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Here is where you can post your original fan fiction. Fan Fiction will only be allowed to remain on the board if it meets two criteria: It cannot take place or make reference to or be about anything related to George RR Martins settings, characters, or ideas. This means no fiction about Sansa, Robb, Cat, or any of the crew. It can't take place in Westeros, Ass'hai, or any others. And there can't be any septons either. So sorry! Otherwise...have fun!

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Author:
Smeagol
Date:
08 May 2002
Time:
10:42:39
Remote User:

Fiction

In the beginning there was Lothos. And with Lothos' power was forged the beginning of the Infinite Realm of Power. Within this realm Lothos created the Sori Yovanni, whose true wisdom and magic defied Lothos and soon destroyed the creator. With no being to guide them the Yovanni flourished with no laws and took control over the Realm of Power. But before Lothos was overthrown he created many other creatures, both vile and fearsome much like the Yovanni. He also created others who were bold and virtuous at heart. Others such as the Hraseen Ryani that dwelt in the northern most region of the Realm of Power. And it was within this group that Lothos felt the most pride. The Yovanni feeling Lothos' love for the Ryani became envious and ambitious, thus ending Lothos' reign. After his fall the realm became very dark and the Yovanni who hated the Ryani began to make slaves of the simple people to expand their empire. A century soon passed and only a dozen Ryani remained free within the Realm of Power. Without Lothos the Ryani lost hope and the few that remained knew it was only a matter of time before they too were captured and taken to Griffenoch where they would be stripped of their magic and enslaved. It is here that our story begins.

(Brmmp,Brmmp) A knock at the door awakened Siru out of his slumber. Slowly he fumbled out of his chair and found his way to the entrance. "Who is it that awakens me in the middle of the night?" Siru demanded. "I am not known to you but if you will be so kind as to open the door I would be more than happy to introduce myself." the stranger replied. "And who is to say that you aren't the Yovanni!" demanded Siru. "Hmph" echoed the stranger with distaste "If I were the Yovanni do you seriously think I would have bothered knocking?" "Perhaps." said Siru "Okay you have convinced me but speak fast for I am long weary and us Ryani strive on sleep." "I promise you what I have to say would make kings long dead awake from their cryptic chambers in a moments notice." replied the stranger. Siru hesitated and slowly opened the door. At first Siru was unsure of the stranger's origin but as he looked over the man he found the seal of Sargon of the western realm. "You have come far." said Siru. "Yes and with good cause." replied the stranger. "I am Maester Darius of Sargon and I trust you are Siru?" "Yes maester, but why have you come?" Siru demanded. The maester spoke more slowly and carefully. "I have come because as of tomorrow you will be the last of your kind free from the power of the Yovanni and it is you who must release the rest of the Ryani from enslavement." Siru looked at Darius in puzzlement. "But what does this matter to you?" "I knew you would ask that question but we have no more time for talk. Come...you must escape this place or you too will be captured." the maester jerked as if remembering something. "I almost forgot you won't need any supplies except for one thing of most importance." "And what may that be?" asked Siru. "The sword your father gave you before he died." replied the maester. Siru looked up in astonishment. "How did you know about the sword? I have kept it hidden ever since my father laid it in my hands. It was his dying wish." The maester eyed Siru. "There is more to that sword than meets the eye my friend. Enough talk, retrieve the sword and lets be off." Siru ran to his sleeping chambers and moved the small desk beside his bed. He then began to remove the rounded stones from the floor which revealed a long wooden board. Siru lifted the board and there was his father's sword still wrapped in the cloth he had put it in before it was stowed away. He grabbed the sword not realizing how heavy it was and almost dropped it. He then ran back to Darius sword in his arms. "Here it is maester." he said. "Alright let us be off." said the maester in a hurried tone. "One question before we leave." said Siru doubtfully. "Hurry it up Siru they will be here soon!" replied Darius scornfully. "May I bring another Ryani...Y-You see he's my friend." Siru stuttered. Darius was breathing heavily. "Where is this friend of yours we don't have much time." "Not far, his keep would be within sight if it weren't cloaked by the night." replied the young Ryani. The maester gave him a stern look. "Okay but let us make haste the time is nigh and I grow weary of this place." The two men gleaming in the moonlight swept through the brush and undergrowth that hindered their path until they reached a small cottage made of gilgarian wood, the strongest wood in this part of the realm. Siru began rapping at the door almost instantly upon arrival. It wasn't long before a young Ryani a little taller than Siru answered. The Ryani looked terrified. "What is the meaning of this Siru, have the Yovanni come?" "No, Rogar" replied Siru "but we don't have much time so come friend and let us be off." "And where is it that we are going? And who is this accompaning you? asked Rogar. It never had occured to Siru that he didn't know where they were going nor had he even bothered to question the idea. "Well I can't answer your first question but as for my new companion his name is Darius a maester from Sargon." "Sargon?" Rogar said "What the hell is he doing here?" "No time for questions" the maester said abruptly. "Listen the Yovanni are near." Siru listened and sure enough he could hear the distant screeching of the Yovanni as they approached the Ryani village. He felt his stomach tighten as the fear of being captured swept over him. He could even hear Rogar trembling with fear as the Yovanni came closer with each passing moment.

Author:
Jason
Date:
07 Sep 2002
Time:
07:43:28
Remote User:

Fiction

They had wandered the lands for almost a year before their money had run out and they needed to find work. When they finally found Hollow Oak Vale they thought it to be the perfect place. It was a small village nestled between the uninhabited and wild forest of Tysol and the great dwarven kingdom of Arkan. Hollow Oak Vale had only one main road with three boarding houses that all doubled as bars and you always could find a few drunkards outside of the biggest The Dragons Bane. Hollow Oak Vale was situated in a long, broad vale that had a wide slow winding river that flowed through it. Much trade had gone back and forth on this river in the past but it was now it was mostly a lonely waterway. It was a community much mixed in its origins it had elves, men, and dwarves in a goodly supply with some trolls and gnomes also. Most of the work that went on in the vale was farming and the raising of animals. As a consequence there was not much trade that went on in the sleepy little vale and the outside world carried on and the people of the little town forgot about it. When they arrived it was a busy day in town. A busier day than usual as it seemed everyone that lived in the vale was in town. They saw about a quarter of the way down the road there was a blacksmith. When they got there they could see it was a small and humble esatblishment with one kiln in the back that had been built with a deep red clay. It was chipping at the sides and top but was a good blast furnace from what Tre and Evan could see of it. The building was somewhat ramshackle and run down with years of use from the same family.. It was a small building with a front that could be thrown wide open when the furnace was on which made the building look odd because it had oversized barn doors on a building of regular size and stature. Off the right side of the building there had been built an overhang so as to cast a shadow when the blacksmith felt a need and worked outside. The man working there was a lively man that appeared to be forty or so. He had a little paunch to his stomach but had bulging forearms and a well toned upper body. He was working outside of his small building when Tre finally hailed him. “Excuse me sir.” he called “Can you spare a moment of your time to talk to the two of us.” The blacksmith came out of the shadow of the small but effective overhang to survey the two young men. “Why I can surely spare a moment of my so very precious time to talk amongst some civil folk” said the blacksmith with a very honest tone “How may I be of service to you boys.” It was Evan that answered this time. “Well we have been wandering this part of the world for some time now and came across this vale. We have never seen a place so preety or people so polite and diverse” said Evan hoping that flatery would help their cause. “But as of now are money is running out so we are in need of a job. What say you good man do you have room for two apprentices?” The blacksmith appeared to look them over for a moment before a low but distinguishable sigh was let out from his lips. “ I truly am sorry boys” he said in an apolegetic tone “but my eldest son is coming of age very soon and I do not have any need for an apprentice.” “Well thank you for your time anyway” Said Tre “And have a good day and may the gods bless you.” “Good luck boys. I hope all works out well for you.” said the blacksmith and he turned and walked back to his work. The two boys moved on feeling rejected but not yet ready to give up. They walked down the main street of the town but the stories were much the same at the stable and fletcher. They then went into the boarding houses looking for work but there to they got turned down and finally in The Dragons Bane they were ready to give up and move on when a burly looking dwarf named Stef and his son Fairn walked in. Stef was a rather large for a dwarf he was strong and sturdy, the trade marks of that race. He had in the past been in the great dwarven army and has had some dealings with strange peoples. The bar maid had known Stef for quite a while. She new Stef was getting old and that he needed help on the farm. The bar maid who was the same one the two boys had talked to told the dwarf that the two men in the corner were looking for a place to work for any wages available and that she would have taken them on for they looked like honest and humble folk but she already had to many people in her employment so she had regretfully denied them a place to work. He looked over at them and saw that they were of considerable size and strength and looked to his eyes like they could do a honorable days work. So the large Dwarf walked over to them and offered them a job for he was growing old and had a big farm to tend on the outskirts of town. They took the job eagerly and were so grateful that they bought the dwarf his favorite drink with the last of their money. When they were done celebrating there new found job they took up there great bundles and walked out the door. The dwarf whose name was Stef was again surprised at the size of them when they got outside. The man who’s name was Evan was massive for a man and he stood almost as tall as a full grown troll and had the look of a far northener for he was whiter than most but had dark hair and dark penetrating eyes it looked to Stef that his nose had been broken more than once and by the look of him he was used to working all day and into the night he had broad shoulders and his legs were like tree stumps and his arms looked like tree roots because they were notted with muscle. The Elf on the other hand was not as tall but still of considerable height he had sandy blond hair and bright blue eyes he looked younger than his 19 years and carried himself as if he did not have a care in the world. He was strong however and looked as if he could turn more than a fair days work. What an odd combination these two Stef thought to himself but it was obvious by the way they treated eachother and teased eachother that there was some great love and respect between the two and that they had traveled far with eachother and they would do almost anything for eachother. They teased and laughed at eachother like only good friends that have known eachother from childhood can. They laughed loudly and gaily at the private little jokes between the two that