The Grief of Ziemach

War is brewing, the fates of four great kingdoms teeter on the edge of destruction. Zeitun the majestic mountain fortresses of the Dwarves, Lithae the beautiful forest home of the Elves, Morok the home of the once mighty Horse lords, and Bracocia the home of the Orcs and a terrible, slumbering evil. The fragile peace seems destined to fail, for the past few years Orcs have been raiding the borders of Zietun burning and pillaging.
There is perhaps one who can stave of this mighty evil, in the most unexpected of places. Fjolin a young dwarvish warrior is about to be thrown on a deadly adventure through barren wastelands, towering cities and dangerous plots

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18. Chapter Seventeen: The Plot Thickens

Meanwhile some two or three leagues away a muster was happening far within the deep forests. A muster of many peoples and creatures in an encampment that sprawled for many miles around, if not for the trees then they would surely have been discovered but as it was with no scouts leaving the city thinking the forest was a threat the camp remained undetected and safe below the might boughs of towering Oak trees and the tall firs that made up the forest. There was no question as to what they were preparing for, in one corners of the camp smiths worked as best they may, forging new armour for Orcs and creating many weapons.

 In a clearing the sharp clang of weapons and the thud of boots could be clearly heard ringing through the woodlands. If one was to follow the noise one would have seen as sight to chill even the stoutest of warriors and make even the most stoic person waver. For within that clearing there were masses of Orcs and men drilling within the clearing. Practicing squares or lines, mock bouts up and down the in and out of the trees, Orcs fighting Orcs in hand to hand, archers shooting their ash arrows from yew bows coated in resin. Men practicing in a very acrobatic manner, rolling and flipping around their opponents, their daggers flickering in and out almost too fast for the eye to follow.

 The centre piece of the clearing however was something the goblins were swarming over and constructing under the watchful eye of the ash demon, a sort of monumental altar to some forgotten lord of the heavens. It was some kind of dark obelisk that was made of wood and stone. It was not yet finished but the place felt truly evil, like all life was being robbed from the land around it and yet the woods remained green and leafy with squirrels leaping from branch to branch, small creatures rustling in the litter on the forest floor. The monument itself was unusual, and was being built by black stone being summoned almost out of thin air, radiated an evil feeling to all around it.

 The demon himself would have appeared to have grown even more massive, a great black ash demon towering massive above all other creatures in the clearing, his wings rising like jagged spires from his back, a thin membrane stretched wide and veined between the jet black bones of his wings. His eyes burnt orange and yellow flaming with a deep heat, if you look into them they were the kind of eyes that would melt away resistance and fill you with a deep terror that would make you want to hide deep below the ground away from searching eyes and unknown dangers in the deep.

 A few hours later under the cover of night the monument was ready.

 It stood gigantic, a terrifying monolith, jet black with a wooden effigy of a tentacle god. It radiated fear and power, even the Orcs were silent a noticeable difference to their normal rowdy selves. The ash demon was knelt before the shrine clawed hands raised to the heavens, the cracks in his skin glowed like magma. The demon appeared to be deep in prayer. Worshiping the shrine to the unknown god, as all around him stayed in a deep reverent silence trying to stay as far away from the shrine as possible.

 The moon reached its peak, strong and clear. No shroud of clouds to keep it hidden. The silence of the men contrasted with the hooting of the owls and the whooshing noise as bat flew right by you, from perch to perch in the sparse canopy above. The demon was still kneeling in front of it praying or waiting patiently for an occurrence. A few seconds later the demon stood with a mighty roar that shook the trees causing fresh leaves to fall in droves like it were mid autumn.

 The roar slowly died, its final echoes wafting through the arches of knotted trees. The demon then slashed at its arms with its claws. Black ichor flowed from his veins liberally causing the fire to burn with a deathly green pallor. The acrid smoke billowed forth and filled the air, swimming through it like snakes. Wrapping itself around the demon and the Orcs, shrouding them from view like a soft blanket. The smoke slowly began to disperse and in the midst of the smoke next to the Ash demon there was a man. Tall with tousled black hair and blood red eyes, he was dressed in a long black robe that reached the ground and in his hand a staff of twisted thornwood covered in etchings.

 Looking up at the demon he smiled an evil half smile before speaking

‘Well now’ he said raising an eyebrow. “What have we here?"

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