Searching The Night
Chapter 1 – Unerein’s Capture
A long line of horses neighed on the ravine’s edge, their warm breaths visible in the cold night air. They could feel the fear of their riders, and they could hear their anxious whispers. Below them, nestled between the forest trees and mountains cave, lied the small village of Perlon. Although the men could see that they physically held every advantage against the sleeping villagers, they wondered why so many of them were needed here. Why had they been called from the Halavent Scar, and why had Commander Alion Mithereil personally accompanied them on this mission? These questions, and many others, remained in their minds as they awaited their bloody orders.
Alion Mithereil sat proudly upon his great warhorse behind the calvary line, waiting for the right moment to issue orders. Surrounding him were his personal guards, armed and as dangerous as ever, as well as a group of mages, brought by the commander for one specific task, protecting him from the psions. Alion was dispatched by Lord Heath Justar himself to ensure that Perlon was razed and all of it’s inhabitants killed. It had been rumored that a group of elder psions lived there, and that their sympathies were with the southern territory of Helantha. They were seen as a major threat to Gathina and the Lord wanted them terminated immediately. After ensuring that everything was in place, and that his anti-magic fields were prepared, he took one last breath, and nodded to his lieutenant. Moments later the calvary moved as one to the west, towards the slope that lead down to the village.
Hector was the lone guard on duty, as was often the case, and his only companion was his favorite bottle of red wine. Although he had already been reprimanded for drinking while on duty, the guard commander had given up trying; they had too few guards to let Hector go and Perlon hadn’t had any visitors in nearly 15 moons. Thinking about this caused Hector to grin as he took another red-mouthed swig of wine. Past the caves his patrol took him, where he shared a bit of wine with a fellow drunkard as he helped him to his cave dwelling. Hector then passed the elder’s cave, where he heard chanting as the elders meditated in the candlelight, and he shook his head in confusion. He didn’t understand psionics when he was sober, much less when he was drunk.
Eventually, in his drunken stupor, Hector’s patrol lead him past the forest. In the light of day Hector would often venture into the trees to fetch water or local berries, but in the dark of night he made sure to keep his distance. Something about the shadows made him feel like there was something sinister watching him but, unbeknownst to him, the eyes watching him were from above. Hector forced out a drunken laugh and bent over, nearly falling as he picked up a stone, and threw it into the tree line. He heard it whistle past leaves and branches but, instead of fading into the distance, the sound seemed to grow. As the sound grew Hector looked around nervously, and then down to the nearly-empty bottle, and then up again. Groggily he rubbed his eyes, as if they were causing his ears to hear incorrectly, and looked up once more. The last thing Hector saw, as the sound was now thunderously erupting forth from the forest, was a line of horses emerging, and a single arrow heading towards him.
Unerein woke to the sounds of screams and the heat of flames. Eyes wide with fear she quickly scanned her cave dwelling, which appeared to be untainted by whatever evils were outside it’s wooden door. She kept her unblinking gaze on the exit and watched as a group of horseman raced by, the force of their hooves shaking pots down from shelves, crashing to pieces against the floor. She tried to lift herself to her feet, but remained frozen by her bedside, overwhelmed with fear. Listening for a moment to the screams, she began to recognize some, and she knew that they could be the last breath of some of her loved ones, and this grim reality finally sprung her into action. She grabbed her spear, barely-used, and thought of the psions, particularly Vylorian. Her father, her master, must be saved.
Without a proper warning the village was helpless, and it took mere moments for each building to be cleared and burned. As ordered the soldiers were merciless, slaying every living thing in sight, even the livestock, as Lord Justar wanted everyone to know the repercussions if anyone dared double cross his rule. The elders, the only ones capable of any sort of real defense, didn’t realize anything was amiss until it was too late, as the horses barreled into their sacred cave and cut them each down where they stood.
There was but one soldier casualty, as a young ash elf woman managed to hold a spear under a horse as it’s rider urged it towards her. The spear dug into the horses side, pushing into it with such force that the woman’s right hand was crushed, but it also threw the soldier from it’s back and into the rocky wall behind her. The woman, grimacing in pain and holding her crushed hand close, picked up a jagged piece of the broken spear, rushed to the soldier as he gasped for air, and shoved it into his heart. He gasped a bit longer, as blood spattered from his mouth, before dying.
A group of soldiers nearby, after tossing their torches onto a thatched roof, jumped down from their horses and ran to apprehend the wounded elf. Though she was crippled and weaponless she fought valiantly, but the men soon overwhelmed her. They toyed with the girl, tossing her back and forth, laughing as she struggled to catch herself with her one good hand. It didn’t take long for the lieutenant to spot the men and, while laughing to himself, he rode over to the men. Calling the men off, he took the girl and forced her against a nearby boulder, tied her to it, and gagged her. Looking back to the town, as fires still raged and blood stained the ground, he sneered at her, and whispered in her ear, “Watch my sweet. As the burning embers die, so shall you.” She watched him turn to walk away as tears welled in her eyes before, to her confusion, he stopped suddenly, as if he had walked into a wall.
Commander Alion Mitheriel watched from the ravine’s edge, greatly anticipating the coming battle. He was slightly annoyed that his presence was needed, especially as the battle in the Halavent Scar waged on, but he knew that the Lord wanted results. Alion had hand picked each soldier for this mission, and he expected only perfection. He watched as the gnome guard was cut down before he could call out, and grinned as the village was razed to the ground. Although he was nervous as the horseman rode into the large cave, he was pleased to see them emerge again moments later after they had dispatched the elders. He began to grow bored, and nearly turned away before the woman in the green cape caught his eye. He watched as she ran from a cave, fled from a horseman, before spearing the horse and slaying the soldier where he landed.
Alion was intrigued by her, as she was the first ash elf he had seen in sometime, and he had recently begun to wonder where the rest of his kind called home. Watching his soldiers torment her angered Alion, and he turned quickly to his head mage and whispered to him. The mage nodded, chanted the necessary words, and with a flick of his wrist completed the sending spell. The lieutenant many feet below received the message, and then instructed the soldiers to free the woman. In chains Unerein Laedralen left as the only survivor from the village known as Perlon.