noone else could ever fully understand and would need years to feel the depths of. To have a friendship so strongly bonded must be a wonderful thing Stef thought and he began to think of his childhood and friends that had come and gone in ages long past him. It was because of his daydreaming in another time that they got to his farm so quickly that he hardly noticed the time it took to get to his farm at all. When Stef brought the two boys to his farm he found that they were grateful for even the most meager things that he offered them and Stef was also immediately pleased at the work that the two did. They had the seed sowing done a week and a half early and instead of taking time off they started to help Stef and his son Fairn in the barn and with the animals. The boys worked hard and fast and Stef never heard them complain. In time they had all become very close friends but Tre and Evan had said nothing of there past and would at times disappear for a day from dawn to dusk. Which at first did not sit well with an uneasy Stef. But then as twilight was setting and the sky was going from that beautiful deep red to the dark purple that preceeds the night by only a few minutes you could see the two big figures of Tre and Evan trudging over the southern fields with thier big bundles thrown over one shoulder. They walked slowly and tierdly on these nights and they acted very strange and wouldn’t say much if anything. Usually on these days they wouldn’t say much of anything if they talked at all when they got back and would go right up to the loft where they would lock the two big bundles in a chest and fall into bed and be almost instantly asleep. Stef wondered at this strange behaviour but never asked about it because he felt a mans business was his own. Tre and Evan seemed to realize this and respected it and never brought it up. Over the time period of two years the four became very close indeed and they looked upon eachother as they would had they been family. Fairn got the brothers he had always wanted even though they were two or three years older than he. And Stef got the sons he always wanted and never had the chance to have. Because Stef’s wife had died giving birth to his son it was soon up to him to stay at the house while the youngers worked in the field and in the barn with Stef’s prized animals. It was truly amazing he thought that he had been lucky enough to stumble on to these two men and out of all places at an inn. He had been wondering for quite a long time what men of this quality were doing working on his small little farm in the middle of no where. After all it had been almost two years since the two had come and started working for him. They had not shown any want of anything other than to stay and work on the farm with Stef and his son. Which seemed very odd to Stef because if his memory served him well when he was their age he had wanted nothing more than to get out into the world. He dismissed this pattern of thought however and did not think any more about it and began preparing the evening meal for his boys as he had come to call them. But the question was ever in the back of his mind who these boys really were and what of their past? He had known them a long time now and had grown very close to them and still they had not mentioned anything of their past. He was curious but he did not think anything bad of his boys for they had done nothing but good to the aging dwarf. But where were they from and why did they leave? What secret did they feel they could not tell him that he would not understand? Chapter Two Stef finally acted upon his suspisions one night and asked the two boys about their homeland and past. They had acted very strange when he asked them at supper that night and the calmness about them scared him a great deal. They had just looked at him. No expresion on thier faces to give anything away no diffrence in the way they moved around the house. And then when they had finished there meal they got up still without saying a word to anyone including themselves and climbed up into their loft and went to sleep. And this morning when Stef had woken up he found them gone they had left before Stef had woken up. They had left silently and quickly because Stef had woken up earlier than usual. It was now getting to be dark and they had not returned. He waited up deep into the night he waited as the sky turned from a light pink to orange back to an almost scarlet color before the deep color of purple took over the skies. Before finally drifting off to sleep at around three in the morning he lit a fire in the hearth but even the added warmth and the crackling noises of the fire could not keep Stef awake for he was tired from worrying so much about the boys and where they could have gone. He woke up with a start and it was already light out the sun was sending beams of light through the small windows. He just sat there watching the dust dance and play in the light for a long time thinking that the dust was a lot like people floating in and out of other peoples lives. He sat there until he heard Fairn get up and start to make breakfast. “Have they come back yet” inquired Stef in an almost hopeful tone of voice. “ I haven’t seen or heard from them since last night” answered Fairn “Why did they act so strangely last night? And why did you have to ask them dad? They were here and they were good friends thats all that really matters you know.” “Well I don’t rightly know but it was something that had been bothering me for some time now. And it’s hard for me to believe that those two lovely boys have anything in their past that they feel they have to hide from us.” “ I know what you mean they have been here for quite some time and it hurts me to think that they don’t trust us enough to tell us about thier past. We’ve told them all about us and our past.” “ I’m sure they have their reasons Fairn and we don’t exactly have anything to hide like they think they do. Anyway you finish up in here. I’ll go out to the barn and get started.” said Stef as he walked to the door “ I need to think anyway.” he added as he opened the big oaken door and slipped outside. He walked out to his barn which was very big compared to others in the vale. The double doors of the barn were facing the house and when you walked in their was no loft above your head it started on the right and continued around the inside of the barn and followed the walls and ended to the left side of the door it was shaped like a giant horseshoe. On the imediate left of his barn was were Stef left the pigs as you walked further down he had cows and bulls on the same side of the enormous barn. Upon the right was his pride and joy, his horses and he had more of these by far than anything else. He had many a fine animal and all his horses were breed for war or hard labor on a farm. He began feeding his pigs and then moved on down the row of stalls to his cows. All this time he was could not stop thinking about Tre and Evan. What had he done to upset them? Surely nothing so bad that they would take off and not come back. He would have to wait and find out just how bad he had angered them. Just then Fairn called to him and it was time to breakfast. Neither Stef nor Fairn ate much during the meal and did even less talking. They saw no trace of Tre or of Evan. It was not until Fairn came running in to tell his father that two of his best horses were missing that Stef actually started to worry about the boys. Stef and Fairn went back to work just like it was a normal day both doing there best to pretend it was just like any other day. They finished rather early seeing there was only two of them so they decided to eat early and it was in the middle of a discussion over a big and hearty supper that the idea came to Stef. “Do you think father.” began Fairn “that if Tre and Evan did indeed take the two horses that they might come back yet? Do you think that they would leave without a saying anything to us or at least leaving a note.” “I hope so boy but there is no real way of telling what they are going to do. Ever since I have known them I was never able to tell thier minds and niether have you and you were around them more than I ever was.” “But father you did not upset them that badly did you. You asked them and innocent enough question.” said Fairn in an almost pleading voice hoping to hear that his heroes and best friends he had ever had would come back. “ What may seem innocent to you and I may be diffrent from what they see as an innocent act. I’m sorry but I cannot understand what may have upset them. And I am sorry son but I can’t tell what made them leave or if they will ever come back. I wish to the gods that I had an answer to at least one of these questions.” They lapsed into silence eaching pondering their own thoughts and feelings. Stef sat hevily with his shoulders hunched over for this experince was wieghing heavily on the old dwarf. His so just sat playing with the gristle with a knife on his plate. That is when it came to Stef he had been thinking about how much easier it would be to just know one way or the other if the two boys were going to come back or not. The realization came to him so suddenly that he jumped out of his seat startiling Fairn. “I’ve got it Their just might be a way to tell if they are coming back or not.” yelled a eccentric and very excited Stef. “What father” asked Fairn “How do you possibly hope to find out if they are coming back or not.” “You know their chest? The one in the back of the loft? Where they keep the packs of theirs?” “Father do not even think of such a thing. How would the react if they were to come back and found out we were looking around in their belonings.” “ You don’t understand I have to find out if they are coming back or not. And that could be part of the mystery they have never told me what is in the packs have they told you?” “No.” answered a reluctant Fairn he did not like where this conversation was heading “But that doesn’t give us a reason or an excuse to go and look through their belonings. It would just anger them more or all over again.” “I have to find out Fairn I can’t go on like this. I feel responsible for them leaving. I should never have asked them about those things and if they come back I will never bring it up again but I have to know if there is any chancy in them coming back home.” “Why?” shot back an instantly angered Fairn “So that you can decide on weither or not to hire on some new farm hands? Well I for one will have none of it.” yelled Fairn as he jumped out of his seat at the table and stormed out into the night slamming the door behind him with all the strength the young dwarf could summon. Stef sat there thinking about this exchange. His son might be right that the would be very upset if they knew he had gone through their things he knew he would be if someone were to go through his personal possesions. But he had to know if they were coming back. Finally he made his mind up that he had to find out if these two boys that he had come to love as his own sons were going to be gone from his farm for ever. He was almost chocked up the possibility that he had driven them out into the world. He got up out of his seat and went to his room and opened the chest that held his battle ax and a few other relics of his life as a soldier in the Dwarven army and climbed up to the loft. There it was in the very back corner of the loft. Bigger than he had took it for but then the packs the two boys carried around were bigger than he was and he could scarcely move it. The chest was massive he took a great heave and hit the lock. It took three great heaves to finally snap the lock on the chest and finally the chest opened just a slight bit. He reluctantly and ever so cautiously opened it and peered inside. He was immensly surprised to see that it was almost totally empty. He had been hoping to find some clothes or something the boys would not have left without. but instead the only things he found in the chest was some parts of broken arrows mostly the arrow heads and some shards of what looked to him like more than one sword and what he could tell it looked like they had been rather large swords. This was an intresting twist to things and the more he thought about it the more confused he became. Where had these two boys found or gotten these the tools of warfare? But anyway that was not the point. The point was most of the things in those bundles that they carried with them was gone and so was thier bedding. What had he done? Had he ran the two best workers and friends he had ever had out into the world? What kind