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Subject: Eldar Recital: An Eternal Act in Thirty Three Scenes (complete)
Hi folks, thanks for your interest in being here to read my Eldar fiction.
This one is now complete, so I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as i enjoyed writing it.
Massive thanks for all the positive feedback on this story, its really encouraged me to keep at it and see it through to some sort of hopefully satisfying conclusion.
Thanks for the support but most of all, everyone, always, Thanks for reading.
Scene One : This Dance Will Always Be ——————
The dance is in its final movement.
Maedhros leaps and spins though the twilight stage landing with grace and poise upon his toes. His body strong, the execution of his skill is a delight to behold.
The musicians accompanying his performance let their instruments resonate into the stillness; holding the moment, timeless.
Behind his mask Maedhros waits, breathes, enjoys the moment. Its stillness and energy, its gravity and transience. Savouring the confluence of ancient mythos, repeating and repeating into the tumultuous now, staving off the uncertainty of the bitter future.
He hears the words of his lord and mentor, the founder of the revered temple theatre, echo in his mind. "This dance will always be, as it is now, as it has always been."
Maedhros tenses his muscles in preparation to move but suddenly his mind is blank, his foundation is uncertain. As if struck, he stumbles.
All around the members of his company look shaken, disoriented and distressed. A musician finds the weight of the instrument in his hands somehow too hard to bare. A pair of stricken demi-soloists embrace in desperate pity for a keenly felt if inexplicable loss.
A young apprentice, still in her training bells looks to her corypée for her cue. The elder stands tall and alone yet weeps openly and in defiance of the familiar spectre of death.
A mix of emotions, a disparity stumbles around the temple theatre, echoing as in an empty ruin. The stars above seem colder and more distant than ever, jealously withholding their light.
It feels like a catacomb. Maedhros surveys the wraithbone structure, looking for cracks, or some other evidence of the death they all feel in this place of living bone.
"The master is gone" a voice cries in the wings.
Understanding dawns on the young. The aged nod their ascent gravely. Maedhros stands centre stage, recalling the words, surely the last of his Lord and mentor, the temple founder, Master Cal'nfaye.
"This dance will always be," he recites the line "as it is now, as it has always been."
Yet his heart cannot dance another step.
This message was edited 57 times. Last update was at 2016/10/20 22:55:16
The fallen hearts and minds of the crude denizens of this world hold more deadly perils than their hands. They crawl over the face of the planet like a spreading disease bringing filth, corruption, depravity.
Maedhros has seen enough, wantoness beyond reason, abandonment of all restraint, total unfettered chaos. His soul is sickening in the presence of their contagion. The demons he can fathom. His aim is true and his heart resolute in their destruction. They simply are and should not be.
But their followers... He fights back a thousand mental images more fearful than he can face. The men are worse. Even dull and simple creatures that they once were. Once, he imagines, they might have been free. They might have been whole, uncorrupt. Their souls, such as they were, had been their own. Now...
Maedhros fingers the oval jewel on his Guardian carapace as he skips over the surface of the battlefield like a flat stone tossed into a storm swell.
How has this come to be? he asks himself. He recalls the order to withdraw. Whether the Eldar forces had retrieved what they had come for or simply been repulsed they could not guess. His guardian kindred had been conducting an ordered retreat when a host of unspeakable things materialised in their midst. He slew one and staved off another but his kindred were doomed, the sure refuge of their spirit stones his only comfort as he had fled for his life.
He leaps a crater pool, slips into the cover of a crumbling wall, running, ducking, dodging flashes of las and infernal energies. Every space is filled with dangers. He chooses rocks over bullets, gunfire over hellfire, the slimmest of margins over certain death.
He is alone, he is running. He has chosen flight over fight, survival over sacrifice. He has chosen life in fear over death in oblivion.
This message was edited 4 times. Last update was at 2016/08/29 20:30:29
Seems promising so far, it certainly reads like a proper eldar story and you can tell it's an eldar mindset. I like the first piece and the sense of less; not just for a teacher, but for the future of his path. I'm sensing that will be theme throughout the story.
Ask yourself: have you rated a gallery image today?
Subject: Re:Eldar Recital: survival over sacrifice
Anaris surveys the battlefield with the eye of a hunter selecting targets and relaying their positions and types to Féonwe, his pilot. The youth is a hot head who would fly through the very fires of Vaul's forge but Anaris does not complain. He is named for Anaris, after all, a sword forged in those very fires and delivered to Eldanesh on the wings of a warrior.
A message is relayed into his communication circuits.
"Our forces are falling back. All birds to support and deliver our foremost souls."
Anaris clears the board and calls up a new map, already Féonwe is barrelling them down through the smoke angling into a rough arc along the forefront of the fighting troops.
Anaris selects a likely target several spans ahead. A squad of beleaguered storm guardians are falling back in dire risk of being overrun by unspeakable fiends wrought of pale and bleeding flesh.
The falcon swoops, descending into the fray with swift precision, drawing a line between Eldar and demon like the slamming of a door.
Anaris' targeting array flits between targets like a butterfly, his scatter-laser adding to the flood of shurikens already pouring from the forward guns. Claws and tentacles and other abhorences are sundered from their writhing limbs as demonttes and mutants are culled by the score.
Féonwe has transferred all weapons to his control now, presumably focused on the embarkation of the troops. Anaris is a conduit of fire. Any warp-spawned thing that withstands his relentless volley long enough to advance another step receives a heavy pulse of bright laser energy from the falcon's heaviest gun. He pans frantically covering, first the front semi-circle arc, but even in the brief seconds since their arrival the situation is steadily worsening. Self-repair systems are becoming over-taxed, the falcon's wraithbone structure is registering depleted energy levels. Anaris' turret spins at incredible speed as he frantically prioritises targets and matches them to his weapons of choice.
Seconds like hours stretch out into eternity and then they are airborne. Targets slip away from his reach in the blink of an eye. Faces and trees and whisps of smokey cloud flash past in quick succession as they leap skyward.
A cluster of icons illuminate on his passenger manifest; Five in all. Plucked from the fire by the talons of the Falcon.
This message was edited 4 times. Last update was at 2016/08/29 20:31:59
The tears of Isha are many and all were shed alike, yet some spirit stones, in the end are greater than others. A great soul is a precious thing. A boon to the people; a guide and advisor at the heart of their craftworld.
As she pries another stone free from the carapace of another fallen companion Yevána is again reminded of the stones she grew up with. A pair of treasures enshrined at the heart of her mother's house. The pair of spirit stones in her hand feel identical, but to call those two in her mother's house a pair would be a great mistake.
Her father's stone, a deep dark red oval in a plain wraithbone mount broods quietly in its place of honour. His thoughts are often with them. He is proud of his daughter, he delights in her mother's beauty, his hopes for their future, plans in which he may take little part but in the planning.
Upon the opposite wall stands a bright green half-sphere of gleaming crystal set in an intricately wrought golden scorpion relief. Her mother's sister, a warrior, a champion and an exemplar. One who's spirit traveled the path of the warrior, a spirit that yet shines with a fierce and terrible pride.
"Attend your masters." Her father would council, "They praise your artistry. The finest of engineering could be within your scope they say. Your voice will come in time."
