The Chronicles of Valana Volume 3: Open Doom

by AB

Chapter 11

Gel'anr's Heir Apparent

Blood, spilled guts and chaos were the words to describe the area around Iavaskor and Iavaskar on either end of Iavos' gulf.

To the east the armies of Feran, Qa'ros and the Orkhavocs Federation of Kingdoms had broken through the black walls of Iavaskar and were quickly dispatching everything inside, their jobs made easier after the two Bishops had lost their powers. Baghvkor and Viskeras, holding battleaxes in each hand, standing side by side were lost to a frenzied bloodlust. Behind them the Orkhavoc Warriors fought relentlessly and without mercy while the human armies secured the rear and the flanks, their siege weapons pummeling the inner Citadel.

To the west, pearl shuttered, and sword turned to normal. With Fundigorok turned to ash and dust Thonril had turned his attention to the routing Oghellen army trapped between steel and sea.

Thonril had dismounted and with sword and shield in hand he was dancing around the ever thinning Oghellen ranks. A huge beast looking like a cross between a bull and a bear came at him. Thonril let his left foot move back and placing the shield if front of his face he brought the sword extruding from it at eye level. He saw the beast charge at him, with a roar, lowering its head and waited until the last moment when he kneeled on the ground, placing his shield diagonally above him, its lowest part touching the ground, covering him whole. The beast had not the time to alter course and fell on it with its fore right leg, smashing it against the metal shield, momentum launching it above Thonril.

Thonril jabbed at it, burying his sword to the hilt in the animal, the speed forcing the animal to cleave itself on the sword clean through, inundating Thonril in dark purple and red blood. Thonril rose to his feet pivoting around decapitating another enemy soldier.

Another soldier came to his left while a third and fourth ones attacked him from his hind. Thonril quickly dispatched the man to his left by using his sword and motion as leverage to twist the man's sword off him and impale him with both swords.

He killed one of the men coming from behind him to see Stenoros slay the other two.

"Looked like you required assistance, cousin." Stenoros grinned, his face, hands and torso covered too in blood.

"For one as young as you, cousin, your eyes require more assistance than I can presently provide." Thonril laughed. "I had it all fully under control." Digging his hand in his belt he revealed a dagger which he launched at a creature coming behind Stenoros.

The creature fell dead. "Pfff for an old man your aim is not half bad." Stenoros replied throwing his sword in the air and with characteristic Elven speed, he grabbed his bow firing two arrows one after the other at two creatures coming behind Thonril, placing the bow back at his shoulder and grabbing the falling sword.

"All show, do you have substance, cousin?" Thonril extended his hand.

"Fight with me, then, and let me demonstrate you, cousin." Stenoros shook his hand before going back to back with Thonril and a dance of death and steel begun.

Kermenos was fighting with Torval, in awe of his fighting skill. "If I make it through this…I am joining the Hunters." He vowed to himself.

With the Oghellen ranks collapsing the battle's focus had turned to the sea where Norion led the Alliance ships to meet the Oghellen fleet.

"Bring us about, right between their lines!" Norion ordered his first mate. "Give the orders to the Human fleets, they are to go to Iavaskar, this filth's mine."

"My Lord, they outnumber us two hundred to one."

"Numbers will not avail them in what I have in store for them. They killed my wife's brother and one of my best friends, defending my son. They are going to sleep well tonight…in the bottom of the sea." Norion's face lay emotionless, his voice merciless.

"Form a reverse wedge formation, let them come to us. We have a surprise for them. Remove oars and release all sail, bring the wind to aft."

"They have artillery galleys!" The sailor atop the main mast yelled pointing at the incoming Oghellen fleet. "They are bringing them to bear!"

"Bring it on, they'll need more than mere catapults and ballistae to withstand Udala's wrath." Norion placed the Helmet on his head, lowering the visor, the silver-black plumes waving in the wind, and retrieved his spear, his father's spear bestowed to him by Aer'andil's father Liandras. "Let them come, let them crush on our will and taste our courage and unrelenting rage, for it is time for the world to feel Udala's navy. Ogalth'aval, give the signal for our troop barges to land. Tighten the noose on the remaining Oghellen land forces. They have but one order. Leave none alive." He turned to the men on his ship, Udala's Flagship man-of-war.

