Well I don't know if this is the proper place to post this in but it can always be moved (or deleted) if this is the inappropriate place. This is the tale of Mûllanâth, which is a continent in another time and place. It is constantly being worked on which mean that I will post edit this thread and post updates for it as fast as I write them. It is currently 11-12 pages long (size 12) and I would greatly appreciate if someone could go trough the text and post a version corrected in grammars and spelling. This would of course be needed to be done as often as I post a new chapter or so. Would be greatly appreciated but I will continue to post new material even if no one is willing to do that. Well I am working on background material such as maps and a history about Mullanâth but that material is under constant development as well. The dividing of the text also has to be improved since the one that now is was made in a haste to make the text easier to read. Well remember that this is under constant development and far far from done but I am always open for constructive critisism and ideas! http://www11.brinkster.com/cocosnot/colorededition.jpg - Map over Mullanâth Well here it goes then :-) "The Tale of Lingard the Elf" Chapter 1: The warcry of the elf The first sunlight had just lit the fields. The tension among the men was unmistakable, well one could not blame them. This was the first rebellion towards the people of the horse ever. One could not remember when our people last were free. The tales from ancient times spoke of our people as one with much honor and an outstanding culture. Those were past times though. Now we stand here in the early morning, waiting to hear the clattering sounds of approaching horses... The rebellion had started as planned at the mines of Orgu'l five days ago. Armed with nothing but mining axes and sticks had the slaves overwhelmed their guards and slaughtered them without any sign of mercy. After that, it all came as the spring river. Mitarân, Mîrbel, Zannâth and all the other slave colonies soon joined the uprising. At Zannâth, had the revolt been smashed though. They had been too widespread and there was no organization to talk about. Thor the Lazy and his minions had run them over with their iron dressed horses. I had told Girân the Wise that they had to choose a leader or their rise would fail. However, he had as usual just patted me on the shoulder and said, “My dear Lingard, thou shalt not worry about our fate, if your people do what you are supposed to do. Then I assure you that we, the elves of Zannâth, shall do our part of the uprising!” Well I trusted his word although a feeling of making a mistake touched my senses. Therefore, when a survivor from Zannâth rode up by my side, I was overwhelmed with guilt before he even spoke the words. It had been a disaster from the beginning due to that the rising did not start at the same times throughout the colony and when it had rose to its fullest strength; the element of surprise was already lost. Well we knew from the beginning that hoping for that the rising would be successful everywhere would be foolish, although I felt guilty for not preventing the disaster when I had the chance. The sun had now turned from a blood colored shade into a sprawling ball of light. Turning my head to west, seeing the endless line of elven archers filled my heart with pride. In the colonies, weapons are forbidden in order to prevent uprisings, but with the inventing of hidden chambers beneath our living quarters. We had managed to keep the legendary skill of the elven archery alive. Many elves had lost their lives in order to keep the chambers secret. It was for them and all the other resistance fighters that we stood here this day. Knowing that by the end of this day, we would be either free or dead. When the people from the colonies arrived to our secret camp in the Lêmber forest, and I called for volunteers for our army, You cannot imagine the pride I felt when every man and woman above the age of twelve walked over to the armory to sign up for service in our growing army. We took the children into the camp and assigned them to take care of one wounded fighter each. The horizon now filled with an enormous cloud of dust. The riders of Imrinâth had arrived it seems. A sergeant walked up to my side and told me that everything was ready for the battle, that every soldier had received one hundred and one arrows, and that the reserves contained another three hundred arrows per warrior. I nodded and ordered him back to his line. He bowed and wished that the eternal Phoenix of Immerdann would protect me during the battle. When he had left, I felt very lonely. I, Lingard from Agathlôni, grandson in the twentieth generation from the mighty Înal from Mirbêl, Now, commander of the army of the free elves and the one and only that was responsible for the outcome of this upcoming battle. The cloud had now disappeared and you could instead see an enormous mass of armored soldiers, which approached at a tremendous speed. The soldiers covered in mails of the black iron that been brought up from the depths by enslaved elves. In their hands rested blades of ice that been forged by the dwarfs in Ulbanâth. The once so proud Ulbanâth dwarfs were now as we are a broken people. The shields that rested on the riders’ side had the sign of Granth, Emperor of Imrinâth. The