The Chronicles of Valana Volume 1: Shadowlands

by AB

Chapter 15

Two words in Zah Dah

"I don't like this…no resistance since we landed on this accursed land. These are the shadowlands and except for this infernal miasma and no sun even though it is day we have seen no creatures of Darkness whatsoever…I do not like it." Segaru whined. They had been travelling to Zah Dah since they made land in Yagahala's sorrow the day before.

"Be glad." Merdoc told him but Feldon did not look pleased.

"It worries me. First, he retreats when he could have easily won the battle at Lake Natlarn after…after he killed my father and moral was low and now he doesn't send anything to meet us before either army can arrive at Zah Dah and besiege it? Why?" Aer'andil voiced what everyone was thinking.

No one spoke for some time. Beck broke the silence. "Maybe…maybe he has realised his mistake…? Maybe he'll want to negotiate?" He said in a hopeful tone.

"Negotiate? He killed my father. There will be no negotiating of any kind. This day either Zah Dah will fall or we will all be dead by the end of it. I will not negotiate with…"it"." Aer'andil said calmly. Drake gazed on his friend thinking how he had never before seen Aer'andil in such a state of sorrow and seething emotions.

No one spoke for some time. Segaru broke the stale silence.

"What of Micraal? What will happen to him?"

"He betrayed us to Zah Dah. He will be executed if he survives the siege and battle." Merol answered him without a shred of mercy in his voice.

"I'll do it." Aer'andil said, his voice heavy, his eyes staring ahead.

"No, the insult is on me, Lucas is my son." Merol tried to stake his claim on who had the clearest right to execute Micraal.

Aer'andil did not even look at him. He just shook his head "no". "No, Merol. You know as well as I do that the insult during times of war does not go to the nearest of kin but to the highest Command in the army. If my father were alive, that would be him, now it is I. This discussion is over." He said and all was silent again. Beck and Drake's jaws hanging loose from the shock, the Aer'andil they knew just did not talk like that.

Merol looked none too pleased but said nothing.

"What is the plan of attack? Will the Elves sing again?" Segaru asked trying to make some conversation to pass the little time they had left before arriving before the dread-Gates of Zah Dah where the dead sang their sorrow according to legend.

"They will do as they have been ordered. I don't think Olan will fall for that twice, he will undoubtedly have raised wards around Zah Dah to prevent us singing him into oblivion." Aer'andil told him grimly.

An hour later the spires and towers of Zah Dah's walls appeared in the horison.

They joined with the main host of Elves and men outside the remnants of the outskirts of Udala, now occupied by the men of Zah Dah. Hardy people that somehow, mostly resisted the Dark influence of Zah Dah.

"Evacuate the civilians…" Feldon told General Commander Merdoc and the Commanders of the other armies.

"If they resist?" The commander of Lavonia asked.

"Do not harm them if you can, but evacuate them…forcefully if you must. This will soon not be a place for civilians to be in no matter how hardy they are." Feldon told them and they left.

Having already received their orders the army assembled before the walls of dismay as the locals called them. The Elven archers behind the infantry, pikes on the front and swordsmen in between them, cavalry on the flanks. Dragons flew over them.

Shadowy creatures appeared on the walls of Zah Dah. The air was still, everyone's breaths caught in their lips. The gates opened and from within them miasma and creatures of Darkness poured like an avalanche forming lines a few tens of meters in front of the army of Men and Elves. The air was still and everyone was slowly panicking. The enemy numbers seemed to be unending.

Aer'andil breathed out and walked up a small knoll in front of the army. He turned and removed the crown of the Crown Prince of Elves, threw it over to Feldon and wore the crown of the High-King of Gel'anr, it glowed white as he put it on his head.

He looked over from one flank of the army to the other and then looked on straight ahead, as he started speaking in a clear but raised voice.

"It begins as the lightest of breezes. It dances above the death cries of men and Elves. It moves by need unconquerable and uncontrollable. That breeze became a wind.

"A wind that my brethren have sacrificed for, have bled for, have died for. A wind of a battle cry for those lost...a wind of justice for the loved-ones lost. Join me now Elves and Men. At the gates, we stand of Evil's citadel. We are all hurt and tired but now it ends.

