Blood and Arrows: Chapter 1

book4

Chapter 1

“Order, we need to have order.” The voice of King Oor boomed throughout the assembly hall. The dark elves fell silent and looked at him. “I understand the less than pleasant attitude the Aesir have shown us lately is cause for concern. However, unless we do our due diligence and find out why, the matter will only escalate. We cannot afford to go to war with Odin over hurt feelings.”

Father looked over at me, quietly he murmured, “I am afraid he is right daughter, the Aesir have not attacked us or shown us any harm other than a cold shoulder.”

“But father, we also cannot let them bully us into submission. We need to show them the Svartalfheim has a backbone.”

“So much like your mother…” He snickered a little bit and turned his attention back to Oor.

Ever since mother had passed away, my father Hargna had taken me under his wing to become more of a politician and less of a warrior. I had not liked it much in the beginning, but now I came to realize the political arena is almost as deadly as the battlefield. When I focused back on Oor, it seemed I was in the middle of another dialogue.

“We need to continue to work together, as clans, and use our stealth to see what information we can spy. The royal mage, Azmodeous, has already tried to make contact with the Aesir to set up a meeting. While we wait for word to return, remember the tasks I have given each clan and follow. For now, that is all.”

Just like that, we were dismissed. I saw Oor go over to Azmodeous and the mage whispered something into his ear. The sight of the elf was enough to give me chills.

“Come Rumil, we have much to do and do not have time for daydreaming.”

“As you wish father.” I fell in line behind him. I knew when we made it back to our stronghold; he would want to send out some more teams to see what we could gain from going back into the Great Forest. Aesir activity was gaining in there, especially after Loki’s release.

It was a very weird time in the realms. Cycles ago, my father had helped in the release of the wolf, Fenrir. Prophecy stated when the wolf was released from its bounds that Ragnarok was to start. The prophecy was not to happen though; Fenrir fled to Midgard and has not been seen since. Before he left, he freed his father, Loki, from his prison and ever since everyone has been on edge.

“Father, do you think the failed Ragnarok prophecy is the cause of this uneasiness?”

He stopped walking. It seemed like for a few moments I would not receive an answer, but when he turned to me, his eyes were deep in thought. “The very same thought has been crossing my mind too. It has been many cycles since that fateful day Fenrir escaped. With the prophecy so many of us have lived our lives towards no more, it certainly does make for a rather unstable time in history.”

Ominous is the word I would use, but then father would just tell me not to worry. I could not help it though, I am a natural worrier. Every time I take a team into that forsaken forest, I worry that something will happen. It also did not help that each time I was given new elves to take with me. Father said it was because of my field leadership skills, but it did not help my anxiety.

We continued walking through Svartalfheim until we returned to our stronghold, the Cave of Fenrir. We had lived with the wolf peacefully for many cycles, so it was just not the same knowing he was not here. As we entered the cave, the Darklighter stronghold was as impressive as always. It had taken a great many elves to carve the citadel into the side of the cave wall, but upon its completion it was by far the most impressive of all the dark elf clans.

The dark granite stone made our stronghold almost impenetrable. Should Svartalfheim ever be invaded, our citadels would hold that I was sure of. The most impressive feature was the towers that had been built in. From the view at the top, it would take an individual of great skill to sneak in.

Father and I walked in and made our way into his library. Books were never of interest to me, so I never came in unless I had reason.

“Rumil, you heard what Oor said; we need to continue doing our part. As the clean chief, I would like you to take a scouting party in the forest and see what is going on. The Dark Moons have discovered the location of Sif’s cabin out there. I would send them out again, but with the strange happenings coming from Jotenheim, I feel sending them there is better.”

I knew it was coming, but that did not make it any easier. “Father, you keep sending me out there, but nothing ever happens. I truly think it would be better if we…”

He held up his hand to silence me. “I know you want to take a more proactive role, but with your growing duties here at home, I cannot have you gallivanting across the realms. I will assign a party to you and this time do not tell them how utterly useless they are.”

I did not even acknowledge his last comment. I could not help it if most of the elves he assigned me were not up to my standards. It was not their fault, but with our most skilled out in more dangerous areas, the pickings were slim. Even worse, they all tried so hard to impress me that it was rather off putting.

“I will do my best father, as always.”

He smiled, “Good. In fact, I think it would be a wise idea to take your new team on a hunting trip. That would take you into the forest and you could learn their strengths.”

“As you wish father. Is there anything else you need of me this evening?”

He could tell I was annoyed. “No, I think that will be all. Tomorrow, I will put together a team for you and when they are ready, I will send for you.”

With that, I left the library and headed towards my room.

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About Jeremy Croston

I'm a comic loving, soccer playing, devoted husband who has a writing addiction. I can be found at Orlando Solar Bear hockey games, at the local sports bar cheering on my teams from Philly (go Flyers!), and being led astray by my schnauzer, JJ. Check out my Amazon page at www.amazon.com/author/jeremycroston to see my collections. Feel free to friend me on Facebook too at www.facebook.com/jcroston2 (there is another one of me out there apparently). Outside of writing, I work in business development and am considered an expert in all things Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Thanks for stopping by and looking forward to talking to you soon!
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