emperor of Imrinâth, whose eyes were red as blood and his mind consisted of nothing but pure evil. I took one last look at the first line of archers before focusing on the approaching enemy once again. They would attempt to run us over and therefore they increased their speed, so that their climax would be when they hit our front. Not taking my eye of them, I stretched my arm out and raised the flag to the air. Hundred, fifty, thirty and twenty! I swung the flag in a wide movement forward and with a “swoosh” a wall of arrows were released from the kneeling archers. It took less than a second for the arrows to hit the enemy. The horses collapsed immediately, fell forward, and slid on the ground. The second line's horses jumped over their fallen comrades not caring for the riders still being alive that now were ran over. While they still were in the air, the second wall of arrows now hit the second line. Once again, the horses collapsed but only this time they fell on top of their already fallen comrades, thereby sealing the fate of any possible survivors and making any further advancement impossible. The third line of a total of five lines could not stop their horses in time and smashed into the wall of human flesh and iron. The first line of archers now quickly fell on to the ground, revealing a line of archers with burning arrows. I pulled up the flag of Ânu in the opposite direction of before and thereby signalized the release of the fire arrows. When these arrows smashed into the living wall, it took no more than three seconds before the entire wall raged of fire. The screams from the dying knights and their horses could scatter even the coldest heart. Well by now, the fourth line had also crashed into the burning inferno, only the fifth line had managed to halt their horses in time. However, that did not in any way mean that they were out of danger, our third and fourth lines were releasing a rain of arrows behind them and every new rain pushed the riders another feet closer to the fire. Our surprise force had now outflanked them also, resulting in that they had no way out from this horrible hell of fire. I could see the panic in their eyes, their fear of the unavoidable death that came in the shape of an arrow or a fellow soldier’s blade. The panic had caused a total anarchy to break loose in the surviving fifth line, which resulted in that they killed each other in order to find a way out. Nevertheless, we could not afford to show mercy and the memory of their brutal slaughtering of elves for ages, not showing mercy to woman nor children. That cleared my conscience of any guilt regarding the ongoing massacre for moment, although it would haunt me in my dreams for years. The eastern wind that came over the battlefield brought the smell of burning flesh and heated iron filled my nose, causing me to pull up my scarf in order to cover my mouth and nose. The screams had decreased and one could hardly see anything human in the fire that raged ahead of us. Only about fifty knights remained standing. They had formed a circle, shoulder-to-shoulder, prepared to fight to the very end. Once again struck by their chivalrous behavior of which I had seen none in the colonies I for a moment thought of showing mercy and spare their lives. However then a memory from the past appeared before my eyes, it was a little elf by the name Shanyâ, only five years old and still unaware of the hell that was going on around her in the colony. Her smile and kind attitude towards everyone was a shining light in the everlasting darkness that the life in the colony was. Even the guards were kind to her. Although one day when she was walking towards the gate in order to retrieve her puppy, the gates sprung wide open and in through the gate came a troop of Imrinâth knights. She turned around and tried to flee but her small legs was not fast enough and she tripped on a rock and fell to the ground, thereby eliminating any chance of getting away. She screamed when the first horse ran over her but after that, no more human sounds came from the girl. The captain of the troop had seen her when he entered the gate and when I saw that he made no attempt of avoiding to run the girl over, I was filled with eternal rage and ran towards them. I did not get there in time to save the girl but when the captain halted his horse, I jumped and threw him of the horse. Followed by my companions who overwhelmed the other knights I drew the captains own sword and chopped his head of with my face full with tears. We massacred the troop without any of the colony guards lifting a finger in order to help them. When our deed was finished and our people carried away the girl on their shoulders, I stared at the colony commandant. His face expressed a sadness I had never seen before. Well the life in the colony seemed to have gotten much harsher after that due to that our only light in the darkness was gone... Well that was in the past and I had a battle to finish. The survivors were still waiting for us to approach them and finish them of man-to-man. However, our numbers were too limited for me to waste them in a fight that was useless. The archers awaited my command, and with one last look on the survivors, I lowered my arm and the arrows released. The arrows penetrated their skulls before they even had time to react and least of all protect themselves against