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The Dark War Series, Book One

Novel By: Trainman238

The King of darkness, Pairai, has been quiet for over two thousand years. Now, during the time of great peace, things begin to stir in the dark lands of Opekor, and it is known that he plans to wage war on all the lands of Numenora.
Will the grand alliance once again join forces to battle the great evil? View table of contents...


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Submitted:Dec 30, 2007    Reads: 262    Comments: 4    Likes: 3   

The young Raelokh chalon watched, silent and unmoving, as the wooden arm, pulled downward by the heavy sand-filled box hanging from it, swung upward, pulling the rope sling behind it. He was completely attuned to everything that was happening at that particular moment. He could hear the soft purl of the river, feel the slight breeze that was coming from the west, smell the dampness in the air. It was as if he was one with the world. The trebuchet released its projectile and sent it flying straight at Baron where he stood in the tall grass on the riverbank.
��������� Working with the graceful fluidness of the wind, he swiftly reached back, plucked an arrow from his quiver, drew it out, and set it to the string of his bow without taking his crimson gaze away from the flying projectile. He drew his bow to the full, aimed, and released. This all took place in only a second. Thunnn! The bow sang as it released the arrow. Hssss! The arrow sped toward its target. Thwock! The arrow struck the small wooden ball square in the center and the ball, having an arrow now protruding from it, was whipped off course and landed harmlessly to Baron's left with a sodden thumph. Before the ball could even hit the ground, however, Baron spun left, nocking an arrow as he did, and let fly at another wooden projectile that was coming straight at him. Thunnn! Hssss-thwock! The arrow struck true and the ball, knocked off its course, splashed harmlessly into the water to his left, to be carried away by the swift current of the Quartz River, westward toward Quartz Lake.
��������� At a mere five feet tall, Baron was not an intimidating creature, even though he was one of the taller Raelokhs. But when he spun about and bolted north and east he moved faster than any Man, Dwarf, or Elf. Baron raced through the long grass along the shoreline of the Quartz River for about three hundred yards, his long blue hair flying out behind him as he ran, his breathing quick and even. And although he made no efforts toward stealth as he ran, he still made little noise as he ran through the tall grass, if any, for he was a Raelokh, the stealthiest of creatures. He stopped by a spruce tree and turned north and west, only to see not one but three of the wooden projectiles hurtling straight at him. Baron let fly three quick shots in such rapid succession that just before the first one hit home, the third was already in flight. Thock! Shock! Shock! All three arrows struck true, but before the first oaken ball hit earth, Baron spun south, nocking two arrows as he did, drew to the full, aimed, and released. Thunnn! Hssss-Sshocckk! The two arrows spread apart slightly as they flew, and each one hit a target dead center. Thumph! Thumph! Whack! The first two balls hit earth, while the third one strayed just a bit wide and hit a boulder, and the force from the impact shattered the arrow that was inside it.
��������� Baron turned and bolted north and east along the riverbank, and ran headlong into the dense forest of Borderwood. Once he was within the trees-oak, maple, pine, spruce, cedar, birch, elm, sequoia, ash, walnut, butternut, and many other kinds-his senses were assailed by the forest; the soft, cool shade of sunlight filtered through leaves and needles, the sweet aroma of the different types of wood; the muffled gurgle of the river. He stopped to gain his bearings, nocked an arrow to his bow and, slowly and stealthily, began walking through the forest. Baron moved deliberately and with total caution-his tilted crimson eyes scanning and darting back and forth for anything out of place; his pointed ears listening intently for even the slightest sound that did not belong; his nose searching for any scent that was not right; but he sensed naught of danger. It was still there, though. That much he knew. He was walking into a trap, and he went willingly, knowing as he walked through the forest that there would be no turning back.
��������� With the silence and stealth of a wraith, he flitted to and fro among the trees. A slight scraping sound from above and to his right, a sound that was barely audible to Raelokh ears and inaudible to all other ears-which he recognized at once as the sound of a boot rubbing against the bark of a sycamore tree-told Baron that an archer was taking aim at him. With the speed of lightning he spun around and loosed his arrow at the source of the sound. Thunnn! Hss-thudh! His arrow hit the archer in the chest and the foe fell from the tree and landed with a thumph on the forest floor. Baron heard a rustle of leaves from above and directly behind him, and he knew that a foe had just leapt from a maple tree to bring a sword down and through his skull. With such swiftness as could be seen only by the eyes of Elves, Raelokhs, and Morlen, Baron shouldered his bow and spun around, drawing his sword as he did, to meet the enemy.
