The Chronicles of Valana Volume 2: Elaria's Bane
Starry night, stormy night
"I hate that we had to leave Norion, Terastil and Uragoth behind in Oghelle." Aer'andil complained yet again for the umpteenth time.
"Terastil is usually correct about these things."
"I know his plan. I do not like leaving Norion in that nest of vipers."
"You approved of it."
"Doesn't mean I like it."
"We'll arrive in in Halmeran's port city by nightfall and low tide. We'll rest there and make our way for the Orkhavoc city of Saghe tomorrow. It should take us two days to get there."
"Minaroth…it has already been two days and I miss him."
"You are our High-King, act like it." There were only a few people that could talk to Aer'andil like this. He accepted this only from his mother, Norion, Tha'ala, Feldon and Minaroth. "He'll be okay. He is by no means defenseless and he has two of our best warriors with him."
"I didn't think you'd agree to this plan." Aer'andil tried to chuckle. "Leaving me with only two guardians."
"You ordered it. I may consult you, I may agree or disagree but the moment you order me to do something that's that, it's the King's order." Minaroth spoke calmly with a serious tone.
"You didn't think even for a moment to disobey me and have Terastil and Uragoth come with us?" Aer'andil raised an eyebrow.
"This is something that you seem to have problems grasping my King. Perhaps the young of your age, perhaps the years you spent in that other world. You are my King and you are our High-King. I may agree or disagree with your orders but I will complete them or die trying. To disobey a direct order from the King is treason. There is no sentiment or like or dislike an order. If it is given it is given and must be carried out to completion or death. If you give me orders that counter my personal ethics I will still, follow them but you will lose my respect and care. If you order me to do something that is completely insanely illegal and will result in harming our people and I have no other choice than to commit treason I prefer to go all the way and remove you from the throne." Aer'andil's head snapped as he turned to stare into her relentless eyes in utter shock. "I do not think it will ever come to that, your orders so far are not worse than your father's ever were. So far you have our respect, mine and the others'. We also understand that for all of Terastil's strategic brilliance you are playing on a chess board that we do not comprehend, so maybe some of your orders may sound outlandish or crazy to us but we trust that you know what you're doing and eventually the outcome will benefit our people."
Aer'andil remained silent for a while. "I do not know what the outcome will be, what I do know though is that if we lose…there won't be much of anything left for you to kill me or otherwise remove me from the throne." Minaroth detected pain and ever the slightest trace of doubt in the tone of his voice.
"I feel tired. I think I'll turn in for the night. Goodnight Minaroth, may the stars guide your dreams and the moon guide your spirit." Aer'andil saluted his tutor and guardian in the traditional Gel'Glidorn way.
Minaroth actually smiled, a faint smile but a smile nonetheless. "Sleep well my King, I'll watch over you with Belevod."
Aer'andil nodded and stood up to leave. "Can I ask you a question?" Minaroth asked him.
"I never like it when you ask if you can ask a question." Aer'andil laughed.
"Sometimes I like the answers you give. Is there ever a moment you wish you could return back to that other world you were sent to?"
"No. Sure there are moments when I wish I did not have to make difficult decisions or when I wish there was not so much Darkness, suffering and death in the world but no, I do not want to go back to Earth, to the other world. Here is where I belong, amongst my people. I am an elf and I will do whatever I must to protect the Elves…and even the Humans from whatever may lurk in the shadows and all the dark places of the world."
"Yes, sometimes I do like the answers you give. Sweet dreams Aer'andil son of Liandras, may the spirits watch over your dreams and the flame that burns within you cast away the shadows from your soul." She bowed her head.
Aer'andil nodded and walked across the ship's deck to the cabins. It was such a lovely starry night, not a cloud anywhere with the sea bathing in the reflections of all the stars and cosmic light. There was no wind thus making the Captain of the ship have his men row to keep them travelling and not wander aimlessly across the sea currents.
