Tag Archive: Gray Elves


Tolin’s Journal #4

My Dear Ilanna,

Know that I was among the final defenders of your castle the day it fell. While you remained safely hidden, I took my instructions from Lyanis to heart in hopes it would be your salvation. If only my sheer will could have saved you, we would have left that death trap together. However, as you know, the powers working against you were too great for your guard to bear.

Still, it was all for you that I raced down those stairs. My fear threatened to hold me back, but I wouldn’t let it stop me from defending your home. What little valor your guards had, they expended in barricading the doors to the keep. As I made it to the bottom of the stairs with my torn parchment in hand, I saw them failing to hold back the evil on the other side.

I laughed inwardly, knowing none of them had long to live. Death comes for us all, but some you can just tell are easier targets. Holding up the spell written by Lyanis, I concentrated on the runes, allowing them to form in my mind. Speaking the activating words, light shone out all through the room. Crimson lines traced out a pattern below me that I recognized all too late.

Held in place by the symbol surrounding my feet, I watched the guards fly away from the doors. Wooden splinters flew out to either side of me ahead of the armed soldiers storming inside. Confronted by the very same force that had destroyed me village, I screamed in all my fury and conjured what I could. Nothing happened. I stood powerless as your elven guard fell all around me at the hands of those rushing inside.

Blood spilled across the floor and covered the attackers’ blades, but still no one touched me. I reached out to stop the soldiers from advancing up the stairs, but I couldn’t lift my hands from my sides. Again, I was helpless and forced to watch everything around me crumble. Screams poured down the halls as the soldiers charged through them. My greatest fear was only that you, Ilanna, had been killed. I struggled even harder to free myself, but got nowhere.

The battle rushed past me, leaving a strange silence behind. Mountain air blasted through now broken entrance and pushed me to the ground. I found my feet rather quickly and ran to find you. That was when I heard the feet scrambling down the stairs. I looked up and saw Lyanis gliding down with a small entourage in tow.

I yelled out to ask him what was happening and he turned to me with a worried look. I was about to demand answers when I saw you, Ilanna, hiding underneath a cloak in the center of the group. You must remember pulling back your hood to acknowledge me for the very first time. Your eyes were the most terrifyingly beautiful I had ever seen. Surely you felt our connection in that perfect moment.

For the briefest of time, I forgot the peril we were all in, but soon came back when you thanked me for my sacrifice. Confused, I just nodded my head in a stupor as you continued walking outside. Lyanis was the last one out and turned back to me, baring my exit. He explained the castle was now mine and I was the only one who could contain the evil within.

I ignored his crazy ramblings, and pushed around him to move outside. A jolt of pain snapped me back into the castle. Lyanis explained I wouldn’t be able to leave because of the scroll I had cast. If I left, all the evil now trapped in the castle would follow me. I screamed at how wretched of an elf he was and reaffirmed my hatred of his kind.

He disappeared with you down the mountain, leaving me to watch your escape from above. I knew how short-lived it would be as the attacking horde stood around the base of the mountain. For hours, I stood watching until you were captured and brought before whatever twisted general hunted you. I wept when they bound your hands in chains and shoved you in that prison cart.

When they set off, carrying you away from me, I tried once more to leave the castle, but still I could not. I was trapped in my own prison as they drove you unto yours. That was the moment I vowed to seek you out and free you from your captors. I live by that vow in this very moment that I pen these words as fervently as I made it that day. Those who imprisoned you will suffer at my hands.

I never make vows lightly. I will come for you and I will rescue you.

Tolin Naihim
Death’s Neglected Son

Necromancer

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Tolin’s Journal #3

My Dear Ilanna,

My arms and back ached from the daily torture in that cell. Every evening I had a brief opportunity to see you, so I strained to hold my face up to that tiny window. My long days of monotony brightened when you walked by. Though, I only glimpsed you from a distance, it was cool water to my weary soul.

Only my body lived in that cell. My soul belonged to you then as it still does now. I bid my time until destiny would draw us together. My jailers couldn’t get a word out of me, though they tried. I ate their food, meager as it was, and answered half their questions with quiet nods. If they had only known of our love, they could have made me talk with the slightest of threats against you.

I gathered more information from them than they did me. Their fear and worry showed me they respected my power. They were right to seal me off, for I would have killed all of them to avenge my people. My attempts at casting failed, leading me to believe my cell was warded. Of course at that time I knew very little of magic and even less of wards. It was only recently that I understood what they truly feared of me. They took my ability to quickly learn the dark arts very seriously.

