“And then some human who called himself Zaxin showed up. I couldn’t get to him in time, he wasn’t interested in a duel. A quick spell and they were gone,” Tyrael shook his head and berated his failure.
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Korrin ran a hand through his dark hair and sighed. “Your sure he said Zaxin?”
“Yeah, he mentioned being a general for Talamius.”
“A general? Now that is interesting,” replied his friend as he paced around the richly adorned room. They were at Tyrael’s summer home, a personal sanctuary he had built long before he had become king.
The room had soft shaggy carpets and plush chairs of all colors. Tyrael leaned back comfortably on a bed with far too many pillows on it. He put his hands behind his head and took a deep breath.
Korrin bit his lip as he walked back and forth. At least they had a name to go on. Zaxin…I have heard that name before. I need to do some research.
Tyrael interrupted Korrin’s thoughts, “Do you think it was his real name?”
“I suppose it is all we have. Would you remember his face?” Korrin stopped and looked to at Tyrael.
The golden haired elf sighed and closed his eyes. “Yes, unless of course he was using magic to cloak how he really looked.”
“Couldn’t you tell with that visor of yours?”
“Well I didn’t have time to pick out which enchantments did what. He had more than a few auras of magic surrounding him,” Tyrael replied and took a deep relaxing breath.
“Hmm…I see. Well, I can get right on finding out about this Zaxin character. He could be leading any number of the armies of this region. It hardly makes sense that he would be on the front fighting Allistar when it is so far away.”
“Makes sense. I would recognize his eyes though. I noticed that no matter what form you take, your eyes always remain the same.”
“Really? Now that you mention it, I think you may be right. What an interesting topic. I have to find out why,” Korrin’s green eyes flashed and Tyrael just laughed at his predictable friend. He didn’t even have to look at his face to know his companion was excited.
Korrin rubbed his chin in thought. If I can find out why, maybe I can alter it. If I assume that most people have made the same observation, I can use that knowledge to my advantage for covert assignments!
“Did you hear me?” Tyrael chuckled.
“Oh, sorry I was just thinking about how I would change my eyes with my form. You were saying?”
The elven king sat up and looked to his friend, “I asked if you could find out how in the nine hells a general of the Great Kingdom knew our dear friend Deathwing Blackspitter.”
“Oh, well yes I can definitely get some information but it might take awhile. I have many different avenues of finding answers,” Korrin smiled knowingly.
“Yes, I remember your story about your brilliant work solving that ancient case about elves and demons,” Tyrael rolled his eyes with a smile.
“Thousands of lives were at stake! The Bronzewood and Safehaven would have went to war if I didn’t solve it,” Korrin raised his hands in the air.
“Well we have much bigger worries now. The entire region is at war,” Tyrael sighed and shook his head.
“I’ll get right on finding out who this Zaxin character is. I know I’ve heard that name before. Would Allistar know?”
Tyrael jumped at the name. “Wait! That is exactly where Zaxin is from!” The elven king got up from the comfortable bed as he remembered. “Navar told me about some of Allistar’s exploits when I was still a Star Knight. Zaxin was a minion of Talamius’s and Allistar dueled him among countless others to get to his true foe.”
“And then he was trapped by the lantern when he got to Talamius, after defeating one commander after another,” Korrin finished.
“Exactly, only to be freed by us. If we hadn’t gotten involved then this war wouldn’t have been brought to our homeland,” Tyrael shook his head in consternation.
“We don’t know that. And besides, Talamius is a power hungry animal. Eventually he would have come to this region,” Korrin put a hand on his friend’s shoulder.
Tyrael sighed, “Maybe. Sometimes I can’t help but think this mess I got us in is all my fault.”
“You know better than that friend. Your conscience is a burden that needs to be forgotten,” Korrin smiled warmly.
Tyrael chuckled, “Well fortunately for us my conscience kept us alive more than once.”
“True enough. I am thirsty, do you still have elven wine stocked somewhere?” the Bladesinger nodded.
“Of course,” Tyrael stood up and left the room for a moment, returning with two glasses and a bottle of fine elven wine.
The cavalier poured first Korrin a glass then one for himself. He chose a red chair and sank into it with a sigh.
Korrin sipped his wine and motioned for Tyrael to talk, “So you really defeated our dragon friend?”
