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  1. Alfrety

    What It Wants

    Älfrety dredged sluggishly through the marketplace, aimlessly ignoring vendors eagerly pushing their goods onto passers-by. His head pounded and his stomach ached, complaining and calling for an unknown flavor, pragmatically complaining in lieu of its mysterious desire. Children chased one-another and shrewd hagglers mentally battled at stalls, but Älfrety found himself lingering only on one thing; one worry that overpowered even his rumbling gut. The Mage Eye hung in his pocket no heavier than a marble, but suffocated his mind under a colossal sea of tormenting thoughts. Why? Thought the grieving mage, idly shuffling past merchants What unhallowed purpose bequeaths such ambiance of lethargy upon me? The unblinking eye sat motionless in Älfrety's pocket, seeming to relish in his frustrations. His monotonous footsteps paralleled his struggling psyche until something broke his painful focus: A pet salesman, soliciting some children to buy a new rat. After dinner, Älfrety strolled leisurely to the Wizards' Tower feeling some semblance of relief, food warm in his stomach and enough wine to pleasantly silence his mind. He silently trodden passed house after moonlit house, some windows lit by candle or lantern, others restfully silent under the starry sky. He drowsily approached the north gate, only to find it closed. Älfrety frowned and furrowed his brow, cursing himself for eating so slowly. Whispering an incantation, Älfrety became intangible just long enough to slip through the gate, releasing the spell into the bitter cold air. A guard peered cautiously down from his post, relaxing at the familiar sight of a slightly inebriated mage just slipping out to the tower. The spell drained Älfrety more than he thought it would; the night's beverages probably muddling his grasp on spellcraft. Stretching his arms, he began to walk again toward the Tower, turning his head to inspect a slowly materializing apparition forming beside him. "You know your students cause havoc when you leave all day like that." Wizard Toloram said, his words reverberating in the still air. "What few of them remain." Älfrety responded without stopping. He deeply sighed, his heavy eyes falling closed. "So, they still don't like you in the city?" "It makes people uncomfortable." Toloram grinned slyly. Without even opening his eyes, Älfrety returned the nostalgic smile. "Some things never change." The next few minutes were spent silently approaching the tower, two souls leaving one set of footprints. Wizard Distentor ceased his grazing on hay to watch them pass, only to resume snacking with nothing left to see. Under the arching entryway, up the spiraling stairs, past students who bowed respectfully. Receiving honor for his position was still something that made Älfrety uncomfortable, but Toloram's face lit up proudly to see the new Archmage receiving high respect. "I never thought I'd live to see the day." Toloram spoke somberly. "Well," Älfrety quipped, "You didn't." "Hagh!" Toloram laughed in his distinct way, "Some things never change indeed!" When they reached his quarters, Älfrety rested himself at his desk's comfortable chair, and Toloram glided over to an arbitrarily selected bookshelf. Taking a tome off of an eye-level shelf, he opened it about halfway through and pretended to read from it, flipping the pages at regular intervals. Älfrety opened one of his eyes to find Toloram noiselessly tapping his foot, not even looking at the book he held. Giffold also seemed to impatiently await Älfrety's next words, not even tweeting or chirping near the inkwell on the corner of his desk. "No," Älfrety carefully addressed, "I didn't look through the eye while I was in the city." Toloram abruptly shut the book and set it back on the shelf. "Good." He said sharply, "It is an object of incomprehensible power, and rife with unspeakable dangers. If it were my choice, you would take your King's advice and seal it in the archives." Älfrety reflexively reached for the Eye, ready to shield it for reasons unknown even to himself. Concerned by his own action, he spoke even more deliberately than before. "I understand the danger of the Mage Eye. In the time that I have walked this realm I have witted against it countless times, and it has not killed me yet." Toloram's frown intensified, unsettled by the elf's words. "Do you refute even logic, or have you simply become a gambling man during your time here? Surviving your altercations with it is your reason to stop, not continue." Toloram waved an arm in a dramatic gesture, "For Guthix' sake, Älfrety, you'll get yourself killed! And for what?" "Without the eye, I would never have gotten you here! Without the eye, I'd be dead in Nharr'zal! Why should I cast it away now? WHY!?" Älfrety only realized his wrath had overcome him when he felt a single tear flee his eye. "why?" asked the grieving mage, sitting helplessly back in his seat. Toloram merely watched Älfrety hunch onto his desk and hold his head in his hands. "You are asking the right question, young elf." Toloram said gently, "But your motivation is misguided. This is no mistake of your own, but something the Eye has led you to believe. It would like most for you to think that you need it, but in truth, it needs you far more than the other way around." Älfrety looked up from his desk to find Toloram just before it. He cravenly peddled the meaning of the old man's words, lost and confused as the day he entered this world. "But what does this mean?" He said weakly, "What could it possibly need?" "Like you, I dealt with the eye many times during my possession of it, and, like you, I asked that very same question. After I gave it to you in Gelienor, I have come to realize," Toloram said, now pacing toward the shelves in a wide arc, "That even after fifty years of accompanying it; and admittedly peering into it, I knew almost nothing about it." The ghost turned around, having reached the very edge of Älfrety's peripheral vision, "According to ancient legends, when Seren gifted it to Guthix those ages ago, it became the instrument of his godhood, infinite power in perfect balance. Yet, upon Guthix' death, only the perfect balance was destroyed." He passed the entrance again, watched diligently by elf and bird. "The eye is severed. Dying. It needs a new god, or it will destabilize into nothing. What do you think happens when one allows it complete, unprotected access into their minds?" Älfrety recoiled at the barrage of realizations; For what other purpose would the eye drive him forward? To make him more powerful? For what reason did the Eye take interest in Icarus, unless- Toloram once again stood directly before the dumbfounded Archmage. "There will come a time when the eye demands -Not requests, but demands- that the tithe be payed. When that time comes, are you ready to become a Mahjarrat? Or shall another die in your place?"
  2. Alfrety