The Elven battleship longer and more elegant than its Human counterparts. Streamlined and aquadynamic glistened in the afternoon sky, gliding through the waves. The "Lae'dralnath" or Water's fury carried three masts, four decks filled with cannons, archer and ballista placements. Her sides were armoured, the rear held two cannons and speaker placements while the fore was shaped as a spearhead with placements for magic users and three cannons. Three outlooks on each mast had anti-personnel artillery. The Lae'dralthar was made for one thing. War.

"Elves of Udala, sailors supreme. Millenia ago the Master behind this Oghellen invasion of Valana Destroyed the Ancient Kingdom of Udala, our people had to flee and seek refuge in our brothers and sisters in the Elven isles. We have since regained our lost Kingdom and restored it to its former glory, but one quest remains, everlasting. Demonstrate our wrath to those who committed this atrocity. So today we come bearing Udala's banners, Elisko's banners with one desire. Annihilate Oghelle's navy and put an end to this invasion, our wrath manifest. So, they outnumber us? Good! They'll need all the men they can throw at us for our blades are sharp and our spears eager! Eager for their blood! Elves of Udala, Men of Elisko what are we to eat tonight?" Norion spoke loud, a voice of thunder and inexorable authority. His voice carried through the fleet.

"Tonight, we eat the souls of our enemies, we bathe in their blood!" A uniform chorus emanated from every ship in the armada.

"Then we fight! Archers, arm arrows!" Norion yelled. "Ready the cannons!"

"Sir! The Oghellen fleet's almost upon us!" The sailor in the outlook in the top mast yelled.

"What a sight!" Ythela thought, she was in the thick of it, firing magic spells and arrows at the enemy creatures nearest to her, Astrid and Sigrilth. A thousand Elven ships in a reverse arrowhead formation against three rows of five thousand Oghellen ships. By numbers alone the Oghellen naval force had the upper hand.

"Wait…" Norion held his hand up high. The Oghellen ships approached fast.

"Wait…" The first Oghellen artillery rounds bounced off their protective wards, they would not last for long.

"Wait..." The faces of the men on the ships became visible.

"NOW! Oeldor's circle!" The First Officer gave the signal for the maneuver. The ships on the rear of the formation gathered their sails while the ships on the front of the formation closed the wedge forming a circle around the Oghellen navy.

"End them." Norion lowered his hand and the afternoon sky lit ablaze as arrows, magic spells, Speaker runes, and enchanted cannon balls fired from the Elven ships, the Oghellen warships trapped in the middle, their vulnerable fronts and rears exposed to one Elven ship or another in the vicious circle.

Disarray and confusion followed the barrage in the Oghellen fleet as friendly fire mixed with Udala's.

"Helmsman." Norion looked ahead, searching for Oghelle's Flagship. "Ramming speed, I want that ship sank." He pointed to a large three-decked battleship in the center of the enemy position.

"Cannoneers, archers. Fire at will. Sailors of the Lae'dralthar, brace!" Her sails released to achieve the increased speed required the Lae'dralthar glided through the water, splitting auxiliary enemy ships in half with her spear-front and with the relentless cannon barrage. A minute later she impacted the starboard side of Oghelle's Flagship. Planks screeching, her two masts falling to the water, taking the sailors on them to their grave.

"Frontal cannons, fire! Send her to the bottom of the sea!" Norion used his spear to slay those Oghellen sailors who chose to board them than jump in the water.

Three powerful explosions later the Oghellen ship split into, slowly sinking below the waves. The rest of the fleet faired no better as the few ships that remained were badly damaged and trying to board Elven ships, only to find Hunters of Darkness Elves and Men of Elisko waiting for them with ready weapons and bloodthirst.

"Sir! Enemy reinforcements!" A sailor pointed to their left, to the horizon, behind the red sea, painted by the sun's setting rays and blood, scores of blood.

"Time to end this. Ogalth'aval give the command, straight line formation, bring us about to the new Oghellen ships." Norion continued to kill the Oghellen men who had boarded the Lae'dralthar with the Elisko's Hunters onboard until none remained.

Udala's ground forces had reached the beach behind the ruined fortifications of Iavaskor, joining the rest of the Alliance forces. Oghelle's remaining forces had nowhere to go, the battle at land had all but finished.

The Elven ships gathered their sails, using oars to maintain their formation, and awaited the Oghellen ships to reach them.

"What's my father doing? Why are the sails not down? He is defenseless like this!" Stenoros shouted cutting off an Oghellen soldier's head, blood spraying all over his breastplate and Helmet.