Bone-singing has ever been her bane, she cannot excel on the path of her father's choosing. Her enthusiasm is waning and with half a heart she describes arches and bridges in a flat portfolio, carefully planned in all measure of force and structure yet ultimately barren. She will never sing them into being.
The scorpion strikes when her father's guard is down. Yevána is cut to the heart with a deep dissatisfaction. The myriad stars slip by in relentless procession, passing her by and each passing seems to her a great loss.
She has longed to heed the call to arms, to defend the homestead, to see great feats of battle fought, to walk the stars and to return, perhaps as a stone. Or not at all.
She stands now amidst a blizzard of tumult in the red and black guardian armour of her craftworld, as her father did before her, the stones of two eldar spirits in one hand, a fusion gun in the other. Not all spirits are equal, a scorpion once told her. Not all Eldar are fit to call themselves warrior.
Yevána puts the stones in her pack and takes another step forward on the path.
This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2016/08/29 20:32:13
The witchblade is rending foul spirit from tainted flesh with every arc. It sparks and hisses and screams in wild fury. At the crux of its motion is an elemental force. A mind barely tethered to the physical realm. He is a vortex of etherial forces. They turn on his whim and erupt forth at his command.
"By the will of Asuryan and the fury of Khaine, we are saved!"
The warlock seeks luminous souls, all drowning in a storm of sickness. Plucking those he finds free of the sucking void, he gathers to himself a glowing sanctuary in which free spirits might weather the tempest.
"Master, what is your name?"
He is a lighthouse on the headland, a warning and a comfort, a beacon. The dark waves crash athwart his shores yet the tower is unshaken. His blade a slicing beam of hope rending asunder the storm-cloud laden firmament.
"I would know to whom we owe our salvation. What name have you that I might hold forever dear?"
He is a god-forged plough in a field of rocks. They are torn from the earth and cast aside into the ditch as he drives an arrow-straight furrow. In his wake an upheaval, a new order a purification of tilled earth, a hallowed land. He is preparing a place for a Falcon to alight.
"Command us, my lord, whosoever you may be. We are with you unto death."
He is warlock. He is warrior. He is war incarnate.
This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2016/08/29 20:32:26
When Galdor, at last heeded the call to don his mesh for a second time he did so with a heavy heart.
He looks at his mirrored image, clad in red plate and mesh once again as of old. He knows he is no warrior.
Every day he hears the voices of his murdered kindred, he communes with them daily in his gardens. The spirit circuits in the palace spires are a particular favourite of Alaeriel, she flows down through the miles of flowering Stellatis vine and back up the climbing Silverthorn delighting in the craft of his endeavour. Every day he sings with Eútaniél, whose voice sighs lightly through the fluted reeds in the Lake of Isha always with a comforting song. Often they sing of his brother who is gone.
Those few that he saved, returning with him in a small bag of tears, too few, such a precious few. Had Galdor known then the centuries that would follow, which one of those lost souls would he not have dared everything for?
So few, his constant refrain, so few. He can sing no more. His heart is heavy with it, his armour is lighter. His face is graven with the tale of years, his old helm an uncarved blank.
Alas, he is no warrior; but the Eldar of this world have more need of guardians than of gardeners, even one so skilled and rich in herb-lore as he. Yet, Galdor spares no thought of his returning or of peace in the gardens. What peace has he known since returning thence? What peace?
This message was edited 4 times. Last update was at 2016/08/29 20:32:42
Féonwe clambers from the cockpit of the falcon. He remembers a heavy jolt, warnings on his forward display, losing control...
It looks like the starboard engine has sustained a heavy hit that has taken most of the wing off along with the pulse laser. Inside the gunners cockpit all is blood and smoke.
Féonwe sings for the hatch to open but it will not respond. He scrambles over the top and reaches down behind the turret for the manual release. The dome falls away and with it his hope. Even in his armour and helm it is clear that Anaris will never rise from this carnage.
"Prepare thyself." a voice startles Féonwe from his despair "The enemy comes!"
Four figures have emerged from the rear of the fallen vehicle. Féonwe is all astonishment. He had forgotten them, or assumed the worst. Three guardians he counts, and a warlock. A fifth does not follow.
"Turn and fight!" the warlock commands "They are upon us!"
All at once beyond all hope the falcon's scatter laser comes alive. A bright fusillade streaks into the heart of a group of eager cultist. Their stunned comrades keep their distance and take cover even as the warlock banishes a pair of warp-spawned things to the void.
A sidearm is all Féonwe carries but he adds it to the paltry fire of the three guardians. A single shuriken catapult, a fusion gun, another pistol. But for the joint effort of Anaris and the warlock they would be overrun.
Féonwe redoubles his efforts for the survival of his passengers. He probes their perimeter looking for gaps. A wary squad of gunmen here. An auto-cannon team to the west. In every direction the enemy lurk slowly closing the net.
"We must escape this trap." One of those the falcon had saved, a storm guardian armed for mêlée seems ready to break out.
"Another approaches," the warlock reassures him. "Abide with us." He speaks as if he has seen all ends and knows all paths. "Our time is short but when the moment comes we shall move." The warlock is in control.
The scatter laser continues its assault. Beyond all hope and reason Anaris is still aiding them. Although his body is surely as dead as the falcon itself, his spirit it seems is fighting yet.
"But Master, I cannot leave him here." Féonwe appeals, "He yet lives, and who can tell what these things will make of his soul!"
The warlock turns regarding the spirit in the gunners turret with an intense curiosity, considering all angles.
"There is a way," he soon concludes "But we must work quickly."
This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2016/08/29 20:33:00
Maedhros is a leaf in a fire tornado. He flits wildly at the whim of the storm. On the knife edge between existence and the void.
Yet, a subtle pull has begun drawing him. At first it feels easiest to follow its direction, like walking down-hill, but surely he is becoming more aware of it. Maedhros quickens his pace as his mind becomes attuned to its direction. He is a compass seeking north, a pendulum swinging toward equilibrium.
He is shown unknowable paths, he feels inexplicable aversions to an open way where walking into a fight seems preferable. Some enemies ignor him completely where others crumple at his touch. He is unaccountably charmed.
Maedhros awakens to hope. His resolve is steeled, his weapon is natural to his grip and his feet are given their wings. Springing with an energy and grace worthy of his former master's temple he darts among a trio of cultists. One man is barrelled off his feet while another is spitting teeth before he tastes his own blood. The third is left behind, dumbstruck. Maedhros is already gone.
Closer now he can see the shape of the terrain as if from above. At the centre his goal, a warlock's band. The warlock is orbited by satellites, five white-helmed guardians in the red and black carapace of their craftworld. They shelter in the cover of a stricken Falcon its turret mounted scatter laser adding to their fire.
There before his sight-sore eyes stands the one who has drawn him. A force of fire in a sea of ice. A press against the pull. A defiant rock in the rushing waters.
The desperate little force ebbs and flows at the will of the Psyker. Guided, directed, aimed and discharged at the great enemy who surround and press in from every side.
"Stand not amazed!" The Warlock screams in his mind, "Come nigh and join to us thy strength."
Like an arrow he flies toward the heart of the fray. The warlock's aim directs him through an enemy auto-cannon team in a half dug fox-hole. One man dies at his first blow and the second falls back fumbling his pistol. Maedhros releases a flurry of shurikens and then spikes the heavy weapon with contempt.
