Persecution

Persecution

A Chapter by Eddie Davis
"

The meeting with the Queen and her bodyguards is interrupted.

"

7.

Persecution

 

 

"As Aurei knows, when King Haroldris and I left Westmark last summer, we visited -- unannounced-- the Faesidhe Elves of the Great Forest.   We were not harmed, but were, shall we say, less than warmly welcomed.   However, we did meet with their King and nobles and made it clear to them that we wanted peace between our two Kingdoms.   Haroldris also informed them of his naming Aurei as Duchess of Westmark, and they were extremely upset at that, but swore they would not cause any harm to her or her Duchy as long as she respected the border to their Kingdom and did nothing to endanger the Faesidhe communities of the forest."

"When we returned to King's Reach we found that soon after our departure for Duke Gamel's funeral, some of the citizens of King's Reach began stirring up discontent.   It seems they were upset that Haroldris had selected me, an Elf, as his wife.   Then they found out about Aurei's appointment as Duchess, which only fuelled their discontentment.   As you all have now noticed, I have an elite bodyguard, a 'Life Guard' that is made up of some of the finest soldiers from some of the Orc tribes that settled in the southern parts of Northmarch several years ago, and became very civilized and loyal subjects of our Kingdom.   They have served valiantly in the King's army and are greatly respected for their discipline and bravery.   Haroldris selected 50 of these fine soldiers to become my Bodyguard and I must say that I am greatly honored and proud to have them.   They are the finest soldiers of any race I have ever encountered and fiercely loyal to me."

 

"But this of course only stirred up the growing distrust of non-humans that the trouble makers in King's Reach had created.  Haroldris had several spies infiltrate this group and only last week learned that the whole 'movement' had been set up by minions of the Necromancer's Guild.   But it wasn't just Northmarch.   They were able to learn that the Guild was planning a major offensive against all the vassal Kingdoms of the Empire, as well as launch a Civil War against the Emperor."

 

Fendoris just snorted in disbelief, "A world-wide plot, eh?   Preposterous!"

The Queen just nodded.   "Your Excellency, it is true.   They are trying different schemes in different places to stir up unrest.   Financial fears in one Kingdom, anger over taxes in another, revolt against the nobility in yet another, and now a supposed uprising by the Bitter Dregs in Aeropolis.   They are all occurring at the same time."

"To what end, Elf Queen?"  Fendoris snapped.

"To create unrest.  To focus each Kingdom and government on itself so the Necromancer Guild can begin its invasion."

"Invasion?" The Emperor asked.

"Of your Kingdom, Your Excellency."   The Queen explained. 

"Ridiculous!"  Fendoris shouted with a laugh, but his eyes betrayed some fear.

"No, it's not, I'm afraid.   You haven't had a recent update from Aeropolis, have you?"

"No.   Why?"

"Yesterday morning as the so-called 'Blood Knights' forced open the gates to the city, a fair size army of zombies and undead swarmed through.   The city is in complete chaos."

"WHAT?!" Both The Emperor and Zeatt exclaimed.

"I'm afraid so.   There has not been any report since then.  But while this was going on down there, up here, in King's Reach, three days ago, a group of 100 plate armored men, all dressed as Blood Knights, led a peasant army against King's Reach, chanting for the overthrow of Haroldris and the execution of all the non-humans in the city."

"Yesh preserve us!"  Aurei exclaimed.

The Emperor just laughed.   "Who are you trying to fool, Elf?   My Airship hovered just above the gates of King's Reach yesterday and we didn't see any besieging army!"

"There is a good reason for that, Your Excellency." Eioldth nodded.  "They attacked at night and then withdrew each morning -- evidence that the 'peasants' in their army are mostly undead.   The attacks were not very forceful, they seem merely to keep us occupied and on the defensive, unable to come to the aid of Aeropolis, where the real battle is occurring."

"I don't believe your story!"  The Emperor said with a sneer.

