The Chronicles of Valana Volume 3: Open Doom

by AB

Chapter 1

This story is 100% fictional.

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Attack on Gel'anr

"Agreed, increase the patrols around the shoreline and during the night." One of the generals nodded while their liege turned his attention to the courtier on the center.

"Has Qazameria's King replied?"

"Indeed, my Lord. He approves of the plan to aid the dragons of Narothol by not fishing near their island. "There's plenty of sea around us." His words as he spoke them to me."

"Fine news. What of the…" The sounds of creaking wood interrupted them.

Two Honour guards stood on each side of the entrance to the throne room, spears and leaf carved shields on each hand as others on the outside pushed the heavy double, oak and silver doors with carvings of various birds and trees. They creaked on their hinges slowly opening.

The various courtiers, military officers and palace servants hurried to walk out of the path to the throne on the other side of the room.

A hooded individual clad in all red, black and white holding a scepter with a dark red crystal on it walked in between two Palace guards. His movements slow and arduous.

The silver and cyan armour of the Palace guards escorting the man the same as with their counterparts standing in various places along the chamber's circumference. Carved on their breastplate the royal symbol of Gel'anr, the swallow, in painstaking detail and finesse. Their long hair swaying under their helmets, visors up above their faces, gold roc feathers falling from the top of the helmets to the rear, long swords in gold silver-plated, embossed scabbards hanging from their belts and a black spear in each of their hands. Runes decorated the spears' shafts and blades.

Tha'ala sat to the right of her husband, the High-King of the Elves. To his left sat his eldest son, Thonril. He watched sitting tall on his heir's throne, even if he was not the heir, as the man clad in mystery walked closer and closer until he stood but a few meters from his father. Thonril didn't know why but he felt the need, nay, the urge to hold the hilt of his sword, hanging from its scabbard on the left side of his waist.

"You have asked for an audience with me. Who are you to interrupt my daily converse with my court on matters of the state?" Aer'andil's voice echoed across the throne room. Thonril had never before heard his father sound so aggressive.

"Something's different, it's in the air, in my bones." He thought as the hooded individual chuckled raising his head.

Thonril gasped and so did others around them.

"I am a Bishop of the Church of Ascension. I have been tasked to parley with your…Highness." The man straightened his back standing tall between the Elven guards, perhaps, too tall.

"He looks like a Dark General, yet he is not as…gruesome as the tales would have his kind." Thonril pondered. He himself had seen no Dark General live as of yet but in his reading evenings in the Building of memories he had read and seen much about them in his three thousand years of life.

The Bishop's face looked decaying yet not as far gone as Aer'andil knew the Dark Generals to be. He still resembled the man he had been before. His skin pale, his hair ghostly white.

"Who tasked this…suicide mission to you Bishop?" Tha'ala knew this tone of voice. This was not teasing or even taunting, no this was Aer'andil directly provoking the Bishop to gauge his reaction.

The Bishop acted as if Aer'andil had not even spoken.

"My God" – he took a deep, trying breath- "tasked this of me." -He let out the air from his lungs making Tha'ala's skin crawl.

"What do you seek here, of me, Bishop?"

"My God's command is simple. I am to petition you for permission to open a chapel of our church in your lands." The Bishop's voice slow, arduous, and otherworldly.

"A chapel? In our Elven Islands? Why would I allow this or would my people want this?" Aer'andil's face emotionless, his tone of voice calm, yet Tha'ala in her ten thousand years by his side knew there was rage bubbling beneath the surface. She closed her eyes, opening her mind to the magic around them.

"Our God promises eternal salvation and immortality in the Spiritum to all those who worship him."

"Your "god" promises ascension? We have no need of this, we possess the knowledge of how to accomplish this already. Through the guidance of our spirits, our elders and meditation any elf can chose to ascend or permanently take their animal form. Or even choose death like all other mortals. We have no need of your Church in our Islands." Aer'andil grasped his bow on his lap as if by reflex.

The bow had been a gift from his father, it had many abilities of both Magic and Speaker.

"Our God can grant this, he can heal the wounded, feed the poor and convert the unbelieving. Would you be so cruel to your people as to deny them all of this?" The Bishop continued.

"We can ascend, we have no poor, we have the best healers in all of Valana, Elaria and Varaghia and we have no desire to believe in lies and deceit." Aer'andil uncrossed his knees, bringing both to touch the floor. Some of the courtiers had left the room, others feeling the tension in the room were trying to as fast as possible.

The guards, all of them had their eyes on the Bishop and their hands on their weapons.

"Blasphemy! How dare you say our God, your God is lying!" The Bishop gripped his staff tighter.

