The History of the Sylvan Elves
Journey to Nevishrim
of the Sylvan Elves NEXT >>
sylvan army buried their dead and spent a few days to rest and mourn
the lost. The Faendryl seemed as stunned as their allies, and made
no attempt to contact the sylvans following the battle of Maelshyve.
Other allies also withdrew and, in coming weeks, seemed to drift
away. All who had witnessed the holocaust seemed to exist in a stunned,
After five days, Oriahn called a meeting of his commanders. He
told them that they would be packing up the following day and returning
home to Nevishrim. Not even that happy news could stir the company
out of their malaise. However, in an army, discipline triumphs over
emotion, and the army began the homeward trek.
They crossed hills and valleys, traveling quietly. No track was
left to show where they had passed, and there was little conversation
among them to mark the passing of hours, days and weeks. Oriahn
wondered if he remembered the way back after all the time that had
passed, and was glad that he had scouts who had made the journey
now and then through the years. As the Eranishal approached a tall
hill, scouts brought word to Oriahn that there was an unnatural
quality about the landmark, foremost being the fact that there had
not been, to anyone's memory, a hill there before.
Oriahn called his mages to him, a select band that had helped greatly
in shielding the sylvan army from the fire demons. These individuals
ventured out toward the promontory, wielding spells of protection
as they went. They soon returned, having gathered hints about the
oddness of the hill. These wizards had encountered the same malevolent
fluctuations in the fundamental magical power once before, at Maelshyve.
It was deduced that one of the demons had escaped over the lands
and taken refuge in the strange, black hill. And had probably made
the hill, judging from its extreme angles and sheer cliffs. Erosion
could never have created such a landmark.
Oriahn's whole being cried out for him to order his army to silently
withdraw from this cursed place and find another way back home.
However, as dawn began to tinge the landscape from grey to soft
morning colors, he knew he could not leave the monster skulking
safe within its lair, free to kill again once it was hungry enough.
He ordered his troops to withdraw across a wide valley and take
shelter on a mountainside far enough away for safety. He left orders
that the army was to withdraw and journey on to Nevishrim within
three days time, whether he had returned or not. And taking a guard
of three soldiers, he set out to confront the enemy.
The sylvan army was too far away from the terrible hill to see
any of the battle. However, lightning flashed across the sky and
the ground rumbled and shook during the following night. Dawn of
the second day brought an uneasy quiet, although plumes of dense
smoke drifted up from the hill and filled the sky around it. And
that night, the lightning and the tremors resumed. The following
morning was as quiet as had been the day before, likewise with columns
of smoke rising from the promontory. The soldiers were restive,
having slept little as a result of worry for their general as well
as fears born of their last encounter with a demonic entity.
As the sun rose into the sky, a sharp-eyed scout sent up a yell.
Two dots could barely be seen crossing the valley floor, traveling
toward them from the hellish hill. A cadre of the general's personal
guard set out at a run to meet them, although the returning survivors
were yet miles away. As the party finally arrived back, two soldiers
were carrying the unconscious body of Oriahn while Nepheral, his
bard and one of the three chosen companions, was supported between
two other men.
Healers quickly took charge of Oriahn, while Nepheral was questioned
as to whether the beast lived. They also questioned whether it was
safe for the army to remain there while the healers tended Oriahn's
grievous wounds. Bearing considerable injuries as well, Nepheral
managed to stammer out that the demon had been slain. The other
two companions had died in the battle. With that, Nepheral slipped
into unconsciousness and was hurried away to the healers' tent.
The Eranishal camped on the slopes of that valley for a month,
it being judged too dangerous to move Oriahn during that time. Finally,
a litter was fashioned to carry the commander and the army made
ready to travel. Despairing of their ability to save their leader,
the army empaths hoped to reach Nevishrim with its resources of
experienced healers and stores of medicinal plants.
As the army reached the edges of the great forest that sheltered
Nevishrim, scouts were sent ahead to alert the city. The remainder
of the troops followed more slowly, bearing their commander on his
litter. He had never regained consciousness, wandering in a feverish
haze of delirium and occasionally calling out and talking to people
he saw within his darkness. After journeying for two weeks through
the forest, barely stopping to rest, the army met the advance group
of sylvans sent to aid them on the final miles of their long journey
home. The litter was handed off to individuals who were fresh and
the exhausted soldiers were given illistery, a light sylvan drink
that drove away fatigue, aches and pains, leaving one refreshed
As the army marched silently through the gates of Nevishrim, the
city's whole population was gathered around the arched entrance
to greet them. However, the throng was utterly silent, with only
the soldiers' footsteps and an occasional clank of steel and rustle
of cloth to be heard. Then, whispered welcomes were voiced, as families
found and reclaimed their own, and the proud sylvan legions disbanded,
fraying quietly away like wisps of smoke.
The litter bearing Oriahn approached the gate. Suddenly, the general
awoke and looked at his litter bearers, surprisingly with a coherent
expression. He ordered them to stop just beneath the arch of the
gate leading into the city, and set his litter down. They obeyed
and his closest advisors drew close. With an expression of inestimable
sorrow and deep weariness born of his years of service, he told
them to raise the city's population as soon as possible and journey
away from that place. He told them to seek seven great trees and
there build a new home, away from the Cities of Elves and from war
and greed. When they begged him to not talk and save his strength,
he told them that he would never reenter the city, since to do so
would risk bringing the shard of evil within him to his people.
And a few moments later, he died.