    Of Mage and Men

    Älfrety jumped back and his face paled, his face assuming the hollow position of having seen a ghost; but the fact of the matter was, he had. "Wizard Toloram!? Is..." Älfrety fell to one knee, and clutched his head with one hand. "No... I-, the... It can't... Really be-" “Toloram?” for a moment King Icarus looked surprised, betrayed, and then he smiled as he realized his mistake. He chuckled quietly and repeated, “Marolot.” Wizard Toloram stepped forward, his cerulean glow almost invisible under the desert sun. "It worked, my student. You got a parcel to me; and you got me here." The old man stopped himself and chuckled lightly, "Well, half of me, anyway. The term 'Animus' refers to the spirit, you know. The 'essence' of someone. Not their *entire* person." Älfrety's face shallowed as he realized what he had done. "I-, I'm so sorry, I had-" Toloram raised a single hand, almost as dismissive as it was comforting. "My body would never have survived the journey between worlds. I still have no idea how yours did." Älfrety could only offer a tearful smile. Wiping his eyes on his tattered and dirty sleeve, he stood, shakily saying "It almost didn't. It's ... a long story. You-! Old fool," Älfrety rose completely, uncharacteristically emotional, rushing to the ghost of Toloram, and clasping him in his arms. Toloram laughed heartily, his voice echoing its usual way, hanging his joy in the air for seconds after he'd finished. "Come now," Toloram spoke with a smile, "We can discuss it all on the way back. I don't think any of your friends like the sand as much as you do, and I'm the only one not getting any older here." “You heard the man. To Kingstone! We’re going home.” the King announced.
  3. Alfrety

