The fallen

Young Alex has been raised with a rare disease that causes her to have "episodes" that makes the town fear and hate her. Liarm is in search of his Queen he swore to protect years before. Almric, traveling with the prince and court healer are in search of the one person who can raise an army to take back there castle and country from the creatures who now inhabit it.

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1. The ways the wind blows

The wind whipping through her hair and tearing at her clothes, it seemed to rip her spirit from her body. She would spend hours standing on the edge of the cliff letting the wind push her this way and that, showing her where it has been and what it had seen. It took her far to the north where the forests were so green you could walk for days and see no other color, or to the south were the heat is unbearable and the ocean is free and wild. She took the wind to the west where the great cities would run for miles and you could wander for days without seeing every face or building. Today the wind took her east, over the mountains to the wild lands, where she flew over deserts, plains and saw large, exotic animals with long tusks and claws that could gut a horse with one swing. A river ran across her path and the wind took her down under a canopy where bright colored birds nested, now squawking and flapping their wings in protest of the intruder.  But they passed as quickly as they came. The wind slowed as she approached a drop off. Coming to the edge she looked out over the eastern sea, no one had ever been here but they knew there must be one to the east. In her mind she saw the wind and water entangled in a wild dance, with high lifts and low dips, twisting and turning in every direction at once, never tiring.

 

It was almost convincing, I was almost there… She thought to herself as she opened her eyes. That was the closest Alex had ever come to freedom. She had never really seen any of the places the wind took her, she had only heard stories and her imagination brought them to life. In truth she had never been farther from the castle then the small cliff behind the city. She turns to the warmth of the sun and greats it “I've missed you friend, lets hope I last through today so I can greet you again tomorrow.” The sun greeted her as always with bright colors that burst across the sky in a beautiful display of the joy it has for the new day. Alex let a smile creep across her somber face. She stood facing the sun a minute longer letting its warmth caress her face and relaxed her body.

She turned to face the city. By this point the sun light the far side of the city. The city was square with the castle in the southeast corner. The rich liver on either side of it they stretched all the way to the west wall on one side and halfway to the north wall on the other. The rest of them that held no special position or sold no important goods lived in the very packed North side. The gates to the city were on the Northwest corner of the wall Just inside the gates wa the market with a river running through the center of it widening just enough for the nobles to feel the need for a statue of our king in the middle of it. The city was built of red stone. In the mornings, from her perch on the cliff, the west wall took the form of flames. The red color and worn wall reflected the sun in every direction making the wall move and shimmer. Just beyond the wall of flames was the desert all the way to the curve of the earth. Sometimes she catched a glimpse of mounted tops at the edge of the desert but only on clear days. Lately there had been smoke in the air. So much so that she had to stop to breath twice on her way up the mountain. She watched the sunlight slowly wander through the city as if making sure she didn't miss an inch, entering every crack and crevice.

 

When the sun had finished its grand entrance Alex turned toward the worn path that led to the base of the mountain near the back of the city. After only a few steps she became lightheaded, black dots swarmed her vision. No. not here… not now!  She stumbled away from the cliff's edge and put her hand on one of the few trees that line the mountain top. The world was spinning now and she missed the tree falling to the ground, failing to catch herself she hit her head on the ground. Pain seared through her head starting from points of impact. There was a sharp pain in her left cheek and a crack from her nose. The pain shot through her head like lightning and she closes her eyes tightly to hold back tears. Then it started. The screaming. But not from her it was hundreds of men and woman screaming out in fear. And over it all was the man's voice. “Alex, we need your help!... please respond.” She tried to speak out but her body wouldn't respond. After a few more seconds of screaming all sound faded out. The silence of the world shocked her. It was as if the world was holding its breath. She opened her eyes and rolled to her back, her head was still spinning from the fall and she could feel blood drying on her cheek presumably from her broken nose. She lay there for what seemed like an hour as the pain subsided to a soft tingle In her nose and her head stopped spinning.

