Elves in a Corner

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    • The capital city of Epheltilion, the Jewelroof Halls or Anthalac Athon in the dialect of the Epheltilian Trewi, is located in a deep ravine carved by the river Nyir on its way down from the Cloudbrow Fells towards its fork with the Euphoron that marks the northernmost border of Mossenhome. The green-clad banks of the ravine are dappled with houses partially dug into the cliffside, and is surprisingly difficult to spot until one is practically on top of it. Many passages lead out of the ravine into the surrounding forests, each guarded by a gatehouse.

      Such has been the elaborate work of the waters in this place that much of the hidden city is actually under open sky, the light of the sun filtering through a thick canopy to the narrow streets (the "jewel roof" refers to the sun-lit leaves above the city). In the city there are many stables for horses and very few for Unicorns, some roosts for Eagles and Dragonhawks, and a singular grand corral within which graze the prized deer steeds of the Bronze Riders.

      The Bronze Riders were once the personal guard of the Allwarden ruling over the realm, but have for generations grown to eventually form their branch of the military, the Ranger Knights of Anthalac Athon. They are elite hunters and cavalrymen that deliver devastating precision strikes against the more major threats that the Watchers and the Sentinels can't snuff out at the border.

      As is tradition, the Allwarden still rides with his Bronze Riders whenever war comes to Epheltilion, striking out at the most formidable foe in any battle to honour the ancient hunters' traditions in Wyscan.

      Done some painting at last! Now 50% of my Heath Riders and 10% of my Wild Huntsmen are painted :D Man that WH colour scheme was a pain to come up with (and ended up going with the one of my Sylvan Archers with bronze thrown in), for the longest while the cloak on that "test dummy" was dark red...
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      "You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?" -Death
      Phae's Pointy-Ear Blog: Elves in a Corner

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Phaeoron ().

    • The Lord Warden's children number nine, from the first born Sarangil having left to strike out a fortune of his own to Sarnil, the banner-bearer of his father barely out of childhood. The second eldest, Sarathirya, found love in a neighbouring province when the son of the Prince was in visit for a victory celebration of a joint campaign.

      On the right in the picture, Sarathil saw rigorous training to groom him as an heir to the Seat of House Saronn, but felt the call of the wilds stronger than the intricacies of politics and effectively abandoned his heritage as he joined the Epheltilian Pathfinder Kindred.

      Pictured in the middle we have Sarna the Forsaken. Also known as sarna the Faceless, she is an enigmatic figure of Epheltilian gossip as her existence seems actively forgotten by her father. As soon as her sire's gaze fell upon her with hopes of successorship after her elder brother's joining with the Briar Shrikes, her mildly mischievous nature turned to open rebellion and she soon sook out unfavourable company with a band of wandering bards. She was mezmerized by the grace of the narrative body language of the Blade Dancers and ran off with the group known as Evenwind's Whisper. Their leader, Vildaara Rainmaker, was rumoured to be a witch, and it has been speculated that she charmed the Allwarden's daughter, but the gossips closest to the court know to tell that the signs of Sarna's imminent escape were long in the air even before the arrival of the blade dancers. The band now resides within the castle city of Filtacraelis up in the Birch Towers highlands, having sworn their blades to the Lady of the Realm, Ildirya Starbearer. The Faceless Daughter is still rumoured to fight with the band, having learned the shadowy ways of the band's sorcerous matriarch.

      On the left in the picture stands Sarthas Fallbringer, the middle child. His was always the path of the warrior, swordplay being the greatest of his ambitions. He is the one who brought the traditions of the Forest Guardians to Epheltilion, having travelled in his youth with his eldest brother to the capital of wyscan to squire for a respectable Prince. While there his skill with the blade brought him to the forest Guardian Kindred's leading figures, and he was taught in their ways of fighting and warfare. While there he came to own his now famous sword, Autumn, and came to bear a reputation that cast a good light upon his House. Upon his return, Sarthas immediately petitioned his father for the chance of founding a Forest Guardian kindred in epheltilion, and the Redleaf Guard that he still marches with is to this day the most esteemed example of its kind among the relatively few companies of Forest Guard in Mossenhome. Unlike many of his siblings Sarthas is very capable of navigating the social spider's web of the Epheltilian court, and his father has great plans for his future. Sarthas has taken under his personal protection his younger brother Sargael also known as the Dreamseer, one of the land's most talented mages but completely inept at anything resembling communication. The ridicule of the nobles is at times viciously cutting, and had Sarthas not been there to guide his brother out of harm's way Sargael could very well have stayed indefinitely with his master and teacher in the Guild Halls of the Ivory Willow, the training grounds of most of Epheltilian Druids.

      Younger than these are but the sisters Sareena and Sariya, and Sarnil who is but a boy yet.

      Again some old paintjobs, but Sarthas I'm actually still quite happy with (the redcloaked dude with the hugea*s sword on the left). Sarna in the middle was a Shadowdancer, but now she is seeking her place in my lists as it is quite vital for her background to be an able fighter and a shadow mage (so wizard's hood with the random paths thing won't cut it :| ). Sarathil One-Arrow y'all know from a coupla posts ago as a Pathfinder Chieftain, and he is actually the character I built the Epheltilian lore around as I played him before in an RPG.
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      "You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?" -Death
      Phae's Pointy-Ear Blog: Elves in a Corner

      The post was edited 2 times, last by Phaeoron ().

    • Sorry for this post, I got some minis in the works I promise :D It's just that I spend waaay too much time thinking on this stuff and need to occasionally splurge.

      Making your own special characters
      This is something I always do for my armies. These are the character models from my 2400/2500p main Sylvan list, with random notes about their appearance and equipment. They are gameofthronesy nepotist nobles that rule a patch of land and thusly have the commanding positions of the military largely covered by family. From the left:

      Sarathil One-Arrow, a Pathfinder Chieftain. A headstrong unconformist.
      -Waywarden's Greens (Light Armour & Elven Cloak).
      -Biterleaf & Severfang, a sword and dagger (Screaming Swords).
      -Grey Silence, a longbow (with Master Archer's arrows).
      -Amulet of Fey Devilry (Gemstone Amulet).
      -Nathlainn, a Naiad spirit companion.
      -Around 30ish in human years (in maturity, not necessarily corporeal age).

      Sarthas Fallbringer, a Forest Guardian. The pretty one among his brothers, a Mary Sue type cool guy.
      -Autumn, a greatsword (Whirlwind Blade).
      -Wyrdskin Armour (Light Armour & Forest Guardian's Cloak).
      -Black Cloud, a longbow.
      -Haldyggr, a Sylph spirit companion.
      -Around 25ish in human years.

      Sargael Dreamseer, a High Druid of the Third Circle of Nature. The weird one, shy and blunt.
      -Dreamer's Horns, or the Horned Owl Helm, a ceremonial headdress (Tome of Arcane Lore).
      -Feather Mantle of the Horned Owl (used to represent a ward talisman back when I had the points for it :rolleyes: ).
      -Emerald Dream, a longbow (Bow of Wyscan).
      -Samuthlaus, a Sprite spirit companion.
      -Around 20ish in human years.

      Lord Sarthaengil Gladevenger of House Saronn, a Wild Huntsman Prince. Stern and aloof, a distant and cool (emotionally) man.
      -Faerie Queens Tear, an amulet (Ward 5+).
      -Vigilance & the Moss Mirror (Sylvan Lance & Shield).
      -Deathrain, a longbow (with the Hail Shot).
      -Antler Crown (Helm of the Wild Hunt).
      -Daemon Hunter's Cuirass (Light Armour & Elven Cloak).
      -Caor, the Great Red Elk.
      -No singular spirit companion, Sarthaengil has been surrounded by a host of spirits since his pilgrimage into the deep woods in his youth.
      -Around 55ish in human years, didn't put down a number since I don't know how elves age (in my mind they live to like 350 years max).

      I make up a story about who a character is when I begin paperhammering them into existence, and there's usually one or two items that define the feel of the character, in addition to the mini of course if I have that before the concept. This has been problematic for me in 9th because of the changing editions and points costs, so I've really had to wrack my brain to keep the characters who they are while being forced to change their sets. Needless to say it has been sincerely fun.

      So yeah, I'll get back to miniature stuff soon, got some in the works and hopefully presentable soon. Sarthaengil's model has been primed and basecoated since that pic was taken, BTW.
      "You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?" -Death
      Phae's Pointy-Ear Blog: Elves in a Corner
    • The current state of my "Sentinels", the non-professional part of the Epheltilian military. So much to paint still ;(
      Sylvan Archers = Weald Sentinels
      Forest Guard = Thorn Sentinels
      Heath Riders = Wind Sentinels
      Sylvan Sentinels = Bane Sentinels

      I'm finishing the two Archers I got under works today hopefully, and maybe dabble at something fun at the same time (another Wild Hunter, my Dryad Matriarch conversion, maybe start my Blade Dancers...). The FG "champ" looks deliberately dreadelfy since in 8th he was my DE Manticore rider in case the beast got shot down.

      In other news, got to drawing again. Made a map for my corner of Wyscan with its major settlements and drew up army composition charts for them (*in the voice of Homer Simpson: NEEEERRRDD!!*).

      Jewelroof Halls (Anthalac Athon), the capital city of Epheltilion.
      A deep ravine is carved in the forest by the Nyir river rushing down from the hills of the Birch Towers. A canyon, wider at the bottom than at the level of the forest floor, hides a bustling city under a canopy of beech, pine, birch, oak and fir. The ancestral seat of House Saronn lies at the city's core, in the Mosswall Citadel at the base of the Silvermist Falls, at the very beginning of the ravine.

      Winter Palace (Filtacraelis), the castletown of the Birch Towers highlands.
      A city of white stone towering over thickets of white-barked birch trees is crowned by the Winter Palace of the Faerie Queen. Lady Ildirya Nightglow, companion and wife of the Lord Protector of Epheltilion and in effect the co-ruler of the realm rules in these lofty halls.

      Guild Halls of the Ivory Willow (Aergwynedh Quadann), home of Epheltilion's Druidic Order.
      Druid Lord Oronduir Worldwhisper has taught generations of druids in this sacred place at the fork of Nyiphoron in the heart of the wild Mossenhome fens. Forest spirits and stranger things still are drawn here by the life energies of the ageless wetlands. The small army protecting the Guild Halls has drawn in a small town's worth of elves as well.

      Singing Winds Hollow (Gan Neidh Gawahd), a city in the roots of the eldest beech in Epheltilion.
      Blade Dancers are an enigmatic kind of folk, but none more so than Lady Vildaara Rainmaker, the ruling princess of this city and the leader of the Kindred of Evenwind's Whisper. Also known as the Whispering Witch, she has under her command every Blade Dancer in Epheltilion, and this city is the home of their Kindred Halls.
      "You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?" -Death
      Phae's Pointy-Ear Blog: Elves in a Corner
    • Short Story 4 - Songs in the Wind
      Display Spoiler

      They were two on their magnificent birds of prey that came to greet us from the southern highlands. Sharply pointed wings and alert keennes in the eyes came the great falcons of war, darting with grace and speed even Falachra was uncapable of. The riders seemed as one with their mounts, shifting their weight a split second before the sharp turns came, never waivering, never flinching.

      They greeted me sternly yet not entirely without friendship, and proceeded to guide me down to castletown of the Winter Palace, my home. Straight to the Palace they took me, no time for distractions and reunions.

      Long before landing I could see there was trouble afoot. Never before had the white walls been dotted with so many Birchcloaks, speartips and white hoods gleaming in contest with the white stonework of the battlements. The city seemed crowded, masses camped within and without of the protection of the walls seeking shelter from some vile threat so clearly present I could almost taste it in the air. Falachra sensed something amiss as well, her head shooting from side to side trying to see the evil hidden in the woods.

      Talons scraped flagstones as we were greeted by the citadel's soldiery. Spears at the ready they exchanged quick words with the Skywatchers escorting me who soon took off again to continue their lofty watch. I left Falachra there on the high courtyard where some meat had been brought for her, and followed two guards inside the keep. Some stairs and corridors later I was in a room with a fireplace and some chairs, skins on the floor and some food on a corner table. A nice room, which meant nobility.

      On the chair closest to the fire I suddenly noticed her, a tall woman with very fair hair shaved off the sides of her head and braided behind her back, wearing elaborate makeup of swirling designs and a silken robe of deep chestnut brown. How was it possible that I had not before noticed her, there in plain sight and every inch of her demanding my full attention.

      There was a creamy soft quality to her voice, and I strained to catch every syllable she uttered at the flames, her full lips the most perfect thing I had ever seen. "I expected more from you." I was confused, and ruminating those words began to grow bottomlessly sad. A lump in my throat I fought back tears, trying to understand how I had already managed to disappoint this alluring stranger. With a sigh she closed her beautiful eyes, and the pit in my gut grew.

      With a slow, slow realization I came to understand something was wrong here. There was a dreamy quality to the sharpness of emotion that shook me with every slight reaction of the woman I had just met. I could hear nothing but her voice, her breathing, could see only her pearly skin with the dancing light of the flames painting a mosaic of endless fascination.

      There was a rising panic in my heart as I struggled to wrest my thoughts away from my senses flooded with yearning for this woman, and was finding myself unable. I squeezed my eyes shut and let loose scream I could barely hear, trying to force myself into reality. For I knew then I was being glamoured.

      With a jerk the world returned to me, and my voice felt shrill and hollow after the sensual fullness of the dream of the moment before. I quieted uneasily, and slowly opened my eyes to harsh white light slanting from narrow windows on the far wall. The woman was looking at me, a wry smile on her lips that now were just the mouth of a stranger to me. "There might be hope for you yet, that was quicker than most.", she said, rising from her seat. "I am Lady Vildaara, your Lord and Commander. You will follow me now."

      She took me to a table in the far corner of the room, opposite the fire. A map was there, with beastly figures set in the forests in the far south, near the roots of Nan-Gaidhnir. There were elvish figures gathered where I knew this city was. Lady Vildaara's gaze on me felt uncomfortable as I studied the scene she had set out for me. I did not know if she expected some revelation from me or was just enjoying the power she knew she held over me.

      Finally she laughed briefly and spoke, "There is something needs doing here, and I have come to the conclusion that you will accomplish it. I have spoken with Lord Oronduir, and he thinks you suitable." She grew more serious before continuing. "Halagath Fangchanter is dead.". That struck an immediate chord. Halagath was a figure of Filtacraelian legend, the city's most famous enchanter. As a child I remember watching him make the trees in the market speak. "I am short a treesinger, as seems the whole the damned realm, and there is no time to summon anyone from abroad. Since when have Epheltilian Druids been so blasé about tradition?"

      My head was spinning. I was no treesinger. What was she getting at? She looked staight at me with intensity. It was apparent that whatever quest she had lined up for me wouldn't be easy. Finally she said it, "I need you to find and awaken Aqanthammu's first born."

