Smoking Ice

Smoking Ice

A Chapter by Finn Fur
"

Daeron is travelling north on an errand of his father when he runs into some very unfortunate business.

"
   Daeron

      Amidst Smoking Ice


He pulled his furs tighter around himself, shivering as the northern winds bit into him. Wounding his hands about the reigns of his smoky destrier, he gazed at the towering trees that pressed close to him on either side of the cobbled road. Barely more than a gamer’s trail, really, but it was the all that could lead him out of this damned forest, so he ought to be grateful for that, at the least.

Grunting irritably, he shifted the gigantic oaken shield that was strapped onto his back. It bore the arms of his noble family, three tall silver oaks, on a black field surrounded by silver links. This was his fifth day in the Wood of the Frozen Tree, and this trail he was following kept winding in and about and here and there, to Daeron’s great annoyance.

The giant trees of Beleriand climbed far higher than even the tallest of the southern provinces. The sentinels of the north, they were called. Though the air was bitterly cold, Daeron was content, almost at peace. The trees smelt of home, like the Greenwoods that lay by the First River so far away, and the night was slowly quieting, the beasts settling for sleep as the sky above shifted to the color of a blood orange.

The worst of Daeron's journey was over, that at least gave him some satisfaction. Despite all the odds, he had survived the trek across the clife ghasts and through the treacherous bogs of the Icklan Marshes, though not without his own losses. His lord father had given him five men to assist him on the journey into Beleriand, and four crows should any need for contact arise. Good, strong men. Brave and honorable. Two of them fell to the quicksands, sinking into the ground as though it were water and then suffocating in the mud. Another had been slain when the party had fallen across rogue bandits. The last had succumbed to disease, derived from a fatal rash he had acquired after touching one of the huge, violet flowers that dotted the marshes. Daeron remembered, his death was the worst, dying in battle had some honor to it, but poison... he could still recall the stretched, pale skin. With the nerves popping out, wild eyes rank with madness, and the smell of decay and rot in the air...

Only Ryad had survived. The crows had long since died of winter's cold. Ryad was just behind Daeron now, on his own garron. He was a small man, but then again, all men were small where Daeron Oakheart was concerned. He towered at six foot, with a shaggy mane of black hair, a broad sinewy chest, and the long jaw of his father.

“M’lord,” Ryad called to him, as he spurred his horse forward, quickly drawing level with Daeron. He whispered in a low, urgent voice, “Men behind, quickly gaining.” Glancing backwards, he caught sight of two shabby men, smallfolk, most like.

He chuckled, it was so like Ryad to get anxious over nothing. “Relax,” he said. “They’re on foot, we have mounts. We are trained in arms, with all the strength of House Oakheart behind us. I don’t think a couple of commoners will be much threat to us.” 

“The Oakhearts have no strength in the north,” Ryad said doubtfully, but Daeron had already slowed the horse, wanting a better look at these men.

As they neared, he got a better view of them. Both were dressed in ragged skins, holding no weapons but a battered iron sword and a rosewood bow. One of them, a wiry young man, was very short and slim. A dwarf, maybe. Pushing a lock of dark hair out of his eyes, he fixed his gaze on them. The older man, very thin with a face obscured by a snowy beard, didn't say anything, only kept his eyes downcast and walked right past them. He was the one with better sense, Daeron thought.

“Good morrow to you, friends,” the short man smiled.

Daeron only nodded. These were the first men he had seen for near two moons. Human life had grown scarcer and more as he and Ryad travelled into the northern nation, encountering no taverns or hunters or holdfasts. Beleriand was a drab place, he had decided.

Daeron glimpsed the younger man gaze wistfully at his destrier, just for a moment. Ryad had remained completely silent, as he was with all but Daeron. 

Vaulting off the horse, he wound the reigns about his hands, pulling at it. He glanced at the men curiously. They might have word of the war in the south. Daeron had had no news at all, all the better to remain the cloaked messenger.

He finally spoke, “So… cold today, eh?” Ryad glared at him furiously, but he ignored the look. The dwarf, on the other hand, barked a laugh.

“This is one of the warmest days we’ve had in weeks, lad.” He arched a bushy eyebrow at him. “I thought you looked southron. Vorsturf-borne, are you?”

