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Creation of the Gods Mk II

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Nb// Sorry had to redo this, I hadn't registered when I first wrote it so couldn't edit. If a mod could delete the other one I'd be grateful.

 

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It began in darkness, and ended in light, which is all that is certain in the forming of the world. No-one is sure how, or when, and most importantly why we are here, and with all the dangers we face who has the time to try and answer these questions? Certainly not the warrior, nor the miner, the harvester, mage or smith.

 

All we know of the times we live in and what went before are the stories our elders tell, and the histories we believe to be true. The old men's tales differ for every race, for every foreign island and every different village. We will never know the truth of these things, we can only guess from the common threads of each confused and conflicted tale, and it becomes yet worse for every passing day that our times remain unchronicled.

 

This work is a history of our lands, written at a time of crisis, when the very gates of hell are open, and the man-demon Qast brings terror to this world. It is a tome recording our civilisation, collected to safeguard the knowledge of our forefathers. But most of all, it is the finest work of the six races, a testament to their glories, their failures, and their Eternal Lands.

 

****

 

The Gods, and the creation of the world:

 

It is perhaps only fitting that the earliest tales, and perhaps the most accurate, can be traced to the great forest abodes of the Elves. They tell of a great birth of life in a time beyond their reckoning, from which none now survive. Their legend tells of six Gods, as different in form as in thought, who for time without end had debated their own existence and its reason. Endless conversations, rendered formless and weightless by their lack of structure, resolved only into the agreement that their first purpose should be creation - the making of a world in which to ground their theories and test their assumptions.

 

They began in harmony, placing the ground beneath and the sky above, giving boundaries to the perception of those they wished to inhabit it. They created the inert plant and the active animal, to provide the concepts of time both moving and still. They created sea, and sun and moon, to balance the smallness of things with the greatness of concept. And they created the races, wrought in their own image and becoming more separate as their labours split their agreements regarding creation.

 

Hume was the first to depart from the great unity she and the others had shared. She grew tired of the trees and animals, feeling that something lacked from this green and verdant land. She began to experiment with new creations, stones and metals were crushed, mixed and heated to create new and truly immovable hybrids. Hume found after constant experiments a concept she regarded as an improvement over the vague stillness of root and branch.

 

Her race began to create buildings, and cut down the trees to fashion new more permanent things. They began to kill the animals and use their furs, and they began to eat to sustain themselves. No longer did they live and die as their god willed, but continued to live, drawing on the goodness of their god's other creations to survive yet longer. They became ever more independent of their mistress, yet kept their love of buildings and permanence.

 

Dvar was the second of the Gods to follow this route, but was more careful in his experiments. His love of permanence was linked inextricably to a respect for the early creations it came from, and he worked hard to make everything worthy of their beauty. His work in metals and stones was vastly more worthy than that of Hume, and was reflected in the works of his race.

 

Yet Dvar too eventually turned away from the early creations of tree and animal, as the intricacy and sturdiness of his work improved he became increasingly obsessed with it, and unwilling to participate in any sterile debates with the other Gods. He and his race became ever more immured in the comfort of their own work and homes, and as the race of Dwarves gained their own voice, and took to the eating of flesh, they became isolationist master craftsmen.

 

Minos dreamt very differently from the others. He came to believe that permanence was desirable, but only in that it allowed him to watch his own tribe - his own mind - more closely. Minos found within himself the fascination that the others found in the world around them, and these were the strengths of the soul.

 

Minos saw the trials of his race, and even placed more in front of them, to see how they reacted. He was enthralled by bravery, and shamed by cowardice. He tried hard to purge this second aspect, believing it to be the fount of the division between himself and the other gods, yet could not, and became anguished with grief over his failure. The Minotaurs, upon gaining independence from his will, seek constantly to live up to this desire of their God. They care not for beauty or the creation of things, they wish only for the honour of bravery, and the showing of strength.

 

Aluwenwas the most stubborn of the Gods. She and her race never took to the views of Hume and Dvar, and she instead became enamoured with the concept of life and nature in all its brevity. She gave her race long life so they might learn more of this brevity themselves, and dedicated her time to studying the first of the God's creations.

 

As the Elves began to crave their independence, their long lives and the influence of their creator gave them a deep love of everything that lives, and they over all the other races give most thanks to their god, appreciating the beauty of the world they have been given.

 

Satyr, like Minos, was with Centau a true believer in change, though her belief did not translate itself into such madness as his. She instead found the sounds of the world to be a far greater source of change, and cherished the beauty of music.

 

Like Elv, she loved the changing of leaves and animals, and ever sought to complement it with beautiful sounds. Her race became wonderful musicians as a consequence, and live deep in the forests where their music, and their nature, can remain undisturbed.

 

Centau hated all suggestion of permanence, and found the attempts of Hume and Dvar to find it incomprehensible. Instead he sought endlessly for change, believing it the only means of finding solution to the endless nothingness he had come from.

 

Cantau roamed the world he and the other Gods had created, running endlessly and glorying in change, endless change. His race constantly moved, and were killed and birthed daily under the weight of Centau's need. They were the only race to ever truly rebel against their God, influenced by the serenity of the Elves and betraying a doubt in Centau's own mind in doing so, by beginning to eat and live for longer than he wished.

 

Deprived of his followers, and obsessed with his need for constant change, Cantau fell from grace, losing his sanity and like a beast racing through the plains and wastes of the world, fearful of an imaginary pursuit. Though the other Gods would try to console him, Centau was deaf to their words, and his final fate would be a dark one.

 

Eventually, each of the races gained release from their dependence on the Gods, and went a seperate way. Yet their drives and pleasures remain to this day the same as those of their creators, and they will always be made in those images.

 

***

 

There was one more God, and it disagreed from the start with the creation of the world. It argued with the other five Gods, tearing down the sky and the earth even as it came into being. It was horrified by the prospect of life, and of death, of change and permanence, and wished it all away. For an infinite time it fought the other five, destroying their thoughts and feeding their fears.

 

The Orcs were it's own race, and reflected its dreadful hatred, yet in time, even some of them came to disagree with him, becoming the Orchans, a confused an unwelcome mix of human and Orc.

 

This travesty, the mixing of one God's essence with another, turned the other Gods against their hate-filled brethren, and they punished it with fearful fury, casting it down beneath the earth to rot with its deviancies. There it remains to this day, and its domain is that of hell. It sits upon the Ebony Throne and forever plots to destroy this world.

 

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Next: The Gods, and the warping of their natures:

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There are already gods implemented into the game and several versions of a story currently being wrote. Check the topic sativa sent you in your last thread for the most up to date descriptionof every god.

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Hang on a minute I hadn't finished :evil:. I was aware of the current gods when I re-edted it (hence the asking what the various God's attributes were in General), as this next bit should sort out.

 

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The Gods, and the warping of their natures:

 

 

The darkness of the Ebony Throne grew powerful over the long centuries of its imprisonment, and constantly searched for ways to free itself from the bowels of the earth.

 

The Orchans, who retained a link to their creator for most of this period, are the only ones with legends of it during this time, but these are sketchy. We have done our best to piece together from the scraps of their most ancient tales what went on in the deepness of the underworld.

 

Early in its imprisonment, the God discovered a way to reach the free gods in the world above, invading their dreams and insinuating itself into their subconcious. Introducing itself as Mortos, it began anew its campaign to destroy their psyches and bend them to its will.

 

Mortos began with Centau, the easiest of the three, and one who had already been driven to madness. Mortos came first into Centau's dreams, where the constant running and tearing, death and renewal of Centau's mindscape proved easy to manipulate. Over the course of deacades, Mortos broke Centau, inflicting horiffic images and thoughts on his already tattered psyche until the once great God finally threw himself into the seas, screaming and thrashing until he sank beneath the waves. Although Immortal, Centau has since passed out of sight and mind, and is thought to remain beneath the waves, where storms and tornados reflect the raging mania of his thoughts.