“In a way, but he is still out there. Now he has a better understanding of my new strength. No doubt he is plotting some devious plan,” Tyrael shook his head.
“Well now you are Chosen, as long as you have the favor of Corellon and the Seldarine he will not win.”
“The fight was much closer than my pride would let me admit. I have no idea what he has been doing for the past ten years, but being idle is not one of them,” the king sipped his wine and leaned back.
“No doubt about that one. He is as evil as one can get,” Korrin took another sip of his wine.
“As are all of our enemies,” Tyrael laughed.
“Again you speak nothing but truth,” Korrin smiled.
“As much as I’d like to sit here all day, I have an appointment to get to,” Tyrael stood up and rolled his shoulder muscles.
“My schedule is as busy as ever. I have to see to the defense of Safehaven.”
“I hope I helped. Most likely I created more work for you,” Tyrael smirked.
“No doubt about that one either, but from many leads a correct path will emerge,” Korrin winked. “Oh and great job, about your counterattack.”
“Your thanks are always welcome my friend,” Tyrael smiled and shook his companion’s hand.
“Watch your back lest a dagger find it! We both know Deathwing likes to strike from the shadows,” Korrin warned.
“I have the favor of Corellon, my blade is sharp and my aim is true. You be careful as well,” Tyrael made eye contact with Korrin.
“I am always surrounded by layers and layers of spell defenses. I almost never leave Safehaven, and take care not to be tracked when I do. May the Seldarine keep you safe.”
Tyrael nodded and watched as Korrin stepped back and with a sweep of his hands departed. The king took a sip of his wine and noticed the Bladesinger had taken his glass with him. He pictured what Korrin’s pale skin and angular face would look like if the mage spilled the wine in his lab. The cavalier smiled and laughed. It was time to set their battle plans for the upcoming conflict.
Like the last, the elven nation would be the attackers, no longer mere defenders as the rest of the region suffered great casualties. He would plan out the battle with Torrcainan and his generals. It was going to be a much larger conflict as they moved in to support Safehaven.
Deathwing Blackspitter seethed in anger. How did I lose?!
“I had that fool beaten,” the dark figure hissed.
“Then Zaxin would not have come to retrieve you,” countered Talamius, his booming voice shook the chamber.
“Your minion deprived me of an honorable death!” Deathwing gritted his teeth.
Zaxin kept his position, bowed beside his king’s throne. The human snickered at the foolish dragon.
“Death? Nothing is to be gained by death. You live now for revenge,” Talamius demanded as he looked upon the dragon in elven form.
“Do not presume to tell me what I live for human,” Deathwing hissed and looked at the demigod furiously.
“And do not forget who you are speaking to!” Talamius stared hard and Deathwing gritted his teeth.
“I will kill the good elven king. Do not order me like your pet, I will not bow like your mutt Zaxin,” Deathwing responded with a smirk.
“Then hear me now, I will bestow certain gifts upon you if you promise to destroy the cavalier,” Talamius stood from his throne.
“I pledge to eradicate the foolish elf who thinks he is my better. I will not accept your pitiful gifts,” the dragon answered, his yellow reptilian eyes narrowed.
“Refuse a gift? Come now, I hear you need two more blades. I have powerful ones, of elven make, I hear you prefer. Destroy the imbecile known as Tyrael
and you can have them,” Talamius grinned.
Deathwing Blackspitter hissed in annoyance. I must destroy him! I must kill the elf who insults me with every breath he takes!
“Fine!” the elven warrior answered.
Talamius smirked knowingly. He motioned towards Zaxin.
The dark haired human grinned and stood up, removing two scabbards from his back and presenting them to Deathwing with a bow.
The black dragon hissed and took the weapons, strapping them to his belt. “Is that all Talamius?”
The demigod smiled evilly and nodded. With harsh draconic syllables and wide gestures, the dragon in elf form disappeared.
After waiting a moment, Zaxin stood up and turned towards his king. “My lord, why do we pester ourselves with such a defiant pawn? Could you not send me or
Lord Retch to deal with the cavalier?”
Talamius turned towards his pawn. He looked down at the shorter man with a disapproving scowl. “Do you doubt my judgment Zaxin?”
“No sire, I just wish to understand,” Zaxin kneeled and bowed his head.