Daeron was cursing himself now. “Ah, yes. I-I come from the crownlands.” He simply did not know what to say, so he fixed his gaze onward again, staring at the dirty patches of snow. The crownlands were the very center of the Empire that united the kingdoms into one. Or had, at least, no one was quite sure what was going on in Vorsturf these days. 

But the stranger replied anyways. “I myself was a-born near Sun’s End, but I was forged in the north. Might be you've heard of Diar?”

Daeron’s silence followed, and the dwarf did not persist. Moments stretched into minutes. But the dwarf continued talking; he was a droll little fellow. “Diar is a rather small town, out-of-the-way, but a very important trading center. I don’t even know how my mother, whoever she was, found her way into it…”

He glanced curiously at Daeron. “You’re one o’ those strong and silent types, eh?” He grinned. “Well, you’re a-strong, I’ll give you that. Come now, talk of the south, why don’ you?”

“Do you have news of the rebellion?” Daeron asked suddenly.

The dwarf smiled. “Just so,” he said. “High Lord Edward has thrown his lot in with the Empire. The knights of the Vale now ride with the high king, and it’s said all three armies meet upon the Great Grasslands. “

“And what of the north?” he pressed, waving a hand at the endless snow-capped trees. It was a time of high political tension, but Beleriand's armies had remained out of the conflict, so far.

“Lord Rickard remains silent. They say his get died in this very wood. Arudd, he was a-called, or close enough. They found him all twisted, with a stench to cur dogs.” The dwarf sighed. “A pity, really. The northern armies would have made all the difference in this bloody war. Two high lords are already at each other’s throats, and what do the Empire do? Decide to join the fight.” He sighed, shaking his head. “I swear, sometimes I wonder whether we need a king, all o’ them being blockheads.” 

Daeron scowled. “That’s no way to speak of your high king.” A look of apprehension flashed across the dwarf’s face, and disappeared just as quickly. “As you say,” he murmured, and sped up to join his elder, who was no doubt better company than Daeron.

The dwarf said something, and his wild friend laughed. Daeron had caught that man him looking at him curiously, the old one, as though weighing his strengths and weaknesses if battle came upon them. Daeron didn't bother saying anything. Every man he met seemed to do the same, all of them conjuring up ploys and strategies to bring him down. But in the end, Daeron had bested them all, relying on his sword arm, his oaken shield, and the iron training he had cowed to for twenty years. And if for some reason the Valar decided that he should be fell by another's sword... well, they were the gods, and men did not trifle with the games of gods.

Stroking his destrier behind the ear, Daeron unstrapped the shield from his back, tying it onto the horse's side with his saddlebags. He made sure to keep the men in sight always, no one could be trusted, especially travellers met by mischance. Giving the saddlebags a cursory glance as he stretched, he decided he would need to restock at the holdfast the map was supposed to be leading to (though it seemed the road would never end).

It ended up taking the rest of the day before the end of the wood neared. The sky had turned the color of an old bruise by the time they caught sight of the crossroads. From there it would take less than a sun’s turn before the trees of this forest came to an end. The two strangers had drifted forwards, their backs to Daeron and Ryad. He did not mind.

He could already see smoke rising from the distant holdfast. It was too far from the road and obscured with trees for him to actually be able to study it, but he knew that among the highest banners would be the snow wolf of Dohaeris, the sigil of High Lord Rickard, ruler of the north. The Icelord, Daeron mused, using the name men played with behind their lord’s back. With a shiver, he realized that the end of his journey was in sight. If Lord Rickard found reason to as why Daeron was in his territory, it might mean his head, and then his father's grand plan would well and truly be over.

He glanced at the setting sun, and wondered whether he and Ryad ought to remain in the woods for the night, or to continue walking till sunrise. It didn’t matter; there were many barrows and ditches ancient trenches that could offer reasonable protection outside the cover of trees. Anyhow, there were some beasts best avoided whilst in the woods. 

"Find a cave,” the dwarf man said suddenly, “Or some similar cove, that isn't too deep, with a single entrance.”

Daeron almost pissed his breeches. The bloody dwarf was suddenly right their beside him, where only moments before he had been twenty feet ahead. Ryad stepped between his lord and the dwarf, saying, “Best step back.” And smiling enigmatically, the youngster did so.