 

Mortis' second target was Dvar, immortal lord of the Dwarves. Mortis found Dvar even les of a challenge than Centau to remove from the world, leading him away from his kin with dreams of greater and greater works of craftmanship to be made. Through the God's precise, mathematical mind Mortis promised ever greater feats of craft that could be produced, if only Dvar had peace from the world. Over time, Dvar withdrew from the bustle of life, moving further and further beneath its soil to find the silence he needed to make his great creations, and in time, he stopped speaking entirely to his kin.

 

The third of Mortis' targets was Minos, whose straightforward nature was again the least difficult to overcome. Minos' dreams were simple, unambiguous clashes of honour and cowardice, and Mortis fed from the latter. Minos' own despair was ironically lessened by this, which strengthened his mind both awake and asleep. He soon grew powerful enough within his own dreams to notice and expel Mortis, yet the effect of Mortis' influence was noticable - Minos' courage and power in war became offset by a lessening of his goodness. He changed his name to Glydoc and became neutral to the affairs of the world.

 

Fourth was Hume, the innovator. She was canny, even in her dreams, and provided far more of a challenge than the first of Mortis' victims. Yet over centuries, Mortis had an effect even on her, emphasising her distrust of Glydoc's new, pitiless nature into an intense hatred of his love of war (and hence, destruction). This was however all that Mortis could accomplish, and she soon discovered his presence in her mind, expelling him without further harm. Over the centuries, her name has become Elandria, and she is beloved by all for her permanence and peaceful nature.

 

Next Mortis tried to invade the mind of Satyr, projecting dark minages of Hume destroying her forests to try and make her disbelive any warnings. He was too late. Hume had already told Satyr and so she cast him out almost immediately. She and Elandria, despite their differences, have remained firm friends since. Her love for the life of our world has remained undimmed, and we call her Gaia, life bringer.

 

Last came Aluwen, the greatest of the six old gods and with Satyr, the one who led the others to cast him into his prison. Mortis, barred from her dreams, took an altogether different approach against his greatest enemy.

 

Next: A War of the Gods, and the birth of the three:

 

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NB// As it turns out, the creation of Unolas and Selain takes up a fair bit of space, so I've put them in as the third chapter and put off the War and the creation of Glilin until later.

 

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Unolas and Selain:

 

The War of the Gods involved every race to some extent, and has created enmities and alliances between both mortal and deity which last to this day. Our knowledge of the conflict itself is less than complete, but the event leading up to it have been handed down almost intact through the generations.

 

After his failure to remove the three greatest of his five five captors, Mortis had to find another way of securing his freedom. His knowledge of the limits of his prison had grown yet further over his centuries of effort invading the minds of the five, and he was not long in coming with his second attempt to destroy our world.

 

His chance came with an Elf, perhaps the most brilliant of child of that race to have walked these lands. Unolas was, by many of his kin's standards, a heretic, delving too deeply into areas of the world their kind had long avoided. In some ways he was more Dwarven than Elvish in his outlook, craving peace for his experiments with the nature of the Gods' work, and gave less regard than his kin to the beauty of Aluwen's works. He was more interested in how and why we came to be here, and in the possibility of gaining those powers the Gods clearly possessed.

 

Mortis worked hard to help Unolas in his quest for the powers of the Gods, and over the course of three centuries, the two of them met in dreams that became more and more vivid and lengthy as time went by. The two became friends (as far as Mortis is able to befriend anyone), and they learnt much from each other, with Unolas writing down their nightly conversations and his daily experiments in a series of massive books.

 

Twelve thick tomes of knowledge and lore were accumulated, as Unolas' gifted mind leapt the intellectual chasms that divide God and mortal, until finally, one fine spring day, Unolas stood on the shores of the Second Continent, and pronounced the forms of the essences to a congregation of his Elven kin from ever corner of the lands. He demonstrated each essence in turn, drawing gasps of astonishment as he manifested both creation and destruction around him for several hours, before retiring to his bed, exhausted.

 

The Elves too returned to their homes, spreading the word of a mortal who wielded the power of the Gods, and the world grew ablaze with rumour and fear. The other races, fearing the threat of a mortal Elf wielding immortal power, appealed to the Gods to pass judgement on Unolas, and seeing the very foundations of their great work had been revealed, the Gods responded. A court was founded, to judge this Elf whose studies had caused so much consternation, with the four Gods Elandria, Gaia, Satyr and Aluwen sitting on the highest of thrones.

 

It was thought they would find Unolas guilty of heresy and destroy him, yet Mortis had thought of this, and furnished Unolas with three unassailable arguments. First of these was his motive. Unolas had caused no harm to others and used his knowledge responsibly. Second was the mere fact of his dedication, which was not evil in itself and indeed would be the only way for the races to grow and evolve as their creators had wished them to. Third, and most important, was the fact that killing him would not stop others from learning as he had. A line had been crossed. Surely it would be better, given his obvious good character, to elevate him rather than punish him for his achievments.

 

The four Gods were slow in their verdict, debating for over a decade the various arguments as an already aged Unolas grew frail with time, before finally recalling the court. Glydoc argued in favour of his destruction, seeing the use of magic by mortal creature as an invitation to cowardice and a betrayal of honour, yet his view was overruled. The others felt that to try and keep magic from their creations would be unjust. Instead they took into account Unolas' restraint in the use of the powers he had, and the potential harm that these powers could do, and decided to elevate him, to render him immortal so that he could watch over the essences of the mortal realm.

 

So Unolas took a place among the Gods themselves, and Mortos gained an ally in his quest for freedom.

 

Mortos had not been idle in the daytime hours, as Unolas toiled down those long centuries. He spoke also to a second being, a ground dwelling Orchan known as Selain. Selain was altogether different from Unolas, uninterested in pure research, drivcen only by greed and powerlust. Mortos came across Selain almost by accident, drawn to the Orchan's childish diggings in the darkest pits of the Underworld.

 

Barely a teen, Selain already had a dark and ruthless cunning, and a wicked gift for the arts of alchemy. He dug in the great depths of the deepest caves for new and powerful ingredients to add to his potions, so he could by stealth dominate his village where he could not by force of arms. So close did he venture to the true realms of Mortos, that the dark God heard his scratchings, and invaded his mind.

 

Mortos was taken with what he saw there. Selain was utterly amoral, and more so than Unolas, would not simply provide help for his plans to escape, but could cause great anguish to the other Gods in doing so. As Selain lay helpless in the grip of Mortos' will, he found himself infused with knowledge and power beyond his wildest dreams, and he came to know every potion this world can provide.

 

Mortos poured every once of the power he had accumulated into the vessel, and in doing so, created a God who would ravage the Eternal Lands and begin the Great War.

 

--------------------------

 

Next: The Great War and the elevation of Glilin

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P.S// Soz forgot to sign in there. Couple of edits,

 

*The first Para should be at the beginning of the next chapter, not this one.

 

*The court was run by Elandria, Gaia, Glydoc and Aluwen, not Satyr.

 

*I've ben misnaming Mortos as Mortis alot, ignore that it's a mental block of mine.

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NB// Still not quite at the war yet, needed to tie up a couple of loose ends as to how it gets started. Next one will be it for definite though :D

 

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The Making of the Great War:

 

The War of the Gods involved every race to some extent, and has created enmities and alliances between both mortal and deity which last to this day. Our knowledge of the conflict itself is less than complete, but the events leading up to it have been handed down almost intact through the generations.

 

Selain did not immediately return to the surface of the earth upon gaining his stupendous powers, but continued to travel beneath it, seeking out rare items to further his long term aims. The unearthly strength and power he gained from Mortos lent him immortality, and as Unolas gained the knowledge of essences Selain built up a vast horde or potions, ingredients and items, hidden in the underworld he had come to know so well. Over the long years, decades and centuries, as Unolas grew closer to Mortos, Selain plotted and schemed, taking all he could from his mentor, promising nothing. For this Mortos respected him and far more than for Unolas, gave of his strength to the new God.