    Of Mage and Men

    An overwhelming silence bombarded every corner of Icarus' mind for an unknown amount of time, broken only by a daemonic voice: And so the Pawn King finally stands before me himself. Icarus could almost hear a devilish smile behind the voice, as taunting as it was arrogant. Are you mad, or was the elf simply sick of you? He thought he was ready to hear the voice of a demon, since a god’s couldn’t scar him. But even Loden’s voice paled in comparison. Even now Ike couldn’t help himself, “I just figured I should talk to you myself, see if all the rumors are true. So how does this work? Take a crown, leave a crown?" The smile, invisible as it was, vanished. If I wanted your coin, even the most disfigured beggar would be of use. The voice was accompanied by a vision now, slowly fading into view was a chamber: clearly underground, and almost pitch-black save for a single verdant light shining against a wall. The air of arrogance returned as Icarus realized what he was seeing was Alfrety, buried alive somewhere, ravenously devouring a barely-cooked rat. But money isn't why you're here, is it? Straight to the point then. “Where is he?” Icarus conveyed more anger then he meant, and bit his tongue in penance. You understand our dilemma, then. Of course, I could show you where he is; you just can't... Icarus' sight of Alfrety faded and darkened quite... Alfrety drew further away, until only a faint glimpse remained see it. With Alfrety completely faded away, all that remained was a perfectly crisp view of the lens through which he viewed now. Now, where is he? Where, where, I wonder. Nhar, hm. Tip. Of. My. Tongue. Ike swiped a thumb against the lens, moving it slightly off center and secured it back quickly, “Not nearly as stupid as I look. No, I think you want Fredrick out of that prison as much as I do. Besides, now that he’s gone we’ve got no reason not to lock you away forever, deep under the ground with no one to share these little chats with.” The void returned to an unbearable, palpable silence. Seconds turned into painful minutes, and Icarus began to fear the Eye was finished negotiating entirely. Just before he would pull the eye from his face, it spoke once more, in an unnaturally cool tone. Indeed... Perhaps you are more valuable than our poor old friend let on. Very interesting... Icarus could no longer tell if the Eye jested with him or not. Without giving him time to consider it, the eye again gave Icarus visions of places and flashing landscapes. Go to the deserts to the north-east. There you will find where Grandiere slept: The Pyramid of Nharr'zal. The visions shifted to a collapsed ruin, which sand almost completely buried. He is within this pyramid, nearly starved. It is a weeks' travel, even on your Boris, so make haste. Once again, Icarus could not ignore the overwhelming presence of a mad god, smiling an infinite and twisted grin. We will speak again, I am sure.
  4. Alfrety

    An Audience with the King: Chapter One.

    A new cascade of sand suddenly erupted from the gate. What laid beyond the far side of the portal caused the wheat gate to begin tremoring viciously, threatening the integrity of the walls themselves, reverberating with the force of a massive collapse. Sand and bones alike spewed forth from the rip in space at great speed, now containing large, broken slabs of sandstone. "WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS!?" Grandiere bellowed against the sound of rumbling earth, "NO MATTER! SLAY THE ELF NOW! INTER HIM TO OUR RANKS AND WE SHALL RETURN TO NHARR'ZAL!" Hearing his command, his undead legion turned at once to rush back through the portal behind the lich, fighting against the torrent of sand. "WHAT IS THIS TREACHERY!?" The lich swung his head around the fields, scanning for Älfrety. "COWARD! WHERE-" A sandstone pillar tall as the walls themselves sped through the portal and swept beneath one of the gargantuan arms of the Lich, sending him off balance crashing into the ground chin-first. Before he could right himself, Grandiere was struck by another pillar, and a segment of wall barely narrow enough to fit through the gap. The massive lich struggled desperately to put his arms beneath himself as pieces of his pyramid assailed him one by one, before one struck his skull directly, shattering the black bone and exposing a font of vulnerable fleshes beneath.
  5. Alfrety

    An Audience with the King: Chapter One.

    "YOU ASK FOR ANSWERS HE DOES NOT HAVE, FIERY MORTAL. EVEN ALIVE, HE EXECUTES MY WILL BLINDLY; AND ALL IT TOOK WAS A NAME IN INK!" The lich howled a maniacal laughter into the night air, now bitter with dust, sand, and the stench of decay. Alfrety's eyes widened, his hands grasping in vain at the flowing sand beneath, now painfully aware he had been decieved. "The sandstone..." "DELICIOUS! YOUR MIND WAS SO FILLED WITH DELIGHTFUL MEMORIES OF A FRIEND PASSED THAT YOU FAILED TO RECOGNIZE THE CHIPPED WALLS OF MY OWN TOMB!" Alfrety's face warped into a tearful grimace, "He has not passed!" A twisted, skeletal smile spread across what shreds of face still hung from Grandiere's massive skull, "IF YOU DO NOT BELIEVE MY WORDS, THERE IS STILL ANOTHER WHO CAN TELL YOU. PEER INTO YOUR TRINKET AS YOU HAVE MANY TIMES BEFORE; IT HAS NO REASON TO LIE." Alfrety reached a single, trembling hand into the heart pocket of his robes, retrieving the Mage Eye and its lens. With Alfrety elsewhere, Grandiere turned his focus to the others, making his offering: "IF YOU WISH TO RESIST, KNOW THIS: THE ELF IS ALREADY DEFEATED. IF YOU FLEE NOW, I WILL LEAVE YOU WITH YOUR LIVES." With a tremendous slam of one hand onto the earth, Sun-bleached skeletons rose from the sand in hordes. Unarmed but numerous, they shambled near the lich awaiting a command. "I CAME FOR THE ELF, RESIST AND I SHALL CLAIM YOUR FLESH. DO NOT ADD GIFTS TO HIS PAYMENT; FLEE OR PERISH."
  6. Alfrety

