Author: "As Recounted by Silvyrlock"
Source: Academy of Learning of Riverhaven
As Recounted by Silvyrlock
Once, long ago as Humans reckon time, a great Empire united much of the then-known world. Called the Empire of the Seven-Pointed Star after its main sigil and for symbolic reasons, the empire united much of what was the civilized world.
But the Seven-Pointed Star that symbolized unity was only the result of a much more turbulent time that occured before the rise of the imperial kingdom.
The Elven-Human Wars
Perhaps the thing that brought about the crashing realization about the terrible times civilization faced were the poorly named Elven-Human Wars.
The War began when a fragile alliance was to be formed between two Elven nations -- that of the Forest and the Mountain. Sorril, daughter of the Elven Lord Keirnion, was to marry Rivyn, the son of the Mountain Queen Morganae. Unfortunately, Sorril fell in love with a Human by the name of Kanton, the son of a now-lost clan whose name is forgotten even by the Elves.
The night of her wedding (when the alliance was to be sealed) Sorril fled with Kanton into the night. When, at the proper time, the maidens of Grace (special servants of Hodierna amongst Elven tribes who see to the ritual niceties of weddings) came to get Sorril, all they found where she should have been was her wedding gown -- carefully folded on her bed -- and her crown, gleaming gently on the dress' bodice.
At Kanton's clan, the two were wed. Because Kanton was the clan leader and the most powerful warrior in the tribe, few saw reason to try and challenge the marriage, and those who did were called by Kanton into a duel to the death that Kanton -- inevitably -- won. The Humans, while not fond of the Elves, saw little reason to risk their short-lived lives to try and stop something that was, after all, Sorril and Kanton's own decision.
When Keirnion found out that his daughter had broken the oldest taboo of Elven lore (Human and Elven interaction in matrimony is frowned upon by both races so much that couples who usually engage in such activity are put to death), he rallied the Elven forces to find her. Morganae, she of the bloodiest clan of the Elven nation, joined Keirnion, agreeing with him that, though his daughter was an upstart, the Humans would pay for housing and encouraging this obscenity of Elven tradition.
The Elven forces moved in on Kanton's clan with a one day warning from Kanton's scouts. When Kanton heard the Elven warcry he saw an opportunity he had been waiting for for years. Quickly he gathered a council of the nearest clan's elders and, together, five clans united to stop the Elven "menace," with runners sent out to the other clans to help them in their battle.
The war forces threw themselves at each other savagely, and bright Elven blood flew in silver streams, mingling with the darker Human blood and watering the fields they fought on, feeding the trees they fought in. Keirnion, when he realized that the Humans -- while not as seasoned as Elven fighters -- were still more numerous, rallied the other Elven nations to join him in the battle. The prize, after all, were the Human lands -- perhaps even mass extinction of the pestilence that were Humans themselves! Sorril, his daughter, was forgotten.
When Kanton saw the more seasoned Elven fighters taking out his men, he turned to the oldest enemy of Elvenkind in existence -- the Dwarves. Striking a deal with the old King of the Mountain of the time (a Dwarf named Membrach), he agreed that, should the Elvenkind fall, Morganae's mountain would be once more the Dwarves'. Excited by the fervor of the possible riches in store for him, he watched with pride as the Dwarven nation poured over the battlefield, slicing through the Elven forces like knives through butter. Back at the clan, Sorril, his wife, was forgotten.
In response, Keirnion called in the Elotheans, who brought great magics to the fore. Kanton, in turn, pulled in the Dwarven allies of the Gor, who turned out to be the best fighters by far. Keirnion, desperate now, struck a deal with the one race that Kanton had been completely against creating treaties with -- the S'kra. Wracked by a bad season of harvest, the S'kra willingly accepted Keirnion's coins.
It was soon learned that the forces of the now falsely named Elven-Human Wars were equally matched. While the Human side had far more brawn and manpower with its Dwarven and Gor allies, the Elven side had unmatched magics with the S'kra, and foresight and war counsel from the Moon Mages of the Eloths. Halflings were hired as scouts or spies, and the small folk took coins from both sides since, in their opinion, neither side deserved any form of respect.
Years passed, side wearing away at side, and the war mages of the S'kra developed hideous and powerful magics that began sloughing away the Human line. The snakes, ages old enemies of the Gor, took a cruel delight in roasting the giant greenskins, and the Gor, not bright but driven into a frenzy, ploughed in suicidal packs toward the rear of the war lines, trying to get to the S'kra mages. Elven arrows, tipped with S'kra poison, flew into the Human line. Even the usually peaceful Elothean magics became deadly now.
