South from the ageing Monastery, toppled with clay stained spires, filled with brown robed Monks of peace, the evergreen grass surrounding the middle land grew slightly vast and bladed, reaching an average human waist height, except where the grass had been trampled upon so many times, that eventually an earthy dust road/path was created like trails, leaving the Monastery grounds, winding in all points of the compass; North, East, West, and somewhat North West, except not South. These paths eventually playing a larger role when the transportation of goods from Kingdoms to Kingdoms was needed, such things as gold, silks, and sometimes the odd waggon of barrelled ales or wines kept in with a simple cork in the hole, clumped together on the back of a round-wheeled waggon, drawn by a sturdy stallion who’s coat a healthy glow, fitted with muscles and will power enough to travel these strenuous miles of peace land. These roads used so much, that masonry and stones was soon scattered like seeds upon them to halt the growth of grass, and or the path turning into churned mud, threatening to lay waste to travellers on their own, except with the companion of a horse or two, pulling a heavy crate behind, whom would surely perish if they was to get stranded. In the direction of the South however, where my story lay, there was neither a path, nor a break in the towering grass, but a wall of soaring pine trees, resting upon rows and rows within each other like sleeping soldiers of giant origins. Their guise somewhat an illusion, even when the sun hit them with its demanding rays of light – their needle-like leaf, diminishing the forest of light even from such a head on angle. The borders of the South, some called it, to others the border of Rhuneserin; once such a well-known place, marked on the map, now a distant tale on a summers night. Several legends emerged from such distant lands beyond the whimsical forest, some of glory and heroism, some of a crown of lies, dashed with a woeful love story between races that bred there, now nothing more than a script on a page of tapestry somewhere. This behemoth of a beautiful, ancient forest goes by the name of Nimkelu Forest, brimmed with wildlife from great to small; A buck, with a proud crown of antlers atop of its head wandering through the floor of the dim-lighted forest, taking in every detail of its home surroundings with it oval eyes, sitting a nice spread on the head, captured with a button-like nose and a softly toasted fur. Tooth-pick thin spiders, creating their webs of art, some already finished and dabbed with a little dew or a few cocoons of white beads where they had caught their dumb-witted prey with wings. Often, there would be a shift of silver fur, scampering up the towering tree trunks and into the confines of needles, hiding the light away. A grey squirrel it would most commonly be, gathering nuts or edible things from the dusky floor. The forest floor wasn’t that of something out of a nightmare… Just abundance to a carpet of brown needles, almost a rust wash sea within the dusky atmosphere, with a thick root branch poking out from the blanketed floor, twining in wonderful ways before slithering back into the blanket. Silence filled these woods often, when a storm would pass, the creatures would bunker down and shelter – On a sun filled day such as today, the soft cries and melodies of the feathered fiends perched within the branches of needles filled the forest with an uplifting harmony, even in the dense atmosphere. No path lead through the forest of Nimkelu, nor was there a map; hostage to a secret that settled ahead, and above the cliff that arose out of Nimkelu forest, jutting out sharp edges and un-climbable walls. Ends of roots, sometimes dangling moss would fall from the shear wall of hardened earth, sometimes slate-like stones, more so appearing around a mercurial water fall, laden with brimming water of crystal and sanitised tones, bubbling into small spawns of orbs as the water clashed within itself at several points; dancing off a bulging rock, dulled partly due to the water, which added character to its passage down towards the teeming pool below, ringed with the same slate-styled rocks within the cliff walls, then carpeted further with the pine needles. Moss grew in places which were kept damp, yet not thrashing with water, a gangly green of nature’s beauty, sometimes accompanied with a spore of mushroom or two, with umbrellas of poisonous yellows, and beige browns. The sound of the gushing water wasn’t so loud, enfact, soft and babbling like a smaller flow of water, strange given the height of the drop it had to course through. The water flow would ebb into a swirling current before embarking ahead, down a trickling stream that rushed to the west a little, and out to the sea – a long journey for something in such a large land, most of the water would be soaked up within the lively forest, from both the animals that grazed near it, and the greedy roots of the trees, intent on sucking as much that would flow. Further along the crumbling acute cliff in Nimkelu forest, only one place amongst it was available to clamber up such a shear face, additional to the South East side where the cliff dredged on more so, until it came to a fracture within its altitude walls; Stone banisters jutted out from the crack, appearing to be crafted from fine, quarried marble slabs, connected to each other in beautifully crafted ways of curves and rings. Resting atop of the start of the pillars was a large ball on either side – made also from the dull marble. Parasites such as ivy, thin twigged and