      There were details, theories of the whereabouts of the mighty spirit and descriptions of the local druidery that would accompany me. I remembered little of it afterwards. Oadanneigh was more a myth than a thing you could walk up to and witness for yourself. Not everyone was even sure he ever existed. I had resigned to a fate of failure and shame, and so decided to get well and utterly drunk that night.

      I seeked out a winehouse I knew from my youth, but it had changed owners and was called by a new name, the Lynx's Laugh. The winer was a man with old burns on his face, but the place itself was familiar enough. There still was a large fireplace, the huge tables of polished chestnut were still there although the chairs had been replaced and the impressive brass chandelier loomed overhead that I remembered from years back.

      Some goblets in I noticed the tavern quiet down around me, lights dimming when lamps were covered with translucent hoods. The room was crowded with anticipation. Then hooded figures bearing torches came into view on a dais in the back, creating a ring of fire on the center of which they gathered. Deep drum started in the darkness behind the dais, and other instruments slowly joined the rhythm.

      After a short prelude the music suddenly surged into a faster beat, and the hoods and the cloaks were cast aside on the dais. Dancer bards started on an acrobatic choreography, spinning, weaving and leaping around and over each other. They were of the Evenwind's Whisper, the only Dancer Kindred in Epheltilion. They had performers in every major settlement, and were believed by some to have unsavoury aspirations of the criminal nature. They made a good show in any case, and their songs were heard deep into the night.
      "You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?" -Death
      Phae's Pointy-Ear Blog: Elves in a Corner

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Phaeoron ().

    • Spirits stir in the wetlands. Fresh shoots peek from under dead foliage despite the lateness of the fall, cowing soon in the cool morning air. Birds quiet, beasts twitch their ears nervously.

      Without a sound, she glides into view. An elaborate net of roots and branches moving below her waist like some strange garment, steadily carrying her over the leaf-covered mosses. Sharp groans like those of branches being twisted beyond breaking emanate from her throat as she seems to be chattering with the remains of some long dead humanoid impaled in her wooden talons.

      Truatha is a strange form of life roaming the Mossenhome Fens. An ancient dryad witch with an infamously short temper, the Grove Hag is swift in dealing retribution to defilers of her sacred homeland.
      "You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?" -Death
      Phae's Pointy-Ear Blog: Elves in a Corner
    • A better picture, gotta love that sunlight.

      The mini is made up from: the "hem of roots" from the beard of a treeman ancient; torso, hair and staff end from a briar maiden; head and arms from dryad kits as well as the spites and the leaves on the ground.

      "You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?" -Death
      Phae's Pointy-Ear Blog: Elves in a Corner
    • Short Story 5 - Black and White
      Display Spoiler

      Father is dead. I am not angry or particularly sad at the fact. There's a dull emptiness in me when I think on my undying wish to see Father rise up from his chair, cast away the bottle and gaze upon a new future with a determination he never had. I am sad in knowing that future will never be. I am angry at how easily Mother communicated the news to me.

      Painful disappointment has turned to coldness towards me in Mother's heart. I dreaded our reunion, only to find something worse than I could imagine. I was treated like any passer by, greeted by servants and offered a meal and a room. I met Mother the next morning, and couldn't be out of the manor sooner. Carughal has nothing for me anymore.

      In the broad daylight the Winter Palace is an impressive sight. High walls of white stone glitter in the sun coolly, and the castle tower watches over the city protectingly. Falachra likes it here. Most of the eyries of Epheltilian Great Eagles lie in these hills, and I can almost sense the nostalgia in my companion's heart as distant cries echo down to the castletown.

      We are gathered in the high courtyard, on top of the battlements where I and Falachra first landed. There's a ragtag bunch of elves here, a stark contrast to the white-clad Birchcloaks manning the walls. The air of anticipation is palpable in the group obviously thrown together in haste. By their gear I can make no assumptions beyond the fact that they are prepared for a journey into the wild wood, as am I. There are perhaps forty in total, men and women, slender and strong, young and seasoned.

      All quiet down as Lady Vildaara struts into view from the shadow of the tower. Her retinue of Blade Dancers glide on the courtyard gracefully, pride in their eyes. The Lady pauses dramatically before addressing us. "A great quest lies upon you, my chosen few. You must achieve the impossible and awaken a myth. We the hunters risk becoming prey. As we have defended the Forest in the past, now the Forest needs to arise in our aid."

      The silence following that announcement was deafening. I had been briefed in about the War Herd threatening the southern border, but to announce so bluntly that we need help sounded grave indeed. I saw worry in the others' faces as well.

      Lady Vildaara approached us, group by group, organizing us by some predetermined functions. When she came to me she had two men with her. Both had fair hair, but the other was almost ancient by age while the other around my age. "Heloth and Garandagar, the only house druids I could find who could wind ride and knew anything about the Path of Shadows." So, this is my conclave. An awkward thought, commanding ones so clearly more experienced than myself. I haven't commanded anyone since I left Carughal!

      They wore ash black cloaks matching mine, by the Lady's urging I feared, and scowled at me suspiciously. And she called them house druids in front of me! Does she actively seek my failure in this? (House druids are what the druids taught at the Guild of the Ivory Willow call those taught elsewhere. Inferior stock, basically.) At least they could ride.

      No eagles on this trip, though. In the deep woods they would be wasted, having to wait up for the main group while requiring huge amounts of provisions. We travelled by foot since these grounds were too dangerous even for the praised wyscani steeds in hands as inexperienced as mine and many others of our number.

      We started climbing almost immediately after leaving the city. We had four pathfinders with us as guides, and more than a dozen archers of the Bitterhail Guard for protection. The rest were druids of varying degrees of skill. If I was supposed to be the one suitable for this task, then by any standard these mystics were good for nothing.

      By our fourth day in the wild, I had gotten to know most of our group. We had no leadership outside the pathfinder chieftain guiding our way, and the archers mostly kept to their own, but the druids I had to get to know. We had seven adepts of Wilderness, nine of Nature, and three that knew some of both. One fire druid, my two shadow adepts, and one of the Path of Light.

      I was surprised by my short conversations with them revealing that they actually knew their stuff. Only two of them had ever been to the Ivory Willow guild halls, and none had studied there, yet many of them seemed much more at ease with their craft than I was. Maybe the Willow was overrated as the first seat of knowledge in matters of the arcane in the realm?

      I befriended many of our retinue on our way, but the two shadow druids appointed as my assistants I never got close with. Maybe they truly resented me, or maybe I just feared they did, but all my interaction with them felt clumsy and forced. They eyed me warily, and rolled their eyes when I tried to initiate conversation, yet they spoke courteously enough. I felt stuck.

      One night I was chasing sleep in my bedrolls as I felt an ominous turn in the wind. Soon our sentry cried alarm and our camp was up in commotion.

      In the darkness I could make out menacing grunts and growls amidst the sounds of clashing steel. By the sound of it our sentry was quickly dispatched as the rest of the waking party was drawing weapons. I cluthed my trusty falchion listening to the sound of hooves enclosing fast.

      A new round of desperate cries arose as the wildhorn hunters stormed into view in the clearing. In the moonlight their crude armour gave a dull but eerie glow in contrast to bright elven steel. In a blink there was a snarling beast in front of me giving off the stench of its last kill through its clenched fangs. I think I screamed then as I raised my weapon and lunged.

      A sharp cut downwards gave a satisfying crunch as my feral assailant howled in pain and swung wide with its crude cleaver. I chopped twice more, and the thing went down with an awful gurgle emanating from its throat. I turned to see what was going on about me.

      The sight was horrifying. All around there were two-legged beasts hacking at my comrades with primitive weapons, growling and crying wildly. A tapestry of primal violence painted before my eyes, like the ones in Carughal's grand hall but blurry and ugly, no valour to be seen, just the struggle for survival. Swords and axes rose and fell, and a hasty fireball sent one of the beasts screaming into the night. Coiling roots hindered the savage assailants who met quick mercy at the steel of our archers, and even the druids took up arms in defence of their lives and those of their brethren.

      That's when I let the darkness swelling deep inside me take me. I did not know or care how long the Shadows had been coiling around my core, but they were there now, and they were hungry. Soon I realized what I was about to let them do, and barely managed to scream, "Run, brothers! Leave them to me!"

      When I awakened, the sun was high in the sky. There was a throbbing in my head that would rip my skull in two with every heart beat, and I vomited. It took some time, and some attention from my nature-attuned colleagues, but eventually I was on my feet. I saw the destruction about me then.

      There were dozens of beasts in the clearing, perhaps close to a hundred. All were lifeless and twisted into horrible, contorted states by what I could only deduce to be my magic. The Shadows had torn deep gashes in the beasts' bodies, and their eyes still spoke of bottomless terror and suffering. Then I saw my comrades that had not been able to retreat in time, and vomited again.

      Our number was halved as we pressed on, demoralized. One pathfinder and most of our archers were slain, and only thirteen druids remained. My tiny conclave was intact but more quiet than ever. We trudged on, without incident, for another week. We ended up high on the slopes of the Nan-Gaidhnir, overlooking the Birch Towers highlands. That's when I first saw it.

      There was a creeping sickness on the land, inflicting the forests in the southeast. The autumn colours were in full bloom everywhere else, but there all trees seemed devoid of life, black branches barren against the white bark. A deathly scene, every elf could sense there was something unnatural in this shedding of leaves.

      Then we finally saw what we had been looking for. A crack in the cliffs, a split leaking light in the dark granite. The pathfinder chief just nodded gravely after raising her gaze from the map in her hands. All eyes were on me.

      Awkwardly I stepped towards the narrow passage. On the other side I found a clearing ringed with ancient birch trees, surrounded by the Nan-Gaidhnir cliffs. A tight space, almost like a natural cathedral. In the center of it all, a gnarled old birch was hunkered down over a sword roughly hewn out of dark stone, as long as two elves are tall. A branch coiled around the hilt almost like fingers...

      The realization punched my lungs dry. The myth was here. The Birch Lord, the First-Born of the Forest... Oadanneigh!
      "You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?" -Death
      Phae's Pointy-Ear Blog: Elves in a Corner

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Phaeoron ().

    • Got started on my Avatar of Nature!

      First layer of paint looks too light, I might have to wash it down closer to a birchy black. The blade is a mess at the moment, but I have high hopes as to what a few black washes can accomplish there: I'm aiming for it to look like the ent used his gnarled talons to hew the thing out of a boulder. Might have to redo the "chip marks" along the edges lighter to bring them out versus the "veins of marble" on the blade's bulk, but we'll see how that works out.

      Hopeful :girlloveintheair:

      In other news, Short Story 6 - The Stirring
      Display Spoiler

      For the longest while I simply stared at the monumental birch tree towering above me in the sunlight. The humble thicket of smaller briches surrounding this cliff-ringed clearing hewn into the fellside stood as if in reverence to this natural work of art. After studying it a while I could almost make out the features of a face high up on the trunk. The thick limbs branched out creating an umbrella of leaves making dry noises in the gentle breeze, but I kept awing at the one reaching out for the stone sword standing blade down before the giant birch, facing the narrow entryway.

      After a while my comrades started pouring in one by one, only a couple of sentries being left outside. The druids' reactions varied from religious dread to slight amusement of novelty, but no one denied we had found what we had come for. Whether what we came here to do was at all possible seemed debatable. Indeed, I had not the first idea as to how to go about waking this ancient spirit, provided it still resided here (or ever did). I walked slow circles around the massive tree, sliding my hand on the rough, white bark, attempting to sense the sentience within. I hummed some spells Master Oronduir had taught me that I felt could be relevant. Nothing.

      Hours passed. The druids swarmed about the tree, some eager and others reluctant, mumbling enchantments and singing spells. The archers were laughing and eating rations, most engaged in some game obviously involving gamble. As night fell I sat there, exhausted, my back against the tree. My mind felt drawn out, somehow thinned. I was looked to for answers, since I was supposed to be hand picked champion from the Ivory Willow to see this quest through. Yet I came up short.

      The stars' movements above me drew my attention as I sat there in a semi-meditative state. The branches swayed in the nigh still night air while the cold white light filtered through them. The stars crept not towards the west but swarmed like midges in Mossenhome at midsummer. Their meandering reminded me of the will-o-wisps lit by the forest shadows when they danced upon the dark pools of the fens. I was mezmerised.

      Then I noticed I was slowly coming closer to them. The lights' dance grew sharper and faster, and soon I was close enough to see that they were in fact little silvery flames hopping on a surface like a dark mirror, creating ripples every time they changed direction. I was looking at them from below, through this smokey surface, as I realized the wetness on my face. When was the last time I drew breath?!

      I swam upwards my lungs burning for a breath. The will-o-wisps made way as I surfaced with a splash, voraciously sucking down the forest-scented air. As I calmed I looked about me to see that I was in a small pool deep in the Mossenhome Fens. The moss-glazed vegetation all around me glistened in the moonlight with moisture. A huge, white full moon looked down on me from between the canopy. Strange, it was supposed to be new moon this night.

      I was out of the pond, and the Shadows were all around me. Of the many forest spirits these felt the most familiar, and the most terrifying. They studied me with eyes I could not see, but knew were not entirely friendly. They were slowly putting out their faerie fires, and the I too felt the new presence.

      Right across from me sat an ancient thing I could not describe. It was giving off a radiance, and though I could see the spirit clearly, my mind was somehow unable to understand what I was seeing and I cannot to this day tell how the spirit looked like at all. Its age was however apparent. I could feel the sadness that millennia of existence had burdened it with, and was almost crushed by it myself.

      Some ways beyond the ancient spirit was a nexus of all-permeating presence of life. It was everywhere about in me, in every leaf and root, but in some strange way I could tell it was coming closer or focusing its attention on us, and that filled me with dread and awe. It was the Mother of the Forest, I knew, and it spoke. "Arise, my child." No words were used yet I understood perfectly what was said. The ancient spirit stood up, and the forest came crashing down around me.

      I awakened as the great birch stirred. I more felt than heard the deep rumble from its roots that soon turned to deafening groans of twisting wood as the Birch Lord came back to life. The gnarled trunk was actually made up of two huge legs knee deep in the dirt that now came apart. Many limbs fell off the tree leaving a roughly elf-like shape crouched over the huge carved sword. A pale green light burned in two eyes that opened in the head that twisted forward from the tree's trunk with violent snaps. The statuesque blade was hefted effortlessly off the ground.

      Suddenly it was absurdly quiet. Oadanneigh regarded us slowly one by one, scared intruders in a shrine of a bygone world where they belonged not. I didn't know what to do, so I started singing.

      It was a tune everyone knew, a lullaby with no sensible words but some language-like structure in its sounds that kept the listener intrigued. Master Oronduir told me it was a song taught by the forest to the elves when they first came to Wyscan and were accepted by the forest to remain, by which all the spirits of the Great Forest would know the elves belonged to it, and so it was taught to every elf from birth because it could one day save their life. One by one all my companions joined in, and the Birch Lord listened in silence.