At last, it was the land itself that caused the tides of battle to change. The S'kra had developed, within a short span of a few years, a deadly magic that would destroy a large portion of the Human forces. On the day the spell was cast, the sky darkened and the air stilled, but the magic itself never completed, for at that moment the world met its first Guardians.
The Guardians, it is said, stepped out of nowhere, one male and one female. Both wore simple white robes and looked like a strange mix of Elven and Human. They drew up their arms and all the battlefield stilled as the entire forces felt their limbs grow heavy and unmovable. Then the Guardians said, in quiet voices that carried across the fields, that, while they cared little for the war, they did care for the magics being exchanged, and warned for a halt. They discouraged further abuse of the magic that was a gift to all races, and gave one final warning -- then vanished.
One warrior mage, whose name has since been trampled into the mud and forgotten, ignored the warning, proclaiming that he was more powerful than any Guardian. He invoked the great spell of destruction that the mages had been attempting to call down before -- and a bloom of white-hot fire burst up around him, incinerating everyone within a quarter mile radius -- which happened to include the entire Wind Clan of the S'kra.
With this stranglehold on magic the war was soon decided in the favor of the Humans. The Elves, painfully aware of their martial shortcomings in the face of Dwarves with just as many years of experience as they, began to fall back, grudgingly giving ground. Exhausted and shattered by the horrors of the battles, the Elotheans began to fade back toward their secret places, cursing the name of their Ferdahl who had led them into this war. The S'kra, however, were not fools. They would not lose to Gor'tog's -- not if they could help it.
In the night, a S'kra chieftain approached Morganae and Rivyn and told them there was a simple way to end this war -- assassination. He had asked Keirnion to consider it many times over, but the Elven lord had stuck to his ethics and told the snake to forget it. Now, at last, the S'kra had turned to the one person of the Elven leaders who might actually entertain his idea. It is said that Morganae, who had sent her people out in conservative numbers and mostly sat from her mountain watching with calm eyes, smiled at the chieftain and told him that she had been waiting for someone to mention this....
A messenger was sent to Kanton, telling him that Sorril -- who had since become pregnant with Kanton's child -- had miscarried and to return to the clan to be with her. While Kanton had forgotten his beloved, he had not stopped loving her. The message was like a splash of cold water, and he left orders with his men, then returned to the clan.
Treachery waited him there. Sorril, still pregnant and well, waited in her tent as she had every night since the war started. Unfortunately, Rivyn was waiting as well with his men and a spell of undetectability woven over him by Morganae. As Kanton entered Sorril's tent, the Elven Queen's son leapt from his hiding place and backstabbed the great warlord of the Human tribes.
Sorril's scream of agony echoed through the tribe as she pulled Kanton's rapidly stiffening body to her, her tears of silver streaming down her cheeks and mingling with his darkening blood. Rivyn attempted to drag her away, but -- furious and driven blind by the death of her beloved -- Sorril drew Kanton's right hip short sword "Glisinais" and stabbed Rivyn through the heart with it. The Elven lord fell, quite dead.
The body of Kanton was burned ceremonially, as Sorril silently watched. When Morganae learned her only child was dead, she immediately withdrew all her men and women and told Keirnion the war's cost had now grown too high. She also advised him to look to his own costs, and then once more cloistered herself in her mountain.
Now crippled, Keirnion watched helplessly as his men and women were slaughtered. The Humans, driven into a frenzy rather than demoralized over their leader's death, ploughed through the Elven forces. The S'kra, seeing that they would most likely soon be taken down by the Gor's, withdrew completely, and, with their loss and the final parting of the Elothean forces, the Elven forces fell.
By now, Sorril had had twins -- a girl and a boy. Unusual for an Elven woman, and unusual still that the children survived, she turned them over to a nursemaid and then walked out and disappeared. It is said that she Faded as Elvenkind will do, vanishing into Urrem'tier's embrace.
Keirnion, distraught over the losses, died a month later for unknown reasons. Some say that the S'kra, who had been promised a victory, sent an assassin after him, some say Morganae hexed him into death, and still more say that he died of a shattered soul.
The victory was the Human's, but the victory was hollow. All races -- even the Halflings -- were affected by the five years-long war. Fields lay strewn with bodies, and crows feasted sweetly. In the worn and weary races grew a new desire as they gazed at the desolation half a decade of war had caused. A need for peace.