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Five days passed as the arrangements for the wedding between Sadron Locien and Eiliandis Thorontur were made. Despite never showing himself, Sadron managed to keep any possible order members from being invited, and planned to have his renegades, as well as the royal guard, watch the grand hall the ceremony would happen in. In the center of Lor’drassil, there stood a large tree that had several levels of hollowed out rooms that had been made to hold large events. From archery, to parties of all kinds, the Center Tree was viewed as a place of neutrality. Or at least it had been. Two years earlier, the Order of Valadhiel had begun to permanently occupy the topmost floor of the tree, which was also the most lavish. They had closed it off to all but the most loyal to their order. Because of this, the wedding was to take place right under it. Naturally, Sadron had made sure that three of his archers had taught bows pointed at the door at all times. If it shifted even an inch, they were to shoot. Sadron himself had his voice magically enhanced, and announced to the upper level that if any order members opened the single entrance to the floor the wedding would be held on, they would be shot. One or two elves had left after that announcement, and cursed Sadron as they descended and left the tree. The entire place was being rented out for this one event, as many citizens who had proven loyal to the old ways had wanted an invitation. Once they passed a brief test, they were allowed in, and told to wait.

Finally, by about mid-day, everything was ready, and the ceremony began. Sadron gazed at his subjects and smiled appreciatively at them. He knew many of them on a first name basis, and those he did not, he respected all the same. He judged his people on their actions, not their appearances, and everyone knew it. For many, this would be their chance to make a good impression on the new king. Syril Thorontur had been allowed to attend, despite his ties with the order. Sadron knew that Eiliandis wanted her father to see her today, but Sadron had a feeling the king was a strategic move in a plan the order had cooked up. They didn’t think he would shoot his bride’s father on her wedding day, in front of most of the city, they were wrong. If he acted in a manner that would cause harm to anyone, Sadron would not hesitate to deal death. Syril however, seemed completely at ease, and had even had a civil conversation with Sadron, before leaving to speak to other friends who were attending. Sadron knew Syril was a good man at heart, and he sincerely hoped he wouldn’t have to shoot him. As he continued to brood and try to figure out the order’s plan, for he had no doubt they had one, the bells rang within the tree, and the floors became transparent, yet remained solid so all attending could see the pair being wed. The ceremony started uneasily, as everyone looked around, expecting a member of the order to barge in at any moment, but none did. The two lovers pledged themselves to each other, and were recognized as a pair. It was then that Syril Thorontur stepped forward before Sadron and his daughter. “Sadron Locien, one hundred and fifty years past, my grandfather, Beriadan, reclaimed this kingdom from the rule of the Order of Valadhiel. He passed along orders to his son, if an heir to the Locien line was ever found, and my own father passed these same decrees to me.” The king paused, and Sadron felt uneasy. He was about to reach for the small dagger he kept on his hip, when his wife gently squeezed his hand, and smiled at him. He glanced at her, and looked back to her father, who had begun to continue speaking, “Beriadan decreed that if an heir was ever found, he must be given the crown once he reached manhood. You have long since passed that point, and I apologize for it. I said nothing against this union, because I feel my fate is to help you restore this kingdom to what it once was. As of now, I recognize you as the one leader of our race. May you lead us well.” Finishing, Syril bowed to Sadron, and everyone else did so as well. A resounding cry shook the tree, “All Hail King Locien!” It was at that moment that Sadron looked around, and for the first time in his life, relaxed. He was finally surrounded by friends, and now family, in his beloved city. As the sun set however, he looked down at the city, and gasped. Hundreds of citizens crowded the main thoroughfares, but beyond the walls, something dark stirred. Gently releasing Eiliandis’ hand from his own, he stepped before the window, and frowned. Something was definitely wrong.

A loud crash resounded throughout the fair city of Lor’drassil, as a beast straight from a nightmare began to attack the walls. It stood well over a hundred feet, and was clearly not elf-friend. The thing smashed through Lor’drassil’s outer walls, and charged in. Now that it was closer, many saw it for what it was: a tree. It was like no tree they had ever seen. Its ‘skin’ was dark as night, and resembled bark. Its face was hideous, but two gleaming eyes could be seen within the dark purple leaves that covered its face. Those eyes were full of malice. As the tree creature roared, two enormous tusks of wood could be seen in its maw, sharp and deadly. What was most alarming about the beast however was that its fists, entangled branches in the form of balls, were on fire. As they smashed through a few outlying buildings, the flames that were seen were purple in color, and that was when the wood elves knew they were in trouble. Only one race employed creatures like this, beasts out of a nightmare they were, and deadly as well. Long ago, the wood elves had defeated this race, and thought them dead. Now however, it was clear they had returned. Though they had other names for themselves, they were commonly referred to as dark elves. Thought to have once been an offshoot of the wood elve’s race, the dark elves had been corrupted by some great force, and were changed in both body and mind because of it. Their skin had gone from pale pink to dark blue and black, their eyes took on shades of red and purple instead of the normal green, and occasional yellow, and their magic became as twisted as their race. The dark elves did not follow the basic magical laws the wood elves had laid down for themselves, and were hated the more for it. They imbued creatures with their dark magic and sent them against their enemies, once flesh and blood creatures failed to fulfill their purposes however; they began to empower creatures of wood and stone instead. The final battle between the two elvish races had been brutal, but eventually the dark elves were forgotten, as were their creatures. Forgotten that is, until one of them came crashing through the walls of their best-defended city. As many began to despair, they turned to Sadron Locien, their new king, to guide them against this threat, and guide them he did.

Once the creature was through the outer walls, Sadron and the military forces around him had evacuated the Center Tree, and made for the magical ballistae on the inner curtain walls. There was one thing dark elves and their ilk were susceptible to, and that was light magic. Though the elves could stand it, their creations could not. The discovery had been what had turned the war in the wood elves favor all those centuries ago. Hopefully, it would do the same for them now. Eagerly, the elvish forces loaded their ballistae, and cast a magical aura of light magic upon the arrows. They fired as one from the inner curtain wall of the city, and tore into the beast. It slowly burned away to nothing as the light ate away the darkness in a way that hadn’t been seen for centuries. From the point of command Sadron had taken, he ordered ground troops to secure the front wall immediately, and to get the citizens within the better defended areas. The thought on the mind of every elf within Lor’drassil was the same. The Dark Elves have returned.

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