"There is no God, you believe in lies, you believe in a malicious spirit whose power and intensions you do not understand. He is lying to you." Aer'andil's left hand had moved to the quiver to the left of the throne.

"Will you grant us permission to build our chapel in Gel'anr or will you continue to insult our God?" The Bishop hissed, clearly angry.

"No, for as long as my line exists you and your "god" shall never have permission to access our lands. Begone and never return!" Aer'andil was now standing, his hand around his bow, an arrow on the other hand pointing at the gates the Bishop had entered from.

"He knew. Our God knew this. He warned me of this. He no longer requires you to be in the world of the living, not anymore that you have an heir. He can open Doom. Die." The Bishop tightened his grip on his staff hitting the bottom on the floor.

In an instant, the room blackened, the light seemingly drained from it as a black, liquid portal opened behind the Bishop and from inside it creatures of Darkness started to pour out.

In that moment Thonril understood why the legend had it that Aer'andil's enemies, even their leader was afraid of him. The look on his father's face was not one of fear or rage or anger. It was one of death, calm concentrated unrelenting death.

"Protect your mother. Guards remove this filth from my throne room. I'll handle the Bishop." Aer'andil spoke loud and clear as he handled his bow, removing two arrows from the quivers on his waist and with a swift movement releasing them aflight.

Thonril unsheathed the long sword from its scabbard before grabbing his mother by the elbow placing her behind him. He tried moving them back towards the rear entrance to the room the royal family used.

Aer'andil's arrows hit target on a Karatal's forehead dropping it dead. A wolf-like creature attacked him, jumping on him. Aer'andil smacked it with the bow locking the beast's jaws on it and bringing his other hand up from below holding a long toothy dagger he buried it under the beast's head twisting it. Losing no time, he turned to the next creature standing between him and the Bishop.

A guard fell dead from an ogre-like creature with horns and powerful four hands. While three other guards rushed to their fallen comrade stabbing at the Ogre with their long spears.

The Bishop grabbed hold of a guard's face removing the helmet before tapping the head with his staff while still holding on to it. The guard screamed as slowly both his soul and the spirit he hosted left his body through his eyes and mouth heading for the Bishop's staff, now glowing a black unworldly light.

Aer'andil fell another beast before pirouetting around and unleashing three arrows aimed at the Bishop's head.

The Bishop interrupted what he was doing to deflect them with a flick of his staff.

"You dare," Aer'andil ran at the Bishop. "come to my House," he brought the bow low extended by his side. "And attempt to assimilate one of my people!" The Bishop prepared for another volley of arrows.

Aer'andil's bow glowed as he thrust it at the Bishop, penetrating his belly, the bow turned longsword, gleaming and sharp.

As surprised as the Bishop was at this so was Aer'andil when the Bishop grabbed the hilt of the sword pulling it back. He then grabbed hold of Aer'andil's neck lifting him off the ground.

"I am one of the chosen, mortal. You cannot hurt me with mortal weapons." His ghastly voice came low and powerful.

Thonril saw a wraith glide in near him and his mother and pivoted to face it. The wraith gave off a high-pitched scream attacking him with bony fingers. Thonril used his shield to fend off the wraith's attack before swinging his blade at it cutting off an arm. He pressed on his advantage thrusting the shield at the wraith. The wraith grabbed at it tearing it off his arms. It retaliated by wrapping its claws around his hand digging in and slashing at his face with the other, free hand.

Thonril pushed his legs hard against the floor and using the wraith's own arm for leverage made a wheel-like jump above the wraith hacking at it with his sword.

Thonril's legs touched the floor just as the wraith's head fell off its shoulders, the body evanescing beyond the veil.

Thonril turned on his heels after his eye caught a shadow just behind him, his sword raised above his head, grasping it with both hands, in defense.

Behind was another creature of darkness, six-legged, twice his size with four equally large pincers, clad in purple and yellow carapace seemingly frozen in time, his pincers extended as if attacking.

Thonril slashed with his sword severing two of its pincers. Pirouetting around he saw his mother, eyes wide open, pupils dilated, a glow emanating from her body casting spell after spell at the nearby enemy creatures.

Another guard decapitated a bipedal creature easily as it stood there unable to move. Next to him a creature fell dead, killed by an unseen force.

At the opposite end of the room a guard fell dead along with a courtier who had not managed to evacuate the room and got caught in the chaos of the ensuing battle.

Aer'andil used his sword to sever the Bishop's hand feeling his legs touch the floor.

The Bishop laughed casting a Dark Spiritum rune. His arm regrew almost instantly, bone muscle, everything.

"Enough of this." Aer'andil turned the blade back to a bow placing it back across his shoulders.

