A Dark Fantasy

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by AFeatheredHat, Oct 11, 2014.

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  1. Half a dozen heavily built, bearded men stood around a faded map in the centre of a small, wooden keep which made the heart of the village. Around them, both inside and out waited one hundred-odd men waiting for their orders, Robert was one of these men. He had his eye over the shoulder of their leader, Aethalstan. The map they were looking at was a map of England and the surrounding area, or rather, the separate territories that made up England. In the north, Scotland, lived mostly men, though the mountainous regions gave home to Trolls, Dwarves and many more unsavoury creatures. Below that stood the warring land of the Elves, Orcs and Humans, which pretty much made up the rest of the country in it's every changing states of power. Their leader spoke first in his commanding voice, ''Here,'' he pointed to the middle of England, ''is where the last battle between men was, we can't expect help from the Scots they are more likely to betray us than the Elves, and the Irish barbarians are too busy feuding with themselves or being raided.'' There were nods of agreement throughout the keep. ''What are we to do?'' one of the other men spoke as he fondled his beard, ''We have pushed the Elves back for now, but to where we do not know, neither when they will return, be sure they will, though.'' Silence fell throughout the keep.

    Robert had sworn loyalty to Aethalstan, who had forged a kingdom in the west of England through assimilating or exterminating rival tribes many years ago. Now his conquered land had came under threat from Elves, who had invaded from the south-east. No-one knew were the Elves came from like they did with the Orcs, or other men. As it was near impossible to sneak spies into their strongholds, and as for their towns, some said they built their towns deep within only the darkest forests, places where the eyes of men would lose vision. Robert didn't believe these stories, nevertheless the lack of information they had kept them in a constant state of attack-and-retreat. When an army of Elves would pour into their lands, all they could do was muster the army and hope to repel them, which they had done, but remnants of the enemy still remained in their territory and Aethalstan hoped to route them out.

    ''Robert'' Aethalstan called ''Come, I have a task for you and your men.'' Robert obeyed his liege and walked to his side. ''You, and your men'' He began to indicate on the map. ''Will ride out at once, you will hunt down the rest of these Elven scum and I will bring my army back to the capital, understood?''
    ''Yes sir'' Robert replied as he turned and left the building, followed by those of his men who were in there too. The sun had begun to set, this left the village in a state of glum darkness as Robert followed the dirt path which led to the stables, his twenty men behind him. Another man waited in the stables already, his closest friend, Cenric. ''Robert!'' He called, ''How can he send us on this task?!'' his voice grew louder by the second as Robert saddled his horse. ''Twenty men? Against even numbers the odds are still out of our favour, look at our equipment.'' It was true, the army had been on the march for weeks, the men were tired and the equipment was weak. ''We will be killed Robert! You, me, and the rest of the men too, slaughtered, will you have it? I will n-'' Robert spun around and grabbed his older friend by the scruff of his neck, pushing him up against the pillar his horse was tied too. ''What will you have me do?'' He whispered in a rage ''Disobey my orders? We will die then too.'' Cenric looked down to the ground as Robert let go of him and hoisted himself onto his horse, ''We will go and hunt the Elves down, and we will not die.'' He called as he pushed his horse into a trot.

    His men followed him out of the stables, they were a special unit under his direction, they were firstly trained as cavalry men, but were also trained in melee combat with the use of spears, pikes and the longsword. Each of them carried either a pike or a spear, and either a long or shortsword for if they were dismounted or in a tight situation. As they rode out of town he led his men in the direction of Durham, a large town on the outskirts of Aethalstan's land, over the rolling hills to the east, the last town the Elves had sacked.
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  2. Deep within the heart of Durham, a town of wood craft, healing, and many other professions, a small, well-equipped group of elves rested within an inn. Durham was surrounded by many rolling hills of light-colored peridot, as well as a luscious emerald forest in the southernmost direction of the town itself. These elves were long and slender in stature, standing about 5' 5" tall on average. Each had their own distinctive features, physical attributes contributing to their uniqueness amongst the many other species within Britain, especially where they had conquered land.

    One particular elf, the illegitimate child of an elven baron and baroness, held fairly detailed markings on her body and face that consisted of many curves and streaks created with a special paint that only elven nobility had access to, despite being created by an artisan within the lower class of merchants and tradesmen. The markings, embodied at a young age, made them stand out. It distinguished the nobles from the commoners within elven society. At this time, Estelle, a young elf around 27 years in physical human age, stood with the small group and her father- the leader of the elven army that had conquered much land within Britain. With a bow in her left hand, Estelle's hand tightened around its grip. Her father had planned to seek further conquest towards the west- an area not yet journeyed.