 

When feeling confident she wouldn't pass out she sat up slowly and got to her feet. Hugging the cliff she picked her way down the steep path climbing over roots and sliding down slippery stone. When she reached the bottom she took a moment to breath. Then worked her way to the front of the city where the gates were. She usually enjoyed the walk, It was quiet and it was flat running north with a few bushes and trees poking their heads out of the ground. And the north wall of the city stretched up two or three stories. It was also built with a curve if you stand against the middle if the north wall and look in either direction you feel as if you are pushing the wall in and it was folding in around you.

 

By the time she reaches the gate her head is clear. She rounded the corner and stepped towards the gate. There was always two guards posted at the gate,  today Jack and Adam were posted on ether side. Jack is in his mid 40s. Hes tall and tan with dark hair. He has always been kind to Alex, probably due to the fact that he thinks she is mentally ill. Adam Is shorter with red hair and the white skin to match it. Nobody would call him kind, but again no one would call him unkind. Adam was blunt, he would tell you exactly what he thought about you.

 

Adam took a step towards her “What happened to your face?” At this Jack turned and frowned at her.

 

She reached up, remembering the blood covering her cheek and nose. “Oh… I fell. It's ok, it doesn't hurt anymore.”

 

“If you say so. But still you should clean that up. You're going to scare the children.”  No longer interested Adam turned away and looked back down the main road. Jack gave her a sad smile and turned away as she walked through the gates.

 

     The other side of the gate was the town square, The second she stepped into view the crowd went silent. Let us begin.  This time she got Halfway across Before the whispering started. She couldn't make out most of it but of course the main words always stuck out. “Possessed” “Freak” “Traytor” but today she couldn't handle it. Overwhelmed by the dreams and voices. By the constant pressure from everyone and the lack of support from anyone but a few. The tears started to flow a few steps away from the stream. She stumbled and fell hands first into the water and quickly brought her hands to her face to wash away her tears and blood. After a few seconds of scrubbing she stood up and took off running for Sam.

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The wood elves hit only an hour before sunrise. Gathral led his fleet In the west entrance of the village. Hit hard and fast then burn everything to the ground. That had been the way of the wood elves they had done it hundreds times before and each kill has only fueled Gathrals lust for more blood.

Gathral was a one of the larger wood elves. He stood 6 feet tall and was slender but muscular.he had the same dark intelligent eyes as the others in his tribe. His long brown hair was pulled back into a braid with the tips of his ears protected from the cold. His excitement grew as he lead the convoy into the village and his heart beat faster as his elves took off running every which way to find the best candidates for the slave life.

Sprinting into the nearest home he lit the beds and table on fire with a snap of his fingers, and stood there enjoying the lights and the song of screams coming from the rooms he had locked before entering. He unlocked the door to his left with a twitch of his head and a little girl in a blue nightgown bolted out and ran for the front door. Before she could take two steps Gathral grabbed her arm,

    “Scraper! I've got a good one.” He yelled with a sharp smile on his face. Making the girl shrank back in fear. This was the fifth village they hit this week, they hit their quota two days ago but any extra slaves cost double. With the high elves missing and the dark elves running there was no one to keep them in check. The high elves disappeared after the great war nearly 400 years ago, with the High elves gone the dark elves had no one to follow so they scattered.

    A small blue goblin limped into the house behind him and took the girls other arm “Thank you Sir.” The scraper bowed and pulled the girl out to add her the the salvers wagon.

Goblins… Nasty creatures with no self respect. He spat on the ground in front of him as he watched the scraper pull the girl away.

Board with the now quiet house Gathral turned and stepped into the streets where there was now villagers running and screaming in fear. With a flicker of excitement he drew the two blade from his back and started down the street swinging at anything that moved. It wasn't elegant like the dark elves but it was just as effective. He swung hard to his left to catch the chest of an old man, much too weak to sell. And to his right killing a Fat Woman, Couldn't do any required work. A younger man ran past him Strong, He will be good.  “Scrapers!” On that command four blue goblins ran out and tackled the boy dragging him towards the barred wagon that was quickly filling up.