the flying danger. All arrows had hit their targets and the battle was over. I turned around and saw my sergeant; he was leading my horse Alzî. His face covered in dirt and his armor wore scars of intense fighting. In his deep blue eyes, I saw nothing but sorrow. When he handed over my horse, I asked how large our casualties were. Only fourteen slightly wounded and no dead he replied with no sign of happiness over our total victory. What is missing you, Lengerin from Isbaldur? Have our victory not yet managed to overwhelm you? He stared to the ground as if he was ashamed for not sharing my happiness. Lingard from Harvandur, may I ask you if this is what has become of our people? We are nothing but ruthless slayers that shows mercy to no one, not even giving the noble ones an honorable death. He looked up and stared me straight into the eyes. Lengerin my friend, the thought has crossed my mind also, I share your worry for what this war, and all of its upcoming battles will do to our souls. However, I would rather take the risk of dying in battle as a murderer than to succumb in the mines of Harvandur as nothing but a slave! He watched me with tears in his eyes, pulling out his sword while telling me that he could not serve under a man whose sword is about to be covered with the blood of woman and children. He had now pulled out his sword and my hand sought to Alkuzar, my trusted blade, he saw my hand and his eyes filled with madness. My blade is not to seek your blood kindred. With those words, he struck the sword trough his stomach. I ran towards him and embraced him before he hit the dirt. He chocked blood and he could hardly breath, I...I am sorry Lingard. I... He was dead... Tears rolled down my cheeks, thy I had lost more than a sergeant; I had lost my closest companion. Lengerin was wrong about the casualties; the war had taken its first toll of dead. Lengerin's brothers came up at my side and lifted his body from my arms. They placed him on a bed of shields. Covered with a shroud of silk, they carried him away towards the fire. Thy suicide was the most horrible crime one could commit in the elven society and Lengerin would not rest alongside his kindred. But burn in the fire with the hope that it would purify his soul, so that he could enter the halls of Mittenvold, the palace of the fallen heroes, which lied in the world of Jammendur, the world of ice. “As the spring river the war had begun The war which could bring freedom to the elves A war that also could lead to the elves destruction The only one who knew the future was Odin the one-eyed Moreover, the wise man's face revealed nothing as he sat on his throne in Mittenvold, staring out in the eternity Although Time itself would reveal the future soon enough” Chapter Two: The scattered dagger Minâth walked towards the healing tent with mixed feelings. Why had Lingard not spared the remaining knights, they could have provided the army with valuable information and could have been used as hostages, she thought to herself. Just when she was about to enter the tent to take care of her wounded arm and the wound on her forehead, a boy came up by her side. She looked down at him, and he kneeled before her. "I kneel before you Minâth from Nîbar, Lingard from Harvandur has sent for you; he awaits you in the tower of Ithân," the boy said with a shivering voice, he had never stood before such a beautiful woman before. She stared at the boy with her green eyes, which had spellbound even the mightiest warlords. She then turned her heel neither without even the slightest greeting nor thanks to the boy and walked towards the castle of Aphtô, which inhabited the ruling circle of the army. Walking through the gates she wondered what the mighty general could have for purpose with calling her, a simple corporal into the inner headquarter of the army. The guards were very strict about who entered the inner city of Aphtô, although she had been there several times in the business of sorting out supplies for her men. True, was that she had many years ago been a friend of Lingard; they had been assigned to the same mining troop in Harvandur. Although she had not seen him since they transferred him to Orgu'l, from which he later escaped and joined the rebellion. Even though she escaped and joined the rebellion two years after his escape, had she not yet spoken to him, although she had seen him many times. Well he had probably forgotten about their little love story, she could not imagine that he would call her to the tower of Ithân to discuss any matter of that nature anyhow. She had now reached the circle stair up to the room and she faced two gigantic guards. They asked for her business to the tower of Ithân and she gave them her name and rank. The guards then told her to leave her sword here and proceed up the stairs. She then loosened her belt with a quick movement, feeling naked without a sword by her side though. The guard to the left received the belt and hung it into a locker. Walking speedily up the everlasting stair not touching one step more than half a second, she soon found herself standing at the top of it. Facing the largest table she had ever seen in her entire life, it was round and filled with a gigantic map of Mullanath, small figures at the size of no more than a finger stood spread over the map. She assumed it was the forces of both the enemy and their