The Chronicles of Valana Volume 2: Elaria's Bane
War and schism
Aer'andil woke up as the sun rose above the horison to the fields in the east. A red shimmering sun. "Yes, there will be blood spilled today." He thought to himself placing his bow on his shoulder, his quivers to his waist.
He took a breath and started for the place of water, for the lake and ruins where the farseer lived.
It took him three days to arrive at the ruins.
He walked through the broken walls and fallen columns. Through the ruined buildings by the streams and canals of the lake until he came to a large circular square overshadowed by a large dome and columns ruin.
"Farseer. I have come." Aer'andil shouted. There was a stillness in the air, a staleness in the ground. A few minutes later, a girl in white came out of the domed building, walking slowly.
"So you have, Elf. What do you want? Still want to kill me?" She asked almost cautiously.
"Still think you have not been fooled?" Aer'andil saw her change from a little girl to an adult woman and then to an old lady the more she stepped away from the domed building nearest to the lake.
"I have lived for three hundred thousand years, I am as young as I was back then and I have possessed power and ability I would not have otherwise. Yes, I still believe I was not fooled." She replied matter-of-factly.
"Yet, I can hear the doubt in your voice. You have not lived for three hundred thousand years, you have lived for almost one million years." Aer'andil countered.
"Lies! I am still young and I am a farseer. I would not be without the pact." She almost screamed at him.
"Pact? You made a pact of Darkness? You are a bigger fool than I thought. You signed away your soul, Elaria's water supply and for what? You were a farseer even without the pact. He fooled you into thinking you were not but you were and are. You power does not come from the pact with him it comes from your connection to yesterday's magic." Aer'andil continued to dispute her.
"Why would you want to kill me? I did not sign away all of Elaria's water, only the water belonging to the land where the Orkhavocs. They were becoming way too numerous and my countrymen, my king would not listen to reason. They could not see the growing danger so I had to act on my own and I did. Three hundred thousand years without as much water would decline their numbers enough so that they would never be a threat to Humanity again and I would remain young and with the ability to see the future. Why do you want to end this?"
"The Orkhavocs and the humans had never been at odds before your medling. Ever since they have been constantly warring against each other. You thought this would lessen their numbers? It has and yet it has not. They will always exist and they will always reach a mass big enough to launch war after war against the humans. You have made it far worse than before. It has not been three hundred thousand years it has been one million years and I am here to end this, give the Orkhavocs back their water, give them fertile lands to cultivate and not have to war with the humans for the agricultural lands.
"No, you will not. You are as much an imbecile as my countrymen…when they were still alive. I cannot allow you to do this." The Farseer replied enraged.
"Not much you can do about it, I'm afraid." Aer'andil taunted her.
"Oh yes, there is. I am bound to the pact, I am immortal and mere mortal weapons cannot harm me but I can hurt you." The Farseer spoke a word and her body turned to water. Gughekren, hidden behind some ruins, did not understand the language but Aer'andil did. He knew it all too well.
"So you know the tongue of yesterday's magic?" Aer'andil asked her casually.
"The pact binds me to water. I have learned this one word even if I do not understand what it means I know it gives me immense power over water."
"How would a pact with Darkness give you…no it binds you to it...is it everything all or nothing that you understand after making a contract like this? You are one million years old…how are you a human…" Aer'andil said to one in particular.
"What are you talking about Elf? I will not allow you to harm me or my cause." She attacked him.
"You are not human are you? You are a Nial. Humans and Elves came to be after the pact my ancestor made with the Spiritum Aeternae. The Nials could learn yesterday's magic, humans so far have been unable to. None of the other generals except for Elaria's Bane in the form of Feldon's previous wife have been so far able to learn yesterday's magic. The Darkness cannot for spirits cannot…" Aer'andil did not even bother moving as she ran at him, speaking calmly.
"So be it. Enough talk." Aer'andil replied, his face becoming deadly serious. "Break the bonds of water and Darkness." He said in the same unrecognisable, to Gughekren, language.
The Farseer fell on the ground dragging nearer to Aer'andil for a few meters. She wailed in despair.
"See your skin now Farseer. See the fool you've been made. You are not young, you are old and wrinkled. Your life has been one of lies. I release you from this burden." The Farseer looked at her wrinkled, almost skeletal hands letting one more wailing screech.
"Water." Aer'andil became a figure of clear water.
"How? You knew not this word before!" The Farseer demanded in a ghastly old voice.
"I am Aer'andil son of Liandras descendant of Glothoin, the man who created the pact with the Spiritum Aeternae. I can see an elf transform into an animal and I know how to do it myself. Likewise, I can learn yesterday's magic by listening to it. You spoke the word, I learned it." Aer'andil told her and removed the bow from his shoulder and an arrow from one of the quivers tied around his waist. He aimed it at her lap.