The way is open.
"Why dost thou tarry?" The warlock demands, "I tell thee the way is open."
"The way is open also for you." Maedhros replies, somehow sure the warlock can hear, "Would you remain to be caught in the web of your own weaving, whilst you draw more flies unto yourself?
The warlock does not respond.
"I thank you for your aid in guiding me thus far," Maedhros continues "but I see you are surrounded. I may be the rude blade in a god's ransom but I offer you deliverance from this bondage."
The fighting beyond his fox hole continues all the while. Fire pours in and out of the battered Falcon testing every angle, but it can not continue indefinitely. There is a pause, Maedhros can almost feel the Warlock's indrawn breath, his decision when it comes.
"We are almost ready. In that moment we must co-ordinate our efforts precisely. All shall follow my lead or all are lost." The Warlock's response feels grim, as a wild thing who turns to face its hunter at the last.
"Maedhros, thine is the opening part. Prepare thyself."
This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2016/08/29 20:33:14
"The time is now!" comes the warlock's order. "May thy feet have wings."
Maedhros bolts from cover out into centre stage. Between a row of crumbling pillars he flits like a swallow, swooping low and gone in a heartbeat. He is set on a course of the warlock's design. Actor and director, composer and performer, they are playing in concert.
Every eye that follows is slow to perceive. Undisciplined fire clatters high and wide at his passing. The commotion gathering more and more participants, all eager to join in the dance. A step into the open elicits an ovation of gunfire which continues long after Maehros has exited the stage.
Act two is a desperate sprint among the angry chorus. A rapture of battle-music swells to a crescendo developing themes of timeless beauty and sacred order struggling against chaos, and debasement. mortality.
Direction slips into interpretation, trading recital for improvisation. With poise and precision, dexterity and pace Maedhros is tempting the fates. Yet for all his heroic defiance of the cold stars against him the plot is twisting toward tragedy.
They close around the lonely figure, all hideously costumed in myriad demonic array. The warlock strains to keep him in sight and in time, but the mass of foul bodies and minds press in from all angles pushing the star into the wings beyond sight and sound and hope of encore.
This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2016/08/29 20:33:31
"The moment is upon us. On my mark we break west."
The Warlock is speaking but he is elsewhere. His hands twitch like a sleeper engaged in distant dreams of combat. Preparations to move out have been hasty and confusing but there is faith in the warlock's direction.
Féonwe feels the weight of the heavy weapon strapped on his back. It will slow him down, no doubt but he does not resent it. It is the least he can do for Anaris, his friend. The gunner's spirit stone feels ice cold in the breast pocket of his coat but the weapon itself clicks and whirs as if some internal process continues despite being severed from the whole.
The old sire in the ancient mesh armour takes point and with measured strides advances westward with the warlock close behind. Féonwe is to follow at the warlock's side, like a guide leading the blind. He is labouring forward under the strain of the scatter-laser's weight, his load purging his guilt with every step. He watches his footing plotting a careful course for all, this time he will not fall.
"Keep together!" The warlock intones, his voice an echo more in their minds than ears.
Two of their number are lagging behind, they emerge from beneath the falcon's wing as a shower of bullets rattle over their heads. A well placed smoke grenade covers their retreat as they come bounding in like errant children from an orchard. Each carries a bundle of salvaged parts from the skimmer, all dangling circuits and bleeding pipes.
"What foolishness is this?" the warlock demands coming suddenly back to himself. "One is risking his life while you gather trinkets!"
"Forgive us, Master." the pair of storm guardians present their case as they fall in. "We have brought wings and eyes for the brother who has fallen in our service." They indicate Féonwe's heavy load presenting a salvaged targeting array and anti-gravitic generator. "This burden cannot endure long, after all."
"My burden is not your concern." Féonwe growls, "Should I carry him to the ends of the stars I do so with a will."
"Your vigilance and your weapons are the aid we all require." the warlock rebukes "All must work in concert, as one movement."
There is no further argument. The warlock is both fire before them and cloud behind. Their passage into the mist goes unmarked and unhindered by the enemy.
They are dropping down into a dry river bed not nearly far enough from danger when the warlock stops and turns.
"Galdor, lead them on. I am losing him."
A tacit nod from the old guardian signals his acceptance but the younger generation voice their concern.
"But Master, we cannot last without you."
"Your fates are not all assured" he agrees, "Yet mightily do some ways lead beyond the horizons of my vision. I will seek you on the path. Fear not but stride forward unto your destiny."
With that the warlock is gone.
This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2016/08/29 20:33:58
His body dances furiously in more than muscle memory yet beyond the veil the astral plain is penetrating his unguarded mind.
Wild panic and deep unsettling desire are waring within his undisciplined mind, his reason is clinging on by its fingernails.
The domination of his psyche is built in waves. First a total introspection blinds his eyes from the world outside. He cannot see a way out. A mirthless mocking laughter drives out the sound of footfalls, of breathing, of his beating heart. The rhythms of his life.
A soul-deep pain is rising from his feet, his back, his lungs. Not a weariness but a hyper-state of absolute self-awareness. Cruel fingers scrape the surface of his very soul, picking ragged holes in the fabric of his being. He is, and it is killing him.
He perceives a gathering mist clinging cold on the surface of his burning skin. It numbs more than soothes his pain. He is not healed of it merely removed from it. His body is dancing still, in the midst of it.
Even now his screaming eyes refuse to see. His beating heart gives no strength to his will; his tortured breath, no voice to his suffering.
The warlock's form is distilled from the mist. He is the calm of a winter's day, the stillness of a star-lit lake. He is light and breath and hope beyond hope.
The warlock is watching him, silent
Maedhros awakens to find he yet lives. His heart beats, his knife bleeds.
His open eyes see chaos, death and ruin all around.
His shuriken catapult is empty.
He feels nothing.
This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2016/08/29 20:35:12
They run in a dry river bed like rain out of season. Skipping lightly over the surface, a trickle briefly passing into the dust, flowing out of sight, out of thought and into obscurity. Five souls alone in a spinning oblivion. High above hangs the portent of a red crescent moon.
They have found a place to rest. Less safe than sanctuary, more secure than an open door. Within, a puzzle is laid out before them. A restless weapon, a cold stone, a dead eye and a severed wing.
"Our chief concerns are integrity and power." Yevána explains to the group. "We have four vital systems, the anti-gravitic generator, the falcon's targeting array, the weapon itself and the spirit stone."
"There is no power in the stone. It is cold. It has no life in it. All of his soul has chosen to reside in the scatter laser." Féonwe is offering his insights but in honesty is at the end of himself.
"There is power enough in him to bring this weapon to life maybe, but no more." Galdor is unhappy about the whole business but the last choice of Anaris, however unconventional was his to make and Galdor will respect it.
"But he has need of power for the generator." Yevána explains. "If it could be made to carry the weight I believe our brother might be helped to aid us as he once did."
"You mean to use him!" Féonwe is part horror and part joy. Yevána's plan is an ambitious one, and he praises her innovation but has little hope for their success.
"I know... My design is but a prayer."
"I believe my own suit may hold the key." The fourth member of the think-tank has removed the power conduit from the sleeve of his guardian armour.