"Yes, you fools." Norion grinned under his helmet. "Take the bait, come at us."

An hour later the Oghellen ships prepared to attack, exposing their armoured sides. Then the Elves onboard began to sing in yesterday's magic tongue.

It had taken them five thousand years to learn the words and phrases of the song and it was all over in under a minute as the water beneath the Oghellen fleet vanished and the ships found themselves falling a hundred meters to the bottom of the ocean, crashing one on top of the other and just as the surviving sailors were trying to escape the wreckage the volumes of sea water materialized above them.

Minaroth had had to fully embrace Enthronos to stop him from running to his father, she had an inkling on what was going to follow.

"King Fornworth, I'd be against moving on the ice." Vicanoth told him.

"Father, please listen to them." Nirasala voiced, holding on to her father's right elbow, seeing him ready to ignore Vicanoth.

"Hold your positions." Fornworth ordered his men.

No sooner than he had given the order and he noticed the air around the body on the center of the lake, where the Seer's Mount had once stood, began to shimmer, seconds later the air around them started to warm up.

Gundrun like Nirasala had told his father not to go on the lake, on Ha'varil's recommendation.

Soon the intensity of the heat was such they had to cover their noses and mouths, none of them accustomed to such temperatures.

The center of the lake started to melt.

"My King, you want to tell your men to avert their eyes." Minaroth and Hava'ril said to the two Kings.

An instant later a white phoenix erupted into being, eradiating white glowing light, Aer'andil's former body burning to ash.

Everywhere around them the environment turned from winter to mid-summer's day, plants growing out of the soil and flowers blooming with both Elves and Humans able to hear an otherworldly, honey-worded song, calling nature to awaken from its slumber, usually beyond what their ears could understand.

The white phoenix flew to the shore between the two armies hovering there.

Minaroth let go of Enthronos and started walking towards the mythical bird.

"That's him!" Gundrun thought to himself, seeing Enthronos' figure in the near distance and followed Ha'varil.

Fornworth following his daughter who run after Enthronos. Grand Prince Sigovorn following his son and the two armies followed them.

They stood under the large phoenix, on opposite ends. The soldiers on both sides having forgotten the reason of them coming here, looking astonished at the lush nature around them.

A moment later, when the Leaders of the opposing armies faced him the phoenix landed on the ground, transforming back to its Elven self.

Minaroth and Vicanoth bowed to their knees, while Enthronos, a huge grin pasted all over his lips forgot all about protocol and launched himself at his father's embrace.

"How are we not…melting?" Sigovorn thought aloud. Then as if remembering the cause of him being there he unsheathed his sword pointing it at Aer'andil and the Elves behind him.

"Open Doom, I will it so!" Aer'andil shouted.

Sigovorn, who had moved to attack Aer'andil, found himself falling back, while every Human, and Elf present gasped.

They all gasped because at the very instant Aer'andil finished his sentence, a sentence they could all understand and not understand at the same time, the very skies raptured open, forming a tear in the very fabric of existence and through it the host of the Spiritum Aeternae, of the spirits descended at them, forming a crescent around and behind Aer'andil.

"You…an Elf! You command the Host of the Aeternae? Of the Spirits?" Sigovorn cried aloud.

"I command All, I command Everything, and I command Nothing but now on this day you will all listen to me for you have all been duped into this unending war between the two species and I am going to end it. Permanently." Aer'andil replied and bringing his hands to his fore he revealed the two white pearls.

He brought them together, smashing them against each other and instead of shuttering they merged to create a vision, a vision of the Aeternae inside him, last remaining of the ten.

Next, Aer'andil begun to chant in the Elven and yesterday's magic tongues and waving his left hand in a circle in front of his body. The invisible circle begun to sparkle and waver until with a light star-shaped explosion it formed a water-like mirror, the spell similar to what Enthronos had used to show Fornworth his memory only powered by yesterday's magic, begun to show those around him not Aer'andil's memories but of a living re-animation of History past. Of how the Elves first arrived in Varaghia, of how well they had been received by the Humans, of the accord giving Elves the land to the North beyond Yvragal's Ridge Mountains and of how the Darkness had slowly turned Humans against the Elves when they unknowingly built Val'aranas near the Seer's Mount. The spell showed all, every Human and Elf killed, every intrigue and village slaughtered to make it look like the Elves were attacking, to instigate war after war. It showed everything up to Ulfnir's meddling, him having Gundrun's mother and siblings assassinated, and all his effort to break the Human-Elven truce and begin war anew.

