It had been four hours since the attack, and many things were speeding up for the wood elve’s empire, specifically, their politics. The new King had ordered the order’s headquarters broken open, and emptied of occupants. Besides the strange, even repulsive rituals that were found within, there was also the reek of decayed bodies. Hatred towards the order multiplied when bodies of friends and family long missing were laid on the streets. Only the guards protected them now. The leader of the Order of Valadhiel, Taron Forestwind, knelt before the new king, and glared at him with undisguised hatred. After sending magical messages to the outlying, smaller cities of Eranaar, Thrycil, and Sarathril to evacuate and regroup at the capital, Sadron stared down the person he hated the most, and had hated his entire life. However, his uncle had always told him that, when demonstrating one’s power, restraint was respected far more than brute force. Sadron decided to show both. He addressed his captive and began in a kingly tone, “Taron Forestwind, for over a century you have corrupted my people, sullied my family’s good name with slanderous lies, and brainwashed half of the city with your dribble. Good elves with respectable intellects have become brainless puppets after a session with your order. Now your crimes also include that of murder. However, with the return of our greatest enemies, and their declaration of war by attacking our best defended city, I realize we will need every elf to defeat them. I have hated you since childhood Forestwind, yet I offer you a chance to repent and save your life now out of mercy. Renounce your order’s ways, confirm that all you preach is untrue, and I shall spare your life. Ignore this offer, and you will be sent to the forest you love so dearly to die as the Dark Elves advance. What say you?” Taron Forestwind eyed the elf who had all but usurped him of the throne. One more day, and it would’ve been his, if not for the whore of a princess marrying him. Legally, he was expected to show fealty, yet he had been steeped in the perverted traditions of his order since his birth. His father had been its founder, and had always approved of his actions until his dying breath. Now it was all wasted. All because of this arrogant boy king who had come out of nowhere. Taron raised his head towards his king, and met his eyes. Sadron kneeled down before him to meet his gaze. Taron then spat viciously into the king’s hideous yellow eyes, and shouted, “May the goddess torment your eternal soul for all eternity in the hells that await you Locien slime!”

Sadron snarled, and leapt back, desperately trying to clear his eyes. Once he did, he drew his sword, Starcleaver, and placed its razor-sharp tip against the zealot’s throat. The crowd around them gasped in horror as the light of Starcleaver revealed just how ugly Taron Forestwind was. Coal black skin spread out from around Starcleaver’s tip, and spread up to Taron’s face. His green eyes became an evil, chaotic purple color, and his teeth all became as razor sharp as a predator’s. “So now you know!” Taron shouted at the crowd, “Now you know I am a Dar’falan! A Dark Elf! So what! You cannot stop me Locien! None of you can stop the impending holocaust of darkness that comes forwards from the Ancient Wood at this very moment! Your annihilation is all but assured!” Cackling madly, the dark elf seemed to pop one of his teeth from its socket, it was the only one that had remained flat, and bit down on it. A loud crack could be heard around the square, and the dark elve’s mouth foamed up with saliva as he left the world, a hideous grin on his face.

Appalled by the sight in front of him, he covered his mouth with his shirt, as did the others present. When Dark Elves died, a poison gas, fatal to any who inhaled it, seeped up in wisps from their corpse, and evaporated into nothingness. This was why the wood elves had always favored arrows to swords. Archers died less against the poisonous gas than swordsmen did. Bearing Starcleaver, Sadron turned to his subjects, standing where the dark elf had knelt only a moment before, and held his sword to the neck of each follower of the order. They did not turn. A magician cast spells of light on them just to be sure, but they remained unchanged. Each of them pledged their loyalty to the house of Locien, and renounced their ways, then joined the crowd. Obviously, any dark elves that were left in the order would have fled the city now that Taron had been revealed. It would be a long time before the elves that had truly followed the order would get over being used. Just then, elven horns sounds from the front wall, and more wood elves could be seen outside it. Even from this distance, Sadron saw they were battered and tired. Sadron personally blew the ‘Let them in’ signal back, and prepared for their arrival.

Once the populations of the outlying cities had gathered before their king, the night was growing old. They told tales of dark nightmares coming from the south, and insisted that the only escape from them would be by sea. Sadron ordered the massive cargo and warships prepared at once. They would only flee if their numbers were truly smaller. Queen Eiliandis was left to herd the citizenry to the boats, while the archers, both male and female, waited in organized battalions. The king went to the front wall, and gazed out into the semi-darkness of the woods that surrounded them. As the sun rose, his vision increased, and then, far to the south, he saw them. Massive tree monsters that were much larger than the one they had killed earlier. All around these monsters of woods and shadow marched shadowy figures. As the sun grew higher, Sadron noticed many if not all of them were not shaped like elves, or any race he had ever heard of. They were big, green, and monstrous. They bore tusks much like the prey animals of the Cyri’alar forest did, yet they carried weapons. The other shapes beside them were just as grotesque, but better hidden. In the skies around the shadow monsters, tiny figures riding what looked like bats advanced at a great speed. They too, were well hidden by a cloak of shadows. Soon, the canopy all but hid them, and moved slightly with their advance. It was then that Sadron noticed the entire horizon was moving in the same way, from all directions. They were surrounded, with only the sea as a possible escape route. Hurriedly, Sadron ordered every scrap of food, and every ranged projectile the elves had in the city loaded onto the boats. He only hoped it would be enough.