A Time of Fire

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Book7.png A Time of Fire is a book based on accounts from Estaro of the Quandrin and adopted by Melvin Turncloak. It can be found in the Royal Library in Empo Sar.

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A Time of Fire
Adopted by Melvin Turncloak, based on accounts from Estaro of the Quandrin.

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Prologue


Long before the dominion of men touched the world of the Creators, Eanir and Lyria. Before the division of the great continent of Erasan. Two great powers became interlocked in a battle which would reek destruction to the very corners of the world. The elves, men, dwarves, creators and guardians of this world became allies, to aid one another in the destruction of the Dark Lord. Phobos was defeated, however he was not destroyed.

Thousands of years later, this dark lord's terrible power had near been forgotten. Yet he had been regaining his strength patiently, scheming in the darkness. The world was a very different place now. Many species had disappeared since the Great War, and all were unaware of the hell that was to break loose imminently. This time the Creators and their children, the Gods, were prepared. But Phobos' power was too great and the world was plunged into war once again.

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The Road to Canaroth

The sea swelled and sank peacefully, its sinister surface shimmered faintly in the ashen glow of the moon. On the long wooden deck of the Miriad, six cloaked figures stood noiselessly as if in a trance. Apparently oblivious to the hustle of sailors all around them, who glanced out to the approaching shoreline in apprehension.

One of the figures raised their head slowly, a few strands of fair hair fell across his nose, toyed by the weak breeze. Picking his way elegantly through ropes and business of the sailors, Vaerin Silra climbed up to the wheel, greeting the captain with a nod.
"Sir", said the captain in reply, his gaze transfixed by the dark coastline ahead. Vaerin followed the captain's gaze thoughtfully. "This close enough for you, sir?" asked the captain hopefully, tearing his eyes from the shore. "I don't know how deep the rocks are you see". Vaerin tried to make eye contact with the sailor, but the seaman shied away, looking back down onto the deck. Clearly he feared these lands. Unsurprising thought Vaerin to himself, considering what was kept behind their borders.

"If you wish it" replied the elf, Vaerin solemnly and holding no hint of song. Then without waiting for an answer continued "we shall ready ourselves to leave, I thank you for your hospitality."
"Of course, my duty sir" said the captain in relief.

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"Lower the anchor! Slow her down!" he shouted to the deck. To Vaerin's slight amusement, unlike many before it, this order was carried out without a seconds hesitation.

The remaining cloaked figures raised their heads to Vaerin and either nodded or looked out to the shore. One approached him as he rejoined the group, a chain mail shirt clinked softly under his cloak. "Why did you order them to stop, why not get closer?" demanded the elf harshly, resting a gloved hand on the gem of his sword hilt. "Look into their eyes Aldar, they can feel the power of the dark one too, but cannot resist it as we can" answered the elf. "It's killing them". Aldar opened his mouth to speak again, but shut it, looking back out to the other two ships following their lead, before turning to the small, thin crafts which were to take them to the shore. The six figures climbed into different boats, each followed by ten similarly clad elves of their kin who had taken residence below deck for the past few hours of the journey. Each boat was lowered swiftly down into the water below.
"The sea has been kind to you, I hope for your sake this land is too" the captain called down to them; unable to keep the doubt from his voice, nor from his weathered expression "May you be blessed by the grace of Eanir and Lyria". 

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Vaerin nodded, and with a wave of his arms and a muttered spell, his little boat and its occupants set off quietly towards the shores of the southern lands, followed closely by those from the Miriad and other two ships.

The boats slowed to a halt as they reached a short stretch of sandy shore. The steep cliffs rose up menacingly on either side, each rock was jagged and sharp. Even the sand was harsh, biting into Vaerin's skin as he rubbed it between the tip of his fingers.
"We travel south—east through the valley of Tirasia, to Canaroth." Said Vaerin eyeing the mountains ahead. 
"Who gave you command over us? We must take the road through the mountain passes for the sake of speed" spat Aldar, who had now removed his cloak to reveal his armoured body, bearing the mark of a highborn Quandrin elf.
"Aldar, put aside your arrogance and childhood grudges for now at least, it was no less than your father who allowed me command, as I know the roads we must take. No guard has crossed over the passes for the last two full moons, no coincidence I assure you. As for Canaroth, we should not abandon hope." Answered Vaerin curtly.
"I sho—" started the elf angrily.

