The Chronicles of Valana Volume 2: Elaria's Bane
Karigor laughed breaking his wrist to bring his other sword around. He failed to see Glogak's sneer.
Glogak allowed his battleaxe-wielding hand to continue its arch. Karigor had not seen him change his pivot which lessened the blow on his shoulder and opened Karigor to a counter attack as his other hand and blade had been parried away. Glogak's battleaxe severed Karigor's arm from the shoulder clean off before making an upside "v" over Karigor's head bringing it over and through his other hand.
Karigor screamed in pain, now armless.
Glogak grabbed Karigor's severed hand still holding on to the blade and threw it on the sand before holding on to the blade, removing it from his shoulder and shoving it up to the hilt on Karigor's stomach.
He let go of the blade and pushed Karigor back. Karigor lost his balance falling over. Before he could roll or move Glogak stepped on the blade's hilt burying theit in the sand bellow.
Karigor watched helpless as Glogak raised his battleaxe with both hands and brought it down over his head.
Glogak grabbed Karigor's severed head and raised it above his head letting out a victorious battle-roar. "Karigor is dead! By the rules of the Hogivakir uji tev vadoshdi I now own his lands, his Kingdom, titles and wealth. By his demand his I own his females and I have a right to kill his male children." Glogak yelled to Karigor's army. "You now fight for me. Jugergodrod I promote you to General, you are to go to Sagathlond with ten of your men and ten of Sagathlond's men and kill Karigor's male children in public. Sagathlond has a new King. My son." There was silence.
"All hail King Gughekren!" Glogak yelled. Everyone present chanted after him. Glogak repeated the chant ten times.
"Move out! We will join with the combined armies of the Orkhavoc Kingdoms south of Renogosht and from there we will march to The Gates of Hordivar and the Serpent's Bastion. There we will see if the Humans desire war." Glogak mounted his boar and departed with his new army.
Ravenered pushed Micraal back casting a black magic spell. Micraal did not even try to dodge it. The spell impacted him without harming him.
"Forty years ago a friend made me drink the tears of a long dead Elven High-Queen. It saved my soul and my life and had one more unexpected side effect. It has made me completely immune to all black magic and Dark Spiritum Spells, hexes and curses. You want to kill me? Better use your wit and blades." Micraal hurled two throwing knives at Ravenered who deflected one with his daggers and avoided the other one by pivoting to his left.
They had been fighting for over two hours. Micraal could have defeated him easily but he had different orders. How Aer'andil had known of Ravenered's betrayal from so many months ago if not years he did not even begin to comprehend but unlike the voice in his head forty years ago, the voice of Zah Dah's leader Aer'andil did not want him ill. He did not know how he fit in Aer'andil's chessboard but he knew that whatever the young Elf-King was cooking would be good for both Humans and Elves.
Micraal had been told to fight Ravenered, reveal his betrayal and then find a way to break off the fight and head to the docks to meet with his son, Norion and Terastil. It was much later that Orphon had been included in the plan.
Micraal found the opportunity he was seeking when Ravenered lost time deflecting his throwing knife. He threw a smoke grenade on the floor tossing another two knives at Ravenered before making his escape through the maze of tunnels of the sewers.
He run to the docks and in Imer's ship.
"Everyone here?" He asked Terastil.
"No, Norion's missing! The guards took him but..." Terastil gave Uer a stern look. Uer stopped speaking.
"Uragoth is after him. We have a mission to accomplish and that mission is to get you, Bava and Orphon to Udala. These orders come to me from the High-King himself. Now go down to the cabins below deck before anyone sees you and we have trouble in our hands." Uer did not reply, he stomped his way below deck to the cabins.
"Orphon? My son?" Micraal asked.
"Safe below deck." Terastil replied waving to the captain. The captain motioned to his crew to start preparations for departure.
"What of Uragoth and Norion?"
