“Your nation has broken with you.”

Unlike the spells of destruction … the crash of axe and sword … these words uttered by the herald from the walls of the city of Honor find a home in my mind and cause me pain, as I have not felt in some time. The pain though self- inflicted is no less real to me, as if struck full in the head by a barbarian axe, I fall on bended knee to cope with what I have heard.

As I began to dwell on what the herald has told the few now outside the razed city walls of Honor, we few who have gathered for yet another desperate rush at the enemy to try to raise that siege, I realize that the once vibrant tree of life that was the center of our very existence is no more.

The deep desperation and grim determination that had been the demeanor of my fellow defenders now turns to recognition of what has finally happened. The mighty tree of life is now gone. Shattered by the humans and their followers.

The godless human trash that claim to follow the now missing All-Father have at last achieved their goal of conquest. The Blood Clan nation is itself wiped from the shard of Mourning.

With the backdrop of the burning city behind us, the far of cheers of the victorious humans reaching our ears. I stand up and turn to face Zerakul, the proud leader of the now fallen nation.

“What now leader of the homeless?”

“Where shall we who followed, fought, and died for thee turn in this dark hour?”

His gaze turns to my face with but a small recognition of my words. He then turns to face the city of his creation for a long hard look. During this time the captains of the Blood Clan begin to approach him. Like me they are now egger to hear what the future holds. What will become of the nation of the Blood Clan?

After what seems an eternity Zerakul turns to face the gathered captains and leaders of his once diverse nation.

“Though I hold this place dear … Though I love the Blood Clan … as its leader and father I declare to you all this day that the banner of the Blood Clan shall be sheathed until such time as I deem it worthy to fly again in this shard.”

A stunned silence grips the Blood Clan who hear the words of their leader.

“I now release you all from your bonds and oaths … you are free to find your way in this shard as you see fit.”

The commotion that follows his words starts small but gains momentum as the leaders and warriors realize what has been said.

Cries of “Join with me brothers!” and “Follow my banner friends!” begin to rise above the general din of discussion.

I look around me and realize that Zerakul is now striding off towards some unknown destination with many of his warriors and leaders still in heated discussion as to what should be done. I now begin to search for my own kin and guild mates. Talandan, Yummy, Golconda, Lodain, Tzod are but a few that I see now silently standing and listening to the commotion. As if the voice of our own leader had spoken out loud we all in unison look to him. Talandan gives but a small battle gesture for us to return to our posts. We all recognize his command and one by one the eleven of the Twilight Tower disappear into the surrounding area as we make our way to the grove.

As I begin my own march to the grove I continue to struggle with the events of the past several days and the dissolution of the nation that my kin and I had fought and died for. I must now admit that my prayers to Braialla have gone unheeded … my faith in that higher purpose that she represented now … shaken.

As I travel I find that my footsteps have lead me into the wilds and towards familiar hunting trails. I have inadvertently headed to a small stand of trees with a brook and pool that I have from time to time provided me a comfortable place for solace and reflection and once in this familiar place I sit in contemplation of the day’s events.

I will not abandon my kinsmen of the grove. Our blood is thicker than any alliance.

Our Blood … Our Bond … Our Elven heritage …

Lost in thought I feel a sudden chill overtake me. Its icy fingers penetrate deep to the very core of my being. I begin to become aware that the air itself in this lush thicket is become cold. The noises of nature quiet to nothingness. The chill now turns even colder and I watch in amazement as the small pond begins to freeze into a perfect sheet of ice. It is then that I look up, and on the other side of the glade stands a figure.

Tall and regal in white hood and flowing robes I see immediately that it is one of the Dar Khelegur. A sorceress of some power. Her gaze appears to be both knowing and cruel as she glares at me across the now solid pond.

“You … Gwaridorn … You are known to me as Hoth Lok-ri … the foolish!”

As if the cold was not enough to grab my full attention her words strike me as a slap in the face by a cold steel hand.

“Your journeys with the lessers of Aerynth have soiled you!” “Your faith in that weakling of a goddess you hold so near … useless!” “Your so called labors among these lesser have been for naught … and unlike the deathless empire of our forefathers will soon be forgotten!” “You, who have been faithful to that bitch Braialla, have been stupid as well!” “And I would forget you as a lesser for your transgression and foolishness, if I had not this task been given.”

“Hear me NOW! Hoth Lok-ri … You must strip yourself bear of this foolishness … the lesser you have helped … SERVED! … Have eroded you to mere mortal status.” “You have been given a rare opportunity that I do not understand for one as weak minded as you.” “Travel north foolish one … north to the High Court of Evermore.” “If any shred of you hold to your Gwaridorn past you will come to the followers of Fyringael.” “They will show you the meaning of elven supremacy at the bidding of she who rules the icy wastes and the souls of those who live in the snows.”

The air around me begins to warm and the sorceress begins to fade from my view.

“Go now Hoth the soiled … Hoth the lost … go now.”

And with the final words spoken she disappears into the glen. The air continues to warm and small revaluates of water begin to flow on the surface of the ice, which is clearly melting in the late afternoon sun.

But though the air around me returns to normal I still feel the sharp cold of the wastes on my soul. The will, no the need to travel is full on me now. I will go to my kinsmen and we will travel to the High Court. Perhaps we can all recapture the glory of our past and in so doing reclaim our elven souls.

The traveler, obviously eleven, speeds on his way to the city known as the grove. His eye wavers not, his steps steady and precise as he travels swiftly through the countryside. His bearing that of an elf … on a new found mission.

Hoth Lok-ri … Priest
Updated Feb 2006
Copy write Scott Lindquist