own forces. She had been to busy taking in the impressions of this impressive room that she had not noticed that Lingard had sneaked up by her side. She was still as beautiful as she was at Harvandur, although she seemed to have lost her feminine aura. Now she expressed a cold hardness that was the result of years of endless fighting in the northern regions of Zirâchân. He had secretly been keeping an eye on her ever since she arrived to the camp, although he had never gotten the time nor opportunity to speak to her in person since his transfer from Harvandur. When she felt an arm on her shoulder, she quickly twisted around until she saw whom the hand belonged to… They stared at each other in complete silence. Watching each other, outlining each other into the slightest detail, Lingard slowly raised his hand and touched her smooth face. She did not stop him though; this was what she had desired for years. Suddenly he pulled back his hand and she felt a chill wind touch the place in her face that he had touched her on, the elf of her dreams. “I…I am sorry for that” he said with a shivering voice. “What is the reason you called for me Lingard from Harvandur”, she asked with ice in her voice, not taking her eyes away from his. He walked over to a chair and looked down in the round table, “my sergeant is dead and I want you to replace him.” Still suffering from his sudden rejection a moment ago she said, “I fear that I cannot serve a man who cannot love” and then she walked towards the stairs, hoping desperately that he would beg her to stay and then embrace her and make up for the lost years. Although she knew in the depth of her heart that it was hopeless since Lingard was too proud to sink to that level. Running down the stairs, making a grandiose effort not to cry in public, stopping only to retrieve her belt and sword, Once she opened the door to the outer courtyard, tears rolled down her face. Darn, why did he always doubt when things got hot? He, the mighty warrior who feared nothing or no one on the battlefield, is shy when it comes to expressing his feelings for another person, a person that he loved as true as the spring comes after the winter. This was perhaps his greatest weakness except for his easily hurt pride. Well this matter could be resolved later, now was the time for the council gathering. As he sat back and awaited the others arrival from the dinner he thought about the problems that lied before them. The now slain army was only a recognizing troop for the many times larger main army led by Granth of Imrinâth himself. The mysterious Emperor, a brave warrior on the battlefield and an honorable Emperor back home. Of course he could afford to be generous when his slaves were the ones that had to suffer in despair for the iron that built the solid fundaments of his rich income, a wealth built on blood and suffering, a wealth that hopefully was on it way to get overthrown. But as said there were many problems yet to solve. The army consisted of the freed slaves from the four colonies of Mitarân, Mîrbel, Zannâth and Orgu’l, yet another four colonies had succeeded in their rise and were now traveling towards the camp escorted by riders from Zannâth. The current size of the army was about forty thousand and with the reinforcements from the other colonies it would reach as high was one hundred and twenty to one hundred and thirty thousand soldiers, and not many of them had ever experienced the heath of battle before. A massive army indeed, but nothing compared to the main army of Imrinâth. The scouts had reported about one hundred and sixty thousand of riders and then another hundred thousand of foot soldiers. A fatal mistake by Granth was that he had decided a spread marching formation in order to avoid any archery ambushes, since you did not launch an archery ambush against no less than a thousand men or it were of no use. But the disadvantage of having his divisions move in columns of five hundred at the time was one that we easily could outline the total number of the army. And secondly that a spread formation was no match for a well organized cavalry charge, and that was exactly what they would face in about another five hundred miles. Just as they had crossed the river of Izôr, our cavalry would push them down into the water and halt their advance temporarily, hopefully enough to give our reinforcements time to arrive. The idea of using cavalry came from Mîran the Mighty, his idea was that the enemy would never be prepared to taste his own medicine and the way of transportation the Imrinâth army used at the moment proved that he was right. The training of our very own cavalry force had started for about three months ago, led by routers from the Imrinâth army that had joined our cause. Now our riders rode as if they had been born on a horse. They had not been tried in combat yet though, one could think that it would be foolish to put the fate of an entire people into the hands of an unproven cavalry force led by a router from your enemy. However my faith in this force and their commander was built in stone. Colonel Dimo Havremund had proven himself as an excellent tactician in leading the raids against the stables of Imrinâth and we fought side by side in the battle of Izörin earlier this year. We have also spent many hours discussing the tactics and plans for the uprising. He is my right hand