"Good people of Valana, I will not tire you with long and lofty speeches. I am Aer'andil of Gel'anr, son of Liandras and Felwyn Galay and here I will fight with you. Here we make our stand, here live or die we will be remembered for generations to come as the brave few who stood against the tides of darkness and survived…NAY! WON! NOW GOOD PEOPLE OF VALANA CCCHHHAARRRRGGEEEEE!" He bellowed the last part and taking the bow from his shoulders he turned and pointed with it at the enemy army before raining down arrow after arrow at whatever stood in front of him.

With a roaring battle cry of thousands the soldiers started running to the legion of Zah Dah as the archers took aim and let loose a storm of arrows, all of them enchanted one way or another.

"Bears! Hialoth anoli carilth !" King Hodrelth ordered and in an instant, the army of Gel'Glidorn changed into their animal forms. Bears of all shapes and sizes charged to the enemy ranks. The King, a huge bear twice the size of any other with brown-black fur roared and run up to the closest enemy soldier tearing him apart with his bear claws and teeth. A creature jumped on his back and took a bite at him. Roaring he rolled on his back and then sunk his teeth into it shaking it left and right until its neck snapped. Turning to his left, he launched at the nearest creature of Darkness.

The dragons knew what to do and folding their wings, they descended. They flew low inside the black citadel breathing fire at the sources of the miasma and soldiers on the walls burning them alive.

The creatures on the walls fired black balls of dark magic at them. Some found their mark making those dragons bellow in agony. One crashed on the bulwarks dead, before falling off the walls inside the Citadel.

Aer'andil's arrows missed the soldiers. At first, the soldiers laughed and sneered until the arrows exploded in majestic light tearing them to shreds.

He stood on that hill firing arrows at the oncoming soldiers until the two armies clashed together and the melee fights begun. There was such an energy release on that moment, weapons clashing on weapons and armours. Talons, claws, and teeth slashing apart flesh and steel.

Aer'andil noticed that the remaining elves behind them were not singing or throwing magic spells at the enemy soldiers. He looked back to see King Lados nodding negatively at him. Aer'andil nodded to him and pointed with a closed fist at the battle. King Lados grinned and unsheathing his blade, he pointed with it at the battle and yelled.

"Thel evi Anasol'Thalin! Thel endiron! Thel evi Naiath!" King Lados charged ahead screaming the Elven battle cry with the remaining Elven warriors following him. Feldon and Merol stayed close to Aer'andil. The twins were supporting Segaru as he battled just down the hill.

A huge Adalnial, towering almost a foot above Merol came at them with a force. He raised its sword above its head and brought it down on Merol's head. Merol used his greatsword to deflect the blow and then with a sideways step he turned his hands and cut the Adalnial across its chest. The Adalnial gave a horrific scream and fell dead. It took Merol a second to figure out what had happened.

"Feldon, tell your Elves, speaker abilities. If my blade can kill spirits and it just killed it…" Feldon interjected him as he battled another creature of darkness. Something with four legs too many and haunting dark blue eyes.

"Yes…we know…spirit-killing runes or abilities make short work of them, the only problem….there's not enough Speakers to go around and those…things feel no pain, no fear, no need to sleep or eat or drink. They just keep fighting until something or someone kills them." Feldon finished speaking and with feigning an attack of his sword to the right, he killed the beast by stabbing it on its throat with a hidden dagger in his other hand.

Feldon moved on to the next creature near him before it had even touched the ground.

A few hours later, the battle was swaying in their favour when a booming, deathly voice was heard all across the battlefield.

"Enough of this. Open doom young one or your friend dies!" Aer'andil looked around him. Feldon and everyone else except Merol, every single soldier including the enemy's stood still in various poses. It was as if time itself had stopped for everyone and everything except him and Merol. Aer'andil grabbed a stone and let it fall. The stone fell normally so time had not in fact frozen.

"Come out and face me fiend! Are you too afraid to fight me?" Aer'andil taunted Olan.

"Afraid? Of whom? You're nothing but a child." The incorporeal voice said full of malice and spite.

"You hide behind your walls and your soldiers. Come out and face us." Aer'andil continued. He did not intend to let this siege drag for hours, days or months. It would end now, one way or another.