of monster was he? He closed the chest slowly and sat on the top of it and gently at first he started to cry and then the sobs came in waves. He had come to the realization that he had indeed rid himself of something that he could never regain in this lifetime and he could barely stand the thought. He was repulsed by his actions. Chapter Three Tre and Evan had gotten up early indeed it had been three in the morning when they snuck out of the house across the yard and into the barn. They stole into the stable and took the two best horses that they could find sattled one for Evan. And rode out into the yard. “Do you think it wise that we go?” asked Tre for the fifth and final time. “What do you think about or situation Tre. Nobody can know who we are. You know as well as I if anyone finds out we are in trouble not only with them but with our fmilies as well its not likely that we would get a warm reception.” “OK lets go then” Tre said rleuctantly. He did not want to leave but he knew it was really the only thing to do. It was to bad he thought he had grown to like it in this sleepy little vale. And what was more he had come to like the people in this place he was going to miss Stef and Fairn greatly. But he hoped onto his horse and with that the rode out of the yard and onto the road that carried them into town. They reached town early in the morning and thier was only one or two people about this early in the morning and they did not pay much attention to the to travelers and so Tre and Evan passed out of town with barely a person noticing and they traveled out of the vale like two ghosts whisping by in the blackest of night when you can’t see anything even your hand in front of you face. They stopped just outside town and made camp that night under a small stand of thick pines. They shared a small but satisfying meal of bread, dried meat and ale they had been able to retrieve out of the cellar of Stef’s house. “Where shall we go next do you think?” Asked Tre “ In my opinion we should head to the west and the dwarven kingdom. To the west lies the gnomish inhabited parts of the world and to the west of that the troll kingdoms and we would not be welcomed there any more than at home.” answered Evan “Very well then it is decided tommorow we will head to the east and to the dwarven kingdom.” said Tre And with that the two threw themselves down on there blankets and were fast asleep. They were not awakened by the man who came upon them in thier sleep. He was hardly noticeable to be sure. He walked among them in their sleep and nelt over them and studied their faces. When finally he was convinced of who it was he drew his dagger. It was a luck thing that an old friend had found them first and as he saw the dim glint of the blade and heard the slight ringing of the blade being drawn he knew it was time to act. They woke up late the next moring and the sun was already in the sky. They started out with no breakfast and drank some water and ate a bit of bread while they traveled along the road. When they reached a fork in the road they took the east way like just as they had discussed last night and it was not to long before they came up upon what seemed to be a stranger on the road. The stranger was sitting on a great white war horse in the middle of the roadway. As they came upon him in his full aromor they could not detect even a slight movement. They looked around anxiously and were about to pass by before the mysterious stranger finally spoke a word. “Halt. You fools.” cried he Evan was the first to wheel his horse around for he is much more hot blooded than Tre is. “Who dares call me a fool.” he cried. “Come I have not aged so much as for you two not to recognize me for I have seen you two and your fathers many a time Evan.” Said Aram as he lifted his helm off his head. And to noones surprise he was recognized almost immediately by both of them. They were both in front of Aram facing him again and it was Tre who was the first to recognize him “By the gods Evan it is Aram. How are you old friend.” he yelled with delight as he came forward to embrace Aram in a big hug. “Why I believe it to be Tre. What brings you to this part of the world old friend.” said a quite astonished Evan “Sorry for the harsh words.” “You two have hid yourselves well it took me these past two years to find you. But thank the gods that I have. And only just in time.” He did not and never would tell them how close they had come to death just the night before in that little patch of woods. In that small stand of trees a gnomish assasin had almost had them. If he had not found the tracks of the assasin the day before he would never have been able to save them from the assasin or themselves. “What in heaven or in hell are you talking about Aram. Who would want anything from the two of us? We are in no danger there is noone that even knows we are still alive or cares for that matter.” “You are wrong for the second time today Evan. You are in danger. I will come for you when you are in mortal danger. But for now I must ask you to return to your farm. It is fine if you tell Stef who you are he is a sturdy fellow with a big heart and you can trust him. But a do ask you to be very carefull with yourselves” “Why should we do what you ask. We are not in any danger and who would dare come across two of the finest warriors alive today.” “I have not asked the two of you for much in your short lives Evan Filsbane but you would do well to listen to me and to try and keep your vanity in check.” yelled Aram bristling with anger at the mans arogance. “It may well be that the two of you are a match for any other person on the earth but it is not one man that comes for you it is a nation or perhaps two.” “What are you talking about Aram. And what nations?” asked Tre who through this all he had kept his wits about him and was now more intreste than ever to listen to what Aram had to say. “I do not have time to explain now and at this place but if you agree to go back to Stef’s farm I will meet you there in three weeks and I will explain it all in detail to you then.” “Then it is agreed then” Tre declared “We will go back to Stef’s farm and you will follow us in three weeks with what I hope will be a very good explanation.” “Very well.” agreed Aram “It would be wise for you to take the armour out of your packs and put the armor on your backs it dosen’t do much in pouches on your horses. And here take these arrows and these broadswords. And this is a present for my old friend Stef.” he handed over arrows with special barbed tips two broadswords with sheaths and a huge double bladed ax for Stef. “I shall see you in three weeks if all goes well. Safe journey back my friends. And keep weapons close for the cloud of war is on the horizon.” and he galloped off and around the corner with surprising speed. They watched him go and then turned and headed back the way they had come in silince each one wondering what the old mystic was talking about. Both soon came to the conclusion that they would find out in about three weeks and that they would have no luck in trying to peice out a puzzle set by Aram. Chapter 3 They took their time going back and returned five days after they had left. When they arrived back on Stef’s farm it was just before dusk. Stef had been working in the barn and was know leaning on the side of the barn where it was nice and cool in the shade. There was a nice breeze blowing from and it swept over him on this nice warm and sultry spring evening. Then he heard them. He heard them long before he saw them. It was that unforgetable and teriffying clanking and jostling noise that only armor can create and only a warrior can fully identify right away. He ran into the house and fetched his old and venerable double bladed ax from it resting place in a chest by the foot of his bec. He had used this ax in the Border Wars with the gnomes and it had always served him well. He also took a small sword for his son it was of elvish make and very light but very sharp and had a strong well forged blade. He would rather die protecting his farm rather than let some robbers or rovers take it from him. After all he had done to secure it and keep it no one was going to take it. And who knew maybe these strangers would just pass by. Hopefully it was just a dwarven calvary unit going to or from somewhere. But it was better to be prepared than to be taken by surprise. He ran out to the barn and summoned Fairn as quitely as he could. He could hear the clanking of the armour much clearer now and knew the source must be very much closer indeed. He possitioned himself in the middle of the yard and put Fairn on the side of the barn where he could sneak around the back of the attackers if it was attackers the persons on the road turned out to be. He could see them now two of them big by the looks of them. They were riding straight and tall on large horses they were obviously trained men. Maybe deserters? They rode up to the entrance to his yard and stopped Stef held his breath and hoped the men would ride on but that was not to be they slowly but deleberately they entered his yard. He knew that this was it and that he had to do something so at the top of his lungs yelled “Halt you heathen, come not another step unitl you declare your purpose in this place whether it be peaceful or not.” “What shall you do if I don’t you little fool of a man we are more than a match for you and your friend by the barn. You do not want to die do you my little friend? If you do we could oblige you.” the man said in a smug tone of voice. Stef made no move and no answer he just stood there resolutely. Fairn moved out from behind the barn because his secret was up anyway. They stayed like that for what seemed like an eternity both men staring eachother down and sizing the other up. Finally Stef steped forward and barked at the two mysterious men “You will either go or feel my ax at your throat before I am dead I will at least promise you that.” The two riders looked at themselves and laughed a deep throaty laugh. They did not stop for some time and still they did not move from their current position and this served only in making Stef all the angrier. “Move on I say.” he screamed in almost desperation “I shall set steal against you.” Again the laugh. Then a strangely familiar voice answered. “This is not the welcome I was hoping to recieve Stef. I thought you would be glad or at least a little relieved to have us back and if not the two of us at least your two horses.” What was the man talking about his horses and who was he? Why did he sound so familiar? It couldn’t be Tre and Evan they had no aromor or was that what was in those big sacks of theirs. “Who are you and what is your purpose here?” he was getting tired of stating this question over and again. This time he got an answer that shocked him. “Why my old friend it is almost an insult that you do not recognize us. Although it is dark and you are not used to seeing us in this armor. So allow me to introduce us. This” pointing to the rider seated next to him “is your old friend Tre and I am Evan. Do you still wish to cross swords or do you think that our intentions are honorable enough for us to get down off these horses our backsides are sore we are not used to heavy riding any more.” “You may get down but I do have a difficult time beliving it is you two. Unsattle and put the horses in the stable I will get a meal going. You two have a lot to explain and after the way you played with me tonight I think you owe me an explanation. And I am not happy with the way you took off without a word one way or the other to me and I am very angry that you took my horses.” “Good enough dear friend we shall be right behind you and you shall get your explanation. And I must tell you that you are not the only one who was scared we at first thought that something terible had happened to you you frieghtened us we have never seen you in a hostile way before.” So Stef relived went back into the house and heated up some food on the big wood burning oven for supper and drew some of his best ale from the barrels he had in the cellar. He set four places at the big oaken table in the center of the kitchen and he couldn’t help but tear up that the two boys had decided for one reason or another to come back. He put the now steaming food down on the table and waited for the two renegades to come and eat. He was just beginging to wonder what was taking them so long when he heard a yell and the clash of what seemed to be a battle from the barn and ran out to see what it was picking his ax up along the way. He got