deep green leaves, twined around the base of the marble, growing out from the needle floor below and claiming the stone as its own. However, this small start of marble path then advanced up the mountain in clear, tidy kept stairs without a crack, nor pine needle strewn upon it. Coming to the top, a welcoming sight of adamant, unbending gates in the design of bars, bolted sealed to the sides of marble pillars, hiding in the slate rock layers, converged in more seeping moss and ivy parasites. These gates, although tall and tough, had no one guarding them – no real purpose for them as they hadn’t been discovered for a while, mostly due to the vast, mirror-like Nimkelu forest. Upon the top, breaching the gates which would open with a squeal, the stairs would proceed onwards until level with the land above; the needle dressed trees had pushed their way up the jagged cliff, claiming more land to itself, however, the woods grew more different with tones of trees; An oak or two claiming a wide berth with its round crown and grand roots, churning the soil into dust, capped with a few more little umbrellas, this time with the added tones of purples and reds on their parasols – mushrooms. They grew freely around the trees, sometimes on a decayed log that had started to lay waste, nesting an animal or bug or two. It had a certain more mythical, whimsy aura to this half, exceeding the sea level by miles. The Nimkelu forest didn’t last for much yonder however, as a light started to dawn into the Dusky lynx forest, turning the floor into washes of rust and poking bits of green where the grass had penetrated through the needle floor. Soon, the floor of the land was vibrant with greens and spots of colour as the trees thinned out, almost a wall of pointed green spires as the land proceeded further into bountiful fields, separated by bushes; Dotted shivering shrubs, ferns and other mysterious looking plants of purple hues, yellows and normal greens. Their leaves each different; some rounded, others elongated, and some pointing in four directions holding thick veins that stood out. It was clear Nimkelu forest had spat you out somewhere far from home, now further in the province of Rhuneserin you would be finding yourself. The gleaming sun above, yet partly behind as you looked on south, rested upon the spires of the needle trees behind you. The sight before the place you stand, in a soft wavering clump of grass, twinkling with morning dew that had not evaporated yet, was truly that of imagination and fairy-tales, even with the fields before you, combined; a lone mountain rose in the stretch of grand land, holding earthy tones of browns, sometimes a blotch of green where a lone tree grew on the outcrop of shear scaling, slowly darkening to a more murky sediment, as though it was damp or was a different rock entirely, before becoming snowy capped, glistening at the tip as it jut into the summer sky, indicating it was cold enough for snow to land upon the tip of the mountain up there. A few wisps of white cotton hung close to it, circling the tip like vultures on its prey, defiling the clear blue sky around the mountain. This mountain wasn’t for miles out, stretching far across the land of mysteries of Rhuneserin, what lay beyond that would be more land, sea, or a cliff leading down to the crashing sea of the South. The Cassari Sea – as those whom lived in Rhuneserin called it by that name. Trailing eyes downward of the mountain, pleasant sights such as ghastly white walls, capped in places by silver spires that scraped the sky with its points, glimmering in the sunlight’s rays of beauty laced through, and over some of the smaller hill-like land, mostly protecting the more capital parts of Rhuneserin; sometimes a spire would be swapped by an outcrop of the same ghastly stone; square bricks laid angular yet with a brick-wide space between each gap, as though the wall was missing chunks in a repetitive pattern, mirror-like, when really, behind these tall walls would be some leeway between it to host a position for several soldiers, or commonly known as guards. Only the odd one or two would be witnessed patrolling the exterior wall of the main kingdom, giving a glance over the absurd, hefty walls of white, sometimes passing one another, stopping to have a small talk as the sun beat down on their silver plumes; their armour, even though the kingdom never under attack, or laid siege to, still seemed to insist upon guards, as every normal kingdom would do; the exquisitely crafted steel clinked against itself when moved in any motion, such as walking mostly – their plumes, holding gleaming steel with inscribed designs upon it, crafted by the highest masters in forgery of metal, crowned with a tail of silk strands that would sashay in a breeze that would flow past. On the sides of their plumes, the metal would arch outwards in a large needle-shape, yet connected to the plume. The designs were clear upon scrutinizing closer, as it was apparent that it was meant for an elongated ear, which would point at the tip – to fit the wearer. On the right side, usually, a secure clasp would be fitted near the face guard, which could be opened, and closed at will or preference; Most tended to leave it open, swinging to the left side of their face so they could draw in breath and exhale without much effort, for the face guard of the plume was not merciful – one lucid thin slit for eyes to peep through, giving just enough vision when under battle, followed by a more curved steel around the mouth and chin, ridden with holes parallel to each other – for breathing with, and speaking – so the wearer would not sound as though mumbling when he/she was speaking, or as said, they would undo the face guard, leaving it to swing to their left hand side of the face. Contributing to the helm, matching chest plate and leggings was made of the same steel, cast and forged to withstand the battering of combat, and or a piercing arrow; Not a gap of skin would be noticed or made out, through the glinting steel plates, broadened on the shoulder areas, holding carefully engraved detail, dented into the steel on purpose – either the make mark, or the kingdoms Sigel, delicately laced into the centre of the chest muscle-style chest piece, and on either shoulder side. Their steel gauntlets crafted together with the arm plates, sliding over each other like scales similar to a dragon, allowing some movement. Jostling around either side of the wearers hip, angled downwards, tapping against the ankle every now and then, would be a finely forged long sword; the tang hefty, yet sturdy, wrapped in a black dyed leather around the place where fingers would curl around, easy grip and no slip. On the end of the hilt, the pommel would rest a gem, purple, sometimes violet as it wore with age; Elven believed that gems such as these could draw power from the atmosphere, gaining power in battle – empowering the wielder, the same would be for a staff of a Archmage, or a rune embedded in an ancient willow or yew log. More so on the blade, at the guards hips; the sturdy cross-guard curved outward like a bow, laying a point onto the fuller of the blade, starting the blade itself; made from the finest steel from the mines under Lithkelume Mountain, the one described earlier, that scraped the sky. Forged into the fuller of the blade, would be inscriptions in elven tongue, none the same – each different as they was the names of each guard/ knight. They had done this to tell which body belonged to whom, if they were ever perished in battle. Past these glimmering patrol men, spire walls, parallel to the height of the mountain poked the sky with its silver tops, mirroring off the sunlight that hit it, into different directions. Thin windows patterned down the spires, each individual reaching separate altitude until they would root from more block work of ghastly stone. A few balconies dotted itself upon different spaces of wall, sometimes holding a pot of draping flowers and tangling ivy, swaying in the breeze that was close to constant at such height. Guarding these balconies would be a vice of waist-height carved marble, creating a large bench for sparrows or parquets’ to land upon, chirping and yakking at mid-day. Free, open windows, including these balconies would mask the see-through drapes made of a softer organza fabric, shivering in a current of air, billowing outside like ghosts a few times. Leading to the bottom area, windows would grow bigger, more perturbed that the others as it held glass within its shelve, containing colours, creating stained glass and portraits within its organized structure. The grounds of the castle, known to the Kingdom of Rhuneserin, home to the ruler of the South, King Chamaranthe the second - The castle of Chamaranthe royals, of Rhuneserin. Its doors large, made of steel to match the walls – co-ordinated with a special lock mechanism that involved the intricate steel work design of leaves and branches, however, these doors, although ‘twas the direct doors into the castle, remained open on days like this, with a path of smooth cut stones snaking in a direct line towards more ghastly white walls, lower than the exterior walls, but just as sturdy and also baring the same ghastly white; Atop of them, patrolling was the gleaming steel knights of before, dotted along the footway of the wall, evenly spaced between one another and doubled in numbers as they stood within the gaps of square block, an archer point; Although they carried two more items the other knights/guards had not – Longbow and quiver; The longbow looked to be developed from sturdy wood such as Willow, good for stretching, Oak, good for precise aim and other woods most commonly used – these bows upon their backs wouldn’t have inscriptions carved into them, but rune symbols, some for vision aiding, others for being able to fire a arrow fast. The Belly and Back curved nicely, done by high quality craftsmanship, and the Nock pointing from the left shoulder, North West somewhat, creating its own compass upon the wielders back. Of course, accompanying a bow such as this, was a Quiver pouch capable of storing twenty Silver tipped arrows with long pale shafts, and white dove feathers on the ends, in a leather cylinder sack that hung with the bow, yet pointed in the opposite direction of opening, so the wielder could grasp an arrow quickly and rain death from above. The gap in the white walls, and where the stone path slid out of, was a double fence-like gate, corrugating with the castle door design, holding intricate leaves made from steel also, clinging onto the steel bars; this gate remained ajar with four appropriately dressed guardsmen, each baring the gleaming steal armour with the waving silk strand plumes, as all the others once more, yet without the bow and quiver – stopping those whom have no permission to enter the grounds of the Chamaranthe castle. The floor turned into a masonry of pebbles, corroded boulders that had now become pebbles, from washing up on the South shore of Cassari, and a few broken pot pieces, ground down to make the path that the whole kingdom would use, yet eventually would frazzle out to becoming simple, dry dirt paths on the outside of the