but also my very best friend. If anyone can win the battle of Izôr it is he. The meeting started with the insertion of the Sword into the hole in the exact middle of the table. Armnundas the Leaper was the first to speak, he foresaw that it was unwise to put the fate of the entire army into the hands of a former deserter. Mirun, Amré and Rônal, all three division commanders agreed with Armnundas and put forward Nilû the Beard as Dimo´s replacement. Nilü whom had proven himself as a very skilled tactician on the horseback and also a man of great honor due to his charismatic but worthy appearance in front of the right people. With dismay in his cold voice did Lingard eliminate any change of the post as the Izôr-force commander by accusing the other leaders of being disloyal to the cause by promoting people by their reputation rather than their skill. Because it was obvious that Dimo was a far more superior commander than Nilû, although he did not enjoy as great respect among the men as Nilü did due to that he was not an elf but a human. Although that possessed no problem since Dimo´s extensive knowledge of cavalry warfare were many times greater than his closest equal in the elven ranks, which caused everyone to obey his orders, even though he was not of their brethren. They then spent the rest of the meeting finishing up the plan for the upcoming attack. The sun had rose high in the sky when the first knights of Imrinâth began to cross the river. Soldiers and horses in a so huge number and so close together that one could almost not separate the riders from their horses. Standing on a plateau nearby, overlooking the scene were Lingard and his bodyguards. “Strange, the number of soldiers present is not even half as large as the information they had received pointed at” thought Lingard with a strange look over his face. “Shall we ride closer sire?” asked one of his bodyguards. With a elegant command Lingard turned his horse to the west and nodded and so it came that they without knowing it just hade made the job for their to-become assassins that were hiding in the shadows on the above plateau much easier. The horses were at ease however one could feel the tension among the men mounting them. The first large-scaled elven attack on horseback was to take place and they were not even led by brethren of their own. However their commander Dimo expressed a cold yet friendly aura, an aura that you would expect from a man who knew what he was doing. With a single hand gesture did Dimo set the entire line on the move. They marched in silence as they had been training for the last few weeks. Even if one would want to speak, he would be unable to be heard since the noise of thousands of horses stomping to the ground at the same time were deafening. They were moving along the river with the water on their right side, in rows of twenty riders at the time. Suddenly shadows started to appear in the openings in the mountains to the east. No one noticed them at first but as they grew in numbers the soldiers started to notice and a mumble traveled trough the entire column. The worries even got as far as to Dimo himself who gave order to increase the number of riders in one row from twenty to fifty in order to scare of the wolf packs that were hiding at the foot of the mountain. The order caused the mumble to cease but everyone’s eye was directed to the increasing amount of “wolves” gathering at their left. Suddenly the order to halt was issued and in a few minutes the entire column stood entirely still. Many men’s hand sought down to their swords as the number of “wolves” now confirmed that there either was the annual gathering of wolves or an approaching enemy. The shadows were now formed into a wide line however one could only outline what that lied lurking in the shadows in the distance. Since everyone’s focus had been on the shadows to the east no on had noticed the greenish figures that had been lining up on the opposite side of the river in cover by the vegetations. Hence the reason that no one noticed the swoosh which signalized the release of a tremendous amount of arrows. Not until they struck down like lightning among them did the elves realize that they were trapped in an ambush. The shadows to the east had now revealed themselves as Imrinâth Knights clad in their characteristic black iron. Dimo had on purpose created a top-ran hierarchy which now caused all the captains and lieutenants to look for their closest commanding officer in order to get any orders on what to do. However all officers above the rank of captain had been killed by Dimo´s assassins which had been spread out trough the column. To make matters worse it seemed as Dimo mystically had disappeared… Lingard and his guards had now gotten confirmed that something was wrong since not even a fifth of the Imrinâth army were crossing the river. The party was therefore heading off at great speed towards the elven army to abort the operation since something was obviously wrong. When they came down to the bottom of a ravine they suddenly heard a sound of noising shields and when looking up to the surrounding edges they found themselves surrounded by human archers. The two ways out from the ravine where suddenly blocked by Imrinâth Knights. The bodyguards, who were lead by Minâth, formed a defensive circle around Lingard and drew their swords. A troop of riders