"The power requirements for a power sword are not much less than the anti-gravitic motor will want."
"Eldanesh has it I believe. Also, if the systems of the targeting array might be mounted onto his shoulder..."
"Wait, wait. Your name is Eldanesh?" Féonwe's mind is already clambering for significance.
"Yes, I am of the Eldanar."
"You are a prince?" Galdor had not thought to find such a one among the ranks of the guardians.
"In as much as my sires are considered of the king's royal line, but truly I am no autarch in the making."
"My apologies, Highness but this chance... fate has ordained it would seem that I should bare this burden onto your keeping." The young pilot's heart is flush with repeating mythology. "Behold the one before you, who has chosen to imbue this weapon with his immortal soul, his name is Anaris!"
"The sword of Vaul, delivered to Eldanesh on the wings of a hawk." Galdor's summary is terse but weighty.
"... of a Falcon, Galdor." Féonwe is keenly self-aware.
"By a pilot at least." Eldanesh dismisses his concerns. "His name is Anaris, truely?"
"Alright boys, now is not the time for discussions of mythological significance. Had your pilot's suit, Féonwe, been fit to power the generator you might yet have carried him yourself. I am concerned with expedience here not significance." Yevána, practical as ever.
"Yet there is significance." Eldanesh is convinced. "I alone among us am uniquely equipped for this task. Your own suit, sister, although similar has not the capacity for the task. I will gladly give up my power sword for the sword of Vaul, I will wield Anaris."
"We are a long way from that, I fear." Yevána has known this to be true. "I have an idea of all the relevant paths the spirit and the power must make, I can plot their course and design... but I cannot sing the bone into being."
Yevána is acutely aware of her shortcoming. Had she known this day would come, had she leaned on the wisdom of her father and not the dreams of her aunt... had she ever really tried?
"I believe in your skill sister." Féonwe's faith is boundless. "You can do this."
"I assure you I cannot." Her face drops in shame. "The weapon's wraithbone will not respond to me."
"I will sing your song. The bone will follow your direction at my behest." It is Galdor who now speaks, though his voice lacks conviction. "Though it is much to my distaste I would not deny the will of the gods."
"Galdor, if you are a maker and a bone singer, and a master by your doubtless venerable age." The voice of Yevána is an angry little craft in a sea of anxiety. "Why not speak before now! Why let this apprentice suffer?"
"Peace, child. I am no great maker. Though I grant you I am old."
"Then what manner of one are you that may sing unto bone and be obeyed?"
"I am a gardener."
This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2016/08/29 20:35:32
Maedhros is reborn. He is a whirl of sinew and blade. A fountainhead of deadly intent springing up where once all was the stagnation of lost hope. Fearless now, as one with nothing more to lose he dances upon their corruption with utter contempt.
Before him, the warlock is ploughing a furrow through the battleground. Mutant flesh is cloven and overturned. Dark powers are resisted, turned aside, thwarted and overcome. He is riding a wave of their desperate despair, buoyed up by their frustration and their fear. He delights to throw them on the mercy of their dark lords, knowing full-well the bitter cost of their failure. His laughter pervades the air.
"Come, Maedhros, we leave these fools to their fate!"
The warlock exists in a realm of psychic energy, perceiving the myriad etherial forces pervading this dread-world. Patches of thin, rosy mist emanate from those lesser corrupted souls while their demoniac overseers blaze with yellow swirling coronas.
His witchblade is a helical glowing brand. Every sweep paints the air white and the mists condense and fall like an evil rain, collecting in blood red pools around the husks of the purged dead. The flaming auras of the sorcerous foe reach out to burn the fleeing eldar but the warlock is water; his witchblade is ice. Even in flight the warlock yet thwarts them with deadly psychic force, snuffing out their very souls' fire or mystifying their lurid minds.
Yet a shadow is growing in this glowing ethereal realm. Something behind the warlock spins, a whirling void. It sucks all psychic matter in and emits nothing. No radiance of aura, no reflection of his tentative psychic probing. It follows close behind, consuming the residual energies in his wake. He feeds it souls and sprints before it but he cannot shake it from his course.
The void-star keeps pace with him long after the fight and on into his flight. It has become a shadow on his mind the source of his primary concern. Has he created this thing? What is its nature? He cannot perceive it beyond the void it creates in the energies of the psychic realm.
At last the Warlock stops and turns to face the void. It hovers before him, uncanny in the shape of a man. A figure, surely not Eldar. There is no trace of a glowing Eldar soul; of that he is sure.
Where is that fool Maedhros? Has this thing taken him?
He does not doubt that it has, yet he still hopes beyond hope for the guardian's escape.
The Warlock raises his witchblade and is poised to strike when the void reacts. It leaps and spins outside of his reach. He unleashes the force of the destructor upon it but to no effect. He watches horrified as the energies of his psychic blast swirl into a white vortex and disappear within. Yet the void-star does not retaliate in force.
"What do you want from me?" Somewhere distant a voice screams. "I would that you open your mouth and speak from your heart though it be set against me. I have come at your bidding and you have thrown me to the wolves! Now I am made to run in your wake, to be shunned and made mockery of by your silent contempt."
The Warlock realises in growing horror that he is hearing the guardian's voice. Yet the words are not coming to him clearly in his mind but imperfectly through the physical layers of his helmets. How can it be so? His mind should receive more readily any eldar voice within hearing distance. Does Maedhros speak from within the void? All else is as it should be, his mind perceives the shining helical spiral in his witchblade. His wraithbone-wrought runic armour feels solid to his mind. Only Maedhros is outside of his perception, only the void.
The Warlock sings the intonation that unseals his fully enclosed helmet. His eyes adjust slowly to the natural daylight. His throat is drying with the smoke in the air. His skin tingles like new flesh at the touch of a light breeze. He is transported to a mundane reality like a sheathing of his mind. A light rain falls creating tiny dark speckles on the porous rocks. A beetle traverses the landscape at his feet. He casts a shadow here.
A guardian standing before him, surprisingly near, blinks into focus through his opened eyes.
"How silent thy mind..." The warlock falters, searching for his physical voice. "I have not heard thy voice until now... I have known only the void..." His dry throat cracks. There is no resonance in his tone, only appeal to the voice he has lost.
Maedhros is equally shocked and unsettled by the face of his companion. So drawn, haggard, worn thin with the concerns and the weight of war. Translucent skin betrays a fragile network of life stretched thinly on a deathly frame. Sunken eyes, long chiseled teeth set low under cracked thin lips.
All words are failing them as their anger is earthed and replaced by a desperate pity. Two opposing polls suddenly switching, a disorienting flip. Two vessels drifting, without the wind of their indignation, nor the compass of their assured righteousness.
Maedhros removes his guardian helm. An attempt to communicate a sudden and profound question in his near-speechless state. Face to face one being to another.
"Who are you?" Every fibre of his body is asking.
The warlock is slowly returning to the physical realm. He is once again seeing photons with his eyes, hearing waves with his ears. The question comes to him by strange biological pathways and returns an answer from a long distant time.
"My name..." the Warlock almost asks, "...is Starálfur. But thou... cannot be Maedhros..."
The warlock seems to be searching; for a name, an identity. "I have seen thee," he explains, "I know thee."
This is no explanation.