    An Audience with the King: Chapter One.

    "Within the parcel;" Älfrety flipped through various pages within a bound notebook, "were instructions to build a large stone archway to house a temporary opening between our worlds. The Wheat gate here should suffice, however." Not looking up from the diagrams, Älfrety approached until he was just under the wheat gate, placing crumbling sandstone crystals at symmetrical locations. Preparations silently continued for a few moments, until only the last foundation had not yet been placed. One last sandstone crystal would mean the end of his journey through Everneth. Älfrety turned slowly back toward Icarus, only to grant him the same petrified silence he offered before their first words. Nothing he could say would rightfully express his sorrow, and his joy; his gratitude and his remorse. A guilt-ridden part of Älfrety's cowering psyche wanted nothing more but to cast away the crystal; but Tirannwn needed him. That is why; Älfrety outstretched a hand to Icarus, extending the final crystal to the King, his friend. "All this time," Älfrety pained himself to say, "I could not understand how to begin paying the debt of my life... But once you place this crystal, my debt will be payed in full..." Having lost the strength to fight it, a single moonlit tear emerged and fell. "As I will be an elf in Gelienor; and that is worth nothing."
  7. Alfrety

    An Audience with the King: Chapter One.

    "Icarus, it's come! The, it's-" Alfrety allowed himself two breaths before continuing, "Sent, gotten, I've gotten-" The mage was wheezing at this point, "Immediately prepare th-, g-gate, Wheat Gate! fofor," Alfrety dropped to the floor on a knee, no longer even attempting the unsightly presentation. It was then that the parrot previously riding in Alfrety's side-bag emerged, possibly pitying the elf. "Icarus immediately!" Giffold ruffled his feathers and impatiently squawked. "From Toloram! It's from Toloram!" Giffold hopped out of the bag completely and began prancing around the kneeling Mage. Alfrety scooped Giffold off of the ground and placed him onto his shoulder like the shade taught him, before continuing, "Yes... Finally, Icarus, I've received word from Wizard Toloram. A small parcel, It contains instructions! He has devised a spell- A teleportation spell- One to return me to Gelienor!" Alfrety, uncharacteristically overflowing with excitement, begged of the king, "Please, come with me, we must go to the wheat gate!" Alfrety had again forgotten the visitors, turning his view back to them, awkwardly offering, "Eh! You two, you should- uh, come as well!"
  8. Alfrety

