The Chains that Bind

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Conquering an old world

The forests surrounding the human lands had weathered thousands of storms since the beginning of time: wind, water, fire, and earth had all done their worst to shatter the forests and bring them down. The forests had overcome all four elements.

But today the forests suddenly found themselves under a storm from a new elemental power….man.

Knights and swordsmen charged into the forests and swung their weapons shearing wood and trampling undergrowth with reckless abandon. They hacked down the smaller trees and bulldozed down anything in their path.

Most of the creatures who called the forest home now fled from this new force, by land and air, in droves. They didn't even look back as their homes were gutted and sacked, and they didn't wonder where they would go next.

Most, but not all.

Wolves were predators, and their instincts called upon them to defend their territory. They didn't know the meaning of fear or the concept of being outmatched; all they knew were the rules of the forest.

If it moves hunt it

If it fights, kill it

If it challenges you, conquer it

So wolves by the tens charged from the woods like gray missiles attempting to fight off this infection that had entered their lands. The wolves lunged at the invaders fighting with all the primal powers the land had granted them.

Fangs locked iron grips onto armored arms, claws lashed out at legs, and the howls and barks of battle filled the air…..for too short a time.

Swords flashed, spears jabbed, boots kicked, and the foreign sound of gunfire cracked.

The defense of the wolves was scattered quickly and the knights advanced kicking the corpses aside.

"Burn this place to the ground! By order of the king!"

Humans with torches ran through the dense underbrush and bushes burning as they went, soon massive fires added their own sound to the forest's dying moments.

However out of the flames leapt new defenders and they were the true masters of the forest.

Brown and black and orange and red, massive bears and saber cats leaped from the flames with smoke trailing from their pelts and bloodlust in their eyes.

The bears landed and charged towards the knights, roaring as they came. They rose on massive legs and swung their heavy paws downward knocking them against the shields that the knights raised in their defense. More bears locked their jaws onto limbs shaking them and cracking their teeth on the armor.

The Saber cats snarled and circled groups of men herding them, before they leapt forward with claws extended and teeth sharp. More than one man was knocked down and mauled by these cats as they defended their forest.

But gunfire popped over the crackling fires and the animals fell, spears were driven into heads and necks and the animals fell, and swords sliced tearing fur and the skin underneath and the animals fell.

The humans advanced through the forest leaving corpses and burned out areas behind them, feeling a sense of pride as they "conquered" the land that the elves had stolen. As they advanced deeper into the forests they began to grow bolder calling out taunts to the elves.

"Come on you tree huggers! Come out and defend your home!"

"You elves can't fight a real battle can you? You were always cowards!"

"Your forests won't stand too much of a chance if you don't fight us!"

The humans advanced into a large clearing dragging the cannons behind them.

"Alright, open fire and raze this clearing to the ground!" A knight roared.

Suddenly a spear arced down from the air and buried itself into the ground. The humans turned as the trees around them became alive with forms. The forms were elven warriors who aimed bows downward at the human forces, and leapt through the trees towards the ground. Behind the elves came a crowd of forest trolls armed with stone clubs and axes. The ground behind the humans shifted and several large spiders crawled out of the ground spitting venom from their fangs.

The lead elf held a large sword and glared daggers at the humans. "Leave. Our. Forests. Or. Die."

A human knight moved forward "These are our forests elf…..leave our forests or you will be removed."

"You humans wish to pollute our forests, and that won't happen!" The elves and their allies held their weapons tighter and waited.

The knight in charge simply smiled "Alright, destroy them!"

The humans charged as arrows slammed into their armor and shields. Trolls and spiders rushed forward, united with the elves to defend their home, and they crashed into the knights and men at arms.

Knights swung their swords, ducking under the troll's weapons and tearing their skin only to recoil in shock as the troll's flesh began to knit itself back together.

Men at arms rushed forward and hurled their spears, pinning several elves to the trees, arrows pinned them to the ground in return. Gunfire knocked more elves out of their trees as they looked up in fear wondering what the sound was.

The spiders spat globs of webs and venom lashing out with long legs and nipping with small fangs. Men screamed in pain as the globs landed on their armor and burned it slightly leaking into their skin, and the webbing simply stuck to them. They charged forward stabbing the spiders in between their eyes and loping off their legs. More men swung torches driving the spiders back with unfamiliar bright light.

