Lord Calaer of Eathkar couldn't remember a time when Helven wasn't at war. Some historians claimed that the war had begun nearly a hundred years ago, that its centennial anniversary was fast approaching. Others claimed that it went back further, perhaps to the Great Change, when the gods left Helven and returned to the skies. Lord Calaer, however, couldn't care less. All he knew was that there was a human army marching upon Eathkar, Helven's last defense. Eathkar was the Gateway to Sanshi City, the capital of Helven. Should it fall, then Helven's enemies would have an easy time marching upon the capital and destroying Helven. That morning, Calaer's scouts had reported to him that the human army was just one valley over. They would be at Eathkar's gates by nightfall. Calaer had gathered Eathkar's militia, a small army of about five hundred trained soldiers, but if his scouts were right, the human army had easily ten times that. If Eathkar were to survive this, the walls would have to be held at all costs. Tales of what the human army had done had swept across the countryside ever since Reaven fell: burned, killed, razed the elven countryside. Hundreds of refugees had poured into Eathkar, either heading towards Sanshi City or seeking work and shelter in Eathkar, and now, it seemed that would all be for nothing. Some of the officers in the militia had gone around the city, asking for volunteers to bolster the militia. As such, there was a makeshift group of citizens armed with pitchforks and kitchen knives, though Calaer wasn't sure how well they would help. Gazing down at the city from a balcony in the White Keep, where he lived, Calaer studied the group of officers in the castle's courtyard attempting to teach some of the volunteers how to do basic parries and stabs. Letting out a heavy sigh, he turned from the balcony, stepping back into his large bed chambers. There, his wife sat on the bed, cradling their youngest daughter in her arms while singing softly to her. "Serona," he said softly, sitting beside her. "I do not know how this day will turn out...Please, will you take our children into the study and lock yourselves in? Faervel, too...I know he has this idea in his head that he is going to fight when the humans arrive, but...he will get himself killed, and I won't have my son dying like that..." Serona nodded, standing to her feet. "Alright, my love. Be safe," she said softly, kissing Calaer's cheek before leaving. Calaer let out a world-weary sigh before calling in his servants to help him into his armor. If the humans got as far as the White Keep, he intended to fight to his dying breath protecting it. And, hopefully, his eldest son wouldn't die as well. ~~~~~ Faervel, meanwhile, had no intention of hiding in the White Keep with his mother and sisters. He wanted to fight, to protect the place he called home and save his country. If Eathkar fell and he was still alive, hiding in some corner of the White Keep, he would never forgive himself. As such, he found himself standing on the steps leading up to the White Keep, dressed in layers skin-tight leather and with his sword and dagger at each respective hip. Beside him stood his dearest friend, Ianir, who was the son of one of his father's companions. Ianir was dressed similarly, and held the same intentions as Faervel. "We'll survive this day, yet," Ianir said, brushing his hair back as they watched the sun set. "Those humans will never stop us. They can throw as many humans as they want at us, we're both worth a million of them each." Faervel nodded, grinning. He had been training for this day his whole life, ever since he was big enough to hold a sword or draw a bow. The war had been going on since long before he was born, and he knew that eventually it must reach Eathkar. He had always had the intention of protecting his home, the city he would one day be lord of. As the sun dipped down behind the mountains to the west, Faervel gazed towards the large gates of the city, his aquamarine eyes filled with pride and just a hint of anxiety. Then, he heard the sounds of the horns being blown. Aoooooooooo, like a solitary wolf's howl. "The scouts on the walls must have...the human army must be within sight..." Faervel said, gripping the hilt of his sword. Whispering a prayer to the gods, he took in a deep, steadying breath, even as the sound of hoofbeats filled the air. "We'll be safe," Ianir said. "The walls will hold. Eathkar is the Gateway to the capital, it has the strongest walls in all of Helven. And if not, you and I will defend this great city."