    Icarus Forde's perspective of the Battle of Fort Acies

    I nitpicked how Älfrety was portrayed in this piece of writing, but it was told from Icarus' point of view. As such, any thoughts or feelings of Älfrety were cut. So here is "The only source of forced internal conflict within Kingstone" in more detail, or: "Thoughts of an Elf". At the request of King Icarus Forde, I engaged in another battle of psyche with the severed, omniscient third eye of a slain god. How the third eye of Guthix came into my posession is a story I only partially know; but since the moment it was passed to me, it has tried to kill me in much the same was as it has killed every other person to possess it. This exchange was no exception. Visions of a large Solisian army flickered among each-other. The banner of enemy, ancient towers and structures, a ... Dam? A lever? Sensing my curiosity, the Eye faded my view of the lever into a thick fog. What does that lever have to do with the coming battle? Cast away the lens, whelp, and I shall show you. Why seek information blindfolded and bound? I know you, Älfrety of Lletya, your pursuit of knowledge is unmatched; You of all people! Cast. Away. The. Lens! I will not. Thousands will die. Those lives are in your hands at this very moment, and you refuse? You! I... Even If I did, I- No! The Eye is simply attempting to provoke me. And... It is quite good at it. I abandoned the line of information, averting my gaze back to the Solisians. Before me appeared two groups, formed by the routed soldiers. The first comprised of hundreds, gathered in a tower to a northwest mountain pass, for no other obvious reason but to ambush us. By the time I had studied the first group thoroughly, the second had vanished. You must show me the other soldiers. You are wrong. I must show you nothing. These wisdoms are gifts. Silence. I lowered the eye from mine, then the lens. It was with a deep, shallow breath that I placed both items back into the heart pocket of my robe and entered the tent, where Icarus awaited my report. I entered a chaotic meeting, everyone shouting over each-other, relentlessly insisting their strategy was safest, or strongest, or some other such nonsense. Noticing my entry, Icarus commanded silence with a slam of his fist on the table. It was difficult to get the first few words out with everybody staring at me, but after giving my report of the soldiers' gathering, the makeshift war council more or less ignored me, to my comfort. They decided to track down the fort and siege that to prevent a counter-attack, afterward making for home. I had never studied military strategy, so I was mostly silent during the discussion. I had all night and some of the next morning to prepare for the battle. I counted potions, created spell scrolls, tapped my fingers on a desk, and even considered inquiring with the Eye before the sun begrudgingly rose that morning. I decided to spend the rest of the morning reading in the Kingsglaive's preparation tent to wait for Icarus. Being on the travel, I only had a light supply of sixteen books to choose from, but even that was too many, as I knew instantly which was the one I must finish. I gathered "Kharidian Shadow Magic: Dark Power" and hesitated on my way out of the tent. I took an ink-less quill and scratched the title off of the front of the book. Kingstonians fear magic because of the long and twisted reputation it has from their home; I don't want them getting the wrong idea. I did not get much reading done, however, when Icarus entered the tent, signifying the time had almost come. Perhaps when he said "At ease", I was too ready to resume reading, because the next thing that peirced my focus was "I have authorized usage of the curse." Everyone was so attentive to his speech they did not notice my change of face, and as I listened to the rest of what he had, I found I did not mishear him. It seems I did too little to conceal how I felt, as when Icarus had finished speaking, he seemed to notice my face, lingering his view on it for a second. Behind his eyes I could see he put together what he said and my unsightly expression. While I knew he understands my grievance, I knew also that he does not regret his decision. With a thin, sad smile, he had left. The Kingsglaive curse. Such an atrocity did not exist in Gelienor, and it was one I encountered immediately after entering this world. My soul's last ditch effort at surviving passage between worlds was to bind itself to the nearby Icarus. That binding almost inscribed the curse onto myself, if not for Agista's separation. But during that brief time, I felt it. It prodded at my deepest psyche, awakening burning hatreds I hadn't before imagined. I knew only the Eye could tell me how to free Icarus of the curse's unimaginable consequences, but as soon as I found myself reaching for it, I stopped. There wasn't a chance it would reveal something so valuable to me through the lens. I would only give it more leverage by asking. The battle itself was something I'm sure Icarus would care more to remember than I. Carnage and bloodshed. I'm certain he would speak for weeks on end about the fights he's fought, but as for me... Every time a spell would mean the end of a soldier who charged me, I could not stand it. Their eyes; that moment of pure, primal fear, and a lifetime lost. The whole world slowed as arcing lightning reached their plate mail. If they had the time to drop their weapons and beg my forgiveness, I am certain they would. In their eyes were a thousand screams, and every single time I wished