 

While Unolas wrote the last three tomes of his great work, Selain moved to the surface for short periods, calling on Minotaurs, Humans, Dwarves and Elves to enslave them with trickery and blackmail. He created a network of worshippers and unwilling servants within every city and town, a secret army feeding greater money and influence to him with each passing year.

 

On the day Unolas demonstrated his magics next to the sea's sparkling waters, Selain drank blood and made alliance with the Orcs, helped by Mortos. Over the next decade he enlisted Ogres to swell their ranks and trained them into a regimented army equal to any challenge the other races could muster.

 

Finally the momentous day arrived, when God and mortal sat in one court to Elevate Unolas to the ranks of the immortals. In ranks twenty deep the nobility of each race stood before their creators on a floor of polished silver. No walls would surround them, they had been summoned to a realm beyond our world and the infinite rushed ever outwards from the bounds of their meeting place. Upon four golden podiums sat the Gods, and upon a fifth, made only of wood, Unolas stood with his head bowed.

Glydoc spoke first, his deep, melodious voice shaking the very bones of the nobles around the hall.

 

"YOU ARE AN INSOLENT AND UNTRUSTWORTHY CREATURE. YOU DO NOT DESERVE THE POWER YOU HAVE FOUND." His words caused the Minotaurs of the hall to fall to their knees, begging forgiveness, and Unolas hunched forward slightly in submission. Gaia smiled, and with a voice that sighed as the wind, continued.

 

"YOU HAVE LITTLE GOODNESS IN YOU. GIFTING YOU AN IMMORTALITY SUCH AS OURS WOULD NOT BRING JOY TO THIS WORLD." The Satyrs could not help but drop to the floor and cry with shame, Unolas nodded helplessly. Elandria fixed him with a stare that seemed to freeze the universe, with eyes as fathomless as the depths of the ocean. She spoke in a thousand voices alike to the rustling of wheat fields in summer. The humans of the hall stood rooted to the spot, entranced.

 

"YOU SHOW GREAT PATIENCE AND INTELLIGENCE. YOU WOULD BRING THESE VIRTUES TO THOSE WHO FOLLOW YOUR PATH." Unolas stood tall while the humans rejoiced hysterically. Finally Aluwen came to speak, and the Elves braced themselves. Her voice was that of the truth. It was not loud or coarse, neither smooth nor cultured. It was just a voice - yet it filled the minds of all those who heard it, and bellowed into infinity until the universe itself seemed to creak with the strain of it.

 

"The mortals have discovered a great gift through you, yet it is a danger beyond their comprehension. We shall trust to your neutrality and better nature to help them in the ages to come. You are to be one with us."

 

All of a sudden, the wooden podium of Unolas began to change, rising and shifting until gold began to shine from it. It shifted slowly to stand beside the others, and a throne grew from it for him to sit at. His form changed, lost its frailty, and he slowly raised himself straight to look down upon his former fellows, the mortals. He spoke with a voice that tasted of the elements, rumbling and rushing in thunder around the hall.

 

"I... AM A GOD."

 

Elandria, Gaia, Glydoc and Aluwen looked at each other with raised eyebrows. Aluwen was the first to speak.

"He's got the hang of talking like a pompous ass then."

"HE'S GOT A BIT OF AN EGO."

"IT'S ONLY TO BE EXPECTED, NOT MANY PEOPLE CAN SAY THEY'RE GOD MATERIAL."

 

The four seemed almost to have forgotten their audience as they started to debate their newest member in a strangely chatty way, until a disturbance breaking out in the great hall caught their attention. A voice emerged from the crowd, slimy and rotten and accompanied by an acrid stench of chemicals.

 

"I can."

 

As if on cue, a sixth pillar began to rise from the marble below, and a throne of blackest Jet was mounted upon it. A tall, wirey Orchan lounged across this throne, insolently staring at the Gods as they regarded him with stunned silence.

 

"I am Selain, and I come to you as a son of the Ebony throne, to tell you that I am king upon the Eternal Lands. I shall suffer none who oppose me and call upon the new god Unolas to follow me in payment of his debt to Mortos." There was more stunned silence from the Gods as they turned to the Elven God of Essence and saw a look of understanding spread across his brow.

 

"Mortos has spent three long centuries helping you to learn your craft Unolas. You shall honour your kinship with the imprisoned one." Aluwen was the first to regain her voice. In a tone breaking with hurt she whispered:

 

"Unolas is this true? In your dreams did you listen to the voice of Mortos? Is this how you gained your knowledge?" Unolas, shamed, looked to his feet.

"IT IS TRUE." Shouts of anger rose from the floor as the Minotaurs, so close to their creator, reflected his thoughts, yet the Gods remained still as Unolas rose from his throne and flew to the throne of Selain to sit by the usurper's right hand.

 

"You no longer have power enough to cast us into the pit as you once did Mortos. You have lost both Centau and Dvar from your ranks." Selain smiled thinly. "Unolas and I have the powers of magic and alchemy to hand, and we shall spread these among our followers. The power our people shall wield will destroy those few mortals who stand with you." Now he grinned broadly. "You have sown the seeds of your own destruction. For your naivety in elevating Unolas, for allowing the essences he has discovered to be used by all, you will be broken."

And with a clap of thunder, they were gone.

 

War had begun.

 

Next: The Great War, and the elevation of Glilin.

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The Great War (Prt 1):

 

***

 

OOC: The way I see the battle lines being drawn as the war begins goes something like this, subject to change as the new maps come online:

 

Continent 1

 

Neutral: White Stone City and Grahm's Village were obviously looked after by the Humans, making it a no-go area for both sides (neither wanted to anger the potentially deciding factor of the war by invading them). The Valley of the Dwarves was also neutral, so basically parts of 2, all of 5 and probably 13NF were neutral.

 

Aluwen: The roads in front of it and the woodlands around it were patrolled by both Elvish and Satyr troops. The port to Isla Prima (which acted as the HQ of the Aluwenists) was the most heavily fortified position on the continent, protected by the Minotaurs and using every trick the combat experience of Glydoc could provide Their areas were 1,2,4 and 9NF, with Pine Town in 3NF being cut off by enemy forces.

 

Mortos: The Tarajhi and Kamara deserts were held by the Mortosites, though the Satyrs held Pine Town. Portland was held by the Orchans, who had placed massive fortifications both facing the sea and inland. So their areas were 3, 5, 7, 8, 11, 13, 14 and 15NF ( 15 NF is cut off from aid by the Neutral zones and the great woodlands of 2NF).

 

Basically that cuts the continent in half, with the Orchans hold the West and North, the Aluwenists the South and Midlands.

 

Continent 2:

 

Obviously with no extra information it's impossible to call accurately where everyone would be, except that I've suggested that 19F be a human outpost and thus neutral, and probably the split could be done fairly evenly between the Aluwenists in the North, and the Orchans in the South probably maintaining a foothold on the main island at 11 and 13F (plus the island at 14F).

 

/OOC

 

***

 

It should not be entirely surprising that the Humans are the only ones with anything approaching a complete record of the Great War. They and Elandria for a long while kept out of the fighting, refusing to leave their walled cities and abandon the permanence they loved for the death and desolation of the lands around them. For this they were hated by Glydoc, who bears a grudge to this day for Elandria's refusal to help, and loved by Selain, who saw in Elandria's neutrality the key to his victory.

 

It should be made clear that at no point did the Gods personally intervene in the fighting. Mortos, Selain and Unolas were constantly aware of the superiority of the greater Gods, while Aluwen, Gaia and Glydoc refused to use their powers for fear of ruining the lands themselves with the conflict. An uneasy divine truce was to prevail throughout the war because of this.

 

The Dwarves too kept out of the war to start with, having no God to spur them to fight and a natural tendency towards isolation left them by Dvar. This left the Satyrs, Minotaurs, Centaur and Elves (who still at this time followed Aluwen) fighting the unforgiving armies of the Orcs, Ogres and Orchans.

 

The two continents swiftly divided across the same lines. Woodland realms were swiftly transformed into fortresses of root and branch, and the shambling cities of the Minotaurs gained hastily erected walls and fortifications. The Orchans meanwhile took charge of their slower, more vicious cousins, making their home in the great halls of the underworld, barricading the entrances against any incursion and abandoning their towns and cities.