were approaching at moderate speed from one of the exits, it was headed by Dimo. Lingard froze as made of ice when he saw that his most trusted friend was nothing but a simple traitor however he did not reveal anything in his expression or movements that showed his feelings. The riders rode past them and formed an offensive circle around them. Dimo himself, now clad in the black iron that were so characteristic for Imrinâth rode up close the defending elves along with two bodyguards. “Surrender or die fools!” he called out with a harsh voice. Lingard now filled with an eternal rage called out a warcry and rode trough his defensive circle heading for Dimo. His bodyguards, chocked by their commander’s behavior stood only still. Lingard's horse were immediately penetrated by a dozen arrows and Lingard himself received a number also. Falling to the ground deadly wounded Lingard could do nothing to protect himself. His bodyguards immediately engaged in combat with the encircling knights in order to escape. Minâth tried to reach Lingard but where struck out of her saddle by a knight and broke her arm in the fall could not prevent Dimo from reaching Lingard. Dimo had swung himself out of the saddle and did now walk up to Lingard looking down at him. Lingard who breathed with severe difficulty looked at him with anger yet sadness in his eyes. “Foolish elf! You should have trusted your advisors instead of being such a fool and then perhaps you would still live tomorrow”, with those words he drew his dagger and struck it right into the heart of the grandson to Înal from Mirbêl thereby ending the family line of the Mirbêl for good. Minâth screamed from the depth of her lungs when Lingard were killed and threw herself in rage against Dimo. Dimo, who turned around just in time to perish the rage filled strike from Minâth stumbled backwards chocked by her sudden assault. His bodyguards were unable to aid him since they were fighting against the remains of Lingard’s bodyguards. Minâth used her sword as a stick and not the elegant fighting blade it was. Dimo continued to parry her outfalls however he failed to take control over the situation which eventually lead to that Minâth had him up walking into a rocky pass. Suddenly Dimo slipped on a rock and fell handless backwards, dropping his sword in a pile of mud. Lying as a turtle on the back he could sense that his time had come. Minâth silently came up before him and pointed her sword to his throat. “May your soul burn in hell Dimo Havremund” she said calmly. He looked back at her surprised, would he actually get out of this alive? No, because before he even finished that thought Minâth threw herself around, drawing her sword in a circle before the blade elegantly beheaded him. The head continued to bounce down the pass while the body continued to pump out blood for yet a while. Minâth took one last look at the savaged body of Lingard’s murderer and then ran back to the surviving bodyguards. The bodyguards had fought down the knights and the archers on the plateaus above had retreated when they saw their leaders head come bouncing down the road. The soldiers had already saddled up and created a stretcher behind one of the horses in which they had put the shrouded body of Lingard. Corporal Gangrid bowed before her and proclaimed “At your service Minâth of Nîbar, Queen of Zirâchân and commander over the armies of free elves. Which are your orders? Chocked by being spoken to as Queen of Zirâchân she asked why they called her that. Gangrid then quickly told her that the council had demanded that Lingard would appoint a successor in case he was killed in the battle. She now understood what Lingard was about to say that day in the tower and she now understood how much he trusted her. Now was the time to show that she had earned his trust. She stepped over to Lingard’s body and looked at the dagger that had killed him. It was an elven one with no decorations but the shaft was shaped as a dragon. She took it and held it up in the air and said “I, Minâth of Nîbar, Queen of Zirâchân hereby pledge that I shall not rest until the man who ordered the assassination of Lingard of Harvandur dies beneath my blade”. She then dropped the dagger and quickly drew her sword and scattered the dagger’s blade into a thousand pieces. She then put the shaft into her saddle pocket and mounted the horse. “For Lingard of Harvandur, we ride to Izôr!” The party then sat off in great speed in order to save what was left of a betrayed army… “Love is what makes empires crumble However love can also be the thing That forges an empire together Which path this particular love would take no one knows Only one thing is certain and that is that blood and steel are about to become one as time reveals the final fate of Mullanâth” Chapter three: Blood, steel and fire The battle had commenced and the elves were outnumbered ten to one but fought with great courage. As soon as the officers realized that Dimo had betrayed the army, they started to take control over the army again. Their timing could not been more fitting since now they managed to bring order in the ranks and organize a defense, a weak one but still a defense. Many had abandoned their horses and taken out their bow and arrows since that was after all their style of combat. The hostile arrows had taken a large toll in dead and wounded but thanks to