      The morning sun came as we were among ourselves discussing how to communicate our needs to the ancient forest spirit. The elves began to leave the shrine one by one to more freely discuss the events, away from the towering treefather that watched their every move, unblinking. Then, when most of us were gone, Oadanneigh suddenly took a long step towards the passage out of the clearing, and then another. Soon he was out among the main group, and we decided to simply go and see if he would follow.

      He did. We had succeeded. Whether that was for the best remained to be seen.
      "You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?" -Death
      Phae's Pointy-Ear Blog: Elves in a Corner

      The post was edited 2 times, last by Phaeoron ().

    • Short Story 7 - Strange Tidings

      Display Spoiler

      Home. The one place in the realm I wouldn't care to revisit.

      I tolerate the cities' comforts from time to time to get my body rested properly and hear the latest news of signifigance. Alas, the Jewelroof Halls, the largest settlement of Mossenhome, is not large enough for my self and Father. He always seems to know when I'm back.

      This time I am summoned, which is worse. The palace stirs memories I'd rather keep buried. I wonder what Father wants this time. The mightiest man this side of the Cloudbrow Fells takes aside the time to keep tormenting the prodigal son to show his disappointment by assigning some trivial mission to me. I have my Shrikes to captain, this family drama should cease. I've done my duty.

      I nod at the gate watch and rush through the bustling courtyard. It's a slow morning, but even the earliest few of the household staff seem to crowd me with their presence after the months in the fens. The arched corridors are more beautiful than I remember every time. The narrow windows leaking warm light high overhead illuminate the intricate architecture that somehow reminds me of things that grow in the glades.

      I press straight forward, glimpsing the branching corridors as they flash by. Every time I remember less of what lies down them. The entrance hall before the throne room is impressive as ever. The antlers of an ancient White Hart hang above the tall double doors, the legend saying the poor beast was torn apart by a raging Black Dragon that in turn was brought down by the Forest King himself. Hooded spearmen stand in silent vigil at the doors, the bleeding leaf brooches on their shoulders indicating that they are of my brother's Redleaf Guard. They push open the impressive entrance, inclining their heads as I pass them on my way inside.

      The throne room is a high hall bathed in sunlight pouring in from windows close to the ceiling. Bronze pillars green with age and in the shape of tree trunks hold up the dome of the ceiling made up of intertwining branches, seemingly growing off the six pillars of the round room. Opposite the doors on a dais lies the throne, grown by the craft of the druids from a live rowan into its current shape generations ago. The bare branches frame the back of the seat of power elegantly, holding up Father's famous helmet and lance as well as the coat of arms. Two Ranger Knights stand guard at the foot of the dais.

      Father sat the throne like he belonged to it. His back was straight, his chin up, yet he seemed relaxed in his elaborate robes as he addressed me. "Sarathil. I have news that should concern you." I couldn't help but frown as I bowed quickly, "My Lord Father." Wonder what he wants of me. Father continued, "The humans have withdrawn their timber trains from our borders, much due to your efforts on the front. Yet word has reached me that they are mustering a great force to safeguard future expeditions in the castletown of Lyomonte."

      "We knew they'd be back, there's only so much one can accomplish with ordinary sabotage. Humans love their fires." Father scoffed at that. "The spirits are growing restless. The druidic orders inform me that the Wood Mothers are losing faith in our ability to resolve this desecration." I was wary, Father was in a strange mood to divulge his thoughts so openly. "That's troubling enough.", I admitted.

      Suddenly he arose from his seat on the throne, the startling of his bodyguards by the unexpected movement betrayed by a slight twitch of their spear-clenching fingers. "If war is to be averted the humans cannot be allowed to rile the spirits up any further. Gather the most trustworthy of your Pathfinders and go to Lyomonte as fast as possible. You must dissuade the impending invasion by any means necessary. Should one more tree be felled I fear the dryads will visit vengeance upon the humans, and that means for us an open war."

      My throat felt tight. I had no inkling of how to keep an entire army of humans from marching on us. I knew better than to ask, however. I bowed curtly, uttered the word "Father" and made my exit.

      Numbers would only be against us on a mission such as this one, so I had decided on a group of only fifteen. We traveled fast and were in the shade of the Lyomonte perimeter wall the night before full moon, mere two and a half weeks after setting off from our base near the capital. The sparse houses this side of the wall were dark, and mercifully few had dogs. There was naturally a watch on the walls, but we avoided detection laughably easily, which felt unnerving. The soft scratching of our climbing hooks on the palisade roared thunderously in our ears, but the humans' watch managed to miss it entirely. Their eyesight also seemed less than ideal in starlight that was the most familiar to elvenkind.

      We made ourselves scarce from the battlement and crept on the thatched roofs of the humans' hovels, careful of any noise. Despite it being past midnight there were many humans roaming the streets below, stumbling and reeking of drink. Every now and then a town guardsman went by, using their halberds as walking sticks and making stern remarks at the stumblers-by.

      We reached a large house that was exceptionally heavily guarded. There were extensive adjoining stables, and by the number of guards this had to be the inn housing the commander of the army gathered here. We quickly determined that entry directly from the higher floors was impossible undetected, so we opted for the kitchen entrance in a shaded alley where only a single guard was leaning on his halberd.

      My shrikes stood guard as I unsheathed my knife and crept closer. The thatching made awful noises under the leather of my boots, and I nearly cringed at every step. The human was sucking smoke from smoldering herbs through a clay pipe and coughed every once in while. I was right at the edge of the roof, squatting, ready to leap. I waited for the guard to start coughing...

      There! As the hapless guard was making ready to wipe phlegm off his face, I landed on his back. The knife was in the pit beside his neck before we touched the ground as he buckled forward, too breathless to scream. My jaw clenched as I gave the handle a quick twist, waiting for my victim to cease his struggle.

      Two Shrikes came in with me. This was the only time the kitchens were quiet, after supper and before the bakers began their morning shift. We slid through the servants' corridors into the upper floors, trying to avoid the few soldiers wandering the inn in a stupor. We managed to cause no commotion and were approaching the master suite. Here, there was a guard posted at the door. The man looked half asleep but there was no way to approach unseen.

      I decided then to gamble on the aim of my best sharpshooter. I beckoned Dalaynne forward, and gave the sign I wanted the sentry dead. She nocked an arrow and fixed her attention on the man beyond the corner. I started silently at a brisk pace towards the guard the moment Dalaynne let her arrow fly; at this distance it was no trick for her to pierce the larynx in a way to turn any bellow into a soft gurgle. A few paces took me to the guard right as he fell, and I gently set him down on the floor making no sound. I signed Dalaynne to take up watch at the other end of the corridor, and entered the room.

      A candle on the nightstand, still burning. Smells of strong wine, flesh and perfume. I'll be damned, he is not alone! I carefully put out the candle and allow my eyes a few moments to adjust to the dim moonlight filtering through the panes of a painted glass window to the left. The naked form of the woman glows pale on the bed as I approach from her side, knife ready in hand.

      Swiftly but softly I grab the woman's face, my gloved hand pressing firmly on her mouth, and place the knife's edge on the throat of the quickly awakening general, applying moderate pressure to make my point. The general speaks the universal language of steel, and doesn't make a sound. I address him in the common tongue, "Does the woman know how to be quiet, or must I slit her throat before we can talk?"

      The woman stopped her writhing immediately, and an inquisitive look from the general resulted in tears and frantic nodding. The general lifted his gaze at me, and I slowly released the woman who was sobbing softly. I sheathed my knife, and the general grabbed a robe. "I trust you will parttake?", I remarked, as I poured some of the sour-smelling wine into the goblet I deemed cleanest in darkness. The general harrumphed in a way I took as compliance, and poured.

      We sat down in the darkness. The general spoke with a thick accent, "What do you want to talk about, elf?" I took a sip and replied, "Timber." The general looked annoyed, "Yes?". "Get it somewhere else. We are hard pressed to keep the forest spirits from tearing your throats as it is, with your axes and fires. Bring an army, and the ents will march."

      The general scoffed. "Takes more than folk tales to scare me. Surely you will not miss the few acres this side of the river that we need to clear to survive the winter. You elves are so petty when it comes to what you see as yours." I put down my empty goblet. "It is not us whose missing of the trees you need worry yourself about. I assure you, war is not what we want but if this expedition is carried through we must join the mighty protectors of our ancestral home in the defence of the forest." The creases on the general's forehead deepened, and there was a hint of shrill anger in his reply. "This town will freeze and starve if we have no firewood for the winter!"

      I arose then from my chair. "That is not our concern. Vow to me now by all your honour that the trees will not be harmed, or I will have to kill you". The general panted like an animal driven into a corner. Abruptly he threw his goblet at me and dashed for his sword. I wiped the wine from my eyes and drew my twin blades, the shorter Biterleaf in my left and the longer Severfang in my right. The woman was petrified on the bed, the covers drawn up to her chin and eyes wide like a madman's.

      The general drew his impressive longsword and grabbed it with both hands. His black mustache twitched as he muttered, "For the Lady!", and charged. The angle of his first cut was brilliant, coming diagonally down at me from my left from the direction that would force my wrist to the most unnatural position was I to parry. So I yielded ground, bumping into the table behind me. The second swing arced horizontally at my midsection from the right, but allowed me to spin out of the corner to the door after I redirected the blade slightly with Severfang.

      He stabbed at my chest, which gave me my chance as I swatted the blade aside with Biterleaf, preparing to strike with my right. It was a trap. He pulled the stab short, and gave me nasty gash on my chest as he reatracted his weapon. The next stab was quicker, filled with murderous intent. I managed to shove Severfang in the way of it and the longsword sank deep into the oaken door with a dull thunk. I shoved both my swords into the general in front of me who merely stared at me in disgust, his face so close to mine that I could smell the woman still on him. Then the man collapsed to the floor, and Dalaynne burst into the room.

      She signed to me that there were guards in the stairs, and our other sentry entered the room at that same moment. We took the painted window to make our exit, rousing shouts of alarm from the guards on the streets below. Our own sentries spotted us too, and we started running on the rooftops towards the looming shadow of the Nan-Gaidhnir, the Cloudbrow Fells marking the south border of our home.

      Our home, that was as of this moment at war. I had failed Father yet again.
      "You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?" -Death
      Phae's Pointy-Ear Blog: Elves in a Corner

      The post was edited 2 times, last by Phaeoron ().

    • Thank you, Vespacian! Unfortunately I must disappoint you; I will be having a coupla games this coming week, but those will be against the WDG of my cousin, @Jacovius, and the ID of a good friend, @JohannWeinberg (I have added a little fluff he wrote about his Clan Flameforger below, at the end, masked as a pathfinder's report). Speaking of which...

      Display Spoiler

      Sarathil One-Arrow of House Saronn, Waywarden of Epheltilion, the Keeper of the Paths. Lofty titles. Remains to be seen whether or not I shall keep them.

      My company of fifteen were seven by the time we were back this side of the Euphoron. Damned mayflies on their overgrown nags. We had a good head start, but it just wasn't enough. Thyren, Elethol, Nangadeir, Athlys, Balphas, Nynthiel, Raec, Taelenn. Fine Pathfinders all. A few more names to keep me up at night.

      We were set upon by a few dryads on our way to a hideout at the Sleeping Junipers' Burrow. No losses this time, but Galrynn lost an eye before a thicket shepherd intervened and beat the raving dryads into submission. The spirits sense the Wood Mothers' doubts, and attacks on elves are on the rise, I hear.

      In Sleeping Junipers' I found a surprise. Ilvaar Silverclaw, one of my most trusted Shrike Chieftains, was there waiting for me. He had news from our Shrikes up north, and a related report from the southern branch of Epheltilian Pathfinders, the Cloudstalkers of the Birch Towers highlands.

      "My Lord Waywarden", he began, bowing. I waved away the formalities, allowing him to get to the report. "I have dire tidings. There is a new invasion on the humans, and there is reason to believe the fighting will spill over to our lands." I raised an eyebrow. "There are dwarvish slaver ships anchored on the northern shores of the human lands."

      I swallowed my shock with some effort. The humans had had their hands full with infighting, as some northern settlements had begun converting to a new and violent cult that promised to end the streak of bad crops through sacrifices, the sect originating in barbaric lands beyond their borders. That was the only thing keeping us from open war with the human kingdom over their timber expeditions, as they had to commit a large part of their military resources on containing the violent uprising of the north that were bolstered by the like-minded barbarian tribes.

      Now there were slavers about, picking on the bleeding realm, and naturally they wouldn't find much good stock among the famished northerners ravaged by war. They would look to Epheltilian elves, eventually. "News of this must be taken to the capital. What do we know of the invaders?", I inquired, struggling to keep my calm.

      "We had our hawkers fly messages, and have a rough reconnaisance report from the Cloudstalkers of the southern border regarding the slavers, who, we have learned, live ways to the south of here. Yet, that is not all. The cultists that have been riling up the north of the human lands are on the march as well. Apparently they are looking to gain on the arrival of the slavers and pillage what they can in their wake. Their host is formidable, and moving in our direction, but not much else has yet been established; the Dragonhawks are on the fly to size them up. If I may, Lord, be so bold as to offer an opinion, I have to say we cannot afford to let that army free reign this close to our borders."

      My brow knotted with worry. Of course Ilvaar was right, but reacting to two armies of such magnitude this close to our borders would prove difficult at best. In any case, Father needed to know of this, as well as my failure to stifle the humans' ambitions regarding the forest. "I will be needing a swift passage to Anthalac Athon [the Jewelroof Halls, capital city of Mossenhome] at once." Ilvaar bowed swiftly, "The Skywarden has been awaiting your arrival, maybe she might be able to be of assistance, My Lord."

      Thymiel Starchaser, then. Of course she would be here, given the news I had just received. A scary woman by any measure; terribly beautiful and colder than a dryad's heart. Storm Crow some called her, for she was always aware of everything going on in the realm, and would appear whenever something foul was afoot. As she well should, being the commander of every skyborne scout in the realm. I grabbed the Cloudstalkers' report from Ilvaar and made for the stairs that would lead up to a cave on a sheer cliffside where the Skywatchers landed their mighty Kestrels, bearing news.