Daeron quickened his pace, and broke through a wave of thickly-knit trees, stopping at the edge of the Longroad.  Daeron led his smoky destrier atop the smooth road, and climbed onto it himself. It was built a good four feet off the ground, climbing up in a slope before straightening out. He looked east then west, and begun his walk again, west.

The dwarf laughed then. “Happens we’re going the same way.” His older companion glanced at him for just a moment, but it was enough for Daeron to take note. He did not know why this man had taken an interest in him, but if he showed the slightest motion of attack, Daeron would skewer him. Ryad edged closer to him.

But the dwarf took no notice. He pulled a rolled parchment from the pack tied to his back, and broke the seal that held it. He raised his eyes over the map, staring at Daeron and Ryad. "The stronghold is just a couple leagues ahead now.” he said to his companion.  “We should reach it by nightfall tomorrow, at latest."  He quickly caught up to Daeron.

“So where are you two headed, then? Traveller-to-traveller?” he said to them, and Daeron swore silently. The dwarf was smarter than he looked, and he obviously knew that they were no travellers. Perhaps this night would end in blood after all.

“To the very same holdfast you’re heading to, so happens.” Daeron replied. If this man wanted to play with wits, Daeron would dance to it.

“Heigor’s Holdfast,” the short man grinned. “I hate the north. The Disciples at Poris say the north has some beautiful landscapes, mountains and northern lights and all that.” He snorted. “ Bollocks. Beleriand is too bloody cold to enjoy anything.” Daeron smiled, despite himself.

“Do you know of the lord at Heigor’s? They say he is a vain old man, with a clouded head. I've heard some strange things from his serving wenches too.” He laughed.

“You should not speak so of a lord.” 

“Ah, bugger lords and their laws. And the king with his court.”

Daeron’s jaw tightened, but he did not reply. He didn’t know what game this dwarf was playing, but he did not want to sing to the fool’s motley. He noticed the way he held himself, sure and knowing. Daeron had been like that too, once. He had been a confident young man, when he first earned his knighthood, convinced he had it all. But defeats set up purposefully by his father taught him humility. 

“M'lord,” Ryad said suddenly. Daeron’s eyes widened, how could Ryad be such a fool? Now the strangers would know for sure what Daeron was. But when he turned furiously on his companion, he paused, unsure. Ryad looked disturbed, though by something else entirely. The two men also drew to a halt. Ryad put a finger to his lips, and tapped his ears.

Daeron straightened and his features visibly perked. Big ears cocked forward, grey eyes glancing back and forth. But he still had no notion of what it was. He didn't hear anything, see anything, or smell anything. It was the aroma of this damned wood, the smell of upturned soil and blooming flowers. It was clouding his nose.

Ryad, on the other hand, missed nothing. He and his brother Ned practically grew up amongst the trees and beasts of the Greenwoods. He could hear the rustle of leaves and sigh of the wind and tell between petals that could kill and petals that could heal. That was one of the reasons he had been chosen to accompany Daeron north.

The northern barrowlands were perilous, especially by night. It was said huge packs of aurochs still survived here, hunting down man and beast alike, besting all but the huge shadowcats that prowled in huge packs, taking down monsters thrice their size, kings of the wood. And of giant elk that still roamed its fields and grasslands, along with many other less spoken-of, but far more terrifying beasts. Daeron and Ryad’s horses were whickering nervously.

The trees bit close around small group, hiding many a beast in its shadows. Daeron long sable cloak whispered behind him, like something half-alive. He tried to pierce into the darkness, and then glanced back to where the two men stood, behind them. They were also aware of something, both of them crouched, as though that might help. The trees behind them were black as void, except for two, large circlets of gold.

With a huge, ripping roar, RRRRRRAAAAAAARRRRRRRR, and the largest wolf Daeron had ever seen leapt high into the air, above a low crumbling wall, above the two men, before landing with an audible thump! that sent ripples through the earth, between Daeron and the two wildlings.

Amrok. Daeron could hardly believe his own eyes. The rare species of mutated wolf had died out long ago, during the days of the Akkadian Empire. Yet there was one here, right before his eyes.