"If I am not Maedhros," the guardian lays the gauntlet before the warlock, this Starálfur,"Then name me!"
Starálfur stares long and hard at the face of the one who asks. One who would know his true nature. One who must learn his fate.
A breath is drawn for the pronouncement of his doom.
"Thou art void." He declares, "Thy soul is lost."
This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2016/08/29 20:35:56
Overlooking the dry river course from high on a shadowy valley wall he surveys their position with his naked eyes. On behind him the dying sun still cresting the ridge divides the valley below into flame and shadow. Far above, the unhappy portent of a red crescent moon hangs over all like an executioner's blade.
Further on into the hills a span of brooding man-made stone girdles the valley. The reservoir beyond is a bloated boil on this once maiden world. Féonwe tastes in the air a trace of the reek of heavy smoke that still veils the valley's barren pasturelands where they fought and were defeated. Where somewhere still his Falcon lies cold and broken and doomed to decay.
Such distances, he regrets, he can no longer travers in the blink of an eye. Would that he might gather his companions once more into his care and deliver them from this fallen world. A dry wind whips around his feet billowing his coat-tails behind him in mockery of the wings he has lost. He remains grounded in his failure.
Swinging on Féonwe's belt, Eldanesh's sword clatters against his tethered helm as his coat tails drop. He unhooks the sword with a thought and holds it in his grasp. Light, sleek. A weapon honed for war, but ultimately powerless. Without the proper equipment he cannot bring its full potential to bear. Like himself, its most potent aspect is ultimately dependent on some wider support. Without a suitable power supply, without his falcon...
Still it is sharp. He takes a practice swing at a thick dry reed that has grown and died by the wayside. The cut is clean and he catches the falling piece before it lands. As he walks he cleans and trims the hollow tube with the dexterity that comes from a well balanced blade in a careful hand.
He has produced the basis for a rudimentary flute. Measuring the hollow shaft against the length of his forearm he shortens and notches the tube creating a rough hole to blow over. Placing the instrument to his practiced lips he attempts to breathe sound into the dead wood, but to no avail.
It will take much pairing away of old wood to hone an instrument fit to be played. Another object in transition, reshaped and repurposed by forces beyond its control.
All at once, from the cleft of a gully by the side of the path there comes a sound of alarm. A man has been discovered in his hiding. He is scrambling to his feet, fumbling for a weapon with his back to a bare rock face.
Féonwe is calm and alert and armed.
The man has been sleeping, in a fearful state of flight from whatever dark powers he has thought to escape. His trembling hands refuse to grip or bring his crude fire-arm fully to bear in time. So blinded by fear, so crippled by alarm, so betrayed by his own flesh, the man is completely at his mercy.
A heartbeat for a human, a significant pause for an Eldar. At last, stepping in to one side of the barrel of the man's autogun, Féonwe drives the sword with precision into the man's heart.
He expires in seconds as his life's blood drains from his gasping flesh.
The sight of that retch, the look of terror in his eyes, did but echo his own fear, his own failures. Fleeing from the enemy, hiding in pitiable, pathetic weakness. He couldn't bare it.
As he cleans his blade Féonwe curses this miserable place. As the micro-crystalline surface shines clean he is careful to look away. On this broken uncertain world everything is a mirror.
This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2016/08/29 20:36:15
As the shadow of the hills stretches dark fingers over the valley a red moon hangs ominously in the smoke veiled firmament. The time has come to depart under cover of darkness.
"The master has commanded you to lead us on, Galdor." Yevána declares as they are readying to move.
Galdor instinctively looks to the prince for guidance.
Eldanesh is fine tuning the anti-gravitc generator to better balance the weight of the scatter laser. Anaris is positively alive in his hands he is not open to the aged guardian's silent appeal.
Yevána presses, "We look to your lead."
"I will lead if you look for it, but I will call no warlock master." Galdor secures a round hip-pouch on his waist. Within, a cluster of spirit stones commune with each other. "I am no warrior. I am eldar and I am free to choose my own path."
"The Warlock saved us all." She replies, indignant, "We all owe him our lives; our service at the very least!"
The old guardian is taciturn, he wants no argument but simply continues to check his wargear.
"My name is Yevána." She defies, "The warlock is my Master and I would be a warrior."
"Greetings, daughter." Galdor replies in formal mode,"I, Galdor of the Green Havens, thank you for your aid and service to our people. I commend still more your diligence in gathering the spirit stones of our fallen kin."
Yevána is frustrated by his politic response, though she graciously nods her acceptance.
"This targeting system is unlike anything I had anticipated." Eldanesh is dancing in circles, the huge scatter-laser in his grip is targeting phantoms. "Anaris speaks to me, though I know not his speech. He seeks quarrel with the enemy, no doubt." Eldanesh pays no heed to their talk.
"How many souls have you retrieved?" Galdor continues, "This most assuredly is your greatest service to our people."
"I have three only, though one is a dear friend." Yevána's voice has lost some of its surety. She is recalling untold griefs, glad of the mask her helm offers. Suddenly aware of the tear on its face-plate.
"You also have skill in making and foresight rare in one so young," Galdor is full of praise but she can hear the voice of her father all too clearly. "Yet you would be a warrior, a student of destruction? Another bloody hand slipping off the plough toward the sword."
"You are here are you not?" She retorts in anger, "Suited for war with weapon in hand. Speak not of your peaceful aspirations. A warlock has directed you as the instrument of war that you are. Unfit a tool as you might be."
"Stay your wrath, child.I am more than a tool of your war. As are you, though you seek to be less. Would you be Yevána still? For your master is only Warlock. His name like his soul is consumed in the warriors way. He has forgotten all but war."
"Anaris is eager to be about our business." Eldanesh is leaving. "We shall go in search of Féonwe."
Galdor is surprised. "He is gone, and alone? Why did you not stop him?"
"I gave him my sword, he went ahead while we worked. You can see my hands are full. Do not burden me with his care."
"So speaks one of the Eldanar?" Galdor is following Eldanesh out into the red moonlight. "His care was ever your concern! The care of all our race, ever your burden!" He lays a hand hard on the young princes shoulder. Eldanesh spins and casts him off.
"What do you know? You who come to war as a Raven to peck at the eyes of the fallen! A magpie gathering precious stones, sewing doubt and fear amongst our warriors! What do you care for the fate of Féonwe so long as his soul returns to Ynnead!"
Galdor is stunned as the tirade continues.
"I have met your kind before, Galdor of the Havens. You follow in our wake and pick up on our breadcrumb sins. You talk of peace and frown on war yet live entirely for our death. That one should fight on and on and defy you and your god is all that you loath. That any soul be beyond your grasp."
"It is not so." Galdor denies with fervent heart, "I do but preserve the fallen, to bring home to the craftworld."
"You turn the moon red with every soul you deliver. You say you would save her from a warlock's war yet what are those souls in your pouch but more wraiths for their spirit swords to guide into battle?"
"Nay, I would have them live with us in the Havens, as I would have her live."
"You, who live for death would have them dead and you would have Yevána live for the dead also. For you have chosen to serve Ynnead, the god of the dead. Yevána has chosen another: She is for Khaine as I am for Eldanesh. Know wherein this quarrel lies, Galdor, with the gods and not with each other."
Galdor is silent in contemplation.
