Fire and the Vengeance of Elves


erhaps it was my good fortune but this merchant caravan did not ply the usual trade routes between the largest towns, instead the Master put his vast knowledge of the lands to good use, seeking smaller communities where he knew his trade would be welcome. His company clearly had no doubt in his wisdom and followed him unquestioningly. The day's journey brought us to the edge of a forest and folk whispered of ancient elven lands before we settled around the campfire to hear the Master's story.

In the forests of Eldaril, the Howling Wolf Clan first encountered elvenkind. The elves having traded for centuries with the Plain Folk were well aware of the orcs and their supposed alliance with demons. Unwittingly the orcs trespassed on sacred grounds and tarnishing the forest with blood of slain animals, incurred the wrath of elves. Unseen, the elves drove the orcs from the forest with hail of magic arrows.

Enraged at their losses, the clans massed along the forest borders and pyres were lit. As night fell the trees lit up in a blaze of fire as thousands of torches found their mark. It took several weeks for the rapidly spreading fire to be extinguished. By then, a vast stretch of forest and three elven settlements had been lost to the flames. The orcs waited at the edge of the forest to capture those fleeing the inferno. In accordance with orcish tradition the most severely wounded were to be sacrificed to the Gods, but after months of wandering on meagre rations all captives were feasted on to celebrate victory.

Just three days later, the orcs still in the midst of celebrations, were attacked. Numerous elves appeared, clad in ancient armour and wielding weapons once forged to slay the hordes of Madrook. Elven magic stunned the orcs as fire and lightning rained down on their camp. As the surviving captives escaped, elven wardancers and bladesingers leapt into the midst of the stupefied orcs, cutting them down where they stood. With almost half their numbers slain already, the orcs returning to their senses had no choice but to flee. Never before had they faced an enemy that appeared amongst their ranks, moving with unnatural speed and hurling fire and lightning. The elves did not follow as they were not without loss themselves and instead chose to honour the fallen and await reinforcements.

The Waraxe Clan elders, mindful their depleted numbers were already weakened by famine, seized this opportunity to distance themselves from elves. The Howling Wolf Clan soon followed, fleeing Eldaril. Foolishly the Nighthawk Clan sought to continue the battle and were crushed. The Bloody Skull Clan learnt elves are not forgiving when none of the negotiators they sent with gifts returned. Whilst skirmishes continued for decades to come the orcs were never again any significant threat to the elves, although they learnt much of their craftsmanship and use of bows and blades.