      After a brief and icy exchange regarding our strategy of early stage securing of the border, she provided me with an eagle and a rider to take the news to the Allwarden, my father. As the forest blurred away below the the gargantuan bird of prey I unfolded the report regarding the slaver dwarves. It read:

      "Clan Flameforger of Kol Karag

      In vast libraries, in forgotten tomes, in the minds of a few scholars specialized in history, there are stories to be found of Kol Karag. A black, sleeping mountain in the southern lands, once a home to a sprawling dwarven city long forgotten. To the world it is a dead pile of stone in a middle of no-where. The few scraps of knowledge described it a bustling city of ancient times, known for rare and peculiar gemstones and its vast production of copper and bronze.
      Kazaud bin Dharkhangron [or Cities in the Dark Under of the World] were once a well-known southern fortress-city of dwarfs. Mined into the Kol Karag [Black Mountain] were three great cities, each home to a different clan, each of them a master of a different profession. In addition, dozens of small mining colonies and -tunnels were dug into the mountain, reaching ever deeper into the volcanic stone. Centuries ago a great cataclysm struck the cities. A great earthquake crushed and rent this prosperous hold, burying the cities in rubble and sealing the network of tunnels and roads. Only a fifth of the dwarfs managed to escape to the surface. The survivors send pleads for help to the neighboring settlements. The winter was upon the ragged band of survivors so they decided to head back underground. Hopefully there was enough for them in the ruins of their homes so they could survive until help came.
      As the years went on, Kol Karag fell silent. Trading caravans found the only known gate of the Kazaud bin Dharkhangron sealed by stone and molten rock. No signs about survivors were found and the world accepted that Kol Karag was dead and buried. But under the mountain, a great undertaking had begun…

      Kazaud bin Dharkhangron is a small nation built upon the ruins of its former self. One of the cities is still almost impassable pile of boulders and ruins but two of the three major cities have been regained. The first city, Skarrenruf Kazad [sky-blue city], is the closest one to the Onyx Gate and it was the city that the survivors first settled in. It is the main source of seastone that is used as a light-source, due to its soft, teal glow. It is also where most of the barracks and craftsmen are situated, alongside with mushroom-farms and breweries.

      Izor Kazad [Copper City] is the current capital and is situated below Skarrenruf Kazad. From here king Magnus Spangelhelm, queen Magta Spangelhelm and the council of Guilds rule the underground nation. Both the Hall of Laws and the main temple of the Forgefather are situated in the central plaza. Because of this the Crownguard, elite soldiers and bodyguards of the king, act as guards across the city. Izor Kazad is also the main route to the mining tunnels and houses the largest forges in all of Kol Karag.

      Grong Kazad [Anvil City] is the third city and is located in the deepest known parts of the underground nation. It was the old capital of Kazaud bin Dharkhangron where the powerful runesmiths of old lived and worked. Countless treasures are told to be found in this ruined city and almost third of the nations workforce is directed to clear it from underneath collapsed ceiling. The task seems hopeless as the oldest miners have determined the rubble unclearable because of the risk of further cave-ins. Nevertheless, the toiling never ceases as more and more workers and slaves are sent to clear Grong Karaz.

      These three underground cities and a dozen smaller mining towns are home to a hardy folk of dwarven Flameforger-clan, formed by the survivors of the Rending 300 years ago. Due to the hardships they have faced they are bound by ties stronger than mere blood. Centuries of hard work for survival and rebuilding of their ruined homes have left them with harsh morals, open minds for new innovations and borderline fanatic devotion for their clan and families. They have also a deep-rooted grudge for all outsiders, their sorrow and loss twisting during the course of decades into bitterness and spitefulness. Dwarfs from other holds are tolerated but not trusted, as they are seen as liars and oathbreakers for not coming for their kins aid during the Rending.

      Unlike their brethren who mostly worship their god-ancestors, dwarfs of the Flameforge-clan are devoted believers of Forgefather who, according to the dwarven priests, created both the world and the dwarfs. The highest mountainpeaks were given to dwarfs to inhabit and from the slag left over were created rest of the races. Teachings of the Forge decree that the dwarfs should protect and guide the other races, as they are too weak, both mentally and physically, to rule themselves. It is also the guidance of the Forgefather that lead the clan to an amazing [and in the eyes of other races, heretical] source of power: the essence of daemons. With the combined efforts of runesmiths and priests the dwarfs of Kol Karag are able to break down daemons into raw energy and bind them into runes of great power, even providing living beings with some of the daemonic energy. Currently king Magnus is the only one who has survived the process with their mind intact.

      For centuries the dwarfs of Kol Karag kept their survival secret, making no contact with the odd traveler or caravan coming close to the mountain. Every now and then part of the clan embarks on a slavehunt, capturing strong individuals, killing the weaklings and making sure to cover all signs of their presence. Mostly these slaves consist of orcs, ogres and beastmen, men and elves being too weak and soft for the work slaves are used. For the past three years, however, the queen and the Mouth of the Forge Magta Spagngelhelm has ventured with her retinue to neighboring towns and cities with demands of reparation. Towns refusing these demands have suffered storms of choking ash and at least two towns have been found razed completely, their walls crumbled and melted and all valuables stolen. The larger cities, most notably nearest human settlements to Kol Karag, have been informed that their past crimes against Kazaud bin Dharkhangron will be reimbursed either with gold or blood."
      "You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?" -Death
      Phae's Pointy-Ear Blog: Elves in a Corner

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Phaeoron ().

    • More setting for the battles to come:
      Display Spoiler

      The halls echo softly as the supple, worn leather of my boots kisses the stone floors repeatedly. To be Sarathil is to bear ill news, I lately feel. My Father's guards incline their heads respectfully as I pass under the White Hart's Antlers, as always, betraying nothing of the inner workings of their minds. Father looks as if he knew exactly the moment I would choose to enter as he sits sprawled upon his throne.

      My bow is brief as I remove the hood from my head. He fixes his gaze upon me straightening his back. I concentrate not to flinch. The moment draws out as we but stare each other down. Then, Father's chin rises inquisitively.

      "The human would not listen.", I report bluntly. Father disengages his eyes from mine with a frustrated sigh. "Alas, that is not the chief among our concerns, Lord Father.", I hastily continue. Pinching the bridge of his nose, Father's eyes remain shut as he snarls, "I know". Not knowing how to respond, I curtly bow again. Father's eyes flash open, his forehead still resting upon his fist. After a measuring glance, he rises from his throne.

      Father's tone is strict. "You are summoned here, Keeper of the Paths, to sit in council over the intelligence we have gathered of the forces moving about our borders." Father's gaze wanders to the tall double doors from which I entered as Thymiel Starchaser glides into the throne room almost soundlessly. "My Lord Allwarden", she utters in greeting as she takes a bow. "Keeper of the Winds", Father responds, "Report".

      "My Lord, the human city of Horil, their northernmost fortified settlement, lies in contested ruins. The barbarians of the north coast have struck a devastating blow there, and the garrison is soon to give out. The slaver dwarves are camped just north of it, ready to march. Semartus, the city closest to our border, has fallen at last." Father's jaw clenches. His piercing gaze is fixed somewhere behind myself and the Skywarden.

      Thymiel carries on with her report, "The legions of the Fallen Paladin General are on the march, Lord. They have torn a bleeding gash through the north of the human realm on their way west from Ortarius, towards us. The humans' defences are in tatters, the garrison of Lyomonte castletown is the last remnant of strength north of their capital. The Dark Paladin's army regroups within the walls of Semartus after their brief siege; they sit between us and the dwarves, but it is unlikely they would seek open conflict with the slavers. They watch as the dwarves gnaw at the human lands, see what destruction they wreak, and then swoop in to profit on the mayhem."

      Father doesn't turn to look at the Keeper of the Winds as he inquires, "That is not everything." Thymiel swallows. "It is but a rumour, Lord, but... There is talk of a Daemon Lord marching with Jacovius of Ortarius. The humans' armies seem unable to even stall his progress." Father scoffs, but says nothing. He knew Jacovius before he became what he is now, back when the humans respected the waystones and kept their hatchets out of our woods. To think on it looks to be causing him pain, yet it takes a son to notice the subtle signs of it on his stern face.

      Father's eyes turn to search the Skywarden. "And the dwarves?" I clear my throat before intervening, "My Lord Father, having compiled the report of the Cloudstalkers with the intelligence of my Shrikes, I believe I have a reasonably accurate assumption of what we are facing. Father, I believe Spangelhelm is come." That strikes a cord. Father has some hidden history with the slaver lord he refuses to talk about. He looks worried at the news, however, squeezing the armrest of the throne white knuckled.

      "Father?", I speak, concerned. Father's reply is far from consoling. "Last time I saw Magnus Spengelhelm his pet burned down the Halls of Spring Brooks far in the south, the ancestral home of our kin." I have nothing to say to that. I have heard of the Burning of the Spring Brooks, a massacre of a scale beyond the count of grief.

      A similar purge happened recently when the human city of Ortarius turned with Jacovius the Forsaken to the Dark Powers, as the following siege was broken after eight months of starvation with Jacovius himself at the vanguard. It is said none of the siegers nor any of the unconverted inhabitants escaped that day.

      We are in for one hell of a fight.

      Safeguard of the Jewelroof Halls (my list)
      Display Spoiler

      Sarthaengil Gladevenger the Allwarden - 321p
      Wild Hunter Kindred 35
      -Caor, Great Elk 50
      -Hail Shot 30
      -Antler Crown (Helm of the Wild Hunt) 20
      -Faerie Queen's Tear (Talisman of Greater Shielding) 25
      -Daemonhunter's Leathers(LA), Elven Cloak, Moss Mirror (Shield) 0+8+5
      -Vigilance (Sylvan Lance) 15
      -Deathrain (Longbow) 3

      Sargael Dreamseer the Spellwarden - 245p
      HIGH DRUID 185
      Level III Nature 0
      -Dreamer's Horns (Tome of Arcane Lore) 25
      -Emerald Dream (Bow of Wyscan) 35


      Sarthas Fallbringer the Bladewarden - 142p
      CHIEFTAIN 70
      Forest Guardian Kindred 30
      -Wyrdskin (Light Armour) 0
      -Black Cloud (Longbow) 2
      -Autumn (Whirlwind Blade) 40

      Sarathil One-Arrow the Waywarden - 125p
      CHIEFTAIN 70
      Pathfinder Kindred 25
      -Biterleaf & Severfang (Screaming Swords) 10
      -Amulet of Fey Devilry (Gemstone Amulet) 15
      -Waywarden's Greens (Light Armour) 0
      -Grey Silence (Longbow) 2
      -Black Arrows 3

      Truatha the Grove Hag - 115p
      Level I Wilderness 20
      -Aspect: Scarred Bark 40


      CORE 646p
      Redleaf Guard - 141p

      Tinewind Guard - 224p
      -Black Arrows 4ppm
      -Champion 10

      Wayward Sons - 107p

      Fen Daughters - 174p
      15 DRYADS-Champion 10p
      -Hatred (Scarred Bark)


      SPECIAL 477p

      Ranger Knights - 330p
      -Shields 3ppm
      -Standard 10
      -Gleaming Icon 5

      Dragonhawks - 147p
      -Light Armour 4ppm
      -Skirmish 5ppm


      RARE 427p
      Briar Shrikes - 192p

      Aqanthammu - 235p
      -Impaling Roots 20

      Reaver Throng of the Clan Flameforger ( @JohannWeinberg )
      Display Spoiler


      Overlord Magnus Spangelhelm
      -Debt & Oath [Blade of Strife]
      -Infernal Armour
      -Runeweave Cloak [Talisman of Greater Shielding]
      -Daemon Infusion [Gauntlets of Madzhab]
      -Daemon Infusion [Mask of the Furnace]
      =235 pts.

      Prophet Magta Spangelhelm
      -Rod of the Forgefather [Book of Arcane Power]
      -Pendant of the Matriarch [Gem of Fortune]
      -Stonesigil [Hardened Shield]
      -Infernal Armour & Weapon
      -3rd level wizard with path of the Forge
      =290 pts.

      Hobgoblin Chieftain Gobl & Mang the Warg
      -Blessed Shovel
      -Light Armour
      =83 pts.

      2 X 21 Clansmen [Infernal Warriors]
      -Hand Weapon & Shield
      -Heavy Armour
      -Standard Bearer
      =183 pts./unit

      20 Stoneshapers [infernal Warriors]
      -Great Weapon
      -Heavy Armour
      -Standard Bearer with Icon of Iron Bull [BoS]
      =240 pts.

      14 Depthguard [Infernal Warriors]
      -Heavy Armour
      =131 pts.

      20 Crownguard [Immortals]
      -Infernal Weapon & Shield
      -Infernal Armour
      -Standard Bearer with Igniting Banner-Musician
      =310 pts.

      30 Broken Slaves
      -Two Hand Weapons
      -Light Armour
      =150 pts.

      Bronze Wyrm-cannon [Volcano Cannon]
      =120 pts.

      Knorri's Contraption [Gunnery Team]
      -Armour Piercing (1)
      =50 pts.

      3 Volcanic Spirits [Kadim Incarnates]
      -Fly (6)
      =175 pts.

      Drakklyn A Karag [Kadim Titan]
      =350 pts.

      Autumn Brigade of Ortarius ( @Jacovius )
      Display Spoiler


      Daemon Prince(ss)520pts

      • Wizard Master 160pts PATH OF LUST
      • Plate Armor 60pts
      • Hellish Grace 25pts
      • Waste Hardened skin 30pts
      Lord of Chaos 240pts

      • Lust 20pts
      • Bluffer’s Helm 35pts
      • Spear of Gagnir 25pts
      • Wrath 10pts
      • Flail 3pts
      • Oskander Jarl 40pts

      Barbarian Chieftain98pts

      Harbringer of Chaos115pts

      - Lust 10pts

      - Paired Weapons 5pts


      Wasteland Warriors (24) 336pts

      • Lust 24pts
      • Musician 10pts
      • Standard Bearer 10pts
      Wasteland Warriors (24) 408pts
      • Lust 24pts
      • Musician 10pts
      • Standard Bearer 10pts
      • Halberds 72pts
      Barbarians (24)184pts
      • Lust 24pts
      • Flails 50pts
      • Musician 10pts
      • Standard Bearer 10pts

      Once Chosen (3)169pts

      - Lust 50pts

      - Champion 10pts

      - Shields 9pts


      Chimera 200 pts (Survival of the Fittest)230pts

      • Breath Weapon 30pts
      Wasteland Giant 140pts - 200pts
      - Lust 60pts

      Total 2500pts
      • {/spoiler]
      "You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?" -Death
      Phae's Pointy-Ear Blog: Elves in a Corner

      The post was edited 4 times, last by Phaeoron ().

    • The Battle of the Blazing Fields

      Act I - Sarathil One-Arrow
      Display Spoiler

      The mustering is always a moving event in the capital. The streets are crowded with people, stern-faced and teary eyed, as the mustered Sentinels tear themselves from the grips of their wailing children and horrified kin. Wives and husbands with ashen faces look at the backs of the soldiers as if staring down the abyss of their own uncertain futures.

      In mere days an army thousands strong is pouring out of the ravine that hides Jewelroof Halls. They travel light, and there is next to nothing in the like of a supply train, at least compared to what one would expect from a force such as this. Epheltilians don't look to battle standards for direction in the field for they are awkward to haul in the difficult terrain of the Mossenhome, a calculated risk on the field and a price to pay for being where they are needed when they are needed. A more stinging sacrifice is the abandonment of shields, which has made the spearwielders of the Redleaf Guard revered for their unflinching valiance in the face of battle, for according to common military science to fight in a phalanx without a shield is suicide. Alas, this lends another smidgeon of pace to the march of the forces, the reward more opportune circumstances for open battles which the Epheltilian generals prize above all things.