"Maybe I should kill your friend…yes, that is a good idea I think." Olan laughed.

"Why haven't you killed him already then? Coward, if I am but a child it should be easy for you to kill me or will you continue to send your pawns my way. I killed Naire, I can kill them all." Aer'andil yelled.

"Naire…dead? I think not, riding on Droholost and an army at their disposal they should be slaughtering your islands by now."

"Yes, Ifigured that part out, craven dog, that's why we faced them at Eri'Adar and I killed him…permanently." Aer'andil taunted him grinning and laughing.

There was a moment's pause before Olan spoke again, " Calthrinia brought your friend here with Micraal, neither of them told me of this, you lie little one. Naire is probably slaughtering your kin as we speak." There was trepidation in his voice.

"Is that doubt I hear, King of lies, prince of Darkness?" Aer'andil continued.

"Prince !? I will be a god! Open doom or your friend dies!" Olan lost his temper at Aer'andil's provocation.

"If I lie so profusely, "prince", why not contact him? Come on then contact Naire and prove me a liar. You a god? Don't make me laugh!"

"ENOUGH!" There was a crack in the air in the other side of the hill and three figures appeared out of seemingly liquid blackness. Olan's hooded, masked figure with Micraal and Lucas on his left. Merol charged at them. Olan cackled and waved his hand sending Merol flying back. He landed on his back and straggled to rise.

"Micraal…kill him." Olan told the boy. Micraal looked at Aer'andil with a pitiful look on his face. He looked away, grabbed a dagger from his belt, and pressed it against Lucas' throat.

"Why?" Aer'andil asked him sounding sad. He needed not voice the whole question.

It gave Micraal pause as he looked back at Aer'andil. He opened and closed his mouth a few times before finally answering.

"He…Olan….he promised me…he promised me immortal life by your side…your love…everything I crave, my….love for you fulfilled and reciprocated by you…my deepest desire…" He said in barely above a whisper.

"And you believed him? Didn't you hear? He sent Naire to slaughter my kin, if we hadn't stopped him…Norion, Tha'ala, my mother, my friends in Gel'anr…they would be dead right now. Can you really trust such a fiend? Micraal….we could have been friends but I will NEVER love you that way. You are not my love nor will you ever be. He promised Naire that he had made him a fire wizard but he was not or I would not have been able to kill him as I did. He lies and deceives everyone and everything. He has no intention of making me fall in love with you or making you immortal. Don't you remember what my father told you? If you try to achieve that which you crave the most, your deepest desire. Your darkest fears shall come to pass. How can you trust or serve him?" Aer'andil asked him. His look was not one of anger but one of contempt and despair.

Micraal pursed his eyebrows and lips as if ready to cry. "Without…without Norion or Tha'ala you can begin to love me….maybe it will take years but it will happen…" He started saying but Aer'andil cut him off.

"I prefer to kill myself. Without my Norion, my Tha'ala…without my people…with Zah Dah a victor in this war…I prefer to die than see that happen." Micraal looked to be devastated at what Aer'andil was telling him.

"Micraal, kill him now and I will make you immortal."

"No, you won't, just like you didn't really make Naire a fire wizard, just like you left Gilthian alone and without your support when he failed you. You betray everyone and anything if it suits your end, you lie and deceive and nothing that comes out of you is credible or honest. It is all ash and dust in the wind. You offer gifts, you play to the insecurities and desires and fears of others to have your way and leave them standing when their use to you is over. You are a coward that won't even do his own dirty work and works through others." Aer'andil continued his verbal attack on Olan.

Micraal looked at Olan with a worried look painted on his face. "Is it true? Did you lie…" He did not have enough time to finish his sentence as Aer'andil broke him off again.

"If you are going to kill Lucas, I want to tell him goodbye and listen to my friend before he dies one last time.

Olan made a very unhappy noise through his mask, walked to where Lucas and Micraal stood and with one hand, raised Micraal off the ground from his neck making the boy choke and heave for air.

