Garet paced back and forth. His pike swung behind him as he moved. His troops sat back, trying to watch him without being noticed. He wasn’t saying anything but they could tell by his wrinkled brow and solemn expression that he was deeply concerned.
A broadsword was thrown from the trees into the camp. “Tighten up your defensive positions!” Garet ordered. He moved over to the broadsword and examined it. A few tears fell down his cheeks. “Gino,” he whispered. “I will avenge you.” Garet swung his pike in an arch. “Come down here and face me, tree dwelling scum. I will not show you any mercy!”
A volley of arrows came from the trees in response. The troll soldiers were already prepared. Garet swung his pike around and dashed every arrow that came close to him into the ground.
“Return fire,” Garet shouted. A group of trolls grabbed crossbows and fired into the trees. Not a single body fell. “Very well,” the general said. “Get the torches! Let’s burn this forest to the ground!”
As the trolls moved to follow his orders a group of elves and pixies marched out of the forest. They were fully clad in armour, and held their weapons aloft.
“Forget the torches, attack!” Garet cried. He rushed forward with his pike shining. The first soldier who approached him had his neck sliced open. The second suffered a severe stomach wound. Garet’s pike smashed through the third’s armour and ran her through. All around the field elves and trolls locked in combat.
Lang’s blade clashed with Garet’s pike. The two antagonists parried, thrust and clashed for several minutes as they both searched for an opening. Both knew that a single error could easily mean death.
Garet thrust his pike forward. Lang’s shield went up to block the blow. Lang saw an opening and slashed with his own sword while Garet’s pike struggled to break through his shield. Garet saw the blade coming and whirled the pike around in his hands. He hit Lang’s sword-arm with the butt of his pike. The force of the blow shattered Lang’s hand and caused his sword to fall to the ground. Garet took advantage of his superior strength and began hammering against Lang’s shield with his blade, trying to force it out of Lang’s hand. Lang held his shield tightly, but the steel itself was buckling under the force it was being subjected to.
Lang was saved when one of the pixies saw his plight and flew to his aid. She buzzed up to Garet’s face and cast a light spell, temporarily blinding him. Lang dropped to the ground, and rolled to retrieve his sword, abandoning his shield. He quickly scrambled upward and lunged at Garet, striking him in the chest. Garet pushed Lang back. He walked forward, bleeding but alive and slashed at Lang’s head. Lang blocked with his injured arm, sustaining a deep wound and thrust his blade into Garet’s stomach. Garet staggered back briefly but still managed to block Lang’s follow-up thrust.
Garet’s eyes were full of tears, but he could make out the pixie buzzing in the air. “Little pest, I’ll deal with you in due time,” he muttered.
The pixie ignored Garet’s threat. She saw that Lang would still run out of stamina before Garet and decided to further turn the tide. She waved her hands over the ground. Vines grew rapidly and entwined themselves around Garet’s legs. They quickly retracted, pulling the large troll to the ground. He tried to fight his way back up, but his stomach wound had left him weakened.
“Finish it,” Garet gasped. “Send me to my son..”
Lang brought his sword down on Garet’s neck, beheading the troll. “What an opponent,” Lang muttered. “He had great strength in combat and great courage in death.”
Lang looked around the battlefield. The remaining trolls had initiated a retreat. There were hundreds of trolls and elves dead on the ground. A few pixie bodies could be seen lying around.
“Forget about the retreating enemies,” Lang ordered. “Get the wounded treatment, quickly. those of you who are still well, I want proper burials for everyone who died in this fight.” He looked down at Garet’s body. “Even the trolls.”
The soldiers moved to follow his orders. One ran over to him and began tending to his injured arm. The uninjured without first aid duties started by digging two mass graves. One right beside the forest, the other several feet away. They dumped the elven and pixie bodies into the one close to the forest and the trolls into the one further out.
Lang turned to the pixie who had saved his life. She had short silver hair and bright blue eyes. “What’s your name and rank, soldier?”
She curtsied in mid-air. “I’m Squire Thorn Shimmerwing,” she said.
“You saved my life,” Lang said. “You have my deepest gratitude.”
Thorn blushed. “Not at all, Sir. I believe that we all have a duty to look after each other on the battlefield. And your arm was terribly injured.”
Lang nodded. “Spread the word to fall back as soon as we possibly can. Staying in the open for too long could prove fatal. I also want a count of how many we lost.”
Lynai ran as quickly as she could. I tried to protest, to inform her of her error, but I found myself unable to speak loudly enough to get her attention. I was unable to discern whether or not Sadow was in pursuit. Judging by the careless manner in which she ran he either was or she was simply too frightened to stop. She eventually tripped over a log and we fell, not just to the ground, but through it. The very earth broke beneath us. I attempted to use my wings to slow our descent, but I was too exhausted. More importantly, my injuries were severe.
I lost consciousness for an indeterminate period of time. When I awoke I found myself spread out on top of Lynai. Her head was bruised and bleeding, the product of her foolish rescue. She had not yet regained consciousness. We were in a damp chamber. A faint ray of light shone through the ceiling. It was about seventeen feet up.
I tested my wings to determine if they could be used to reach the egress. A great pain shot through my body the instant I opened them. I realized that I would be unable to fly for quite some time. I examined the chamber more closely once my vision had adjusted. There was a stone slab in the centre with two blades resting on it. Ancient runes were written on the front. I was able to read them, in spite of the poor lighting. A rough translation would be:
Two were forged by the great Hephaestus.
Two to represent the duality that exists within all who live
The day and night, the orderly and chaotic
Both with their own power
Both able to choose their own wielder.
Here lie the Helion blade and the Phoebian blade.
Disturb them only in great need.
Curious, none of my inherited memories granted me any knowledge about the blades themselves. Yet if they were forged by the smith God himself I knew that their power had to be considerable. I scrutinised the blades. The Helion blade had a carving of the sun at the base of its hilt. The hilt itself was composed of ivory and copper that were intertwined and a third material I could not recognise. The metal forming the blade was unlike anything that I, or any of my race had ever seen. It was a very light silver colour. My hypothesis is that it is a metal that is not refine-able by mortal means. The Phoebian blade had a crescent moon carved into the hilt. The hilt was composed of intertwining onyx and silver with the same unknown material as a final component. The blade was a darker silver. They were the most finely crafted blades I had ever encountered. I reached out and picked up the Helion blade with my left hand and the Phoebian blade with my right. As soon as my hands closed around the hilts I felt a great pain coursing through my entire body. I found myself unable to retain consciousness.