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Valor Part 1
Azure awoke to the sound of crashing rock against rock, loud screams echoing out along the fields just outside his tower window. For a few moments he shook off the feeling of panic, and wondered how he had not awoken earlier from the sound of marching feet and gravely voices yelling orders left and right.
He got up with haste and immediately dressed in his crimson robes, fumbling with the golden tassel around his waist and pinning his short sword to it. In his hand he gripped his staff, the most important tool to a sorcerer, to him. His keen, pointed elf ears made the screams of dying and the sound of catapults releasing their load onto the city wall, amplify ten-fold. His nose detecting the scent of stale salty blood on the air and the strange scent of metal.
Without another thought, he raced out of his tower room, not bothering to close the wooden door behind him. As he ran down the spiral staircase to the front gates of the main level, he ignored the horrid taste in architecture the humans used to build their capital city. That after all, was his current location. The Great City. The Capital of the Humans, currently being attacked by a small battalion of the dark empires soldiers.
Azure’s quick elfish feet carried him to the door within a matter of seconds, his leather boots tapping lightly against the stone stairs. A troop of fifty or sixty was waiting by the front gate. There armor glinting in the rising sunlight leaking through the high windows. Azure passed them, muttering “Excuse me.” As he pushed past soldiers who looked at him with panic filled eyes. The captain was waiting at the door. “Allow me to go outside.” Azure shouted before he even got to the gate.
The captain shook his head. “I’m afraid I can’t let you do that, elf. We would be far too vulnerable with doors open.” As he shook his head his helmet rung against his shoulder pads. “Then close the door behind you once I leave.” Azure shouted harshly. The captain drew his blade. “You must wait until the battalion is ready to leave.” He ordered. Azure, consumed with fury against the ignorant human, demanded: “Would you have opened the gate if a human had asked the same question?” The captain gave a cold laugh, and shook his head. “That doesn’t matter, the point in question is: You are an Elf, and you are not getting out of these doors until my battalion is allowed to exit as well.” When Azure’s fury mounted to the point where he struck his staff against the ground impatiently, the Captain quickly added: “Direct orders.”
“Valen, he is the leader of three small battalions, including this one.”
“I do not care; my power is needed to stop this attack. Why else was I called here? I am trying to help.”
“Well, that’s respectable and all, but Valen said not to allow anyone in or out until he orders it.”
“I am sure if Valen were here, he would understand the situation, and allow me passage.”
“I am sure he wouldn’t.”
Their conversation was interrupted when three trumpet blasts sounded. The captain quickly turned to his soldiers, ignoring Azure, and shouted: “Draw!” Together, the entire group drew their swords and prepared them. With a loud blasting noise the doors slowly began to open. Azure quickly raised his staff, in his head he rehearsed the spell to call thunder, or perhaps the shielding spell would be more useful in this situation.
Azure gazed in awe as the doors finally reached the widest point. Outside was a battle field filled with soldiers, none of them damaged, in large lines. Outside the giant gate known as “The Great Wall” was the smell of fire and blood. Soldiers wearing the armor of the Great City glinted and swords crashed against shield. The red caped, horned helmeted, empire soldiers attempted to move farther towards the gates into the square.
The catapults ammunition glanced off the Great Wall like sticks off a mountain, leaving little damage behind. Azure wondered as to why such a small army of empire soldiers had been brought here. The noise from the battle field was immense, especially to an elf, Azure’s head rung with thousands of sounds. He put his hands over his ears to shield the noise, but it did little. Azure moved past the Captain as the soldiers behind him began to march out of the castle, the final piece of their large army. Azure saw at the head of the soldiers was the human King. King Tarden, clothed in large glittering gold armor, a rich velvet cape flying behind him. His face hidden behind a gleaming helmet, a glittering diamond sword outstretched before him. He was mounted on a powerful brown horse, its muscles rippling, its dark eyes pointed forward, ready to charge into the fray.
Azure moved past soldiers who gave him a funny look and he made his way near to the king but was stopped by a hand. The man who had stopped him looked to be about twenty years old. His face was hidden behind a metal helmet, but Azure could see a pair of green eyes in the slits of the helmet. “Do not approach the King without permission, Elf.” The last word was emphasized with venom. Azure swiped the hand away. “I do not take orders from sickly, barbaric humans!” he spat.
