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The Fall of the Dark Warrior

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The Fall of the Dark Warrior

Postby Barraclough » Mon Apr 09, 2007 1:23 pm

The Fall of the Dark Warrior

It was the fifteenth day of the Re-birth season, exactly one hundred and twenty eight years to the day that King Ardellian had been crowned and Jialendim the blacksmith- warrior sat outside his forge room basking in the bright sun and thinking of that day, oh so long ago, the rain of flowers and the full armoured procession through the re-built streets of Enthil, the smiles and laughter of all present, but most of all he remembered how King Ardellian looked that day as he paraded the streets upon his noble steed, his golden armour glittering in the high sun and his shoulder length golden blonde hair streaming out behind him on the breeze. His thoughts were soon interrupted by the arrival of a young man clad in golden armour, armour of the King’s guard,

‘hey Jialendim, day dreaming again are we?’ he asked cheerily as he approached.

‘In a way yes. I was just thinking back to when my good friend Ardellian became King,’ Jialendim answered politely ‘I see you have been made a warrior of the King’s Guard, your mother must be proud,’

‘she is yes. She hasn’t stopped crying all week, she keeps on saying she has never been so proud of me and the like,’ the young man shrugged,

‘I can imagine. You must be pretty chuffed with yourself too Keifamel,’

‘too right I am, though I owe some thanks to you for my sword and the training you have given me, which I reckon is part of the reason for me getting this position,’ Keifamel replied pointing an accusing finger at Jialendim,

‘me, what effect could I possibly have on you being made put into the King’s Guard?’ Jialendim asked, a huge smile all over his face.

‘Oh come off it! Everybody in this village knows that you and the King are good friends and that you fought alongside each other in the Great Wars,’

‘I remember telling you about the Battle of the Geosant Plains, but no other battle, so tell me, how did you find out about the second war?’ Jialendim asked suspiciously.

‘King Ardellian told me that you two were side by side at the time of the fall of Chamarl and his dark fortress,’ Keifamel explained guiltily,

‘did he now. Well I suppose this means you want to hear the story then?’

‘if you have the time I’d love to hear it!’ Keifamel could hardly keep the excitement out of his voice as he answered.

‘I don’t know though, I have got quite a busy schedule today-,’

‘now that is a blatant lie if I ever heard one!’ a voice called from the bottom of the garden.

‘Ardellian my friend, what are you doing here?’ Jialendim asked as he ran down to meet the new arrival

‘Just thought I’d drop in and see my old friend on the anniversary of my crowning and the victory,’ the King replied ‘ah Keifamel, how are you my friend?’

‘fine my Lord, thank you for asking my Lord,’ Keifamel bowed repeatedly,

‘arise my friend, you are off duty and so am I and I think it’s about high time that Jialendim told you his story,’ Ardellian suggested as he helped Keifamel to his feet,

‘only if you will help me out at certain points your majesty,’

‘it would be an honour, oh and shall we let the other guests in? I’m afraid I’ve attracted a bit of attention.’ Ardellian chuckled as he pointed over is shoulder.

* * *

Once all the guests had been seated on the grass and the young had been silenced by their mothers, Jialendim began his narrative with King Ardellian sitting alongside him.

‘It was roughly ten years after the victory on the Plains of Geosant that I received the summons of Lord Ardellian, mind you this was before he became king. Anyway I remember that day well, I was hard at work in my forge room when the big man himself walked in with a company of the biggest warriors I have ever laid eyes on, do you remember them my friend?’ he asked the King with a grim smile.

‘Aye I do, they were great fighters and the made a good account for themselves, but on with the story,’

‘before I even had a chance to say hello to him, Ardellian asked for my help in the renewed war against Chamarl, I still remember the exact words you said to me. “Jialendim my friend, ten years ago you saved my life on the Plains and swore that you would aide me whenever and however you can. Now I call upon that vow because I am going to end my business with Chamarl once and for all and I need great warriors such as yourself by my side. What do you say?” And do you remember what I said?’

