Legacy of the Forlorn

Towards the Dawn

The demon let out as shriek of pain as its body melted away into a foul black gas, its tortured and twisted soul sent back to the hell it came from. Black ichor dripped from Amaras’ long claws and he took a moment to survey the clearing for any more threats. The area was littered with the smashed and torn bodies of some undead and the black blood of the devils he had ambushed here. A shriek tore through the forest to his left and a moment later the massive form of Nil’sha appeared in the shadows her deep rumbling growl letting him know the prey she hunted was dead. He smiled and pointed ahead and took off running through the forest once more, it felt good to be among the living green again after so long trapped in the darkness. The air was sweet and fresh, the trees sang his name and praised him for the slaying he was doing. The ground was soft under his feet as he bounded across it hunting for more devils or undead to put down. Despite the massive magic his father had called upon to smash the invading army many had still escaped after the battle with the Death Knight and had fled into the forest, many were heading back to Tree Razers domain but some had scattered to other parts of the forest and so he took it upon himself to put them down. It was the least he could to repent for some of the evil he had done so far in his life, he paused near a small clearing sniffing the air for any hints of a foe nearby.

“You will not find them here” came a slight musical voice that sounded loudly near his ear, without moving too fast he glanced to his right and saw a tiny winged humanoid figure hovering not far from his head. The small fairy was nude save for her long flowing brown hair her face bore a wide smile upon it as she pointed downstream. “They went that way not long ago and they were nasty brutes.” She said with a pout on her lips. Amaras smiled at the tiny figure “And you are offering this to me for nothing in return small one?” the fairy crossed her arms and gave him a stern look “They destroyed my stuff while I was bathing…..besides I know you will hunt them down and make them pay. It is what you have been doing for the past several days.” She said as if that were clearly obvious to any around. “You are Amaras the forest walker right?” she said. He nodded having never heard that title added to his name before. He had encountered fey before but none ever seemed to wish to talk or be helpful without getting something in return. He reached into a pouch and pulled out the small cloth he had used to wrap some waybread in, using his claws he cut some away and sliced a small hole in the middle. Next he pulled small bit of fishing line from another pouch and cut it as well and handed both to the fairy. “You are correct in guessing who I am and for your help I offer you something to protect your modesty with.” She snatched the offered gift and struggled into it quickly and tied if off. “I guess this will do” she said with a sniff at the cloth before looking at him once more “Well shouldn’t you be off?” with a nod and a smile he set off down the stream, it was not hard to pick up the devil’s trail as they left a thing coating of slime along the ground. He could feel Nil’sha in the woods near him creeping along, after nearly a hour of tracking them he picked up their scent a mix of burned wood and rotting fruit, he moved more slowly this time as he neared another small clearing and could hear guttural voices. Moving forward he parted a pair of fronds and took in the scene before him. The clearing was not large, maybe twenty or thirty paces across at the widest, in its center squatted a pair of devils. They were hunched over the bloody remains of something arguing, the one he could clearly see had a wide mouth filled with wicked teeth and its mouth surrounded by a long writhing beard. Both were glad in bronze breast, leg and arm plates while a pair of wicked saw tooth glaives rested near them. He sniffed the air once more to ensure what he saw was the only thing there and he picked up another scent, something very faint that hung in the air over the clearing, something cloaked in magic no doubt to hide from sight. He slid back from the clearing and began to chant a simple spell of protection, rubbing a oak leaf over his body saw his flesh turn as hard as bark, not far away Nil’sha’s flesh did the same their mystical bond allowing them to share in his magic. A few more spells followed that would enhance the pair for combating these fiends, using that same connection he spoke mind to mind with the great cat. There is another above the clearing hiding, wait for it to appear and attack it. when Nil’sha responded to him her message was laced with concern but he knew she would do as he asked. With that he stood up and walked boldly into the clearing, the devils leaped up and snatched up their weapons glaring at him. Both were wary and glanced around the clearing, surely no single elf would challenge them in such a way. “I am Amaras Edassarial prince of Kyonin Forest and protector of its woods. You are not welcome here and I give you once chance to leave before I send you screaming back to hell.” Realizing he was alone the two devils smiled and laughed moving to circle him. “Your flesh will taste sweet to us!” cackled one “I will relish cracking your bones and sucking forth your marrow!” growled the other as the prepared to close in. With magically enhanced reflexes he threw himself at the one on the left getting under its guard and raking his claws along its exposed belly. Hot blood sprayed out and the creature yelped in pain bring its heavy weapon down in an attempt to stave in his skull with the handle but it’s target was gone before it even realized it was there. “Fool!” snapped the other in anger “can’t you kill a single elf!” then its words turned to a shriek of pain as Amaras dashed past it slashing its leg. Not bothering to slow he ran a few more paces and bounced off a tree throwing himself back at the devil. It had whirled around and brought its weapon in at him, he didn’t even try to avoid the blow as it slammed him the wicked teeth trying to tear though his magically hardened skin. With a snarl the creature jerked the weapon towards itself and blood splashed down Amaras side and pain skipped through him, the wound was not bad but he howled as it were mortal and fell the ground in a heap. Chortling with evil glee the devil rushed forward and reached out with one long arm to clamp its hand on his shoulder and jerked him upright and licked its lips preparing to sink its teeth into him. It was therefore terribly surprised when it was Amaras who lunged forward and sank his teeth into its shoulder, his long panther like fangs sinking nearly to the creatures bones. Letting go of him and stumbling back the bearded devil roared as it tried to claw him free, its wicked beard also tearing at him trying to dislodge him. That is when it realized is greatest mistake, letting him get a hold as Amaras slashed his long wicked claws down the creatures chest in frenzy spraying hot stinking blood everywhere. Falling onto the ground the pair began to roll around the devil desperate to dislodge the savage elf, screaming for aid from its companion who could only stand and stare as its ally’s guts were ripped from its body. In moments it was over and the devil was melting into a puddle of black sludge, while a blood covered Amaras stood up smiling at the other. That is when the third attacked, a long white rope appeared from nowhere wrapping itself around the elf several times entangling him and sending him to the ground. The attack forced the feathered winged female devil to appear in the area holding the other end of that magical rope she smiled cruelly down at him. “Finish him Grez and do it slowly.” She said and that is when from the trees exploded a patch of utter darkness split by a pair of shining emerald eyes. The Erinyes had a moment to scream before nearly three hundred pounds of muscle and fury took her out of the clearing and into the trees beyond, her screams filling the air. The bearded devil Grez watched it all with awe then as most devils do he figured whatever had taken her would be distracted long enough to slay the entangled elf surely. Looking back where that elf had been there was nothing but a loose rope and some small terran creature with a twitching nose. “Whaa….where did he go” he asked looking around, he looked back at the small creature and was shocked when its body suddenly blurred and began to rapidly grow into a large feline shape with a strangely elvish face on it with a long tail that ended in a bulb of spikes lashed behind it. Then its world was nothing but flashing claws, blood and tawny fur.

