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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 1 (v.1) - Tidings of War and Peace

Submitted: August 07, 2018

Reads: 143

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Submitted: August 07, 2018



As he made his way through the streets of the capital, Aglaron noticed an especially large crowd in the market square. Among them were dozens and dozens of North City Elves from Tarus-Irindum. The Northern Elves had always been reclusive and stubborn about their beliefs; it was quite odd to find so many bustling about the markets of the capital.
Though his curiosity had been piqued, Aglaron was sharply pulled aside by a fellow guardsman, Halfirin. The Elf looked frantic and panicked, "Halfirin what's wrong? You look terrible."
The guardsman's eyes darted back and forth across the square. He pulled Aglaron into a nearby alleyway and panted heavily. "It's the Northerners, Aglaron! There's far too many here! With the Council so close to a decision on the debate, it can't be a coincidence!"
Aglaron stared confusedly at his paranoid friend. Halfirin grabbed him by the shoulders and continued, "The Northerners don't want the Final Judgement to roll in favor of peace, Aglaron. They know about the rumors of war in Nareya and they want in on it."
Aglaron shook his head in disbelief, "I know the Northerners aren't a peace-loving folk but why would they want any part of a war on another continent?"
Halfirin shrugged, but remained alert and quiet, "Who knows? But one thing is for sure, this many of them in the capital spells bad news for the Council."
Again, he shrugged off the guardsman's attempt to sway him. He was beginning to grow impatient with Halfirin's rambling conspiracy. "There's nothing they can do to stop the Final Judgement, Halfirin, and numbers count for nothing against the Council Guard. For the Creator's sake, we're wearing blessed armor; what could they do to us?"
Halfirin's eyes lit up at the final comment. As if he suddenly recalled some important detail, he rifled through his pocket and produced an arrowhead. Aglaron glanced confusedly between Halfirin and the broadhead. Halfirin held it up for closer examination, "What is it, Aglaron?"
He raised a brow at Halfirin and answered, "It's an arrowhead."
Halfirin smiled grimly; confident his demonstration would finally prove he was right. He positioned the tip at the center of his breastplate and pushed gently. With minimal effort, the arrowhead cut through the armor and stopped short of his tunic. Aglaron's eyes widened in shock. Their armor had been blessed by High Priests of the Heirophant. No blade or magic could pierce it, yet Halfirin had simply pushed it through the plate armor with ease.
"How did you come by that!? Nothing should be able to break that armor!"
Halfirin glanced furtively around before replacing the broadhead within his pocket. "A group of traders..smugglers peddling in the North Reaches snuck this out of Tarus-Irindum. I think there's some kind of black magic enchantment on their weapons."
Aglaron made to leave but was pulled back into the alley. "You can't help them, Aglaron! They won't listen, I've already tried! You need to get to your family and get out of the capital now!"
The guardsman ignored the warnings of his comrade and bolted out of the alley towards the council. As he pushed his way through the market, he spotted several Northerners watching him from different vantage points. When they saw his hurried pace they began to follow from a distance. Aglaron's heart beat so fast he could feel it through his armor. He'd never been so afraid in his entire life. If Halfirin was right, the guardsmen wouldn't stand a chance against the attack. The council would be wiped out and the Northerners would move on the capital.
Though every fiber of his being was screaming for him to run home and flee with his family across the sea, Aglaron knew he had a duty to the council and his brethren in the guard. He glanced back at the Northerners and assessed his opponents. He saw at least half a dozen following a few yards behind. Even if he reached the council, how could he fend off six Northerners with blades that could shear through his armor like paper? Calm and intuition would be his best weapons against the attackers.
As Aglaron cleared the market square and crossed into the central districts, another group of Northerners appeared from his left and moved to close on him. He veered right and gripped the hilt of his blade tightly. Another few streets would have brought him to the base of the council hall, but a third cluster of Northern Elves was waiting at the crossing. Before he could turn onto another street, the groups following had surrounded him. Aglaron understood there would be no escape and drew his weapon. Blade in hand, the warrior faced his adversaries. Most were carrying shortswords and knives, easily concealable but difficult to wield against a guardsman with a full longsword. He breathed a small sigh of relief when he realized none of them were carrying bows or crossbows. Before the Elves could move against him, Aglaron focused hard on thoughts of betrayal and fear. If he managed to reach Faena before they did, his family could flee the city.