"You stupid boy, yes I lied, I lie, why would I not? The hearts of men are easily corrupted, deceived and only hear to what they want, not the truth. Men mean nothing to me, useful tools to be discarded when their worth ends. Worry not though, although there is no way to make you an immortal with the pact such as it is, I promise you that after I make Aer'andil my host I will rape you from within him daily…he will love you in a way and you can love his husk like you do now." Olan told the boy and burst laughing. He threw Micraal back onto a rock hitting his head and dropping him unconscious. He heard Merol coming his way and with a twist of his hand sent him flying back again.

He pressed the blade of his sword against Lucas' throat. "Break the pact child. It is the only way to truly kill me." Olan snarled at Aer'andil.

Aer'andil studied him and went in meditation to speak to his spirit.

"He has asked at least twice…is it true?"

His spirit did not answer.

"Don't do that, this is the one moment in time where you should not be cryptic or absent…If it is the only way to really kill a spirit…" He felt the disturbance before his spirit even started talking to him.

"To open the Gathlail Aeternae is to open doom, to use yesterday magic speak intent and will doom. Death and creation, death can bring creation. Creation and death, creation can bring death."

Aer'andil was left speechless by his spirit's incantation of one of the prophesy's verses. "I thought…I was supposed to not take those literally but interpret them?"

"I said not to take it literally or interpret it. I advised for you to understand it."

"Understand it…understand the prophesy, understand…nothing?" Aer'andil paused for a moment. After talking with his spirit for a year, he still did not understand it. "Or understand both?" he asked ambivalent.

"To understand it all, you must understand everything and you must understand nothing."

"What did you say? I have heard that somewhere before." He pondered for a moment before his mind snapped back to Olan. "He wants me to open the Gathlail Aeternae…wait… the gates of the spiritum...too much. Why? If it is going to kill him? Wait… how will me opening the gates of the planes above kill him?" Before his spirit could answer, he snapped out of meditation and looked at Olan.

"I am not doing it. I am not opening the Gathlail Aeternae." He told his enemy in a defiant tone.

"There is no other way to kill me. DO IT!" Olan was almost beside himself.

"No, let me speak to my friend." Aer'andil grinned.

"You want to talk to your friend…? Why not, you can listen to his dying screams after. Two words then he dies."

As Olan removed the gag from Lucas' mouth, Liandras' words came to Lucas' mind. " Two words. In Zah Dah, when you find yourself in the enemy's hands, two words shall sway the world's fate. Two words to name nothing. Chose them wisely young one or fall unto ruin." Lucas knew that he would not have time to speak more than two words and time was flying away fast as he scrambled through memories and thoughts trying to find two words that could describe what Olan was. Then his pupils dilated as a memory came to him that would allow Aer'andil, Marco, his friend from Earth to understand what Olan was. "Think as not of this place." Liandras had told them.

Knowing exactly what to say he looked Aer'andil straight at his eyes. "Stargate. Anubis." Just as the second word came out of his mouth, he felt something metallic strike the back of his head. Olan had hit his head with the pommel of his sword. A moment later, he felt cold steel against his throat.

It took Aer'andil all of two seconds to understand what Lucas meant. In the TV series, "Stargate SG-1" Anubis had been an ascended being that had been exiled by the rest of his kin for being too evil and worked to dominate the planes of the mortals and the galaxy to gain enough power to challenge his former kin. It all clicked in Aer'andil's mind. Why Olan did not press on the attack after killing his father, why he had done what he had done so far in this war. He wasn't trying to kill everyone, he wanted to somehow by means that were still unclear to Aer'andil gather enough power to break open the planes of the spiritum and claim his vengeance upon his former kin. He did not want him dead he wanted something of him.

"Cousin…I guess when my father killed you in the last war, you tried to ascend back to the planes of the spiritum but they cast you down didn't they?" Aer'andil asked Olan smugly. His hands reaching for his bow. He saw Merol coming from behind Olan and made a small nod to him, hoping Merol would understand him.

Olan pressed the sword's blade on Lucas' throat. "Open Doom or your friend dies. I am nothing but I will be everything!" He told Aer'andil who had his second epiphany for the day. Olan in Elvish meant nothing. It quite literally meant the word "nothing". He remembered his father's words. "Limbathalin Galar, stone of the heavens or celestial stone has been its name since. When the time comes to battle, nothing you will need time, time to learn time to grow. Use this metallic stone to bind nothing to there and fire to bind it here, for it cannot exist in both here and there and so chose nothing must." He knew what he had to do.

