Monday, October 14, 2013

Battle of Tor Cairas (part 2)

In the dark of night, the battle upon the walls was gruesome. With daybreak, many lay dead upon either side of the walls. The line had held, but with great losses. The Dal-Ra fell back and waited again for night. Freyr, not of a mind to wait for death, gathered his men together and approached Aliralath. He spoke of bringing the fight to the enemy and Aliralath looked at him as though he was crazed.

As they stood in council, wizened old Tralerith came to them. Tralerith, an aged wizard and sworn man of Kalieth, had been busy at work attending the wounded. He moved amongst the people in disguise for he had thought that the work of a wizard was not tied to that of kings. The Mad Weaver, however, spoke unto him and told him that the hour of his doom had come upon him.

So, it happened that Tralerith came to Freyr of the Greenwood and the elders of Tor Cairas. At first, they knew him not, for he was dirty and dressed in ragged clothes. But, as he spoke, it became clear that the strange, aged man before them was someone of great consequence. Tralerith explained to them how they might throw off the greater forces of the Dal-Ra but Freyr was troubled by this. For Tralerith spoke of summoning the great dragon of Kailes, a creature of an ancient and alien mind that was not known to view lesser beings in any kindness. Freyr asked how they might secure the aid of that dragon but Tralerith only said that the forest king was to marshal his forces.

Freyr's caution was cast aside by the elders of Tor Cairas. With great reservations, Freyr gathered to him his able bodied warriors. Tralerith went upon the battlements of Tor Cairas and spoke the enchantments. As he did so, great clouds began to form in the sky. The people of Tor Cairas sought their homes and huddled together in masses, filled with dread. Freyr and his men readied their weapons.

A scream split the air as Tralerith fell to the ground, lifeless as the stones. Down from the building storm, came a great creature. It coiled and slithered through the air like a serpent with leathered wings cracking like thunder. Even as the terror of the people of Tor Cairas was great, greater still was the horror of the Dal-Ra.

Chaos broke out amongst them as the dragon came down low near them. Freyr and his force came forward in the wake of that chaos. Freyr's men had cut a mighty swath through the troubled Dal-Ra before they found themselves facing true resistance. Sharp were the knives of the younger sons of the Dal-Ra who were either reckless or mad for glory. Sharper still were the blades of the Greenwood folk and they won through that hard mass by bloody effort.

Deep in the ranks of the Dal-Ra's reinforcements, the great dragon of Kailes moved amongst them like a viper. Its great maw bit deeply into man and beast alike. Soon, it came upon one who did not bleed and scream as the rest. Where the brood of evil walked, the roiling chaos-dancer found a worthy foe. Maigren, second born son of the accursed one, stood with his mighty spear and great shield. He stood surrounded by the dead of friend and foe alike.

As the sky-serpent moved its coils about him, fair haired Maigren laid about with his lance. Where no iron or steel blade has cut into the flesh of the dragon, the black metal forged by the deamon smiths bit into the pale underbelly of that storm black creature. This served only to move the great creature into higher fury. Maigren watched his foe and worked hard to keep his long jaws away.

So it was that he missed the arrival of Freyr. The sky-serpent paused in a great and terrible stillness before Maigren. The scourge of gloaming let out a scream that sent blood curdling terror through all that heard it. Undaunted, Freyr came forward and buried his bright steel blade in the neck of his damned kinsman. Maigren's spear dropped from nerveless hands as he turned and reached to probe the wound. Freyr wrenched the blade from the deamon's spine and hewed again with the forest's might behind his stroke.

As Maigren's head fell to the blood sodden ground, the dragon flapped its great wings. A clap of thunder echoed over the land as the storm's child rose high into the air. The vanquished threw down their weapons in terror as the great dragon of Kailes gave another cry. Dawn came and the battle was won. Aliralath mourned Tralerith and called upon the city of Tor Cairas to join him. Freyr took the forest folk back into the greenwood, though Aliralath bade him to stay. Thus did the withdrawal of the blessed ones be forewritten in the wake of the death of Morguthu's second son.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Battle of Tor Cairas

Freyr was a mighty king. He was well known for his valor in battle, kindness to the unfortunate, and generosity to all. He lived in that wood known now as Dragonwood. With him, perished his line, but his memory lasts even to this day.

Freyr was a son of Sigurt and stood high among his people. In his concern for the people of Tor Cairas, he lead his army forth from the great wood. Tor Cairas lay under siege from the Dal-Ra, servants of the Hated One. Freyr's princely warriors cut through the Dal-Ra and drove them out into the murky lands of the Fens. Upon their victory, Freyr brought his men into the city for healing and rest.