The wolf was huge, dwarfing even Daeron's destrier. Its black fur was glossy in the moonlight, matted and shaggy, protecting the beast from winter's bite, with daggers for teeth. And its claws, they were more like ivory talons, huge, and curved. But the thing that truly frightened Daeron was the creature's eyes, like molten gold. Those eyes shone with an intelligence no beast had any right to, mixed in with pure savagery and art.

In one fluid movement, Daeron unsheathed his longsword. Aranrúth shone brilliantly in the darkening light, the grey Akkadian blade rippling like water. Placing his feet slightly apart, he took up a dancer's stance, for he knew that strength would be no match against this Amrok, only speed could save him now.

Rigid as a mountain, Daeron remembered the lessons of his old master-at-arms.Smooth as water, subtle as a summer breeze. He held his breath, his beating heart thumping painfully against his chest. The amrok gazed at Sir Daeron with those large, golden eyes, and for a moment the wood was quiet.

Ironically, it was the dwarf who moved first. He hefted a good-sized stone against his shoulder, throwing it with all the strength a halfman like him could gather, and it bounced against the beast’s coat. That spurred the others into action. Daeron jumped forwards, his rippling blade slicing through the air in a sidearm slash. The wolf rolled with speed uncommon in such a large monster, claws flashing. The old man unsheathed his sword, the blade scraping loudly across the scabbard as he drew it, and fell in beside Daeron.

The amrok’s powerful limbs flexed as it threw itself over them all; landing on Daeron’s rearing destrier. It's claws dug into his oaken shield before it bounced off, but the huge horse fell to the ground, and the wolf was on it in a heartbeat, claws flashing, its blood gathered in a small pool around it. The blood seemed red as fire on the snow.

It only wants the meat. That would have been a good place to leave the beast and its feast, Daeron did not care for his destrier all that much. It wasn't even his, really. But as he slowly edged backwards, an arrow sprouted from the amrok’s shoulder, and it reared, snout raising from the meat.

It turned in a full circle, growling angrily. Daeron stumbled on the tiny rocks, and the paw jerked forwards. He threw himself backwards, slicing his sword in a wild attack. It bit into the beast’s flank, darkening the fur with blood. Another feathered arrow sprouted from the wolf’s rear, and from the corner of his eye, Daeron caught the halfman holding his rosewood bow.

Damned dwarf, he thought savagely. Ryad drew his curved neuri blade, and the old man fell in beside them. As one, the three men attacked, Daeron’s companions on either side of him. But they were abruptly halted when the amrok stood back onto its gigantic rear legs, growling at them furiously, and they shrunk in its shadow. It jumped forward in a single bound, just as Daeron raised his sword blindly in panic. In a flash of ivory and steel and a loud RRRRIIIIIPPPP, Daeron fell to the ground, clutching his leg and screaming in agony.

The older man lunged forwards with all his strength, and the rusted iron sunk deep into the wolf’s coat. It roared, shuddering wildly, and its claws blindly battered into the man, throwing him against a tree with an audible crack! Then three arrows flew at the beast in quick succession. The amrok roared again, eyes golden fire, and Ryad took a step backwards. Fear clouded his eyes, and he turned to flee. But the wolf’s ivory claws reached out and pulled him back as a string would its puppet. The beast's huge neck arched, and sunk its teeth into flesh, and Daeron’s ears were filled with the screams of his companion.

Two more arrows thudded into the wolf’s thick fur then. The beast howled, and turned to the dwarf to finish him off. Daeron, suddenly angry, removed his hand from the flow of his blood, and grabbed for Aranrúth. He hefted the sword, pushing himself onto his feet for a moment, before feeling the leg give away once more. 

As another arrow came dangerously close to its eye, the wolf veered backwards. The opportunity could not have been much better.

Sure as death.

He sent his longsword in a great arc at the amrok's foreleg, and though any normal steel would have done naught but bleed the beast, Daeron's sword was no normal steel. It was of ancient Akkadia, dragonsteel of the Old Empire. 

The rippling grey sword slid through flesh and bone as it would silk, and its rear leg was lopped off. In an instant, the amrok lost the fight. 

It lost balance, stumbling to the ground, giving opportunity for the dwarf to take it down. More feathered arrows sprouted from its coat, and Daeron dragged himself closer, before plunging his longsword in and out of the beast, again and again and again, and its life's blood flowed out of it.

