Of Gods and Man - Wallace's Gambit Ch.2 in Ayn | World Anvil
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Of Gods and Man - Wallace's Gambit Ch.2

Faced with the fear of extinction at the hand of this new threat, the kingdoms of Elf, Dwarf, Halfling and Gnome rallied under a common banner of necessity. Previously, the groups existed in relative isolation, keen to mind issues on their respective homefronts with little desire to strike long time bonds elsewhere, but there was no denying that the dangers presented were far too great to ignore. No longer could Halflings sit idly on their earthen porches, pipe in hand and care thrown to the wind. Dwarven craftsmen turned their focus from their various artisanry to a tireless devotion to weapons and engines of war. Even the Gnomes had begun to buckle down and turn their thoughts from fantastical and whimsy invention to more realistic and rational pursuits. Never had the armies of man rallied faster.
Yet they were outmatched.
In hindsight, it made sense. Of what use was an arrow, even one shot by a ballista, to such a gargantuan creature? Dynamite and explosive charges launched by dwarven machinations served only to conjure up black soot and little more. There seemed to be no answers to deal with the shambling fiend. So frightening was the lumbering mass it was given the name Hoarmin, the Pale Terror, yet that was only the beginning of their woes. The barbaric Orcs, once able to be held at bay, took notice of the plight and exercised their savage opportunism, marching in throngs to attack and pillage. These adventures proved successful due to the split attention, and soon outlying, yet still major, cities were ransacked...Their people slaughtered or forced into shackles.
  Growing more dire by the day due to Hoarmin's focus now shifted to the main elven capital of Leth'Romel, emergency plans were made.  
"We must flee, not as a sign of cowardice, but as a means to regroup. We will take to the skies. The great eagles and gryphons will carry us. Now go, quickly. Gather what we can and collect your loved ones. Go!"
After his decree to evacuate his people, the king turned towards the man who had brought the monster to their attention.   "Toren'Domir, you must break away and alert all of Ayn of this nightmare. Tell the trees. Tell the fish. Tell the mountains. This is just not a threat to our people...This...this thing spells disaster for all existence."   It was these words that echoed in his mind as he embraced his wife to ease her woes.   "Go with the people. They will take refuge in the mountains to the north, far, far away from this abomination."   "I don't want to be away from you. Toren...I am scared." She replied, tears casting a glossy eclipse over her otherwise calming eyes.   "I am too, Lethria. We will be together soon. You must not lose hope." His voice as cracked and hesitant as his convictions, "Now go. The Great Eagles will ferry you on swift wings. Wait for me. I will see the sun rise with your smile once more, I know it."   And after a kiss to her forehead, he released her, nudging her towards the group that was forming and climbing into chariots and canopies swiftly fashioned to the backs of winged beasts. Reservations to evacuate were disappearing with haste...perhaps the only light in the darkness that he was able to secure a flight for his newlywed wife before it was too late.   Unfortunately, he had other concerns to worry about as he made his way to his trusted horse, now fashioned by the suppliers and loaded with rations and gear he would need for his trip. His troupe also awaited, chosen by the various rulers that banded together as brothers in time of need. This company consisted of his younger brother, Relomas, and elder sister, Senera, as well as the dwarven priest, Lobir, and a gnomish couple known for their alchemy and engineering prowess, Gillibee and Knalalumper. The remainder of the group were three Halfling best friends, inseparable and eager for adventure, even in such trying times: Vigo, Moro, and Lalia.
"I will be coming with you as well." Spoke their Florian servant, Thystle, loyal to the family since Toren's birth and credited for a great deal of Relomas' childhood raising, his hands giving a firm tug at the cinch of their steed's saddle.   After approaching him and planting a hand firmly on his shoulder, Toren'Domir's concerns reflected sternly in his eyes, illustrated further by his shaken tone, "Are you sure, old friend? The road will be trying."
  "My Lord, I was there for your birth. As your family has shepherded me, so too will I shepherd you."   "I am stronger for having you."  
It seemed supplies and their caravan was ready, as even the horses stamped and brayed their eagerness to depart such a dangerous plight. All that was left was to watch the flight out to safer lands...a temporary home until they could return, and like fireflies, the light from the sun shone off golden, beating wings of the great eagles, ferrying the evacuees from their home.
  And that's when the mighty crash occurred.  
As the eagles rose, preparing for their quick departure, the emerald canopy of the great trees gave a mighty shake, and like a dark comet, a giant terror barreled from the overcast, roiling clouds. A set of sweeping, bony wings proceeded a roar that shook the very mountains, and in that gaping maw of black clouds and stained, stalactite style teeth, glowed a swirling mass of foul energy, and in a flash, a beam of bright green and necrotic energies stabbed forth with villainy, cutting a swatch of death and destruction over the buildings, but most importantly, severing the mortal bond of many eagles and rider alike.   Once golden wings were set on fire, spiraling towards the dirt below, and as some attempted to dart away, the gnashing fangs of the dragon like monstrosity collapsed quickly, snapping them up like the small morsels they were. Toren'domir's eyes grew wide to match his ever increasing heart rate, desperately searching for one eagle who had gotten away and that perhaps that would be the one ferrying his love, but to no avail.
Not a single person, rider or mount, had gotten away. With a cracked, thunderous shout he called out for his partner, unable to move from his position. It was his brother and sister that had to pull him away from the scene, strapping him to his horse and whipping it into an expedient gallop.
Time was of the essence.


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29 Jan, 2023 08:39

Wow. What a read. I'm only at the end of Chapter 2 and I'm absolutely hooked. Not only with the constant bombardment of valuable detail, but the structure of the story. It's not rushed, and the pace is perfect for a reader to be able to learn about the characters WHILST the iminent threat is making it's slow progress.   Cannot wait to finish the story and figure out how the allied races manage to find their victory.   Amazing work.