exterior castle walls, where farming lands tended to be, or overflow of people that lived in Rhuneserin. In the castle walls, interior that secured the Castle of Chamaranthe was a bodacious garden, holding the same smoothly planted stones that had a few grass blades peeping through the cracks in the castle grounds; these paths wound around topiaries of colourful bushes and plants, wielding thick petals of vibrant colours from all hues, fading into different tones within the middle of the exotic gardens. A few servants, dressed in simple white silken clothes that clung to their figure, embracing it and distinguishing the natural soft feminine curves that they would have grown into; They had a woven basket, weaved over and over, and around to make it firm to hold heavy loads, yet they held a couple hundred or so of red, dew ridden cherries, ripe for the picking. Wandering more around the garden of the castle, stone sculptures of animals would stand warring partly in the rain that plummeted down on it over its years of standing there – it had corroded in some areas, such as a squirrels face, or a wolves fur, turning into something looking like a small horse with some form of disease that gave it growth impediments. Still, was a sight of beauty and craftsmanship, even when worn. Following a path further behind the castle, you would slip into an archway of oak trees, creating a shelter of leaves down this path, littered with a few of last fall’s leaves, grasping to the dirt and grass at the sides, where more statues would be placed; these statues had more reason behind them, and power in history – made of marble and chiselled to perfect detail, was each past king, pointed ears, and all carrying the same long sword, as though they hadn’t died, but become the marble itself, the detail was incredulous. Venturing further down this shadowy path of history, drawing at the end would be a gazebo made from eight white, and petite column structures, thin but elegantly crafted, standing upon the smooth, mosaic styled floor of the same path stone – yet a little more tidy and neater than what the path was like. The parasites of ivy twisted around a few of the columns, boasting their leaves proudly in a kept way. The roof of the gazebo was made from a tinted stone, or painted with earthy dies that was used to dye the clothing; A lighter than light, turquoise blue decorated the bowl shaped roof of the gazebo – with a marble ball placed in the centre, on top. More to the quaint scene was a little table made from marble, holding steady with a thick base to stop it from toppling over; It wasn’t immensely detailed, just a few chiselled decorations around the edges – and to accompany the rounded marble, was a chair or two, made from iron and wood. The iron seemed to have dimmed black, or again, painted from clay dyes, and curled on the armrests, performing a water flow, or cloud swirl, type of effect. Where bottoms would rest, wood planks yielded by bolts latched down to the iron, for a sturdy seat. This little picture, lavish in its own ways, was heightened by the display in front – a flowing stream of water that trickled down from Mount Lithkelume, where water sunk into the floor from the settling snow that sometimes melted. It wasn’t as big as the river/waterfall in Nimkelu forest, but it was the source of where its water came from, gathered up and formed a snake path within the damp moss and stone. There was more to the Castle/palace gardens, But it was all relatively parallel to what had already been seen/described. The village, living inside the Kingdoms exterior walls, not literally in the walls, but in the gap between these walls, and the walls that surrounded the castle; They dotted along the masonry pebble and stone road, camping its own form of bountiful gardens of plants – not such a tight-packed village, though ‘twas busy with several types of elven races; Drow, blood, Night and normal elven races, sometimes a rare half-ear would be spotted – but that was rare, as they’d most likely be over the ages of 200 years old, when they mingled with humans on a scandal that a few elven females had slithered out of the borders, and mated with those from the west – being the closes kingdom. The village houses mostly consisted of stone, a little duller to what the walls of the kingdom was made from, yet did the trick; Wooden pillars, used as beams to hold the structures, and walls laid with dull, smaller bricks, like a null clay taken near the dye baths, moulded into the smooth structure before heated to dry, and then coated in a glaze that would prevent rain from melting it. Windows made from wooden structures, and flaps that could be closed to prevent wind from flowing through – no glass in this place, not yet atleast. A few other houses, made more so from wood, and trees combined into the structure, a little like a tree house dotted along the picturesque scene of a village. It wasn’t your average tight-packed housing style, like most human kingdoms would be, as there was plenty of land in the South in Rhuneserin, and the elven didn’t like to go mental on removing the natural landscapes here such as the ancient oak trees, or the withering willows with age which billowed out between a few houses. Daffodils sprung up in places, with tulips, sometimes acting as drinking cups for a few more nature based elven, whom drank from them when rain would collect inside. Furthermore, the houses wasn’t completely a mirror image of each other, as each elven had its own style of living; Inside, they’d have a table or two made from stone or wood, depending on preference, a few