The sun had long set and Amaras was reclining near a small fire he had built to cook his dinner upon, the day had been a fruitful one and he hunted down many enemies of his home and sent them back to where they belonged. He was not fooling himself into thinking he was making much of a difference in anyway, the war with Tree Razer was far from over. Nil’sha who laid not far from him let out a soft growl which instantly put him on guard, he sniffed the air and detected the scent of someone and they were heading towards his camp. The scent was soft and was that of a female and some part of his brain teased him with the knowledge he should know who it belonged to. He didn’t shift his position in any way that would let on his was ready to spring at a moment’s notice to the casual observer. A bit later a slender elf women glad in a sturdy leather armor, with a brown weather cloak wrapped around herself stepped out of the woods. Her long honey blond hair was held back in a pony tail and she was leaning heavily on a wooden staff, her clothes were torn and bloody in spots and the coppery scent tickled his nose. He could also pick up that two others were just off to his right as well; both of them were trying to creep closer. “Hail and well met is what I believe you are supposed to call out before you approach the camp.” He said with a smile, the girl was watching him and she quiet clearly knew who he was “and you should introduce yourself as well since it is impolite to hold such an advantage over me by knowing who I am and me not knowing you. Also it is polite and I would say much safer for your friends to simply walk into camp. Nil’sha does not like surprises they put her in a awful mood.” The other two halted their creeping and instead pushed forward from the forest they; were in about as good as shape as the lady was. They both carried naked blades which they quickly sheathed when they saw Nil’sha gaze lazily up at them and yawn exposing a mouth full of teeth that could crush their heads in single bite.