"Such an interesting thing." Minaroth thought to herself. "Valana is almost always windy, almost always there's a good enough wind to sail across the sea to whichever destination. Here it seems the moment we crossed Blagar point the wind died out almost instantly."
"Captain, is it normal to not have wind down here?" She asked the Captain who had come out of his cabin to make his rounds before turning in for the night.
"Aye, this time of year the marches to the east and the hot weather coming from the west cut down the wind here. We should have some wind after we cross the Serpent's Bastion." He replied making gestures and pointing at unseen things to illustrate what he was saying. His other hand caressing his long black-haired beard.
"Thank you Captain." Minaroth closed her eyes entering a meditative state to communicate with her spirit.
Oghelle, The Royal Palace two days ago.
"He…he left without me?" Norion asked. He looked more hurt than angry.
"Yes, you are required here with me and Uragoth." Terastil replied closing the door behind him.
"Why? I should be by his side." Norion stated stubbornly placing his hands on his hips, his left foot tapping the floor.
Terastil gave Uragoth a nod with his head. Uragoth threw a rune on the floor and crushed it with his foot. An invisible barrier covered the room.
"Now that we can talk more privately in this nest of vipers and Darkness…" Terastil sat on one of the chairs in the room motioning for Norion to do the same.
Norion sat crossing his hands in front of his chest looking cross.
"Let's talk then, shall we?" Uragoth spoke, standing behind Terastil. "A Darkness sits in the throne of Elaria and wants to throw us all into war, Elaria and Valana alike." Norion knew the older Elven Lord was somber and serious but he had never known him to be so grim as he looked now.
"What are we going to talk of then?" Norion gulped asking the two guardians.
"Death and Deception and not necessarily in that order." Terastil replied leaning forward.
Oghelle, Outskirts Cottage two days ago.
Orphon woke up feeling chilly, the sheets having fallen off him during the night. He looked to his left propping up on his elbow. Next to him Vashka stirred.
Orphon looked at the sleeping boy, his lithe stocky body shinning under the morning sun's rays. Now Orphon could see Vashka's three-inch penis resting above his thirteen-year-old bare pubic mount.
Orphon knew his father preferred male lovers. He knew that he had married his mother because he had to. He knew for a year now that he liked girls even if he had not yet done much of anything with anyone but looking at Vashka now made him feel horny and odd, all tickling like. He knew he wasn't falling for the boy or anything as dramatic and that his teenage hormones needed an outlet and Vashka's lean, sexy-looking body was making him feel all worked up.
His heart racing and his hand shaking he traced it along the boy's treasure trail feeling the smooth skin below his touch. He could feel his four-inch dick hardening under the soft breeze coming in from the open window and the lustful feelings Vashka was unknowingly giving him.
He gulped and groped Vashka's bits, starting with his now erect phallus before giving the tight ballsack a gentle squeeze. He heard the younger boy moan softly in his sleep giving him pause for a second before he proceeded to jerking off the erect yet smooth and lightly veined boystick between his fingers.
It didn't last long as seconds later Vashka let out a longer, deeper moan and thrust his hips up. A second later a couple of drops of a clear liquid landed on his fingers.
Orphon brought it closer to his face, curious if the young boy's cum would taste like his. After smelling it some he brought it to his lips and gave it a lick. He found the taste not unpleasant, less earthy than his and quickly licked the rest of it.
He was feeling so horny that all inhibition left him, whisked out his hard nail and started pulling on it furiously, sure that the other boy was fast asleep.
Seconds later he felt his testicles tightening close to his hard dick and then euphoria overtook him as he spilled his seed over his stomach.
"Wow that was hot let me tell you and thank you for the service." Orphon snapped his neck to see a very awake Vashka taking a dip from his stomach, bringing the finger to his lips and tasting it out. Vashka couldn't help himself from laughing his admittedly cute behind off from how Orphon jumped nearly out of his skin from his surprise.
"Oh man that was just hilarious!" Vashka bellowed laughing as Orphon recovered and launched himself at the younger boy tickling him.
Gel'anr, Royal Palace. Present.