"I have a prophesy for you seed of Glothoin. Three of us there were. One knew and committed willingly even if fooled. One was fooled without her knowledge even if with a hateful heart. The third does not know even if she has a will of malice and iron. The puppet will kill you for you to kill him."
"Rest now." He told her peacefully. "Arrow of fire and water." He said in yesterday's magic and the arrow changed into liquid fire. Aer'andil let loose aiming for the now revealed pitch black spherical gem in a fabric crevice in her lap.
The arrow left the bowstring shattering the gem. It sent shockwaves sending him flying back. The Farseer turned into ash before vanishing into the wind.
In an instant the ruins began to crumble, the earth to shake and the water in the pool to bubble up.
Aer'andil landed on his feet. He placed the bow on his shoulder. "Elaria will change now, again."
Behind them the sand storm in the Shifting Sands stopped.
"Gughekren, come out. I know you're hiding there." Aer'andil said aloud. Gughekren came out of one of the columns still standing grinning impishly.
"I could not let you come alone, I had to see what would happen here."
"Well, nothing to it. We need to return to your father."
"You called for me? My Queen?" Imer entered the Queen's private chambers feeling apprehensive. It was night. The Queen behind a desk in one of the room's corners. The room was lit by only two candles on the desk.
"Yes, Imer, come in. Come in." She replied cordially.
"The King, your Highness?" Imer asked not really wanting to be the cause of rumours, rumours involving him and the Queen. It could be...unhealthy.
"Please sit down." The Queen motioned to a chair opposite her. "The King is otherwise occupied I'm afraid. One of his bitches I'm sure." She said dismissively.
Imer sat where instructed, crossing his legs and placing his hands, casually, on the chair's arms.
"I know you are planning to kill my husband. I will help you with two conditions." The Queen told him with an ease one could think she was talking about the weather.
"I am n…" Imer started to deny her claims.
"Please, Imer. Do not waste both our time and my patience on attempts to deny the obvious. I know you are colluding with The Vaghish to assassinate the King. I do not mind if I did you'd already be dead in your sleep. Your children as well. I do not. In fact, I want to help you in your endeavour if you will accept my proposal." She cut him off.
"And if I do not?" Imer tested the waters.
"I am a woman of many talents, resources and much…malice. I wish to have my jailors dead. You will help me or you will not get out of this room alive." Behind her, from the shadows came forth a cat-like creature with black sleek, glossy fur. Its eyes glowed red. Its mouth displayed white fangs. Drool dripped from its lower jaw. The Queen placed a hand on its head caressing it.
"This is my pet. I call it Jagavirk. Soul eater and you know what? It does exactly that. It will eat your soul through your bone marrow, if I command it so. What do you reply?" The Queen smiled.
"What are your conditions, my Queen?" Imer replied emotionless.
"You kill the son, I kill the father and my brother and you break all contact with The Vaghish. My Master has…plans for them."
"I accept." Imer replied calmly.
"Good. I think you should head to your son's bedroom. My stepson is about to make an interesting discovery." The Queen bent her head over reading some papers on the desk.
Imer stood up and left. The Queen knew of his contact with Micraal and the Vaghish but she knew not of the Elves' part in this. He walked as fast as he could without actually looking rushed or anxious to the rooms where the Elves stayed while in the Palace and knocked on the door.
Terastil opened the door. "Make it so that no one else can hear us."
"It is already done. I could feel your troubled heartbeat from two floors down." Terastil replied.
"The Queen knows I am plotting to kill my brother. He is not the Darkness in the throne. She is." He saw Terastil looking at him as if he did not know what he was talking about. "Do not do this, we have not the time. I have not had many ambitions in my life, in fact, I've only had two. To be knowledgeable and to protect my family. Riches come third and wanting. I am knowledgeable. I know you and your King have come here to kill the Darkness sitting in Oghelle's throne. That Darkness is not the King. Now I have done as your King requested and I demand that you, Norion and my children leave this place tonight." Imer demanded in the strictest of tones.
"The letter my King gave you, what did it say?"
"Imer Averegn if you still want to remove the Darkness from your throne I have but one condition, it is you who kills the King, not I, not Norion, not my guardians. I am sure you will ask for the safety of your children, if you find a way to send them to Udala, her King will be waiting for them." He remembered it still. "I have made preparations. Bava is already in the port under my guardsmen's protection. Uer and Norion?" Imer asked.
"All has been taken care of. The Queen is correct. you should go to your son's room." Imer turned to leave. "And Imer. Have faith for not all is as it seems." Terastil closed the door.
"Everything ready in here? We must leave." Terastil spoke to Uragoth.
Uragoth shook his head. "No, my King has different orders for me."
"I see, does Minaroth know?" Uragoth shook his head again. "No. Now, I must be going, things are in motion that cannot be stopped." Uragoth grabbed his sword and runes and left the room.
Terastil left for the docks.
Imer walked to his son's bedroom. He saw Lovikor open the door a few inches before storming in.