‘Yes I remember it vaguely. You said that any business concerning Chamarl, I would have had no choice but to let you fight and that you would be honoured and privileged to fight alongside the people’s leader,’ King Ardellian replied, his face screwed up in thought,

‘your memory is still as good as it was back then,’ Jialendim chuckled,

‘hey how ‘bout the story?’ a young boy in the crowd called out during the silence.

‘He’s got a point, how about that story?’ Ardellian winked in the young boys direction.

‘As I was saying, I agreed to fight once more and before I knew it we were off on a great march to the south coast where a giant fleet of ships was waiting to carry us across the Gorgarath ocean and the largest army I had seen since the Battle of the Geosant Plains waited to board those ships. Nearly fifteen thousand of the best that Geosant had to offer was gathered ready for combat, but first there was the crossing of the ocean which took six days to complete. By the time we reached the northern coast of Mikino we had lost five ships and a majority of the army was exhausted from fighting off the guardians of the ocean.’

‘Blasted things! We weren’t there to harm them but still they persisted in attacking us!’ the King roared as he completely forgot where he was. ‘Sorry, I just get carried away with my thoughts sometimes, please continue,’

‘certainly my Lord. After we had all rested up we began yet another long and hard march south to where we guessed Chamarl’s fortress to be, the journey was incredibly difficult, taking us through boggy ground, dense forests with thick undergrowth and worst of all, a gigantic range of mountains which seemed to be impassable and go on forever.’ here Jialendim paused as memories of that perilous march caused him to shudder.

‘I’ll take it from here my friend, you take a moment to relax,’ Ardellian interrupted seeing the pain the story caused his friend ‘ after following the mountain range south and east for many days we began to despair and whispers of mutiny echoed through the ranks, until we found the crazed hermit living on the mountainside,’

‘more like he found us,’ Jialendim commented,

‘right. He was a poor thing. In his prime he must have been a noble warrior, but years of little food and water showed upon his thin body, his skin was drawn around his face and he was clad in nought but filthy silken rags and his own long, lank hair, but it’s the eyes I will remember forever. They seemed to glow as if some deep and burning hatred shone through them and when he spoke his voice was a harsh rasp and to our surprise it was full of loathing and hatred for Chamarl, who as he told us kicked him out of his house and slaughtered his family for fun.’

‘He has got to be one of the most fearsome fighters I have witnessed but quite within his own rights I might add,’ Jialendim described as he stared reminiscently at the ground,

‘he was, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Once he had stopped spewing forth his hate laden curses for Chamarl, he told us of a great tunnel that had been constructed for the quick movement of Chamarl’s army and he soon led us to it’s exact location after we gave him food and drink,’

‘and a sword,’

‘and a sword, he then led us through the strangely unguarded route whilst constantly cursing the name and memory of Chamarl, until this day he is the only person I have met that cursed that name more than myself,’ Ardellian added and then he went silent as he remembered the strange but close kinship he had with the hermit,

‘my King are you ok?’ Keifamel asked anxiously as everybody witnessed a single tear roll down his battle hardened cheek.

‘He is fine and would be better without your inquisitive questions. He was close friends with that man for one reason and I don’t have the authority to tell you before you ask,’ Jialendim answered on his friend’s behalf, ‘anyway on with the story. After getting through the tunnel to the other side we saw our goal, Chamarl’s immense fortress stood on the horizon, little more than a days hard march ahead and this heart gladdened the hearts of many, for it meant that we could rest and take our ease as we prepared for the upcoming battle, sharpening blades, tightening armour, resting our steeds, but most importantly we finally got to charge up our newest weapon, the Energy Cannon!’ Jialendim explained with a glint of pride in his eyes.

‘What’s a Energy Camon?’ the young boy asked loudly.

‘At the time it was the most powerful piece of artillery in existence. Simply by absorbing energy from it’s surroundings, it could create a ball of explosive energy, which had devastating effects,’ Ardellian explained ‘ which also led some of the more devoted warriors in the army to trying to something similar, but I cannot say more on that.’