Gathral stepped into a clearing finding another youngman crouched over one of his dead kin. He pulled back around the corner so he could asses the situation. The man had strange tattoos and a very muscular form. He had two short swords strapped across his back, and an unstrung bow in the middle of them. He had another pair of slim swords attached at his waist. There was no other visible weapons.

The dead elf below him looked familiar. Where have I seen him?... Drave! That is Commander Drave.  Drave was the commander over the elves hitting the east gate. And This low life pathetic human was now crouching over him… but why… He stepped forward to get a closer look when the man started to speak.

    “Alex! We need your help!” he paused for a second as if waiting for some response. “Please respond!” Repositioning Gathral could now see that man's hands were covered in blood. He has cut the commanders throat and covered himself in it. That monster.

Before the man could speak again Gathral charged him. The Stranger turned but it was far too late Gathral momentum pushed him to his death. Not a man… He could taste blood, the stranger was holding him up with one hand and had plunged a glowing dagger into his stomach with the other looking up at the face of the stranger he was meet with steel blue eyes with a ring of gold around the pupil and shaggy black hair. Tattoos littered his face with points and swirls with no apparent pattern. Poking out of the hair he found pointed ears much like his own.

    “High” He coughed up a mouthful of blood “Elf” In a last ditch effort to take his enemy with him he swung his sword in an arch towards the elf's stomach. The elf back stepped and Gathral could feel his attackers hand on his, pushing the blade into its full arch to land itself in his own heart.

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    The sun had just risen when Liarm pulled his bald out of the Dead Wood Elf. No response again… She has to know what's going on. Has her father told her nothing? Using the dead elfs clothing he cleaned off his hands and dagger. Time to go. Liarm sheathed his blade and walked towards the north gate. The only gate the slavers did not hit. The streets were quiet every one previously living in this area has either fled or died. Despite this observation he decided to take a side street to a back alley that leed right to the gate.

 

“Wood elf low life” he mumbled to himself. Slavers are the worst kind of beings. I should kill them all. And he considered it for a block and a half and came to the decision his new queen needs her blades more than the slavers need to die. He was carrying queen Silvas twin blades and a box that contained a family heirloom. The blades were always attached to his hips by a belt, only ever being removed when he needed sleep. They were slim, full silver blades with a handle that matched. Unlike most elvish blades these contained no hand guard and the blade and handle ran smoothly into each other. The blades had a soft curve almost too soft to note. Carved into the handles were runes that Liarm could not read. The blades had an unilluminating glow that swirled and sparkled in the sun. beautiful blades and sharp. Being the guardian of the blades he sharpened them with his soul stone once a week. A soul stone is a soft stone the high elves use to sharpen their blades without hurting the blade. When it comes to the box there's not a lot to say, the trick was it would only open to a member of her royal line and he had not been present when the box was closed and therefore is unaware of what the box contained. It unlike the blades was plain with no design whatsoever, not even a lock. It was quite literally six pieces of smoothed wood forged together by magic. The only reason you knew what side was up was because four sides tilted slightly out to make the need for a larger piece of wood then the base. The box was wide enough to contain a loaf of bread in both directions but short enough that when Liarm turned it sideways it would fit nicely in his saddle bag.

Coming to the end of the ally Liarm pulled his satchel, currently containing the box, a week's supply of rations and his soul stone, to his chest and poked his head out. Quite… good. Taking a second to breath he stood staring at the gate across from him. It will take ten seconds to get from here to the gate and fifteen minutes to run to my camp a few miles out of town. Getting to the gate I easy, but the field after. Once he exits through the gate there was a mile of open field where he would be exposed for almost five minutes to anyone or anything outside that gate. They didn't hit here, there shouldn't be anyone out there. It was time. He stepped out of the ally into the soft light of the early morning and took off towards the gate. One.  He starts to scan his surroundings. Two. All clear as expected. Three. Focusing on the gate he puts his head down, four, and leaps over a fallen cart rolling to his feet. Five. Halfway there. Six. He hears a soft cry from somewhere behind him a few blocks. Seven. And footsteps from his right. Eight. Two goblins burst into the clearing from a side road. Nine. To late. Liarm smiles as he bursts through the gate and takes off towards the forest. Other than the two goblins running out the gate behind him preparing their bows there wasn't a soul in site. He cleared the bow range before the first shot go off. He zoned into an opening in the trees at the edge of the forest and pushed himself faster.