to the barn as fast as his small and stubby legs could carry him and ran in to the barn headlong. He saw shadows moving at the far end of his large barn and started to run that way. As he got their he saw that Tre was outside and to his left and Evan was outside and to the right and both were surronded by tiny little bodies flicking this way and that. He saw that each fought with considerable skill easily turning three or four blades at a time. He could tell by the dull glint and shine of their swords that they were gnomish hunters he could not mistake the curved blade of a gnomish scimitar. Tre and Evan were winning against what to anyone else would have been deadly odds. They did not look like they needed much help already the gnomes were falling in droves before them. Then he turned his attentin to the center of the door of the barn and saw his son strugling against what looked like two or three gnomes. He started to run to help his son but was immedeatly set upon by gnomes that sprang up from behind him. He had been caught like this before so he wheeled and with a fury that few if any has ever survived hewed the leader of the gnomish hunting party in half ducked as the next gnome threw a throwing dagger at him and picked the next gnome up and threw him into the gnome last and following gnome and then with one powerfull stroke of his large double bladed ax seperated two heads from two diffrent bodies in one powerfull stroke. Blood had spattered all over his face and upper body but he did not take any time to wipe it off and he hardly noticed it but instead he turned to just in time warn his son to look behind and as he yelled in vain to his son he saw the lethal blow rise. It seemed to be in another plain of reality as the little gnomish scimitar raised to kill Stef’s own flesh and blood. He started to run toward the fray but he knew it was an idle practice and that he could not hope to get thier in time it was just to far. In his own mind it was already done he had already realized the worst reality anyone has to witness or bear his own son gone and he could nothing to stop it because he was two steps to far away and he had to watch as this horible scene played out in front of his eyes. But to his sudden relief and surprise the blow that would have struck down the only flesh and blood he had left in this world did not fall because as the little gnomish scimitar started on its downward arc towards Fairn’s neck Tre was there on the left side and so at the same time was Evan on the right and together as if they had both swung at the same time they hewed the little gnomish hunter into three diffrent pieces and even as the gnome was still falling Evan picked up Fairn over to his father so the young inexperinced dwarf may be better protected. And as Tre dispatched the last gnomish hunter to an early grave Stef and Fairn began to weep for themselves and for the hapiness of having Tre and Evan back. As they all surveyed the small battlefield around where they stood they saw the terrible damage that had been done. At least twenty gnomish hunters had been killed and there corpses were lying in crude and disfigured positions all over the court yard and it seemed to Stef that the fiercest of the fighting had come from where Tre and Evan had been standing. Where Tre and Evan had been there were piles of small gnomish bodies and parts of bodies around where the two of them had been fighting. When Stef was finally finished looking around his gaxe came to a rest on Tre and Evan but as Stef looked at Tre and Evan they seemed diffrent than they had been before they seemed more distant not the two men that he had come to know. But strangely they were still had the aura of being the same people. But now they indeed seemed taller and more distant. Not taller in the literal sense but bigger and more important than they ever had been. He looked at them and noticed that they were not talking of moving but looking calmly at the treeline he saw the way they held their weapons and shields in front of them and that they were ready for anything else. He saw how they had put themselves in front of Stef and Fairn but at the same time in a defensive position for themselves and the house from the direction the attack had originally come. Then what was he had noticed as strange was revealed to him in an instant they seemed to be accustomed to battle so accustomed that it seemed as an old friend to them welcoming them home. This was not a freakish attack on thes two boys but planed against these two boys. Even though it had come as a surprise to not only him but to them also they had still been able to kill what was now beginning to look more like thirty gnomes. Not just gnomes they were trained and fierce gnomes. Gnomish hunters where trained assasins not just a random squad of men to deal with these boys. Then he realized these boys were not boys they were men and they were dangerous but not to anyone who was not dangerous to them or him or anybody else. Who were these men they were not the Tre and Evan he knew or maybe instead it was just a new side to them that he had never been alowed to see before. Chapter 4 Tre could see the sun rising in the distant east. Stef was in a chair and had fallen asleep from pure exhastion just about an hour ago. Tre had stayed up all night after the attack. But Tre’s mind was elsewhere as Tre looked at Stef he was reminded of his own father. Being reminded of his father was like a white hot poker jamming itself into his heart. The fact that he could not be around his father not even for as long as it took to say a kind word was almost more than Tre could bear. It had been easier for Evan because he was not as close to his father but then again Evan had to leave the woman he loved. Bur Tre and his father had always had a special relationship. They had always gotten along ever since Tre had been a little child his father had tutored him in all things from warfare to simple mathematics. When his father had thought he was old enough Tre had been put into the great and venerable Elven Army. He had quickly won reknown in a skirmish against the Troll uprisings to the north of his fathers kingdom. The elven Kingdom of Galan was as old as the world. He had already been recognized for his exceptional size and strength but also for his quick wit and sense of military tactics. So he had been in command of his own small company of men. But more than simply being in the battle he had thought quickly on his feet and turned what would have been a bloody battle into a rout that did not last a half a day and had save countless lives.His company of men had been held in reserve until it was needed to scout to the right side of the battle field. Their he and his men had discovered a narrow ravine that could fit his small company. As he and his men searched this small ravine he found that it came out upon the side of the enemy he sent a messenger back to get more men and the scout had returned with another company. Tre had waited until the first and main clash of arms before he sprung his trap from the right of the battle. By this time he had been reinforced by yet another company of men. He had sent two companies straight into the center of the trolls and with bravery that was very seldom seen in the world he was in command and was out in front of his men the whole time because Tre knew and had been taught that the only way to command men in battle was from the front not the rear. He sent the other company to the right of him and into the rear of the enemy. The trolls panicked for they thought that it was another part of the elven army upon their flank and had run in fear for their worthless lives. His father learned of the battle and had been extremely proud of his son for he was a national hero in his own right and no longer depended upon his fathers fame. Then he had been promoted into the Elven High Guard not by order of his father but because of his own will and prowress on the battlefield. He had stayed in the High Guard for more then three years before his father had called him back to his side. He then became his fathers closest and most trusted councilor and eventually he had become the General of the Elven High Guard which was the third highest position in all of the Elven army for it was the Elven High Guard that protected the heart of the kingdom of Galan the capitol city and ancient fortress of___________. Then he had decided to leave his homeland. It seemed like an instatanous decisionto everyone but Tre. When Tre left his homeland of Galan he had hurt his father deeply and he had been told to never come back because he was a mutiness traitor and that he was not as good as a worthless begger out of the slums of the city. But there was nothing that could be done he had already made up his mind. Tre left his father and subsequently the kingdom he would have inherited from his father. For Tre it had been a gut wrenching experince but it had been worth it so far. He had gained his independance from his father and his what would have been his responsibilities and had kept his greatest friend Evan. It nearly made Tre sick when he thought about the fact that he could never again go home because he would be shuned and sneered at. He knew he would be seen as a traitor to his father, kingdom and worse than all the rest the people the people he had loved most of all and knowing they had loved him just as much as he loved them. But he and Evan had been friends since they had met at a meeting of their fathers when they were both seven years old. Their fathers had been rivals since before either could remember. Actually it had been almost a family trait for the leaders of the two kingdoms to be rivals of one another. And the kings were both very surprised indeed when their sons had become fast friends. Tre could still remember the first time he had seen Evan. They were to compete in a series of competitions against eachoher. The games went neck and neck all day for days and neither child could get ahead of the other for the greatest time. Then it had fianally been called a draw because their had been no end in sight and no let up for the children. He would never forget the competitons there had been wrestling, marksmanship, soldeiry, and horsemanship. Tre remembered that he had won marksmanship for few could beat him with his elven made bow and horsemanship because elves were renowned riders for they were light in the saddle and always rode bareback. But Evan had won the other events because they took strength and Evan had that in a greater supply than did Tre. The fathers of the boys both thought down deep that as soon as their sons grew up they would realize the error of their liking for one another. So when after these competitons grew to a close and the two had become friends out of thier mutual respect for eachother there fathers did little to prevent it at first. But as the two grew older it became evident that the two were growing closer together instead of further apart as their fathers had predicted. This greatly worried the fathers of the two boys and both seperately tried to pry the two apart. But it was a by now a vain practice to even try and indeed it seemed that the two had a bond that was in some way akin to brotherhood and could not be broken. No matter how hard their fathers tried they could not always prevent the two from seeing eachother even though they did not see eachother often and while apart they led lives of thier own. Tre and Evan both had other friends they fell in love with every girl that walked by but when Tre was aroun Evan or Evan was around Tre almost all other things stopped. Every time the two princes saw eachother it seemed the closer they became. Once on Evans birthday Tre had slipped out of his fathers estate past the gaurds and had traveled all night on horseback just to wish Evan a happy birthday and give him a present of such magnitude it had angered his father beyond belife. Tre gave a bow to Evan that had been made in the elven style and it was not to fall into an enemies hands. When Tre arrived home it was to a very angry and distraught but finally defeated father. His father had been defeated in every aspect of this game his eldest son and heir had persisted on playing. But Tre’s father did not like to lose and forbade him to see Evan ever again. When again Tre had snuck out and it was proven that he had been with Evan his father had gone beserk. That was the day Tre had decided to leave his family, country, and his future behind for his friend Evan. He snuck out that night and planed on never returning. He made