The Chronicles of Valana Volume 2: Elaria's Bane
Belevod woke up on a sandy beach full of dunes. He stood up and dried up by use of a spell. Looking around he saw various bits and pieces of the wrecked ship and the captain with two of the crew dead. He sensed for creatures of darkness but felt none in the near vicinity. Belevod then searched around for any survivors, perhaps Aer'andil or Minaroth. They were nowhere to be found and he could not find any tracks or evidence of their presence either.
"If I remember from the map correctly to the west along the shore is the capital of the Orkhavocs, to the east are the Human lands." Belevod thought to himself. He sat in meditation under the ship's wreckage to avoid the intense sun until the sunset. Having found his bearings on where the sun sets he slept until the early morning.
Belevod started walking due east, he knew Aer'andil would go east to find the Orkhavoc capital. He would stop during the noon and start again, walk until midnight, sleep wake up and repeat. He would avoid the worst of the sun's noon heat with magic spells and by not walking during those hours. Belevod found out early on that just because the location was a desert of sand it was not void of life. He found out boars that would feed on insects and snakes, he found myriad different insects, snakes, lizards, birds and small mammals. He ate from the heart of various different cacti he found, drinking the water.
A week later he was walking across one of the dunes when he saw four huge boars approach him fast, on top of three of them rode three large-looking Orkhavocs bearing iron barbed lances and heavy armour. Belevod with his Elven sight saw the crests on their armour. A Red Skull with black tusks. Belevod knew they were not friendly. The Red skull with the black tusks belonged to the largest tribe that opposed Glogak, the only one left as well. On top of the forth rode an Orkhavoc with the insignia of Glogak's tribe.
Belevod drew his bow and shot two arrows. One hit the Orkhavoc nearest to him dead center on his head dropping him dead, the other one hit the second Orkhavoc in the shoulder. The Orkhavoc did not even flinch as he broke the arrow shaft and threw it away.
Belevod fired four arrows at the largest Orkhavoc. He deflected one with his lance while the other three found their mark in his exposed neck. He dropped down dead.
The friendly Orkhavoc passed him and turned his boar around unsheathing his two-handed blade. Belevod saw the third enemy boar-riding Orkhavoc and knew he did not have enough time to fire any more arrows, so he dropped his bow to the ground and in one move rolled under the huge boar, unsheathed his twin daggers and cut at the boar's lower leg tendons. The boar howled in pain and dropped on the ground. It took it a few meters to stop with the momentum it had for it to come to a stop. The friendly Orkhavoc stood above the enemy one pinned under the injured boar and stabbed at them with two decisive thrusts. One aimed at the Orkhavoc's head and one for the boar's head.
The Orkhavoc dismounted, sheathed his blade and saluted Belevod in the traditional Orkhavoc manner. By smashing his fists on his torso and giving three loud roars. Belevod had studied all he could of Orkhavoc culture, language and mannerisms, in fact all assigned in the Hunters of Darkness and/or as Aer'andil's guardians and tutors had, so he knew this was meant as a greeting and to show respect.
Belevod replied in a small bow.
"You fight well, you be great warrior, come, come with me I get you to King. I also great warrior was sent to spy on stupid Orkhavocs." The Orkhavoc told him in Orkhavoc tongue with a thick accent.
"Before I come with you friend, I would ask for your name, I am Belevod of Dol'Adur." Belevod replied in Orkhavoc.
"I be Nasjohogoc. I am General of King." Nasjohogoc mounted his boar again and offered a hand to Belevod. Belevod mounted the boar and off they went.
"These were patrol from Sagathlond. Sagathlond stupid. Sagathlond enemy of King. We soon be at war with them, we soon defeat them and unify Orkhavocs." Nasjohogoc spoke almost non-stop throughout their twenty hours ride to Nogavad. Belevod did not once try to stop him or interrupt him for through Nasjohogoc's musings he gathered information.