He fell to the ground, his hands clenched tight around his leg once more, the stars staring down at him but doing nothing. The gods are cruel, he thought as the world darkened. His father's last words echoed through his mind, and he thought he saw the dwarf’s face twist in disgust as he looked at Daeron’s body, then the world went black.



When he awoke, the sun was shining angrily into his eyes and Daeron covered them with an arm. He surveyed his surroundings and his eyes widened. Where was he? There was nothing but snow for miles all around, but he was under a thick, smelly blanket, and he was warm, the heat of a dying fire rolling over him. He tried to push himself up, and then fell back, hissing in agony.

“Best not move, the wolf got you bad.” 

It was the dwarf, he was across the fire, staring at him from under bushy eyebrows.

“How did I get here?” Daeron demanded, his jaw clenched as he waited for the pain from his leg to subside. 

The man nodded towards Ryad’s garron, which was grazing a few feet away. “I led the horse out of that wood. I didn’t know how many more amroks there might have been. It took two days, but we got out without more incident.”

Daeron pushed himself up onto his elbows, trying to ignore the waves of pain. “And where is Ryad?”

His eyes glinted. “The boy was so torn up I couldn't tell between his face and his arse. Tomard was also killed. His spine was snapped nearly in half.” He crawled closer to Daeron, and pulled the blankets off him. “You’re lucky you survived. I wasn’t sure, at first. Your leg… it’s a mess. A tendon is ripped, I think, and the amrok’s claw cut you deep, almost to the bone.”  

He sat back, crossing his legs. “I’ve applied some mahashi, to help with the pain, but I couldn't dilute it, so you'll have to do. They are quite rare in these northern areas. Anyhow, you need a disciple, and soon. I did what I could, but it is not enough. I fear it may have to come off, from the knee, lest infection will set in.”   

Daeron couldn’t speak. Ryad was dead… he was the last of the five companions his father had tasked with guarding him, and Daeron had been so sure they had seen the worst of their trek after leaving the Icklan Marshes… now, he was alone.

Then the rest of the man’s words set in. “Anyone touches the leg, and they die. You hear that, dwarf?” He growled, half in anger, half in pain. 

The halfman just arched an eyebrow at him, and shrugged. “I won’t be the one to tell you so. Say, you want some food?”

Daeron put a clenched fist on his stomach, and nodded. He didn’t realize how hungry he was until just then. The dwarf stood, and started pulling small tins and pots out of his pack, which had remarkably survived the fight. Though the dwarf didn’t really do much of the actual fighting, in all.

“You’re good with that bow.” Daeron said, seeing the rosewood tucked up near the dwarf. But he just grinned. 

“First time I’ve ever hit a mark, truth be told. You should have seen how many arrows were littered around the amrok.”

That reminded him. “My longsword, where is it? Where is Aranrúth?”  There was a slight edge to his voice, and the dwarf bent, nudging at the leather sheath that rested near the smoldering remains of the fire.

“That’s quite a sword,” he said, raising an eyebrow, as though in question.

The pride of House Oakheart.

Daeron drew the blade in flourish, and the light around them seemed to darken a little. Aranrúth was a longsword, though its center was far broader, almost like a clash of longsword and greatsword.  The blade was also much lighter than steel, but firmer, stronger. It would take only the strongest of men to wield her, that much was clear.

It’s edge gleamed, sharper than any razor. But it was the steel itself that was the wonder. The curious thing was that the dark blade itself seemed to ripple and shiver, every time he moved it, as water does when a stone pierces its surface. Curving inscriptions were carved deep into the dark metal, in some language long forgotten.

The hilt, handle, and crossguard were made entirely of dragonbone, black and gleaming. The hilt was shaped into the likeness of a talon, the dragonbone sharpened there. It was nine hundred years old, at least, yet as sharp as it was the day it was forged. Its creation whispered of sorcery.

“Beautiful, isn’t she?” the dwarf smashed his train of thought. It did seem to have a sort of deadly beauty about her, now that he thought of it.

Disquieted, he sheathed the blade back into the drab leather sheath. “It is a family heirloom.” he said. 

“Very useful against amroks, too,” the man smiled. “Akkadian steel is quite special, all agree. An alloy of sorcery and dragonbone, fused in the forges of dragonflame, and tempered with the blood of a child.”