"If they are not here by the time we are ready to depart…they will have to make their way to the Serpent's Bastion and wait in Hordivar for things to quiet down."
A few days ago.
"My King, the rest of the Alliance fleets have arrived in Belerin." One of his Officers informed him.
"Tell the commanders of the fleets, they can depart whenever they have filled their cargoes with supplies. I and Udala's armies have work to do here, as per the High-King's commands." Feldon replied returning to what he was doing. Cleansing another ruin of miasma and the taint of Darkness plus whatever creatures lay hidden in the shadows.
The Officer nodded and left with a bow.
"All is moving, now is it according to his plans or "its" plans?" Feldon murmured under his breath. "That remains to be seen." He returned to chanting in Elvish along with some of the other Elven Speakers and magic users to his left and right.
"We have arrived in Fusnilsbetet." Gughekren announced to to Aer'andil sitting behind him on the boar.
"No rest, feed and water the boar and we leave. They'll have sent their army to meet your father's yes?" Aer'andil replied looking ahead to the incoming city in the horizon.
"There's a saying we Orkhavocs have." Gughekren commented. "A tired boar in the sands is a dead boar."
"Then it is a good thing we are not boars." Aer'andil quipped before getting serious. "Gughekren, I know what you're saying but I cannot rest. Not yet."
"Are you worried about the Orkhavocs? We will be fine. it is not the first time we have fought the humans."
"I am not worried about that…not only. The stakes for me are higher. You feed and water the boar and we leave." Aer'andil replied. A worried look on his face.
"Fine, we leave at first light. And that's final. I am not killing my boar on exhaustion no matter the stakes." Gughekren replied.
"Aer'andil did not answer back, instead he just held on to the Orkhavoc teen looking nowhere in particular.
Ivandor Tereil had been born a farmer in the farms in the city of Lakosi in the Kingdom of Hordivar, traditionally a protectorate of the Kingdom of Oghelle. Oghelle not only allowed them to have an army but encouraged it as a first line of defense against an Orkhavoc offensive from the east.
He had discovered very early on in his childhood that the life of a farmer was not for him. His father had other plans, he wanted him to take on the farm after him and raise a family and kids.
Their fights over his future became so intense one day Ivandor decided to leave and never return. He knew if he stayed his rage would lead him to commit savagery on his father and for all his anger over his father's inability to share his dreams for his future he still loved the man and did not wish him ill. He was only fifteen at the time.
He walked to Hordivar where he went straight to the Headquarters of the town guard and asked them to join. The guards there laughed. He just punched one breaking his nose.
The other guards wanted to break him apart, their lieutenant stopped them recognising Ivandor's spark and tenacity. Lieutenant Berign became his mentor.
Ivandor would grow up to become one of the greatest Generals Hordivar ever had but for now three years after his joining the army he was patrolling on the Serpent's Bastion.
Nothing ever really happened there since forty years ago when the Orkhavocs had last attacked. It was a boring post but he knew the lieutenant wanted what was best for him and no one who wanted to progress in the higher ranks of the military denied service in the Serpent's Bastion.
The sun was setting behind him, behind the Serpent, the mountain range giving its' name to the fortifications and he was getting ready to turn in for the night when out of the corner of his eye he saw dust rising in the horison.
It could have been a dust storm. They were not unknown to the men serving in the Serpent's Bastion only the turbulent sand was too low to be a sand storm. When those hit they could swallow the Bastion and much of the mountain before subsiding.
No, this was something different. He turned his head and body, walking closer to the parapets placing his hands on them. Setting his spear on the stone wall he pressed his hands above his eyes to stop the sun's glare.
The dust wave seemed to be moving towards them. He leaned a bit over the parapets and tried closing his eyes some to focus them.
A minute or two later there was no mistaking what was coming towards them.
"ORKHAVOCS! ORKHAVOC HORDE COMING FROM THE EAST!" He yelled and run for the eagles' eyes.