Nogavad was a big bustling city full of life. Orkhavoc architecture was quite primitive-looking, with huge slabs of rock basically piled on top of each other with "teeth" cut into the stone so that the stones would "lock" in place with brown and red coloured paints and quite unrefined glass for windows but it worked to create multi-storied buildings, aqueducts and roads.
The only impressive thing were the walls surrounding the city. Twenty meters high and five meters thick they were sure to repel most of any invader that dared to come before them.
Nasjohogoc encountered no problem entering the city and then the Royal Palace. He left his boar in an enclosure for boars, like a stable but with much more space in it and mud for the boars to roll in, and headed for the throne room with Belevod.
"My King, this is Belevod, an Elf, I found him in the southern shore." Nasjohogoc told the Orkhavoc King after he bowed on one knee.
The Royal Palace was, except for the walls, the second largest building in the whole of Nogavad. The largest one being the arena. The throne room was a high-ceiling room with the throne in the middle and only guards in the room. Belevod found it interesting this King did not have the usual score of courtiers and aristocrats in the throne room, the room where the decisions regarding the kingdom took place. The throne like much of the rest of the city was made of solid white granite rock.
"I was expecting your High-King, why are you alone?" Glogak asked Belevod in perfect Elvish. Glogak was truly huge standing at almost two hundred and fifty centimeters with four twisting horns coming from the front and side of his head and four large tusks protruding from his upper and lower jaws. The tusks and Horns all had various rings and chains drilled into them with long Dark hair coming down from everywhere on his head. Glogak was wearing heavy padded leather, chain mail and full plate armour with two, two-handed battle axes, one hanging from his belt and the other placed on his back with an assortment of daggers and short swords hanging from his belt and armour. Around his neck hang three rows of pure gold chains. Belevod did not want to have to face this Orkhavoc in battle.
"Your Highness, we were ship wrecked by a storm created by the Dark General known as Elaria's Bane. My High-King is alive of that I am sure but I seem to have lost him. I would be ever eternally indebted to you if you would send out search and rescue parties to find him." Belevod replied in just as perfect Orkhavoc.
"It is late and there is a sand storm coming. Come morning I will send out all those I can spare." Glogak replied and turned his attention to Nasjohogoc. "What news from Sagathlond?"
Nasjohogoc nodded negatively. "Not join, preparing for attack." Glogak seemed sad.
"If you will excuse us Belevod of Dol'Adur, I have matters of state to discuss with my Generals. Igakolovok here will show you to the quarters we have prepared for you and the High-King." Glogak motioned to a servant who rushed to Belevod.
"Of course Your Highness." Belevod made a small bow of his head and left the large cube-like room following the servant. When they arrived in the quarters he and Aer'andil would be occupying he settled in and meditated with his spirit before sleeping.
He woke up the next day to a commotion. Hearing a very familiar young voice he darted outside.
They arrived in Drodnaudor just as the sun set behind the sand dunes. Drodnaudor was a sea side fishing village. The fishing boats were crude made from floating concrete and wood, they could only go so far off-shore to fish and return. In case of bad weather, they were completely non-usable.
Gughekren lead them to the healer's house. The Healer asked him and Aer'andil to wait outside as he worked on Minaroth. He came out a day later to announce she would be fine but needed to rest for a day more before being able to travel again.
Aer'andil took the time to meditate with his spirit and look for hours on end at the ocean.
"It is strange, this is a desert, full of sand and scorching hot weather and yet it has rained twice already in these past two days." Aer'andil commented as he and Gughekren ate dried fish and some dried green seaweed.
"It rains a lot everywhere. According to the legends of my people more than a million years ago what is now desert were the eastern planes, full of rivers, forests, cultivatable lands and more rain than we can imagine. It is said that this all changed when a malevolent god cursed the Orkhavocs to live in arid desert when they would not serve him. We have been fighting the humans ever since." Gughekren's sad tone accompanied the sounds of the waves hitting the sand and pebbles on the beach not far from them.