      Lo and behold, the army was across the Euphoron within the fortnight. Dragonhawks and Wind Sentinels had been busy patrolling the fringes of the march, wing and hoof allowing it without slowing down the advance of the infantry train. I was scouting ahead with my Briar Shrikes, seeking contact with the slaver dwarves' main host. Soon after crossing the border into the human realm of Aecil we spoted the dwarves and began tailing them. We did what little we could as to sabotage, setting traps and dragging away sentries, but I knew we were but a minor nuisance in the open fields of the human lands.

      A dotted line of burning villages in the dwarves' wake marked their progress south of the city of Semartus where Aecilians were pinned down by barbaric hordes. They were pressing slowly west towards the Euphoron river that marked the border of Epheltilion. Father had decided to make our stand at a point where the road that the dwarves used meandered between two low hills in the shadow of an ancient ruined fortress. The main force would draw the battle line south of the ruin, and to the northwest a thicket of pines would serve to slow down enemies attempting flanking maneuvres.

      My brother Sargael, the youngest High Druid in the region, had come with his conclave to the camp of my Shrikes in the south part of the extensive castle ruin. He spoke little as ever, his mind wandering the emerald glades of the Feywild in much greater capacity than he regarded the mortal realm with that he actually inhabited. The circle of Druids were assembled on the road to the east of the ruins, drawing symbols in the dirt and chanting mystic hymns.

      "There will be a thicket there by the morrow, the Conclave will see to it.", Sargael assured me, turning his gaze up at the first stars of the swiftly darkening night. "That should present the slavers with some difficult decisions, I should imagine.", I confirmed, watching the Druids shuffle about on the road. "How are you brother? It's been years since I last saw you." Sargael gave me a quizzical look at that. His brow knotted before he uttered "I am" absent-mindedly and wandered off. I judged my brother unchanged.

      The dwarves came with the morning. They knew we were here, that much I could immediately deduce watching their movements from amidst the rubble of the castle ruin. The way they spread out their march columns into a wide battle line right outside arrow's reach told me that they had a pretty good idea as to where we had placed the strong points of our line.

      In the red dawn light the formations of the dwarves glimmered in a bloody brazen haze, interspaced with two imposing war machines. There were four large infantry formations and one small gunline for ranged support. Ahead of the disciplined squares of armourclad warriors shambled a crowd of unruly rabble I believed to be slave fighters. There was a glow of fire to the northwest but I couldn't say what was the cause of it. I looked behind me to the south, at our own forces already arranged to a line.

      The Briar Shrikes were with me dispersed loosely in the ruins to slow down the oncoming advance, almost two hundred in total hidden among the structures. There was a tall tower still standing at the western corner of the ruin, where three packs of three Dragonhawks were perched ready to take wing. I saw Father take his Ranger Knights after the light cavalry formation of the Wayward Sons that was speeding towards the west, apparently to answer whatever threat it was that had started the fires. Behind the thicket sung up by the Druids stood the lines of archers of the Tinewind Guard nigh 400 strong, and my brother's conclave were with them. Far to the east the 400 speartips of the Redleaf Guard glimmered in the sun.

      Cold terror gripped my gut as I saw that the dryads that had followed us here were swarming behind Sargael and his archers; they would have a difficult time of it navigating past the archers to join the fray once the dwarves would be through the magical patch of forest. The towering form of Aqanthammu was swaying gently in the light breeze beside the archer formation.

      Then the coarse horns of the slavers called the advance, and the formations lurched into motion with the beating of drums. There was a war machine positioned opposite the ruin protecting my Shrikes, and it launched a volley of sharpened metal that thankfully clattered harmlessly off the weather-worn battlements around us. I gave the sign to let fly our own arrows as we darted from cover to cover among the demolished stonework.

      I saw that the other war machine in the east end of the dwarvish line belched a cone of fire at the hill towards which the Redleaf Guard were rushing, but couldn't say if ti made any impact. I heard the arrows of the Tinewind Guard and some faint cries arose from the ranks of the advancing slaves. The archers were scrambling to get out of the way of the dryads that now shuffled towards the battle to come. Aqanthammu advanced northwards with long strides, grumbling in a low tone that I more felt in my body than actually heard.

      Coming for the ruin were steel-clad dwarves clutching sturdy barrels of metal ornately carved to resemble open-mouthed drakes. At the tail end there were some type of mechanisms that would strike a spark inside, where they would stash a charge of black powder to hurl out shrapnel. We began to feel the effect as they pointed the mouth-ends of their weapons at the ruins and sounds of explosions filled the air, fire and smoke flashing from the muzzles of the guns. The projectiles crumbled stone around us as we seeked clean shots against our assailants.

      I signalled with my hand that we use bodkin pointed arrows, for dwarvish armour is tough stuff to crack with any arrow. We scored some good hits, being protected by the ruin while they came running on open ground. Their barrage was relentless, however, and every hit produced a killing shot, horribly tearing body and limb.

      We began retreating under the pressure, drawing deeper into the ruins as the formation came clanking into view. The armoured warriors barely stopped to fire their weapons, advancing at our position with utter determination. My unarmoured Shrikes could not long last under fire, and to retreat out of the ruin was not an option with these gunners at our backs. I did iwth grim resolve the only thing I could.

      I called the charge. Without blinking my loyal Srikes drew their blades and turned towards the dwarves, leaping gracefully among the heaps of rubble. The the dwarves opened fire on us. It was a terrible slaughter of mutilation and maiming. With a single volley well over half our number lie on the cold stones writhing in their death-throes. Who few remained would not stall, would not falter. With desperate rage we fell upon the dwarves who dropped their drake-guns to draw handaxes and shortswords. We hewed and stabbed, going for necks, gouging out eyes, ripping on groins; anywhere we knew our swords could do anything to their impressive armour.

      With a price most dear we drove the gunners out of the ruin, but our pursuit was half-hearted, every inch of bloodlust spent on that one assault we all believed would be our end. Staring blankly, not many of my warriors dared look back to the ruins where the cries of suffering were fast fading out.

      An arrow whizzed past my head, and when I turned to look I saw him: Gobl, the notorious raider chief on his shaggy wolf. The hobgoblin cackled maniacally and loosed an another shaft, as did his blood-riders, the Slayer Curs, some ten of the meanest hobgoblins this side of the great sea.

      The shrikes were spent. I called to me only my most trusted fighters, leaving the rest to tend to the wounded, and gathered my faltering will to hunt down Gobl and his raving pack of wolf riders who were skirting towards the west, to a small patch of pinewood.

      Act II - Sarthas Fallbringer
      Display Spoiler

      It's the coldness of the morning making my throat feel choked and hoarse, I tell myself. I hold out my hand and young Nyirion inclines Autumn's hilt towards me, and I pull. The familiar weight of the greatsword feels comforting in my hand. I give it a twirl to warm up the muscles in my wrist and rest the blade on my shoulder. My breath is visible in the crisp fall air.

      I look up to Father on his great elk, Caor. His white hair flows down his shoulders, transitioning smoothly into his ermine cloak. His impressive war helm rests on his lap, the bronze antlers mimicking those of Caor. He scans the horizon, worried, or so I suspect. Without averting his gaze from the fields before him he addresses me, "I need you on that hill, on the east flank". A key position. Makes me thrilled and terrified at the same time: every time I am trusted I feel I need to strive to exceed myself just to survive the test, be it political or military.

      "Yes, Lord Father", I give my answer, and my mind goes to work on the battle ahead. Just north of the hill there is a flamethrower, and my approach on the hill needs to be precise in order not to get my men incinerated. "How is your brother?", Father inquires. I can't keep the annoyance entirely from my voice, "Sargael is ready, as always, My Lord". Father scoffs, but says no more on the matter. This time.

      "Hold the hill, my son", Father orders as he dons his elaborate helmet. There is the dull glow of fire far to the west where to Father urges his Ranger Knights. I turn to face my proving ground, the hill on the eastern side of a road. "I will hold it". I beckon my men forward, give my squire a nod and a smile, and start for the hill. Nyirion watches on, wide-eyed as ever. Undoubtedly dreaming of the day he will be among us, marching in oiled armour to reap glory. Well, he'll learn. He'll need his fantasies when his time comes to march for the first time.

      The sounds of the battle start as we reach the shadow of the hill. The ear-wrenching blasts of dwarven weaponry is fueling my the anger that makes my hands tremble thinking on the battle ahead; something so unnatural should not be allowed to exist. We quicken pace.

      As we crest the hill we are greeted with screeching hell. A red hot chunk of iron is hurtling in a high arc towrds us from the north, landing right on top of the hill. A deafening explosion releases an inferno of roaring flames that rushes towards us, luckily dying out a few yards short of our front rank. From the top of the hill I could again see properly what was going on in the valley below.

      Aqanthammu was advancing steadily through the magical thicket of my brother's making, but behind her things were going awfully wrong. Truatha, the matriarch of Epheltilian dryads, seemed unable to urge her sisterhood into advance. For what reason they had remained behind Sargael's archers, I could not say, but they were finding great difficulty in navigating their way out of there. I other words, Aqanthammu would soon be alone in facing the enemy.

      From the north came a rag tag bunch of slaves, armed to the teeth and urged into a frenzy by their stunted masters. Behind them advanced three large formations of dwarven warriors clad head to toe in armour. Even Aqanthammu could not stand up to this by herself. As a second flaming projectile screeched through the air towards our position, I ordered the charge down the hill to disperse the horde of slaves, bound for violence.

      It was a short run. My personal guard that I simply referred to as the Inner Circle, fifteen esteemed warriors having distinguished themselves through skill with the blade, were beside me to make some room for us to wield our large weapons and break enemy shieldwalls for the Redleaves to reap the harvest with their spears. The Inner Circle Redleaves wielded glaives much like the Forest Rangers in Wyscan that worked in unison with my greatsword to sweep aside spear formations.

      We descended upon the slave fighters in a fury, a blur of steel and blood. Having no shields and wearing armour designed for maximum mobility, my Redleaves would have to rely on the shock of the initial charge to break their enemy and avoid a protracted fight. They stabbed in a white-hot rage, carving a wedge through the slave formation buckling their battle line at the center.

      We managed our goal. The slaves could not long withstand our assault but broke and ran. This was small victory, however, as we all knew this was what the slaves were here for. They would take the brunt of the attack while the masters advance behind them. And so came the dwarves' charge with drums and brass horns' blaring.

      Straight from the north came the utmost elite, the legendary Flameforger Crownguard. At their helm was Overlord Magnus Spangelhelm himself, and I could've sworn there was a dark fire burning in his dark eyes as he brandished his famous tools of slaughter: Debt and Oath, a hammer and an axe fashioned as a pair in the First Forge with the fire of the Kadim themselves. The Immortals of the Crownguard had large tower shields and weapons burning with a fire of their own deep inside them. The brass and crimson of their armours were polished to a mirror sheen, and their countenance was grim as they crashed into us.

      At the same time Magta Spangelhelm, wife and consort to Magnus, came into view from behind the hill I was supposed to defend. Many speculated she was the true source of the Overlord's power, the link between the dwarves and the daemonic fire elementals that powered their forges. She had her warhammer-wielding Stoneshaper Guard with her, rushing for our exposed flank.

      "Hold your ground, defenders of Epheltilion! Now is the time of our testing, for there are none to stand behind us, between them and our families back home should we give them the day! Hold, brothers and sisters! Hold for home!". An adequate speech. I almost believed it myself. I would have to fight like never before to see dusk this day.

      The Crownguard's charge was thunderous. The sheer, low-crouched mass of their formation almost pushed us aside. The Redleaves stabbed fiercely at the attackers, slowly halting their nigh inexorable advance. Their fire-infused weapons caused terrible destruction, we were clearly outmatched. Our flank was already beginning to buckle as Magta was peeling it off, warrior at a time.

      "Slaver! Have you what it takes to face me?", I called out a desperate challenge. My warriors needed a reason to keep fighting a little longer, for if they broke now, they would surely be doomed. Aqanthammu cannot be far behind now, she can cover the retreat so that not all need to die this day. "Fight me, runt!"

      Slowly, the Overlord turned his gaze upon me. His men made way as he strode over, his gold-laced armour glimmering in the morning sun. His straw-yellow beard was braided elaborately and fastened with golden rings. He gave me a wry smile as he lunged at me.

      I was faster, thrusting Autumn right at his broad chest. The dwarf was huge, he was almost as tall as I was and thrice as wide! My blade barely dented his breastplate, and he swatted it aside easily with Oath. With Debt he came to collect, crashing it into my side with blinding force. I almost vomited at the pain, my armour holding but helping little as waves of pain rattled my insides.

      I remember it not, but heard later that at that moment I drove Autumn's point through the slaver's arm, grasping my greatsword's blade in my left hand to guide it to its target. At that, Spangelhelm had dropped his weapons and headbutted me so hard I had flown away from him an impressive distance. That's when Aqanthammu had arrived, stomping and whaling on the dwarves, allowing my men to collect my unconscious form and escape the field. Aqanthammu had held back the dwarves a good while, but was eventually hacked up so badly she had to retreat the field, limping in pain.

      Act III - Sargael Dreamseer
      Display Spoiler

      "How are you, brother?"

      Perplexing question. Maybe the years in the wilds have began to corrode Sarathil's reason. He obviously waits for some specific kind of answer; I'm sure this is another example of "social convention" that Sarthas always goes on about. I can't remember what the correct answer to this one is. "I am", I answer hastily. There's places to be on the eve of battle.

      I start towards my coven of druids, blessing the earth around the road to bring about a thicket to slow down our enemies. It's tricky work, making things grow out of order. I have to oversee that the sigils and charms are in place myself. They balk at my arrival, and Tharn steps forward, always the chatty one. "Master Sargael, is all as you wished it?" The quickest glance reveals the obvious truth, "No". I proceed to once again guide them through all their mistakes, and all nine roll their eyes, frustrated. You'd imagine they would begin to pick up a thing or two, all the times I've shown them the correct way.

      The morning greets the freshly grown patch of trees in confusion, I imagine. Worry not, world, this unnatural growth will wither away in a few days. Nothing built in such hurry as this is made to last. But it'll serve the purpose Father has for it. In the north, the dwarves have gathered their forces. An impressive assembly of steel and grit, we'll see if I can break it yet.

      The spears of my brother lurch into motion, a steady run towards a hill east of the little wood of my making. Beyond the hill I sense a well of mystic power, there must be a fire priest there. Quite the powerful one at that. Let us hope this doesn't get too interesting. I turn to my conclave. "There is one magic user that I can sense among them, concentrate your efforts towards the east when I tell you to start ripping away his spells", I order. Tharn opens his mouth, "Master, what of the tremendous bindings of magic to the west, where the fires are. Are we to ignore such power entirely?" I scoff in frustration. "They are elemental daemons, what would you hope to achieve while we can't even see them yet?" Tharn shrinks away, deflated.

      "All right, our allies need us. Let us get the Throne ready." The conclave seems relieved at something concrete to do at last, chanting harmoniously as I call the spirits of the earth to my aid. Vines burst forth from the ground beneath my feet, lifting me up, their energy flowing into me like fresh blood from veins. I feel the enemy's grasp on our magic, but it's more feeling around, taking our measure, than dispelling in earnest. With the throne in place, I order the formation of archers we are deployed with to move northward, my throne of vines carrying me along with them.