"Light." A word in a language neither Elf or Bishop understood escaped his lips. In an instant, he became a figure of light, pure light brighter than that of the sun's.

Aer'andil said something and a pulsating wave of light filled the chamber. It took no more than a second for the creatures to die, burning up into wispy trails of ash and miasma. The portal burned up closing a few seconds later.

The Bishop screeched an unworldly sound and tried attacking Aer'andil. His attacks, black magic, dark Spiritum, everything seemed to bounce off without harming him.

"I return the favour, agent of the fallen. You cannot hope to hurt one such as I, begone." Aer'andil wrapped his fingers around the man's face. A phrase later light started coming out of the Bishop's skin breaking him up. With a final scream, he vanished into dust.

As the dust cleared a peculiar silence fell over the room, blood and miasma covering the floor and walls.

Aer'andil turned back to his flesh and bones self, saw Minaroth had entered the throne room with her son, Vicanoth, and they too were now covered in blood.

"My Lord, you are well?" Minaroth asked placing her double axe on her shoulder sheath.

Aer'andil nodded and turned to find his wife and son. Tha'ala nodded as Thonril cleaned his blade.

"So, he found a way to bypass our defenses eh?" Aer'andil murmured more to himself than anyone else.

Aer'andil looked to Minaroth. "Take my family, find Ythela and Ethronos and keep them in the war room until we make sure there's no more surprises, what is that sound?" Screams and sounds of things breaking up were coming from outside.

"The Bishop's wyvern, your Majesty, it's wreaking havoc outside." A guard replied.

"Minaroth, you know what to do." Minaroth nodded, escorting Thonril and Tha'ala out of the throne room through the door leading to the Royal chambers and the war room.

Aer'andil walked outside with Vicanoth in tow. Guards were running around firing arrows up in the air at a large wyvern covered in red and black scales.

"No, no you don't." Aer'andil whispered nocking three arrows on his bow. He pulled the string back and in one fluid motion released them.

Vicanoth saw them travel up in the sky, at first it looked as if Aer'andil had shot them too much on the left when the wyvern took a steep, unexpected left turn bringing it in the arrows' path.

One arrow embedded itself on its left wing just below the middle joint, one right on the beast's belly and the third under the jaw.

The wyvern fell on the square's marble floor breaking up one of the nearby statues.

Vicanoth ran to it holding short spear and axe in his hands. The injured animal pivoted around trying to whip Vicanoth with its long serpent-like tail. Vicanoth dove under it rolling on the floor, came up behind it and with a swift movement of his hand pinned the tail on the floor with the axe. Looking up he saw Aer'andil walking towards them holding the bow-turned-sword in hand. He whispered a word and the sword was engulfed in flames.

The wyvern tried to use his wings to rise, to escape. "Oh, no you don't." Vicanoth made sure his axe was firmly embedded on the cracked marble, stood up and nailed the non-injured wing on the floor with his spear just as Aer'andil cut off the beast's head with the enflamed sword.

Squirming and spasmming, the wyvern fell dead, its blotched purple tongue sticking out of its severed head.

"You fight well, yet you have committed a serious error in judgement." Aer'andil told Vicanoth. "You are now without weapon, if this was a battlefield you'd be defenseless."

"My Lord, my parents have taught me better than that." Vicanoth smiled. He let go of the rear end of the impaled spear and in quick movements revealed three different daggers and a short sword hidden in his leather and silk brown and green clothes.

"Indeed." Aer'andil gave a smirk before turning his attention to the incoming guards.

"Secure the city, clean this mess and triple the patrols in the city and around the island." He ordered the Soldiers.

He walked back in the throne room where Honour Guards had begun, with Royal magic users and Speakers, cleaning the room.

"Don't touch that!" Aer'andil stopped one of the magic users from touching the Bishop's staff. The magic user bowed stepping back.

Aer'andil stood over the dark blue wooden staff looking at it in silence for a moment. He then bent over picking it up. There was a hollow at the top end with a black pearl-like object stuck in it. Aer'andil knew what it was, he had destroyed several already.

"A fallen spirit's essence, and yet…I did not feel a Dark General in the Bishop." He said to no one in particular. Vicanoth watched him carefully.

He smiled, placed his hand on the orb and pulling it out of its socket he crushed it between his fingers. "As I thought…no spirit but I did feel a weird connection to…it." Aer'andil whispered.

He burned the staff in true flame before leaving the throne room.

A month ago.

Viskeras was walking slow and with purpose through the jungle forest stalking his prey. He had trailed the large stag for almost two weeks through the hills and jungle of the western lands, close to the borders with the Human Kingdoms.