 

The situation was more dire than it seemed for the supporters of Aluwen, for within their ranks lay a horde of spies and subverters built by Selain in the years of his exile. As the war began, Selain's knowledge of troop movements, supply lines and fortifications proved irresistible.

 

The Second Continent fell within months into his hands under the force of pinpoint attacks by the Orchans and abortive battles by the untrained and poorly led Aluwenists, and only a courageous last stand by a force of Minotaur warriors held the docks long enough for the rest of the army to escape.

 

It is thought at this time a stroke of luck came their way, for they were not immediately pursued. Legends speak of a freak storm that wiped out the Orchan fleet in its dock, forcing them to wait for several weeks while repairs were made. Whether this is true or not, what is certain is the small Centaur populace of Portland spend one day of every year celebrating the sea.

 

The First Continent proved a far greater challenge for the victorious Selain. Deprived of the bulk of his forces, and with most of the population made up of his enemies, he had few resources to raise an insurrection there. Though he had some influence through his network of informers and slaves, he had few troops to take advantage of this, and his efforts to force a quick victory failed when an attack on the port to Isla Prima came up against massive opposition.

 

Nevertheless, with the help of Unolas and his patient tuition of a select group of Orchan Warlocks in the ways of magic, progress was made, and as the last cities of the Second Continent fell into his hands Selain achieved a stalemate with the Aluwenists, with his forces holding the North West, the Aluwenists the South East. The Humans, who remained neutral, formed a barrier to both sides in the centre of the war.

 

The deadlock lasted for a month, with Pine Town in particular suffering greatly from lack of food, until an unexpected twist at the beleaguered outpost changed the course of the war. On the last day of autumn a fleet loomed large on the horizon, with patched and broken vessels limping slowly towards the coast.

 

The starving inhabitants of the town at first feared the Orchans had mustered a great fleet to attack their weak coastal defences, until suddenly the flag of Gaia burned brightly at the mast of the flagship. With a great fanfare and a horde of supplies the army of the Second Continent had arrived. The Orchan forces, led by Unolas himself were caught completely unawares, uninformed by their spies of a decision that had been made by Gaia while at sea to change destination and swing around to the North.

 

It was a massacre. Thousands of Satyrs and Elves swept through the main gates, smashing into the unprepared lines of Orcs and Ogres that lounged, bored, just a mile away. So fast was the rush that Unolas himself was caught, causing a complete rout in his forces as they saw his Headquarters overrun. Immortal, yet shocked beyond reason, Unolas fled in terror, leaving his tomes of magic behind and his Orchan students to be slaughtered.

 

The capture of Unolas' books of magical learning proved as important as the victory itself, for within them lay 300 years of instruction on the magical arts, open now for the Elves and Satyrs to learn. And learn they did, Gaia helping members of both races to become adept in the use of powerful essences until a small cadre of Wizards had been taught to the highest of standards.

 

While the teaching went on, the armies of the Second Continent marched South, breaking the flanks of the Orchan armies further with every passing day until finally Unolas ordered a full retreat to the Orcish defences at Portland, to await the arrival of Selain and reinforcements.

It would be weeks before Selain's arrival, and over this time the training of the Wizards was completed, but three other happenings would contribute to the outcome of the war while the lull continued.

 

First was Minos' purge of the undesired, a massive spyhunt which ripped through the ranks of the army, exposing traitors at the highest levels of the army. Second was a discovery made by interrogators that the hold of Selain over his minions was based on a drug his men had grown dependent on, and the ingredients of which were known to him alone. Repeated tests proved this to be true of not only his spies, but of the Orchan peoples as whole, whose water Selain had tarnished until, Male, Female and child they became addicted.

 

Third, and most important of all, was the coming of Glilin.

 

A dwarf in the truest sense, Glilin excelled at craftsmanship in a way not seen since Dvar himself still walked the lands, and had for most of his life ignored the world outside his workshop. His weapons were world renowned, his tools were to be found nowhere else, and his jewellery made in such exquisitely fine ways that friends would fight to hold them.

 

Yet as he reached the end of his life, Glilin began to notice the inferior quality of the metals his brokers could find for him, and he turned his gaze outwards to the world beyond in anger. What he found there inspired the single most pivotal moment of the Great War. Glilin took sides.

Glilin looked upon the war, and found the cause of the inferior metal to be Orchan work.

 

Controlling the Second Continent, they owned the ores of that land, where the best iron was to be found, yet cared little for the processing of mining it or smelting it properly. The result was cheap, brittle metal that was simply not usable in his high craft. Glilin decided that this was a cause the Dwarves should fight for, and used his immense influence within the Dwarven community to call a meeting on the subject.

 

Glilin talked long into the night at this meeting, shouting down the agents of Selain who attempted to silence him, and to the surprise of all, including himself, found there to be a huge sympathy for his cause. All the dwarves had suffered from a lack of usable materials, and a motion was swiftly passed to join the Aluwenists in their struggle.

 

Within days a flood of high quality weapons moved from the Northern Valleys to the armouries of both Gaia and Minos, closely followed by legions of highly disciplined dwarves outfitted in heavy armour, carrying near-unbreakable axes and short swords and headed by Glilin himself.

They reached the front lines on the day of the deciding battle for the First Continent, at the gates of Portland.

 

Next: The Battle of Portland, and the elevation of Glilin:

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NB// The chapter isn't finished yet (it's proving quite long, so I'll have to put off doing more til tomoz).

 

-----------------------------

 

The Great War (Prt 2) - The battle of Portland, and the elevation of Glilin.

Two accounts have found their way to the hands of our scholars that chronicle the Portland War. One is the infamous story of Salia, the other is that of Folis, a hero of the war. Between them they tell the tale of what happened in those frightening days.

 

***

 

Salia held his pike tight against the groan of the wind, straining his eyes for a glimpse of Portland in the gathering dark. He wished he was home, but that had been destroyed nearly a year ago now, when the Satyr's capitol in the woods of the Second Continent was burned by an Orc horde, who had struck where their defences were weakest. His family home had been razed to the ground, his kin scattered to the winds, left to fend for themselves when the legion protecting the town ran away in fear... When he'd run away...

 

A Dwarf walked up slowly out of the darkness, allowing Salia to swing his pike around to meet her.

 

"Password." The Elf bowed, her face hidden in her cloak, and replied.

"Essence." Salia raised his spear and saluted.

"Pass friend. What's the news?" His new companion didn't speak, but pushed back her hood to reveal finely crafted features, pretty for a Dwarf. Long Red hair rippled down her back as she shook it out, and a scent of purple Lilacs wafted through the air, calming Salia's frayed nerves. She looked at him patronisingly for a moment, and his patience ebbed.

"What news Dwarf?"

"We've taken the pass at Kamara, their lines were routed by our magic, combined with a surprise attack by my people that impressed even your Minotaur allies. General Glilin has as much skill in tactics as he has in craftsmanship, though he is too elderly to fight."

 

Salia grinned in delight, obviously Minos' spyhunt had cleared out any agents in the North. Victory - and the Dwarves - couldn't have come at a better time for Aluwen's army. The Aluwenists stood in a cordon around the outskirts of Portland, tied up by the impressive defences arrayed in the Quartz filled passages between Portland and White Stone, and at the desert mountain passes of Tahraji and Kamara. Losses had been high on all three fronts, as fanatical Orcs spared no prisoners and taunted their hungry enemies with promises of food from the rich silt plains lying in front of the city.

 

This latest attack was obviously a desperate measure, as supply lines to the army had grown scarce in the North, hampered by desert storms thrashing across from the West. Stories were being told of ships spotted off the coast as well, which if true could spell the end of them. But they had broken through... it could change everything.

 

Portland itself was supposedly neutral, but had little choice over who came through their great docks thanks to Selain's apparent stranglehold over several pivotal officials. If the armies of Aluwen were to take control of the plains around it however, She would be able to exert a great deal of pressure and perhaps set up an ambush before the bulk of Selain's troops got through.

