This is something I started writing a few months ago and returned to last night. It's a bit experimental. I hope you enjoy it.
Force of Nature
When the unnatural winds of Chaos flow through their lands we will defend them.
But it is not for man to understand the way of Athel Loren.
They should not mistake us for allies.
We are not their friends; we are not their enemies; we simply are.
They should fear us; for we are the storm.
We stood in the silent glade, Asrai and Tree Kin, together as one. The burning sun took the sky and coated our glorious forms in golden glaze. A single stirring gripped us as I, in turn, gripped my weapon. We were ready and we waited only for the call.
From the deepest depths of the forest a sound erupted. A long and all surrounding drone, like that of bees, resonated through my body and filled my soul. We responded in kind, unleashing our discord of howls and roars, accepting the rules of the hunt.
The Huntsman called and we answered.
We rode at the fore of the host, on the back of our galloping bonded steeds. We were the spear tip that would strike into the hearts of men and rip them out. Behind us followed the forest. It marched slowly, and took the land back with every step.
Kail rode to my right with dagger-like clawed gauntlets on each hand. He wore a dreadful visage, like our darker kin. The indifferent aspect of the forest had taken him and bound him to a linear brutal path. He had made an eternal compact with the hunter and would never again know a peaceful existence.
Elith rode at my left flank with a fine cedar bow in hand. Her face was tranquil and her posture upright, assertive and bold. Where Kail had lost himself to the hunt, Elith had found clarity and purpose in the call. She had tutored under The Lady of the Forest and understood that balance should not be confused with peace. I was assured by her certainty.
As we passed over the brow of the hillock a human settlement came into view. They called it Village and, for a species that produces young as quickly as the beasts of the forest, it was little. No more than fifty of them in there, but crop plantations fanned out from their settlement for hundreds of yards in each direction; they sucked the goodness from the ground and gave nothing back. If we had required a reason for that attack that would have been it. If we had required a reason.
The Report (An extract)
We arrived at Briolle-en-Quenelles in the early morning. The question of tithe collection quickly left our thoughts. Men, women and children alike lay throughout the corn fields and within its walls, slaughtered by an unknown enemy.
What I have seen fills me with dread. The tell-tale signs of beastmen are not present. The kills are clean and bodies intact; each wound by arrow or blade or both. This must be the work of our allies the elves; allies no more.
Curiously The Book of Life and Death leaves one unaccounted for, a youth of no obvious importance.
Of What Occurred
Kail danced like a leaf on the wind, unpredictable yet graceful at once. He performed a deadly pirouette, each strike ending a life. One moment he arched backwards and thrust his claws into the throat of a woman and bathed in the blood that surged from her. Then next he flipped forward and gutted a man with rough and furious strikes. The whole time a sickening snarl had smothered his smooth and pleasant features.
I followed him to an abandoned hut, from which the shrieking noise their small one’s make could be heard. We entered together. A little girl in ragged garb sat shrieking in the corner with tears running down her puffy face.
Kail picked her up by the back of her head, raising her several feet from the ground. He drew back his other clawed fist in readiness for a life ending strike. Then he froze.
At first I thought he was relishing the moment, the kill to come, but when I realised that I could not move I understood that this was not the case. An eldritch buzz filled the air; witch magic. I felt a hand grip my shoulder, but I could not turn to see who held me. It did not matter; I realised it was Elith when her calm, but hurtful words, entered my mind.
‘He goes too far’, she said. ‘Know that I take no enjoyment in what must occur’.
With that she stepped forward and raised her hands palm up, fingers pointed towards Kail. Unnatural sparks of lightning poured from the tops of her fingers striking Kail in the heart, an instant death blow.
Time restarted as the girl fell and, with preternatural speed, Elith caught her and held her gently to her bosom. Kail lay lifeless at her feet. She looked up and me with an earnest smile. ‘This one is for The Lady’, she said as she gently nodded to the child.