"My Queen, you asked for me?" Tha'ala knocked on the door that lead to the Queen's private garden.
"Come in, dear." Tha'ala closed the door behind her. It was a lovely garden with flowers and trees that provided shade. A round table with two chairs were under one of the trees with a paved floor beneath it. The garden was quiet except for the sound of the breeze on the leaves of the trees and a stream that ran through the garden.
"The birds are quiet now, asleep. They wake up later on. Oh do call me Felwyn my dear, you have my son's heart you can have my name instead of the trivialities of the court." Felwyn told her. Tha'ala nodded smiling.
"Now, why I asked you here and why my son asked you to stay behind. Please sit." Felwyn sat in one of the two chairs and poured them some orange juice.
"I am to teach you illusions and I am to teach you diplomacy and court dealing…as you'll find out the two have more similarities than differences. Your training on creating and sustaining magical illusions will have to wait until tomorrow, for now I've asked the ambassador of Fadr to come join us." Felwyn just looked at the door for a couple of seconds then the doors opened and the Royal Guards let in a human. He looked more of a boy than a man.
"Yras Vendril, youngest son of the King of Fadr, newly appointed Ambassador of Fadr to the Elven lands at your disposal my Queen." The lad made a courtesy bow standing a few meters away from them. Felwyn smiled, Yras could not take his eyes off Tha'ala.
"Pleased to meet you young one, I'd like you to transfer this to your father, the King of Fadr. Tell him that if he joins Oghelle's war against the Orkhavocs my son will be most displeased."
"My Queen. I have no…"
"Do not lie to me Yras, I was not born yesterday. The ears and eyes of Gel'anr see all."
"Very well then, Oghelle is giving us substantial privileges if we do. What does Gel'anr and the alliance have to offer? You do not usually meddle in the affairs of men."
"Bold man aren't you?" Felwyn stated more than asked. "Whatever privileges you earn by this, privileges that you lost in the last war by joining Zah Dah you will lose completely from us. For now, your merchants are blockaded by entering alliance ports. Sign this deal with Oghelle and Fadr will be completely embargoed by all Valanan ports and Kingdoms. Also I am quite sure that Eri'Adar and Rodania will not allow this to happen. Oghelle is a key trading partner of theirs."
"They cannot stop us." Yras stated stubbornly.
"It is not often that Human Kingdoms that are rivals like Eri'Adar and Rodania join forces but I think they will for this. Can Fadr withstand their combined military? I think they can carve up the land nicely between them. Eri'Adar gets all the lands below the river Laval and Rodania gets everything to the north, allowing them for a land passage to the Kingdom of Batorn. Eri'Adar gets a safe port in the east and everyone's happy…everyone except for Fadr that is. You do know what Rodania likes to do with the Royal families of those they conquer yes?" Yras' look changed in a blink of an eye. He knew that Rodania killed the Royal families of their conquered lands. A safety measure against future insurgencies, rebellions or retaliations.
"T…they'll not know." Yras tried to work his way out of the bind.
"Yes, they will. I will make sure of it. My son wants the Orkhavocs secure and unharmed and I will do my utmost to make sure that my son and his plans succeed." Felwyn stated back. "Now, we can exchange hostilities and…mostly empty threats all day or you can go back to your father and tell him what I told you with this. If you do not accept to enter on the side of Oghelle in this endeavor, stay in general away from Elaria for now, I can convince my son to stop blockading your merchants from Alliance ports."
"How certain is this?"
"It can become a lot more certain if you come back with a written promise from your king. I am part of the regency council and my son will not disagree on this I am sure."
"Very well then I shall pass this to my father. Is there anything else you need of me my Lady?" Yras asked a lot less tense than before.
"No, that will be all, thank you Yras of Fadr. I only have one question. Are you related to Tarak Vendril?"
"Yes, unfortunately he is my cousin. Why are you asking if I may ask? What did he do this time?"
"A few months ago he attacked my son on his way to Dara…he is not in the world of the living anymore, my condolences."
