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Vendraciese - High ElvesBlood Rose
Hierophant Tetkhumen could tell that the battle was going well. The Eataine warships that had been protecting the high elf army were now embroiled in battle with the ships of Amenemhetum, and without the support of the terrible Eagles’ Claws the ranks of spearmen were slowly being pushed back by the armies of the dead kings.
Tetkhumen spoke an incantation in a voice like dry paper and watched impassively as lifeless bones rose from the sand and renewed their efforts to drive the High Elves into the sea. The high elves were honourable opponents, and they fought with great skill. Swords flashed like lightning in the morning sun, spears shone as they stabbed forward, and the air shimmered with magic. Still, for all of their fervor the high elves of Ulthuan would be destroyed by the might of the ancient kings of Khemri.
There was only one thing that concerned the hierophant in the slightest, and that was the strange ripple of activity among the ranks of the skeletal soldiers. Occasionally there would be a flash of blue light and several skeletons would fall to reveal a quick glimpse of blonde hair. If he did not know better, Tetkhumen would have said that it was a single high elf mage, but no mage would be so stupid as to let himself become this desperately separated from the elven war host.
Tetkhumen spoke another dry incantation, and as more skeletons rose from the desert he watched the disturbance and waited.
When the disturbance appeared, Tetkhumen was mildly surprised to see that it was an elf after all, though he was apparently not a mage. Rather, it was an elven noble, wielding a sword and shield. He wore no helmet, and the hierophant could see that his hair was a dirty blond, darker than most High Elves tended to have. Over his armour he wore a white tabard. In the center of the tabard was a splash of fresh blood. Curiously, the blood evoked an image of a dark red flower with pointed petals. Other than this, the noble bore only minor wounds.
Perturbed that the elf had made it this far, Tetkhumen raised a thin hand and spoke an incantation of destruction. Spirals and scrolls of dark energy soared towards the insolent noble, wrapped around him…
Tetkhumen was surprised, but the undead do not panic easily. He motioned for the Tomb Guard to attack the intruder. They obediently surrounded the Elf, and Tetkhumen was confident that the noble was finished.The elf did not seem afraid though. Sticking his sword into the sand he raised one arm and spoke an arcane word. Blue light flared from his hand and washed over the Tomb Guard. Bones fell to the ground as the spirits of the dead retreated from their skeletal prisons. A few tougher skeletons continued to attack, but were hewn down. In a matter of moments Tetkhuman and the High Elf noble were alone on the sand dune that overlooked the battle field.Tetkhumen raised his staff and unleashed another blast of necromantic energy. The elf spoke another arcane word, and the tendrils of death dissipated, blown to tatters by the winds of magic. The elf ran forward, and Tetkhumen recited a hurried incantation. This time the spell struck true, the scrolls and ribbons of magic leaving cuts and gashes in the elf’s flesh. Undeterred, the elf continued his charge. Tetkhumen brought his staff up to block the elf’s sword, but as the weapons connected the elf brought his shield forward, knocking the liche over onto the dry sand. Tetkhuman punched his staff up into the elf’s face, causing him to stumble back a few paces.
As Tetkhumen rose to his feet, he heard the elf speak a third word of power, but this time the liche was ready. With a phrase and a gesture the blue light flickered and went out no sooner than it had appeared in the elf’s hand. Even as the elf struggled to draw his sword Tetkhumen swung at him with his staff. A hastily raised shield deflected the blow, and with a cry the elf brought his weapon forward. There was a sound like tearing cloth, and the hierophant’s arm and staff fell to the earth. The dead priest uttered no exclamation, only stepped backwards in astonishment. The noble raised the point of his sword to Tetkhumen’s neck, fully intending to deliver the fatal blow then and there, but he was stopped by the words of the liche.
“Stay thy hand for a moment, proud elf. Surely thou knowest of the curse of my kind. Surely thou knowest that you may die once you strike me. Yet I perceive that thou art mighty and wise among your people. Why dost thou throw thy life away?”
The elf only laughed bitterly. “Mighty and wise? I am only a minor noble of a minor house. None shall miss my passing. Even my magic was nothing but a trick, the product of a jewel crafted by an Archmage of ages past.”
“Minor perhaps.” Tetkhumen chuckled softly, his bandages flapping in the dry wind of the desert. “But that does not answer my question. Why dost thou risk my curse?”
“It is for this token of blood upon my chest.” The elf gestured to the red flower on his tabard. “This is the blood of an elf that jumped in front of a spear meant for me. He was my kinsman, and now he is dead by the hand of your skeletal minions. He died to rescue slaves he had never seen, but now he is avenged.”
With that, Valarian Yonerras, minor noble of a minor house, embraced his future and thrust his sword through the throat of High Priest Tetkhumen. As Valarian lay upon the sand, harried by shadows and nightmares of the curse, he knew that whether he lived or died he had won the greatest battle of all.
He did not fear death.
Palos - Tomb Kings
No fluff recieved. Perhaps none will show.
Voting ends in 98 hours
Vendraciese - A quite well thought out piece, I feel. You've captured the tomb king rather well, and the conversation with the Elf flows quite naturally.
A shame it has no story to compete against. Ah well!
Vendraciese - 4/5
Palos - pending, or perhaps not pending at all.
Vendraciese has presented us with a very intriguing story. In fact, it's quite close to flawless, except perhaps in that it's a little passionless and robotic. It would've been nice to see some emotion somewhere in the story. A stoic elf versus the undead is a fairly cold battle.
Still, I'm just nitpicking. Excellent story.
"Any job worth doing, is worth doing with a powerklaw."
MynameisGrax hit in on the head. The story lacked emotion. Unlike other stories, you had some nice details in the fight scenes, but "The high elves were honourable opponents, and they fought with great skill. Swords flashed like lightning in the morning sun" seems a bit cheesy in my opinion. That being said, you did make me interested in the main character, and your open-ended ending was appropriate and left me thinking about the story after I read the last word.
I am heading off to the Peace Corps. It is bery likely I will not be back. Good luck to all of you endeavors.
Ven- some great writing there, as always. I agree that there wasn't much emotion though, but with TK, it's hard to show it. You catch enough of it in the ending, when the stricken elf realizes that there's no longer anything to fear in death. I can relate to him in that single line actually. I think that it was a fine ending.
I'm not going to score you yet, although I know that Palos has called it quits. I guess you'd have a 5/5, since there was nothing to have compared you against. Maybe he'll get something up.
As Palos checked out Vendraciese autowins and qualifies himself for the semifinals.