One day, a new visitor came for me, introducing himself as Lyanis. He held himself upright with a staff but didn’t quite carry himself as highly as his fellow elves. With a stirring in his eyes, he offered to apprentice me should I give up my deity. Servants of Nerull can’t be bought so easily, but I was young and thirsted for knowledge. Well, I thirsted to be free of my cell and be with you, Ilanna, so I took this chance. I pretended to fall for his rhetoric that all students of the arcane are of singular breed unbound by clan, creed, or class. He delivered a beautiful speech that would have convinced anyone to follow him, but it was only for you that I went with him that day.

He secured my release and took me to my new chambers, adjoining his own. It was a small room with a cot more comfortable than the stone I had been sleeping on and, to my amazement, a massive bookshelf lined one of the walls. Not having read a word for weeks, I rabidly devoured each tome in that library whenever Lyanis allowed me free time. The books were on many subjects, but mostly centered around the elven life as a wizard.

He mostly kept me busy scrubbing the floors, cleaning the rugs, and other menial tasks. It built up a work ethic that he valued, so I obliged. Of course, I always hoped I might run into you in the halls, but as you know, I hoped in vain. Days of this passed until Lyanis said it was time he showed me true arcane power. I casually told him death was the only power I needed. He laughed and patted me on the head as if it would cure some ignorance I held.

I humored him during his lessons, paying just enough attention to make him think I believed his teachings. As I said before, I wouldn’t be bought so cheaply. He showed me various spells and I learned them just as quickly as he could present them. The difficult part of his lessons were his condescending tones. I never did anything right because of my human birth. My mind was never as adept at magic as an elf’s. In these moments, he became someone entirely different from the elf who rescued me from the cell.

I matched him though with my own, unbreakable will. Each time he tore into me, I would try harder and remind myself of his people’s deceitful nature. Knowing their day of retribution drew near kept me focused. I never once let him break me down. Through his berating, I learned my most valuable lesson–perseverance. I’m not sure if that was what he intended, but I still hold onto that today.

Strangely enough, Lyanis was the only one to treat me with proper dignity and respect outside his lessons. Everyone else regarded me with contempt or fear. On one occasion Lyanis physically defended me from one of the kitchen maids chasing me with a wooden spoon. After that, we formed a nearly amicable bond. I took what wisdom I could gleam from his lessons and even let myself buy into his style of magic. I kept Nerull close to my heart, though, just to keep myself on the right path.

I was happy with my new routine around the castle, but every day that I didn’t see you felt empty. One night after finally gathering the courage to ask about you, I went to see Lyanis. He sat at his desk scribbling onto a torn parchment. Before I could say anything he looked at me and handed me the parchment with instructions to keep it with me. Then he snatched his staff and dragged me out into the hallway toward the staircase leading to the battlements.

The cold mountain air nearly froze me in place, but all feeling left me once I saw down to the base of the mountain. A battle played out down below us. Elven riders clashed against an unknown force. I felt a certain delight at watching the riders get cut down in the same manner they had cut my townfolk down.

Lyanis explained they had been fighting over the past few months and our enemies had just now reached our gates. He said that our only hope was for me to present myself to the attacking force and read off the spell he handed me earlier. Naturally, I was scared, but he assured me it was the only way to save you, Ilanna. Staring in amazement, he reminded me that I could never hide anything from him.

He shoved me back inside toward the main staircase. I was now scared and confused, but walked down those stairs ready to save you. I’m sure you remember what happened next, but you certainly never knew who was responsible. Now you know it was me and it was all for you.

Tolin Naihim – Death’s Neglected Son

Tolin’s Journal #2

My Dear Ilanna,

I’ll never forget that day we first met. I’m sure to you it was an unremarkable day, but it changed my destiny. No, rather, you changed my destiny. To understand why, you must know what I survived beforehand. After the elven massacre of my town, I endured the hardest weeks of my life.

I spent that first night in the library curled around my favorite book, A History of the Valley. It’s familiarity comforted me while death strode outside. Elves weaved in an out of its pages. Critical in the founding of the Valley, they upheld an unspoken alliance to guard it from their mountain castles against invaders. In recent centuries, they had withdrawn from sight, hiding in the mountains. Funny, since they didn’t look highly on dwarven values.

