Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Sylvan Legends Book 1: The Early Legends

Book 1:  The Early Legends

Eyrturheru was born a Sindari prince (of the High Elves), and the heir to the House of Varda.  In his younger life, he often wandered the woods of the Sylvan North, and came to love the traditions of the people there.  Legend has it that he fired an arrow into the air, declaring to his companions that where it landed would be founded his house; but as the arrow fell it struck and killed a doe in the forest.  When Eyrturheru’s party came to the spot, in a clearing, Linnea was there attending to the fallen animal.  She showed the healing touch – a hint of the powers borne by the women of her line – in healing the doe and setting it free.  Eyrturheru was immediately taken; and in time fell in love with her; and they eventually married.  Where the arrow fell, they built the House of Eyrturheru, and at its core the city of Taur-na-Sylvhara.

For over two hundred years, Taur-na-Sylvhara was a place of joy and brightness; and the land prospered under the King and Queen of the Northern Sylvan People.  But a malevolent power grew in the west, beyond the borders of the realm.  And its violence pierced the borders with the slaying of the Dragon King, Dragollich, and the attempt to slay the dragon heirs.  The heirs were rescued by Linnea and her Guard, and sent into hiding in exile. But by the heroic act of the Lady of the Wood was created a bond with the dragons.  

The Elven Council met, and agreed that the dark force in the west was Nargoroth, the Witch King and one of the seven archwizards of Netheril.  They saw his rise to power as the fulfillment of Prophecy; and they determined to take war to Tal Nargor, the stronghold of Nargoroth, to deal with the threat before it could gain its full strength.  The King himself led the army out on the March to throw down Nargoroth; but as they made their plans for the assault on Tal Nargor, word came from a loyal fae – Rowenna d’Noir – that forces of the Witch King had circled about to the North and fallen upon Taur-na-Sylvhara, where a fierce battle raged.

Eyrturheru led a large group of elven warriors, borne by dragons, to return at once to the City; but arrived too late.  Queen Linnea had been taken by the attackers.  Lady Comet, however, had miraculously escaped capture.  Eyrturheru came to learn that Linnea had been taken to Mori Tarma, the dark tower stronghold to the north of Tal Nargor.  He gathered his best warriors and archers, including Linnea’s loyal cousin Elohim, and the group sped on dragons to attempt the rescue of the Queen.  The party found her in the tower; but was surprised by the dark elf leader of Nargoroth’s guard, Tz’arkan, who killed Elohim before being defeated by Eyrturheru and Linnea.  The King escaped the tower with his Queen, but before they could make a clean escape (on Bragollach, a mighty and renowned dragon), Linnea was shot by a poisoned arrow from the Witch King’s bow.  Linnea died in his arms in an open field, close to the wood she so loved.

Nargoroth was incensed by his loss of the captive elf-queen, the full reasons for his anger known only to him at that time.  He vowed to take the Elven heirs, the daughters of Eyrturheru; and dispatched one of the Sereg’wethrin – fell creature bred from an unholy experiment combining dragon and man, and trained their entire lives as spies and assassins bred – to kill the King and capture the heirs.  The one selected, Darakh’urra, was among his most loyal followers – a half-breed raised as a son to the Witch King from the time of his birth.  He was sent to Taur-na-Sylvhara in the guise of a human warrior seeking an alliance with the Sylvan People.

Unknown to Nargoroth, Darakh’urra had found himself  in private dialogues with Linnea during her time of imprisonment in the tower, before her death.  The teachings of the Elf Queen opened the Dragon Lord’s heart, and let the light touch it; and love grew in what had been barren ground.

The assassin, now called Darius as he traveled in his disguise, did not know who Linnea was when he set out on his mission, or that she had died.  Darius succeeded in penetrating the House of Eyrturheru, and earned enough confidence to get close to the Elf King.  However, in the very moment he moved to strike down the enemy of his Master, the King confronted him as a traitor; for Eyrturheru had learned through secret communications from Linnea, before her death, that an assassin would come.  Darius heard the truth about Linnea; and was surprised by Comet as she burst into the room during his confrontation with Eyrturheru.  When Darius saw Comet, he saw the face and spirit of Linnea; and fell upon his knees, distraught from guilt and anguish.

Treachery reared its head, however.  Grindemor – a man of the North and trusted ally to the King – proved to be in league with Nargoroth; and attacked the King, stabbing him with a poisoned blade.  Darius was able to stay Grindemor’s hand from a killing stroke, and disable the Northman’s guards.  But Grindemor recovered; and held his dagger to the throat of the King.   Eyrturheru would have been slain on the spot had it not been for Lady Comet, who – with the help of Lady Rowenna – took her father’s sword in hand and struck down Grindemor before he could administer the fatal blow.

Eyrturheru lay wounded in his bed for some time, incapacitated by the workings of the poison in his bloodstream.  When he finally awoke – nearly three weeks after the attack – he called for Darius to come attend him in his chambers.  There, he spoke to Darius of the Prophecies – of the war that would come to their doorstep and touch the entire world.  He accepted Darius’ petition for service – but not to serve the King’s armies.  Instead, the King surprised him by naming him Dragon Protector for his daughter, Lady Comet; and bidding him to take her to safety in exile.  He gave to Darius the Sylvan Ode – words that would be as a beacon to draw the People back to their Queen when the time was right.  Comet would have to lead the People forward to oppose Nargoroth; for Eyrturheru knew he would decline, and must make the journey to the West.

Lord Darius and Lady Comet left Taur-na-Sylvhara for the last time the next morning, and began to move south across the wild forests.  They had learned that Taur-na-Sylvhara had fallen shortly after their departure; but that a great Elvish army had reassembled at the old ruins of Ta’Valoor and gone into battle with Tz’arkan and the armies of Nargoroth near the port city of River’s Rest.  Tz’arkan was killed and Nargoroth’s army defeated; but the toll was great and Eyrturheru disbanded the remaining elf warriors and sent them to scatter in the wild.

That news was over two months old when Darius and Comet encountered an elf-lord who had been seeking them across the wild lands.  The elf-lord brought two important items to the future Queen of the Sylvan Elves.  The first was a note from Eyrturheru telling her that he had gone to the West; and charging her to be the force that would rally her People to the great cause.  The second item was his sword, Eledhwen, which marked her birthright and, with it, the strength and hopes of the Sylvan People.  

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