only one stop on his way out of the city and to the world beyond and that was at the house of his long time love intrest. He stayed the night with her for the first time that night and left that morning. This was another thing that had led him to leave his one and only love Marcia was not well born and of a peasant family and his father had been disgusted and apalled that his son should lower himself so. So after he had said fairwell to Marcia he had left and that was the end of his staying in the capitol city of his people and the home of his father. Out in the barn where Evan was standing watch with a sleeping Fairn Evan was thinking along the same lines as Tre had been. Evan thought about the first time he had seen Tre. It was then that Evan had first learned that you could underestimate a friend just as easily as you could a foe. When he had first seen Tre he thought nothing of him. He appeared to be a small harmless weakling and no match for Evan in anything besides brains and even that seemed questionable to Evan then. But as Evan got to know Tre better he began to respect Tre’s talents that in some areas overshadowed his own. His father had told him to watch out for elves for they were back stabbing and always prying for power. But in Tre he had found a friend he could rely upon as a friend that was so like him in so many ways he could not dislike him just because he was an elf. Just like Evan, Tre loved the art of battle, and schooling striving to make themselves better men for the betterment of themselves and their people. Tre and Evan had many competitions with eachother and it seemed they alway won and lost the same competitons. Tre was a prince like Evan himself was and had to grow in an emmensly proud family but at the same time Tre seemed to be humbled by the burden set upon his shoulders and Evan came in time to respect that. Tre was his best friend from the first time they met all those years ago. For one large reason only niether child was awestruck at the power and heritage of the other because they were both from very ancient and noble blood lines. They for some reason unlike their fathers and ancestors could see eachother as equals. And equals they became in everything but thier friendly competitions that sometimes ended up not being very friendly. Neither had any idea that it had been fate had dealt them a card that was hard for the most stout of heart to play with. But Evan loved Tre and needed him as a brother needs his brother. He would never and could never leave Tre and thats why he had left with Tre two years ago because he needed Tre and Tre needed him and niether was going to leave the other. That is the reason he had left his kingdom, father, and inheritance. He had given up his only true love not knowing that Tre had done the same for him. Tre came for him about two hours after the sunrise. Tre scared him by sneeking up behind him. As good a hunter a tracker as Evan was he still could not hear or track his friend Tre when Tre wished not to be heard or tracked. Tre came up from behind him and tapped him on the shoulder

Author:
Jason
Date:
07 Sep 2002
Time:
07:44:15
Remote User:

Fiction

They had wandered the lands for almost a year before their money had run out and they needed to find work. When they finally found Hollow Oak Vale they thought it to be the perfect place. It was a small village nestled between the uninhabited and wild forest of Tysol and the great dwarven kingdom of Arkan. Hollow Oak Vale had only one main road with three boarding houses that all doubled as bars and you always could find a few drunkards outside of the biggest The Dragons Bane. Hollow Oak Vale was situated in a long, broad vale that had a wide slow winding river that flowed through it. Much trade had gone back and forth on this river in the past but it was now it was mostly a lonely waterway. It was a community much mixed in its origins it had elves, men, and dwarves in a goodly supply with some trolls and gnomes also. Most of the work that went on in the vale was farming and the raising of animals. As a consequence there was not much trade that went on in the sleepy little vale and the outside world carried on and the people of the little town forgot about it. When they arrived it was a busy day in town. A busier day than usual as it seemed everyone that lived in the vale was in town. They saw about a quarter of the way down the road there was a blacksmith. When they got there they could see it was a small and humble esatblishment with one kiln in the back that had been built with a deep red clay. It was chipping at the sides and top but was a good blast furnace from what Tre and Evan could see of it. The building was somewhat ramshackle and run down with years of use from the same family.. It was a small building with a front that could be thrown wide open when the furnace was on which made the building look odd because it had oversized barn doors on a building of regular size and stature. Off the right side of the building there had been built an overhang so as to cast a shadow when the blacksmith felt a need and worked outside. The man working there was a lively man that appeared to be forty or so. He had a little paunch to his stomach but had bulging forearms and a well toned upper body. He was working outside of his small building when Tre finally hailed him. “Excuse me sir.” he called “Can you spare a moment of your time to talk to the two of us.” The blacksmith came out of the shadow of the small but effective overhang to survey the two young men. “Why I can surely spare a moment of my so very precious time to talk amongst some civil folk” said the blacksmith with a very honest tone “How may I be of service to you boys.” It was Evan that answered this time. “Well we have been wandering this part of the world for some time now and came across this vale. We have never seen a place so preety or people so polite and diverse” said Evan hoping that flatery would help their cause. “But as of now are money is running out so we are in need of a job. What say you good man do you have room for two apprentices?” The blacksmith appeared to look them over for a moment before a low but distinguishable sigh was let out from his lips. “ I truly am sorry boys” he said in an apolegetic tone “but my eldest son is coming of age very soon and I do not have any need for an apprentice.” “Well thank you for your time anyway” Said Tre “And have a good day and may the gods bless you.” “Good luck boys. I hope all works out well for you.” said the blacksmith and he turned and walked back to his work. The two boys moved on feeling rejected but not yet ready to give up. They walked down the main street of the town but the stories were much the same at the stable and fletcher. They then went into the boarding houses looking for work but there to they got turned down and finally in The Dragons Bane they were ready to give up and move on when a burly looking dwarf named Stef and his son Fairn walked in. Stef was a rather large for a dwarf he was strong and sturdy, the trade marks of that race. He had in the past been in the great dwarven army and has had some dealings with strange peoples. The bar maid had known Stef for quite a while. She new Stef was getting old and that he needed help on the farm. The bar maid who was the same one the two boys had talked to told the dwarf that the two men in the corner were looking for a place to work for any wages available and that she would have taken them on for they looked like honest and humble folk but she already had to many people in her employment so she had regretfully denied them a place to work. He looked over at them and saw that they were of considerable size and strength and looked to his eyes like they could do a honorable days work. So the large Dwarf walked over to them and offered them a job for he was growing old and had a big farm to tend on the outskirts of town. They took the job eagerly and were so grateful that they bought the dwarf his favorite drink with the last of their money. When they were done celebrating there new found job they took up there great bundles and walked out the door. The dwarf whose name was Stef was again surprised at the size of them when they got outside. The man who’s name was Evan was massive for a man and he stood almost as tall as a full grown troll and had the look of a far northener for he was whiter than most but had dark hair and dark penetrating eyes it looked to Stef that his nose had been broken more than once and by the look of him he was used to working all day and into the night he had broad shoulders and his legs were like tree stumps and his arms looked like tree roots because they were notted with muscle. The Elf on the other hand was not as tall but still of considerable height he had sandy blond hair and bright blue eyes he looked younger than his 19 years and carried himself as if he did not have a care in the world. He was strong however and looked as if he could turn more than a fair days work. What an odd combination these two Stef thought to himself but it was obvious by the way they treated eachother and teased eachother that there was some great love and respect between the two and that they had traveled far with eachother and they would do almost anything for eachother. They teased and laughed at eachother like only good friends that have known eachother from childhood can. They laughed loudly and gaily at the private little jokes between the two that noone else could ever fully understand and would need years to feel the depths of. To have a friendship so strongly bonded must be a wonderful thing Stef thought and he began to think of his childhood and friends that had come and gone in ages long past him. It was because of his daydreaming in another time that they got to his farm so quickly that he hardly noticed the time it took to get to his farm at all. When Stef brought the two boys to his farm he found that they were grateful for even the most meager things that he offered them and Stef was also immediately pleased at the work that the two did. They had the seed sowing done a week and a half early and instead of taking time off they started to help Stef and his son Fairn in the barn and with the animals. The boys worked hard and fast and Stef never heard them complain. In time they had all become very close friends but Tre and Evan had said nothing of there past and would at times disappear for a day from dawn to dusk. Which at first did not sit well with an uneasy Stef. But then as twilight was setting and the sky was going from that beautiful deep red to the dark purple that preceeds the night by only a few minutes you could see the two big figures of Tre and Evan trudging over the southern fields with thier big bundles thrown over one shoulder. They walked slowly and tierdly on these nights and they acted very strange and wouldn’t say much if anything. Usually on these days they wouldn’t say much of anything if they talked at all when they got back and would go right up to the loft where they would lock the two big bundles in a chest and fall into bed and be almost instantly asleep. Stef wondered at this strange behaviour but never asked about it because he felt a mans business was his own. Tre and Evan seemed to realize this and respected it and never brought it up. Over the time period of two years the four became very close indeed and they looked upon eachother as they would had they been family. Fairn got the brothers he had always wanted even though they were two or three years older than he. And Stef got the sons he always wanted and never had the chance to have. Because Stef’s wife had died giving birth to his son it was soon up to him to stay at the house while the youngers worked in the field and in the barn with Stef’s prized animals. It was truly amazing he thought that he had been lucky enough to stumble on to these two men and out of all places at an inn. He had been wondering for quite a long time what men of this quality were doing working on his small little farm in the middle of no where. After all it had been almost two years since the two had come and started working for him. They had not shown any want of anything other than to stay and work on the farm with Stef and his son. Which seemed very odd to Stef because if his memory served him well when he was their age he had wanted nothing more than to get out into the world. He dismissed this pattern of thought however and did not think any more about it and began preparing the evening meal for his boys as he had come to call them. But the question was ever in the back of