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The young children all clamored around the old man, chanting; “Tell us a story story! Tell us a story,” Until the elder waved them off. “Alright, alright, I’ll tell you a story,” Feigning reluctance. His eyes twinkled as he started, all the children around him sat wide-eyed at him, utterly silent.
“One time, long, long ago, in my youth, I was an amazing sorcerer. One of the five fabled sorcerers in the land, who were some of the most powerful beings in all of the world. Now I see you, green with envy about these powers. I’m telling you, they were more of a curse than a gift. From a young age, I was forced into an academy to help me control these powers. One cannot simply learn power like this, no, they are born with it. If not controlled, it can lead to destruction. I was sent to the academy with the other four young sorcerers. After a decade of studying at the academy, I graduated. I was the last person to join the academy, and the first to graduate. From there I was forced into the king’s service as his chief sorcerer. Back then I was not old enough nor wise enough to have such status, but I had the magic needed. I fought in many a war next to the king’s army, each more tedious than the last. Now you think that it is good to have powers in a war. The more the better, correct? Wrong. If you have such powers, you become an enemy target.
This story is about one of my later campaigns, one more dangerous and brutal than all the others. So please, if you think you think you are too young to take this tale than I suggest going back to bed.” There was a yell of; “No!” and the man began.
“I’m telling you Bradeley, don’t send your troops into this war! I wouldn’t be surprised if less than one hundred of them stagger out of there with their lives. I will ask you once more before I go, call back your troops! Don’t make them suffer!” The king stood silently, looking over his balcony and into his city, then replied.
“I know many will die Curton, but if we don’t attack them, then they will attack and possibly overrun us! Many, many more would die if that happened. Do wish that upon this city? This is my final answer, nothing you say shall sway me.” I sighed.
“Very well. I will join them.” I walked out of the room and down to the troops. I climbed up a ballistae and announced, “King Bradeley has sent us to war. We march to the Blood Caverns! We march to victory!” A cheer rose up from the army and they started forward.
I looked at the castle once, then turned and left.
I stood in my war tent, staring at statistics and muttering to myself. “Fourteen thousand seven-hundred ninety-six troops left. Lost three-hundred four good soldiers in the Everdusk Forest. No good. This is going to be a bloodbath. Plus the Undila have Foryternin on their side.”
Foryternin is another of the fabled sorcerers, and the Undila are savage creatures that dwell in the Blood Caverns. They have dark red skin that is tough and leathery. They have sharp teeth and long claws. They stand on two legs, but it is a crouching stand. They also have only two arms with long shaggy black hair. Closely related to goblins but much more formidable. That is the only reason that they still live while their relatives have been wiped out.
The tent flaps parted and the army’s lead commander, Colonel Plauitorn, stalked in.
He slammed his knife into a nearby map and said angrily; “The troops are talking bad about the king and this mission. They say that he’s condemned them. Have they no respect? Have they no honor? I should punish the lot of them!”
“Peace Colonel. I’m sure they are just uneasy about the Undila.” I soothed. He scoffed.
“Yes, we only outnumber them by ten-thousand. If one of the bastards enters this camp, I’ll rip it limb from limb in front of the troops for a little “moral support.””
“Calm down, it’s natural to be anxious before a battle.” The Colonel exploded.
“Calm down!? CALM DOWN!? Are you serious!? They can be anxious before a battle but to insult the king? This is unacceptable!!” He stomped around the tent saying some quite unsavory things, before I sighed and cast a calming spell upon him.
“There,” I said, “Now would you please exit my tent?” The Colonel picked up his knife and walked off without saying a word. I sat down and waited for the impending battle to come.
The troops rallied under the colors of the king, and charged into the Caverns, with me in the center. A massive war cry rose up as they entered. Darkness swallowed the army until torches were lit and light filled the Caverns. Nothing. No Undila, no traps, no nothing. There was just the empty caves. Or so it seemed. A dark cloud emanated from a cave, which I realized to be Foryternin’s magic, and I created a shield over the army just in time. The cloud passed over us with no harm and I cautiously withdrew the shield.
Suddenly, howls filled the air, and Undila poured down from a hidden ledge just behind the army, while more came screaming through the other caves. And so the battle for the Blood Caverns started.
The Undila were outnumbered but had the home advantage, and they had the army trapped. They fought savagely and without mercy. They were actually winning. I sent lightning bolts and fireballs among them, wreaking havoc, but more kept coming.
“Come out of hiding Foryternin. There is no honor in sneaking around in the shadows. Come and fight!” I heard a loud cackle, and a figure emerged from a nearby cave. It spread it’s arms wide and said; “Why the sudden violence, brother?”
“You’re no brother of mine. You are a disgrace to humanity!” I punctuated the statement with a huge bolt of lightning that lit up the whole caverns for a second. The sudden light dazed the Undila, who were unused to such light. The men, however, were used to me doing things like that, and they continued fighting, drastically thinning the Undila’s ranks. But soon they recovered and resumed the battle. Meanwhile, the bolt of electricity was racing towards Foryternin, who cackled and flicked his hand, destroying the bolt.
“Do you honestly think your little parlor tricks can defeat me, brother? I’ll show you real power!” Foryternin clapped his hands together , forming a greeen and black ball of energy, which he flung at me. I erected a shield, but the force of the impact sent me flying, all the way out of the caverns completely. Foryternin floated after me, cackling. I came to my feet and floated after him, shooting fireballs. He casually blocked all of the balls and retaliated with energy balls of his own.
I have to end this as fast as I can, to many good men are dying in there, I thought to myself; How can I beat him? Ah, I know! “Very good Foryternin. Now let’s see how you handle this! I formed a huge fissure in the ground under him, then created a box around him, focusing all of my power so that Foryternin could not break the box. It was hard, but not impossible. In the end, I was the more powerful sorcerer. I slowly forced the box down, pulling it and its package down to the fissure. “Goodbye Foryternin.”
The box entered the fissure, and I closed the ground so it was seamless once again. The evil sorcerer had been vanquished. Leaderless, the Undila scattered and separated into their numerous warring tribes. The human army emerged weary and full of grief, but they were victorious. We had suffered to many casualties. Many of the soldiers sat and wept for their deceased comrades. Others stood dumbly, still trying to comprehend what had happened. Only very few just stood hanging their heads. I turned and began back to the castle, the army following, not wanting to lose their sorcerer and wanting to leave the site of so much grief. So we journeyed on, an army of bittersweet victors marching home. The End.
“That was a good story!” A child piped up. All the other children agreed, of course. The old man chuckled. “I’m regretting telling that story. It was too violent. But I already told it so there’s nothing I can do about it now. Off to bed with you now, and I will tell you another story tomorrow. Goodnight.”
“Goodnight,” the children replied. They dispersed, and the old man sat back, remembering the war with grief. “At least I didn’t delve into too much detail.” He muttered to himself. The war had actually been a lot more bloody than what he had said. He still recoiled when he recalled his fight with Foryternin. He finally fell asleep, haunted with dreams of that fateful day.