Peace For Niberia

Peace For Niberia

Status: In Progress

Genre: Fantasy

Houses:

Details

Status: In Progress

Genre: Fantasy

Houses:

Summary

Dark High Fantasy. Rated PG-13

War is officially over in the world of Niberia. Lord Ulrid Tyrdragen's victorious resistance against the Dark Lord's shadow forces means there's peace across the lands. However, his loyal Seer companion, the sole surviving light elf Orym Omarel, has a foreboding premonition foretelling death in the mana-producing forests of the Sil Sola. His party encounters a disaster when they arrive at the home of the wood Fairies and Orym's time-bending Seer abilities point to a culprit who may already be close.

***
cover design by: @-Space bars
edited by me
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Summary

Dark High Fantasy. Rated PG-13

War is officially over in the world of Niberia. Lord Ulrid Tyrdragen's victorious resistance against the Dark Lord's shadow forces means there's peace across the lands. However, his loyal Seer companion, the sole surviving light elf Orym Omarel, has a foreboding premonition foretelling death in the mana-producing forests of the Sil Sola. His party encounters a disaster when they arrive at the home of the wood Fairies and Orym's time-bending Seer abilities point to a culprit who may already be close.

***
cover design by: @-Space bars
edited by me

Chapter1 (v.1) - 01: Mists Of Mana

Author Chapter Note

A troubling premonition and a mysterious mist.

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: February 22, 2017

Reads: 51

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Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: February 22, 2017

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Rula Vaansyl, the dark elf necromancer from the Midmire swamplands, rested a charcoal-skinned hand over his nose and mouth and let out a muffled groan. He slowed, dragging behind the rest of Lord Ulrid Tyrdragen's party, and fell back to where Orym Omarel ambled along a marked distance behind. The sole remaining light elf on Niberia met his gaze and they communicated without speaking, directing their thoughts to each other through the ethereal realm.

-You smell that, Seer?

-I do.

-Decaying mana. You were right. Something magical's died where the wood fairies live.

-I sensed the disturbance in the ether. I pray that we're responding to a mistake and nothing dangerous.

-Well, if it is, I'll find some use for the remains. So much for peace.

Orym huddled against the saddle of his woolly mount as he pushed on through the wild nectar forest. His nostrils flared as the smell got steadily worse and he reached into a side pocket, pulling out a protective mask to shield his nose and mouth. The offending odor was blotted out and he breathed in filtered air through the slits.

As he predicted after nights of troubling dreams, something was amiss in the forests of Sil Sola. The wood fairies presided over the wild nectar forests that filled the eastern hemisphere and the mana they produced was used by spellcasters all over their planet Niberia. Trouble in the forest meant trouble for magic users everywhere.

-Maybe there's a fallen nest, or a tipped over storage cauldron.

That made Rula turn away and chuckle.

-I love that light elf optimism.

Rula slipped on his own filtering mask, and that caught the attention of the rest of the hired patrollers in Ulrid's party. Most were human, with one half-lupin and a gremlin attending as well, and weren't as affected by the wafting smells as the elves were.

"The elves are putting on their filters."

"Trouble."

Ulrid commanded the party to stop and they gathered together, waiting for the elves to rejoin them. Orym's mount neighed restlessly, tossing its furry head back and baring teeth as if also sensing something was amiss. Orym held tight to the reigns and urged the beast forward, muttering elvish words of encouragement. When they'd regrouped with the others Ulrid's piercing blue stare focused on him. The legendary hero he'd assisted years ago to slay the Dark Lord and liberate Niberia still valued his counsel.

"Tell me, Orym."

"It's chaos." He inhaled deep and raked his hand through the ether, his fingers pushing against resistance from a tumorous overflow of magical energy in the forest. "Interference from every angle. Whatever's wrong...it's near. This mist is the byproduct of mana spillage. Look at the trees...they're starting to peel from having the life sucked out of them by unstable decay."

"Do you sense the cause?"

"No. It's just...uncontrolled. We need to get closer. There are too many imprints in the ether for me to decipher."

"And you, Rula?"

A smile crept to the dark elf's face and his pupils expanded, flooding his eyes with pitch black.

?

A depression settled over Orym from the pull of energy by Rula as the necromancer probed for available places to exert his influence.

The patrollers watched in silence as nectar flowers underneath them wilted and collapsed during the scan, then popped back up once Rula's eyes returned to normal.

"It's disgusting out there," he replied, voice tinted with a metallic sound from the filter. "Good for me...not so good for you."

Ulrid nodded and steered his mount to the side, clearing a way for Orym to lead. Orym pushed forward with Rula close behind and they prepared for the worst as they continued. As much as Orym wanted his premonition to be wrong he knew the ether was incapable of showing him anything except what already was.

He sensed the carnage before anyone saw it. The clues were everywhere--the mist, the peeling tree trunks, and now the parched patches of grass beneath the hooves of their mounts. This was no overturned tree or spilled cauldron. They were approaching death.

"Watchers, guide me."

That message was private, muttered from his own lips to the guardians of the ether. When they arrived they saw what Orym had expected--bodies of wood fairies everywhere, as far as he could see.

?

No one spoke or moved for a long moment, a gesture of both respect and dismay at the prospect of another potential enemy.

"Spread out," grunted Ulrid at last, kicking his mount into motion. "Survey the area. Find signs of the culprit."

The party separated and Orym ventured off on his own, a pang striking his chest at the sight of another massacre. Small, leathery creatures dumped motionless in piles. Last time he encountered the aftermath of a horrendous event was during the Dark Wars. This was supposed to be a time of peace for Niberia, no sign of war anywhere, and yet here it was again, this time striking the nectar flower forests of Sil Sola.