"How dare you!? You dare commit such sin in my father's palace?!" He yelled at the top of his lungs.
Imer burst in to see his son, a stunned look on his face, on all fours, naked with Norion standing behind him, his dick in the boy's bubble butt.
"I demand Shaghk-ka on you, Elf!"
"You are not in a position to demand anything, boy." Imer tried to hold Lovikor by his shoulder.
Lovikor shook his shoulder shoving Imer's hand away. "Yes, I am. He is insulting me in my own house, he is a guest. I demand Shaghk-ka. It is done. Chose the hour, Elf."
"I take their place. You will fight me, boy. Now let us go to your father." Imer forcefully grabbed Lovikor by his neck dragging him outside. "You two, get dressed and head to the docks." He told his son and Norion.
Glogak, of Nogavad. I am here with my army to kill you and you bring only a few guards?"
"Here in the dunes, Karigor of Drundmondr? You would assassinate your High-King amidst the dunes without even a proper battle? I have no army as you see. I am coming to your city as requested to discuss terms to avoid war between us and you attempt to assassinate me? You have no honour." Glogak had taken only his honour guards riding their boars. They now stood in a small "valley" surrounded by tall dunes and the Sagathlond army led by their rebellious king.
"Lies! I never asked for that." Karigor denied Glogak's claim.
"Oh, you would conduct war against our peoples' traditions and attack my kingdom without first discussing terms?" Glogak grinned inwardly. He could see the discontent and hear the whispers coming from the ten thousand of Sagathlond's strong.
"I…you are twisting this, I never asked for this. You were going to attack me, I am merely defending myself and my kingdom." Karigor lied.
"I? Attack you? Where's my army then? Or are your people to believe that ten thousand of the finest warriors the Orkhavocs have could be defeated by a mere one hundred of my guards? Do you underestimate your own soldiers so much?" Glogak fired at Karigor.
"I…you are lying. I demand Hogivakir uji tev vadoshdi." Karigor understood he had stepped into a verbal trap and losing his temper he requested for a battle to the death.
"So be it. Battle to the death it is." Glogak dismounted handling his battle double-axe.
"The winner takes the loser's army and kingdom." Glogak announced.
"No, he takes the loser's females and kills his male children as well." Glogak restrained himself to a nod of acceptance.
Karigor fetched two great-swords from the saddle on his boar hitting them at each other for intimidation.
Karigor attacked first holding one of the two swords in front of him and the arching the other above his head at Glogak. Glogak stepped to the side using his battle-axe to parry Karigor's great-sword.
"You are weak." Glogak spat at Karigor bringing his battleaxe on an upwards curve to Karigor's chin. Karigor used his second great-sword to parry it and the battle carried on with the two kings exchanging blows.
Imer walked them to the throne room where the King sat on his throne, he looked unsettled and gleeful. He had obviously just had fun with one of his court's concubines. Next to him sat the Queen also looking very happy. Imer knew why. As Imer entered the throne room he saw Caaran Jutli, the Queen's brother, standing a few steps from the twin thrones.
"You called for me sister, what is it? I am a busy man." Such rudeness was rare in the court, at least in front of the King and Queen.
"You will see soon enough my brother, soon enough indeed. What is it Imer?" The Queen directed her attention at Imer.
"Your son, my brother, has asked for Shaghk-ka against your guest, Norion Anorion of Udala and I have taken his place will you take your son's place?"
"No, he will not." The Queen spoke first.
Micraal entered The Vaghish's hideout to find it empty except for Ravenered standing in the middle of the vast, vaulted, empty welcome chamber. Only a few torches hang on the walls provided some dim light in the vast room.
"Where are the others?" Micraal demanded.
"They are not here. I sent them away to find Caaran Jutli. We will kill him tonight." Ravenered replied.
"No, we will not. Why are you taking such initiative against your Leader?" Micraal asked furious.
"You know. I did not want to believe it when the voice told me you had turned against us but I see it now. He was correct. Why do you not want to kill the man responsible for most of our woes in Oghelle?"
"Because it is not yet time. He is required alive by my…ally and friend for now." Micraal did not like where this was going. "Voice? Did he cause you pain? Or did he promise you something if you betray me?"
"Neither. He just gave me Caaran's location while you slumber and now as he predicted you do not want him dead." Nisdor fired back at Micraal in a frantic sort of enraged state.
"Yet, not kill him yet. Do you not listen to me? Of course I want the bastard dead, just not yet." Micraal saw Nisdor unsheathe his two short blades.
"Lies! Defend yourself." Ravenered launched himself at Micraal.
Karigor used both his swords to attack Glogak. Glogak parried and "broke" his twist to the left swinging the battle-axe in a way that brought one of Karigor's blades away from him and the other down his pauldron-protected shoulder.
The sword broke the pauldron in half and embedded itself on Glogak's armour and shoulder.
Karigor laughed breaking his wrist to bring his other sword around. He failed to see Glogak's sneer.
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