The Serpent's Bastion was so large that for soldiers and officers to communicate fast and effectively there was an extensive network of stone bawls called the eagle's eyes. In them they tossed a mixture they called "dragon's breath" before using a torch to set it alight.
Using different herbs for different colours in the mixtures they produced different coloured smokes for different messages.
Ivandor threw in the mixture and tossed a torch inside it too excited and terrified to think the torch only needed to touch the powder not be thrown entirely in it.
The large stone bawl ignited and soon after a thick black smoke rose above it letting everyone else both on the Serpent's Bastion and in the lookouts on the other side of the mountains that an Orkhavoc horde was coming.
As the sunset and night fell one hundred thousand little flames opened as the Orkhavoc armies settled in for the night.
"No, he will not." The queen spoke first. Lovikor's eyes almost bulged out of their sockets.
"Shut your fucking mouth bitch! I will be king one day!" Horigor stood up, walked to his son and punched him right across his face. "No, you will not. Not if you do not learn to fight your own battles. I will not take your place. Win or die." He turned his head to his brother.
"You are the insulted one here. Chose location and weapons."
"Now, here, swords." Imer replied drawing his sword. From the corner of his eye he saw Uragoth enter the throne room wearing his Elven armour, hand in sword.
"Very well then. Fight." Horigor sat on his throne waving his hand dismissively at his son and brother.
"Fath…" Lovikor started speaking when Imer unsheathed his sword and attacked him. Lovikor barely had enough time to draw his blade and defend himself resulting in Imer landing a glancing blow on his left hand drawing blood.
"Fuck you, why take the Elf's place? This is none of your concern!" Lovikor whined trying in vain to land a blow at Imer who was not even breaking a sweat at parrying his sword attacks.
Imer looked at the queen who stood up and walked to her husband's side and nodded to him.
Lovikor threw himself at Imer.
"Why not? You are the sorriest excuse of a teenage boy I have ever had the misery to lie eyes on. In fact, I would be doing my brother a favour in killing you if I was not plotting to kill him as well." Imer grabbed Lovikor's hand and exposed it by pulling it to the boy's right before severing it with a swing of his blade.
Lovikor screamed in pain as his wrist bled. Imer grabbed his neck burying his blade in the boy's torso. "Be gone from this life." He left the blade in Lovikor's chest grabbing hold of his head with both hands twisting it savagely. Uragoth heard a "snap" sound as the boy's neck broke internally. Imer removed the blade and gave it a shake to remove most of the blood from it. Lovikor fell lifeless on the floor.
At the same time the Queen grabbed the King's head from his hair and pulled him up as if he weighted no more than a babe.
"Zah'ulblath" The speech of Zah Dah reverberated across the throne room. A black, ethereal blade appeared in her free hand. She brought it down decapitating the King.
She threw the King's severed head on the ground, holding the shadow-blade in one hand revealing al large black gem with the other.
"I give myself to you oh great, nameless one! Darkness incarnate. I give myself to you willingly, take my soul." She spoke in the black tongue of Zah Dah. In an instant the throne room darkened, all light extinguished. A pillar of black light tore through the Palace's dome roof showering those below with debris, engulfing the Queen.
Uragoth saw her change from her human form to a defiled, age-riddled, corpse-like figure. He saw her skin change to a blackened, burned-like texture and her eyes and hair white-out.
"So much power…I will destroy the Orkhavocs and enslave the humans in your name." She turned her head to her brother whose blood had drained from his face.
She uttered three words. In an instant she was transferred from the throne in front of her brother who she grabbed by the neck and raised so his feet did not touch the ground.
"You, you are my bane, my tyrant and slaver. I once loved and you had him killed. For what? To marry me to that old fuck? To rule Oghelle behind the King like a puppet master? You had his wife killed, blamed it on the Orkhavocs, damn nearly started a war. All that for power and wealth? Well let me demonstrate to you the product of your scheming, brother." She brought her sword-wielding hand back before thrusting it forward impaling her brother with it.