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"Now is not the time," interrupted a youthful female voice, yet full of unmistakable power, "for senseless bickering. We hold a common enemy do we not? Then let us fight it, rather than amongst ourselves". Her words seemed to slip over her tongue, without the slightest haste. She removed her dark cloak, revealing her long silvery hair which fell in waves over the dark red robes, robes worn only by royalty. "We travel by Vaerin's guide, together." 
Aldar looked livid though said nothing, even he dared not answer back to a princess of the Quandrin.

Six leading elves there were altogether. Two of Loreath, Vaerin and Sabria; one princess of the Quandrin, Aliera; the remaining three, Aldar, Librael and Estaro of the high houses of Quandrin. Each had the command of a single small group, made up of around three dozen of their people.
The company continued on, travelling between the narrowing cliffs in single file. Several hours march later and the group had made steady progress, without sight nor sound of life or living thing.
"Over the next ridge lies Canaroth, and the end of our journey if the gods allow it". Finally they reached the edge of the ridge and a terrible sight met their eyes.

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A Broken Land


Noxious tentacles of smoke billowed out from the shallow valley floor, the previously smooth slopes and valley plains had given way to cracks and pits of blistering lava as far as the eye could see. Trees were reduced to splinters and charred logs, still smouldering in the evening gloom. Buildings lay in shattered ruins, no wall stood higher than 2 feet tall. Evidence of a last stand showed on a raised mound behind what had been the city hall. The tree which had once grown on the top had been reduced to cinders, now mixed with the mutilation of war. Surrounded by broken bodies and cold, wasted faces. Robe—clad elven men and women alike, lay together, bleeding lifelessly into the dusty ground. The earth stained crimson. Shards of broken glass, rubble and smouldering ash littered the road. Glittering weapons and armour pieces lay scattered here and there amongst the debris, reflecting the light of the blood—red heavens. Several huge, winged carcasses lay here and there, the area around them decimated by fire.

The six companies descended into the ruins of Canaroth, the leaders at the head of each group. Vaerin felt his mouth turn dry and he choked back the smothering sensation of nausea. Aldar's proud expression had paled, his air of naive patriotism and superiority had vanished. Aliera's face remained expressionless, yet her eyes showed the deepest 

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sorrow. None of them spoke. All stood in silent mourning, praying for the souls of the lost.

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The silence was soon shattered however, as a horn sounded in the far distance. All eyes of the party snapped to the sound. "That is no orc horn", said Aldar quietly, but not without hope.

Vaerin nodded in agreement. And the group picked up their pace and turned to follow the sound. Every now and again, one of the keen—eyed elves would think they had spotted movement, but whatever it was didn't want to be seen, and hid in an instant.
"Death is not the only terror which plagues this place. There are creatures of evil following us. And their numbers are growing." Whispered Aliera to the other leading elves as they pushed on through the ruins of Canaroth. A few of the others nodded in grim agreement, and they all knew it to be true.
"They walk as us; flesh and bone, but without warmth, and without care." Continued Aliera. "We must be swift. They are undead, they never sleep."
"Do not undead need controlling by a master?" Said Librael, though it wasn't a question.
"They never stray far from their necromancer. We must be wary." Said Librael.
"Wary we must be, indeed. However I do not think we shall suffer a meeting with such a being. This land has been broken, I can feel the very fabric of the world screaming as if it has been torn into rags. I fear greatly that these souls have no mancer controlling them. Our enemy has replaced their heart and their mind with a hatred for the living. I fear that we walk upon a broken land."

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[Several pages of this book seem to be missing]

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Epilogue


Erasan burnt for weeks after the eventual fall of Phobos. The smoke enveloped Erasan, stifling the unfortunate survivors, but mercifully shrouding the destruction left in their wake; the wasteland that was, Erasan. Phobos' last efforts to obliterate the work of Eanir and Lyria had contorted the very fabric of the world. The air buzzed with the after—shock for days, and the stench of evil spirit magic oozed from everything that had been touched by the dark lord's wrath. And yet, life found hope. That faint, revered glimmer, hardly a flicker, rekindled from the very brink of extinction. Life found hope.