
Quenching it, she settled into battle readiness, steeling herself as uncanny dark fell, and the demons blasted them. It was a battle such as she had fought before against thier kind: lightning, fire and magic ripped the air in a mind numbing barrage between living and tanar'ri, even as archers filled the sky with arrows and weapons cleaved abyssal flesh. Patches of blackness were ripped by brilliant explosions, and she saw the Taur'otharie archers stream from the gates when those were threatened, scattering the foe. Heroes with sword, spear and hammer placed themselves between the demons and others who fought them; and friends died at their comrades feet as they fought. Wave after wave they repelled; and each time they regrouped, less gathered before the gates. Moving beyond weariness to exhaustion they denied the demons entrance, to the last one, that was bitterly hard to slay.
The wards had held.
*** ***** ***
With more force than needed she rubbed her now-aching side, pushing away the anger that wore at her spirit. This thing was so dangerous. They must find Galkberk! They must learn how to destroy the Libre.
Bone weary, she picked up her quill.
Greetings Lady Syrissia and Esteemed Council,
Well you know of the preparations for battle before our Inner Stronghold gates. I deployed the archers you sent us behind the chasm, with instructions to their captain to reposition as they saw fit, for they are well trained to move where they are needed. Before the gate were Taur'otharie with Klak, Dace, and Edric, Elohiir and myself — a mix of heavy weapons and bows. Mages Eluvial and Narade; and the healer Melissa positioned themselves at will.
In the long wait I walked the lines with words to encourage, seeing that all were well supplied. The battle, when it came, was preceded by red skies and spells of darkness around us, a portent of abyssal things, as we expected. The first onslaught was a feint; a test of our strength, with Erinnyes, Vrocks, and lesser demons raging against us. The next waves brought greater and more terrible demonspawn each time, as each assault failed again and again. The defenders were highly disciplined and regrouped before the gate between each wave. Each one of us was needed, and no contribution was less than another.
Here I must note, the last two demons that came singly against us were greater in terror and power, as if weaker echoes of the Eater of Souls, who was felled in the Northlands. If the Libre can hold such things, or it's bearer command them, Thain is in the gravest danger. For a time we were not certain of victory over the last one. It was a long battle, many against the one; but our strength held, and in then end we prevailed.
Some of Thain's heroes fell, and were called from the brink of death by our healer's strongest prayers. But now I write grave news. Many of the Taur were slain, for the archers saw our danger and came beyond the gates, where they fell in brave defense. Some of these our healer returned to us, and some the Druids have given to Enthaet. Their report will come to you.
I am at your service, should you have questions as to details.