The stench of rotting mana was pungent so close to the scene and it infiltrated the filters of his mask. Clouds of putrid-sweet vapor wafted from the paper-winged bodies. Shimmering magic essence fumed as it streamed from the bodies and spread over the flower beds, eating away the vitality within and leaving wide patches of hollowed earth wherever it spread. No way to stop the spread of wasted magical concentrate, no way to save the flowers or the fairies.

Orym knelt beside a lone, stray casualty at his feet and lowered his head, murmuring looping elvish rights of passage. A pitiful sight below him, leather-skinned and bark-colored, a wood fairy smaller than the width of his palm. The Sil Sol tribes sprouted directly from Niberian seeds and looked like pieces of their forest home.

"Ugly things," sniffed Rula.

He glanced up at the impatient dark elf standing behind him. "Have some respect. Please."

"Why? They've got no respect for us."

"You know my thoughts on the Fae already. Today we remember the pain of our own losses while we mourn for others."

Rula sighed, flinging his dagger at a nearby tree and drawing it back to his grip with a pull of ether energy. Amid the remnants of the dying forest the necromancer looked at home in the wasteland.

"Yeah, tragic. Save me your white-magic holy talk, Seer. Let's finish this already. It stinks here and these tiny vessels are useless to me. They're already flooded with mana confusion. Would be like throwing lint at my enemy."

He walked away from Orym toward the other members of their hunting party, tossing his dagger in the air and pulling it back into his grip with his magic. Orym turned his attention back to the fallen fairy and hovered his hand hovered above the body. He engaged the ether and drew the fairy's death energy into his hand, absorbing and processing the chemical releases and mental imprints of the creature's final moments. A soft, glowing gold light plumed from his flesh as he worked.

?

If he touched the body he'd learn more about what happened, but that wasn't an option. The rotting mana would eat away at him too, sapping away his strength to fill its void until he was left lifeless on the ground. Too dangerous to make physical contact. This was better than nothing.

Hear me, Watchers. I invoke thee. May your power guide me through the gates of time and space.

He called on the spirits of the afterlife to shield his dimensional passage and was answered at once. His own corporeal form disappeared along with the rest of the world around him. In a flash he returned to the same forest, but without the mess of tiny bodies. Wasn't real. He could tell by the fuzziness clouding his second sight that he'd entered the ethereal realm. Time was no longer linear but instead, open to manipulation.

Wood fairies buzzed past him carrying bushels of nectar flowers to their nests in the trees. Even in the memory he felt the burst of life in their busy community. The nectar flowers would be processed, ground, and extracted into mana concentrate, the life blood of the wood fairy industry. Business looked good. So far.

He turned in a slow circles searching for the coming threat. The fuzziness intensified. His ears twitched at a strange sound radiating from far into the stretch of trees ahead. A low-pitched whistle, low and steady without break. His eyes darted sideways as a shadow slipped between the tree trunks. He hurried forward, racing to beat the sputtering connection to the memory he'd infiltrated.

Before he was jettisoned out of the moment a swarm of wood fairies streaked past him toward the shadow. He stopped short, arms dropping to his sides, and saw the shadow revealed before thousands of fairies raced ahead and blocked his view. That shadow was an elf, a dark elf that turned on his own kind to help Ulrid defeat the Dark Lord, a necromancer from the swamplands of Mudmire.

-Rula...

An internal force pried his eyes open and he was crouched in front of the dead fairy from before again.

"What did you see, Orym?"

He steeled his face as he met Ulrid's cold blue glare. The obscene amount of chaotic energy circling the scene unsettled him. He approached the armored and masked man seated on the back of a woolly mount and wrapped himself tighter in his robe.

"Something was here. I...I couldn't see what it was. I saw the fairies swarm toward it before I was ejected."

"We have an enemy then. Someone's trying to weaken our spellcasters. We have to find the enemy before another nest is destroyed."

"There's got to be at least a hundred more nests in this forest alone," said Rula, interjecting as he rejoined Orym. "Who knows where your mystery attacker is, Seer. Could be anywhere."

Orym narrowed his eyes as he studied Rula's face, peering into the pitch-black eyes for a sign of guilt or knowing. Rula stared back and a slight frown formed.

-Something the matter, Omarel?

He shook his head. "No," he replied out loud. "Everything's fine."

"We'll set up camp outside the mist," said Ulrid, unaware of the new strain on Orym's mind. "It's impossible for us to find our enemy in these massive forests. We're going to need help from an insider."

"Ugh." Rula folded his arms. "Don't tell me you're going to hire a fairy."

"They've served me well before. I know exactly who I want to assist us."

"They've almost ruined you as much as they've helped you, too. They always have their own agendas." Rula sucked his teeth and shook his head. "Bad idea, Lord Tyrdragen. Bad."

"There's no other choice, unless we aim to wander these forests for the next twenty years. I'm sure you agree, Orym, even though you're an elf as well."

The shadow was Rula. The dark elf at their side killed all the wood fairies and was now pretending to help them find the criminal. Orym wasn't sure why Rula would agree to join the patrol if he was the reason they were patrolling. There were more questions now after the discovery than when he initially had his premonition. He had to talk to Ulrid alone on the matter, somewhere where Rula wasn't.

"I agree." Orym nodded, avoiding Rula's eye. "I know you mean to find Dreystar and I trust your judgment. I'll accompany you to Fairy City while the rest of your party sets up camp."

"Dreystar." Rula snorted. "That hothead."

"A hothead he may be," said Ulrid. "But he's determined and tireless. He's what we need in order to find out who did this to the wood fairies."

Orym had no desire to partner with a fairy but he'd go along with Ulrid's plan for now. Once they were far enough away from the camp he'd reveal the true killer of the wood fairies, and they'd return with a plan to deal with the necromancer Rula Vaansyl.


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