With deadly speed, he sidestepped and raised his blade as his for landed and brought their blade smashing down against Baron's sword. Baron swung his sword down, back, up, forward, and down upon his foe in one swift, fluid windmill-like movement. But the unknown enemy had brought their scimitar upward to deflect the blow, and his attempt was in vain. His foe brought their blade up and around in a wide, powerful arc and Baron ducked the blow and swung back, only to have it deflected again. The unknown foe brought their blade back and thrust it forward to plunge it deep into Baron's gut. Baron sidestepped the enemy's thrust and brought his sword smashing down onto his foe's scimitar, and the force of his swing was so powerful that it knocked the enemy's blade from their hands and sent it plunging deep into the earth. Baron grabbed his masked foe by their collar, slammed them up against the trunk of a massive oak tree, and brought his sword up to the enemy's throat.
"Who sent you?" Baron demanded, his crimson eyes filled with heated anger. "Where does your allegiance lie?" But before his enemy could even answer, the snap of a twig from behind told him that he did not have time to ask questions yet. Baron threw his disarmed foe aside and spun around to meet his next challenge. He swiftly ducked a blow meant to decapitate him, planted his free hand on the ground, pushed off, and kicked his foe full force in the chest, sending the enemy flying back about ten feet to land with a thud on the forest floor. He got up just in time to bring his sword up to deflect a blow by a third foe.
Where do they keep coming from? He thought as he continued to battle his foe and then the second one as well. Swords rang, yet no blood was shed. Then Baron sensed something from behind and sidestepped as his first foe, having retrieved their scimitar from the ground, trust it forward to impale him from behind. He then spun about and bolted away from his three enemies, knowing that if he stayed much longer he would have been killed. Baron fled through the forest, his enemies in pursuit and gaining on him. He stopped suddenly and dropped to the ground as all three of his foes shot past him. He leapt up and lunged at the nearest attacker. The enemy raised their blade and brought it down at Baron, who replied by swinging his sword at his foes scimitar with such force that his sword sliced right through the scimitar. Then, he kicked the enemy aside and turned to meet the other two.
They came at him with deadly force, giving no ground over to Baron's advantage, and he was forced once more to flee through the forest. Baron pushed every ounce of his strength into every stride, and he quickly gained ground on his enemies. He ducked behind a great maple tree, and waited while he caught his breath. He could hear them coming now, and they gave no heed to caution or stealth, driven by their anger and fury. One of them came running toward the very tree baron hid behind, and when he was sure that the foe would rush right past the tree, he quickly sheathed his sword. Gripping the bark, Baron swung around the tree and sent a flying kick straight into his enemy's face. The attacker flew back a few feet and landed on their back unconscious. Then, Baron spun around and ducked a decapitating blow by his last enemy. He jumped up, grabbed his enemy by the collar slammed them against the tree, and brought his blade up to their throat.
"If you so much as twitch, I'll kill you," Baron said to his foe, who then dropped their blade. "Now tell me, where does your allegiance lie?" Then his masked attacker laughed.
"Bravo, Baron! Bravo!" The attacker laughed. "That's the best performance I have seen in over thirty years! Now let go of me, if you don't mind." Baron let go and lowered his sword as his attacker removed their mask and Baron was looking into the eyes of Phillip Darkwaters, his swords and arms trainer.
"Does this mean I passed the test?" Baron asked him, raising a questioning eyebrow.
"Of course you passed the test!" Phillip exclaimed. "Top score, too! Why, I was afraid that you were going to kill us! But dear me, of course you would never do that," Phillip stopped himself, and then he looked at Baron and smiled. "Dear lad, I am so proud of you."
"Thank you," replied Baron.
"Walk with me, dear boy."
Phillip turned and together they began walking back the way they had come.
"You know, lad," said Phillip. "Over the past thirty years that I have been training Raelỏkhs in swords and arms, I have seen many pass and many fail, and sometimes those who failed did so by my blade. I absolutely hate it whenever someone fails the test, and every time they do I weep bitter tears for them. I know in my heart that everybody who makes it far enough through their training to even have the honor of taking the test is a great warrior, and that no good warrior should die by the hands of those of his own kind. But the rules have been set in place that those administering the test are to show no mercy for the one taking the test. So remember this: everybody who passes could have just as easily failed, and everybody who failed could have just as easily passed. The only difference between those who passed and those who failed is the conditions they fought in."
Baron thought about this, and then said, "So you're saying that something as small as wind or rain can change your fate?"
"Exactly," said Phillip. "Think about it, dear boy. If you were testing in the rain, would you have really discovered that archer up in that tree? Would you have really heard his boot scrape against the bark of the tree?"
Baron thought about this and replied, "No. What is your point?"
"I think I have already made it my point."
Baron pondered Phillip's words while they walked through the forest and then he asked, "What of the others?"
"What others?"
"The others giving me the test with you."
"Oh, them," replied Phillip. "They are already on their way back to camp. But don't worry about them. Kaishel, Alenora, and Alai will be quite alright. This isn't the first time they have helped me give a test, you know. But for now, let us enjoy this walk the peacefulness of it, for you shall be seeing different scenery soon enough."
Baron looked up through the trees, at the sky, which was beginning to dim as the evening set in.


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