 

"All border pickets here are being recalled for a full assault on the Tahraji Pass." The Dwarf smiled, but there was no warmth in it. "Perhaps what remains of the Satyr army can be of some use as cannon fodder, they certainly haven't made much of themselves thus far." Salia bristled.

 

"We were fighting and dying at these passes while you sat on your short fat bottoms making earrings!" The Dwarf snarled back.

"Yes, and you've made such poor work of it that we've had to intervene! Glilin makes no secret of his distaste for your species weakness and neither do I you prancing luvvie!" Salia, enraged, brought his spear up level with the Dwarf's head, but elicited only a howl of laughter.

"Ooh no don't kill me with your pointy stick, oh please no!"

 

Suddenly the Dwarf stopped, grabbed hold of Salia's spear and twisted it from his hands. From behind her back she drew a small axe and placed it below his cheek, drawing a thin scar down his face. "If you and your kind run from here tonight as they did from their homes on the Second Continent, my people will hunt you down and kill you." She withdrew her weapon and threw Salia's spear into some nearby bushes then walked away, calling over her shoulder:

"While you look for your stick, you might want to think of ways in which you can stop your fellow Satyrs from showing their cowardice."

 

***

 

Folis, a Centaur of the old school, stood beside several hundred of his fleet-footed brothers and looked out towards the sea. He had an inexplicable feeling of connection, something he had never felt before but which seemed somehow to have been dormant in his very bones since the omment of his birth. He had heard of this from the Elves, who claimed it was something they felt whenever Aluwen was near, yet he knew she was busy in the East directing the assault on the Quartz tunnel at White Stone so it couldn't be that. Gaia too was busy, though she directed their own lines, as she taught the ways of magic to some of her more gifted pupils.

 

It seemed to come from the sea itself, though he could not place how he knew that. Huge winds blasted from those turbulent waters, battering into the Tahraji pass and barelling down its length, forcing back all who tried to push through, yet despite this possibly fatal setback to the big push, which was on hold until the winds died down, Folis' feeling remained.

The other Centaur obviously felt it too, for there was none of the usual nervous twitching that took place before battle. They all seemed to be waiting for something. A young buck, barely old enough to hold his lance properly, whispered to him.

 

"What are we waiting for sarge?" Folis shifted uncomfortably on his hooves, not nervously, but with a giddy sort of excitement.

"The winds need to die down first, then the Satyrs will lead the way. Gaia's orders." He sneered slightly as he said it. No-one really trusted the Satyrs to do anything except run away. He could see ranks of the musical beings stanting some distance off, and despite the wind he could smell their fear. They were musicians, not warriors, yet that ruthless streak of Gaia's was going to drive them to their doom.

 

-Go-

 

Folias looked around, startled.

 

-Go to war-

 

Folias strained to hear the words, which came as if from a great distance, carried on the wind.

 

-It is time my child, vengeance against Mortos-

 

Folias whispered it; Vengeance.

 

-Lead them to victory-

 

Folias spoke aloud; "Vengeance." A thousand heads turned to watch him.

 

-Bring my wrath-

 

Folias walked forward, as if in a trance, and shouted. "Vengeance!" The lines of Centaur behind him spoke the word.

 

-Destroy them-

 

Folias broke into a run, and felt the earth move as a thousand Centaur took up his cry. "VENGEANCE! VENGEANCE! VENGEANCE!" He raced forward, the wind no longer pushing but caressing his face, he was spurred on by it, uplifted by it. Behind him the the deafening thunder of his people charging the road to Portland filled the world as he passed the bewildered faces of the Satyrs, and on towards the deadly lines of the Orcs.

 

***[/i]

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Salia watched the charge of the Centaurs, dumbfounded yet relieved. He and his kind were no match for the Orcs, their lean bodies and long, elegant fingers were made for other things. Nevertheless, his commanders, after a few moments discussion between themselves, sounded the horn to advance in support of their allies. The Satyrs moved off, slower than their allies yet, in the main, no less enthusiastic.

 

At the back of the line stood Gaia herself, filling them with a sense of wholeness and pushing them forward with kind words and the promise of better things. Though she rarely spoke aloud, when she did she was heard by everyone, and her shock at the rush of the Centaurs was felt by all.

 

THE WIND... IT CARRIES A VOICE WHICH MADDENS THEM...

 

Salia felt the hairs prick up on his shanks when he heard it, and he almost turned from the march before being carried forward by waves of his fellows. Already he could hear the cries of battle, drifting from the maw of the pass they were about to enter. Screams mingled with sighs, metal clashes and meaty thuds with the whistle of spears through the air.

 

Soon they could see at the edges of their vision the first dead, Orc sentries and Centaur front runners. The noise became deafening and they could barely make out the difference between screams of pain and shouts of elation. The sands had whipped up into a haze that blocked the light of the sun, and everyone was quickly coated, tiny granules stinging their eyes and matting their fur.

 

Suddenly from out of the mire a Centaur ran towards them, half crazed with fear and foaming at the mouth. A group of Satyr ran him down and pushed him to the front of the line, where he was interrogated by the nearest officer. Salia pushed a little closer and could just catch some words.

 

"Where were you... Many dead... Still fighting..." Salia's heart jumped. To him the prospect of coming out of that mess looked slim, but if he could stay close to the Centaurs he might be all right. He quietly moved to the part of the line he'd seen the messenger come from, and marched with renewed vigour.

 

It seemed as though an age of the earth had gone by the time they got to the front, caked in filth, half-blind from the sandy winds, and the pass suddenly opened up into the lush fields of Portland to let them see the sheer scope of the battle they faced.

 

For miles in every direction, a mass of creatures fought for these lands. Orchans, Orcs and horrifying Ogres were so numerous as to spill over the far horizon, and the Aluwenists poured into the breaches they had forced, fighting like demons for a foothold big enough to force an army through.

Far to the East, Salia could see a smudge of dirty grey smoke which his sharp eyes resolved into the shapes of Wizards and Dwarves, pounding the Orc lines with unheard of savagery. Fireworks lit up the sky as the Elven wizards threw vast magics into the enemy hordes, causing untold devastation.

 

And direct to his front, a few hundred Centaurs fought and died with the madness of rabid dogs, throwing themselves with reckless abandon at the Orcs, biting and lashing out with their hooves when weapons broke, dragging themselves forwards on broken legs, stumbling over the bodies of their friends and ignoring horrific wounds. Salia felt sick yet saw through his nausea that the Centaur's battle-lust was making the nearest Orc lines waver, and the sight of the Satyrs was causing many to warily back away.

 

Salia's Sergeant stepped forward. "For Gaia!" Salia raised his spear in salute to their Goddess, and charged with his people. This was going to be easy!

 

***

 

Folis felt a great elation as he killed his 30th Orc of the day. He was limping slightly from a nasty wound to his left front leg, but still wielded his sword effortlessly, it seemed to weigh nothing. He and his kind were fighting in a way not seen since the early days of the world, when everything had been done with such brash speed.

 

Their numbers were depleted now, but they found on as if they were fresh to the fight, and everything in their path was cut down. The only fighters left were the best, the ones who would not, could not give up, and the Orcs closest to them were finding it impossible to get a sword in edgeways.

 

Behind him he knew vaguely that the Satyrs were racing to meet them, which in theory should be welcome relief, but in a strange way Folis had come to know himself this day, fighting against overwhelming odds without cease, moving endlessly towards the goal of victory. These Satyrs would ruin it. He paused in the fighting for just a moment, to see where his kin needed the most help, then dived back in.

 

***

 

Salia had finally reached the front lines, bare yards from the Centaur warriors who were still killing with gleeful intensity, and saw Folis as he paused for breath. The Satyr did a double take. Was that the one who had led the charge? Folis ducked back into another melee and was gone. Yet Salia's bardic instincts called him to the cause of a ballad, and he followed Folis into the scrum of whirling blades.