"Thus speaks one of the Eldanar." Eldanesh concludes. "Now Choose your path and let us all go together."
This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2016/08/29 20:36:30
So, I attempted to read this a little while ago but after the first one I knew I couldn't stop so I saved it for a time when I would dedicate an entire day or night to reading. I've read to scene eleven and choose not to read anymore. To me, this is a treat from a natural word smith who truly captures the moment. These aren't humans, they're Eldar and reading this you can honestly feel and know, without a doubt, that they are Eldar.
I'm choosing to wait for at least two or three more scenes, if there will be that many more scenes before I begin again. I thoroughly enjoyed the hour or so I spent reading every well placed word and hope to do so again. If anything, it's a series I'd happily revisit in the months to come. Not only is it a demonstration of Eldar but precision writing at its peak. For me, I've taken quite a bit from the Eldar Recital. Phrases like bounding in like errant children from an orchard truly capture the moment.
I look forward to continuing this journey again and thank you, this is a tale that I believe legitimately stands outs in Dakka Ficition forums.
Subject: Eldar Recital: Scene Fifteen - Choose Your Path
No problem, I'm a fan of great literature and you certainly deliver.
What I love about you is everything is so concise, that everything comes together using the imagination alone. You don't need to struggle through descriptions, like my stuff usually is. An opposite writer is Deadshot. It's interesting cause he's got a certain intricacy with description that can be lengthy but captivates the scene while you do the same in a very compact mannerism. I can rightfully say you two are probably my favorite writers on Dakka, right now.
Subject: Eldar Recital: Scene Fifteen - Choose Your Path
Like the cry of gulls on a salt breeze they hear him call, and as rivers they flow toward the sea.
"Féonwe!" Galdor moves to apprehend the young wanderer. "We sought you long and with much anguish."
"I did not wish to be found."
"He has heeded the call, Galdor. Be contented."
"I see the master!" Yevána is running "And there is another with him!"
Through the gloaming twilight there comes a shining figure and another, a shadow behind.
Eldanesh is wresting the barrel of his weapon away from the scene. "Anaris has that other marked for certain death. It is all I can do to restrain his fire."
Galdor sees and his heart forebodes some deep disquiet.
With an upheld palm the Warlock halts Yevána's advance. She is compelled perforce to remain at a distance.
"What is this now, elder?" Eldanesh watches with growing concern. "Do you know this dance?"
"I have seen nought like it in all my days. The warlock refuses her welcome and the honour she does him."
"Yet now they come to us. It is the shadow that he leaves behind." Féonwe has seen true and the others agree. They eye the mysterious stranger with suspicion as Yevána and the warlock rejoin their number.
"Who is that one who waits yonder?" Galdor demands. "Why remains he without of our company?"
"I need explain to him also. Fetch for me fire in its natural element." A note of weariness pervades the command. "No part of thy mind must enter it."
"Are we children that you set us such a game?" Eldanesh balks. "when you may do thus with a thought."
Yevána is already about her master's work. She levels her fusion gun at a likely mark.
"Nay, daughter!" Galdor stays her hand. "No element of thyself. Your own spirit sparks your fire." He looks to the warlock who has slumped to the earth. A nod of ascent is all he can muster.
"He has need of a sterile element, though I know not why. Such things are used in warding and in... other less wholesome rites."
"Then you know the way of it?" Yevána is not surprised.
"It is no secret, though our people seldom have the need of it. It is said that exodite worlds are full of such practices."
"So we are to be exodites now?" Eldanesh is unimpressed. Already he is thinking about the journey ahead.
"To make fire is a question of energy and matter. However for this purpose psyonic energy cannot provide the..."
"Will this suffice?" Féonwe is offering a small silvered trinket of alien design. The topmost structure is blackened with soot and nurtures a smokey flame that wavers in the breeze.
"What is that you hold?" Eldanesh has kindled an interest.
"I found it on a man I slew on the hillside."
"You were seen while you walked alone!"
"Drop it, the man's corruption may still be upon it?"
"He was not corrupt, I think. At least I felt no sickness in his dying spirit." Féonwe is speaking almost to himself as he stares into the small flame. "It left his body and his possessions wholly without the slightest residue. Humans it seems give little heed to their spirits in life, unless they be lost. I admit I was surprised. At first I thought this little box housed his spirit stone but I was mistaken. It is but a mechanical device to conjure flame."
The warlock snatches the device from his fingers and throwing together a hasty pyre of tinder sets a small fire to burn in the leaf mould.
"Bring fuel and build it higher." he commands "I must meditate ere this task may be accomplished." With that he sits before the fire stock still while his charges do their duty.
The lingering shadow beyond has crept closer now but remains apart. They can see that he is Eldar, yet his silence is terrible.
At last as the fire grows hot and fierce the warlock stirs. He guides them all into positions around the vigin fire. Yet there is a gap in the circle. With theatrical poise Maedhros enters the ring and closes the gap. The fire roars with an unseen wind and the warlock raises his mind to the task before him.
"Behold the fire. Receive the message. Take heed for all depends upon this."
Together the company stare into the flames and the dance begins.
This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2016/08/29 20:36:56
So I've read up until Scene Seven, and I have to echo Benny's words. Everything is so wonderfully concise and pristine, its very evident you understand Eldar minds (as well as someone can understand a fictional space-elf thing), and despite being so brief, it packs a lot of information of into it. Look forward to Scenes 8-16 and more to come!
I'm celebrating 8 years on Dakka Dakka!
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Credit to Castiel for banner. Thanks Cas!
Subject: Eldar Recital: Scene Sixteen: A Terrible Silence
A ring of sparks is turning a circle dance in the white heart of the fire. Each spark kindles to a separate flame, each unique and defined. Together they dance and turn; they leap and alight.
Each watcher around the fire has seen themselves. A tiny echo reflecting their spirit in a tongue of flame. They see how it moves, how is reaches and sways. Where it joins the whole and where it stands alone. There is unity and society and identity in the circle.
With a heavy sigh the warlock shifts the pace to one of frantic war. The flames are sorely tried by gusts and crackling fuel and smothering smoke. The circle dance is scattered nigh unto oblivion in the tumult.
Now, at the centre grows a bright white tongue that stands against the crackling and smoking brands. It calls the dancers to return. The circle dance is joined amidst the fury, yet one remains outside its number.
Maedhros sees his story playing out again before his weary eyes. The single spark alone amidst the terror of the maelstrom begins a circuitous orbit around the circle dancers who are trapped within. But soon amidst the cloying smoke the spark's vitality wanes, its orbit deteriorates and it begins to fall.
The whiter flame is reaching out, it breaks out and trails the path of the falling spark. It follows close upon its perilous downward course but it cannot yet reach it.
Down amidst the ash and ruin in the fire pit, the spark is smothered to a glowing ember ere it winks out. Crashing upon its dying place in fury and with vital force comes the warlock's flame. Yet what emerges from the cold ash grave is little more than char and ash. A whisp of smoke-choked ember floating hard upon a whirlwind's eye.
Together, rising higher they twist and spin; a swinging binary dark and light, throwing out both fire and smoke.
All see the pair of entities stand poles apart within the frame of elemental energies. One, a radiance that gives light and warmth and life and the other a void that consumes all.
