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Fall of the Forest

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Fall of the Forest

Written by Terrorgrim

 

 

 

Before Tirnwood and before the Great War, the land was at peace. The children of the gods - humans, elves and dwarves - all lived in harmony. The curse of Mortos had yet to touch them and Irilion was but a fairytale to be told to children by the fire.

 

It was during this time that the Forest of the Spring came into being.

 

It began with the planting of a single acorn, a thing most precious to the wandering elf who carried it. She was still young by elf years. Born in Tarsengaard, she had grown weary of her life there and her curiosity had taken her over the border, toward the Elavro Mountains. Carefully, the young Elf turned the soil and planted her treasure at the heart of the small hole she’d dug. With love, she gently patted the earth until the seed was buried. It was with such love, this simple act of kindness, of creation, that it caught the attention of the gods; two in particular, Aluwen the goddess of protection and Mortos the god of Attack, or war.

 

Aluwen, who’d watched intently the Elf and her actions, blessed the acorn. She herself gave it health, protection and a blessing as such that when the small elf once again returned, the area was now a lush, green forest. This was the birth of the Forest of the Spring. For hundreds of years it stayed under Aluwen’s protection for the goddess loved Draia, the lush greenery and the colourful fruits it provided to its children, and she loved above all else the elves, for the simple understanding of the world they lived in.

 

Over time, the elves migrated from Tarsengaard, which was becoming increasingly overrun by man and his stone structures, and they moved into the forest. They pledged their allegiance to Aluwen and their magical haven, and they lived in harmony, taking an oath never to let the forest come to harm.

 

But all this time, Mortos had been watching intently. From his temple he’d seen all that had taken place, and, not wanting to risk open-war on Aluwen's blessed land, he’d been forced to watch in disgust at the actions of the young elf. The world is too peaceful, he thought to himself. Already the children are far too blessed!

 

Over time, the wood-elves, or the druids, as they became known, built a temple in tribute to Aluwen. It was a simple enough structure, for they still held true to their pact with the goddess, a hut of sorts, with crude carvings of dragons to guard its entrance from troublemakers and naysayers. They built homes in the very treetops and lived their lives in perfect union with the forest, they gave it their protection, and the forest returned the favour, blessing them with rich crops, cattle to farm. It was as close to utopia as they had been.

 

 

*****

 

 

 

Time passed, generations were born and generations passed over. Soon the origins of the forest, and the sacred vow made by its inhabitants, were lost under the deep blanket of time.

 

It was at this time that an Elven woman, Adnama, a direct descendant of the founder, took leadership within the community. She too valued nature, but she also felt jealousy: she watched as the cities of men grew, great towns and cities were founded. Huge stone structures of majesty and power and pride were built. Tirnwood forest, founded by an outcast of their very own, had grown into a community and with it villages had also begun to show. Adnama began to feel that their temple, their forest dwelling, was fast becoming inadequate. This was a weakness soon to be exploited...

 

It was at this time that Mortos decided to intervene. All these long years he’d kept watch over the Forest of the Spring, suffered the laughter and song, suffered also the worship and praise given to Aluwen for her continuous protection. Trapped by his own fear of all-out war with the gods, Mortos had no desire to openly interfere, or harm. But if he could possess one with his essence, he could definitely influence….

 

It was a young man whom Mortos chose to possess, a human friend of Adnama's from Tirnwood; his name was Celic.

 

He appeared to her one day in the mountains to ‘seek her council’. He told her that the crop at Tirnwood had failed that year and that a local priest had said it was a curse wrought from the Goddess Aluwen.

 

“A curse?” Adnama had replied in shock. “Aluwen does not curse, she blesses, she protects all Draia’s children!”

“I think not my lady,” ‘Celic’ had replied. “It is said that we have not paid due tribute for her protection. There is but enough left from last season to see them to mid-winter. I fear many will die.”

 

Adnama was troubled deeply by this news, her beloved goddess Aluwen was ready to kill the Tirnwood inhabitants? For this she would not stand.

 

“The only solution I can see is to bow to her in worship Adnama,” the man went on.