The elves swung swords and axes at the humans, but they were starving, weak, and ragged so their blows did little to ward off the invaders. The elves fell like wheat to a scythe under the flurry of blows, but the proud elves fought on, their leader especially.

The leader swung a two handed broadsword fiercely smashing it against the shields that surrounded him. His tired and underfed muscles screamed in protest, but he kept fighting letting his pride fuel him. Every single human he took down was an achievement, and elves loved achievements.

Arrows still arced down from the trees as the elves kept up their fire, feeling fire fill their hearts as they sent arrows down into the mass of steel.

The cannoneers ducked away from the storm of arrows and aimed their weapon at the base of the tree. "Alright…Fire!"

The cannon fired sending the cannonball into the tree trunk with a loud boom. The tree began to buck and tilt as the elves attached to it grabbed onto branches and the trunk as it collapsed, falling to the ground with a massive thud. The screams of wounded elves echoed through the air as they tried to free themselves from the tree.

More cannons fired hurling dirt, debris, and elves through the air, and the trolls began to retreat as gunfire shattered their skin. More humans thrust their torches at the trolls and their skin became black as it burned. Then swords bit into the burned flesh and the flesh stayed opened and wounded. The trolls screamed and swatted at their burning skin wanting it to heal, but it didn't.

The trolls suffered the same fate as the others who attempted to stem the tide of the Tempest; they were thrown aside and slaughtered.

The elves slowly began to lose hope as their forest burned and crumbled around them and finally common sense overcame their pride.

The leader of the elves downed one more knight with a strong swing and raised his voice to be heard over the chaos.

"Retreat!"

The elves turned and focused their energy from fighting to survive, to running to survive. They fled the forest that had been their home for over 5 years and more than one elf choked back a feeling of shame as they fled, not knowing where they would go.

The forests surrounding the towns were sacked and burned down to their frames, and once it was done humans began to gather the lumber and drag it back to the towns because the land had been conquered, and these were the spoils.

King Siegfried was overseeing the transfer of lumber as he rode his horse around his new lands. "Mine, all mine!" He smiled realizing that he was the most powerful ruler on the land, and the only thing that would threaten his power were the elves amassing on their island, but soon he would destroy them too.

A knight rode up to him "Milord the navy is prepared to cast off at your signal."

"All is done just like I ordered?"

"Yes sir! The entire Tempest army has been loaded into the ships and we have cleared the armory of cannons. The lead ship will be loaded with the…..special cargo you requested."

"Splendid" Siegfried turned his horse and galloped off to the docks where his ships were waiting.

King Siegfried walked through the forest, which still stood tall, green, and most importantly elf free, but it did lack one thing.

Magic, and that's what frightened him.

He led a small troop of knights through the forest, walking directly towards the center, where he knew it would be.

It was a massive tree, older than both human and elven kind itself and the only source of magic left. The tree's roots were connected to the orb that was on the Elven Island, but with the orb gone the tree was slowly dying, as the magic powering it slowly faded away, over the course of years.

The massive tree stood in the middle of an equally massive clearing, but its branches were weak and brittle, and fallen leaves littered the ground, along with elven corpses. Only one branch still stood strong and young and it still faintly glowed with magical power. Siegfried's eyes also glowed and he turned to his men. "Cut it down."

"Sir?"

"You heard me, cut that branch down!"

"Milord, if we cut the branch, the magic will be released and destroy all it touches."

Siegfried drew his sword with a huff and walked over to the low hanging branch. He aimed carefully for where the live wood connected with the dead wood, and swung his blade downward.

Thunk!

The sword blade bit into the connection and dead woodchips flew from the point of impact.

He walked away and turned to his men "See chop where I chop and you'll be just fine. Then put the wood into a saddlebag and bring it back to my palace where it will be loaded onto my lead ship."

His men nodded, quaking in their armor as they walked nervously towards the tree.

Siegfried walked away smiling "I'll have cannons and this magical superweapon to crush that island! It's over elves!" He laughed and smiled wider as he heard the sounds of his men chopping deeper into the wood.


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