Worried glances flicker across to Maedhros who stands watching his fate unfold, motionless; a silent threat at the heart of the company. The warlock stirs. Raising his hands he sets the scene for the final act to commence.
The circle dancers in the flames draw together and all ring around the hungry void. Strong in unity they set guard about him even as each stays far beyond his deadly pull. As one body in motion all rise from the heat of the flames and into the darkness above. They are spinning points of light in a boiling black firmament.
A void star sits at the centre of a procession of planetary bodies. At the farthest reaches one distant body describes an errant, elliptical orbit. Closer, in funereal precession rolls a gaseous giant slow and steady. In the central orbit rides a glowing sphere attended by a red moon and a crown of rings about it. Closer still a heart of flame, a roiling molten rock that balances upon the boundary of life and death. And coursing through all, a tangential blazing trail of comet dust. It has navigated the great unknown and travels paths between the stars and lights the way beyond.
A guttural shout breaks the spell. The fire and all the warlock's craft winks out of sight. A pair of men stumble in upon the fireside telling, with loaded arms and steeled fists. But veiled in smoke the watchers slip away and empty is the Eldar glade.
This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2016/08/29 20:37:32
"Has he understood your message in the fire?" Yevána addresses her master in tentative concern. "Does he realise the threat?" Maedhros is skulking alone nearby, in the shade of a dense copse. Yevána makes an effort to look elsewhere.
"I believe he does. We spoke but briefly upon the battlefield." The warlock admits. "I fear I may have risked too much."
Yevána is shocked. To speak to such a one as Maedhros is to invite damnation. "Why did you this? And how?"
"I was taken unawares, but I knew enough to guard my mind in speech. It is strange to say but I spoke as one to a child. With only lips and tongue and eyes I found a way to name him." Starálfur recalls Maehdros' face, his dark saturnine eyes. "His eyes are wells."
"You looked upon him, face to face?" Yevána can scarce believe the tale and yet she has felt the change in the master. "Had I known I would not have looked to your coming. Have you indeed returned to us?"
"One has returned. One I have been who was lost." The warlock's mask is downcast. "My journey upon the warriors path has been long. Indeed, I have known no other."
"I come to you now, master, to beg you show me your way. I am your pupil, your burden shall be my design." Yevána is kneeling, her head bowed and hands upheld. She recites the rite of passage into the shrine of the path of the warrior eagerly in a single breath.
"Child, daughter, please." This is not the formal response of a master. "Know first my face and hear my name and see thyself in my eyes. For this too is the path of the warrior."
The warlock removes his helm and Starálfur is revealed. He places the helm of the warlock in her hands. Yevána stares into the blank face-plate of a most sacred order. The warlock, the ultimate expression of the Eldar warrior, reserved only for those given over entirely, body mind and spirit, to war.
She is caught in a rictus of fears. Reflected in the ancient curved gloss of the mask her own face is warped and robbed of its elfin beauty but she cannot look away. Nor can she bring her eyes to look upon the one who has worn this mask, one who truly knows what it means to ware it. Her breath is held.
"Once, upon the field of battle, thou asked my name." A voice at once familiar and yet estranged is speaking softly. "What name have I that thou may hold forever dear?"
"I remember. You told me nought." Still she cannot look.
"I was but warlock then. I was lost, without a name, as I shall be again." A note of intense despair in his voice so full of longing, compels her eyes, at last to look upon him.
"What name have you, my master, that I might hold forever dear?" She asks again, her eyes unflinching and her steady voice betraying nothing of the profound impact of his ancient, care-worn countenance. "For still I am with thee unto death."
"My name is Starálfur, 'One who stares' and indeed I have seen much, as thou, Yevána will see also in thine own time." His voice is the grinding of continents and the passing of stars is reflected in his dark grey eyes. "Thou wilt indeed see much death upon the warriors way, but remember always, there are many worse fates in this life than a swift death."
"I fear none." Yevána is resolute.
"Not long suffering, nor untold grief, nor loss of self, nor great despair, nor damnation itself?" this last, recalls the clear and present danger to them all. Neither look to Maedhros but he is always there.
"To strive upon the path of endless destruction" the master continues, "is to wilfully destroy thyself."
"I fear only failure, only weakness, only doubt." She pronounces bravely, hoping for the strength to back it up.
"Then I will lead you to the temple of your aspect in time, but or now, Yevána, abide with me a while. For much of war is watching, waiting and preparing. And upon that much of thy warrior's glory may hinge."
This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2016/09/02 00:10:10
I gotta say, of all the fiction on Dakka, you're probably the one I look forward to most. Without a doubt you're one of the elite around here. I'd even go as far as saying this Recital has a genuine chance of being published, no question at all. I'm actually hoping you do put forth the effort sometime in the future to get this published. I'm only on Chapter 3 of Smirking but Eldar Recital is still my favorite read that you've done, so far.
Subject: Eldar Recital: Scene Eighteen : A Question Repeated
While i thank you for your kindness i really have no desire to be held up as some sort of elite. Especially not in comparison to some of the other writers on here. I read plenty on Dakka Fiction that I can happily say I consider really excellent writing.
Recently TheEyeOfNight's Flayed legion has been making me smile no end.
Excited that you're reading Smirking too! It's a special little story that was many years in the writing so I'm always glad to hear that it's being enjoyed again.
Smirking II is also in the pipeline but I aim to have it fully written and proofed before chapter one hits the fiction forum. It's about halfway written by now but Eldar Recital has been stealing all my inspiration and writing time.
Thanks again to all who have been commenting. Always glad to be inspiring some love for the Eldar. And Your feedback is inspiring more chapters to come.
This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2016/09/02 00:26:58
Another load of scavenged Eldar-tech is offloaded from a high-topped armoured car. A sickly pale guard flicks cigar ash carelessly and spits as he throws another shuriken catapult on the pile. The driver yells and slaps the side of the vehicle impatiently. A pair of ill favoured goons exit the store. They deadbolt and padlock the heavy door before all four men depart in the emptied wagon.
"You should not have brought him." Féonwe whispers, tipping a heavy leaf just enough to peer between the canopy. Below Eldanesh awaits with Anaris primed and ready.
"You spare not his feelings, Féonwe." Eldanesh is pacing heavily, his voices over-loud. "I would have though that you might have enjoyed the opportunity to lead him into combat once more."
"I do not intend to..." Féonwe catches his breath, and dropping down from the higher branches continues in a more subdued tone. "Combat is not our goal here. We are sent to recover what we may to aid our journey thence."
"Recover what you will. I come for vengeance and you know Anaris would not be laid aside given his choice."
"I know it. But a scatter laser is not a weapon fit for a raid of this nature. It will encumber your movement and impede your ability to carry that which we have come for." Féonwe is speaking but he is not being heard.
"Better to take this back." Féonwe is offering the sword they had exchanged. "We can recover Anaris afterward."
"You offer Vaul's false hundredth in exchange for the sword of dawnlight?" Eldanesh enjoys the thrum of the anti-gravitic generator sending a vibration down into the ground at his feet. He is all energy, and not the least interested in his old blade. "They have gone? We can proceed?"
"They are gone." Féonwe pronounces the sentence. He knows they must make haste for time is short.