his mind who these boys really were and what of their past? He had known them a long time now and had grown very close to them and still they had not mentioned anything of their past. He was curious but he did not think anything bad of his boys for they had done nothing but good to the aging dwarf. But where were they from and why did they leave? What secret did they feel they could not tell him that he would not understand? Chapter Two Stef finally acted upon his suspisions one night and asked the two boys about their homeland and past. They had acted very strange when he asked them at supper that night and the calmness about them scared him a great deal. They had just looked at him. No expresion on thier faces to give anything away no diffrence in the way they moved around the house. And then when they had finished there meal they got up still without saying a word to anyone including themselves and climbed up into their loft and went to sleep. And this morning when Stef had woken up he found them gone they had left before Stef had woken up. They had left silently and quickly because Stef had woken up earlier than usual. It was now getting to be dark and they had not returned. He waited up deep into the night he waited as the sky turned from a light pink to orange back to an almost scarlet color before the deep color of purple took over the skies. Before finally drifting off to sleep at around three in the morning he lit a fire in the hearth but even the added warmth and the crackling noises of the fire could not keep Stef awake for he was tired from worrying so much about the boys and where they could have gone. He woke up with a start and it was already light out the sun was sending beams of light through the small windows. He just sat there watching the dust dance and play in the light for a long time thinking that the dust was a lot like people floating in and out of other peoples lives. He sat there until he heard Fairn get up and start to make breakfast. “Have they come back yet” inquired Stef in an almost hopeful tone of voice. “ I haven’t seen or heard from them since last night” answered Fairn “Why did they act so strangely last night? And why did you have to ask them dad? They were here and they were good friends thats all that really matters you know.” “Well I don’t rightly know but it was something that had been bothering me for some time now. And it’s hard for me to believe that those two lovely boys have anything in their past that they feel they have to hide from us.” “ I know what you mean they have been here for quite some time and it hurts me to think that they don’t trust us enough to tell us about thier past. We’ve told them all about us and our past.” “ I’m sure they have their reasons Fairn and we don’t exactly have anything to hide like they think they do. Anyway you finish up in here. I’ll go out to the barn and get started.” said Stef as he walked to the door “ I need to think anyway.” he added as he opened the big oaken door and slipped outside. He walked out to his barn which was very big compared to others in the vale. The double doors of the barn were facing the house and when you walked in their was no loft above your head it started on the right and continued around the inside of the barn and followed the walls and ended to the left side of the door it was shaped like a giant horseshoe. On the imediate left of his barn was were Stef left the pigs as you walked further down he had cows and bulls on the same side of the enormous barn. Upon the right was his pride and joy, his horses and he had more of these by far than anything else. He had many a fine animal and all his horses were breed for war or hard labor on a farm. He began feeding his pigs and then moved on down the row of stalls to his cows. All this time he was could not stop thinking about Tre and Evan. What had he done to upset them? Surely nothing so bad that they would take off and not come back. He would have to wait and find out just how bad he had angered them. Just then Fairn called to him and it was time to breakfast. Neither Stef nor Fairn ate much during the meal and did even less talking. They saw no trace of Tre or of Evan. It was not until Fairn came running in to tell his father that two of his best horses were missing that Stef actually started to worry about the boys. Stef and Fairn went back to work just like it was a normal day both doing there best to pretend it was just like any other day. They finished rather early seeing there was only two of them so they decided to eat early and it was in the middle of a discussion over a big and hearty supper that the idea came to Stef. “Do you think father.” began Fairn “that if Tre and Evan did indeed take the two horses that they might come back yet? Do you think that they would leave without a saying anything to us or at least leaving a note.” “I hope so boy but there is no real way of telling what they are going to do. Ever since I have known them I was never able to tell thier minds and niether have you and you were around them more than I ever was.” “But father you did not upset them that badly did you. You asked them and innocent enough question.” said Fairn in an almost pleading voice hoping to hear that his heroes and best friends he had ever had would come back. “ What may seem innocent to you and I may be diffrent from what they see as an innocent act. I’m sorry but I cannot understand what may have upset them. And I am sorry son but I can’t tell what made them leave or if they will ever come back. I wish to the gods that I had an answer to at least one of these questions.” They lapsed into silence eaching pondering their own thoughts and feelings. Stef sat hevily with his shoulders hunched over for this experince was wieghing heavily on the old dwarf. His so just sat playing with the gristle with a knife on his plate. That is when it came to Stef he had been thinking about how much easier it would be to just know one way or the other if the two boys were going to come back or not. The realization came to him so suddenly that he jumped out of his seat startiling Fairn. “I’ve got it Their just might be a way to tell if they are coming back or not.” yelled a eccentric and very excited Stef. “What father” asked Fairn “How do you possibly hope to find out if they are coming back or not.” “You know their chest? The one in the back of the loft? Where they keep the packs of theirs?” “Father do not even think of such a thing. How would the react if they were to come back and found out we were looking around in their belonings.” “ You don’t understand I have to find out if they are coming back or not. And that could be part of the mystery they have never told me what is in the packs have they told you?” “No.” answered a reluctant Fairn he did not like where this conversation was heading “But that doesn’t give us a reason or an excuse to go and look through their belonings. It would just anger them more or all over again.” “I have to find out Fairn I can’t go on like this. I feel responsible for them leaving. I should never have asked them about those things and if they come back I will never bring it up again but I have to know if there is any chancy in them coming back home.” “Why?” shot back an instantly angered Fairn “So that you can decide on weither or not to hire on some new farm hands? Well I for one will have none of it.” yelled Fairn as he jumped out of his seat at the table and stormed out into the night slamming the door behind him with all the strength the young dwarf could summon. Stef sat there thinking about this exchange. His son might be right that the would be very upset if they knew he had gone through their things he knew he would be if someone were to go through his personal possesions. But he had to know if they were coming back. Finally he made his mind up that he had to find out if these two boys that he had come to love as his own sons were going to be gone from his farm for ever. He was almost chocked up the possibility that he had driven them out into the world. He got up out of his seat and went to his room and opened the chest that held his battle ax and a few other relics of his life as a soldier in the Dwarven army and climbed up to the loft. There it was in the very back corner of the loft. Bigger than he had took it for but then the packs the two boys carried around were bigger than he was and he could scarcely move it. The chest was massive he took a great heave and hit the lock. It took three great heaves to finally snap the lock on the chest and finally the chest opened just a slight bit. He reluctantly and ever so cautiously opened it and peered inside. He was immensly surprised to see that it was almost totally empty. He had been hoping to find some clothes or something the boys would not have left without. but instead the only things he found in the chest was some parts of broken arrows mostly the arrow heads and some shards of what looked to him like more than one sword and what he could tell it looked like they had been rather large swords. This was an intresting twist to things and the more he thought about it the more confused he became. Where had these two boys found or gotten these the tools of warfare? But anyway that was not the point. The point was most of the things in those bundles that they carried with them was gone and so was thier bedding. What had he done? Had he ran the two best workers and friends he had ever had out into the world? What kind of monster was he? He closed the chest slowly and sat on the top of it and gently at first he started to cry and then the sobs came in waves. He had come to the realization that he had indeed rid himself of something that he could never regain in this lifetime and he could barely stand the thought. He was repulsed by his actions. Chapter Three Tre and Evan had gotten up early indeed it had been three in the morning when they snuck out of the house across the yard and into the barn. They stole into the stable and took the two best horses that they could find sattled one for Evan. And rode out into the yard. “Do you think it wise that we go?” asked Tre for the fifth and final time. “What do you think about or situation Tre. Nobody can know who we are. You know as well as I if anyone finds out we are in trouble not only with them but with our fmilies as well its not likely that we would get a warm reception.” “OK lets go then” Tre said rleuctantly. He did not want to leave but he knew it was really the only thing to do. It was to bad he thought he had grown to like it in this sleepy little vale. And what was more he had come to like the people in this place he was going to miss Stef and Fairn greatly. But he hoped onto his horse and with that the rode out of the yard and onto the road that carried them into town. They reached town early in the morning and thier was only one or two people about this early in the morning and they did not pay much attention to the to travelers and so Tre and Evan passed out of town with barely a person noticing and they traveled out of the vale like two ghosts whisping by in the blackest of night when you can’t see anything even your hand in front of you face. They stopped just outside town and made camp that night under a small stand of thick pines. They shared a small but satisfying meal of bread, dried meat and ale they had been able to retrieve out of the cellar of Stef’s house. “Where shall we go next do you think?” Asked Tre “ In my opinion we should head to the west and the dwarven kingdom. To the west lies the gnomish inhabited parts of the world and to the west of that the troll kingdoms and we would not be welcomed there any more than at home.” answered Evan “Very well then it is decided tommorow we will head to the east and to the dwarven kingdom.” said Tre And with that the two threw themselves down on there blankets and were fast asleep. They were not awakened by the man who came upon them in thier sleep. He was hardly noticeable to be sure. He walked among them in their sleep and nelt over them and studied their faces. When finally he was convinced of who it was he drew his dagger. It was a luck thing that an old friend had found them first and as he saw the dim glint of the blade and heard the slight ringing of the blade being drawn he knew it was time to act. They woke up late the next moring and the sun was already in the sky. They started out with no breakfast and drank some water and ate a bit of bread while they traveled along the road. When they reached a fork in the road they took the east way like just as they had discussed last night and it was not