Aer'andil looked away from the ocean he seemed so fixed on, turning his eyes on Gughekren. "Why?"
"Why fight the humans?"
"Anymore it is millennia of fighting, hatred grown between us and them. Anymore they want to exterminate us and we them. I think it started out when we lost the cultivatable lands and had to expand to the west, to the Human-controlled lands. It is funny…" Gughekren was not laughing or smiling. "The humans have all the cultivatable lands but have few offspring. We have none and yet breed from a young age to the moment we die, with multiple females, this leads us to ever try to conquer Human lands to feed our people. My father is trying to stop that now." Gughekren observed.
"Would you like this to stop?"
"Yes, my father says for as long as this continues the Orkhavocs will be easy to deceive by "The Darkness". I think he learned this from the time he spent in your islands." Gughekren stated.
"Yes, your people have been too easy to deceive by those with better education and reasoning, your father is trying to change this. He is a great man." Aer'andil confirmed.
"My father is trying to change much, perhaps too much altogether. There are those who are reacting badly to the change."
"There are always those who do not want change. Either because they have privileges to lose, interests that will be harmed by the change or simple stupidity and shortsightedness. Or because they think the changes will be damaging to society and think they can do better with their reasoning. What is your father thinking, how does he intent to react should they progress to more than complaining?"
"We are Orkhavocs, he will do what he must. If they desire war, then war they shall have." Gughekren spoke proudly and perhaps stubbornly or shortsightedly.
"Yes, I know. Yet this would be a bad decision, considering the Humans of Oghelle are gathering armies to attack you." Gughekren turned to gaze at him, a very surprised and unhappy look on his face.
"How do you know of this? How much time do we have?"
"Not much, no more than a month. I will speak more of this only to your father." Aer'andil replied and continued eating his fish, signifying the end of this conversation.
The next day they departed for Nogavad after Gughekren paid the Healer and the fisherman for their services.
It took them a few days to arrive in the capital what with Minaroth unable to walk fast and Gughekren's boar to carry them all at once. They would spend the day walking and the night telling stories around the fire.
"These are some large walls." Aer'andil commented when they first saw the walls of Nogavad appear before them in the distance.
"They have served against invaders for millennia. Come we must hurry to my father." Gughekren helped Minaroth mount his boar. They ran to the City's gates.
"Jugergodrod, where is my father?"
A tall, older Orkhavoc replied. "In the throne room with a guest, my Lord." Gughekren nodded and left with Aer'andil in tow.
Gughekren left his boar in the boar enclosure and walked as fast as Minaroth could to the throne room with Aer'andil.
"Father, assemble the army."
"Son? So soon back from scouting?" Glogak asked his son, a mix between an accusation and genuine surprise.
"Yes, father, I found the High-King of the Elves with one of his guardians shipwrecked and I have brought them to you. The High-King warns of Oghelle preparing their armies against us." Glogak seemed unsurprised.
"Call my generals, son this is going to be your first war, stay with us. This is the year you truly become a man." Glogak told one of his servants and his son before turning his attention to Aer'andil. "My old friend, many years have been since the last time I saw you."
Glogak walked them over to a large stone table.
"Yes, indeed. I hear you've been making changes."
Glogak grinned. "Yes, I have. I've been changing our tribal system to one like yours. Now it is mandatory that all younglings study in schools until an age and I'm removing a lot of the old ways to new ones. Some do not like it. They'll live…or not." Glogak and Gughekren laughed out hard.
"Oghelle will be upon you in less than a month…" Aer'andil continued but stopped when he saw Belevod come.
"Minaroth, my King, you are both alive and well. This is good news indeed." Belevod said making a bow before Aer'andil. Minaroth greeted him back.
"I am glad to see you well as well. Anyone else?" Aer'andil asked to receive a negative nod from Belevod.
"The armies will be ready, but we have more troubles from what Nasjohogoc is telling me. Our fears are true. Sagathlond is also declared war on us but they are cowards they are not declaring all-out war, they content on just killing our trade caravans and scouts. Harassing us rather than fight us as true warriors do. They are dogs and we'll greet them like dogs." Glogak told his son before returning to Aer'andil.