He pulled an arrow from the quiver on his left thigh and fired it at Olan who just laughed and broke it apart with a single word. "Silly child, you really think that a mortal weapon can kill me?"

Aer'andil grinned, "No, but it got you distracted long enough, bitch." He told Olan as Merol drove his sword through the hand that held the sword at Lucas' throat severing it. It fell to the ground decaying into black ash.

Olan screeched and stepped back, light, dark as night emanating from his severed hand. Merol bent to untie his son when he heard Olan laugh a stomach curdling. He turned to see Olan only to see the miasma mending his lopped off hand in a rapid pace. Seconds later, sword in hand Olan attacked him in almost-lightning speed. Merol had barely enough time to pull up his shield to protect himself and Lucas. The shield cut almost in half from the impact of the black wavy blade. Merol discarded it and rose with his sword held in both hands, a morbid look on his face.

He threw a rune in the air but before he could speak its' ability and unleash it Olan laughed, "Ikavanagh." He said and the rune burst into flames.

Merol only had enough time to bring his sword up to his face when he saw a flash of metal coming at it. The two blades clashed and a sword fight ensued. Merol was soon struggling and Olan's superiority was evident. A few clashes of the weapons later Olan flicked his hand and Merol flew back a few meters.

"Witness the death of your child, Merol keen, of the lineage of Methral and the end of your line." Olan told him, his hand rising above Lucas' head.

Merol remembered Liandras' words to him, "When the time calls for sacrifice, will you sacrifice that which you are or that which you love the most?" He was a Speaker, he was also a spirit mercenary, hunting down evil spirits and killing them with the blade Liandras had made for him, Ythralin aril. He loved Lucas. He was his son and the best thing he had ever made in his life. Having lost Lucas for twelve years and having found him again a year ago only made him love the boy more now. He was now called to sacrifice one of the two. His son or who he was. One would have to die.

In a leap, he brought Ythralin aril between Olan's blade and Lucas' head with a yell. "Vi liandras Ythralin aril." There was a blinding flash as both blades shattered in a myriad of self-glowing shards.

Merol shielded his eyes with his elbow and Olan wailed. Both were blown back by the energy released as Lucas fell down on his stomach.

Olan got up on his feet to hear Aer'andil speaking to him. "Hey, bitch! Catch this!" Lucas looked at Aer'andil to see him looking fearless and untouched by the two swords' energy release. A blink of an eye later Aer'andil released an arrow. It looked different. The feathers were pure white the shaft was of flame and the arrowhead pitch black with a metal-stone texture.

"I told you before boy, mortal wea…" Olan started speaking in all his arrogance when the arrow not only did it not shatter but instead pierced his mask breaking it apart and what was behind the mask coming clean off the other side. For a moment, it was as if nothing had happened. Aer'andil, Merol and Lucas stared at Olan with a mixture of anticipation and disappointment in their eyes when Olan's body petrified. Moments later the ground started shaking violently and Olan's petrified figure started cracking with light emanating from the cracks before imploding giving off an eardrum-breaking scream. An explosion followed mere fractions of a second later sending off wave after wave of energYoutwards, blowing them back on their backs.

The magic spell Olan had cast on the two armies dispelled in an instant with everyone continuing the movement or momentum of what they were doing before the spell froze them in place.

An instant later the enemy army started running about like headless chickens, as if whatever controlled and gave them will was gone and they had no idea what to do.

Aer'andil lost no time as he cast a spell so that his voice would be heard all over the battlefield and spoke to the army.

"Give them no quarter, no time to regroup, Olan, their Master is defeated, press on the attack and crush them!" He yelled at the soldiers of his army and started unleashing arrow after arrow at whatever creature of darkness was closest to him, magically enhancing all of them with a variety of different spells and wards.

Merol untied Lucas and helped him up from the ground. They looked at Aer'andil. "Is it over? Is he…it dead?" Lucas asked him.

"Press on the attack, leave nothing that serves the Darkness alive." Aer'andil replied and released yet another arrow at an Adalnial dropping it dead.