to long before they came up upon what seemed to be a stranger on the road. The stranger was sitting on a great white war horse in the middle of the roadway. As they came upon him in his full aromor they could not detect even a slight movement. They looked around anxiously and were about to pass by before the mysterious stranger finally spoke a word. “Halt. You fools.” cried he Evan was the first to wheel his horse around for he is much more hot blooded than Tre is. “Who dares call me a fool.” he cried. “Come I have not aged so much as for you two not to recognize me for I have seen you two and your fathers many a time Evan.” Said Aram as he lifted his helm off his head. And to noones surprise he was recognized almost immediately by both of them. They were both in front of Aram facing him again and it was Tre who was the first to recognize him “By the gods Evan it is Aram. How are you old friend.” he yelled with delight as he came forward to embrace Aram in a big hug. “Why I believe it to be Tre. What brings you to this part of the world old friend.” said a quite astonished Evan “Sorry for the harsh words.” “You two have hid yourselves well it took me these past two years to find you. But thank the gods that I have. And only just in time.” He did not and never would tell them how close they had come to death just the night before in that little patch of woods. In that small stand of trees a gnomish assasin had almost had them. If he had not found the tracks of the assasin the day before he would never have been able to save them from the assasin or themselves. “What in heaven or in hell are you talking about Aram. Who would want anything from the two of us? We are in no danger there is noone that even knows we are still alive or cares for that matter.” “You are wrong for the second time today Evan. You are in danger. I will come for you when you are in mortal danger. But for now I must ask you to return to your farm. It is fine if you tell Stef who you are he is a sturdy fellow with a big heart and you can trust him. But a do ask you to be very carefull with yourselves” “Why should we do what you ask. We are not in any danger and who would dare come across two of the finest warriors alive today.” “I have not asked the two of you for much in your short lives Evan Filsbane but you would do well to listen to me and to try and keep your vanity in check.” yelled Aram bristling with anger at the mans arogance. “It may well be that the two of you are a match for any other person on the earth but it is not one man that comes for you it is a nation or perhaps two.” “What are you talking about Aram. And what nations?” asked Tre who through this all he had kept his wits about him and was now more intreste than ever to listen to what Aram had to say. “I do not have time to explain now and at this place but if you agree to go back to Stef’s farm I will meet you there in three weeks and I will explain it all in detail to you then.” “Then it is agreed then” Tre declared “We will go back to Stef’s farm and you will follow us in three weeks with what I hope will be a very good explanation.” “Very well.” agreed Aram “It would be wise for you to take the armour out of your packs and put the armor on your backs it dosen’t do much in pouches on your horses. And here take these arrows and these broadswords. And this is a present for my old friend Stef.” he handed over arrows with special barbed tips two broadswords with sheaths and a huge double bladed ax for Stef. “I shall see you in three weeks if all goes well. Safe journey back my friends. And keep weapons close for the cloud of war is on the horizon.” and he galloped off and around the corner with surprising speed. They watched him go and then turned and headed back the way they had come in silince each one wondering what the old mystic was talking about. Both soon came to the conclusion that they would find out in about three weeks and that they would have no luck in trying to peice out a puzzle set by Aram. Chapter 3 They took their time going back and returned five days after they had left. When they arrived back on Stef’s farm it was just before dusk. Stef had been working in the barn and was know leaning on the side of the barn where it was nice and cool in the shade. There was a nice breeze blowing from and it swept over him on this nice warm and sultry spring evening. Then he heard them. He heard them long before he saw them. It was that unforgetable and teriffying clanking and jostling noise that only armor can create and only a warrior can fully identify right away. He ran into the house and fetched his old and venerable double bladed ax from it resting place in a chest by the foot of his bec. He had used this ax in the Border Wars with the gnomes and it had always served him well. He also took a small sword for his son it was of elvish make and very light but very sharp and had a strong well forged blade. He would rather die protecting his farm rather than let some robbers or rovers take it from him. After all he had done to secure it and keep it no one was going to take it. And who knew maybe these strangers would just pass by. Hopefully it was just a dwarven calvary unit going to or from somewhere. But it was better to be prepared than to be taken by surprise. He ran out to the barn and summoned Fairn as quitely as he could. He could hear the clanking of the armour much clearer now and knew the source must be very much closer indeed. He possitioned himself in the middle of the yard and put Fairn on the side of the barn where he could sneak around the back of the attackers if it was attackers the persons on the road turned out to be. He could see them now two of them big by the looks of them. They were riding straight and tall on large horses they were obviously trained men. Maybe deserters? They rode up to the entrance to his yard and stopped Stef held his breath and hoped the men would ride on but that was not to be they slowly but deleberately they entered his yard. He knew that this was it and that he had to do something so at the top of his lungs yelled “Halt you heathen, come not another step unitl you declare your purpose in this place whether it be peaceful or not.” “What shall you do if I don’t you little fool of a man we are more than a match for you and your friend by the barn. You do not want to die do you my little friend? If you do we could oblige you.” the man said in a smug tone of voice. Stef made no move and no answer he just stood there resolutely. Fairn moved out from behind the barn because his secret was up anyway. They stayed like that for what seemed like an eternity both men staring eachother down and sizing the other up. Finally Stef steped forward and barked at the two mysterious men “You will either go or feel my ax at your throat before I am dead I will at least promise you that.” The two riders looked at themselves and laughed a deep throaty laugh. They did not stop for some time and still they did not move from their current position and this served only in making Stef all the angrier. “Move on I say.” he screamed in almost desperation “I shall set steal against you.” Again the laugh. Then a strangely familiar voice answered. “This is not the welcome I was hoping to recieve Stef. I thought you would be glad or at least a little relieved to have us back and if not the two of us at least your two horses.” What was the man talking about his horses and who was he? Why did he sound so familiar? It couldn’t be Tre and Evan they had no aromor or was that what was in those big sacks of theirs. “Who are you and what is your purpose here?” he was getting tired of stating this question over and again. This time he got an answer that shocked him. “Why my old friend it is almost an insult that you do not recognize us. Although it is dark and you are not used to seeing us in this armor. So allow me to introduce us. This” pointing to the rider seated next to him “is your old friend Tre and I am Evan. Do you still wish to cross swords or do you think that our intentions are honorable enough for us to get down off these horses our backsides are sore we are not used to heavy riding any more.” “You may get down but I do have a difficult time beliving it is you two. Unsattle and put the horses in the stable I will get a meal going. You two have a lot to explain and after the way you played with me tonight I think you owe me an explanation. And I am not happy with the way you took off without a word one way or the other to me and I am very angry that you took my horses.” “Good enough dear friend we shall be right behind you and you shall get your explanation. And I must tell you that you are not the only one who was scared we at first thought that something terible had happened to you you frieghtened us we have never seen you in a hostile way before.” So Stef relived went back into the house and heated up some food on the big wood burning oven for supper and drew some of his best ale from the barrels he had in the cellar. He set four places at the big oaken table in the center of the kitchen and he couldn’t help but tear up that the two boys had decided for one reason or another to come back. He put the now steaming food down on the table and waited for the two renegades to come and eat. He was just beginging to wonder what was taking them so long when he heard a yell and the clash of what seemed to be a battle from the barn and ran out to see what it was picking his ax up along the way. He got to the barn as fast as his small and stubby legs could carry him and ran in to the barn headlong. He saw shadows moving at the far end of his large barn and started to run that way. As he got their he saw that Tre was outside and to his left and Evan was outside and to the right and both were surronded by tiny little bodies flicking this way and that. He saw that each fought with considerable skill easily turning three or four blades at a time. He could tell by the dull glint and shine of their swords that they were gnomish hunters he could not mistake the curved blade of a gnomish scimitar. Tre and Evan were winning against what to anyone else would have been deadly odds. They did not look like they needed much help already the gnomes were falling in droves before them. Then he turned his attentin to the center of the door of the barn and saw his son strugling against what looked like two or three gnomes. He started to run to help his son but was immedeatly set upon by gnomes that sprang up from behind him. He had been caught like this before so he wheeled and with a fury that few if any has ever survived hewed the leader of the gnomish hunting party in half ducked as the next gnome threw a throwing dagger at him and picked the next gnome up and threw him into the gnome last and following gnome and then with one powerfull stroke of his large double bladed ax seperated two heads from two diffrent bodies in one powerfull stroke. Blood had spattered all over his face and upper body but he did not take any time to wipe it off and he hardly noticed it but instead he turned to just in time warn his son to look behind and as he yelled in vain to his son he saw the lethal blow rise. It seemed to be in another plain of reality as the little gnomish scimitar raised to kill Stef’s own flesh and blood. He started to run toward the fray but he knew it was an idle practice and that he could not hope to get thier in time it was just to far. In his own mind it was already done he had already realized the worst reality anyone has to witness or bear his own son gone and he could nothing to stop it because he was two steps to far away and he had to watch as this horible scene played out in front of his eyes. But to his sudden relief and surprise the blow that would have struck down the only flesh and blood he had left in this world did not fall because as the little gnomish scimitar started on its downward arc towards Fairn’s neck Tre was there on the left side and so at the same time was Evan on the right and together as if they had both swung at the same time they hewed the little gnomish hunter into three diffrent pieces and even as the gnome was still falling Evan picked up Fairn over to his father so the young inexperinced dwarf may be better protected. And as Tre dispatched the last gnomish hunter to an early grave Stef and Fairn began to weep for themselves and for the hapiness of having Tre and Evan back. As they all surveyed the small battlefield around where they stood they saw the terrible damage that had been done. At least twenty gnomish hunters had been killed and there corpses were lying in crude and