"Never-the-less, it is true.   That is why we were unable to allow you to enter King's Reach yesterday.   When you said you had Aurei, and then Matron Zeatt as your captives, we were unsure if it was a ruse by the Necromancer's Guild to gain access.   Besides, we couldn't imagine you would be so foolish to hold one of our nobles as a hostage to demand our help.   When you refused to turn both of them over to us, we thought for certain that it was merely a ruse by the Guild."

"However, our enemies apparently got word that the exiled Emperor was trying to join up with King Haroldris and was bringing two Drow with him, and they used this knowledge to try to stir up the population of King's Reach to joining their revolt.   As a result, my husband became fearful for my safety as well as the safety of my Orc guards, and demanded that I leave the city to seek refuge elsewhere.   He sent my guards back to their community to protect their people."

"What about those escorting you?"  Zeatt asked.

The Queen smiled and gestured at the 10 Orc guards standing at attention around her, "These 10 brave souls and the two others watching our horses, as well as my gallant Captain Vinth, volunteered to escort me.   In fact, they nearly demanded the honor and I can assure you that there are no finer guards then these 13 Orcs."

At her words, all 10 of the guardsmen nearby seemed almost to swell with pride from the great respect shown to them by their beloved Queen.  Aurei looked on, amazed at how fiercely devoted they seemed to her.   Orcs devoted to an Elf lady.   Eioldth was truly an amazing Queen to instill such loyalty.

"Anyway", The Queen continued, "We left secretly at just before dusk, so we wouldn't be seen.  Dorthellus ran into us not long after we had left the city.   He told us of your mission, Sir Eleazar, and I decided we should watch for something to happen to see if your plan met with success.   So we stayed a distance away from the Airship until we heard a commotion and saw search lights being shined all around.   Of course we assumed they were looking for you, Sir Eleazar, so Captain Vinth and his men tracked you down."

"I am very glad of that."  Eleazar replied, and then glancing over to the Emperor he asked, "What is your council, your Majesty, regarding what should we do with Emperor Fendoris?   My intention was to bring him to King Haroldris, but that course of action seems closed to us right now."

"Set him free."  The Queen said after only a moment's thought, and the exclamations from Aurei and Eleazar forced her to explain.  "My husband has always been loyal to His Excellency and bares him no ill will.   That, however, might change when he hears what he proposed to do to one of his Duchesses and a Bishop of Yesh.   But I do not want to be responsible for his incarceration, so-"

Her words were cut off by shouts from the Orcs outside watching the horses.   They all raced to the door but were greeted by roars of pain and a loud piercing shriek that Aurei immediately recognized.

"Wyverns!"  She yelled just as Eleazar pulled open the door.   Sure enough, before them was the dim shape of a large bat-winged form, clutching an Orc in huge talons as it pumped its wings to gain altitude in the icy air.   Another Wyvern was hovering in mid-air, clawing at the other Orc who was putting up a gallant fight, keeping his shield in front of the dragon-like beast's talons while swinging his sword franticly at its snapping claws and jaws.

"No wait!" Queen Eioldth called, trying to stop them, but the Elf Knight was already running across the icy ground toward the battle with his sword drawn, followed by Vinth, two of his guardsmen and Aurei, still clutching Eleazar's dagger.

"They're going to get killed!"  Eioldth screamed to Zeatt as three of her Orc guards pulled her back from the doorway.   Zeatt just nodded, chanting a spell in her native Drow tongue then pointing her finger at the head of the Wyvern.   Suddenly a ball of darkness surrounded its head and the creature cried out in alarm, pausing in surprise.   It was the break the Orc needed and he swung his sword at the neck of the beast just below where the ball of darkness ended.   His sword bit deeply, causing the Wyvern to drop lightly down to the ground, then hop backwards on its legs.   But the creature's vision was still concealed by the orb of darkness around its head, enabling Eleazar and Vinth to slam their swords down on the Wyvern's outstretched wings.   With a shriek it tried to take to the air but fell forward, injured.  