 

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Prince Calic kicked the pail of fresh water, that Almric had just set down, across the camp barely hitting a tree on the far side. “We have been out here for weeks! And we have nothing to show for it. How do we even know if she's in this desert city? Or if she can even help us?”

  The captain stared blankly at him then at the bucket and back at the prince. “Seriously” shaking his head he walked to the now empty bucket and picked it up. Without a second word he hurled the bucket at the prince. His heart pounding. Spoiled prince. “Fine! You fill it this time if you plan on watering the dirt! The river is that way.” Pointing north

   “How dare you! I am your king! I do not fetch water!” The prince's voice rising. “That's what servants are for.” he spat in Almrics direction.

  “You're still a prince, we don't know if the king is dead! I pray he is not because you are not ready to rule over anyone.” he lowered his voice “you take everything too lightly. You are still a child.”

“I'm older than you.” Calic snapped.

  “I didn't mean it like that.”he paused looking at his hands. “All I mean is you haven't been out in the world. You are a stranger to your people and land. You were sheltered from a very young age.” his heart became heavy with terrible memories. “You haven't seen what i've seen. Done what i've done. Which is a blessing, but I fear it will only hurt you in the long run.”

 

  The price opened his mouth to yell most likely, but the pain in Almrics eyes must have shown through, because he closed it. Calic rubbed his face as he turned away. “Look, i'm sorry. I know I won't ever be the king my father was. To be honest i'm scared.” Pausing with his back to the captain. “Your right. I'm not ready. I've never been in a battle, I don't know my lands and i'm nobody to my people. I couldn't even stand to defend my castle and family from the invaders. I wish I had been able to do something.” Turning to face the captain he sat on a log. “This wild goose chase for someone who might not even exist and might not ever help us is putting me off. Every second we waist is another second closer my family and country is to total destruction.”

  “I know.” Almric takes a deep breath “I feel it to. But this is the only plan we have. Without an army we have no way of retaking the castle.” Taking a few steps towards his prince he put a hand on his shoulder “You will make a great king. As long as you are open to conceal from others like your father was.I have always believed it's the people around me that makes me a good person, I watch and learn from everyone.I don't believe in my time with your father however short I ever saw him make a decision without asking someone else for advice.” Pulling his friend into a hug Almric finished with saying. “I will not leave your side so long as you need me.”

   With tears streaming down his face Calic managed to choke out “ I'll hold you to that, Thank you brother.”

  “Don't go falling in love on me!” boomed a loud voice from the back of camp. Out of the woods came a large man carrying  basket of verios herbs covered in flowers and thorns, with so many smells that combined to make an instant headache.

 The two boys stepped away from each other as if the other had the plague. The clearing was silent for a good long time until the silence was finally broken “Now Calic, I have only thought of you as a brother and a prince. We would never work out. I'm sorry.” Rubbing the back of his neck and barely holding back a grin.

  “Agh!” With a flushed face and a firm shove that almost sent Almric to the ground Calic proclaimed “You're not my type! I'm into blondes with longer hair!” Turning to hide his face from the others he mumbled “Freaking Idiots”

Starting with Almric spreading to the others was an uncontrollable laugh that filled the camp for hours to come.

 

As the Light faded, the stars came out and the laughter had finally sobered. A scout came running into camp. “Sir! Commander Fren has made it over the border three days ago. He should arrive in the city tomorrow.”

  “Thank you solder.” Almric clasped arms with the mounted scout “Get some rest we will debrief in the morning.”

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