disfigured positions all over the court yard and it seemed to Stef that the fiercest of the fighting had come from where Tre and Evan had been standing. Where Tre and Evan had been there were piles of small gnomish bodies and parts of bodies around where the two of them had been fighting. When Stef was finally finished looking around his gaxe came to a rest on Tre and Evan but as Stef looked at Tre and Evan they seemed diffrent than they had been before they seemed more distant not the two men that he had come to know. But strangely they were still had the aura of being the same people. But now they indeed seemed taller and more distant. Not taller in the literal sense but bigger and more important than they ever had been. He looked at them and noticed that they were not talking of moving but looking calmly at the treeline he saw the way they held their weapons and shields in front of them and that they were ready for anything else. He saw how they had put themselves in front of Stef and Fairn but at the same time in a defensive position for themselves and the house from the direction the attack had originally come. Then what was he had noticed as strange was revealed to him in an instant they seemed to be accustomed to battle so accustomed that it seemed as an old friend to them welcoming them home. This was not a freakish attack on thes two boys but planed against these two boys. Even though it had come as a surprise to not only him but to them also they had still been able to kill what was now beginning to look more like thirty gnomes. Not just gnomes they were trained and fierce gnomes. Gnomish hunters where trained assasins not just a random squad of men to deal with these boys. Then he realized these boys were not boys they were men and they were dangerous but not to anyone who was not dangerous to them or him or anybody else. Who were these men they were not the Tre and Evan he knew or maybe instead it was just a new side to them that he had never been alowed to see before. Chapter 4 Tre could see the sun rising in the distant east. Stef was in a chair and had fallen asleep from pure exhastion just about an hour ago. Tre had stayed up all night after the attack. But Tre’s mind was elsewhere as Tre looked at Stef he was reminded of his own father. Being reminded of his father was like a white hot poker jamming itself into his heart. The fact that he could not be around his father not even for as long as it took to say a kind word was almost more than Tre could bear. It had been easier for Evan because he was not as close to his father but then again Evan had to leave the woman he loved. Bur Tre and his father had always had a special relationship. They had always gotten along ever since Tre had been a little child his father had tutored him in all things from warfare to simple mathematics. When his father had thought he was old enough Tre had been put into the great and venerable Elven Army. He had quickly won reknown in a skirmish against the Troll uprisings to the north of his fathers kingdom. The elven Kingdom of Galan was as old as the world. He had already been recognized for his exceptional size and strength but also for his quick wit and sense of military tactics. So he had been in command of his own small company of men. But more than simply being in the battle he had thought quickly on his feet and turned what would have been a bloody battle into a rout that did not last a half a day and had save countless lives.His company of men had been held in reserve until it was needed to scout to the right side of the battle field. Their he and his men had discovered a narrow ravine that could fit his small company. As he and his men searched this small ravine he found that it came out upon the side of the enemy he sent a messenger back to get more men and the scout had returned with another company. Tre had waited until the first and main clash of arms before he sprung his trap from the right of the battle. By this time he had been reinforced by yet another company of men. He had sent two companies straight into the center of the trolls and with bravery that was very seldom seen in the world he was in command and was out in front of his men the whole time because Tre knew and had been taught that the only way to command men in battle was from the front not the rear. He sent the other company to the right of him and into the rear of the enemy. The trolls panicked for they thought that it was another part of the elven army upon their flank and had run in fear for their worthless lives. His father learned of the battle and had been extremely proud of his son for he was a national hero in his own right and no longer depended upon his fathers fame. Then he had been promoted into the Elven High Guard not by order of his father but because of his own will and prowress on the battlefield. He had stayed in the High Guard for more then three years before his father had called him back to his side. He then became his fathers closest and most trusted councilor and eventually he had become the General of the Elven High Guard which was the third highest position in all of the Elven army for it was the Elven High Guard that protected the heart of the kingdom of Galan the capitol city and ancient fortress of___________. Then he had decided to leave his homeland. It seemed like an instatanous decisionto everyone but Tre. When Tre left his homeland of Galan he had hurt his father deeply and he had been told to never come back because he was a mutiness traitor and that he was not as good as a worthless begger out of the slums of the city. But there was nothing that could be done he had already made up his mind. Tre left his father and subsequently the kingdom he would have inherited from his father. For Tre it had been a gut wrenching experince but it had been worth it so far. He had gained his independance from his father and his what would have been his responsibilities and had kept his greatest friend Evan. It nearly made Tre sick when he thought about the fact that he could never again go home because he would be shuned and sneered at. He knew he would be seen as a traitor to his father, kingdom and worse than all the rest the people the people he had loved most of all and knowing they had loved him just as much as he loved them. But he and Evan had been friends since they had met at a meeting of their fathers when they were both seven years old. Their fathers had been rivals since before either could remember. Actually it had been almost a family trait for the leaders of the two kingdoms to be rivals of one another. And the kings were both very surprised indeed when their sons had become fast friends. Tre could still remember the first time he had seen Evan. They were to compete in a series of competitions against eachoher. The games went neck and neck all day for days and neither child could get ahead of the other for the greatest time. Then it had fianally been called a draw because their had been no end in sight and no let up for the children. He would never forget the competitons there had been wrestling, marksmanship, soldeiry, and horsemanship. Tre remembered that he had won marksmanship for few could beat him with his elven made bow and horsemanship because elves were renowned riders for they were light in the saddle and always rode bareback. But Evan had won the other events because they took strength and Evan had that in a greater supply than did Tre. The fathers of the boys both thought down deep that as soon as their sons grew up they would realize the error of their liking for one another. So when after these competitons grew to a close and the two had become friends out of thier mutual respect for eachother there fathers did little to prevent it at first. But as the two grew older it became evident that the two were growing closer together instead of further apart as their fathers had predicted. This greatly worried the fathers of the two boys and both seperately tried to pry the two apart. But it was a by now a vain practice to even try and indeed it seemed that the two had a bond that was in some way akin to brotherhood and could not be broken. No matter how hard their fathers tried they could not always prevent the two from seeing eachother even though they did not see eachother often and while apart they led lives of thier own. Tre and Evan both had other friends they fell in love with every girl that walked by but when Tre was aroun Evan or Evan was around Tre almost all other things stopped. Every time the two princes saw eachother it seemed the closer they became. Once on Evans birthday Tre had slipped out of his fathers estate past the gaurds and had traveled all night on horseback just to wish Evan a happy birthday and give him a present of such magnitude it had angered his father beyond belife. Tre gave a bow to Evan that had been made in the elven style and it was not to fall into an enemies hands. When Tre arrived home it was to a very angry and distraught but finally defeated father. His father had been defeated in every aspect of this game his eldest son and heir had persisted on playing. But Tre’s father did not like to lose and forbade him to see Evan ever again. When again Tre had snuck out and it was proven that he had been with Evan his father had gone beserk. That was the day Tre had decided to leave his family, country, and his future behind for his friend Evan. He snuck out that night and planed on never returning. He made only one stop on his way out of the city and to the world beyond and that was at the house of his long time love intrest. He stayed the night with her for the first time that night and left that morning. This was another thing that had led him to leave his one and only love Marcia was not well born and of a peasant family and his father had been disgusted and apalled that his son should lower himself so. So after he had said fairwell to Marcia he had left and that was the end of his staying in the capitol city of his people and the home of his father. Out in the barn where Evan was standing watch with a sleeping Fairn Evan was thinking along the same lines as Tre had been. Evan thought about the first time he had seen Tre. It was then that Evan had first learned that you could underestimate a friend just as easily as you could a foe. When he had first seen Tre he thought nothing of him. He appeared to be a small harmless weakling and no match for Evan in anything besides brains and even that seemed questionable to Evan then. But as Evan got to know Tre better he began to respect Tre’s talents that in some areas overshadowed his own. His father had told him to watch out for elves for they were back stabbing and always prying for power. But in Tre he had found a friend he could rely upon as a friend that was so like him in so many ways he could not dislike him just because he was an elf. Just like Evan, Tre loved the art of battle, and schooling striving to make themselves better men for the betterment of themselves and their people. Tre and Evan had many competitions with eachother and it seemed they alway won and lost the same competitons. Tre was a prince like Evan himself was and had to grow in an emmensly proud family but at the same time Tre seemed to be humbled by the burden set upon his shoulders and Evan came in time to respect that. Tre was his best friend from the first time they met all those years ago. For one large reason only niether child was awestruck at the power and heritage of the other because they were both from very ancient and noble blood lines. They for some reason unlike their fathers and ancestors could see eachother as equals. And equals they became in everything but thier friendly competitions that sometimes ended up not being very friendly. Neither had any idea that it had been fate had dealt them a card that was hard for the most stout of heart to play with. But Evan loved Tre and needed him as a brother needs his brother. He would never and could never leave Tre and thats why he had left with Tre two years ago because he needed Tre and Tre needed him and niether was going to leave the other. That is the reason he had left his kingdom, father, and inheritance. He had given up his only true love not knowing that Tre had done the same for him. Tre came for him about two hours after the sunrise. Tre scared him by sneeking up behind him. As good a hunter a tracker as Evan was he still could not hear or track his friend Tre when Tre wished not to be heard or tracked. Tre came up from behind him and tapped him on the shoulder

 
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