disciplined actions lead by the officers did the elves manage to counter-attack with large rains of arrows which caused their human counterparts to swiftly retreat into the woods for cover. Some did also stick sharpened wooden sticks in front of themselves in order to stop the approaching horses. However it proved useless since the horses carried as much armor, if not more as their riders which scattered the wooden pikes to scatter into thousand pieces for no use. The enemy attacked in waves for some strange reason which meant that the elves managed to beat every wave, at a terrible cost though. When Minâth and her followers arrived at the battlefield had the elves just defeated the 7th wave of attackers. She looked out over the battlefield, there were corpses of both soldiers and animals scattered in large piles throughout the field. Small fires raged here and there, the stench of burning flesh and melting iron was horrible to inhale. She saw a standard lying on the ground and rode to it and picked it up. It was the flag of Ânu, the standard of the elven army and the personal standard of Lingard’s lifeguard. Minâth then carefully put the standard on fire in a nearby fire and rode to the beginning of the elven defense line. The bodyguards drew their swords and held them into the air. She and the guards then sat off down along the line with the burning standard held high, shouting “The King is dead, long live the King and may Odin bless our Queen”. They continued their ride down the entire line and all elves kneeled when they heard that their King was dead and now was succeeded by a Queen. This ancient succession ritual was very common in the tales from old times which meant that all elves from the youngest fellow to the oldest lady knew what this burning standard meant. The kneeling meant that you pledged fidelity to your new ruler, if you did not go down in a kneeling position it was taken as a sign for that you did not accept the new ruler and that meant that you immediately should leave the area or you would be executed as a traitor. Well Minâth now rode back to the position from which she started the succession ritual and behind her people rose up again like a giant wave sweeping along the ground. When she came up to the end of the line a sergeant stood there waiting for her. She saddled of and he immediately bowed before her and asked what her orders were. Minâth looked over the field at the enemy who suddenly had ceased their attack, for the moment at least. “Order everyone to saddle up and prepare for a quick retreat” she said in a tone that it would not be safe to oppose. The sergeant was professional enough to not let his face display the surprise the order was so he simply nodded and passed the order down the chain of command. A slight turmoil erupted as everyone tried to find a horse however it went faster and more efficient than expected. The Imrinâth army was surprisingly inactive which caused Minâth to sense that they were about to surround them, which was no problem since she did not plan to retreat on this side of the river anyhow. She had instructed the bodyguards on the ride to the field that they should take as many men as needed and seek for crossings over the river and it seemed that this part of the river was surprisingly shallow and flow of the river was quite slow so the entire army could easily just cross the river and disappear into the woods. The river crossing went without any incidents and when the last fourth finally arrived to the right side of the river everyone felt partially safe however everyone knew that they left behind a large part of their army in dead. Scouts had confirmed that the area was clear of enemies, the tracks from the human archers showed that they had retreated north, probably trying to reach the closest bridge in order to return to the main army. In order to prevent the Imrinâth knights from pursuing them over the river did the elves start to throw caltrops into the water. Well as soon as everyone was over and the deadly traps had been set at the river crossing, they sat off in a great speed. In total it had taken around one and a half hour to cross the river, an unbeatable record which was made possible by excellent officers with great coordination and organization skills. The vegetation at the side of the river was only light and behind was a great savannah which was splendid when it came to forming the four colons which the army would ride in. As they started their ride back to the encampment Minâth started to reflect over the past happenings and the impact it would have on her and her race’s future. When Dimo betrayed the elves it would forever scatter the little trust they ever had or would have for humans, which in its turn meant that they could no longer cooperate with the secret human opposition against the Imrinâth emperor. The elves truly stood alone this time, however…no…or could it work? For many ages ago, an alliance was forged between four races: The Greeks, the Elves, the Dwarves and the Giants. This alliance were known as the alliance of the Swords due to that the Elven king Înal had four swords forged out of one single piece of iron as a symbol for the alliance. However this alliance had only lasted for one war and then the alliance scattered and new commitments were made to other allies. But the tale of this alliance was a classic among the