"Ah, thank you for your consideration my Queen, but all I have to say is good riddance, he was a blight and a disgrace to our family." Yras shrugged his shoulders and left.
"This was…interesting." Tha'ala stated.
"Yes, you served your purpose here as well as learning something new about diplomacy."
"Yes, he could not stop himself from ogling at you, constantly."
Tha'ala's eyes almost bulged out of their sockets. "Butbutbutbut -she groaned-…I am…uhm…I and Aer'andil…ehhh…" She blushed heavily.
Felwyn laughed. "Yes, but he does not need to know this and you of course are the next High-Queen of all Elves. Your legs open only for my son this is true, but this does not mean that you cannot…tease and play with the humans if it serves the Elves, your husband and our agenda against the Darkness. Appearing available by no means does it actually mean that you are available." Felwyn winked at her before standing up.
"Come now, help me out with the weeds in my garden please." Tha'ala nodded and stood up.
South west of Saghe, close to the Serpent's Bastion, present.
"This is…huge. This is the Serpent's Bastion? We can see it from open sea!" Aer'andil gasped at seeing the gigantic construction extending beyond the horison.
"It is, aye. Protects us from the heathen hordes…I do not like those clouds in the horison though. I hope we arrive at Saghe soon, before that storm reaches us."
Aer'andil looked to the west to where the Captain was looking .
"That's no normal storm…I can smell it in the air…Captain is there anywhere safe near here where we can take refuge?" The Captain shook his head negatively.
"This whole stretch of land to the south of the Kingdom of Hordivar up to Saghe is full of underwater reefs and treacherous sea currents, to boot there are no natural harbours or beaches down here, only sheer rock cliffs. We either turn back to Hordivar's south port of Lakost or Limenodor, both are days back west."
"No, stay on course…we have no time to lose." Aer'andil told the Captain who looked worried.
"Then we can only hope it doesn't head our way." Aer'andil shook his head.
"No, Captain, it is heading straight for us, make what preparations you must. Minaroth, Belevod t nivadol thel cieda." He told his guardians who hearing their king order them to prepare for battle sprang from where they stood and started casting magical wards and whatnot.
"Helmsman take us closer to the shore, pull the rigging men and gather the top sails, we're in for rough weather." The Captain started barking orders to his men while Aer'andil retrieved the bow from his shoulder.
As the hours passed they could see the black cloud front reaching ever closer and closer until it was upon them with hurricane force winds, rain and thunder.
Finally, the storm was upon them, ferocious and foreboding. The rigging cracked and whipped under the severe wind's pressure, the sails flapping about as if crying under the strain.
Aer'andil could hear it in the wind and the sea, the whispers dark and malicious.
"Hana zah divakir ugr vig Irmil!" The shadows have come for you, the disembodied voice whispered in the wind, a female otherworldly, hushed voice. "Hana kaagri vig hana Fosgvern divok ugr rudir thargul"
"The bane of the Elves has come for your soul" Aer'andil whispered. "You want my soul foul being? Well come and get it!" He screamed at the wind.
There was a laughter that everyone heard, more of a screech making everyone cover their ears.
The wind continued to howl with increasing speed and ferocity.
"We must turn back! My Lord we won't make it in this weather!" Belevod tried to yell so that Aer'andil would hear him.
"We can't get back, don't even know which way is back or forth in this weather. We're at the mercy of the wind and sea now, and this ship won't last for mu…" The Captain replied with his sentence cut off by a huge wave that crashed on to the side of the ship sending them flying back. Two members of the crew flew into their watery grave.
"Look! There!" Aer'andil pointed at a point in the distance. At first they could not see anything other than waves then after a towering wave subsided they saw them. A dark figure on a flying creature and a flock of pairs of red eyes around it.
"They are coming. Captain call battle stations!" Minaroth called out and unsheathed her sword, a fire ball in her other hand.
"Men, to battle stations! Arm the magica cannons!" The ship's cannon ports opened up and the whole ship became alive in a flurry of movement as the men hurried to their stations.