 

It was several moments before he spotted Folis again, beating two Orcs back with a lash of his mighty hind legs, and Salia despite moving as fast as he could over warm bodies and a ground slick with blood struggled to keep up as Folis rushed to yet another weak spot. The Centaur seemed to be everywhere, wielding his red sword and gnashing his teeth as he ploughed through wave after wave of terrified Orcs. Everywhere they seemed to melt away beneath Folis' ethereal rage, and Salia suddenly realised that really the other centaur were simply for show. Folis was winning this battle.

 

***

 

The Orc line broke all of a sudden, as though on an unspoken command. Thousands of terrified eyes seemed to light up as one with the knowledge that they could not win this, and with a unison never seen before nor since in the Orcish peoples, the horde that surrounded them turned and ran.

 

Folis screamed his indignation, followed by his small remaining band of followers, yet with the passing of the Orcs there followed a lessening of his anger, as though the presence that sustained him grew bored. He grew aware enough of himself to feel a slight sting in his wounded leg, and looked around to check the damage. Perhaps 100 Centaur troops remained of the thousands that had run with him, yet around each was a pile of Orc corpses, and more littered the ground for each step the Centaur had taken. His Satyr allies looked upon him in fear and awe, disbelieving that so few could rout so many.

 

One Satyr, caked in dust but unbloodied, picked through the crowd to meet him. Folis looked down in disgust at the creature. It spoke in a quavering voice.

"What is your name great warrior, that we may immortalise you in song?" Folis lifted his head to the distant horizon, where an ocean of enemies moved to replace those who had run.

"I am Centaur, and that is enough. Bring news of our victory to the Dwarves little one, while there is still time to cross the plain." The Satyr nodded happily.

"Yes I shall tell them of the Centaur and his magnificent triumph."

 

 

***

 

------------------

 

More follows tomorrow

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Sorry took a bit longer to get around to doing it this next bit, I've had alot on.

 

---------------------------

 

Salia ran as fast as his legs could carry him across the battlefield towards the safety of the Elven and Satyr unit of wizards, who had opened a breach an hour earlier and stood guard near the front as Dwarven and Minotaur troops marched through the breach. There was an eerie hush over the battlefield, broken only by the rhythmical sound of marching as thousands of people took up position on the plains in font of Portland.

 

To the Northwest stood Folis, leading his enraged Centaurs, and perhaps 2000 Satyrs from both continents controlled by Gaia. With their victory over the Orcs, they had moved forward to grab the relatively thin strip of passable land between the town and the surrounding mountains, where they were now digging in. Falling slightly behind Salia was a force of Satyr rushing to take control of a nearby bridge, which spanned the river which divided the region.

 

To the North, the main thrust of the assault, a group of wizards supported 3000 Minotaurs and 1000 Dwarves as they marched into the heart of the plains. They too had sent a small force to the bridge, and occupied an easily defendable stretch of land surrounded by river water. To the East however it was quite plain that Aluwen's assault, with her 2000 Elves and small support group of Minotaurs and wizards, had failed to take the Quartz tunnel. It seemed likely Unolas personally commanded the defence there.

 

The still vast army of Orcs was slowly regrouping to the South, positioning themselves just outside the town. More worryingly, fresh Orchan forces stood just behind them, grim faced and heavily armed. Though the Orcs were the greater in number, perhaps 5,000 strong, the 3,000 Orchan troops would be far harder to beat, and they were being lined up on the right to be thrown against the Dwarves.

 

Most worrying of all however was the presence of black sails, billowing above the walls of the town. If Selain's fleet had arrived, it would add 20,000 to the numbers inside Portland, with plenty of provisions, and there was no way the Aluwenists could win that fight. Salia glimpsed this last as he ran, and stopped in disbelief to stare. As he stood there, he could see something rising above the walls to the top of the mast... A flag... Salia gasped and dropped to his knees in terror. It was the flag of Selain.

 

***

 

Folis too saw the flag as it rose above the city walls, and the anger in his veins rose once again. He gnashed his teeth in fury and stomped his hoof, eager to race forward and fight anything that moved. He was stopped only by his sense of duty - he knew the left wouldn't hold if he and his Centaurs were not there to protect it, and Glydoc and Glilin needed that flank to hold if they were to have any chance of keeping Selain's forces divided enough for victory.

 

The unexpectedness of the left's victory over the Orcs was such that he'd had to send a Satyr to them, for fear they would not incorporate it into their plan and would simply charge the massed ranks of enemy headfirst and be destroyed. He thus watched Salia's movements as the little bard moved across the field, and was shocked to the core of his being when he saw his messenger change course, running towards the city.

 

"What magic is this!" He muttered aloud. On the edge of hearing the voice which gave him such strength whispered.

-No magic, cowardice- Folis ground his teeth together in fury, yet stayed still as he motioned to two of his fellows.

"Catch the Satyr I sent, he has become turncoat." To a third he grated "Go to Glilin and Glydoc and tell them our situation. Be quick, there will not be much time before they attack again."

 

***

 

Salia ran as fast as his hoofs could carry him, racing towards Portland. Behind him came the chill braying of his pursuers, who were catching up fast. He risked a look behind as he reached the foot of the mountains surrounding the town, and saw that the two Centaur who ran towards him were just a short distance behind.

 

Salia picked up his pace, hoping that a single mad sprint would bring him within reach of the city walls and safety. With any luck they would let him through when they saw he was being chased.

 

He was nearly at the gates and could see through them to the streets beyond when he was finally brought down, a well-thrown spear through his leg. The sound of braying intensified and as he rolled in agony on the ground, Salia saw two sets of hooves come to a stop behind him.

"Do you have anything to say coward?" Salia closed his eyes and bit his lip. He would not give them the satisfaction. Even as the spear was torn from his thigh, he did not speak. He remained silent as his captors screamed with fury...

 

Then nothing.

 

Salia risked opening his eyes for a moment, and saw both the Centaur lying prone on the grass by his side, the fletches of a dozen arrows protruding from them as they sighed their last. He looked towards Portland. In the gateway stood a unit of Orchan archers, two of whom set off as he watched to drag him inside.

"Come to join us have you?"

 

***

 

Folis finally lost his outward composure as Salia was dragged into the city, and began to trot about, swinging his sword. The nearest of his kin looked on in agitation, one piping up:

"What shall we do now?" Folis looked at the situation. With Salia's help, the enemy would know that the forces who defeated them on the left were all but spent, and that the Satyr reinforcements were likely to rout under pressure. They would send only enough troops to stop his flank from spooking the rest of their army during the main battle, and that wouldn't be enough to give Glydoc and Glilin a fighting chance.

 

Folis searched for a solution. They needed was a way to draw more of Selain's troops away from their main force. His gaze lit on the bridges. If one was destroyed at the right time, it would divide the enemy in two, forcing them to send huge numbers round to the other bridge, which would be defended by his troops.

 

After ordering his Centaur to make for the bridge, he ran for the Satyr line and Gaia. They were leaving it late; even if she agreed immediately it would be a close thing.

 

***

 

Salia sat, his leg crudely bandaged, in front of this Orchan God who had started the war and slaughtered his family, telling everything he knew about the Gaian unit who had taken the pass at Tahraji. The crone-like figure of the one Orchans called 'Great Poisoner' was shrouded under a heavy cowl, and showed no reaction as he spoke of troop numbers, morale and positioning until he mentioned the charge of Folis, when it stirred and spoke in an oily, slime-ridden tongue.

 

"Ah yes, the Centaur who led that rout of my front-line troops. A magnificent achievement, made all the more poignant by the involvement of their God." Salia cocked his head to one side in puzzlement, everyone knew the Centaur, like the Dwarves, had lost their God in the early days, but Selain didn't seem to notice, or if he did, wasn't going to explain. The crone-like figure turned to a pair of Centaur, who stood listless in the crowd of onlookers a few feet away.

 

"You will gag and bind the Satyr and take him to this Folis, saying you were working undercover for Glydoc and took him from prison as he was about to tell his captors everything he knew. Then when you get the chance, kill both of them. Do this and your families will be set free. Fail and they will be killed."