I could take it back, but... As soon as it started, it was over. The fear in the man's eyes was gone, replaced by a lifeless gaze as he collapsed to the ground. I almost wanted to pick up a sword and shield, and never fire another spell again, their faces haunted me so deeply. I had no time to consider that path, however, when I heard Icarus shout to me, not far away. That was when it all happened so quickly I fail to remember some of it, and I am not simply saying that so I can omit running out of breath and falling to the ground. It seemed the battle was over in an instant after Icarus unleashed the horrifying might of the curse. He almost also ended himself, however, and it took my nearly an hour to even rouse him from his no doubt exhaustive slumber. The nerve he must have had, then, for his first words out of such a comatose state to be a joke. My brow flattened, and I felt the momentary desire to send him back into that damn sleep. It seemed that while I was channeling Icarus' recovery, there was a decision of some kind to continue fighting for or toward something. Perhaps I didn't hear them because I was focused, or perhaps I was focused because I didn't want to hear them. Either way, I knew I had had more than my fill of slaughter. It was only when Icarus jolted up to join those who had left, then, that I heard the first about it. The Shade pulled at his arm, feverishly pleading to him about a Solisian plan to wipe the field by bursting a dam. Shock overcame me. This is what the Eye meant. The dam, there was no mistaking it. Without even thinking, I had retrieved the lens and Mage Eye, and frantically peered for a glimpse of what I saw before. I saw the same dam, bearing its ancient burden. A massive strain of water, some of it frozen, rested behind it. Near the top; a release switch. I tried my best to describe to the others I hoped were still in the room with me, but my description was interrupted by the same taunting voice. Don't you see? You killed them all. All it would have taken was you telling Icarus to station a few men there. My breathing hastened. I kept speaking aloud, "She's right-" FOOL! DO NOT IGNORE ME! The vision of the dam slipped and shifted the that of a small Solisian group. There they are. The ones you failed to stop. The ones who will kill them all with a flip of that lever, and only you are to blame! I ripped the Eye from my face, shoving both items back into my robe. "There is a collection of Solis making their way to it right now." Icarus immediately formulated the plan to stop them, calling to a faraway Boris the bold, but dominating the rest of my thoughts was dread. It was only the three of us. We had fought our way up the dam, into the top. The whole way, I had wondered when it would happen. The Eye would not have let me get this far if there was not something for me to regret not knowing. Yet, when we reached the top of the dam, all we found was a Solisian soldier, badly wounded by the battle. That is, until I noticed what he had with him, the war ax of Ragnar. I could practically feel the Eye taunting me. It knew. Before we could stop him, the unaware soldier had been consumed completely by the curse within the ax, becoming a grotesque monster I do not have nearly the paper to describe; and empty papers and books fill numerous rooms in the Tower. This, of course, meant that Fort Acies was the lesser of today's two battles. Solis, Kingstone, everything would rest on this. Meaning I had no regrets. When Icarus called me to battle it, I met him. For the first time, I felt what he felt. "For... Kingstone." With only moments to prepare, we met the Daemon on the frozen lake. I fought as hard as Icarus did. As hard as the shade. I commanded the ice below to attack the beast, and it did. Magic, Hammer, and Sword all weakened the beast to be trapped into the siphon with great effort. Effort I had hoped never to use, but could only be glad it was not one I cared for that had turned. The Alvionspawn was sealed, and the three of us fell silent as the ice itself, though my mind raced. Are we truly better than the beast we sealed? Is that not our fates? Can we truly say we beat a curse, if we used it to do so? I could have sworn I heard the Eye laughing at me, when I realized it was not the one laughing. I turned my view to see Icarus and Nicku, joined in laughter. The two, who had been clawed at by a nefarious curse not a moment ago, now reveled before me. I almost didn't understand it. I almost yelled at them to come to their senses. That's when I remembered what you told me, Toloram. To always laugh when all is well. To meet an earned new day with a smile. So I tried my best to laugh with them, even though I had to fake it completely. I knew what they felt was the lesson you were trying to teach me, and they didn't even have to try. Soon enough, I found my fake laughter had become real, and I didn't even notice. Despite everything, I have found a home here, and good friends who seem to have learned more of what you tried to teach me than I did. So I promise you, I will try to learn as much from them as I can. I hope this letter reaches you, Toloram, I'm certain I improved the spell this time. The tablet attached to this letter contains the teleport spell I designed, to the Wizards' Tower I had built here. It's nothing like one you'd make, so don't you dare get yourself killed taking it, but if this one reaches you... Please. Send a response. Forever a student, Älfrety of Lletya, headmaster of the Kingstone Wizards' Tower, Disciple of Wizard Toloram
  9. Alfrety