Little did the victors know that the Dal-Ra were coming again, with greater numbers. As night fell on the fourth night hence, one of Freyr's far sighted kinsmen happened to look to the south. There, in the rising gloom, he saw a force marching. Word was put forth to the good king and the elders of the city. Freyr and Aliralath, eldest of the men who lead the city of mists, came to the walls and looked where the blessed guard pointed.

There they saw what looked to be a forest devoid of branch or leaf moving northward. Aliralath gave a cry of dismay and fear. Freyr set his men to work. In the dark, the blessed children of Roen worked with a desperate fury to build earthworks and trenches. When dawn came, a rough labyrinthe lay where the mud had been churned with booted feet to a mire. Stout branches of brambles coaxed by elfin magic into thorny spears bristled.

In amongst this hedge, the weary forest folk waited. Behind the walls of Tor Cairas, Aliralath and his brothers put the able bodied to work securing the walls. At nightfall of the next day, the forces of the Dal-Ra had reached the outer edge of the cleared lands about Tor Cairas. They beat their drums and sounded their war horns.

Freyr slept poorly that night, for a great forboding lay heavily upon his heart. Where Aliralath had thought it to be another siege, Freyr knew that the Dal-Ra would come upon them with their full numbers. Freyr looked about himself and saw many a brave soul with the faint veil of death cast about their form like gossamer spider webs. In the face of such doom, he did not give his heart over to grief.

Indeed, he went amongst the doomed and exhorted them with bold speech of courage and victory. The third day, the Dal-Ra waited. As the gloom of night began to fall, they marched forward with the beat of heavy drum. In to the maze they went. The elfin host bore arms bravely against them. The numbers of the enemy, however, pushed the valiant defenders back to the walls.

The Dragon's Daughter

The first book of the Umbrel Chronicles is out. The Umbrel Chronicles discusses the second great war between the elves and the deamons. Against this backdrop, the story of Askemb, usurper of the throne of Evandar, and of the fight to restore Thora Talith, the rightful High Queen of Evandar. The first book of the Umbrel Chronicle speaks of how Askemb seized the throne of Evandar and Thora's escape into the company of the Foresters of Dragonwood.

This book is available through

E-book is $3.00

Paperback is $20.00

Hard cover is $32.40

The Plains of Llyrian (Pt. 4)

Away at the hall of Llyrian's home, Unnr moved amidst her husband's people, deeply troubled. An illness had swept over them. Great men were brought low. The aged and young were cut down as grass before the scythe. Some had begun to recover, but it was only few of that proud number. So it happened that Llyrian crossed the great river of Amyas at the ford of Janwynne. As Llyrian crossed the bawn, no challenge was cried out. No persons came out to meet the lone rider and demand their name or purpose.

Amazed by this, Llyrian passed on to find the stench of dead flesh heavy in the air as he drew closer to his home. A great pit had been dug between the eastern edge of the spear-wall and the western edge of the fading field of grain that stood along the edge of the river. In that pit was thrown the bodies of the dead, man and beast alike.

Llyrian passed beyond the spear-wall and was met by a young boy. Dressed in ill fitting clothes and dirty, the orphan struck terror into Llyrian's heart. The golden haired wolf of Sigurt dismounted and went into his hall. There he found Unnr at desperate work to soothe the evils of the plague that had come upon them. Weakened men and women shuddered with the grips of fever as others lay groaning. 

Llyrian walked amongst them, staring with horror as he remembered the night his sons were born. He looked at his wife and fell to his knees. He bowed his great head and struck his hands three times against the hard earth, weeping for his folly. Unnr looked past her husband for her sons. She saw no sign of them and looked to her husband, troubled by his demeanor.

“We are undone,” Llyrian groaned, “Ah, forgive me, we are undone.” Unnr gasped as she realized that the curse had come to pass. She looked about the hall and found her mind filled with visions of destruction. With a cry, Unnr fell to the ground dead with grief and horror. Llyrian screamed aloud, gathering the clay cold corpse of his beloved wife to him. Thus it was that Llyrian returned to his hall on the eve of the storm of the Howling Horde.

Night came and with it came the out riders of the Horse Lords. Llyrian moved among his people, desperate for any who had might to take arms. Across the river, the Horse Lords lifted up the standard of war and set to a great noise. All of Janwynne echoed with the din. Slowly, the night crept by. In the dark, away at the marsh to the south, one who had been angered by such cacophony many a year before smiled in the dark, for she knew her revenge was taking shape.

Dawn came. It found Llyrian and five brave souls standing at the gate of the shield wall. The Horse Lords crossed the ford and laughed at the defenders. When noon had come, Janwynne was burning as the Horse Lords turned to ride back to their people. So it happened that the Horse Lords brought death as the spoils of war, but that is a tale for another time.