“That we already do Celic. We have a temple…”

“I mean no disrespect, but that is not a temple. It is a mud hut.”

 

Adnama returned to her beloved forest troubled and with haste, failing to notice that her ‘friend’ looked very content as she left….

 

 

*****

 

 

 

At the next council meeting within the Forest of the Spring, Adnama brought to their attention all she had learned and it equally troubled them all. The ‘mud hut’ remark was also brought to their attention, along with a plan drawn up by Adnama.

 

Already a keen crafter and manufacturer of clothes and tools, she planned to build a grand temple of stone with which to honour her goddess, lest the same fate should befall them, and with it, a proud stone town among the trees to call their own.

 

“But we have no room! How can we build such a monument?” came the reply of one individual.

 

And so it was decided then that some of the trees should be removed to make way for the new city, and work began immediately. Trees were felled here and there: stone was brought in from all over the continent as the Druids laboured tirelessly in an effort to complete their new project. And all the while Mortos watched from his temple, and he was pleased.

 

The project was into its second year when the change was first noticed. One of the trees of the forest was bare. The discovery, made by an elven child, terrified him. The leaves were of red and brown, and were scattered at the foot of the tree. The council saw this as a sign that their efforts were too slow, and so they hastened.

 

At the end of the second year, with the project nearly completed, winter came. Now you, the reader, may think this no strange thing. But to the druids, the sacred wood-elves of the forest, it was something new. Never in the history of the Forest of the Spring had there been a winter, nor had there ever been ice, or snow. Fruit no longer grew, the animals took shelter, and the forest changed.

 

Spring eventually did return to the forest, and by the time it did, it was done. A proud monument to Aluwen stood in the forest, a temple taller than any before. Flanked by Stone Dragons and Angels, and lined with tall, proud pillars; it stood as an exquisite example of elven craftsmanship. The town around it, white stone buildings, shimmered in the fresh new sunlight of the season and the council members were pleased.

 

This shall please Aluwen, Adnama thought, looking upon the majesty of her temple, but it did not.

 

Summer never came to the forest that year. After but a few weeks of spring, the leaves of the trees browned and curled once again. Again the paths were littered with dead things. Dead nature. Aluwen had watched, all this while, as her followers had desperately scrabbled around toppling trees to make way for bulky and vain visions of their own making. Her love for the elves, her great passion for their well-being, had died, and with it, so too had the forest.

 

Some fled. They saw the doom that they had blindly wrought on themselves and panicked. They spread to all the far reaches of the continent to start anew, without the protection of their goddess, naked for the first time. Adnama and a handful of others had stayed. Adnama herself had always been steadfast. She was, after all, their leader and she was determined to put things right. Packing a small bag of belongings, she headed for Tirnwood in search of Celic, and the truth.

 

Seeing this angered Mortos. His plan had worked perfectly, with one exception: the hope that was left in the hearts of those that remained. In anger, he commanded upon them legions of his worst reckonings, and so Orcs and Goblins appeared in the forest. They swarmed over the mountains like ants on a hill. Coming from every direction they burned and pillaged, and left none alive that they met along their way. The screams, it is said, could be heard further than the flames could be seen in the sky. All around, the buildings burned and crumbled. The one curiosity, Mortos thought, was that through all the fire and destruction, still the dead trees remained….

 

Adnama returned unsuccessful to her home in the hope at least that some would be there to greet her. The vision she came upon instead nearly drove her to madness. Crying and shaking, she cursed Aluwen, and she now cursed Mortos. Having met with her friend, he’d told her of what had taken place, how he'd felt the very essence of Mortos overrun him like a parasite. And she’d known then that she’d been utterly deceived, to the cost of her people.

 

Originally she intended only to stay long enough to bury her kin, but after calming, she made with herself an inner peace. What was done was done. After hundreds of years, she now was all that remained. So why leave? Instead with neither hope nor love left in her, Adnama sentenced herself to a long and lonely life as the sole inhabitant of the forest. She remained lest people should forget the tragedy that befell her forest, the dead forest, no longer the Forest of the Spring, now and always, the Forest of the Fall.

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