 

The Centaurs he spoke to nodded miserably, and moved to take hold of Salia, who stuttered;

"But I have helped you win this war!" The cowled figure laughed quietly.

"Not yet, but you will soon enough - little traitor."

 

***

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Folis galloped as fast as he could towards the bridge, leaving the quickmarch of the Satyr behind. His Centaur had already reached the two bridges, and the one he ran towards was already being weakened in preparation for their trap to be sprung.

 

As he'd predicted, it was going to be close - a detachment of Orchan perhaps 500 strong was moving in their direction ahead of the mounting mass of Selain's front line. If they reached the bridge before the Satyr crossed, it would be all over - the Centaur couldn't afford to destroy the crossing too early, or the trap would fail and the Satyr would be cut off, and they couldn't hold off that many Orchans on their own.

 

Folis reached the bridge quickly, nodding to his troops as he thundered through, and crossed over to the area around the second bridge to check on its defences. It would be difficult. The bridge was wide and the bank not far enough away, so the enemy would be able to both march across en masse and have supporting archer fire, something they couldn't counter as only the bare 200 Centaur carried bows, most of which had been broken or had no arrows left.

 

Across the centre span of the bridge, two large vegetable carts were rolled into place to provide at least some protection from the onslaught, and any rocks which could be found were piled inside to make them heavier. Any spare pieces of dry cloth they had - some ripped from the bodies of the dead - were laid just beneath as the carts, and the wheels were removed.

 

Only a few spare feet of clear ground lay between the two barriers, and it was through this that a Centaur sentry spotted two figures moving at high speed towards them. Folis was quickly informed as he inspected the banks of the river to check for any possible ambush spots, and he trotted over to the bridge, bemused. In front of him was an unlikely scene. Two worn-out looking Centaurs were carrying between them the unconscious body of Salia, who was gagged and bound. It looked as though he had put up a struggle. One of the Two arrivals spoke as several defenders gathered round to watch.

 

"Are you Folis?" Folis glared at them suspiciously.

"Who are you?" The second of the two bowed slightly before replying.

"We are spies working for Glydoc. We heard this runt mentioning a Centaur named Folis, and got him away from the people interrogating him as he was about to reveal details of your military movements." Folis frowned.

"You've come to the right place then, I am Folis. But how did you get away from the force at the gates with a potentially war winning traitor in your custody?" The two Centaurs looked at each other and the people standing around, clearly gauging something.

"You are Folis?"

"Yes now answer my question." They didn't reply, but stood still for a moment, tensed. Folis grew impatient.

"Who are you? What are your..."

 

Both of them sprang at once. Drawing short swords from under their cloaks, they swung at Folis' unprotected chest, drawing blood as he threw himself out of the way and followed him with a determined look in their eyes. All at once they caught up with him, and brought their swords down to his throat. One of them looked at him, shamefaced.

 

"We're sorry Folis, Selain has our families." Folis looked at them in astonishment, dumbfounded. No-one else had had time to move.

"-Stop, my children-" The voice came from Folis' mouth but it was not him. The two would-be assassins grew still as it spoke.

"-This one is my own, you shall not touch him-" Every Centaur, without quite knowing why, stepped back from Folis and lowered their weapons.

"-He shall lead you all to victory over Mortos... To revenge-" The Centaurs whispered vengeance under their breath, and Folis' assailants with them.

"-The enemy come-"

 

***

 

After having his gag removed and telling all he knew about Selain's forces within the town walls, Salia was placed in a nearby tree for safekeeping and got a perfect view of the battle. He still didn't understand why the Centaur assassins had turned themselves over to Folis and now fought alongside him, but was thoroughly glad they had.

 

He watched the battlefield, drinking in all the sights, sounds and smells for the song he would sing once the battle was over.

 

The Minotaurs, Dwarves and Wizards held ground directly in front of the Kamara pass, forming deep ranks to absorb the impact of the Ogre-led first charge of Selain. At the two bridges, the Centaur had finished their preparations and stood, grim faced to wait and see whether the Satyrs would make it across the bridge before 500 Orchan could reach it and ruin Folis' plan to hold up half Selain's forces. To the East, there was still no sign of Aluwen's Elves. In the South gathered the armies of Selain, moving now to finish this war before a lack of food (and Selain's drug) could weaken them.

 

Salia blanched at its size, and turned his head to watch the advance of the Satyr. It was coming right down to the last few yards. Already half of his kin were across the bridge, spreading out in a panting mass along the edge of the river and shouting their comrades on, but only a hundred yards behind, the Orchan had let out a terrifying bellow and begun to charge the back ranks.

 

Those few Centaur left with working bows and arrows let fly a volley to take down the front row, tripping several who came after, but it was just a little too late. Orchan iron cut down dozens of straggling Satyr as the back ranks panicked and pushed through to the other side of the bridge, and a brave counter charge by the Centaur barely held them from crossing.

 

Gaia, who hovered over the scene unable to use her powers to help, quickly rallied her people to help, and the 1800 remaining Satyr regrouped to attack as the Centaur, with Folis once again taking the lead, fought on. Finally, after several minutes of confused rushing about, 300 Satyr managed to join the Centaur troops, pressing enough weight onto the Orchan forces to force them back off the bridge. A few minutes later the rest of the Satyr followed, breaking as a tsunami over the few remaining Orchans and routing them.

 

They had held by the skin of their teeth. As soon as he saw the Orchans begin to run, Folis roared to everyone to get back behind the bridge, and began to reorganise the army, spreading their forces between the two bridges, the fastest at the West bridge, slower and wounded men at the Eastern. Final supporting beams were pulled out of the weakened West bridge, terminally weakening the structure.

 

The defeat of the Orchan detachment led to a short lull in combat as the rest of Selain's army marched slowly towards them. As Folis had thought, Selain split his forces in two, some moving to cross the river and attack from the South, the rest moving north to bypass the river and attack from the East. Salia estimated 4.000 Orcs and 1.000 Orchan to be moving their way, just under half the total. Of these 2,500 were heading for the West Bridge, a full ¼ of the total.

 

Folis' plan went perfectly. As the first Orcs reached the middle of the bridge, it gave way with an almighty crash, tumbling down into the rushing waters below, dragging with it 200 enemy troops and stranding over 2,000 more. It would take them hours to get to the next crossing place.

 

Their trap sprung, the troops placed at the bridge as a lure moved as fast as they could to help at the other front, where the first wave of Orcs had reached the wagons and were pushing at them. A fire was quickly set in the cloth under the wagons, making this far harder, but it would be only a matter of time until the horde broke through, and the deciding battle of the second continent would be decided.

 

***

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WOW i would read it but i gotta die in 80 years so maybe next life, but it looks like u put ALOT of effort into it

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Bah dunno what you're talking about it's barely 12,000 words - you'd need more than ten times as many for a novel :(.

 

When I edit it down it'll be less, and broken up into easily digested chunks. This is being posted pretty much as I write it, and with that in mind this will finish the narrative part of the battle of Portland.

 

---------------------------------

 

Folis stood at the front of the line as the carts finally gave way, and gazed into the distance, trying to work out how long it would be before the rest of the army arrived, his Centaur among them. The Satyr who were with him would have to hold until they arrived, or the bridge would fall and over 2,000 Orcs would be able to attack the flanks of Glydoc's force virtually unopposed. He looked upon his charges and was unimpressed. Even with the bolstering presence of Gaia they were shakey.

 

He wasn't sure what to do about it. He could handle his own kind, but these were artists, musicians, poets. They were no soldiers. As the Orcs burst through the collapsed barricade, and arrows whistled from across to the river to find home in the skins of the Satyr defence, he could think of just one thing to cry.

 

"Vengeance!"

 

***

 

Salia heard Folis shout from his tree, and saw the bloodstained Centaur gallop at the head of the Satyr into the line of Orcs, hacking and slashing with furious intensity. His heroism was inspirational. 1,000 Satyr ran with him to meet the bigger, stronger Orcs, and for a few moments pushed the oncoming enemy backwards.