The battle went on for a couple of hours more until the various creatures of Darkness were either dead or dispersed in the underground caverns system and surrounding countryside. It was all over, they had won. The soldiers cheered but Aer'andil looked gloom.

"Feldon, call the Kings of men and Elves." Aer'andil ordered Feldon and turned his head to Lucas, Fundor had landed next to him vibrating the ground with the pleasure of being close to his rider again.

"Lucas, I am afraid I must detach you from Fundor for five minutes. We need to talk and it can no longer be postponed." He told his friend and practically dragged him in one of the abandoned buildings nearby. Five minutes later, they emerged from I, both looking different than before. Aer'andil was in a sort of peace while Lucas looked positively worried.

Feldon arrived ten minutes later with the Kings of men and Elves. They all looked fatigued and strained.

Aer'andil looked at each of them, including the twins, Lucas, Merol, Feldon, Segaru and Micraal.

He took a breath and spoke in a clear, determined voice.

"The battle against Zah Dah is over and we are victorious. The war against The Darkness wages on and we must be ever vigilant. To that effect, the hunters of darkness are no longer to be Elves only, under the authority and final decision of the High-King or High-Queen of Gel'anr of the lineage of Glothoin, humans are to be recruited in their ranks as well and trained to find and fight the Darkness. Furthermore, all grounds that belonged to Zah Dah now belong to the Elves and specifically to the now restored Elven Kingdom of Udala under King Feldon Leolin of Udala. Kings of men, your armies can return to their kingdoms but I ask of you to coordinate with King Lados and give your support in the cleansing and purifying of the land…for as long as it may take. Speakers and black magic hunters I imagine will be most wanted." He told the Kings and turned his head to Fundor.

"Fundor of Vaser, King of Dragons. You have helped us win this war and we are forever obliged. As promised before the island-chain of Tel'Naro is yours to inhabit, the Harpies there will be most…displeased of your kin and that will make my kin most amused. I would ask the Kings of the Kingdom present should they possess any part of Land that is of no use to them and is remote enough for the dragons to lay their nests to consider giving at least part of it to them. They can provide security against beasts and creatures of Darkness and should they want to they can take riders from your kingdoms adding to your armies." Aer'andil spoke to the new Dragon-King and to the kings of Men.

Lucas spoke first. "The dragons can have the hills to the north of Dara, they are remote enough. Dara will also be going through a reformation soon enough to make the city dragon…friendly."

The King of Batorn spoke next, "The part of firefly forest including the black hill and Gel Valir are yours King of Dragons."

"I have been instructed by my King to give you access to hunt in the blood marches and if it suits your needs lay nests there." General Commander Merdoc said.

"Odrel will give nothing of its sacred grounds to anyone." The King of Odrel declared.

"Lavonia will gladly allow the Dragons to nest and hunt in the flat spires…if you can tame what lives there." The King of Lavonia spoke grinning.

The King of Qadon did not speak but the King of Udelon gave the dragons permission to hunt in Udelon's part of firefly forest but not to nest there.

"Next, Stader's neck, Black river and the joining of the flat spires with Udelon will open up to vast canals. Varania is completely decimated, nothing remains so the new island will be all in the kingdom of Udala, the new openings in Black river and the flat spires will help the inner sea connect to the outside one and benefit from the newfound trade that is bound to flourish in the coming years with Elaria and the kingdoms of Valana." Aer'andil told them. Every single king present, including all of his friends had their eyes almost bulge out of their sockets.

"And how do you propose that this happens? Whatever gives you the idea that the Kingdoms involved will agree?" Udrel's King asked flabbergasted.

Aer'andil remained calm as he responded back, "We will sing the land into the sea and the Kings will agree because the trade will benefit them and their kingdoms and because the High-King of the Elves is asking." he asked in a sly manner. No one replied but their faces displayed no anger, just profound astonishment.

Aer'andil continued. "In order to better learn the Darkness and its ways the Library of Gel'anr is now open to you. Whenever you want, send an emissary and we will send back a copy of whatever piece of your kingdom's history you want. So much of what has happened you have forgotten, and to fight the Darkness, to be prepared for its machinations you must learn, you must raise the quality of life of your vassals and subjects and to some degree you must all work with each other."

