Joined: 29 Dec 2007
|Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 3:14 am Post subject: The Crystal Valley
|Once upon a time there was a beautiful land called Crystalaya settled in a vast green valley. It was the most incredible city made entirely out of crystals, gems and gold, and was protected under a huge protective bubble produced by very special crystals. The city derived its energy from the ground where the bottom of the crystals were embedded. In the center of the city was an amazing blue crystal palace, where dwell a very troubled King and Queen.
The heralds were dispatched in their matching uniforms of black, white and burgundy to strike out about the cities proclaiming that all shall be presented before the King and Queen at the end of the week for an announcement. This naturally set the towns people of Crystalaya into a spin as they sought to guess what this could all be about.
The day soon came that all of the people of the lands gathered outside of the castle and the King and Queen appeared from their balcony. The cheering went on for a long time in honor of the beloved King and Queen. Their people loved them and were very loyal to them.
Finally, it slowly grew quiet after the King Sylas raised a hand for it to stop. "My good people..." he began in a loud voice. "it is with a heavy heart that I inform you all that the safety of Crystalaya is at stake." The whispers and concerns expressed from the people suddenly rose in creshendo, to where the King had to raise a hand to silence them yet again. He charged on to state clearly, "I have spoken with the elite magi orders and we have found that the prime source for our most treasured crystals are in need of replenishment. There is only one place to get them, and unfortunately, it is in the lands of the Therathophians." This caused the crowds to be in a near panic.
The Therathophians were a mixed union of all cast offs. Some were drow, some were orc, ogre and gobblins and trolls were among them. Those that lived in a wasteland region had declared that if any of them ever crossed their borders they would declare war on them. For a time, there had been an understanding between the kingdoms. All the same were feared by everyone.
"What are we t' do, sire?!" a young man shouted from the gathered crowd and the rest of the assembled masses joined in. The King nodded and he looked as if he were remorse to say the next words. "We have been advised to send word out to neighboring lands and even send ships across the sea to seek advisement and assistance. We believe that someone will heed our pleas as we have aided many in times past." The King himself struck an imposing figure. He was all of 6'4" and had the most startling blue eyes. "I have no doubt that good fortune will smile on us once more. Until then, I will have guards about the city's perimeter, in the hopes we shall not need them."
Almost as if on cue, the bubble aura they lived under flickered a moment then restored itself. This only set the people into a panic, each of them scrambling to their prospective homes and dwellings.
So it was then that the scrolls were sent out to every country, and township requesting adventurers to come and help the Crystalayians. One such scroll arrived in the lands of D'astryella.
They called all together to discuss this before the counsels. There was a vast amount of deliberation, but learning that the reward was great, did in fact lure some of the townsfolk. Learning that it was a chance to help out a kingdom of good people, caused others to wish to help. One of the high elves on the counsel stood and looked about "The Crystalayians have held high regard for us. We of the Elven Nations do hereby agree to heed this call."
The scroll was then looked over by a representative of the gnomes and dwarves. "I dunnae like I say. I dunnae like it ...but we will indeed join in this ...adventure." He nodded to add to his point.
And so it went about the counsel this way till they all agreed. A ship would set sail for the country of Crystalayia. Ahead of the armies, word would be sent to the King allerting him of their impending arrival to his lands.
Many days later, their ship arrived, and they were met with travel animals for the leaders of the armies to travel. The rest of the men would march on foot.
Some of the greatest of each profession were represented among this particular group. Famed throughout the lands of their origins. All races and nations were gathered this day surrounding Crystalaya. The leaders of each army, tribe and gathering met with the King and Queen. Their son, the Prince Aohn was presented to them at a banquet held in their honor.
The Prince looked over the gathered persons while conversations and entertainment went on. Bards, acrobats all performed for their enjoyment but the one thing no one could clear their mind of was the fact they were to go to war the next day.
Eating grapes a woman looked about them. She lounged on a grouping of multi color pillows like she belonged there. Assembled about her were men in regal attire and one of them, an elven man, she resembled. She was indeed a rare beauty. The Prince motioned for a page. "Go there and find out her name." The youth nodded and bowed and moved to the woman.
"My lady," the young boy spoke softly and bowed, "My lord, the Prince wishes to know your name." She smiled at this and paused a grape at her mouth. She glanced about her group to the chuckling and nudgings. She smiled and spoke with an odd accent, "Tell him, I am Mina Shaetan."
Before too long, the Prince found a way to speak with Mina and they talked for many many long hours, and the Prince found he was rather smitten with her. She dismissed himself from him and said that he needed to rest for his journey in the morning. With that she abruptly departed. While she walked down the portico of the castle on bare feet, he called out "When I return, I shall bring your father, the greatest riches ever told but for a dance under the stars of Crystalaya, My Lady. And you shall awaken to the most abundant gathering of roses I can find." As Mina departed she smiled a knowing smile to him.
Five days of travel the great armies of thousands upon thousands finally arrived to the wastelands. This place was nothing but dessolate, barren deserts with craiggy rock formations surrounding them all. They all felt that odd feeling of being watched by a million eyes.
On the morning of the battle, the Prince felt knots in his stomach, the most energetic butterflies he has felt in his life. You would think that as the son of a king, he would be sheltered, but that would be the gravest misconception of his life. He is the youngest son of King Sylas, with four others ahead of him in line the throne. Aohn could have led a life of leisure, but he wanted excitement, he wanted adventures, so he had asked his fathers permission, who happily gave it, saving one child from the likely bloodbath of succession that follows his death. His position had earned him the best of training, the best opponents to train with, and the best equipment and mount.
