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Forum -> Legendarium -> Vaiva Elanori and the Jotunghul

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17-07-2016 00:53

Vaiva Elanori and the Jotunghul

Three ogre-elven wars has Syrnia seen thus far.

In the first the elves prevailed, for in final battle the ogres routed and chased them deep into Penteza Forest, only to find themselves ambushed from thickets, mauled by huntsmen’s snares and riddled with arrows from towering trees. Only a handful of cave-dwellers returned that day, from the forest now fearfully described by ogre loremasters as 'Penteza’s wooden maze of shifting traps'. In victory and with ethereal coldness, the elves annexed the ogre caves and demanded crippling tributes from their subjects. Yet through cruel tutelage of austerity and servitude, the ogres learnt to temper their reckless natures with cunning and patience, long preparing in secret to take back their freedom. Three decades later, merciless revolution gave birth to the second ogre-elven war.

With blackened spears baptised in searing lava, organised gangs of revolting (in every sense of the word) Barghrags assassinated their Elven overseers in a single orchestrated sweep of the caves, before slaying the watchful guards of Elven Gate with soaring javelins hurled from pitch darkness. That moonless night, muscular Bonebreakers shouldered cauldrons of oil to the outskirts of Penteza Forest, pouring their contents into the long grass, marking the western forest boundary with an invisible serpent.

Before sunrise, a legion of Vorghs led the ogres in surprise assault on Penteza Town. Through dawn’s red eye, after wave upon wave of murderous pillage, Penteza’s thousand streets seemed strewn with displaced wreckage and, in some parts, festooned with washed-up corpses still afloat in bloody shallows. The surviving townsfolk fled to the forest, swiftly rousing the warriors, mages and archers who resided therein. Overconfident in their skills and trusting in the stupidity of ogres, the sylvan elves marched on Penteza Town, believing they might easily recapture before nightfall. Yet the ogres had already fallen back from their indulgent frenzy and drawn themselves up into (relatively) ordered battle lines outside the eastern gate that gazed upon the forest. The ensuing conflict was long and fierce but eventually the elves, whose armies had always been fewer in number, were routed from the battlefield.

This time the ogres did not chase them into the trees, for they had spies lying in wait close to the long, oil-drenched grass of the forest verge. A few heartbeats before the flailing figures of elves could kiss the protective shadows of the first looming line of fatherly oaks, the spies set alight the oil, which sprang into a brazen, majestic wall of fire, ten feet high and roaring, instantly spreading its foundations for a mile in either direction along the western boundary, sealing entry to the forest. Pulling up short before coldly unsympathetic flame, the elves found themselves trapped between fire and steel. Drained by fatigue, with battle-frenzied ogres in swift pursuit, many were slain and few proved agile or lucky enough to escape. And thus, though further battles followed, the ogres had struck the war’s decisive blow. After much costly conflict, with many fearing the ogres would prevail in torching their forest-home, the elves proposed a treaty that cancelled subterranean tribute and returned independence to their foes. Thus ended the second conflict, with balance of power restored.

The third ogre-elven war should already be familiar to those of my generation, even to the few humans among you who are reading this. For although by far the briefest of the trilogy, this war was the first in which ogres and elves recruited human mercenaries into the fray. To this day, no one knows which side initiated the conflict, or even precisely why, for multiple versions of the story persist on both sides. Merchant Trendus (Master of the Cave of Trades) claims that elven warriors violently sabotaged and plundered his subterranean gold ore trade route (the famously affluent "Yellow Brick Road"). Several elven bards maintain that a diplomatic legation, sent to Lava Lake to introduce ogres to the delights of harp music and romantic poetry, had been suddenly, desperately assailed and brutally immolated in the lake of fire. But whatever the cause, the fighting was uncompromising. Emissaries requesting aid were sent by ogres and elves to all the isles of Syrnia, for both races had forged close ties with humans in the period between the second and third wars. As a result, fighting broke out between humans, ogres and elves on every single island and, within a week, the death toll proved so catastrophic that both sides reluctantly recalled their troops, albeit with the elves, who'd sustained fewer casualties, in slightly stronger position.

Both sides learnt much from the three wars. The elves realised their numbers would always be too few (for elves lack the nature and constitution to breed as keenly as ogres) to sustain violent conflict or occupation outside their borders. So they began to forge taller, more powerful bows, with bowstrings spun from silks of giant spiders and arrows daubed in insidious melanges of colourful woodland poisons. They reasoned that if they could not be conquerors then they might at least prove effective rangers and guardians of their own lands. At first, the new bows seemed impossible to wield, for they required feline agility to stretch, ghostly elegance to aim and unwavering concentration to loose without widely missing the target.

To this day, only she-elves of singular talent have become proficient with the weapon, though they are accounted the most deadly of their race. They call themselves Vaiva Elanori ('wind flower elf-maids' in the Elven tongue), for they shoot wands that flower from forest trees, sending them skyward slicked with venoms of as many colours as the eye can discern. Such is the exotic mystique surrounding these maidens, it is whispered among men that, even in killing or dying, a Vaiva Elanor will retain her graceful beauty.

The ogres, meanwhile, had learnt they lacked the speed, agility or skill to defeat well-trained elves, or even human armies, outside their natural habitat. In caves, confined space often necessitated close-quarter combat, in which ogre strength could prove overwhelming. And they could certainly use keen night vision to lay ambushes and set traps under cover of darkness. But they still lacked genuinely elite troops, troops that could withstand similar numbers of well-trained opposition under typical circumstances.

Accordingly, it is whispered among human traders that darkness has given birth to a new terror in the Ogre Caves. Some describe catching brief lantern-lit glimpses of ogre-like shadows, muttering balefully among themselves in deep cavern recesses. But these talking shadows seem taller and stronger than ogres, more agile in motion, clearer in words, sharper in wits. And eerily covered, some say head-to-toe, in luminous black plate, plate that might foil even the arrows of a Vaiva Elanor.

Perhaps great losses in the last war have spurred the ogres to desperate measures to train elite warriors. Perhaps they have colluded with scholars, smiths, swordmasters or even sorcerers from other races to produce a more perfect fighter. Yet the most alarming and prevalent rumours suggest not only that these notions stand true, but that ogres have interbred with giants from Exella Mountain. And perhaps due to their shadowy dwellings and history, and rumoured connection with giants, blooms the name traders have bestowed on this mysterious new terror: the Jotunghul.

Edited on 11-10-2017 08:55
[4] 23:28 kingcrusher123: how do i get magic
[4] 23:28 thorn[CFH]: It's not something you get, you're either magic or you're not.

Haled[Sleep]: I think griffin summoning orbs should be called griffin doors
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