"We are rival Kingdoms your Highness, we work together only when something threatens all of us and even then we try to find ways to fuck each other over half the times." King Roden Malais of Rodania told Aer'andil. He sounded disappointed by that fact.

"This threatens all of you, all of us, it has for countless millennia but you die off too quickly to understand it and you spend most of your time alive trying to fuck each other silly. Elves have no interest in the affairs of Men if it does not interest the Darkness so we will act as impartial arbiters and as alliance leaders." There were a few gasps.

"What do you mean? What alliance?" King Locifar of Batorn asked. He sounded intrigued and somewhat afraid.

"A new alliance. The Elves will not interfere in the affairs of men but all of our kingdoms will sign-in to an alliance against the Darkness. The Elves will collect information and hold you to the promises and premises of the alliance when we have to wage war against the Darkness. The alliance will not make you or force you to not attack other kingdoms of Men. To try that would be folly and pointless, it is in your nature to fight each other over wealth and land, but the High-Kings of Gel'anr will from now on hold you to your signature and promise to aid the Elves against the Darkness and battle it as one united banner when we must. When I return to Gel'anr, I will have the scribes write it up and you will all sign it. The day of my official coronation as High-King will also be the day the "Alliance of Valana" begins." Aer'andil told all of them in a clear, confident voice. Feldon stood on his side feeling proud of how far he had come in a year and sad for his father's sacrifice being required for this new maturity.

"The parchment will be sent to you before you all come to Gel'anr, you can suggest changes and discuss it with me, Feldon and the regency council but you will sign it." Aer'andil finished talking looking at each one of them, one after another.

"And if we do not?" The King of Udrel asked in an arrogant taunt.

"If you do not..? If you do not then be it in a year from now or ten thousand years from now if and when the Darkness comes knocking on your Kingdom Gates we may just have to fight it after it is done with you. The people need some inspiration to send their sons and husbands and brothers to war after all." Aer'andil's face was almost stone cold, his demeanor completely relaxed his eyes dead. The King of Udrel said nothing but Lucas could tell no one thought Aer'andil was joking or bluffing.

Feldon suppressed a smile, "What of the men living here? If Udala is to be resurrected…humans cannot live inside an Elven kingdom."

"I have plans for them, for now you are partly correct, where Varania stood, they can go and settle, Udala will serve many purposes, they can aid in one of them, but I'll tell you more on them later for now…" Aer'andil responded and walked to Micraal, chained, kneeling down and held by the neck by Merol. He picked him up from under his armpits and raised him to his feet. Aer'andil looked Micraal deep in his sad eyes.

"Micraal of Eri'Adar, you have committed high treason against the Elven Kingdom of Gel'anr and the Kingdom of Dara during times of war, the punishment for this is death. The insult was inflicted to me as Commander in chief of this army, now that my father is dead. Come with me." He tugged at the chains with Micraal not resisting at the slightest.

He walked to where Olan had imploded and picked up the hilt of Merol's sword. "Merol, my father gave you something, a stone?" Aer'andil asked Merol with Merol's eyes dilating as if an epiphany had struck him. He gave the small package to Aer'andil who laid the broken sword's hilt on the ground and smashed the stone on it before anyone could stop him.

"What? It worked like that with Segaru and his stone." Aer'andil shrugged his shoulders. The stone's fragments melted and seconds later the sword's edges started flowing outwards as if it was molten wax. After what seemed forever, it solidified and Aer'andil picked it up with some difficulty. The sword being heavy for his young hands.

"The insult may have been inflicted on me, but it has also been inflicted to you as Lucas is your son, so it is only fair he dies by your blade." Aer'andil told them and dragged Micraal away.

"Where are you going?" Lucas asked.

"Even if a traitor he deserves some dignity in death, I'll execute him in the forest and bury him." Aer'andil left with Feldon and two of Gel'anr's honour guards.

"We are victorious, your kingdoms need you. Heal your wounds and repair what is broken. You will all get the invitations to the High-King's coronation ceremony in due time. Have your commanders coordinate with me for the ending of the war efforts." King Lados told the Kings of Men and turned to his kin.

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