"Watch out for its stinger!"  Aurei cautioned just in time, as she and the Orc Guardsmen quickly ducked the whip-like tail of the beast as it snapped blindly in the dark toward where it sensed its attackers were to be found.

Suddenly there came the sound of flapping wings and instinctively Aurei dove to the ground as yet another Wyvern swooped in, grabbing the Orc next to Aurei in its huge claws.   Aurei leapt up, grabbing at the creature's leg as she hammered the dagger blade into the scaled hide of the beast in a desperate attempt to save the Orc.   But the blade did not go deep enough and she fell loose of the creature, which now flapped its wings to take to the air with its prize still in tow.   Several of the other Orcs swiped at the Wyvern, but it was out of range very quickly.

 

Eleazar and Vinth were slowly killing the injured Wyvern and Aurei had just turned to scan the skies for more of the monsters, when there was a loud WHOOSH sound from their right.   With a loud roar there was an orange blast and the barn was engulfed in flames.  

"Fireball!" One of the Orcs screamed.   Aurei turned and ran toward the burning barn, but to her great relief the barn door flew open and Queen Eioldth, Zeatt, the Emperor and the rest of the Queen's Orc guards came racing out of the burning building. Before Aurei could do anything else, from around the side of the barn came a trio of black robed wizards, all carrying staves.   Those escaping the burning barn spun to meet them, however one of the three wizards raised a staff and immediately the Orcs, the Emperor, Zeatt and Eioldth were sprawled backwards as if all had simultaneously slipped on ice.  

 

Aurei began running toward them, with no idea how she was going to fight the wizards with just a dagger.  Another of the Wizards saw her coming and raised his staff, gestured at the barn with it and then swung it toward her.   There was the sound of cracking and then, twirling end-over-end toward her were two pieces of burning wood, ripped free from the inferno. She rolled out of the way and the pieces missed her, but the last mage jabbed the air in front of him with his staff and Aurei felt an invisible force punch her squarely in her eye, knocking her back down from the impact of the blow.   She hurried to get up, only to have another invisible force seem to sweep her legs out from under her.   She landed gracefully on the palms of her hands, but was unable to move before another heavy blow slammed into her upper chest, knocking the wind out of her for a moment as she fell back, stunned.  

All at once, Queen Eioldth stood up and there came a twinkle from something on her hand, like a facet of a jewel catching light.   The Queen made a slapping motion and there appeared immediately in front of her, a huge disembodied spectral hand that slapped across the three startled wizards.   The magical hand knocked all three mages off their feet, giving Aurei a reprieve.   She ran forward still holding the dagger, hearing the Wyvern swooping down from behind her long before he reached her.   She waited until he was close and then dropped flat to the ground with her dagger held over her head like a torch.

 

The Wyvern flashed past her, the dagger slashing a gash in its talon, but it did not slow, for she had not been its target.   Instead, the beast stretched its huge claws in front of it, and as quick as lightning it grabbed up Fendoris then pumped its wings to escape with its catch.

Queen Eioldth's arcane hand zipped through the air, grabbing at the dragon-like creature, but just as her huge spectral hand was about to reach the retreating Wyvern and Emperor, she was knocked backwards from an invisible blast of force from one of the wizard's staves.   Aurei leapt up and forward, diving toward the attacking mage, who spun his staff to counter her assault.  But before he could use it, Zeatt rose to her feet and with both arms spread wide to heaven shouted passionately something Aurei could not understand.  A second later there came a flash of light and a thunderclap so loud it sent everyone but the Cleric to the ground, as the earth shook with the echo of the sound.

