The Tale of the Swords of the Ancients And Other Blades of Power
The armed caravan came to a halt at sundown. This was the second day of nine it would travel South to bring its precious cargo to the Tellorien Mountains. It guarded a horse drawn chariot holding a steel coffin. Locked within that temporary tomb was the sword Anathar, most powerful of the ten Swords of the Ancients. In its blade was held imprisoned the immortal spirit of Evruc, last of the Ancient Ones to be slain upon Ammon. The only Ancient to have betrayed his maker and brethren, Evruc was a poison, consumed with malice and hatred. He earned the name mortals had given to him; the Dark One. Anathar’s blade had been used to pierce the heart of Evruc’s mortal flesh and to consume his soul, thence his body was destroyed. What remained of his being was destined for the underground city of Barkonia, where his spirit would be locked away in its depths, behind stone walls, and forever guarded to prevent his escape.
The Mithrodin Ellexos had command of the chariot guard. She slept this night as did many of her company of elite combat troops and cavalry, although their sleep was uneasy. Ellexos dreamed of her father, the Mithrodin master Kethol Av Torketal, slain only a week before in the Red War. Soldiers of the three Avonthian princes had charge of the night watch until dawn. Others of Avonthian company watched over the outskirts for intruders and agents of the Dark One. Although they held the ground secure and no enemy would be able to surprise them, the encampment was permeated by a feeling of dread. All felt the presence of their prisoner. His dark soul infused the ground they slept upon and the air they breathed.
The three princes of Avonthia brought with them two companies of the King’s soldiers. Inside the camp the two eldest Avonthian brothers, Athollos and Sarafel slept, but the youngest brother, Morweth suffered the night with troubling dreams. His thoughts were also of the Red War and the final battle against the Dark One. He fought alongside Ellexos, her Mithrodin sister Enethia, the mighty warrior Kethol, and the Orwenoch beast sent by the Ancients to aid them. Ellexos was one of the most skilled warriors he had ever encountered. She killed the enemy brutally and fast, with the efficiency and skill her Mith Roantradam assassin training. As they penetrated deeper into the rear guard protecting the Dark One and his two master sorcerers, the enemy horde had become overwhelming. Morweth and his brother Sarafel were encircled and in the clash of blades and axes it seemed their doom was at hand. Thence Ellexos and her team of Mith Roantradam soldeirs broke through the fray, dispatching and distracting the enemy so as to give the Avonthian brothers and Kethol Av Torketal the advantage needed to close ranks on and defeat the Dark One. They succeeded.
The battle had ended but Enethia and Kethol were slain. Morweth attempted to comfort Ellexos, for she had lost both father and sister. In this dream he found he both pitied and was attracted to her, and she thence occupied his thoughts. He knew this attraction to be futile for Mithrodin were dedicated to their order and duty above all, but still he spoke his thoughts to her in his dream. In her sorrow his words were lost but he found the comfort of his eldest brother to Ellexos seemed to have more favor with her.
Athollos was next in line to be king and held greater stature than he, but seeing this attraction angered Morweth, for he seemed careless of her great loss. This dream version of his brother wore a guise of persona and charm to hide his true self from others, but Morweth saw through this facade. In Athollos there was some concern for the welfare of others, but more of a desire for power and possession rather than care of the subjects under him. A dark desire? Morweth could not be certain in this dream, but he knew something aberrant had taken residence in the thougts of his sibling since the war had ended. He saw this clearly but Ellexos did not perceive it. Out of his love he tried to warn her, but she laughed, thinking it only a flirtatious jest from a young infatuated prince.
The mission was too important to jeapordize. Morweth reached for his sword, Vorenthul, to remind him of the wisdom of his father, the King. He pulled it from its scabbard. Vorenthul was the most unique of the three swords of Avonthia, treasured heirlooms of his family. It was Elvish in origin, given to his Avonthian ancestors by one of the first Elven kings in Deylund. The curved blade was light and fast, adorned with engraved flames.The hilt was fitted with a double guard, a tightly wrapped leather grip, and a hooked and pointed pommel spike. The ancient weapon had been passed on to him by his father when he reached the age of ascension, and he would pass it on to his own son one day. Morweth had spilled much blood with it in the war, and it may spill blood again this night. He decided to confront Athollos and question where his loyalties truly lie. As he turned to go from his tent his brother suddenly appeared before him, his own sword Sedethul in hand. Its blade was stained with blood, and in the possessed face of Athollos he saw the eyes of the Dark One, Evruc, staring back at him.
Morweth awoke sharply, the dream seared into his waking mind. His thoughts were that this was no nightmare, but a prophecy of what was to come. It has been said only those who would one day be king had true visions of the future. Vorenthul beheld this as a sign. His older brother would surely have that title before him, but in his heart he knew that he must do all in his power to prevent this. Athollos would be corrupted soon by the dark presence, or perhaps had already been. At dawn he met with his brother and all seemed normal. They planned out the day’s travel and security strategy with the Mithrodin. Athollos appeared to be the same brother he always loved and respected, but this day Morweth could sense the seeds of evil from his dream within him. He also sensed that evil knew it had been recognized. Perhaps Athollos himself was unaware of it. I must be alert, he thought, for the sake of the mission, and I must make Ellexos understand the danger within Athollos. But how could he convince the others with no proof but a dream?
To be continued.
The Tale of the Swords of the Ancients and Other Blades of Power and its previous versions, The Swords of the Ancients and its abridged excerpts, and other forms, are ©1997,©2005, ©2008, and ©2012 by Kit Rae. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any other form, or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, computer networking, or otherwise without prior permission in writing by the copyright holder(s). Avoloch is a trademark of Kit Rae.