"Then what do you fear? Who shall we avenge ourselves upon?" Eldanesh tosses the question over his shoulder as he moves off. Anaris balances gracefully upon an invisible force. "Féonwe, brother, you worry overmuch."
They flit like shadows under the trees, two raptors swimming through the bracken to the roadside. None mark their advance as they slip into the cover of the low retaining wall and over into the wire-fenced yard.
"The door is heavily barred." Féonwe points out."This sword cannot break it as it has this wire; not without power."
"I have all the power we require." Eldanesh takes aim at the lock.
"Stay your hand, Anar..." The noise of the blast is amplified in the small echo chamber beyond and the heavy door swings off rotten hinges, punctuating the last echoes with a slap of air as it falls flat.
"You are a fool." Féonwe hisses.
"I am expedient!" He laughs, "and recall to whom you speak."
"I know what you claim but the Eldanar are gone." Féonwe is resolute " Inriam was the last, as is told, and if all were so reckless I now understand why!" He leaps to his feet and makes for the door as Eldanesh covers his advance.
"Even the bastard son of a bastard son may take after the father." Eldanesh is at the door holding a watching position. "I know that I am born worthy of the hero's line. I need not prove myself to you."
"Then why must you prove it to yourself?" Féonwe is already loading a bag with items. He is collecting solid-core shuriken ammunition, plasma grenades, side arms and long knives. "Your pride in that name, I admit is emboldening, but beware the danger. Eldanesh did not end in glory but at the bloody hand of the war god."
"Spare me your lecture, we are not in temple. We are about the bloody business of war and you had best put your own bloody hands to use in the next hoard."
Another room, another pile of plundered wealth. No order or care it seems has been taken in the collecting and storage. Eldanesh has seen enough "I go without to watch for enemy."
"I see much here, what need have you?" Féonwe asks, though he can guess.
"Power, and a gyrostatic stabiliser if such is there." and he is gone.
Féonwe trains his fingers and eyes over the wares selecting a cluster of melta-bombs, a delightfully slender and beautifully crafted las-pistol, and a psycho-conductive power coil. A belt-pouch yields waybread and a spirit stone. He grabs a pair of more ornate pieces, an Avenger's shimmer-shield and a Dragon's belt of fusion-gun canisters. Only one is empty.
A blade rests underneath the pile, its wraithbone tang is presented in silent appeal. Féonwe pulls it free but is sorely disappointed. It might have belonged to a Banshee, or a price, perhaps an Autarch. Its masterfully crafted lines fit so easily in his grip but its fine mirrored blade has been savagely blasted and has shattered to a crumbling ruin. At last he comes to realise the treasure that he holds. The ruined blade yields a trans-liquid power cell, the like of which he could never had hoped for. His own plain power sword might yet live once more.
His elation is cut short. The sound of engines approaching drifts into the space too late followed closely by an unmistakeable volley of laser fire.
Pocketing his prize Féonwe snatches up a pair of weapons and makes his escape. The symphony of gunfire greets his arrival and he exits the store to a scene of utter chaos. An armoured car burns upon the road, the driver dead at the wheel. Eldanesh is strafing the newcomers with precision fire as he skirts around the burning wreckage. Anaris is targeting men, fuel tanks, ammunition supplies. An explosion announces their initial success but a second armoured vehicle is already unloading troops.
Féonwe springs to the left using the drifting smoke of the roadside wreck as cover. A shuriken catapult in each hand he unleashes a withering hail of blades into the rear of the assault force forming up behind their vehicle. At least a dozen men are hit by his indiscriminate barrage as each solid-ammo core is worn to the last sliver. A clatter of empty weapons marks the spot where he stood before a single retaliatory shot is even fired.
The second armoured wagon goes up in flames. Eldanesh and Anaris have found their mark. Féonwe flits from the carnage and into the bracken thickets beyond. There he is hidden as much from sight as from the minds of the shocked and confused enemy.
He waits, but Eldanesh is tarrying.
"Anaris hungers!" Féonwe knows well the symbiosis of his former craft. "He must not be fed so!"
Springing from cover Féonwe rejoins the fray.
"Eldanesh!" He calls, but they are somewhere beyond a veil of dense cloying smoke. "Do not allow him to rule your feet!"
He finds them amidst a charnel scene. They stand suspended in time. None now live who once stood before them.
"Eldanesh, why do you stand thus? We must away!"
"I stand undefeated."
"Yours is not to stand and fight. Anaris is your protector but you are his deliverance." Féonwe recalls the most fundamental doctrines of his Falcon's training. "A falcon's crew is always of two minds at war but one may not be allowed to rule. Each must serve the other."
"Of what do you speak?" Eldanesh laughs, "I am no Falcon."
"The same principle applies."
"The principle it seems is to fly." Eldanesh turns at last.
"But what purpose is served in remaining? This fray will only bring more enemies upon us." Féonwe's appeal is unavailing.
"We must fly? See you this?" Eldanesh is clearly pleased in his vengeance. He glories in his own prowess. "I am done with flight and my wroth is kindled. I shall be their destruction. Let them come."
This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2016/09/03 11:19:41
Yevána has been kneeling before the warlock for some time. She stands and they clasp hand and wrist. A union has been established and confirmed.
The sky above glows pink and thin whisps of golden cloud trail high in the stratosphere. The valley below is a gaping chasm of shadows threatening to swallow them whole.
Galdor walks at the edge of the trees pretending not to notice him, though he is wary and distracted. He inspects curling leaves and crawling creatures with intensity as if but one creature in the wood alone is unworthy of his attention.
All are silent to him.
Maedhros recalls the words spoken by the warlock, by Starálfur after the battle. Hard words, voiced only, without inflection of mind or spirit. No poetry or song in them.
"How silent thy mind."
"Thou cannot be Maedhros."
"Thou art void."
There is no question now of the intent of his consorts. The message in the fire was plain. He is to remain with them, though at a distance. They will protect him as best they can yet he must refrain from all contact.
Robbed of all society Maedhros is left to his own devices. He chooses a movement from "The Lay of the Children of Isha" and begins to dance the opening steps. He recalls the role of Kurnous the Hunter, spear and horn and hound. But something is stripping him of his skill.
His guardian's mesh feels ill-fitting and flows not with his movements. Its psycho-conductive materials are receiving no signal from the warer, highlighting the fact of his loss. No spirit within, no response without. He begins to strip it free of his body. The thought strikes him belatedly as he disrobes. Of course, his skuricken catapult had not been empty when he awoke upon the battlefield. It too had simply failed to respond.
Freed now from restriction Maedhros spins and drops, he stalks and pounces. Kurnous lets fly arrows and spears and blows mighty blasts on his hunter's horn.
His dance is pure, and silent and flawlessly executed yet utterly without emotion. Every instruction of his Master Cal'nfaye his body recalls; his feet each step and his arms the positions, but the spirit he lacks. He finds he cannot remember the melody or the poetry of his Master's song and neither grace nor poise in the utmost can bring the music back to him. As the movement draws to its end he holds his pose in breathless, yearning stillness.
Two familiar figures appear approaching through the flares of the rising sun. Féonwe. Eldanesh. They are baring burdens of duty, of labour and of enmity. They speak not, nor do they commune together. Yet their brotherhood is as complete as is the union of the warlock and his acolyte.
Galdor goes to them, arms wide, a conciliatory gesture.