‘how many days did we rest can you remember? Was it three or was it four?’ Jialendim hastily interrupted before questions were asked.

‘Neither. We rested for five days and on the sixth we began the final leg of our march, around the huge Mikino lake almost to the front doorstep of the fortress, all without a single challenge to our presence, until we reached the fortress. There we found the full might of Chamarl’s army standing waiting for us.’ here both veterans paused and shuddered at the mere thought of the bloody events that took place on that day.

‘They knew you were coming?’ an inquisitive young man enquired at length.

‘Aye. Unknown to us, Chamarl had scouts about halfway up the mountains and they monitored our movements until we reached the tunnel, that is when they went ahead of us and raised the alarm,’ Jialendim answered,

‘looking back we should have been a bit more on the alert, but too late for should haves,’ Ardellian chuckled much to everybody’s surprise and merriment,

‘so what happened when you got to the fortress and found the hordes of Chamarl waiting? Did you break off the charge and fall back, hoping they would follow, or did you just throw caution to the winds?’ Keifamel asked, eager to get back to the point at hand.

‘Fall back? Don’t even know what the words mean.’ Ardellian spat ‘we left a small guard with the energy cannon and then carried out a full on assault, with the cannon firing upon the fortress walls. Scared the life out of them it did,’

‘yeah, it would have been funny if the circumstances would allow,’ Jialendim laughed as he remembered the looks of astonishment on the faces of their foes,

‘how is war funny?’ a voice chimed from the back of the crowd.

‘The war wasn’t funny, the looks on their faces was. Just put yourself in their place, your charging at your enemy screaming at the top of your lungs, then out of nowhere a huge ball of energy sails over your head, hit’s the fortress wall and explodes with awesome effect, they just didn’t see it coming,’ the King explained slowly,

‘which was good for us I suppose. The second explosion punched a giant of a hole into the wall which put Chamarl at a big disadvantage and he knew it,’ Jialendim added,

‘yes, but it also sent the Dark Warriors of Chamarl into a frenzy and they doubled the ferocity of their defence,’ Ardellian corrected,

‘but didn’t that also cause our men to double their efforts, seeing that hole appear in the wall, a golden chance to end all things there and then?’ Jialendim argued playfully.

‘Right you are. I will never forget those moments. Fellow Neogosians fighting and slaying each other with terrifying hatred, screams of even the hardiest of men as they were savagely cut down and the foul reek of burning corpses from the fire that began inside the fortress. Those memories still haunt me today.’ Ardellian explained grimly as images of those events flashed through his mind.

‘It was for a good cause though. We did free the planet from a menace that would have consumed all if nothing had been done, even if it was at a terrible price,’ Jialendim recalled,

‘what was the count of the fallen and injured?’ Keifamel asked.

‘nearly five and a half thousand of our men were lost on that day. Double that amount of dark warriors fell, though that wasn’t all of their strength,’ Ardellian answered ruefully,

‘and Chamarl, what happened to him?’ Keifamel asked.

‘He and the Hermit that guided us met on the field of battle. Regrettably Chamarl managed to defeat the Hermit in a savage and brutal way, but that gave me the opportunity that I wanted. We crossed blades in the late afternoon of that day. It was a hard fought duel between two evenly matched warriors, but I had the upper hand. He had brutally murdered my family, my kinsmen and the Hermit with whom I had developed a good friendship in the short time that I knew him.’

‘yeah, but did you win? Not meaning to be disrespectful sir,’ Keifamel urged.

‘Yes. Chamarl’s death was a turning point in the battle. The surviving dark warriors, seeing their leader dead, fled into the hills and forest in retreat. The following day we burned the fortress to the ground along with the fallen dark warriors. Our own fallen we gave a traditional burial upon the battlefield,’ Ardellian explained,

‘and that ladies and gentlemen is the end of our tale, I feel that some of you may think our actions barbaric, but they were necessary,’ Jialendim announced as he began helping the listeners to their feet ‘my Lord would you like to remain behind a little while longer for a drink?’ he asked with a wink.