chairs and perhaps a fire place built from stones that had blackened with smoke, resembling something like a beehive, or another house would have a workbench scattered with tools, chipping the wood, a long table with rickety chairs surrounding it for a family to sit at, and a bed in the corner. Higher nobility houses would be much more represented than this, with better living quarters, but also larger space within their houses, and decorated to their liking. The masonry road would be littered sometimes with fresh mud, or a few pieces of mashed and crumpled food from a harvest that had fallen from a wagon, as even elven had farmlands; grazing animals and crops – they didn’t live from air alone. Vast fields of wheat, more to the south side of the Kingdom, closer to the mountain Lithkelume, sprouted golden strands of Wheat, Barley and Oats mostly, awash like a sea in its own golden and brown glory of harvest, the fields ploughing outside of the great white walls a little yonder. Back in the boundaries of the ghastly white walls, within a gap close to the Lithkelume Mountain, an array of dreary dusky boulders piled in masses against one another, on top to form a make-shift tower, winding up in a twisted motion like the element itself was tampered with, to create the jagged, spindling structure of hard rock, settling into each other; enclosing this rocky keep, was a few shady wood trees – of pine and oak with deep green leaves – the hint of a good summer sun, sometimes a patch of wildflower here or there, blossoming bright colours; Atop of this keep, scaling the walls of cobbled stone cracks, it looked like a piece of castle spire was broken off, and placed here, yet carried a more quaint, and poorer look to it; The ebony black slates cracked from years of standing and weather wear, slipping off in places, revealing the damp wooden beams that held the point to its scale of a dwarfed height, and the darkness past it. At some waypoint, the tower crooned outwards – creating the floor of where the stairs would stop spiralling upwards in a dense, long, breath-exerting fashion. On the inside, the floor was the same cold stone blocks, capped with a little dust in places, to add to the old, odd spike of rocks, where more description would be told, when action with such tower was given; All to know, ‘twas the home of the Arfaern – ‘Great Wizard’, or more commonly known to an average human as an Archmage; Surely, he wouldn’t be able to wield, breath-taking powers that could destroy kingdoms in a second or two – and most definitely, said person could not. However, what the Arfaem was most capable of, was wielding the power of Runes, soft healing and slight enchantment. Perhaps a touch of element or two, possibly able to shape the rocks around his keep/observatory, keeping secrets, knowledge and an inventory of wise words; His age, would be the oldest in the kingdom, most certainly, even more so than the king of Rhuneserin, as elven tended to live up to 500 years or older, sometimes further if lucky. Not many things would be known of the Arfaem, just of he was a wise man, whom could wield energies beyond mortal power. Projected outside the kingdoms ghastly heaven walls, was the fields of golden blankets, with a farm house or two, and grazing animals as once said, yet towards the Southern sides only, some even sheltering between the Lithkelume Mountain, and the kingdom walls. More to the side you faced, was the green, spacious fields, with a break somewhat slivering down to the walls of might. A hole, large enough for elephants to pass through, framed the entrance into the heaven given kingdom, picturesque in all its glory. A few of the guards stood watch near the spiked topped entrance, baring a banner on a pole, and a sword at their waists. Nothing came through, without theirs, or the Kings permit – or any other royalty… or a race that was welcomed into the walls. The pebbledash path soon turned to more dusty compact state, disappearing behind a curvature of the green earth. Back at the castle of silver spires, the inside was much different to the outside, and those living around it – yet of the same style… or formation. As you passed the intricate doors, your ears would be greeted by a chorus, sometimes of what was an appeasing, dramatic tune, as though someone was blowing down a thousand flutes, reaching deeper notes. Organs, situated behind tall pillars of marble, made with stone pipes, with intricate wooden crafting surrounding them, hiding the air bags that filled, and then pressed out air as the player hit the notes on the odd keyboard that looked simple enough, yet would confuse anyone trying to play out the right tune. Behind those ivory keys, would be either elven male, or female – knowing how to play each key, read sheet music, and more. Also depending, following the chirping of the organs, would be a gospel choir of both male and female – whom were invited into the castle, to do such singing, not forced to sing for royalty. The floor was lined with simple stone slates, square, and a little dusty with a few brown leaves, twigs and other things blown through the doors during the day – rarely cleaned as it was nature; something that didn’t bother elven that much. Passing the wooden beams of seats, where the gospel choir sat, and billowed out their voices, the hall carried on, passing two staircases, mirror to one another from left side of the room, to the right; Carved from stone, with ivy growing around the bannister freely, and few other wall-climbing plants that blossomed white flowers.
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