It all began long, long ago when the Hylunvian Elves were driven out of Feyn when their rivals within the Court of Feyn allied against them. It was either escape into the world or be exterminated. Out in the world, it took the Hylunvians a generation to adapt their natural magics from the mystic realm of Feyn to the natural magic of Pangorio. This adaptation did not change the three traditional castes. The high caste, and the nobility, were the Druidican. They were all practitioners of the High Arts of nature magic. Their children are the only ones allowed to be trained in the Higher Arts. Those children who fail to learn, and more often by harsh politics, are kicked out of the caste. The middle caste are the Ovantecan. To them fall the Lower Arts of nature. The lowest class, the Bardican, are, at best, arcane archers and only if they get the chance to learn magic at all. The Hylunvian Elves arrived upon Pangorio during the formative years of the Hrokentorm Empire. These formative years were mostly the Hrokentorm forcing all the other races of giants to serve under them in bloody wars. Once the other giants were brought to heel, the Hrokentorm set out to conquer and plunder every other race and nation they could find. By the time they discovered the Hylunvians, the elves had already prepared themselves two stone citadels in the midst of an ancient forest. Living farthest from the citadels, were the villages of the Bardicans. With their limited magics, these villages proved easy prey for the giants. Pleas for aid went unanswered, as the Druidican felt that the Bardicans were excellant buffer settlements that kept the giants from bothering the "better" Hylunvians. The Bardicans were crafty and elusive in their regions of the ancient forest but they were still dying. Extinction was beginning to look inevitable. Then Boki, the godess of secrets, came to them. She had them drink from The Dragon Chalice which granted them the powers of sorcery, a new kind of magic to the elves. This new magic could be passed down to their children who would then pass it down to their children and so on and so on. With their new magic, the Bardicans began to fight back. Each generation brought more sorcerous elves into the world. Finally, the Bardicans were able to not only survive, but defeat the giants and their magics. This the other Hylunvians finally noticed and they were horrified that the Bardicans had not only forsaken the Arts, but had tainted their blood! This was a travesty and had to be purged before they tainted all Hylunvians! The first attack killed some as it was a surprise, but not as many as the Druidicans had expected. The Bardicans rallied themselves and were no longer vulnerable to surprise attacks. Furious, they raided Ovantecan villages, which were the next Hylunvian settlements beyond the citadels before they, too, rallied with aid from the Druidican. Things degraded into outright war. Then came the day when the two sides, drawn up into armies, met in the Valley of Flowers.
The two sides faced each other in a strange and still stare down. Who would flinch first? Who would be the impatient hot head? It was not impatience but a desire to test the magical protections of the Propers that launched that first volley from the Bardicans. The rain of arrows darted tot he trees. Suddenly, they flew aloft and looped back through the air to the Bardicans. The arrows never touched the Bardicans, either as they were swepted into designated patches of brush that suddenly bristled like giant hunkered down porcupines. Then, the raindrops started falling from the clouds above. The bows were useless. The Bardi drew their tucks and verunas. The tuck was a short rapier held in the shield hand to deliver a thrust while the veruna was a longer blade meant for slashing and chopping. It was a deadly combination that allowed for parries and simultaneous counter attacks. The Ovantecans drew their longer jians, double-edged straight blades designed for balance, reach, and versatility. The beautiful notes of several horns sounds from the Bardicans, and the first wave of two thousand elves charged towards the trees. Vines and brush snatched at them, stopping some and pulling others off their feet. A moment later, the suddenly wild vegetaion stilled, tamed by counter magics. This first wave struck the three thousand Ovantecans and the second two thousand charged. Over the fray, orbs of fire flew out only to be swatted aside into the same brush the arrows had struck. The Ovantecans fellback, as planned, drawing the first wave into a trap where the trees, awakened from their roots, pummeld them. The second wave skirted the trees and continued the assault on the Ovantecans. And then the Bardican horns called retreat in desperate, repeating bleats that was so unexpected that even the Ovantecans paused. In that pause, came the first ground shuddering thud only a Hrokentorm war golem dropping down from the sky could make. "GIANTS!" the Bardicans in the attacking waves screamed. They disengaged as quickly as they could and ran out of the trees. The rain had ended and the gray clouds were gone, revealing a long war city floating above the Valley of Flowers. By the time the Bardicans had regrouped, five great golems standing fifty feet tall had climbed out of the craters their landings had made. Armored giants slid down long massive ropes. The time for the elven slaughter had begun.
The giants' surprise attack killed thousands of elves on both sides. The Propers were driven all the way back into the Ovantecan villages and then to the citadels where they finally managed to make a stand that stopped the giants. They put up an inpenetrable defence but could not drive out the giants, who pillaged every village they could find. For the Bardicans, the fight they gave the giants was more fierce. Experienced at fighting the golems, they managed to destroy three and get word back to their villages for everyone to flee. A full seven thousand Bardi died buying time for their civilians to escape.
The Hylunvians Proper, as the purebloods called themselves, had three thousand Ovantecans and three hundred Druidican. They were aligned along the northern edge of the valley of Flowers, their backs facing the trek back to their citadels. The Bardicans, who had cast off the name of Hyluvian and kept Bardican, had eight thousand Bardi( the arcane archers) and 80 Sorci, as the elves with sorcerous blood called themselves. There were no Bardicans who did not have magic anymore. They had either been trained by other arcane archers or they were dead. The Bardicans aligned themselves along the southern edge of the Valley of Flowers, their backs to the Saurtylvane River.
* * *Hidden in the clouds above the battlefield waited a Hrokentorm war city with five war golems and two legions of giants ready and eager for elf-meats.
The Valley of Flowers is a flood plain with the Saurtylvane River running through it. It is thick with brush in between large meadows of wildflowers. It has often served the Hyluvian Elves as a meeting place for festivals and trade fairs. Herds of wild horses gallop the Valley of Flowers and are occassionaly captured and trained as mounts. Mostly, though, the herds serve as watchers for giants, who delight in horseflesh almost as much as elf-meats. One shrill whinny will have every horse and elf taking heed. The Saurtylvane River runs east to west with the usual bends and one patch of rapids where it flows over a rocky stretch. These rapids serve as stepping stones for those wanting cross swiftly on foot and are at the backs of the Bardicans. It was a grey day with clouds that seemed to be debating whether or not to rain.
The Battlefield and Its Conditions
The giants eventually left with their great haul of dead elves and confident that they had destroyed any chance of what few elves remained could ever raise a nation against them. For the Hylunvian Proper, their numbers were horribly decimated and any thoughts of going after the Bardicans to purge their taint was gone. Instead, they simply declared their lands forbidden to all Bardicans. Those untainted were welcome to come and rejoin the Hylunvian Proper. For the Bardicans, they lost far more soldiers in the battle but most of their civilians managed to escape. With the Hylunvian Proper no longer wanting to purge them, they saw no need to continue fighting. Instead, they left the ancient forest to find a new one to be their home, well away from the Propers and the notice of the giants.