Chronicles To Reach the Reach

Discussion in 'The Chronicles' started by Cuthwyrd, Mar 13, 2019.

  1. Cuthwyrd

    Member
    Cuthwyrd Chieftain of the Fyiama

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2019
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    Few secrets lingered in the mountains of the Spine, not from the eyes of the Fyiama, at least. Hardy humans with traces of Mountain-Elf blood running in their veins, they lived with their sheep and goat herds, dwelling in small huts cut from the very bones of the mountains. Many lived their entire lives without ever entering the lowlands and lands beneath them. The eagles and hawks of their eyries were their companions in the high mountain silence and they knew of every flood, every rock-slide, every quake, and every distant kinsman in need of assistance.

    So when a great host of Blight Orcs from Molthal wound their way through the mountains, the Fyiama knew, and they retreated to their mountain fastnesses, guarded by narrow passes and hidden canyons. Yet a few of their hardiest, fearless warriors traced the path of the host, creeping just beneath ridgelines several miles away, tracing the dusty clouds thrown up by thousands of marching boots, listening to the distant cries of mountain birds.

    Cuthwyrd, chieftain of the Fyiama, was one of them, and at their encampment at a mountain spring, the dozen or so rangers of the mountain lounged by the quiet water. No fires lit the shaded dell and they ate dried goat meat and bread.

    "It has to be Belgrath," Edelhelm said quietly, the old man sliding a whetstone across the blade of his dagger. His cloak was wrapped around him while Cuthwyrd scooped water from the stream with a water-skin. The younger chieftain only nodded, his gray eyes sharp in the gloom.

    "I agree," Cuthwyrd answered, finally. "Nothing else in the Spine would need a host such as this to be unleashed from the Blightlands."

    He stood and hefted the bow from where it leaned against the stone-face. His gaze, turning to look at the men and women gathered around him, was grim. "Belgrath may not have the strength to hold back such an assault. They will require aid."

    "You can't mean-" Edelhelm said, sitting upright. "You'll never reach in time."

    "Not just me," Cuthwyrd said, shaking his head. "I'm sending three to Bhathairk. Rally what they can of the tribes. Four of you, stay unseen, trail them. Maintain contact with the mustering. If Belgrath falls, the Fyiama may be the only ones within the Spine with any strength to stand against Molthal. If the city falls, ensure that no Blight orc ever returns to the North alive."

    He let the words sink into the hearts of his rangers and one by one, they nodded. "I will go to do what I can to rouse the Allirian Rangers and inform Alliria. Pray to all the gods that Belgrath can hold."

    "The army should reach Belgrath within two weeks," Edelhelm said grimly. "You will be hard-pressed to arrive in time."

    Cuthwyrd said nothing, but rose and buckled his sword to his waist, slinging the filled water-skin on his baldrick. "For the forgotten kingdom."

    A murmur rose from his comrades in reply, "May its memory be preserved in our blood."

    Cuthwyrd only nodded and broke into a jog, winding his way down the mountain by the steepest, shortest paths. Stones slid beneath his leather boots and he bounded down in great leaps, letting the loose soil and detritus carry him rather than his steps.

    Yet he also knew that speed would only carry him so far, he had to evade the legion's scouts. If they caught wind of him, it would be a race to the most-distant outpost of the Allirian Rangers. From there, they had other communication methods to ensure the message traveled inland.

    The day passed in a blur as he made his way down the rocky slopes of the Spine. While wearying to travel so rapidly down the mountains, the thickening air invigorated him, while desperation urged him on, never-stopping save to refil his waterskin.

    The shadows behind him grew longer. Leagues had been devoured by his long, loping strides, yet still, he could make out the cloud following the marching legion. It spread across the mountain-peaks and hung low, obscuring their visibility, and it drove him on further.

    Time was not their ally. Not yet.
     
  2. Sortinous Bael

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    "How interesting."

    The brassy baritone voice spoke softly to its owner as his steely eyes gazed over the ridges of the Spine. Sitting atop his courser steed whose pale hair matched his own greying beard and head he could see for miles toward the great city of Belgrath, including the rising dust clouds of what he could only assume was a marching troupe. Whatever was happening it likely wasn't good, and even more so meant there would inevitably be blood.

    Perfect.

    Looking over his shoulder, Count Sortinous Bael found himself staring down the mountain range to where the Asherah Ocean breaks its waves against the rocky cliffs that make up the shore of Praetus. The rolling hills flattened out as the land reached out to the water, creating a small, beautiful landscape dotted with valleys and trees that gave way to meadows of tall grasses and flowers which eventually dropped off in sharp declines to the ocean below. He could only just make out the small blot on the landscape that was the little town of Fluerville. It had once been a bright and lively place in his childhood, but now it stood empty and deserted, just like the manor that stood over the highest cliff in the area. Chateau Secré was mostly in shambles, a scar left from a horrid event of thirty years prior that left all but one of its noble house dead in flame and blood.

    That massacre was enough to fuel the dark power that drove Sortinous to revenge for a decade, but since then he found that its potency was only to be sustained through regular rituals of blood and death. On occasion, the sacrifices were minimal so as not to draw attention, but whenever the opportunity arose to bathe his blade in the blood of those already approaching slaughter he always took it. And such an opportunity was now marching closer to home than he'd anticipated on having to go; he wasn't going to let it slip by.

    "Lord of Ruin..." The horse he sat on huffed and stamped beneath him, and he reached down to stroke its mane as he mused. "At first I didn't know if I liked it, but it's grown on me. They meant it as an insult to my family's demise... but I will make it something more."

    A gloved hand fell to his hip where his rapier hung comfortably in its scabbard. His mind was soaring away in fantasies of finding his family's murderers and finally exacting revenge. He had trained for it his whole life, and it was only a matter of time before his sword found and fell those responsible for the horror that forced his life to be as it was.

    Suddenly snapping back to reality, he caught the glimpse of something moving a mountain or two away. He narrowed his eyes and saw that it was some humanoid rushing his direction.

    "Well, well, if they want to start a fight early, let them come," Sortinous remarked with a smirk breaking over his face. With a hya and a kick, the courser raced forward along the rocky paths that crossed over the mountain, darting right for his new visitor. "This is going to be fun!"
     

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