    Kingstone Siege Event on Saturday 4/7/18 2pm PST

    Me, my tower and all of my potions stand with you, my liege. (With a tearing of Älfrety's bag, the sound of shattering glass and fizzling magic can be heard. A red liquid seeps between the cobbles into the dirt.) Ah...Ahem! Me, my tower, and all but one of my potions stand with you, my liege!
  10. Alfrety

    Everneth but Never Free.

    Cackling, explosive thunder erupted, dwarfing the ambient crashing rain. My head was pounding, my clothes muddy; I was soaking wet and freezing cold. For the brief moment I was able to hold my eyes open, I saw a network of tangled branches and roots, swallowed by the bitter night's darkness. I raised a single, sore hand to my face, tracking mud onto my nose and brow. I was alive, uninjured, but how? I thought I- Tempestous, successive strikes of lightning drowned my thoughts and chilled my bones. My body naturally curled into a smaller shape, vulnerable and confused, shivering and frigid. In that moment, bathed with rain, another steady sound caught my ear: horse-hooves, stuggling against the mud, in obstructed yet proud stride. "HALT, MEN!" Shouted a voice unfamiliar. "A CORPSE BLOCKS THE ROAD!" The horses stopped, and one set of muffled footprints eased forward. "By Bellona... He's alive! Selphy, get over here, now!" Moments passed, and I felt vaguely the sensation of being lifted and placed onto firm boards of wood. The trodding began again, horses against the well-watered earth, until I somehow forfeit my consciousness, to slumber in the back of a horse-drawn weapons cart. A lone bolt of lightning flashed from a corner window, in the far wall of a candlelit room. I was still in pain, but this time I awoke warm and feeling much safer. Also lurking was the uneasy feeling of another presence. Surely as premonition, upon turning into the room I was met with a man sat in a chair peering down at a report of some kind. He was brown of hair and green of eye, too short to be an elf. My vision cleared, with a pit in my stomach forming as I came to see the man before me was human. He must have heard my surprise, as he, also startled, jumped up from his reading. Neither of us certain what to say, the proceeding minutes would have been entirely silent if not for the invasive pounding of rainfall. The human cleared his throat and asked, "Are you alright? What is your name?" . With a nervous crack of the voice, I offered the man my name, as spoken by my people, "Älfrety". The man winced, then grinned. Single, hearty laughs escaped his lungs with glee of their own individual levels. He again looked back at me, saying, "I will just call you-" "FREDRICK!" Icarus shouted, growing impatient. "Snap out of it! Have you prepared all of the potions for the coming battle?" "Yes, y- I've, uh, the potions- I have, erm, all of..." I stammered, still dazed from being awakened from such a lucid, dreamlike memory. I looked to my left, and then to my right, breathing shallowly. We were on the walls of Kingstone, preparing for the coming ambush. "...All of them, Icarus. They're with me." I finished, indicatively patting my bags containing them. "Good..." Icarus gazed off of the walls, into the rainy morning sky, silently yet understandingly fixing together his understanding of the moment. He sighed, collected words, and waiting for a pause in thunder, spoke confidently: "Fredrick, take solace in the fact that it's their soldiers, or our wives and children. This is a defensive strike for tomorrow, and each and every one of my men would die for me as I would die for them." I made my best attempt to deepen my shallow breathing. Ever since the day he found me huddled in the mud, on the brink of death in foreign clothes, Icarus always could see through me, like nobody back home. Hiding my thoughts from him was always vain and trifling. "I hope so." I spoke truthfully, "For their sake. The wives, the children. The common man. None of them must be harmed by this." The king nodded, now certain of my concerns. "I promise that if Solis threw down their arms now and surrendered there would be no more bloodshed." He symbolically lowered his shield, "But it seems war has taken a liking to me." Lightning then struck for the final time that day, Icarus and Alfrety only meeting later near the Antiquorem tower; blade with one and spellbook with the other, emerging victorious in a Kingstone ambush of a Solisian front on its way to Kingstone. While radiant pride shone from every other member of Kingstone's hearts, the elf mage was further plunged into a deepening pool of anxiety and grief. With this victory, the fate of these lands was being placed further and further into Icarus' hands, and Alfrety could only hope that this time, Mankind would use her victories nobly.
  11. Alfrety

    Letter to the Kingdom of Kingstone

    If you consider this carefully and still wish to fight, my Liege, I will fight beside you...