It was tradition for those who were close to their coming-of-age ceremony to live in the jungle for a month or more. Viskeras had lived for two going on the third.

He pulled an arrow from the quiver nocking it on the bow, silently. His bare feet making no sound as he crouched nearer and nearer his prey.

Then suddenly noise came from behind him in the not-so-long distance. Both stag and Viskeras turned their heads, instinctively at the direction of the noise.

Viskeras turned his head pulling the string back, but the stag had already taken flight.

"Gahvagaron!" Viskeras swore aloud. Almost two weeks of hunting had gone up in smoke.

"My Lord, look! There! Smoke in the horizon!" Lothron turned his gaze to where his guard pointed. Squinting his eyes, he saw the black smoke rising. He could barely hear the screams coming from the same direction.

"Daran knights, follow me!" Lothron pulled the reigns on his dragon turning his body to the left on his saddle. The dragon beneath him obeying his directive dove folding his wings. The knights followed in behind him.

"Daran dawn!" Lothron yelled taking a javelin in each hand. The dragons came in, in a way that had the sun behind them when the enemy would look up thus blinding them. Each knight took up two javelins and in one synchronized motion they all threw them at the raiding party below. A wagon was on fire and horses lay slain on the ground. A solitary figure stood with his back against the burning wagon, surrounded by enemy soldiers.

"This guy's good…" Lothron thought to himself seeing the figure kill soldier after soldier using bow, sword, and speaker runes no less. "No human can move this fast."

"Cover me, I'm going in. Dive Igaval, dive!" The Dragon knights made a circle above him, at first, they fired javelins, when they ran out they picked up their bows firing arrows at the enemy soldiers below.

Igaval landed a few meters away from the burning wagon unleashing a torrent of fire from his nostrils burning everything left and right of the wagon and the boy.

"Boy?" Lothron asked internally as, indeed, a hooded boy ran towards them. Lothron offered him a hand to help him climb up behind him but instead the boy ran up to the dragon's hind thigh, using it to jump up first with his left leg then with his right.

"Who are you?"

"Seriously this isn't the time for introductions! My name's Stenoros, now how about you fly us out of here before my cute butt becomes dead?"

"Oh yes, right. Fly Igaval, fly!" Igaval crouched unfolding his wings then with a jump they were off.

The enemy soldiers fired arrows at them until they were too high for any hope of accuracy, then they were safe.

"Name's Lothron of Dara. Who are you?"

"The crown prince of Dara? What are you doing so far from home? Told you I'm Stenoros."

"We are returning home from an official visit to Feran…or at least we were supposed to go there. Feran is under siege by an unknown enemy force."

Present day.

He had used the cover of darkness to unfold his plan, sneaking past the Honour guards, a folded backpack on his shoulders, a mace and a dagger hanging from his belt. He made his way outside the Royal Palace trying to be as silent as possible.

Running through the woods, almost able to scream from the pent-up excitement he made his way to a hidden little cove on the other side of the island to the north of Glinthala.

Once there he removed the leaves and logs from the boat he had hidden away and slowly pushed it into the cold water.

He took one look behind. "Well I guess this is it, I'm off for an adventure…" He had never been away from home before. He jumped in and started paddling.

"My Lord! My Lord!" He heard someone yelling for him. He paused turning around to meet a young she-soldier.

"What news Enfylia?" He asked her.

"I bring dark tidings, my Liege. Your son's convoy was attacked, every one of his guardians slain, his body has not yet been recovered or found."

"Send…no. Fetch me Hava'ril from Elisko, his training should be sufficient and he is now of age." He turned and left.

Changing course from his previous destination he headed for Udala's war room, closed, and locked the doors behind him and erected the wards to prevent anyone or anything from eavesdropping on him.

Retrieving a pale blue and silver orb from a hidden compartment he placed it on the center of the table and spoke the invocation. A few moments later Aer'andil's reflection appeared inside the scrying stone.

"Aer'andil…my son…" His voice course, his fists clenched.

"I know. You must stay inactive for now. Let shadows lie." Aer'andil's voice was calm yet there was a hint of stress in it.

"He is my lonesome." Norion's voice came pained and stressed.

"He is safe."

"How do you know?"

"I know. I'll soon be leaving for the North. Soon it ends, for now stay in the shadows to serve the light." Norion nodded.

"Aer'andil…I've missed you, I want us to be together again but if anything happens to my son…"

"I had to betray your trust once, love but I would never endanger you, Tha'ala, or our children. He will be safe, Hava'ril on his way?"

"Yes, I called for him."

"I'll see you soon, Norion, for now…"

"I know, let shadows lie." Norion tried to smile, he couldn't. Aer'andil broke the invocation.

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