 

But with every passing moment they grew weaker. The Orcs were better fighters and for every one that fell, Satyr would fall to the ground lifeless. They were outnumbered and outclassed. Only the presence of Folis, swinging, punching, biting, kicking and goring his way through the Orcish ranks, held them together.

 

Gradually, after several minutes of fighting, The Orcs pressed home their advantage and gained ground. Folis and a small cadre of fighters near him were left isolated in the middle of the bridge as Satyrs at the front of the line began to tire and fall back.

 

Salia looked at the forces rushing to their aid. Fifty Centaur had raced ahead of the pack and would arrive in mere moments, the rest would be a few minutes more. Salia held his breath as the cavalry pushed their way through the Satyr ranks to try and rescue their leader.

 

Folis looked exhausted, barely able to catch breath enough to keep moving. Despite the heroic efforts of a few Satyr who had formed a circle around him, he was having to fight two or three Orcs at a time, and even the strange power that had carried him this far seemed to be losing its effect. Seeming to sense his waning strength, the hulkish green creatures grew bolder and pressed around him, bearing down upon the small remaining group.

 

Even as the first Centaur reached Folis, Salia could see it was too late, and a stray Orc blade cut deep into the hero's breast. With a sigh that seemed to shake the ground, Folis fell, and with his passing the Satyr could hold no longer. While the Centaur held the line for just a few more minutes to bring their dying leader from the fray, the Satyr ran for the fight raging at the mouth of the Kamara pass.

 

***

 

The heroism of Folis and his Centaurs was the turning point of the war. With 2,500 troops stranded behind the collapsed West bridge, and a further 1000 dead from Folis' last stand, combined with the delay in the remaining Orc troops from that fight in getting to the battlefield, Glydoc and Glilin found themselves almost equal in number to Selain's troops, with far superior troops and the decided advantage of magic.

 

Although Ogre shocktroops caused some consternation in the Dwarven line, the elderly Glilin showed immense courage in rallying them to his banner, and a counterattack from the deadly Minotaurs, caused devastation in the Orc ranks. In under an hour Selain's troops had begun to weaken, and the addition of nearly 1,000 Satyr charging into their flanks finally caused them to rout entirely.

 

The 1,500 Orcs following hot on the Satyr's heels ground to a stop as they saw what was happening, and faced with overwhelming odds, withdrew from the battle. As reports filtered back from the battlefield about what had happened, it is reputed that the normally unflappable Selain roared with such anger that his throne collapsed, much to the delight of his court.

 

Selain sued for peace shortly afterwards. With his army in tatters, supplies of food and the drugs he used to control his forces running low, and the agreement from Elandria that she would join the struggle against him finally coming through, he had no choice. Although his status as a God could not be taken from him (nor could it from Unolas), he was barred thereafter from taking an active role in the life of the Eternal Lands.

 

Folis died shortly after the Orcs had taken the East bridge, and was carried by his few remaining kin to the Tahraji desert, where he was buried with all honour. He is regarded as a patron saint for the race.

 

Salia was recaptured by the Orcs and put to death in a field execution just minutes after witnessing the fall of Folis. His weakness is a source of shame for the Satyr race and led to Glilin's intense dislike of Gaia.

 

--------------------------

 

Next: The Aftermath, Glilin's elevation and the great agreement.

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K this is the lot, I'm all done. What I'm going to do next is write a brief summary (300 words or so) and edit the rest for spelling, continuity etc etc. Then I'll post both up here.

 

-------------------------

 

Now we come at last to the changing of the lands; to the decimation of the races. We come to the withdrawal of the Gods, the creation of the Eternals, the coming of the wraith. This story is still being written, for it is ours and that of our fathers. I write only two score years after the event, and I remember it well - the aftermath.

 

Warriors from all the races lay dead on the battlefield, heroes and cowards alike. Of the myriad tens of thousands who had populated the continents, uncounted numbers were no more. In the hall where war had begun, now empty apart from the Gods themselves, an argument began to rage.

 

Mortos, freed from the bowels of the earth by the other Gods to mollify Selain and Unolas, began by resuming his critique of the lands. For long hours he charged that the discovery of magic and the destruction wreaked by Selain's war had irrevocably ruined the lands themselves, and that nothing would ever be same thus ruining the point of making it in the first place.

 

Against the wishes of Selain and Unolas, he called for the destruction of the world, on the grounds it had become and abomination for not just him, but in the eyes of his fellow Gods. Although there was some nodding from Unolas, the others rejected this idea as absurd, Aluwen pointing out that this mutation of their original ideas was more in tune with their goal to understand creation than a simple world that followed them completely could ever be.

 

Mortos had however made a valid point. The Gods had proven unable to keep any kind of order over their lands, and as Selain and Unolas had proven, the supposedly inferior races were more than capable of challenging their rule. With Centaur gone, awash in his own madness, there was no-one to argue the case of chaos, and a consensus that they needed more order grew during the discussion.

 

On both sides they decided this should equate to two things. First, another God should be made, to create a neutral balance to the two opposed sides. Elandria was not powerful enough in herself to settle disputes by coming down on one side or the other, and besides this was still not trusted by Mortos after she had foiled his first plot all those years ago.

 

Second was the division of all sentient peoples into the ethereal - a probationary period of half-life - and the physical, when probation was finished and the Gods gifted the spirit it's body. Some became immortal physical beings, who live permanently on the Lands both tending and populating them. Others were named Eternals, who come to these lands half-formed, and try to become more than this over time.

 

This second measure would both keep down the number of people to a manageable level and allow the Gods to remain quietly in the background, free to ponder without undue interference.

 

The candidates for godhood were few. Selain argued for a Centaur to be raised, believing them to be the reason for his defeat and thus worthy of his respect. Glydoc however argued, more persuasively, for Glilin, whose courage, supreme skills of craft and towering intellect seemed eminently suited for the job. Selain was further hampered by the death of Folis, who had been the only clear-cut Centaur contender.

 

The vote was heavily split, but down unexpected lines. Mortos abandoned his protégé Selain to support the Dwarf's elevation, while Gaia took Selain's side. Unolas refused to take sides, as did Aluwen who curtly disagreed with everyone else over the need for a new God but couldn't do anything about it. In the end Elandria went with Glilin, explaining that his neutrality at the beginning of the war showed a level head.

 

Her contribution tipped the scales in favour of Glilin's elevation, and as the now depleted races of the world were stripped away from its surface, he alone survived and became a God. The countless numbers who used to populate the continents are gone, with only a few remaining who had been deemed worthy of a permanent physical form.

 

A strange side effect of this was the inclusion of many Orcs and Ogres, something which Mortos insisted on before agreeing to the proposal, and the continuing introduction of new and more powerful beings by all the Gods, which was suggested by Unolas as a way of constantly introducing variety so the lands would not pall for them.

 

After the great agreement was done, Mortos went back to his domain in hell, preferring it to the lands above but always wishing quietly to destroy it. Qast is his latest idea in this regard. He still wields great power in the lands and as with the other God's, patronises the Eternals who please him.

 

***

 

We who live in these lands today are the descendants of that time. We are born formless, and gain our bodies only through the grace of the Gods and our own hard work. Our early lives are dominated by the words of the Wraith - whose form and voice twists with the words of the Gods themselves, giving us quests so we can show our worth and better ourselves.

 

We cannot truly die, but we must work to truly live. We are the Eternals, and these are our lands.

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Umm quick quetsion Saii.......Is this a sum up of what you've already posted on the clans boards, or is there new material here........ :?:

 

Either way seeing as there's so much that you've done, :idea: is there any chance of providing a zip, with the complete, compiled story in it :idea:

 

Anyways keep up the good work man I haven't gotten round to reading it yet as I only the discovered the post at about 3am, but judging from the amount of work you've put into it, it looks like it'll make for good reading.... :wink:

 

PS

I promise I'll read it once I've woken up a little :wink:

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