Valley of Dying Things

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Fatum Iustum Stultorum
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Medieval Fantasy, Science Fiction, Romance, horror.
The towering shoulders of the craggy peaks rose above the sky, they'd been filling his view for what seemed like weeks now, and he'd felt himself inexorably drawn towards them. Something pulled him towards something in that mountain range, gently but insistently, and as he'd learned from the past, he allowed himself to be dragged along as he usually did.

Alaric knew and understood that it was the magic, taking him where he needed to go, he'd had a difficult time understanding why and how this occurred in the past, puzzling him like nothing else had. Till as years went by he'd begun to understand that magic was akin to a living breathing creature, the world had been formed by it, likewise was the world kept alive through magic.

Long ago, his bloodline had been tied to the world, his great ancestor had, in a moment of desperation, linked himself to the energies that serve as the lifeblood of Terrestria. With that, and wielding his own tremendous power, his ancestor had managed to drive the Demon King back to his realm, and renew the barriers between the worlds.

Since then, Alaric and others of his line had wandered the world, forever on guard against demonic taint, and just otherwise...seeking, anywhere there was something that needed righting.

It felt good though, he was so far beyond human civilization now, he hadn't seen or sensed any sign of anything remotely human for weeks now, and he was nearing a full month of travel over terrain both rugged and difficult to traverse.

There were no roads, no towns, no villages, no one and nothing but himself, and all the wilderness around him, so much of it was wild and green, but otherwise perfectly ordinary. The burdens of the road were lightened by his magic, he had a healthy and strong body, and magic enabled him to get by obstacles that would pose a significant roadblock to others.

Furthermore, magic enabled him to find food and shelter with ease, thus his travels were enjoyable, potentially dangerous animals like wolves or bears were his allies, not his enemies, the magic quietly charming them to regard him with a friendly manner.

Such simple magics were often the ones that worked of their own accord, anything more serious would require actual concentration on his part. Most mages required concentration, incantations, and more to work any magic whatsoever.

But Alaric, was not entirely human, he existed on both the world of normal people, and half in the world of magic, it flowed through his blood, and thus small magics like that came as easy as breathing to him. Though it all came at a price, he had a mastery of magic most other humans could only dream of, thus why he tended to be feared by those who did understand how powerful he really was.

For the rest of the day he continued his hike forward, till he was in the midst of those rocky spires. Standing at their feet he stared in wonder, he wondered how tall these mountains really were, they were tall enough that they vanished above a layer of cloud.

Then he came upon what these mountains were gently cradling, he'd been steadily going uphill for the past half hour, when at last as he came to the top of the trail, it flowed down...into a verdant green paradise straight out of a dream, a huge valley covered with towering trees that whispered faintly as the breeze flowed through them, and he could smell the magic, the valley was aglow with it.

Grinning Alaric eagerly hiked forward, excitement coursing through him, perhaps...this was a place where for once, he would not be treated with fear and hate, he was as magical as the creatures who lived here, who he was already beginning to sense.

And they...him, he could tell that he was creating a stir as he walked gently through the trees, they sensed him, and the fact that he was new...but still of a magical nature like they were. Alaric caught glimpses of strange and fantastic creatures, little glowing creatures with wings, that buzzed around his head, up close he saw they were little people, who looked at him as curiously as he did at them, giggling occasionally, with friendly looks on their faces.

Like...faeries out of a tale, but real ones...

He caught glimpses of sylphs, undines flowing through a river that he discovered, a very large one...he saw gnomes, brownies, and other creatures only spoken of in legend, it was remarkably how much the old legends had gotten right, and how much they'd gotten wrong.

For one thing, the faeries definitely wore clothing, and he saw and sensed no capricious malice like was spoken of in the tales, these little creatures were definitely not malevolent in any sense of the word, one of them had already decided she wished to nestle in his hood, resting on the spot where his shoulder met his neck.

She said nothing, and seemed content to rest there, and he was content to let her, amazed already at the quiet trust displayed by the fey creature, as trusting as a little child, the others buzzed about and jabbered at him inquisitively, he did not understand them, but he understood instinctively they didn't really want answers to his questions, and were merely happy to have someone new to babble little nothings to.

Suddenly he stopped, staring across the river, and the mood of the fey creatures around him changed palpably at what he saw, and he distinctly sensed fear, anxiety, and quiet despair.

Alaric had been walking alongside the bank of this river's branches, it had two he could see that split from what was clearly the main source, which was, well it was quite large to say the least, several meters across and quite deep and strong, but across it...

The land was very different from what he'd seen, and he stared in puzzlement, everything over the river was sick, clearly deathly ill, but over here...where he stood everything remained healthy, he quietly probed with his magic...and sensed another magic, infusing the land around him.

Something was keeping this illness back.

Curiosity piqued, Alaric turned, questing to sense where this other magic came from, and began to follow it to it's source. Uneasily the faeries surrounding him regained their cheerful mood after a few moments, jabbering even more insistently in their soft and pleasant voices, as if trying desperately to forget...

As he followed the source, they quieted down, but looked...pleased almost with which way he was going, and he could distinctly sense the trees were getting...older, and in some ways he felt like they were almost aware, and watching him quietly.

Things became more somber...was that the word? Reserved felt more along the lines, as the faerie creatures were no where near as animated now, but seemed respectful instead. Soon, he saw why as his eyes fell upon some of the largest trees he'd ever seen, all in a circle...and everything in the center was clear except for a positively enormous tree, of the kind he'd never seen before.

It was...ancient beyond words, he could see that even without the help of his magic. Magic flowed like a great river through the tree, he stared in wonder at it quietly, this part of the forest was...near silent, and the faeries that had come with him said nothing.

Then he sensed movement, and suddenly from numerous trees emerged figures, wearing form fitting camouflage, bows with nocked arrows that sported vicious looking arrowheads, they were everywhere, around him, up in the branches of the trees, all ready to turn him into a pincushion.

Outwardly he showed no signs of alarm and merely smiled in a friendly fashion to what his magic told him were elves, but otherwise not moving, recognizing that the slightest movement they interpreted as hostile would result in a barrage of arrows hurtling towards him.

In reality, though the elves didn't know it most likely, Alaric had already prepared several spells to protect himself from them, and was quietly pondering this welcome, the other beings that inhabited this vale had been friendly from the get-go, why the sudden hostility now?

Perhaps it was the grove, they must be protecting it, and be...unsure of his motivations, the magic no doubt told them he was friendly, but magic could be used to deceive, so they were just being cautious, so for now Alaric merely waited.

The faeries jabbered at the elves in angry sounding tones of voice, if Alaric had to guess they were telling the elves to put their weapons away, they hovered around him protectively almost, but...from what he was sensing approaching him, what they had to say might soon become immaterial, someone powerful was coming near...
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