‘Certainly, wouldn’t miss the opportunity for a drink with a loyal friend now would I?’

A short while later, after the audience had left the garden, with the exception of Keifamel, who Ardellian bid to remain behind, the two veterans took their ease inside where they spoke long together about those events so long ago. They had completely forgotten that Keifamel was present until he chimed out from his corner,

‘how did you get along so well with the hermit my Lord?’

After sitting in silence for a while, a single tear ran down the King’s cheek and he gave his answer,

‘we both had one thing in common. Chamarl had killed our families and we had a burning hatred for him for that, which is why we got on so well, we were bound by our hatred of Chamarl and our skill for using a blade too,’

‘hatred must be a powerful emotion if it helped you to defeat the Dark Warrior,’ Jialendim commented, this being the first time he had heard the explanation,

‘it is yes, but only temporarily. There are stronger emotions and the time will come when you will discover what they are.’ Ardellian replied.

‘Aw come on, tell us what they are!’ Keifamel begged jovially.

‘No, you and I must be heading off, it’s a long way back to Cimbas Enthil,’ Ardellian answered, pointing to the door ‘Jialendim it was good to see you again, come visit sometime,’

‘I will do. Send my regards on to your wife and son by the way,’

‘certainly. Actually while I’m here, can you make a suit of armour for me, well for my son. He’s growing fast and I want a proper blacksmith to make his armour,’ Ardellian requested with a courteous bow.

‘No problem, when do you want it by?’

‘Let’s say the anniversary of the Battle of the Geosant Plains.’ the King called as he began to mount his steed.

‘It’s done. Now go, your wife will be waiting,’ Jialendim chuckled ‘may Shallen protect you on your journey,’

‘And may Shallen protect you!’ Ardellian called back as he sped off onto the darkening horizon.
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Dark Warrior

Postby Ariel » Thu Apr 12, 2007 5:17 pm

WOW! Loved your "Fall Of The Dark Warrior" story!!!!
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Postby clknaps » Fri Apr 13, 2007 3:15 am

Hello Barraclough, welcome to the SV Forum.

I enjoyed your story. I was caught a few times in detail work. You need to capitalize words with each new sentence, there were several points where you left off a period and there were a few times when you needed to use a comma and did not. If you would like a line-by-line analysis, please let us know.

Overall I enjoyed it. You posted the first part of this story before, yes? I remember it. Thank you for sharing these with us, I am enjoying reading them.

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Postby RHFay » Sat Apr 14, 2007 1:16 pm

Hello Barraclough!

Your story has a very nice fantasy feel to it, but I worry about the premise of the main character. It's just my own opinion, but I believe fantasy should have some connection, however tenuous, to real life to be believable. You do a very good job of capturing the fantasy atmosphere, but the "blacksmith-warrior" bit seems a little far-fetched. I would make the main character either a retired warrior, or an old blacksmith (or weapon smith) that accompanied the king's army on its campaigns. Kingdom of Heaven aside (and don't try to learn history from Hollywood - they never get it right), you wouldn't normally see a "blacksmith-warrior" in the historical past. Inject a bit of reality into the fantasy, and you'll have a great story.

Keep up the good work!

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did. I'm going to recite poetry!" Andrew of Armar.
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Postby kormic » Sat Apr 28, 2007 1:09 am

My questions are with credibility...

Gold is a soft metal, would you make armor out of it? As a qualifier you should have a little passage saying something about the special conditions of the forging, like a special procedure the armour goes through to be effective protection for the warriors.

Would the mother cry from pride rather than fear? I'm not so sure.

tell me, how did you find out about the second war?’ Jialendim asked suspiciously. Wars are widely publicised. It's in a countrys intrest to know why their boys are dieing.

Blasted things! We weren’t there to harm them but still they persisted in attacking us!’ the King roared as he completely forgot where he was. ‘
better not to make the king sound like a fool.

but most importantly we finally got to charge up our newest weapon, the Energy Cannon! In a medieval setting? Not credible

Besides that, I like the emotion you put into your story telling. Most importantly, don't give up!
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