 

Her aunt rushed past her to the stunned wizard that had attacked the Queen, ripping the staff from the man's hands and then slamming the end of it across his face so hard that his jaw snapped and he fell over, unconscious.   The other two Mages had recovered by now and one swung his staff like a club against Zeatt's legs knocking her to her knees.  But the Drow matron was tough and brought her staff in an upward swipe while still on her knees, catching the wizard in his chin.   Zeatt spun the staff expertly and poked the man hard in the eye then rapidly brought it down against his temple, sending him to the ground.  

 

The remaining mage was chanting something and fire began to glow at the end of his staff.   He flicked his wrist slightly and a ball of fire shot forth the few yards between him and Zeatt, just as Aurei dove in front of her aunt.   The ball of fire slammed into Aurei with a roar that brought a scream of horror from Zeatt.  But as soon as that roar sounded, suddenly the fireball just disappeared like a popped bubble, much to the Wizard's (as well as Aurei's) surprise.  Aurei flicked the dagger the few feet separating them, her blade finding the heart of the wizard, who fell dead at her feet.  

 

"Magic Resistance!!" Zeatt exclaimed, looking heavenward with a wide grin, "Surely, my child, you are blessed.  That was a fireball spell, probably the same type used to set the barn on fire, and it dispersed when it hit you."

"It doesn't work all the time."  Aurei replied, feeling her swollen eyelid where the invisible force that the mage had sent forth from his staff had hit her. 

"Yet it is a blessing, my dear."  Zeatt ran over to Eioldth, who was trying to stand up on the icy ground while balancing her slight pregnant belly.

"Your Majesty, are you alright?"  Zeatt asked, helping the young Queen to her feet.

"I'm okay; I'm just not as flexible right now or I'd already be on my feet."

Zeatt nodded knowingly, "Just wait, it will get worse."

"I look forward to it." The Queen smiled slightly, patting her belly then her smile faded as she looked around.  "The Wyverns -- did they snatch Fendoris?"

"Yes; and two of your Orc guards."  Aurei answered, already hurrying across to where Eleazar, Vinth and the Orc guards had just finished killing their Wyvern.   As she neared them, she heard the distinct sound of leathery wings above them and without a word she and the others gathered around the dead Wyvern crouched down, trying to peer through the sleet to find the source of the sound.

"There!"  Eleazar screamed, pointing with his sword as he spotted the beast, now diving through the wintery skies toward them.   Aurei twirled around, frantically scanning the ground for a weapon, and spotting one of the fallen Orcs' longswords, she grabbed it up as the Wyvern let out an ear-piercing screech as he leveled out in his dive.

"Stay low!"  Vinth called over to Zeatt and Eioldth, his main concern the safety of the Queen.

With a blast of air the Wyvern zoomed directly over Aurei, Eleazar and the Orcs, but just out of range of their weapons.   As it flashed by, there came the sound of a whip being cracked and a moment later one of the Orc guards fell lifeless onto the ice, a large hole in his left temple where the stinger of the Wyvern had scored a lethal hit.

 

But the beast's target was none of them, for it quickly soared past them, covering the distance to the burning barn in a second's time.  

"DOWN!!   DOWN!!"  Vinth roared to his Queen and Zeatt, and the two Elf ladies complied immediately.   But the Wyvern totally ignored the two, and with an incredible show of agility, the monster plucked both of the injured mages, one in each claw, and quickly flapped its great wings to gain altitude.

From her prone position on the ground, Eioldth raised her hand above her head and there came another sparkle from one of her fingers and at once the huge disembodied hand appeared and she swung at the direction of the rapidly retreating Wyvern.   The hand smacked the Wyvern with great force and the beast plummeted for a few moments before it regained control.   But the action had cost it the grip on one of the Mages and the body of the wizard fell quickly, slamming into the wooden fence at the end of the barn lot.

 

Before the young Queen could bring her magic hand back around for another swipe, the Wyvern managed to get out of range of the spectral hand and disappeared into the night.

 

Eioldth screamed in frustration, pounding her fist into the ice, which caused the ghostly hand to crumble another section of the fence.