"Wait until they're closer, then when we are riding a wave for higher ground let loose. Belevod, Aer'andil you know what to do." Minaroth had a very unsettling grin on her lips.
"Ready to do battle Minaroth?" The Captain could see Aer'andil standing there next to his guardians, calm and holding his bow as if he was standing on dry land in archery training.
"Yes, my King, ready to slay whoever threatens you or our people. My blade is ready to sing in the wind and bathe in the blood of our enemies." She twisted the blade in her hand whirling it around.
"Here they come! What is that thing?" The Captain asked as he fired an arrow from his crossbow. The creature disintegrated and reintegrated, the crossbow bolt missing it entirely.
"Creatures of darkness! Arm your magica cannons with fire and light magic projectiles." Belevod told the Captain. "The Dark General…he's flying a wyvern…part snake part abomination on wings and breathes poison, it will kill you within minutes if it hits you but has none of a dragon's scales, hit it with arrows."
The creatures of Darkness in all sorts of shapes and sizes charged at them. Minaroth started moving in an inhumanely fast speed, slicing and casting one spell after another at the Dark creatures killing some, injuring others.
Aer'andil aimed at the wyvern flying overhead them tearing at the rigging and sails. He fired a well-aimed shot piercing its left wing's joint to the body. The wyvern screeched and fell to the ship's deck. Minaroth pivoted around from another creature and severed its head.
The Dark General stood up and locked swords with Minaroth. " Murvirn Fosgvern."
"Ain't going to die so easily fiend." Minaroth replied and twisted her sword parrying the blow before landing one of her own. The Dark General parried Minaroth's sword with her own and thrust her sword at Minaroth's side aiming for her vital organs.
"This is too easy, even with Minaroth's military knowledge and experience the Dark General should be able to defeat her easy…why doesn't she? Enough of this." Aer'andil thought and whispered a word. In an instant he was turned into flame.
"Face me slave of Darkness!" He called out to the Dark General and aimed his hand at the sky.
"Burning star!" He shouted in a language no one understood. A missile of pure bright flame launched from his hand skywards. A few meters above the main mast it erupted into a glowing star-ball. Everything was illuminated as if the sun had come closer. The creatures of darkness wailed and screeched as they died from the intense light.
The Dark General laughed and placing a hand on Minaroth's head he pulled at it. Minaroth yelled in pain. Aer'andil could see a stream of bright light almost escape her lips, the Dark General was pulling the spirit from inside her.
Aer'andil yelled and threw a fire ball at the Dark General's direction. She evaded it and hacked at Minaroth with her sword, Minaroth fell on the deck.
"NO! DIE!!" Aer'andil screamed furious and threw another fire ball at the Dark General. The Dark General did not even try to dodge it this time. The fire ball hit her head on without even hurting her.
"I am Elaria's Bane, fire does not hurt me child, for my Master I will have your head." She called out to him in Elven.
"Air." Aer'andil called out in the same unknown language. In an instant he changed from pure flames to something combining flames and the essence of air.
"Cascading wind!" Aer'andil yelled and a tornado like torrent of flame launched out towards the Dark General.
She laughed, Belevod launched at her, she backslapped him throwing him back and launched herself at Aer'andil unscathed by his magic.
"Air doesn't hurt me either child." Aer'andil parried her blow grinning.
"I know, but I know not yet the true name of water and I wasn't really aiming for you." Just then the magical storm around them became even more ferosious, the wind now tearing open the very hull of the ship.
"I cannot defeat you yet, I know, but I cannot let you kill me either." Aer'andil told her trying to land a blow with the sharp edge of his bow.
"I will kill you, child and then I will travel to Valana and kill he who used to be my husband. Zah Dah will rise again!"
"Burn!" Aer'andil aimed his hands at the wooden floor beneath their feet. Even with the wind and the rain battering down at them the fire consumed the wooden planks in the blink of an eye. Aer'andil turned back to flesh and jumped into the dark, unknown sea and started swimming away from the burning ship.
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