Talamius grinned in amusement, “Of course you do my minion. We use Deathwing Blackspitter because he has a burning desire to destroy the target. The anger and rage a dragon has is insurmountable. He will succeed or die, either way it is not a resource that I have invested in.
Zaxin smirked as his lord continued, “My generals such as yourself are too busy with battle plans. You for instance, are my most brilliant strategist. Though you fail to penetrate Safehaven, I do not doubt your devious mind. You will destroy the city of Safehaven in due time. I do not send you after the cavalier because it is too risky. He will overcome your plans and his combat expertise is legendary. I will send you in for a more covert mission, if I deem it so.”
“Understood my lord. I have heard there are more battle reports awaiting your eyes. Shall I send them in as I depart back for Safehaven? I must retrieve some items from my quarters,” Zaxin said, keeping his head bowed.
“Yes, that will do. Bring Safehaven down no matter the cost. I have not
forgotten the part Korrin nor Kelanen have played to arise my ire.”
“Very well my king,” Zaxin bowed and exited the room swiftly.
“Another army, already?”
“I fear so my king,” Eliwood answered in a grim tone.
Tyrael sat back in his wooden chair, overlooking more maps and battle plans. I thought I would have more time. Now what?
“What do we do?” Eliwood adjusted his coppery hair and looked to his king.
“How long before they arrive and set up camp? Surely they are vulnerable at that time. And how are they getting here, magic?” Tyrael rubbed his face with his hands.
“Most likely they were teleported to some location close and they march towards our borders,” Eliwood scratched his chin. “Our spies estimate that the army will be able to be seen from the trees of the border in six days.”
“Well, it could be worse. How fares Safehaven?”
“They continue to defeat one devious attack after another. Whoever is leading the armies outside of Safehaven is a superb strategist, yet Korrin and his generals anticipate every dastardly twist. It is truly astounding my king,”
Eliwood shook his head and his brown orbs shined in amazement.
“Yes, if anyone can outfit Safehaven to withstand the siege it is Korrin Moonblade,” Tyrael smiled.
“He is truly an inspiration to elven mages everywhere. But back to our dilemma, my king?”
“We continue as planned. We pull our soldiers around to the east border and march from the wood, this very night. We will reinforce Safehaven and the Great Kingdom will fight on two sides,” the golden haired elf ran a hand through his hair. This has to be the right move, hopefully the elven army can swing back home fast enough to return to the forest as the second army reaches the wood, Tyrael thought to himself.
“Understood,” the ranger mage bowed.
“How long will it take to march from the eastern border to Safehaven?” Tyrael pointed to the map in front of him, his finger trailing the gray paper and landed on Safehaven.
“Marching at full speed will take us three days,” Eliwood bit his lip. It took time to move an army so large, even if they were quick-footed elves.
Tyrael cursed, “What about using magic for transport?”
“I do not know how the Great Kingdom does it, I have no knowledge of a spell that can transport that many people at once,” Eliwood shook his head.
Tyrael ran a hand through his hair again. Everything was always so complicated. Wait, hadn’t Ringo mentioned something about gates?
The king jumped out of his chair in excitement. “I’ve got it! We can use the gates Shylow has put in Safehaven and other ideal trading places. I gave him permission to put one up one in the Bronzewood but didn’t oversee the construction. Do you know if it’s active?”
Eliwood’s brown eyes lit up, “Yes it is my king! Lord Torrcainan bestowed the task upon me, to make sure there was no deception afoot. It is completely functional, but mostly used for trading timber and the like to the other kingdoms.”
“It’s a perfect idea. Instead of marching through the land, we can end up inside of Safehaven’s walls with battalions of the finest archers in the land. All I have to do is talk to Ringo and Korrin, I’m sure there won’t be a problem as they are both friends,” Tyrael smiled.
The Seldarine is always speaking to me. I will make sure the Bronzewood survives the wrath of Talamius. It is my task, right now it is even more important than freeing Myth Drannor. Someday I will bring glory back to Myth Drannor as well, the king promised himself.
“I will inform the rest of the commanders and will find Janice as well. I think Lord Torrcainan is at the palace, should I send a messenger?” Eliwood tilted his head to the right curiously.
“No, I will speak to the Vice Roy. He has been busy with everything else, the defense of our forest, trade, complaints, and supplies. I hope he isn’t sleeping.”
Eliwood nodded and smiled. He exited the tent with high hopes.