"My Lord." Fauj spoke as soon as the magic spell faded, and the mirror vanished in smoke. "I can collaborate what was shown there in regard to your eldest son. You commanded me to find who had orchestrated Gundrun's mother and his siblings, and so I have. Ulfnir ordered the attack and if you would order one of the army's magic users to perform a memory reveal spell on me or Gundrun you can see for yourself how he also paid mercenaries from Tilrvi and Attti to commit crimes against the Principality to cause a war with the Elves, just as shown." Sigovorn lost no time and soon a magic user showed them the events of that day, of Gundrun following Fauj in the forest and of everything that happened after, of Enthronos saving his life and Karthlang admitting to the things he had.

"Ulfnir, has indeed caused crimes against both Elf and man but it cannot be any Elf who brings him his just punishment, this must be done by thee, Grand Prince of Ygramor.

"My son…what have you to say to this?" Sigovorn looked lost.

"You imbecile …it's not enough that you cheated on my mother, but you had to go and officially legitimize her bastard kids…Yes, I had them killed and I will have him killed as soon as I ascend to the throne, with the aid of my Master."

"Your Master is no more, Ulfnir of Ygramor." Aer'andil replied him, with contempt.

"You, were never going to ascend to the throne. Your mother was but an arranged marriage of my father and I never loved her. I was wed to her not because of political alliance but because I was young and stupid, and I got her pregnant, a common port's harlot, one of many who entertain the sailors of the merchant ships coming up river to Ygramor. Such was my father's shame that he had us wed and then he had her removed from all public view the moment she gave birth to you. You think Astrid your full sister? She is from Gundrun's mother, the state's best kept secret until now. You are no heir of mine, you who killed the woman I loved more than life itself. Leave this land! You are banished from Ygramor and all its holdings and trading partners." Sigovorn waved his hand in scorn, dismissing his firstborn.

"No!" Ulfnir made to unsheathe his sword.

Gundrun covered the distance between him and his half-brother in two strides, coming up to him from behind.

"For my mother, who will never see me become a man!" Ulfnir released a groan as Gundrun plunged his dagger on his ribs.

"For my sister, who will never feel love!" A second jab, this time on his kidneys.

"For my brother, who will never breathe another spring's scent!" A third Jab this one near his spine.

"For my sister, who you murdered!" Fauj plunged his short sword into Ulfnir's belly.

"For my niece, who you denied life!" A second jab near his heart.

"For my nephew, who you denied him adulthood!" A third jab near his thigh.

"For me, for denying me loved ones!" Gundrun unsheathed his sword entering Ulfnir from his nape until the hilt touched skin.

Gundrun removed his sword, leaving Ulfnir to fall on the ground, lifeless.

"May the spirits never receive you, brother."

Sigovorn looked at Gundrun, sheathing his sword and walking to Ulfnir's body he retrieved the Crown Prince's coronet and placed it on Gundrun's head. "All hail Gundrun of Seravhia, Crown Prince of the Principality of Ygramor! All hail the future Grand Prince of Ygramor!" Ygramor's soldiers cheered while Sigovorn turned to Aer'andil and Fornworth.

"There will be no more bloodshed between Elves and Humans, this senseless, meaningless era of warfare has come to an end.

Fornworth unsheathed his sword holding it with one hand on the hilt and the other at the blade's edge. Walking to Sigovorn he offered it to him. "One of my people's relic. Let a tool of war and death be used for peace and life." He told Sigovorn in the Human tongue, as best he could.

Sigovorn reciprocated by drawing his sword and offering it to Fornworth. "Aye, enough blood and death, let our children live in peace and love."

"The Seer and her island Mount, conjured by the Aeternae's First of all evil, are gone. This location is not sacred anymore, am I correct, Grand Prince Sigovorn?" Aer'andil continued.

"Not for the Humans of Varaghia, not anymore. We want nothing to do with it after what has been witnessed here, today." Sigovorn replied.

"This was part of the land originally given to the Elves, yes?"

"Indeed, and they can have it, along with anything beyond the Mountains." Sigovorn nodded.

"It'll take many generations to undo the Hatred between your people, and many months to finalize this peace treaty, but it will be done with Gel'anr and Dara as neutral arbiters and diplomatic brokers overseeing the negotiations." Aer'andil continued.

