The Chains that Bind

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Preparing for war

Part three: This is the world we hope for

Caewen woke from a long sleep, still tired from the massive journey that her small band had undertaken. She could still see the ruins of the once united Corwin city and the fires of hatred still burned even after 2 nights.

She was scared because Kol was turning into the Captain. They had both lost something dear to them, and Kol was slowly pushing the reminder of his thieves harder and further each and every day. He ate little, slept even less, and seemed ready to fight anything that got in his way.

The only problem was that unlike the Captain, who had a destination to direct his anger to. Kol had nothing to do with that anger so it simmered under his skin.

Caewen stood up and stretched her legs; I wonder how we are going to get to the island? She wasn't the greatest with a map, but she did know that there was an entire ocean between the land and the island, and a boat was one thing they did not have.

The small band of thieves and mercenaries were already preparing for the next stage of their journey, although none of them knew where they were supposed to go. Kol was still silent and he walked with anger brimming in his eyes, so that even his men were a little afraid of their leader.

The Captain sought to relive the tension by talking to his friend, just like old times. "So, Kol where are we headed now?" He smiled hoping to break his friend from his anger filled haze.

Kol only grunted and kept walking.

"Kol!" The Captain raised his voice as bit "We need a destination and a boat if we want to get to the island and aid the Resistance."

Kol suddenly smiled and for a second the hint of his old charm crept back into his voice. "We need a ship, so why not steal one?"

The reaction from every member was the same "Steal a ship?"

Kol slowly let his anger turn into motivation as he began to command his men.

"There is a human shipyard on the coast, and if we can get inside and commandeer it we'll be able to get to the island and end this war!" The thieves nodded at the plan and the Captain smiled, secretly glad to see his best friend returned to normal.

The small band then made for the shipyard with a clear goal boosting their sprits.

Queen Mael sat on her throne still in the midst of an awful headache. She kept her head bowed down trying to will the throbbing pain away, but it only increased.

Finally she let out a scream as her head was pounded by a vision, a horrible vision.

She saw human forces marshaling and launching an attack on her island. Their ships covered the sea and their sails blotted out the sun itself. Loud booms echoed through the air and buildings on the island exploded one by one. Mael turned as the balls of fire flew from the ships and into the island exploding on impact

They came in a tide of heavily armored knights and fire which swept her defenses away and destroyed her island leaving nothing behind. Elven bodies were trampled by the relentless charge of the Tempest Vanguards, who crashed onto her island like the storm they symbolized.

No! Mael screamed, attempting to stop the vision from playing out, but she got nowhere. All around her elves were rushing from the burning buildings and attempting to fight back, but the wave of steel plated soldiers crushed and scattered her fighters like grains of sand.

"NO!"

Mael suddenly snapped out of the vision and rushed to the window staring out at the sea. The only sound that she heard was the lapping of waves on the shore, not the sounds of battle.

"It's only a vision" Mael took several deep breaths and attempted to calm her nerves.

The door opened behind her and an elven aide rushed into the room, accompanied by several guards. "Milady, we heard a scream!"

As the guards spread out around the room the aide ran to the queen "Are you alright?" he asked.

Mael took another breath and turned to her elves. Her elves on the island she ruled, and no human was going to take that away from her.

"I'm fine, prepare the island for invasion."

The aide nodded wordlessly and led the guards from the room.

Siegfried stood inside a palace tower, looking out onto his lands.

"No" He muttered "Not all mine, not just yet"

He was the King of the Tempest vanguards, so every single human town, human village, human trading post, and human outhouse was his to command, and the lands around them were also his. That's not enough! He thought angrily, because his lands were surrounded by forests!

The forests were the homes of elves! The elves that seemed to take over the orcs' responsibility of hitting and running on their caravans. They knew the forests better than his men, they used the trees and undergrowth to set traps and launch ambushes, they fired arrows from treetops that humans couldn't reach, and they camouflaged back into the forests like ghosts!

But they were cowards and their tactics proved it. They were vagabonds and rebels unable to face his warriors in a real battle; if he could just get them on his turf then they would be slaughtered. "You elves have been a stain on my lands long enough!" He muttered to himself.

Siegfried stood up and walked out of the tower back to the main rooms of his palace. His captains immediately saluted as he passed them by and Siegfried smiled "Captains are your troops prepared for battle?"

The Captains nodded in unison "Always ready sir!"

"Good, prepare your men at the main gate and prepare my horse!"

The men rushed to carry out his orders as Siegfried drew his sword letting the sunlight catch it.

I've been letting everyone else fight for me for far to long…

He moved towards the stables rehearsing his plan as he went.

"Warriors of the Tempest Vanguards!" Siegfried stood by the main gate with his legion of warriors behind him. "This land belongs to humans! We built the towns, we tamed the dangers of this land, and we made the world in our image! But the forests are untamed, and they are a wicked unpredictable abomination! The forests are a new land that we can conquer, we can use its resources for ourselves, and we can tame the land! Because the forests are ours!

But Elves have not only taken our land from us, they use the forests to take up arms against us! They destroy our caravans and steal our food, medicines, and weapons! They steal our property! I say no more!

We will conquer the forests and root the elves from hiding! They will never rob the food that our families need, or steal medicine from the wounded, or leave our warriors defenseless on the field of battle!"

The Tempest Vanguards cheered and shouted war cries as their king continued.

"We will destroy the elves and rip down the forests they hide behind! We will conquer like the Tempest!"

The Knights, spearmen, rifle men, and the artillery of the Tempest Vanguard cheered louder as the gate opened and they followed their king to conquer a new world.


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