“The ancient Akkadians were not ones to worry about the lives of commonfolk. They were dragonlords.” He ended the conversation; he did not enjoy speaking of death, not after coming so close to experiencing it himself. All that Daeron wanted at the moment was a long hot bath, some T’ouran Wine, and a featherbed to fall into.

“I a-took the boy’s sword, by the way.” The dwarf said, still shuffling about with the pots. “Your squire’s. I thought it best not to waste good steel.”

Daeron dimly remembered Ryad having an exquisite neuri blade. How excited he had been when Daeron had it forged specially for him. He often coated it with chems, poisons. But then Daeron froze, and looked up. “Did I say I was a knight?”

The man laughed. “No, but your every action screams it. The way you talk, so formal and courteous, even when angry. How you never said a word against your lord, though every commoner curses them every now and then. And how in all the seven hells would a commoner have an Akkadian sword?” He smiled.

Daeron only sighed in exasperation, and he threw the rest of the blankets off himself, before pulling them back. He rolled his eyes over it, sniffed it, and scowled. “Is this the amrok’s fur?”

The halfman nodded, tending to the food. He quickly made a tiny tripod out of branches, and got a small fire burning again. He settled the tripod over the flames, and fixed one of the pots on it, throwing a chunk of meat into it, along with some ice. “I skinned the wolf. It should be some use to us, after all the trouble we went through to kill it. This is its meat as well. It ate your friend, so I thought it only right to return the favor.”

“By the way, I brought you something.” He turned away from the fire and rummaged through his small pack. From its depths he pulled out a big leather pouch, and tossed it to Daeron.

The stench was enough to gag him, as he loosened the pouch and peered into it. He could not stand being near it for more than a few seconds. Spitting in disgust, tightening the cord and throwing it back at the dwarf. “What is that?”

The dwarf laughed at his discomfort. “The claw you cut off. From the amrok, gods, that was a real fight. I was on the outskirts, a-seeing everything. And the way your blade moved, it cut through the fur and meat as it would air…”

Daeron snorted, showing the halfman what he thought of that ‘real fight’. Pulling away the blankets, he saw his leg. It was bent in ways that sickened him, but thankfully he was spared the worst of it. Thick amrok hide was tied from just below his waist to his ankles tightly, lashed with leather cords. He shuddered at the thought of whether he was a cripple now... How would he ever get to a Disciple with a leg like this? “You did this?” he asked, feeling through the thick matted fur.

He glanced at Daeron, and said, “Yes. I also made this for you.” He turned and pulled at something, handing it to Daeron. It was a wooden crutch, almost nine feet tall. He ran his hands over the rough ashwood. “You have remarkable skill,” Daeron said, actually meaning it. He would never have been able to make anything like this, or skin an amrok, or bandage and apply sedative to his leg. The halfman was a wonder, and for the first time, Daeron was grateful they had crossed paths.

The short man grinned, pulling the pot off the fire. “A small man like me may not be much use in a fight, but with my wits and my hands, I am as good as any other.” He handed Daeron the entire pot of amrok meat, and his stomach grumbled loudly at the smell.

“Thank you, dwarf. For everything.” Daeron bit into the sizzling meat.

He smiled that jesting smile again. “My name is Thain.”



© 2013 Finn Fur


Author's Note

Finn Fur
I hope you enjoyed this. This is only the first chapter of a long series, one that I hope you will follow with me. By the way, I'm sorry if this seems a bit rough, it is only the first draft. I still need to edit and improve, but I put it up early for you guys to check out. Thanks.

*Glossary:


Midgar: is the land where this story is set. Midgar is the common name given to the continents and collection of islands and other landmasses that make up 'Known World'. The continents where the majority of the human population lives are the Five Kingdoms, though no they are only provinces, united under the Empire, of the Ankooshi Dynasty. These kingdoms are Vorsturf; the Vale of Ildor; Essetir; Arda; and Beleriand. The capital of all Midgar is Sun’s End, located in Vorsturf. Heigor’s Holdfast a small city located only a few leagues into Beleriand, the northernmost nation.

Dohaeris: is the ruling house of the north. Their leader, Lord Rickard, rules with an iron hand as high lord of Beleriand. It is said that the Dohaeris were once the kings of Beleriand, millennia past, before the dragonlords came. They are one of the five strongest families in all Midgar, and have a place on the Elder Council. Lord Rickard is known to both his people and his enemies as the Icelord for his steel heart, strong sense of justice, and unwavering loyalty.