bards and entertainers whom walked throughout the country, could a reviving of this alliance be the opportunity to save the elven race from destruction and overthrow Granth’s rule that she desperately was looking for? Perhaps, but then again the races of the Swords who once were mighty and respected was today just a leap shadow of their former might. The Greeks had for many ages ago been sent in exile to the isles outside the continent and not much was known about their current condition. The Ember and Giants were biding their time in the mountains after being severely decimated in a period of lost battles and wars. The Dwarfs lived in the same mountains but further down the ground, living for themselves since they considered everyone but themselves as trouble which they did not need. However she knew by rumors and informers that they all lusted for revenge against their oppressors, and a lust of revenge is the best booster of morale that one can ever get. During her thinking they had finally arrived to the creek behind which their camp lied. She immediately sensed that something was wrong. Where are the guards and why has no one come out to greet them upon their return. She commanded the army to halt and took her lifeguard and rode of around the creek. The horror and feeling of being in a nightmare was least said chocking. There was nothing but coal and burnt stone left of the camp. She saw endless lines of dead elves hanging in snares around the area. The ground however was clear of corpses and she suddenly saw a young boy coming out of the bushes at her left side. He was black of dirt but you could see that it was an elf by the characteristic ears. She shouted “Who goes there?” and the boy came up in front of her and kneeled and said “Ihrain from Harvandur milady”. “What has happened here boy?” she asked with a steady voice. “The black riders came fast as the wind and brought death and destruction milady” he replied with a saddened voice. “I see… Are there any survivors?” she said while commanding one of her guards to let the boy ride with him. “Yes milady, they only killed the warriors and those who did not obey their orders. The rest they took as prisoners and placed in iron wagons with destination Imrinâth.” She turned her horse and looked the boy straight into his blue eyes. “How do you know all this boy” she asked with an accusing voice. Tears started roll down his weary face, “When they forced the prisoners into the wagons a turmoil erupted in which I and around twenty other children managed to escape, however we did not get far before a squad of armored knights caught and killed everyone but me, I managed to jump into the bushes as they ran the others over and luckily for me they never counted the bodies”. The boy was crying now however it did not touch Minâth the least. Her heart was and would forever be of steel since that was the only way she could possibly survive in this harsh world. She thought for a while and then a sparkle could be seen in her eyes. “In which direction did the caravan go and how long is it since it departed?”. The boy scratched his small head and pointed to the east “That way and it was about noon they left”. Minâth quickly directed the following orders to her messengers: “To Division Commander Mirun Take one company to bury our slain brethren here and then you travel off to the mountains in which you will rejoin the army. The rest of your division will go into the temporary command of General Amré” “To Division Commander Amré, 2nd in Command of the Elven Forces Lead the army to the home of Ember and Giants and await my arrival there. Send messengers to the other rebellion armies with the same instructions.” “To Division Commander Rônal Remove all heavy equipment from your division and immediately ride off to the south. A messenger will meet you later with more detailed instructions.” “Boy, you has served your race well and you will be rewarded for your information later, however now we must leave” and she signalized to the rider to let the boy off the horse. The boy sank down kneeling as Minâth and her guards rode off to the south. The messengers had already left and the boy was alone in this field of the dead... Many had died and many awaited their turn Finally the three elements of steel blood and fire Hade become one, forged into something indestructible Could this new element perhaps twist the fate into Another direction which could gain the elves? Only one knows and he sits silent… Chapter four: Ride as if there's no tommorow! Minâth and her guards rode as if there was no tomorrow, fearing that they would not be able to catch up with the prison caravan before it was too late. Minâth had now calmed down enough to think clear and was considering which method of attack to use when they finally caught up with the caravan. She had to include the fact that the division she would use in the attack was approximately two hours behind her, so she and the guard had to either wait for the division to catch up and thereby perhaps losing the opportunity to free the prisoners or set up an ambush which would delay the caravan long enough for the elven riders to arrive. But then was always the possibility that the enemy started to kill off the prisoners. Imagine their relief when they in the distance could see the clouds of dust which only thousands yet thousands of wagons could create.