      I call my lieutenant Aloris, the Lord's Bowman among the Tinewind Guard. "Aloris! See to the archers! Make sure they have something to shoot at while I take care of the enemy sorcerer." Aloris bows, "By your word, my Lord", and begins screaming orders in that shrill voice of his.

      Our attempts at spellwork are effectively thwarted by the enemy wizard, now emerging upon the hill. It is the Prophet of the Flames of the First Forge, Magta Spangelhelm, the Matriarch of Clan Falmeforger. As I suspected, she would be here with her mighty husband. Not many know that it might in fact be she that is the more dangerous one of the two. Her magic is powerful, and takes great pains from my entire conclave to keep from blasting away Sarthas's spearers.

      For the longest while it is a stalemate where spellcraft is concerned, so I take up Emerald Dream and loose shafts at the clanking, creaking mobs emerging from the magical thicket. Emerald Dream is no ordinary bow, but one of a few crafted by the Faerie Queen's handmaidens and blessed in the sacred waters of the spring under the Ivory Willow, given to select druids as recognition of their connection with the spirits of Mossenhome. The spirits within the bow come to our world when summoned, firing their own ethereal arrows in unison with the wielder. The result is a hail of poisoned needles raining upon the target, causing unimaginable agony when entering the victim's bloodstream, effectively incapacitating them for hours and eventually killing most.

      Magta's bodyguard is descending the hill at a steady pace, and her power grows with her frustration. She unleashes upon us in a flash of raw mystical might a choking cloud of searing ash, too fast for us to even attempt to counter. The black cloud chokes and burns at the archers horribly, felling roughly half their number in a few moments' time. We attempt a counter offense, our grief and rage spilling over the cup of our concentration and mixing in the magic's alive energies. The backlash of such power kills two of the druids outright, and I too feel it draining the life from me to further the spell's violent power. Many of our archers are smitten by it as well.

      The resulting spell causes slumbering spirits of the land to stir and reach up with root and vine, dragging underground with them many of Magta's warriors, essentially burying them alive. Magta avoids the groping roots with her flaming hammer, but her troop is shaken by the ordeal. They do, however, regroup with scary efficiency and continue their advance.

      My match with Magta is paused when the sound of thundering footsteps draw my attention towards the west. The immense form of a flaming, scaleclad monster gallops into view from behind the ruined fort's tower, howling with an erupting volcano's voice as it sets ablaze the fields about it. Around the tower its smaller twins circle like sentient comets, slowly maneuvering in our direction.

      I shoot a meaningful glance at the seven left of the nine druids of my conclave. "Now we shall no longer ignore that bound power! We must call the earth itself to our aid!" They know the spell that I refer to, and we begin our song, powered by desperation. The smaller fiends are set upon by the Skywatchers on their kestrels, a true display of aerial acrobatics as the giant birds of prey dart and weave around the horrid forms of the glowing magma drakes. Their effort is valiant, but they cannot last in a full frontal assault against the magical monstrosities; after a short and bloody confrontation the Dragonhawks are scattered into the winds, many of their number slain. They took only a few drakes with them, who now turn their attentions to the dryads close to our position, still shambling directionlessly about.

      My spell begins to form, augmented by the energies of the Throne and the resonating spells sung by the conlave druids. I reach deep into the ground under the titanic elemental, waking the deep-slumbering, slow life within the bedrock. The spirits of the earth stir, roused by our song, rushing towards the surface. They leap from the earth like porpoises at play, elevated by our singing, dragging parts of their deep, rocky home with them. The fire monster in the shape of a gargantuan, flightless dragon is impaled in huge pillars of rock burtsing from right underneath it, and it shudders at the impact. The heat of its breath can be felt across the distance on our faces as it screams in frustration and pain, but rips itself away from the rocks stuck through its from. It begins to gather new speed, howling in a rage.

      Yet, some mark of the torture of our spell remains, fraying the intricate magics binding the monster to our plane of existence. Its bulk begins to fray, chunks of its flaming flesh sloughing off with each of its loping strides. A couple of hundred feet from our position the beast falls apart in a splash of white hot magma, leaving only a raging pyre behind.

      The flying magma drakes dive for the dryads, who shriek in anger as they engage the beasts. The sheer heat radiating from the monsters causes the dryads considerable pain, and with desperation they burn away their talons raking at the flaming hot bodies of the drakes. The fire elementals claw and bite the dryads, their internal heat causing them to easily tear through the wooden bodies of the forest spirits.

      The drakes swiftly gain the upper hand in the fight, but the same fraying of binding magics that was the doom of their titanic elder seems to take hold of their own, corporeal forms. They stomp, thrash and tear through the dryads as their flesh begins to disintegrate into liquid magma. The dryads' remains as fuel, a great fire is the only proof of the magma drakes ever being present on the field. The dryads, ajitter with barely contained rage, turn their attention to the dwarves emerging from the east.

      As Magta's guard descend the hill a ragged formation of warriors emerges from the magical forest. The enraged forest spirits charge without pause, wailing awfully as they rush past us. The following battle is bitter and bloody, and Magta's guards are killed almost to a man. Magta herself is too formidable for the dryads however, and her flaming hammer in hand stands alone with her coven of fire priests, holding her ground. In the dryads' flank there are the remnants of Magnus Spangelhelm's praetorians, the Immortals of the Crownguard that nearly destroyed the mighty Aqanthammu, who chew through the forest spirits' formation. Magnus is nowhere to be seen, but has already won the day.

      As the last of the dryads flee the scene with Truatha, me and my archers are the only thing left of our army that I can see, and retreat the field in tatters. Magnus has bought his victory at a dear price, and though we flee the field in shame and defeat, I doubt that he'll advance into Epheltilion proper with the condition of his troops as it is, for all that it's worth.

      Epilogue - Sarathil One-Arrow
      Display Spoiler

      I run the field with my trusted few, entering the forest ahead from which we can hear the howl's and snarls of the wargs and the barking language of the hobgoblins riding them. An arrow from the eaves here, an another there, and soon I find myself alone in the relative murkiness of the trees' shadow as my followers split off to hunt the spread out bloodriders of chief Gobl.

      I follow the tracks out of the wood to its north side, where I see Gobl galloping away on Mang, the leader of the wolf pack. I finger through my quiver, and let fly a black-fletched arrow that sinks into Gobl's thigh. The raider chief screams, turns his warg around and brushes past me, loosing shafts in spite. I manage to intercept him, and he swings his sharpened shovel at my head. I block with both of my blades, and knock him off of the wolf.

      Gobl lands on his back but rolls dextrously backwards, regaining his feet. He raises his shield in front of him and brandishing his deadly spade comes at me, grinning maliciously. I unleash a flurry of blows with my dual blades, slashing and stabbing high and low, trying to work around the hobgoblin's shield. Gobl is a seasoned duellist and quick with his shield. He blocks expertly, and manages a counterattack, a vicious swing at my midriff with the weaponised shovel. I leap back and slash at his forearm, which causes him to lose gip on his weapon. It now hangs limp on a thong around his wrist.

      Gobl's shield smashes unannounced against my face, causing me to lose my footing and drop my weapons. Blood flows profusely from my broken nose as I blink and shake my head to see my assailant again from among the flashing stars filling my field of vision. Gobl swings his shovel by its thong in a wide overhead arc, and I just manage to roll back, avoiding the blade. I jump up, grab the rim of his shield and drive my fist to the hobgoblin's face, a satisfying crunch sounding through the air.

      That's when Mang returns to the fray, almost snapping my entire arm off as he stands over the dazed form of his master, snarling and bristling his mane. Gobl climbs awkwardly onto his wolf and rides off, clutching his face. I wait a few moments to steady my breath.

      As I collect my weapons, Ilvaar returns to me, informing me that Gobl's Curs have been driven off. I allow myself a brief smile at the news. The keen cry of a falcon interrupts my chat with the Shrikes around me, and the bird lands on my shoulder with purpose. There is a roll of parchment tied to its foot. I unfold the tiny letter.

      "Jacovius marches. Daemon with him, and two giants or something similar. Hundreds of warriors, maybe over a thousand. Headed west to your position. Three days' march." Signed with the sigil of the Briar Shrikes.

      Three days. Our reserves are in need of some serious hurrying. Is this the end of Epheltilion as I know it?

      Up next, the Battle of Ash and Dust
      "You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?" -Death
      Phae's Pointy-Ear Blog: Elves in a Corner

      The post was edited 7 times, last by Phaeoron ().

    • The Battle of Ash and Dust
      Display Spoiler

      Three days. Three days of sewing wounds. Of cutting limbs. Of letting pus. Of hunting, cooking and eating. Of gathering fresh water. Three days of watchful rest. We build a pyre for our fallen, and eat those of the enemy that haven't been lost to rot or spoiled by torn intestines. The rest we leave for the earth to claim.

      Upon nightfall on the third day in-camp our reinforcements arrived from the Jewelroof Halls. Most of the soot of the Kadim elementals was off the breastplates of my Bronze Riders by the time their brothers from the capital rode in with the Wayward Sons, the reckless light cavalrymen patrolling the surroundings of the capital. They brought with them a fresh company of spearmen of the Redleaf Guard, some 300 strong, as well as some archers of the Tinewind Guard to bolster our dwindling ranks.

      Moods were grim. The clash with Magnus's slavers had left the soldiers demoralized. I know Sarathil's Shrikes are at work in full strength now, gnawing at Jacovius's forces as they slog towards us, but how much can a few hundred saboteurs manage against a daemonic army? Most of those can at least follow the army here and help my son in the coming battle; not many Shrikes survived the last one. Some Dragonhawks had also flown in from their patrols, all in all we were near the strength we started out with elves-wise.

      Sargael, however, is a great uncertainty in all this. A vital link between the army and the fighting forest spirits, but fickle and frail. His conclave is at work, working to heal Aqanthammu's scarred frame. Without the mighty Wood Mother our forces will lack a cornerstone in the coming battle. More dryads flock to Truatha, fortunately. The Grove Hag's charisma among the vindictive spirits is undeniable, so there's one thing working in our way.

      The final night dusks in great nervousness. The atmosphere is that of a boy's caught unawares where he should not have ventured. To fight back the Fallen Paladin we will require confidence we right now have none of. I do not sleep.

      The morning finds me awake as a messenger runs up from camp. "My Lord Allwarden, please excuse this intrusion! The enemy commander has called for an audience!" Well, there's a surprise. "I will need two men and my squire. Inform Jacovius I shall consent."

      The meeting took place among the rubble of the ruined fort. We stood in the morning mists, astride our steeds, waiting in the damp cold. Caor, my mighty Great Elk, dwarfed the two woodland deer of my standard bearer and bodyguard. My squire rode a slender sylvan horse used by the Wind Sentinels. Our banner of the owl-faced peryton hung limp in the grey air. There was an atmosphere of sadness about the place, once a courtyard of a noble keep.

      Well before we heard the men approach we felt it as our steeds grew restless. Moving about in such amounts of armour is no quiet business, but the sheer weight of Jacovius's step sounded unnatural. Indeed, as he emerged from the mist with two men of his guard, he was no ordinary man. To call him human would have been naïve of me. He was much larger than last we met a decade ago, though a man of that age grows no more outside the gut. His skin had a sickly pallor, and two curved horns protruded from his overpronounced brow. A faint light flickered in his eyes.

      Jacovius spoke in a voice much too deep for a human. "Greetings, Allwarden. It has been a while." Caor shies away from the booming voice, I have to struggle to keep him in place. "Hail, Jacovius. The years have changed you." The Dark Paladin laughed sardonically, "It is not the years, yet changed I am. I know the sight of me is unnatural to you." I clench my jaw. "Would not be for me to judge, had you not so brazenly marched against us. I assume you hoped to find us broken by the dwarves?" Jacovius turns his head, smiling. "Broken? Perhaps, but not likely. Truth be told, I did not expect to find you here at all. I had no quarrel with you directly." I smile in turn, "You must understand I could not risk that. So close to our border, in such numbers." Jacovius shakes his head, "I suppose not. Let us do this, then." I nod, and ride away.

      As soon as I am within earshot, I call to my fighting men and women. "These are counquerors and subduers most foul! Should they not be stopped on this field, our entire way of life is at risk. No more freedom is there to be found beneath the boughs if we let them put the yoke on our shoulders! We drive them back! We prevail!" I get cheers from the lines, and hope that they are sincere. Should we not hold here this day, the danger is real and imminent that Jacovius will reach into the forest, out of spite if nothing more.

      Our forces are deployed in a similar manner to the last battle we fought here three days ago. Sargael's thicket is still there, and his archers are waiting just south of it for our enemies to emerge. Sarthas's spears are again in charge of the right flank in the east, they need to hold the hill and keep the enemy from our side. This time the dryads are in a state of white-hot rage, already rushing for the magical thicket, seeking mayhem. The Waywatchers and the Skywatchers stalk the fort ruins, and I take our light cavalry to the west to guard the left side from flankers. My Ranger Knights come with me to strengthen the hill that buckled last time.

      Horns sound far in the north to mark the battle's beginning. The first thing we see is the daemon lord, a horrific Princess of Darkness stalking the northern part of the ruins. There's unnatural grace to her gait as she slithers forth on three articulated legs ending in a huge claw. Her four arms weave patterns in the air, her delicate mouth forming words of some dark tongue as she wields her magic.

      I see a magical duel unfold between Sargael and the daemon, both dismantling each others magic expertly, seeking the upper hand to lash out against the other, yet finding none. The Briar Shrikes hiding among the ruins begin hammering the daemon princess with arrows as it seeks to circle around the tower. A single arrow does little against the monstrous fiend, but before it reaches the tower it has taken so many hits distracted by the efforts of Sargael's conclave that it can barely move. In desperation, it snarls and portals into its own plane of existence to escape the torment.

      I crest the hill with my Bronze Riders as faint death cries of horses sound from far to the east. I can just make out an eagle-headed giant rushing with unnatural speed and dexterity from a hill in the far west, throwing away a dead horse it was carrying in its talons. After it come something even bigger and more horrifying, a true monster of the ancient world, and a formation of what must have once been men, now bulged into hulking daemonic forms beyond recognition, armoured and armed to the teeth. In the shadow of the hill I am now climbing, there are the flittering dryads entering the magical forest conjured up by my son, as well as Aqanthammu, towering over the highest treetops, steadily moving northward. Sarthas's Redleaves are climbing the hill behind me, and Sargael's archers are at the foot of the hill, loosing shafts at the oncoming foes.

      I have no time to worry about the fact that I have nothing to answer those monstrous threats on the left flank with, for the large formation of Jacovius's warriors marches into view at the foot of the hill. Beyond them an another similar horde advances on the ruin, peppered by Waywatcher arrows. Alas, Jacovius is headed straight for me, and I must answer the call. I order the Bronze Riders to charge down the hillside, right into the advancing warriors behind their tall shields of dark steel.