    It would be dangerous for them.

    They needed to sleep. They needed to eat. Despite having the courage and determination to move forward, the elven people still needed to follow the basic essentials of survival, just like any other species within Britain. Her father didn't seem to notice this troubling sight, but Estelle could see it bright as day. Fatigue wore them down, malnutrition led to seeing and feeling the bones of even the most masculine elves. They were dying and although Estelle brought the situation up with her father earlier while trekking towards Durham, he simply responded in a prickly manner: "My men are more than capable of handling themselves. Do not question my methods, Estelle." That egotistical statement had made it clear to Estelle that her father was no longer the man she once knew. He was bloody, foul, and more than indifferent about the lives of his men. His ways had changed since this warfare had started, but who made him do so?

    Estelle knew the ideal was a horrid notion to be convinced by, but her father had never seemed so caught up in doing the king's dirty work than he was before the war. It now worried her frequently throughout the time the small group of elves had sat or stood around the large table inside the inn. She could barely focus any further into the discussion her father was having with everyone else. Estelle thought she heard her name, but quickly disregarded it as a delusion to her mind. No one had spoken to her as her father rambled on and on. "Estelle?" She felt the cool touch of a hand patting her cheek repeatedly and gently. "Estelle?" She blinked once, then twice. Her father's voice. "Your contribution to this discussion?" he inquired.

    Estelle suddenly remembered what her father had become wound up on doing. Her lips pressed into a thin line, then a glare reached her father with direct eye contact. "They need rest," she spoke hastily, an austere expression set in her facial features. Not bothering to listen to her Father's opinion on that, she turned and left the inn without another word. The sun was now setting off in the distance. Estelle glanced around the town. It had somewhat seemingly started to become quiet. She went to the stables nearby, releasing her horse, Vesteria, and bringing her out into the shadows of the stable roof, then into the light. Estelle's horse, an Andalusian breed of dark brown skin and thick black mane, shown brightly in the setting sun. slowly dissipating by every moment it was taking for Estelle to leave Durham and travel west.

    She would no longer be apart of her father's obsession in supremacy.
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  3. Robert rested his hand on the hilt of his sword as they rode through a worn path set between two great mountains, it was unknown to most, he doubted even the elves knew of it, though that didn't stop the uneasy feeling creeping over him, perhaps it was because he had faint memories of being a kid here. The sun had set many hours ago, a starless sky and a moon which hid behind the mountains on either side of them provided no light for their journey. They only had two light sources, one torch held by Robert at the front, and one by Cenric at the back, between them each man followed the tail of the horse ahead of him as they had to travel almost single-file. An ambush here would be deadly. Once they had escaped the mountains the sun had already started to rise again.

    The path gave out into vast plains and the horsemen streamed out into formation again. The town could be seen far into the distance. ''How long?'' Cenric asked as he rode beside Robert. ''A day? A day and a half?''
    ''A day and a half'' Robert replied bluntly. ''We'll be their by nightfall tomorrow.'' The journey was silent, the men too tired for conversation, Robert gave the signal for them to halt and make camp.

    They dismounted and set up camp, Robert organized a rotational system for patrol duty before heading to his own tent were Cenric awaited him. Neither of the men said a word to each other as they sat on the damp grass, making a meal of the only food they had, stale bread and goat cheese. Robert started to chuckle to himself, they hadn't stocked up on food, which was the initial reason the army had broken off from chasing down the elves in the first place. ''Great'' he said to no-one but himself, wincing at each bite of cheese. After their meal both men rested their heads on the cold ground and fell into a deep sleep.

    He was awoken to the sound of a screaming woman as two of his men entered his tent. He reluctantly pulled his eyes open and pushed himself up. ''What is it?'' He asked, eyeing the two men they seemed happy, which he thought was odd given their situation. ''We found one sir.'' The taller one replied.
    ''A woman.'' The other one cut in, taking a step forward.
    ''Not not a woman, an Elf''
    ''An Elven woman!''
    ''Where is she?'' Robert ordered, pushing past them and out of his tent, he saw her. On the ground covered in dirt, surrounded by his men was a young elven women. ''Step away!'' Robert ordered, pulling the woman up and dragging her into his tent, he knew what his men would do if left alone with her. ''And get ready to leave'' he shouted over his shoulder. Cenric eyed the woman suspiciously, then Robert even more so, ''Who is she?'' he asked. He was met with silence. ''The men said her horses tracks came from Durham, that means they are still there.''