The women moved towards the fire and took a seat across from him and never once did she break eye contact and she wore a puzzled expression. “You were far more hansom the last time I saw you and not so old looking.” She replied causing both of her companions to gasp in shock. Amaras simply laughed at the comment and laughed even harder when she followed it up with “You could have told me you were so old the last time we met.” She was not amused by his laughing and made that apparent when she reached across the fire with her staff and smacked him hard on the shoulder. “Again milday you hold me at a disadvantage for I can’t recall when we last met nor your name or that of your friends if I too met them.”

“Well you never met them that one there is Elinder Shastas” she pointed to the man on the left who could have been no more than ninety winters and had a shock of flaming red hair. “The other is Hircul Landover” the other boy looked to be a bit older and his brown hair was plated in the style of the dwarfs Amaras had knew. “And I am Milendai Celindiar she announced with a grand flourish “We meet during the Battle at Golden Oak, you saved my life from the creatures that attacked. You don’t recall me at all?” He could only vaguely recall her as the Beast though gone had taken a great many of his memories with it. He shook his head and offered her apologizes “I remember very little of the past years I fear…old age you could say.” He laughed as did the others “So now that you have introduced yourselves I shall do the same. I am Amaras Edassarial son of-“ his word were cut off by gasps from the other two elves who quickly fell into babbling. “You’re a hero!” one shouted “A Legend! They said you fought the Green Hag.” Shot Hircul, “You also brokered peace with the dwarfs!” shot the other. It was Milendai who cut them both off “Leave him be both of you, can’t you see he is tired.” Amaras smiled and bid the trio to eat from his catch as he used his healing magic to sooth the worst of their injuries. They quickly caught him up on all that had occurred while he was gone. The tail was long and winding and filled with great sadness and misery and well as great heroics and sacrifices.

“So they call it the Sundering” he stated later that night as the three sat around the fire, he could tell they were fearful of the forest and who could blame them. “They also said that you betrayed the Conclave.,..you were not there when they needed you.” Replied Milendai “They suffered so much in the fight with the Blight Druids and then the invasion.” Amaras looked away his heart was heavy with the guilt, he had been needed and he was not there, but what was worst was the knowledge that this whole mess was his families doing. That was a secret they could never let out now, it would destroy any attempt they had to pulled the nation together. “So your brother will be king now?” asked Hircul. “We need a warrior to be king not another wizard, we need someone who knows war and warfare, who knows pain and hardships.”

A deep growl rumbled from Nil’sha’s throat and Amaras’s as well “Do not think to presume you know even a small taste of the misery and pain my brothers and sisters have suffered. We all have given so much of ourselves, sacrificed so much for this nation and its people, and we are willing to give even more! My brother will be a fine king, for he has all of us backing him up as he always had. Together we are strong and unbreakable it will be our foes who find themselves rushing for their dark holes and crying and weeping for their lost!” he threw himself back to the ground when he realized he had stood up at some point, he rained his anger in far easier than he ever had in the past years. He let out a sigh and looked at the others around his camp “Our eldest are gone true, our allies have abandoned us in our time of need but that does not mean we are beaten. We are young and strong in spirit and we will recover from his, you said that there are others like you who want to fight who want to make a difference.” The group nodded “Then coming morning I will guide you back to the safer areas of the forest. You will gather these people together and bring them all to the Tree of Memories and there we will forge ourselves a new. We will become not only our homes Blade but her Shield and we will take this war back to our foes!” All three let out a cheer and even Nil’sha coughed in her agreement, not far from the firelight sitting on a branch nearby sat the small fairy he had helped. She was watching intently the conversation going on in the clearing. The elves were not the only ones who had suffered in the sundering, the invasion by Tree Razer had seen so many of her friends twisted to evil. So many fairy and mushroom rings were lost their magic taken over. Her own queen was furious but could do so little to fight their aggressors but this one; this one might be able to help. He reminded her so much of the old elf druid Aerandir Telrunya who had lived once in the forest so long ago. She stared intently at the man and swore she could see some shared features there, that would help in a way for the Queen had loved the old druid once and still had a soft spot for him. Had she not been the one see his wishes held true…to claim and hold his ancient weapons for when they were needed once more? Surely this was what the old druid had meant. “When the darkest hour comes for Kyonin and its entire people you must find one whose light shines in that darkness. To that one you shall gift my treasures to so they can fight as I once did. And just as happened to me, when that one falls you shall claim them and my gifts and return them to the forest once more.”

She nodded once to herself, yes this was the one, the one to take up the mantle of old and fight again in the name of the forest. Now she just had to convince the queen of that same conviction and get her to release her wards to him.

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MichaelKnight

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