      With a thunder of hoof and steel we slam into the warriors, frantically stabbing with our lances at any opposition. Jacovius swings his large spear towards my direction and bellows a challenge, "Come then, forest princeling! Let us see what you are made of!" I can not refuse such an affront in front of my men, and urge Caor towards the towering brute, lance levelled at his chest.

      Jacovius swats aside my thrust with ease, offering the tip of his spear in a counter. I catch it with my shield, Moss Mirror, and thrust again with Vigilance, aiming for Jacovius's face. The monstrous man blocks with his elbow, thrusting his cursed Spear of Chidura anew at my heart. I bend back on Caor's back, just managing to avoid the strike. Caor attempts to gore the Fallen Paladin with his antlers, but is pushed aside by the cursed spear's shaft.

      In the meanwhile the Ranger Knights have unleashed hell upon the warriors of Ortarius. They have reaped a good tally in men impaled on the charge, and such is their fury that even the unflinching fighters of the Autumn Brigade are forced to retreat under their assault. Jacovius breaks away from me, growling in frustration as he stabs one his own retreating men in the side. Soon, more out of fear than respect, I suspect, the warriors rally to face our pursuit.

      The second charge is a reenactment of the first in its relentless vehemence. Again, the Bronze Riders stab and impale in a wild frenzy, painfully aware of the danger to our home should they fail. Again, I level Vigilance at Jacovius's heart as I charge, only to have him step aside from the path of my attack. Having slipped to my left, Jacovius stabs at me with such force as to crack Moss Mirror and leave a deep furrow on my side. I cry out in agony, bringin about Vigilance's point as Caor spins around wildly, futilely atempting to stomp on the Dark Paladin. My thrusts are easily avoided by my adversary, but he manages no more hits on me either before his warriors break from combat a second a time. Jacovius glances behind him at his retreating men in a suppressed rage before flashing a malicious grin at me and making off after them.

      My Riders give chase, killing wildly as they go, but I soon am forced to order them back as things are going awry in the south. The other formation of warriors are well on their way to a world of hurt as arrows rain upon them from the ruins while dryads and Skywatchers are closing in on them. Alas the giant and the gargantuan dragon ogre have chased off the archers and the Redleaves, running amok unopposed in our rear.

      At this point, however, I see that it is best to leave them rage and make our escape, for we have done what we came here to do. We have kept our home safe from the enemies at our doorstep. Now we need to regroup and recover, for this is certainly not the last that we shall hear of Jacovius the Fallen of Ortarius, nor Magnus Spangelhelm of Clan Flameforger.

      We must be prepared for when they return.
      "You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?" -Death
      Phae's Pointy-Ear Blog: Elves in a Corner

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Phaeoron ().

    • Transition into 1.2

      So, I've spent the last month roadtripping across the US (I live in Europe), and while there, have been wrapping my head around the new army composition system. I've now updated my lists (of course they're all subject to tinkering), and so far I feel optimistic about the labyrinthine 1.2 categories of force organisation. The system has forced me out my bad habit of filling up on characters when creating secondary lists, and the lists look much healthier fluff-wise with more actual army in them.

      Prepare your mindholes for a mammoth post. I will now unleash upon you, for your viewing pleasure, ALL my 1.2 lists as well as a short fluff crystallization about the idea behind each one.


      Safeguard of the Jewelroof Halls - SE 5k
      Display Spoiler

      The standing army of the capital city of Mossenhome, the Jewelroof Halls. Emphasizing mobility and guerrilla tactics, it's an entire army of rangers supported by forest spirits. The general is the ruler of all Mosenhome, and the commanders his children.

      CHAR + FLEETFOOT 618p
      Forest Prince General on a Great Elk - 618
      Sarthaengil Gladevenger, the Allwarden of Mossenhome
      -Wild Hunter
      -Caor (Great Elk)
      -LA + Elven Cloak + Moss Mirror (Shield)
      -Deathrain (Longbow+Perforating Tips)
      -Vigilance (Ogre Sword)
      -Antler Crown (Helm of the Wild Hunt)
      -Faerie Queen's Tear (Talisman of 5++)

      FLEETFOOT 980p
      10 Wild Huntsmen - 660
      Ranger Knights of the Bronze Riders' Kinband
      -Arms of Mossenhome (Standard + Gleaming Icon)

      3 Kestrel Knights - 320
      Skywatchers of the Dragonhawks' Kinband

      CHAR 1074p
      Forest Guardian Chieftain - 314
      Sarthas Fallbringer, the Bladewarden
      -Forest Guardian
      -Wyrdskin (LA + Innate Defence 5+)
      -Black Cloud (Longbow)
      -Autumn (Whirlwind Blade)

      Pathfinder Chieftain - 270
      Sarathil One-Arrow, the Waywarden
      -Grey Silence (Longbow + Master Archers + Black Arrows)
      -Biterleaf & Severfang (Sylvan Blades)

      True Druid Master - 490
      Sargael Dreamseer, the Spellwarden
      -Wizard Master
      -3 additional spells
      -Emerald Dream (Bow of Wyscan)

      CORE 712p
      19 Forest Guard - 282
      Thorn Sentinels of the Redleaf Guard

      18 Dryads - 430
      Fen Daughters
      -Treefoot (Champion)

      CORE + FLEETFOOT 214p
      6 Heath Riders - 214
      Wind Sentinels of the Wayward Sons' Kinband
      -Fast Cavalry

      20 Sylvan Archers - 520
      Weald Sentinels of the Tinewind Guard
      -Aloris Keeneye (Champion)

      FOREST GIANTS 480p
      Treefather 480
      Aqanthammu, the Mother of the Forest

      9 Pathfinders - 390
      Waywatchers of the Briar Shrikes' Kinband

      Defenders of the Birch Towers - SE 4,5k Oaken Crown
      Display Spoiler

      The second main army of Mossenhome located in the fortress city of Winter Palace in the Birch Towers Highlands. Led by the co-ruler of Mossenhome Ildirya Nightglow who is rumoured to have fey blood in her veins, many wondrous creatures of the forests bow to her will.

      CHAR 690p
      Forest Princess General on a Dragon - 380
      Ildirya Nightglow, the Faerie Queen
      -Ahru the Emeraldine (Dragon)
      -Sylvan Lance
      -Lucky Shield
      -Skull Splitter
      -Divine Icon

      Dryad Matriarch - 310
      Truatha the Grove Hag
      -Scarred Bark
      -Divination Apprentice
      -1 add spell

      CHAR + GIANT 760p
      Avatar of Nature - 760
      Oadanneigh First-Born, the Birch Lord
      -Oaken Crown

      CORE 828p
      20 Forest Guard - 340
      Thorn Sentinels of the Birchcloak Guard
      -Champion, Musician

      10 Dryads - 238
      Fell Daughters

      8 Dryads - 250
      Fell Daughters



      8 Heath Riders - 322
      Wind Sentinels of the Red River Riders' Kinband
      -Fast Cavalry
      -Champion, Musician

      SPECIAL 570p

      Forest Eagle - 100

      Cloudbrow Eagles

      Forest Eagle - 100
      Cloudbrow Eagles

      10 Blade Dancers - 370
      War Dancers of the Evenwind's Whisper Kinband
      -Champion, Standard

      FOREST GIANTS 1000p
      Dragon - 520
      Ahru the Emeraldine

      Treefather - 480

      7 Pathfinders - 330
      Waywatchers of the Cloudstalkers' Kinband

      Guardians of the Singing Winds Hollow - SE 4k
      Display Spoiler

      In the roots of the eldest beech of Mossenhome lies the fortified gate into the underground city of Singing Winds Hollow. This is the seat of power of the single most influential kinband of the realm, the Evenwind's Whisper, the War Dancers of which are led by the enigmatic Whispering Witch.

      CHAR 930p
      Blade Dancer General - 460
      Vildaara Rainmaker, the Whispering Witch
      -Blade Dancer
      -Mist Walker's Mirror
      -Sacred Spear of Cadaron
      -Obsidian Rock

      Blade Dancer Chieftain - 300
      Sarna the Forsaken
      -Blade Dancer
      -Beast-Bane Halberd
      -Ring of Fire

      Cosmologist - 170
      Eryuslah the Wanderer

      CHAR + FLEETFOOT 440p
      Shaman on an Eagle - 440
      Sadugith Mirkhood
      -Falachra (Eagle)
      -2 add spells
      -Bow of Wyscan

      CORE 698p
      20 Forest Guard - 300
      Thorn Sentinels of the Ironwood Guard

      15 Dryads - 398
      Fen Daughters

      CORE + ARROWS 448p
      17 Sylvan Archers - 448
      Weald Sentinels of the Dirgewind Guard

      CORE + FLEETFOOT 214p
      6 Heath Riders - 214
      Wind Sentinels of the Hollow Heart Kinband
      -Fast Cavalry

      SPECIAL 470
      10 Blade Dancers - 370
      War Dancers of the Evenwind's Whisper Kinband
      -Champion, Standard

      Forest Eagle - 100
      Eagles of the Ironwood

      FLEETFOOT 300p
      3 Kestrel Knights - 300
      Skywatchers of the Thunderbirds' Kinband

      FOREST GIANTS 480p
      Treefather - 480

      Guardians of the Ivory Willow - SE 4k
      Display Spoiler

      The Ivory Willow is believed to be the oldest living thing in the entire Mossenhome forest. The enormous white tree is surrounded by a sanctum the size of a town, housing the most esteemed training facility of wizards in the realm. The ruler of the sanctum lords over the entire settlement, and is the head of the Mossenhome Council of Elders.

      CHAR 660p
      Master Cosmologist General - 490
      Oronduir Worldwhisper, the Arch Druid
      -Wizard Master
      -3 add spells
      -Cloak of Thorns (Talisman of 4++)

      Shaman - 170
      Iascaeth Earthenbrand

      CHAR + FLEETFOOT 726p
      True Druid on Unicorn - 340
      Cuinnir Ghosthowl
      -Shudhi (Unicorn)
      -Hero's Sword
      -Talisman of 5++

      Shapeshifter Chieftain - 386
      Ygthrane Bonetaker
      -LA + Elven Cloak + Shield
      -Longbow + Black Arrows
      -Blessed Sword
      -Helm of the Wild Hunt

      CORE 808p
      10 Dryads - 238
      Fen Daughters

      8 Dryads - 250
      Fen Daughters

      20 Forest Guard - 320
      Thorn Sentinels of the Wyrdspear Guard

      CORE + ARROWS 280p
      10 Sylvan Archers - 280
      Weald Sentinels of the Gravesigh Guard

      SPECIAL 100p
      Forest Eagle - 100
      Eagles of the Weirding Woods

      FLEETFOOT 640p
      5 Wild Huntsmen - 320
      Ranger Knights of the Witchwood Riders' Kinband

      5 Wild Huntsmen - 320
      Ranger Knights of the Witchwood Riders' Kinband

      Treefather - 480

      8 Sylvan Sentinels - 292
      Bane Sentinels of the Mandrake Guard
      -Paired Weapons

      Hunter Army of Mossenhome - SE 3k
      Display Spoiler

      Known as Rhysgeith's Hunters, this army is one always on the move, patrolling near the borders of Mossenhome. A force prizing mobility, the Hunters keep safe the vast tracts of uncharted wilderness beyond the reach of the armies based in the permanent settlements.

      CHAR + FLEETFOOT 450p
      Wild Hunter Chieftain General on Elk - 450
      Rhysgeith Huntheart
      -Wild Hunter
      -Great Elk
      -Sylvan Blades
      -Armour of Fortune
      -Fireblight Pendant

      CHAR 366p
      Forest Guardian BSB - 366
      Scaelyth Ironleaf
      -Forest Guardian
      -Battle Standard Bearer
      -LA + Shield + Innate Defence 5+
      -Crown of Scorn
      -Dragonscale Helm
      -Hero's Sword

      CORE 302p
      19 Forest Guard - 342
      Thorn Sentinels of the Woldwarder Guard

      CORE + ARROWS 560p
      10 Sylvan Archers
      Weald Sentinels of the Piercewing Guard

      10 Sylvan Archers
      Weald Sentinels of the Piercewing Guard

      CORE + FLEETFOOT 180p
      5 Heath Riders - 180
      Wind Sentinels of the Kinband of the Knights Woodsworn

      FLEETFOOT 712p
      6 Wild Huntsmen - 412
      Ranger Knights of the Farstalkers' Kinband
      -Standard + Gleaming Icon

      3 Kestrel Knights - 300
      Skywatchers of the Dragonhawks Kinband

      SPECIAL 430p
      10 Blade Dancers - 330
      War Dancers of the Evenwind's Whisper Kinband

      Forest Eagle - 100
      Cloudbrow Eagles

      Haunters of the Barrow Brooks - SE 2k
      Display Spoiler

      The city of Spring Brooks was the first settlement within the borders of the Mossenhome, a beautiful place of dozens of meandering waterways. That all changed when Mossenhome was invaded by slaver dwarves and their Kadim elementals who burned down everything in the vicinity of the city. Now it's a haunted ruin covered in vines and saplings, the ash washed away by the brooks yet the horrors of the past linger.

      CHAR 170p
      Shaman General - 170
      Halagath Fangchanter, the Bitter King

      CHAR + FLEETFOOT 528p
      Shapeshifter Prince - 528
      Acreith the Horned Prince
      -LA + Elven Cloak
      -Longbow + Black Arrows
      -Dragonscale Helm
      -Beast-Bane Halberd
      -Mist Walker's Mirror

      CORE 326p
      12 Dryads
      Ashen Wraiths

      CORE + ARROWS 260p
      10 Sylvan Archers 260
      Weald Sentinels of the Kinband of the Sons of the Lost Spring

      5 Pathfinders - 230
      Waywatchers of the Shadewardens' Kinband

      Treefather - 480


      Legion of the Black Sun - DE 5k
      Display Spoiler

      What began as little more than a cult or a secret society of like minded individuals has over the decades grown to the proportions of a sovereign city-state. The City of Elder Stars is the seat of power of the Order of the Black Sun, a bustling castletown in the arms of the Agefang mountainrange. The Black Sun doctrine dictates that elves should rule over all for the benefit of all, and to achieve this the Order seeks a way to bring about a permanent solar eclipse that would bring about a night without end, for many elven genesis myths believe elves to have awokened in the Age of Starlight before the first sunrise that brought about the younger races.