Akkadian Empire: was the authority that ruled over Midgar for a thousand years, and some six hundred years. Their emperors, the Akrah, were known as the ‘dragonlords’ for they had conquered the Five Kingdoms (when they actually were kingdoms) with the fires of their dragons, and united the land into a single Empire. But the last of the Akrah line perished during the Great Wars (near nine hundred years past), and the Ankooshi seized the thrones, starting a new dynasty of royal emperors.

Akkadian steel: is the colloquial term for a magical alloy invented during the days of the Akkadian Empire, and is used to make weapons of unparalleled quality. It is the spells and magic that makes the steel so special. Akkadian blades are lighter, stronger, and sharper than even the best castle-forged steel, and feature distinctive rippled patterns, that will shiver whenever the blade is moved, looking very much like the rippling of water when a stone pierces its surface. Only the greatest weaponsmiths can reforge weapons from existing Akkadian steel, but the secret of actually creating such an alloy was apparently lost with Akkad, making those remaining weapons highly treasured and extremely rare. The base alloy of Akkadian steel is Dragonbone. It is said that to complete the forging, an Akkadian blade is tempered in the hot blood of a living child.

Dragonbone: is the material that was once created from the bones of dead dragons. It was used to make items of rare value and outstanding power due to its unique properties. Dragonbone is black, due to the high iron content in the bones of any dragon, and it is far stronger and more flexible than other weapons. It makes up the base of the alloy for Akkadian steel. Dragons died out nine hundred years ago, during the Great Wars, making all dragonbone materials extremely rare and akkadian weapons impossible to create. It is said that, over many centuries, dragonbone swords will eventually dull and bows soften.

Neuri: is a long, thin blade that is archly curved and sharpened to an edge at both sides. These swords were once used by the order of assassins and spy network of the Akkadian Empire. No such order exists no (apparently) so these blades are scarce, but every talented armorer and smith knows how to forge a neuric blade. Today, they are favored by hunters and rangers.

Chem: is any chemical, medicinal or otherwise, used to cause changes in a person's behavior or biological systems. Various chems exist in Midgar, some more beneficial than others, and the majority of existing chems (natural and created) and listed by the Disciples. Some are used in medicine, others as drugs or poisons, and many in different forms of weaponry. Mahashi is a herb often used by disciples and healers as a sedative. It is very strong, capable of dulling pain for days, though for it to be at it's strongest it must be diluted in pearl-water.

Disciples: are men who serve in the Order of Disciples (Neygar’s Disciples, originally) which is an order of scholars, healers, scribes, couriers, messengers, alchemists, and scientists who are trained at a university called Neygarr Square. The Disciples are valued advisers to lords and nobility and are oft sent to great cities and holdfasts to serve as wisemasters. This order is respected throughout Midgar, many cities sending to Neygarr Square with requests for their men. The order is so named because they consider themselves the followers of the founder of their order, a man of the name Neygar. This man, with the riches of his lordly house, founded the Disciples and built Neygarr Square, near twelve hundred years ago. The city of Poris grew around Neygarr Square over the years.

Amrok: is a close relative of the wolf, though they are far larger. They can grow to be bigger than ponies, though when born they may seem quite normal. In proportion to their bodies, their legs are longer and their heads are larger than normal wolves. Their muzzles are also longer and more pronounced, often shaggy as their habitat is the cold and icy north. Like other wolves, amroks are social animals and travel in packs. They are efficient solitary hunters as well, and extremely intelligent. Left to its own devices, a solitary amrok can join a pack of regular wolves, and its larger size can grant it a significant advantage when establishing pack dominance. There have been no amroks sighted even in the north since the days of the Akkadian Empire, however. They have been pronounced extinct by the Disciples for nearly a thousand years.

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Added on June 22, 2013
Last Updated on June 22, 2013
Tags: Wolf, Medieval, Empire, Quest, Fantasy Fiction


Author

Finn Fur
Finn Fur

Manchester, United Kingdom



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Hello, Don't want to say much, I'd rather be writing novels right now. If you want to check out my stories, feel free. Hope you enjoy. more..

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