His focus was broken when one of the assailants charged him and swung for his chest. Aglaron dodged the clumsy attack and cut down the Elf with ease. Without a moments breath, Aglaron was forced on the defensive. The others now charged with weapons flurrying everywhere around him. He fell back towards a fruit cart parked beside the street and rolled it over towards his attackers. The sounds of battle had roused the curiosity of nearby Elves and the confused masses scattered around them. Aglaron shouted for guardsmen and turned away several of the attackers. He watched as many of the brave Elves who had come to his aid were struck down by the traitor's blades. Anger surged through him and a red glow grew within his palms. Aglaron gripped his sword with both hands and cleaved downward, releasing a wave of fire towards a group of the Northern Elves. As a guard of the council, he was trained in a limited use of magic. The attackers never faltered. It was as if their emotions had been ripped from their bodies. Aglaron didn't so much as see a flinch from any of them. A group of guardsmen rushed to the scene and pursued the attackers as Aglaron called to one of them. "The Northerners are after the council! Gather what men you can and move to secure the hall!"
The guard hurried off to the barracks with his orders. Aglaron instructed the citizens to gather the wounded and flee indoors. With the streets clear of civilians, he went in search of Halfirin. Aglaron returned to the market square and called for his friend; only the howl of the wind returned to him. A few moments of searching led him to the scene of the attack. The Elf soldier's body lay broken and crumpled behind a group of carts. Several of the Northern Elves had fallen to his blade before the end. Aglaron closed his friend's eyes and fought back the tears. Pain struck his heart and unleashed a rage deep inside him.
Chaos had erupted throughout the city. Soldiers and attackers alike flooded the streets in open warfare. Women and children scurried about in clusters of fear as artillary hammered at the city walls. Bodies lay scattered about the cobblestone streets. Those unfortunate enough to be the first into combat were slain by the hordes of Northerners flooding the city. The seige had begun.
The battle was long and brutal, with both sides suffering heavy losses. Hours had passed since the assault began and the defenders were steadily losing ground. Though the guardians of the council were highly trained warriors, they had endured a millenia long peace. No one was prepared for such an attack.
The mages of the Royal Court rallied the troops and pushed a counter-offensive deep into the Northfolk's lines, but reinforcements lay in wait for the heroic soldiers. None survived the ambush. With their forces cut near in half, the defenders abandoned their lines and surrounded the Council Chambers. It was a last ditch effort to protect the Heirophant and the council from the Northerners. All they could do now was hope...
Faena and Allafain had gathered what little they could and fled their home before the battle had begun. The two Elves moved quietly between the empty streets; watching closely for Northerners. Faena had recieved Aglaron's call and understood the danger behind the attack. Most of the images in her mind were scattered and brief, but she made out enough to know it was time to get out of the city. 
Fires had broken out from battle between guardsmen and the Northerners, bathing the sreets in eerie yellow light. Their shadows danced across the far walls like demons prancing in celebration of the carnage. Faena shivered at the thought of Aglaron facedown in the mud. She drove away the evil thoughts and focused on his aura. Even being across the city as they were, she could still feel his presence in her mind. It comforted her, but she had to remain vigilant and strong.
She had recalled a ship docked near the far harbor that was rarely used. The ship was the key to her family's escape. They neared the entrance to the harbor and found a group of Northerners scavenging the bodies of dead guardsmen. Faena hastily pulled Allafain behind a nearby stack of barrels and held her breath. Minutes passed and the Elves still picked through the dead; they hadn't noticed the two of them yet. Faena sighed in relief and tightened her grip on Allafain's hand. The young boy was frightened beyond belief, but he remained strong for his mother. 
Another few moments passed and the Northerners moved on from their scavenging. Faena risked a peek over their hiding place and found the street to be empty. She pulled Allafain along and made a quiet rush for the gates of the harbor. They reached the tall wooden doors and pushed them inwards. The gates gave only a little before falling back again. Faena's heart raced as she checked the far street for any sign of the Northerners. She pushed again and, once more, the gates gave very little. Panic set in as she realized there was no way through if they were locked. Thinking quickly, she knelt down and looked Allafain in his watery eyes. "Allie, look at mommy. I need you to do something for me okay? Allie, I need you to be a big, strong boy and climb over the wall. Lift the latch from the other side and let mommy in okay?"
Allafain's eyes widened in terror,"No mommy! I won't leave you alone with all those scary men around! I'm supposed to protect you for daddy!"
Faena recalled the image of Aglaron in her mind and vainly fought the tears. She looked her son in the eyes and smiled with tears rolling down her own. "I'll be okay Allie. When you unlock the gate I'll come in and we can  go to the boat together okay?"
Allafain rubbed his eyes and nodded his head. Faena smiled again and hugged him tightly. She lifted him up high and let him get a grip on the wall before shrinking down against the edge of the gate. She heard him struggle to pull himself up before dropping down on the other side. The sound of a blade being drawn behind her was the last thing she heard...

© Copyright 2019 Sullivan Williams. All rights reserved.


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