Now the Prince stands beside his horse, his armor, that had just been tied on, already chafing, armor without the royal crest or coat of arms -better that the enemy not know who the royalty is. His father would rather wish him dead than a hostage, and he has been placed in a hardened company that will see plenty of action this day.
Chava as he is known to his men, nods to his squire who pushes the wooden perch over to the side of the horse, then helps him climb up the several steps where he can swing his metal plated leg over the back of the horse. All around him he hears the creaking of leather, the clanging of armor, and whinnying and other sounds. He can smell the horses, the oil and metal, and fear. They all feared, they all knew that a quick merciful death might be the most sought thing before this day is over.
At the command, Aohn turns his horse toward the enemy lines, and there, as his heart feels a stab of nervous fear, is the enemy lined up, looking sinister in all their armor, bright sparkles of light beaming off their well polished gear. He checks his weapons, cradles his lance as he had been trained, and loosens his sword in its scabboard and knife in its sheath. He is ready. As ready as he will ever be, much more ready than most. Their line grows in depth and straightness as the knights draw alongside each other for protection, then they begin to ride toward the enemy, rough ground passing beneath them faster and faster as their mounts pick up the pace.
The signal was given and he charged headlong into the mix. He cried out his battle call and it seemed to just blend into one song with the millions of other voices. Blocking with the shield he kept his head down as they swung but lifted up his sword to come over the horse's head into the back of the man's neck as they passed one another. So blinded by rage and fear he had little time to think what he were doing.
Aohn wonders how it is that his world seems to be moving in slow motion now. It is his good fortune that it does seem that way, he is one of the rare people who see so clearly the events around them that they can perceive them in a different time, they can react in a different place. As a prince, not many other children had tried to hurt him. He did not suffer the beatings and torture that a commoner would have suffered, except at the hands of his older brothers. They soon learned that he did whatever he had to. He - never- lost. He -never- let anyone get away with anything, even if it came later.
n the midst of the melee, Aohn sees a bird fly over head, then watches as another perches in a tree. He notices that the clouds appear to be another mighty army coming to join the fray. Their side. Good. Reinforcements. He watches as the iron clad knights around him, seemingly now fighting in silence, their lances having done their work and lying in splinters on the ground, swords swinging, blood spraying, horses heaving, and a sword seeming to swing at him in slow motion which he easily counters by cutting the man's arm off, then dodging the spurting blood that almost seems aimed his way.
The battle rages on, and Aohn continues to fight, the odd unseen weapon accidentally nicking him, but no serious damage for most of the battle.. but fatigue was setting in. His sword is balanced well, but not light, and hours of fighting tires first his right arm, then his left, as he cuts his way through the opponents, rarely needing more than 30 seconds to dispatch an opponent, whose moves seem to be underwater, and slow. The ground is littered with the bodies of the dead and dying, their cries unheard by the Prince as his focus remains.
Out of the corner of his eye, down the battle line, a sight sends shivers down his back. He continues to fight as he has, dispatching enemy after enemy amidst the huge confusion that is a battle in this era. While he glances about, someone down the line seems to be moving at his speed, casually dispatching man after man, and cutting holes in their line that have to be filled again and again.
This man, fortunately belongs to the their side. The Prince watches though in quick glimpses that this man fights as he has never seen before. He would probably never have been bested by anyone, except perhaps that one knight; who might give him some difficulty, but it was not an ordinary knight that did it to him.
A man beside him took a sword through his lungs, and he lost his control of his charger as he clutches his throat, a pinky foam frothed forth, and the horse bolts right into the side of Aohn's horse. Now, the Prince?s mount would normally have been able to deal with that, but at just that moment his hoof stepped on a knight's armored chest and slipped off.
The blow, while he was slightly off balance led to him collapsing, and rolling on his side. Of course he was fine, rising quickly to rejoin the battle.. but then Aohn's head smashed into the front armor of a horse on the other side, he was knocked down roughly. It was then one leg was snapped by his own mount as it rolled, and struggled to rise.
Aohn's focus was stunned when his head smacked the horse's armor, then it broke completely as he heard a snap. For just a split second wondered what in the world that was, but he knew what it was when the excruciating pain shot up his leg, and the last sound he heard before oblivion was the sound of his own screaming drowning out the sounds of the battle.
Much later, he awoke and the knight he had brazenly watched was now crouched beside him. The man had set the Prince?s broken leg and stood now over him with their arms crossed. Aohn was still dazed from the pain and the fatigue but asked the knight "You helped me?"
The silent individual stood and something in the eyes twitched.
"I say...You are the one that set my leg?" He looked down and noted that the work he done setting it was exceptional. "I just wish to thank you... we are allies. May I ask your name?"
The knight stood firm and continued to not speak.
"I just wanted to mention too that I watched you on the river's shore a moment and your method of battle was astounding."
Finally, when it could be endured no longer, the knight moved to lift the heavy helm off. Shaking out a long mane of black hair, Mina turned to look at the stunned man. "In all of those many roses, I dare say I did not see my favorite color...pale peach."
The return of the armies rang out through the lands of victory, and glory! The King smiled graciously and rewarded them each with bags of crystals, gems and gold. To the young woman, Mina, however, she received something special. The Queen approached her and said "Because we never had a daughter of our own, I wish to give you something very dear to me. This was my grand mother's and it was my mothers and mine. When you are of marrying age, put this away to give to your daughter one day." Mina would open a red crystal container that was lined with red linen.
Inside is a clear crystal tiara made up of chepal glass and all colors of the rainbow of gems. "If you ever wish to return here, put the blue crystal into the tiara and put it on." She stepped back and smiled at them. "We can never thank you enough."
Those from all over the country returned home. The barrier of the Crystal city was restored, and more stories, songs and dramatic re-enactments of the greatest battle ever, were told over and over for many years to come.