      CHAR 1286p
      Dread Prince General on Dragon - 346
      Phaeoron Wraithsong, the Black Sun Sovereign
      -Celdagrothuinn (Dragon)
      -Charm of Cursed Iron
      -Face of Night (Lucky Shield)
      -Endbringer (Giant Sword)

      Master Diviner - 520
      Ashaziel the Listener
      -Wizard Master
      -2 add spells
      -Balcerus the Imp (Wandering Familiar)
      -Talisman of 4++

      Commander of the Guard (Fleetmaster) - 346
      Arauchar the Unforgiving
      -Fleet Commander
      -HA + Innate Defence 5+
      -Signet Ring of the Black Sun (Ring of Shadows)

      CORE 340p
      20 Legionnaires - 340
      Legionaries of the Duskbringer Division
      -Champion, Standard

      CORE + RAIDERS 920p
      20 Auxiliaries - 520
      Legionaries of the Suneater Division
      -Recurve Bows (repeater XBows), Shields
      -Champion, Vet Standard + Flaming Standard

      5 Dark Raiders - 200
      Blacksun Ghosts of the Grey Division
      -Recurve Bows (repeater XBows)

      5 Dark Raiders - 200
      Blacksun Ghosts of the Grey Division
      -Recurve Bows (repeater XBows)

      RAIDERS 190p
      5 Raven Cloaks - 190
      Blacksun Spectres of the Grey Division
      -Recurve Bows (repeater XBows), Great Weapons

      SPECIAL 1116p
      17 Tower Guard - 546
      Blacksun Immortals of the Guard of the Undying Night
      -Champion, Standard + Banner of Blood

      10 Dread Knights - 570
      Penumbral Knights of the Order of the Last Twilight
      -Champion, Standard + Gleaming Icon

      DESTROYERS 180p
      Dread Reaper - 180
      Blackray Biter

      MENAGERIE 960p
      Hydra - 440

      Dragon - 520

      Black sun Foreign Legion - DE 4,5k
      Display Spoiler

      The Second Legion of the Black Sun, also known as the Foreign Legion, is one of the main sources of income for the City of Elder Stars. Where the First Legion stands guard over the city most of the time, the Second Legion goes out into the world to pillage and plunder. They bring back slaves and resources to the city, as well as guard the border against invasion. Exarch Thaul is one of the Sovereign's most valued allies, having introduced the traditions of the beastbreakers to the Order.

      CHAR 1546p
      Beastmaster Prince General - 514
      Thaul Ravenhart, Exarch of the Second Legion
      -Tygoreon, a Peryton (Manticore)
      -HA, Recurve Bow (repeater XBow)
      -Lucky Shield
      -Beast-Bane Halberd
      -Sprout of Rebirth

      Cult Priestess of Yema - 290
      Feladhris of the Knives
      -Gladiator Weapons
      -Gem of Fortune
      -Crimson Mail

      Alchemist on Raptor - 430
      Ourayel Silverwrithe
      -Alchemy, 2 add spells
      -Hero's Sword
      -Talisman of 5++

      Assassin - 312
      Nichodrius Veilwalker
      -Path of Bloody Murder
      -Paired Weapons
      -Venomancer: Bloodroot

      CORE 260p
      10 Blades of Nabh - 260
      War Dancers of the Bloodsinger Cadre

      CORE + RAIDERS 880p
      20 Auxiliaries - 480
      Legionaries of the Suneater Division
      -Recurve Bows (repeater XBows), Shields
      -Champion, Standard

      5 Dark Raiders - 200
      Blacksun Ghosts of the Grey Division
      -Recurve Bows (repeater XBows)

      5 Dark Raiders - 200
      Blacksun Ghosts of the Grey Division
      -Recurve Bows (repeater XBows)

      RAIDERS 190p
      5 Raven Cloaks - 190
      Blacksun Spectres of the Grey Division
      -Recurve Bows (repeater XBows), Great Weapons

      15 Dancers of Yema - 360
      War Dancers of the Harmweaver Cadre

      10 Dread Knights - 570
      Penumbral Knights of the Order of the Last Twilight
      -Champion, Standard + Gleaming Icon

      MENAGERIE 680p
      Peryton (Manticore) - 240

      Hydra - 440

      Snakemother Armada - DE 4k
      Display Spoiler

      Unknown to surprisingly many, the City of Elder Stars has a vast network of natural caves beneath her that lead down into a bay that connects to the sea. Hidden amongst steep cliffs lurks a harbour, the home port of the Black Sun Armada, a fleet of pirate slavers. Also known as the Third Legion, this fleet is instrumental to the economy of the Order. It is commanded by the Fleetlord Icthurisar Aspfather, already a notorious reaver by his own merit before joining forces with the Sovereign.

      CHAR 1366p
      Dread Prince General on Pegasus - 646
      Exarch Icthurisar Aspfather of the Snakemother, the Blacksun Fleetlord
      -Veteihnin (Pegasus)
      -Tidepiercer Trident (Ogre Sword)
      -Archpearl Shard (Lucky Shield)
      -Krakenhide Coat (Midnight cloak)

      Fleet Commander BSB - 380
      Seamaster Qurion the Reaper of the Dawnless
      -Fleet Commander
      -Battle Standard Bearer
      -HA + Innate Defence 5+
      -Dragonscale Helm

      Diviner - 340
      Barithir Brinecoat of the Snakemother
      -Divination, 2 add spells
      -Ring of Fire

      CORE 480p
      20 Corsairs - 480
      Storm Vipers
      -Paired Weapons
      -Champion, Standard

      CORE + RAIDERS 680p
      20 Auxiliaries - 480
      Suneater Legionaries
      -Recurve Bows (repeater XBows), Shields
      -Champion, Standard

      5 Dark Raiders - 200
      Blacksun Ghosts
      -Recurve Bows (repeater XBows)

      RAIDERS 190p
      5 Raven Cloaks - 190
      Blacksun Spectres
      -Recurve Bows (repeater XBows), Great Weapons

      SPECIAL 656p
      12 Tower Guard - 346
      Blacksun Immortals
      -Standard + War Standard

      10 Executioners - 310
      Blademasters of the Seascorpion Cadre
      -Standard + Banner of Speed

      DESTROYERS 180p
      Dread Reaper - 180

      MENAGERIE 440p
      Hydra - 440

      Weeping Hammer Raider Fleet - DE 2k
      Display Spoiler

      Muirion the Deeplord was ever an eccentric individual, but undeniably efficient at whatever he put his formidable yet splintered mind into. Since his expulsion from the Academy of Canreig he has taken up the black flag and joined the Black Sun Armada.

      CHAR 596p
      Fleet Prince General - 596
      Seamaster Muirion the Deeplord of the Weeping Hammer
      -Fleet Commander
      -HA + Innate Defence 5+
      -Cinderfang (Great Weapon)
      -Wizard's Hood
      -Sprout of Rebirth

      CORE 500p
      20 Corsairs - 500
      Storm Vipers
      -Paired Weapons
      -Champion, Musician, Standard

      CORE + RAIDERS 240p
      10 Auxiliaries - 240
      Suneater Legionaries
      -Recurve Bows (repeater XBows), Shields

      RAIDERS 190
      5 Raven Cloaks - 190
      Blacksun Spectres
      -Recurve Bows (repeater XBows), Great Weapons

      SPECIAL 280p
      10 Executioners - 280
      Blademasters of the Seascorpion Cadre
      -Champion, Standard

      DESTROYERS 180p
      Dread Reaper - 180

      Black Sun Marauder Army - DE 2k
      Display Spoiler

      A small and mobile force for raiding and slaving.

      CHAR 676p
      Yema Captain General on Raptor - 386
      Vaithis Deadlight
      -Cult of Yema
      -HA + Shield
      -Hearttaker (Lance)
      -Dragonscale Helm
      -Amulet of Spite

      Witch on Steed - 290
      Rhimea Taraal
      -Cult of Yema
      -Elven Horse
      -Razor Blade

      CORE + RAIDERS 500p
      5 Dark Raiders - 250
      Blacksun Ghosts of the Grey Division
      -Recurve Bows (repeater XBows), Shields

      5 Dark Raiders - 250
      Blacksun Ghosts of the Grey Division
      -Recurve Bows (repeater XBows), Shields

      SPECIAL 570p
      10 Dread Knights - 570
      Penumbral Knights of the Order of the Last Twilight
      -Champion, Standard + Gleaming Icon

      DESTROYERS 250p
      Hunting Chariot - 250
      Don't have the model yet


      Defenders of Cloudspear - HE 5k Ryma
      Display Spoiler

      On an open plane of endlessly waving grass rises a single, sheer peak called the Cloudspear. Its steep slopes are dotted with houses of white stone, the homes of the Children of the Sky.

      CHAR 1490p
      MoCT General - 680
      Haldaion Highfire
      -Master of Canreig Tower
      -2 add spells (one from each lore I think)
      -Dragonforged Armour
      -Daemonhunter's Helm

      Ryma Prince on Dragon - 430
      Taldaris Wyrmtongue
      -Prince of Ryma
      -Thragonnir (Dragon)
      -Dragonglass Spear (Obsidian Sword)
      -Lucky Shield
      -Divine Icon

      OotF Pyromancer on Young Dragon - 380
      Erewyth Starhand the Battle Mage
      -Order of the fiery Heart
      -Ywnedhil (Young Dragon)
      -Dragonforged Armour
      -Hardened Shield
      -Dragonflame Tongue (Hero's Sword)

      CORE 520p
      10 Lancers - 520
      Mistral Knights
      -Champion, Standard

      CORE + ELDER 740p
      5 Reaver - 190
      Haze Riders

      20 Sea Gaurd - 550
      Cloudburst Guard
      -Champion, Standard + Icon of the Relentless Company

      SPECIAL 1022p
      6 Knights of Ryma - 444
      Thunder Knights
      -Champion, Standard

      14 Sword Masters - 378
      Order of the Empyreal Talon
      Champion, Standard

      Eagle - 100
      Cloudspear Eagles

      Eagle - 100
      Cloudspear Eagles

      ANCIENT ALLIES 1220p
      Fire Phoenix - 380
      Aegethys the Brilliant

      Dragon - 500

      Young Dragon - 340
      "You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?" -Death
      Phae's Pointy-Ear Blog: Elves in a Corner
    • The Dust Settles
      Display Spoiler

      "Lord Waywarden!"

      The words sound distant and unreal, like a figment of the dream I no longer recall now that I am being torn into the wakeful world.
      "... Sarathil, get up!"
      Ilvaar, with some urgency in his voice. I yawn, and move to rub the sleep from my eyes.

      I yelp at the sharp stab of pain deep under my left eye when my knuckle nudges on one of the sticks protruding from my nostrils, holding my broken nose together. Stupid of me to forget, again.

      Tears in my eyes I manage a response, "What is it?" "Your Lord Father", sounds the nervous answer, and the tent flaps open and closed again like the bat of an eye.

      I spring to my feet. Father's form is dishevelled, and his brow knots with hints of agony as he draws breath. The way he carries himself suggests there is some injury been done against his ribs on the right. "We march for Anthalac Athon", Father announces.

      I agree, "Our strength must be regrouped". Father takes a meaningful glance at my nose. "I hear you let the hobgoblin escape"

      I fight against it, but pause for a blink of an eye before answering, "That I did".

      Father scoffs. "At the least you did not get your self killed in the process. Gather the Shrikes and fan out along the border. Something moves, I need knowledge of it."

      Father waits for no response, making his exit. The sonorous flap of the tent door closing leaves an air of loneliness unbroken by the two Shrikes still within gloomy confines of the fabric. I spit, leaving a red stain on the rushes. "You heard him, Ilvaar. Break camp"

      I dispatch the Shrikes per Father's orders, setting up the perimeter watch on our realm. The state the Dragonhawks are in after the skirmish with the dwarvish elementals, we must thin our ranks to a ribbon just to monitor the length border. Father pulls back with him the entirety of the drafted Sentinels, save what remains of the Wayward Sons, left behind as messengers in case there be news too important to trust on our message-bearing birds (falcons and crows, mostly).

      I, personally, however make my way deeper into Mossenhome. I make my way towards the juniper-infested wetlands near the ruins of Spring Brooks, aiming for the hidden city of Singin Winds' Hollow. Having been this close to death, I needed to see her. My heart took on fresh pace despite my brisk run at the thought.

      That's when it came, a bird call at the edge of hearing that made a lurching feeling in my stomach long before I recognized it. An ancient code of the Watchers, its meaning slowly thundering home like a tidal wave. "Halt!"

      I whistled a response my arms raised. Obviously I was not understood as a Waywatcher crept down from the branches above to slip a hood over my face. I let him, seeing as Watchers never move alone. Save for me, right now.

      *Sniff* Hagweed, of course. Good night.

      When I came to I was in the old market square at the heart of Spring Brooks. The broken stonework was covered in vines, lichen and old soot, the brooks creeping clear along the cracks of the broken stepping tiles of the plaza, having long since carried away all the ash the earth was willing to yield since the first invasion of Magnus Spangelhelm all those decades ago.

      Standing before me were unmistakable Waywatchers of Mossenhome, albeit in outdated uniforms painted with black camouflage patterns to better reflect the ever-darkened atmospheres of this ancient place of grief.

      I was about to address them when a figure emerged from behind them. The parting lines of black-strewn green cloaks revealed a gaunt figure, naked from the waist up, wrapped in thorny vines. The antlers of a large stag protruded from behind his back, and his burned skin glistened sickeningly in the pale light of the moon.

      I had to gasp as I recognized the face twisted by an old burn. "Halagath!"

      I was but a boy when I first met the druid, but he was the marvel of the Wintery City and Mother always had great respect for him despite his flamboyant ways. Or perhaps because of them.

      "You are supposed to be dead!", I managed, my voice still nasal from the meeting with Gobl's targe. A strange smile crept on the aged mystic's face, "Oh, but I am, young Prince"
      "I am no Prince, barely a disinherited princeling bound for obscurity. You, on the other hand, were once a legend! How in all the hells are you here?"
      "I was always here"

      That last remark had Halagath's voice cracking with bitterness and regret. I remembered the stories of the defeat, the scrambling retreat, the humiliation that led to the pact with the dread elves that we were still seekinging a way out of. "There were not supposed to be any survivors"

      The old druid laughed mirthlessly. "There never is in these war stories. Everyone slaughtered, the noble defenders just managing to slip away hanging on to dear life. Slaughter there was, sure, but not complete"

      One of the shadowy Waywatchers spoke then, "We have survived here all these years, waiting for the day the Allwarden comes to reclaim this place" She laughed in turn, "We are truly forlorn"

      I was dumbfounded. "The forest spirits here... We thought it best to leave them be, the way they raged at any attempt on approaching this place" Halagath had an expression of heartbroken compassion. "Of course they rage. Their souls are scarred with the burns in the land"

      The burn-faced elder studied me for a good while then, eyes glinting with memory. "You have the look of the Allwarden, boy"

      "Lord Sarthagail was my grandfather", I admitted. "I know", Halagath admitted in response. "I avenged him, in the end"

      My eyes widened at that. "You brought down the Titan of Dark Fire?", I stuttered. Halagath drew a crooked smile across his face at that, glancing sideways at a figure in the shadows of the ruins, "Not alone, boy"

      What emerged was not an elf, yet not a beast either. Hoofed like the Cloven Ones assailing the southern highlands, antler-crowned like the Helm of the Protector of the Realm, a Shapeshifter strode forth.

      "The Horned Prince hunts with us"

      Sorry for yet another story post, I'll get to miniature work some day soon I hope.
      "You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?" -Death
      Phae's Pointy-Ear Blog: Elves in a Corner

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Phaeoron ().