 

But Aurei was already up and running to the Orc stung by the Wyvern.   As Vinth, Eleazar and the other Orcs joined her; she quickly turned him over and felt his neck for a pulse.

"No need, your Grace."  Vinth said as he knelt next to her. "Boric is dead."

Aurei could find no heartbeat and with tears in her eyes, she nodded to the Orc Captain, "Sir, I am very sorry."

"I thank you, your Grace.   He died valiantly, protecting his Queen."

Vinth stood up, a stoic expression on his face as he turned to two of his equally stoic faced guards.  "Take up the body of our brother.   We have no time to mourn him.   We will place him in the fire.   The burning barn will be his pyre."

Four of the Orcs bent over their fallen comrade and with reverent precision, shouldered his body, and then, with almost a marching step, carried him toward the blazing barn, which seemed only moments away from collapsing as the fire consumed it.

 

Queen Eioldth, upon seeing the procession, hurriedly rose to her feet, assisted by Zeatt.   The Queen ran across the slippery snow, up to Vinth, who, along with the other Orcs -- even the pallbearers-- stood at attention at her approach.

"Who?   Who is it?!"  She demanded of her Orc Captain.

"Your Highness, it is my sad duty to inform you that Boric, son of Holm, sergeant of your guard died in his duty protecting you."

"Yesh welcome his soul."  The Queen said, her voice breaking with emotion.

"Also, your Highness, Seth and Devon were carried off by the Wyverns during their attack and are also dead."

"How would you know that?"  Eioldth asked, tears streaming down her cheeks.

"It is the Wyvern way; they pluck up enemies and then drop them from great heights to their death, unless they are important to their masters, and regrettably, Seth nor Devon were important to the Necromancers."

The news struck the young Elf queen hard and she buried her head in Vinth's chest and wept.   The Captain seemed torn between respect and compassion, and finally, rather awkwardly, put his large arm around his queen and comforted her.   The large Orc seemed rather relieved when Zeatt and Aurei intervened and led her over to an old empty watering troth that had been turned upside down by the farmers to keep ice from busting the vessel.   They gently sat her on the make-shift bench and Aurei held her as she gently cried.   Zeatt stood and followed behind Eleazar as he shadowed the funeral procession of the Orcs.  

 

The barn suddenly fell in with a loud exhale of hot air, but the Orcs did not pause and continued toward the crumpled structure.   The Orcs not carrying their dead comrade formed a line in front of the barn, standing at attention.   Vinth directed the pallbearers to place Boric in the flames, and the Orcs tromped on burning coals without a sound until they had gently placed the body in the fire.   Then with military precision, they turned and marched out of the fire, to fall in line with the other Orcs.  



© 2014 Eddie Davis


My Review

Would you like to review this Chapter?
Login | Register




Reviews

"...it sent everyone to the ground but the Cleric as the earth..." It may sound better to say "...sending everyone but the Cleric to the ground..." ?

This was wonderful. I found myself on the verge of crying when the queen found out which of her guards had died.

Posted 10 Years Ago


Eddie Davis

10 Years Ago

Thank you Elina, I always look forward to your reviews.

Share This
Email
Facebook
Twitter
Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Stats

386 Views
1 Review
Added on November 2, 2013
Last Updated on May 29, 2014
Tags: battle, Elves, Drow, Orcs, fantasy, adventure, magic, sword and sorcery, knights, paladins, undead, good versus evil, vampires

The Chronicles of Aurei Book 2: The Knights of Northmarch


Author

Eddie Davis
Eddie Davis

Springfield, MO



About
I'm a fantasy and science-fiction writer that enjoys sharing my tales with everyone. Three trilogies are offered here, all taking place in the same fantasy world of Synomenia. Other books and stor.. more..

Writing
One One

A Chapter by Eddie Davis


Two Two

A Chapter by Eddie Davis