Home > Wood Elves > Wood Elf Prelude Part I

Wood Elf Prelude Part I

Athel Loren, Spring

Sceolan nodded as he passed the Eternal Guard at the entrance of the Oak of the Ages. Ariel, Queen of the Forest, had summoned him, and the messenger made it sound rather urgent. The old warrior knew that to be summoned to the Court of the Queen meant that something of concern was indeed on her mind. He entered a large hall elaborately built into the tree and saw the Queen looking over a large table already in council with Ythril, captain of the Waywatchers.

“My Queen! I received your summons and came with all haste!”

“Ah Sceolan, my dear friend, indeed I require your council. Come join me and Ythril.”

Sceolan approached the table and spotted a sight rare in Athel Loren, a map of the Old World. Silver pins were stuck into various locations. The sight troubled Sceolan. “I trust my Queen has no desires for expansion,” Sceolan said with a nervous laugh, although knowing of the current strife in the Empire his suspicions lay elsewhere.

“No,” Ariel laughed, “Athel Loren is a realm large enough for my content. Jests aside, grave matters are on hand. You know of the war that is being waged in the lands of the Empire and the Worlds Edge Mountains…”

“Naturally I do, my Queen,” Sceolan replied, hesitant to state his assumptions as to the direction of the conversation.

“It does not take a mage to see that you are worried and being a mage I already know what you are worried about. I do not seek to hide my intentions with eloquent language and try to trick you old friend. A war for the very survival of order as we know it is being waged in the east. The alliance led by Karl Franz cannot hold out much longer against the hordes of Chaos. The High Elves are weakened, the Dwarves are weakened, the Empire is torn by internal strife… and dark forces stir from within threatening to swallow the land.”

“My Queen, these are no friends of the Asrai. Our army rarely leaves Athel Loren, and when it does so it is to protect Athel Loren. I must admit I do not like the direction of your thoughts. To fight with the Empire is to seal our fate with theirs, and you have already indicated that the war goes poorly for them. What stake have we in their struggle?”

“Yes, I knew this question would come… I had hoped you would see the greater implications involved.”

“I do, but the Asrai are no great host to march out and face the forces of destruction on the open plain. It is in the wood that we excel, defending our home, fighting with the treekin. Let them seek aid from others. I beg you that you do not bring that war to our home.”

“And who will fight with the Empire? Should the eastern kingdoms fall then who will aid us when Tchar’zanek turns his eye on Athel Loren?” Ariel paused and sighed. She had not hoped to debate with her trusted friend, although she knew it was inevitable. Like all Wood Elves, he was an isolationist. She wished to tell him all she knew, but she could not. “I have seen the future, Sceolan, a dark storm will descend upon Athel Loren. We cannot change what is to come, but we can change how it shapes our future.”

Ythril, stoically silent up to this point, shifted and broke the silence, “Naturally helping the Dwarves is out of the question, at least for now; and Ulthuan is logistically improbable in the time frame we have discussed, my Queen. The logical choice is to assist the Empire and Kislev; ease their burden so that they may assist the Dwarves and High Elves.”

Sceolan moved around the map uncomfortably, casting a cold stare at the dwarven Holds marked on the map, a stare which the Queen felt. “The decision has already been made, Sceolan…”

“Then what need of my council?” the old warrior replied coldly.

“Your role in this tide is larger than you can imagine, whether you like it or not.” Ariel pointed to a small green section of the map at the top right, “Here is where we shall make our impact.”

Ythril glanced at the map, “Forest of the Spirits, wedged between Praag and High Pass… yes there damage could be dealt…”

“Take your Waywatchers there Ythril. Strike swiftly, walk softly. The enemy need not know of our presence. Or our friends for that matter.” Ythril nodded and walked away swiftly without a sound.

Sceolan waited until the Waywatcher was gone. “It would seem you have no need of my council then, seeing how the decision was already made…” he said in a cold voice.

“My dear old friend,” Ariel said and placed her hand on his arm, melting away any anger the old warrior had and softening his heart, “What I have seen, you do not want to see but nonetheless shall, given time. I need you at my side when the storm crosses into Athel Loren.”

Overcome with guilt, the old warrior knelt and put his forehead to her hand, “My Queen, I did not mean to oppose you… I fear what is to come…”

“Rise friend, what is to come, is to come. I need you now. Ride out, seek Orion and tell him to return to Court. Once you have found him marshal the Eternal Guard and see to the Northern Sentinels.”

Filled with a new youth, Sceolan bowed and rushed out of the Court of the Queen. As he exited the doors a strong wind blew through the glade causing the limbs of the Oak of the Ages to groan. Sceolan placed his hand on the tree and looked up, “A dark storm on the horizon…” he said to himself quietly.

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