Wednesday, 7 March 2018

The Hunter

The scorched ground was a painful experience for Arthyr and his Wanderers to witness. This was a blatant attack on Life and they felt obliged to heal and revive the damaged land they had explored so far in the Realm of Fire. This Scorched Forest would be their bastion, and they would slay all who meant it harm.

Arthyr stood beneath a charred and broken tree, ancient symbols were carved into its trunk and still faintly glowed white with Life. Next to him his pet and friend Tui darted back and forth trying to catch the small flame beetles that were so common in this part of the forest. Mandia Nightlock sat at the base of the tree, her green hair swirling in an unseen vortex as usual. Arthyr and Mandia were discussing the vision of Orion they had both witnessed and discussed what it might mean.

They had both barely managed to walk away from an ambush by two separate Grot clans. In the midst of the battle an Avatar of the Hunt had appeared and fought bravely alongside the Wanderers, however he was only a small portion of the power Orion held and was eventually slain by the Greenskins. Arthyr had been badly injured and now focussed on healing and planning with Mandia while his sister Lyloth patrolled with the rangers.

Initially they had both believed the vision had been a sign that Orion would return to them, however, when the Avatar had been slain they worried this was an ill omen. As they discussed their thoughts, the withered and broken tree suddenly shuddered, the ancient runes which had only faintly been glowing earlier flared to life, bright blue and green light bursting forth from the runes. As the tree shook the same blue and green light appeared through a rent in the dry and parched earth directly in front of them and shot away drawing a straight line of blazing light through the ground. Arthyr and Mandia looked at each other, one word escaped from their lips at the same time: “Ley-line!”

Lyloth strode through the ruined woods of the forest, ahead she could see the top of an ancient Aelven waystone, the bright white stonework shone in the light. Her rangers had returned and confirmed that a force of Grots were attempting to pull down the waystones and set up some form of filthy fortification. She would not stand for this, she would kill them all and secure the ancient site. She directed her force to spread out and surround the Grots. As Lyloth turned to head towards her position she was confronted by a stranger, an Aelf, not of her kin. He took a knee in old formal traditions and introduced himself. “Princess Lyloth, I am Aranion. I have been tracking the Sentinels of Tal Stornos for weeks and wish to join your ranks.”

His formality and unusual accent through Lyloth off, the Sentinels of Tal Stornos were not known for their adherence to high born traditions. They grew up in the forests and wilderness, being beneath the forest canopy was where they were comfortable, not under some constructed building. She looked him up and down, he was well armed and equipped, bow and shield hung over his shoulder while an ancient looking sword hung from his belt. His skin was tanned by the sun, whereas the Aelves of her kin had ethereal green skin from their close proximity to the realm of Life and the secret magical vortex at the heart of Spiteshade Vale.

“Stand up Aelf! No-one calls me Princess apart from my Father, and he left the realm of the living long ago.” Replied Lyloth. “You look as if you can handle yourself in a fight, but can you hunt and live through a battle? I guess we will see. Follow my sisters and support them, they should keep you safe.” She turned away and headed to her position before arrows rained down on the Grots catching them unaware.

The battle was fast and bloody, the Grots had their pet gargant and his pet squigoth with them both reaping a high toll on the Wanderers before being brought down. The Grot chief slipped away in the carnage with a large force of Grots. As the Wanderers secured the waystones a line of brilliant blue and green light flared to life across the cracks and runes of the waystones, the trees around the area started to sway as if caught in a gale. Lyloth looked around, taking in the sight, as the trees swayed she could see patches of colour breaking through the burnt and cracked bark. Life was returning, these trees were fighting back the damage caused years before. Aranion approached Lyloth; “Princess, it seems we might be witnessing a new season.” He smiled, cocking an eyebrow at her.

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