Whether their relationship with us deteriorated by Lord Chaxon’s hand or theirs, I grew to hate them that night. All the good they had ever done for me, unknown or not, flushed out from my mind. The unnatural screaming and groaning outside justified my new-found hate.

I found sleep that night in a pool of my tears. I dreamed of my father and I working out in the fields until a force of elves descended from the mountains. The townsfolk’s screams haunted me once again, crying for me to save them as the elves burned everything. My own father reached out for me, but I was powerless. Two mounted, armored elves stabbed him with their lances, reveling in my screams of fury.

I awoke with a start, cursing the elves. Hurrying outside, the sun lit up an empty town. Nothing burned, yet nothing stirred. I traveled from house to house walking through remnants of interrupted lives. Nothing had been pillaged save the people. Every living animal and person had been emptied out. I cried out for my father, but he never came. I was alone.

The mountains hid their elven castles from me. Without the darkness of night to reveal the lights, I couldn’t make out anything from the grays and whites of the tall slopes. A solemn pang of fear weighted me down. The elves were sure to return.

Taking no time to mourn those I had lost, I set myself to work fortifying the library. My studies of the histories of major battles helped me create a crude series of small battlements and archer platforms. Ransacking a few houses, I had enough food stocks to supply me for weeks, plus the next harvest soon approached. I could easily have made it another year or more.

As the weeks went by, I spent my days perusing towers of books on the arcane magics. They were my only hope of achieving retribution for my father. The elves stripped my life from me, I thought it fair to repay them. The library stored tomes on just about every school of magic. I sought ways of killing my enemies as brutally as they had killed my father. Nothing quite satisfied me.

While patrolling my makeshift castle, I passed the cellar door-the only section that remained unexplored. I always stayed away because of my boyish fears. This time, I conquered the dark with a fistful of candles. Without much searching at all, I found a hidden door that lead into a small room layered with dust. An expended candle burnt down to a nub sat at the edge of a desk littered with parchments.

The walls were deep shelves filled with books bound all in black. The dust was so thick upon them, I couldn’t make out any of their names. I pulled a few over to the desk and began reading. At first, they were written in an unknown script, but the longer I sat there, the more I seemed to understand the words. One name recurred throughout them all–Nerull. I smiled, having found the path to unleash death upon the elves.

I lived in that private library over the next few weeks, filling my head with its tomes of death. I would have wasted away in all of that knowledge, had I not been captured. On that fateful day that you may very well remember, Ilanna, I had come back up to the main hall in the library and heard elven voices outside. Peeking down from my battlements, I saw a handful of elven riders.

Eager to apply my studies, I conjured up a host of undead rats with my limited powers. Short sword in hand, I burst outside and attacked the riders like a fool. My army of rats covered them, chinking their armor with decaying teeth. The elves just laughed at me and brushed my army off them. In moments, my army turned back into dust at my feet.

Rage swelled in my throat. I screamed out another curse and cast more spells from my memory. Dark clouds blotted out the sun as two of the elves fell from their horses. They screamed while ripping off their armor. I laughed at seeing their flesh turn black and fall from their bones. The other riders descended upon me before I could open my mouth again. I crumpled to the ground, unconscious.

I awoke in chains with pain running throughout my body. My cell felt moderately sized, but that could have been my childish perspective. A lone beam of sunlight entered through a tiny window a little bigger than my head. I had to jump up, grab the ledge, and pull myself up to look out.

The Valley spread out as far as I could see to either side. It wasn’t as green as I always imagined. Instead, it looked to be a patchwork of varying shades of brown. Then it hit me. I had made it up to a castle in the mountains! Not even my chains held back my excitement.

Through my window, I could make out the outer parts of the castle that held me prisoner. I’ve never felt such exhilaration as I did there, in a cell, hanging from a ledge, and viewing an elven castle from the inside. But even that wasn’t the best sight I found.

I noticed a walkway a level down from where I was. A group of female elves wearing flowing gowns of yellow and deep blue walked across it. I’m sure you remember that day now, Ilanna, because your violet eyes sparked their own conversations with those around you. My own heart stopped from your sheer beauty. The sun caught your hair perfectly and ignited its golden flair. I almost could have forgiven your House in that moment for what they did to me.

I held on as tightly as I could to that ledge, desiring to watch you forever. Your gaze drifted in my direction and we locked eyes. I’m sure you remember as well as I. Our destinies converged in that moment, giving birth to our eternal love.

Tolin Naihim – Death’s Neglected Son