He usually wasn’t this rude, but in the face of battle his nerves got the best of him, and he couldn’t help but act like this. Not to mention ever since he had gotten to the human capital he had been treated like some strange beast. It was unnerving and upset him. Elves weren’t on good terms with any race really.
Before Azure could move any farther, the gates opened and the King gave a long loud battle cry. The soldiers joined in unison, raising their swords, beating their shields against their armored chests like drums. Azure raised his staff, ready for the wave that was going to come through the gate. He heard a storm of feat and then the soldiers both ahead and behind him ran forward with disturbing vigor, in each of their screams was the sound that Azure recognized as a battle hungry race. After all, Dwarves and Humans hungered for violence like pack of untamed wolves who had been starved for weeks.
Azure ran forward with them, for if he did not, he would be trampled underneath their steel boots. He was quicker than all the humans and he weaved in between regiments until he was very near the front. The dark empires soldiers looked up, astonished, as the new company of soldiers raced into the battle field. Arrows were immediately strung and shot, the first few lines being damaged. Azure quickly made his way around the next two rows of marching humans. He drained his own strength and the strength of nearby rocks, and he struck his staff onto the ground, creating a shield around the first line of humans, just in time to block a second wave of arrows.
Azure drew his short sword to fend off three soldiers that had noticed he had a weapon they did not. Magic. Immediately one of the soldiers blew on his trumpet four times, hardly audible over the sounds of crashing swords and battle cries. Azure spun around one of the soldier’s swords and struck at the second one, catching him off guard and forcing him to trip over his own feet and fall to the ground. Just enough time. Azure drained the energy from the first soldier in order to strike the second with a blue bolt of lightning. The soldier gave a shriek as it hit him, and his body went limp.
The first soldier shrugged off the effects of his strength draining and struck at Azure who dodged with his own blade. Suddenly he felt ice climbing up his body and he was frozen to the spot. He ducked under another of the soldier’s wild slashes at his head and noticed behind him, a sorcerer, wearing black robes, a hood covering his face, a staff in his hand. Azure felt stuck, and vulnerable to not only the soldier, but now to a sorcerer. Suddenly, the soldier turned his attention to his new attacker, who had come to save Azure. He recognized him as the green eyed one who had attempted to stop him from getting near the king. Azure quickly drained some of his own energy, creating a flame around his hand and with a flick of his hand, the ice melted into a pool of water around his feet.
The sorcerer cackled with glee. Azure did not enjoy doing mortal combat with another sorcerer; sorcerer duels were usually extremely dangerous. Azure sheathed his bloody sword and pointed his staff at the assailant, the sorcerer, doing the same. Azure started the battle by striking at the sorcerer with his mind, using his best to smash through the magical barrier guarding his mind. The sorcerer cackled gain and Azure felt the sorcerer force Azure’s mind out, and then returned the blow with his own mind, probing at Azure’s shield of magic. He summoned his life energy all into his shield and pushed the sorcerer out, catching him off guard. Azure took the opening to drain some of the nearby grass’s life and struck his staff against the ground. Vines from deep below the earth ripped their way to the surface.
The sorcerer gave a scream as the vines wrapped around the sorcerer’s whole body. Azure turned his face as he heard the snapping noise of the vines breaking the evil beast’s spine and neck, and the cloaked figure struck the ground, dead. Azure did not get much of a break. He turned around and noticed that his savior had killed the soldier and was fending off three more. Azure made his way to the nearest catapult. Very little of the catapults guards were doing their job. The King of the Humans was stabbing at the guard’s faces, some falling to the ground screaming with blood pouring out of their eyes and mouths. Azure jumped onto the catapult and used the bottom of his staff to unhinge several of the links holding the old wood together. Within several minutes he had disconnected all of the links. The only thing holding it up was its balance to the other pieces. Azure drained his strength again and with a swipe of his staff a burst of wind blasted the catapult into pieces.
After his several spells he began to feel the effects of his energy draining. He re drew his short sword to block a guards assault on him and he smashed his staff over the man’s head, breaking his skull. He turned, surprised at the sound of a roar. He half wanted to not know what had made the sound. It was a Skurj. A beastly wolf the size of a two story cottage home. Its unnaturally vivid green eyes glimmering with anticipation of blood, its bristly black fur standing on end and its paws wet with gore. His tail swished side to side with excitement of the kill. The creatures were common to dwarves, but elves rarely saw them in the forests.