"Zagh Thargor, Uy golthlar irmil divak idash" The Queen said aloud. Uragoth understood it as "Dark Spirit, I gift you his soul." Caaran drained of blood from his open wound, veins appearing beneath his skin, black and festered. His hair fell, replaced by red, withering horns. His eyes blackened and his teeth grew in size.
The Queen laughed. "I've become Elaria's bane. I am now and forever a Dark General, in my Master's biding. Now my pets, kill everyone here!" Out of the darkness and shadows, creatures of nightmares appeared.
"Imer! Leave, run!" Uragoth yelled at the man unsheathing his blade.
"No, this is my country, my battle. I will not allow Darkness to sit on the throne." Imer replied slaying a creature in his front.
The Queen laughed. "Kill them, brother, kill the Elf."
Caaran turned round, a gaping hole in his abdomen and stomach where the Queen had stabbed him and run to Uragoth.
"You have weapons but so do I." Uragoth removed a piece of parchment from his satchel and slapped it on the ground. "Fiery light." The ground all around him erupted into life as marble and stone melted into fire. It expanded outwards killing creatures of Darkness near him.
He hacked at a dog-like creature with his blade. When the blade made contact with the creature it glowed white. The creature fell dead instantly.
"Don't be insane man, run! You are no match for a Dark General!" Uragoth tried to warn Imer who ignored him.
"No, my honour forbids it. My country needs me." Imer charged at Caaran. Caaran was still confused from dying and the black magic spell so he could not put up much of a fight or he would have killed Imer easily.
Imer dodged and parried and ten minutes later he dropped Caaran dead and launched himself at the Queen.
The Queen laughed. She did not even try to avoid his blade as it impaled itself on her gut. She ignored it as if he had tickled her with a feather, grabbed him by his face and threw him to the side. "Eat him alive." She whispered in a ghastly voice and ten different creatures of Darkness descended upon him. His blood-curling screams filled the room in symphony with the creams of the courtiers, guards and audience in the room who were being eaten alive or defiled by the creatures of Darkness. It was a bloody massacre.
"Ready to die Elf? I have a surprise for you…if you can live long enough." She smiled, materialised a second shadow-blade and attacked him.
Her blades met his with sparks of light flying around.
"Your mortal weapons cannot kill me."
"I know." Uragoth threw three different runes at incoming creatures dropping them dead with explosions of light.
"Plenty more where these came from." The Queen told him.
"I know." Uragoth started whispering whilst defending against her blows with one hand and throwing runes at incoming creatures. He was the only one left fighting in the throne room. The creatures of Darkness were now spilling into the corridors of the Palace unchallenged.
"I will kill you, you know." The Queen cast a black magic spell at Uragoth. Uragoth used a rune to defend against it. A white-blue hued shield of energy glowed around him before shattering in hundreds of tiny explosions.
"I know." Uragoth broke off his chanting for a second to answer her.
"Then why fight me? Join me."
"Join the Darkness?" Uragoth laughed and cut off her arm after parrying one of her attacks and pivoting around to find her flank exposed.
It did not surprise him to see it grow almost instantly as miasma enveloped and rejuvenated it.
She laughed. "Cut me and I'll respawn, curse me and I'll grow. Your mortal weapons cannot kill me."
"You assume I want to or am trying to kill you." She had failed to notice he was chanting under his breath from the moment he had entered the room.
"Enough of this." The Queen launched a flurry of attacks. He kept deflecting them with relative ease until he saw a creature come from behind him and he turned to kill it. He knew he was going to die, that was in fact the plan.
He felt both shadow blades penetrate his back. He fell to the floor on his knees.
A second later he felt the Queen's rotting breath on his ear.
"I shall kill the Elf-boy in front of your King." She whispered in his ear before cutting off his head.
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