"I thought Dara was driven from the Alliance, outcast. Why would they do this?" Sigovorn asked.

Out from the Host of the Spiritum, a single spirit walked forth, joining them in the center next to Aer'andil who looked at it, smiling.

It did look like that, did it not? Someone, a war philosopher in another world, in another lifetime once said that all warfare is based on deception." The spirit looked to be a boy and a man at the same time, his apparition switching between the two.

"More of that later. Is there truce between Elves and Humans in Varaghia?" Aer'andil asked the two men.

"Aye!" Sigovorn and Fornworth replied.

"The Spirits desire peace if an Elf can summon them." Sigovorn stated.

"Summon them? We, all Elves are hosts to them and I am host to the last of the Aeternae. Self-exiled to aid the mortals deal with its fallen brethren." Aer'andil specified.

Gasps sounded from the Humans. "Has this always been so?" Olfrad, Harnososkyl's King inquired.

"Ever since the pact was made and the Nial split into Elves and Humans, a million years ago." Aer'andil explained.

"We have been killing Spirits?" Grand Prince of Ulani asked.

"Depending on the manner with which the Elf was killed, yes. Also, every Elf has the potential to Ascend and become a Spirit at the end of its, natural, life or chose to die and pass beyond the veil or take a permanent form of its animal." Aer'andil hid a smirk.

"Humans have a lot to rethink, but we have a truce, pending a formal peace treaty between all the Humans Kingdoms of Varaghia and the Elves." Sigovorn asserted amidst more gasps.

Gundrun walked forward, reaching Enthronos, next to Aer'andil.

"You are the one who saved my life, yes? Enthronos son of Aer'andil?"

Enthronos nodded with a smile.

"Gundrun, pleased to meet you." Gundrun hugged the Elf-boy who reciprocated.

Sigovorn kneeled in front of the Elf-boy. "Thank you, you will always henceforth be a welcomed guest and blood-brother in my Kingdom. An Elf saved my son when my own kin desired to kill him." He told the boy before standing up again and placing a hand on Enthronos' shoulder.

"By royal Decree, any Human caught hunting or killing an Elf without provocation or just cause with evidence will be sentenced to the same fate and subject to the same laws and punishments as killing a Human."

"Throw down your weapons, if this day is to mark the start of a Human-Elven friendship, lay down your weapons and talk to each other. Everyone has something to tell you, you do not know, listen to them and be acquainted." Aer'andil told both sides.

As the wind slowly returned to its normal cold self some one hundred and fifty thousand Humans mingled and with initial hesitation started talking to the eighty thousand Elves.

Gundrun found Enthronos holding Nirasala's hand, talking to two Human archers. Nirasala looked more hesitant, even scared, expecting the Humans to attack them but Enthronos was just chatting away, laughing, and cracking jokes.

"This belongs to you. It fell when…you were naked after you saved my life." Gundrun extended his hand, holding the Elven sword from the middle.

Enthronos smiled at him. "No, I think it has found its new Master." He touched the hilt whispering something, then picked it up and turned it around touching the hilt to Gundrun's hand. "It's yours. It is called Glath'orang, you can call it ice fang." Gundrun closed his hand around the hilt, the rune on the blade flaring up blue.

"Thank you. But what will you do?"

"I am the Crown Prince of Gel'anr and future High-King of all Elves, I think – he chuckled-…I will one day inherit my father's weapon and until then…I think the Hunters will have weapons to give me aplenty. Looks like someone's looking for you." Enthronos motioned Ha'varil to him with a wave of his head.

Gundrun blushed. "Enthronos, that's Ha'varil, a Hunter of Darkness I believe."

"Indeed." Ha'varil bowed her head to Enthronos.

"You four will be seeing each other a lot the coming weeks." Aer'andil told them approaching.


"Oh…you'll see, let us not spoil the surprise now." Enthronos rolled his eyes.

"The war is over dad, no reason to be cryptic."

"The Darkness is undone, the battle against the forces of evil will never be undone, thus the continued need for the Hunters. Although I will admit I do not think another foe like this one will ever arise." Aer'andil replied.

"That did not answer my question!" Enthronos whined.

"Indeed." Aer'andil walked off engaging some of the other Humans and Elves.

"See what I have to deal with?!" Everyone laughed, and they continued to talk.

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