    The news of their enemy being so close boosted his men's morale, and as such they reached the outskirts of Durham at dusk, with lifted spirits. He had already explained his strategy to them, he would take ten men and charge into town, whilst Cenric lead the rest of them from afar, choosing to attack when and where he felt necessary, the prisoner had been left with him.

    ''Swords!'' Robert ordered, pulling his own out of it's sheath he gave the order to charge and his men ran with him. A strange whistling sound came from the town and an arrow whizzed past his face, lodging itself through a comrades neck. It was followed by ethereal screams and shouts from the town centre, as the elves made themselves visible and charged into his company. Their golden armour turning crimson-red with the sprays of blood. Although the elves were more agile, in a packed melee like this they were being slaughtered. Robert lifted his sword and swung, breaking through the pathetic defence of his enemy, he saw fear in his oppositions eyes before they turned cold, his sword cutting deep into the shoulder, blood gushed from the wound as the elf fell to the ground.

    ''Keep their leader alive!'' He called above the confusion of the battlefield, watching as Cenric and the rest of his men tried to outflank the elves.

  4. Being suddenly snatched away within the night was something Estelle hadn't thought about whilst getting away from her father. She didn't think about the significance of it at the time, as she had other things in mind while heading west and away from the town of Durham. She had been snuck on, thrown off her horse by one man, whilst another two men trying to calm her beautifully raging horse, with fire set deep in the pit of its dark brown eyes, to a more subtle aura of comfort within the zone. Fighting back hadn't gone too well, as her quiver and bow had been taken away from her while the kidnapping held on. She cried out, she bit the man's arm, and ended up being forced back to where he and his two partners resided. The camp hadn't been far, but once the man who had tied her arms behind her back arrived within range of his peers, his hand around her upper arm loosened slightly and she immediately dove forward, screaming, "Let me go!" The strength of the man had held her back, however, and not far along the successful abduction, other men had gathered around her, eyeing her with suspicion, desire, and interest. Apparently she was attractive.

    She could hear two other men from nearby, scuttle along and dive inside the tent behind a few more men, then their voices, loud, excited, and very prideful of the deed they had done, even if they themselves were not the ones who caught her. "She has a real mouth, fellows," one of the men who had caught her spoke up. He kicked her a little, only making her even more provocative to the situation. Without warning, she turned to glare icily at the man and he simply laughed at her attempt to bring him down. 'Step away!' At this point in time, the army of men surrounding her backed down. She felt a sigh of relief wash over her, but her adrenaline pumped back up even more so when the man she assumed as their leader came around. Without consent, he grabbed her arm, then dragged her into his tent. Landing on her side, hands still tied around her back, a fear of being assaulted washed over Estelle. She did not give up, though. She kept her icy glare as it was, and hoped to seek what their maddening reason was in kidnapping her and holding her a hostage within their camp. The news of her horse tracks coming from Durham made her think twice about her careless actions.

    Estelle couldn't handle it. She had just led them straight to Durham- and to her father. She tried to keep her nasty glare in direct vision of her captor, but it faded quickly. Shame and guilt washed over her as she stayed back, watching and unable to bare the fact that these elven men were her father's men, many like brothers to her. Arriving at dusk was a surprise to the elven people, but no matter, they had been fully equipped and shown themselves the moment the humans showed up and claimed they would take over the elven populous of Durham. She kept her mouth compressed in a tight line and held back the bile lodging in her throat. It made her sick, seeing every head that rolled near her feet or every pool of crimson blood showing up at her doorstep. Many elves were killed because of her. Estelle knew this, but also thought sourly that it was mostly her father's fault for not caring about his men's well being. She wanted to bury her face in her hands, to cry deep in shame and guilt, but would not let her captor know truly how she felt of the situation. That was not his business to be placed in.

    The outcome of the surprise battle was terribly heartaching. Estelle's chest hurt as she looked around the area- the human had lost many men, but her father, just as much. In fact, slaughtered elves seemed to be the majority of bodies laying around. She watched silently as her father walked from the opposite side to approach the human in the center of Durham.
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