"You must be tired, perhaps you want to rest and continue your visit tomorrow? Our matters can wait." Aer'andil motioned negatively.
"No, I am afraid I cannot rest my friend. I must take my leave. Elaria's Bane will be leading Oghelle's armies against you and to defeat her I need to learn of water's true name. I need a favour of you oh Glogak High-King of the Orkhavocs." Aer'andil said solemnly.
"You have only to ask it. You have done much for me and my people, your request will not be denied, unless of course you ask for my Kingdom or my woman." Glogak's voice carried across the vast room as he burst laughing. Aer'andil and Gughekren joined him for a moment.
"I need a guide across the shifting sands to find the place of water mentioned in the legends of your people, to defeat Elaria's Bane I need to learn of water from the seeress there."
Aer'andil could tell from Glogak's, Gughekren's and the servants' faces how this request had them afraid or even angry.
Meanwhile in Qazameria King Lados received a missive from the Queen-mother of Gel'anr. He read it and called for his generals.
"Prepare Qazameria's army, the High-King is calling all able-bodied men from the Kingdoms of the Alliance join his fight against Oghelle's greed and expansionist desires to the south." He told one of the servants. "Tell the Queen-mother Qazameria answers the call and will bring forth our army." He told the messenger who nodded and left.
The Kings of the other Elven and Human Kingdoms also received similar missives.
In Dara Lucas opened the envelope after breaking Gel'anr's Royal Seal. He read the letter and threw it in the fire. "Tell the Queen Dara's army will join and that I will be challenging Aer'andil's right to rule the combined armies."
In Eri'Adar the King laughed when he read the letter.
"Typical, never expect the whole truth from the Elves. She's had us in "negotiations" for how much time now and now this arrives. Well played Queen-mother of the Elves, you had us fighting over who would get what to not join Oghelle's side, "fighting" to not give us what we ask, to compromise while all along you've known this was coming…I guess she got what she wanted, not one of the Human Kingdoms of Valana has joined the southern dogs. Tell your Queen Eri'Adar will fight with you. Elves don't meddle in the affairs of Humans so this Oghellen army must have something to do with the Darkness I guess…" The King laughed some more as the Elven messenger left.
In Gel'anr Tha'ala learned of the news from the Queen.
"I hope Aer'andil and Norion will be okay, I worry for them so much. How did you do it my Queen? When the High-King left Gel'anr for war?"
Felwyn caressed her face, before passing an arm around her shoulders.
"It never gets easy and you always worry but you must trust in their abilities and burning desire to return to you. Their guardians will not let harm come to them and they are not defenseless either." Felwyn replied with a bitter smile. Tha'ala nodded pressing her head against Felwyn's shoulder.
Imer knocked on the door of the room Terastil and Uragoth stayed in the Royal palace. Uragoth opened the door, his hand on his sword's hilt on his belt.
"You three have to leave now. I just learned your High-King just declared war on Oghelle, the whole alliance did under his mother's call. The King will order your imprisonment when he later finds out."
"No, he won't, come in." Uragoth opened the door and closed it behind them. He struck a piece of parchment on the door. "Silence."
"It is all part of Aer'andil's and my plan, we, you and your children must for now remain in the Royal Palace." Terastil told Imer who looked doubtful.
"You want to die?"
"No, we want to draw out the Darkness and deal with it." Uragoth replied sitting in one of the chairs.
Their conversation continued.
In the next room Uer and Norion were having their nightly fun together. It had become something of a routine for them to spar, read and play outside together during the day and fool around in either of their rooms during the night.
Norion was suckling on Uer's dick when Uer asked him for something different.
"S…stop please." Norion pulled back, his brows furled together in question. "It was not like Uer to stop him from providing him pleasure.
"I…I've been thinking and I want you to stick it in me…"
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