"Elves of the Northern Vale" A Tundrawolf Story

Flight of the Esari

The mighty Northern Vale was the most powerful and most secure of all the Elven Kingdoms, it was also the largest and most ancient. It lay cradled in one of the coldest and most inhospitable places on Earth, the Grimfang Mountain Range. Within the Grimfangs the Vale sat surrounded by a chain of desolate rocky mountains formed from the hardest of stone. The lofty peaks of the mountains went so high they spent most of their time in the clouds. Throughout the ages the tall thick walls of granite and basalt have protected the Vale and they have never been breached.

Over the entire Northern Vale lay a dome of the mighty White Magic. Through it the Tower Mages controlled the weather within and protected from the ravages of the weather without. The dome was supported by five hundred Mage Towers standing close to the mountain walls and evenly spaced around the perimeter of the Vale. Each tower was formed from black volcanic glass and rose hundreds of paces into the air. On top of the towers sat a bubble of thick clear crystal in which three Tower Mages worked. These small bands of Mages labored in shifts to maintain the mighty dome day and night. One Mage would collect the heavy mist of the White Magic and draw it into the tower to store until needed. When called upon the next Mage would form the White Magic and send it skyward in a thick stream. The third Mage would ensure the stream of White Magic mushroomed and melded with the magic of the other towers to form the dome. There were thousands of Tower Mages working tirelessly to maintain the dome over the Vale and they were of the most powerful Mages in the land.

Elves weak in the White Magic looked upon the Mage Towers as tall beautiful pillars gleaming in the sunlight. They would see wispy strands of mist floating low along the ground and mingling together to create a light blanket of fog turning slowly around the base. The soft glow of the large Elven runes running down the sides would sometimes catch their eye. That was usually the extent of what an Elf weak in the White could see, unless a Mage put the spell of the Mage Sight on them. This allowed them the wonderful sights of the beautiful magic all around them for a little while.

Those strong in the White and gifted with the Mage Sight would see thick streams of mist flowing into a swirling dense fog at the base as the White Magic was called to the shining Towers of black glass. The ancient Elven runes blazed bright gold, especially when the Tower Mages worked the magic within. When the White Magic was released to reinforce the dome above those with the Sight would see a thick stream of light hurtling skyward from the Tower top. The Elves were treated to a beautiful light show when the stream hit the dome and dispersed into thousands of sizzling bolts fanning out to the center. The White Magic flashes brightly as it swiftly races erratically throughout the dome, looking much the same as lightning when it rolls through a high bank of clouds during a strong summer storm. The bolts race swiftly through the dome but most never make it to the center as they fizzle out in bright sparks and are absorbed into the protective dome.

When storms raged heavy above the Grimfangs the Mage Towers would pick up the pace and send longer bursts of the White Magic more often to the dome above. It was quite a sight to watch the Mage Towers silently sending stream after stream of White Magic to the dome above. The light show was incredible as the underside of the dome shimmered and sparkled while it absorbed the White Magic, all done in complete silence. For thousands upon thousands of turns the dome has deflected the relentless attacks of the most powerful and harshest of winds and withstood the continual bombardment of tons of ice and snow. Throughout the many millennia the dome has never faltered in protecting the Vale and has proven to be the strongest ever constructed by the Elven Mages.

The city of Asegron-Thare sat at the very center of the Northern Vale. It was the smallest city of the Northern Vale and without a doubt the most beautiful by far. The main buildings around the city’s center were well ordered and constructed from a brilliant white marble. The large marble blocks were beautifully shaped and trimmed in heavy pieces of bright silver scroll work. The streets throughout the city were laid with large square slabs of pink granite edged with the same white marble of the buildings. Trees of all kinds grew around gardens of lush lawns and flowering shrubs. The well maintained gardens were everywhere in the city, and of course the beautiful flowering vines trailed on all the buildings throughout.

At the center of the small city stood the Central Mage Tower that overshadowed all the other Mage Towers. It was an imposing structure five times wider and many times taller than the Towers standing around the perimeter of the Vale. It was constructed of the same black volcanic glass and was topped with a large solarium made of gleaming crystal panels. The Central Tower was so tall the solarium almost touched the dome of White Magic above. Within the sun room atop the tower a dozen Tower Mages worked day and night. They maintained the dome’s strength against outside forces and controlled the weather over the Vale.

The rooms of High Mage Orndacil were also housed within the structure, just below where the Tower Mages labored. Large windows made of polished crystal looked out at each point of the compass from his chambers. Hanging from the sides of the Tower outside of the High Mage’s quarters were balconies connected by a walkway circling the outside of the Tower. Through the windows and from the balconies the High Mage of the Towers could oversee the health of the dome and ensure his Mages were hard at work. The largest windows of his quarters and the room in which he spent the most time faced to the north. Not only did the High Mage see to the strength of the dome above the Vale he also kept a careful eye on the barrier of the White Magic along the tops of the mountains to the North. For the Northern Vale was also tasked to be the most vigilant of all the Elven Vales. Its northern border nestled up against the boundary of the White Magic that encircled the top of the world. Within the confines of the White Magic was held an ancient enemy, not just to the Northern Elves, but to every living thing on Earth. The desolate frozen land was home to the Kingdom of the Fell Ice. The Northern Vale was a constant check on that alien and terrible power. It was the first defense if it were ever to be let loose on the world again. Unfortunately there was little the Elves of the North could do against the swirl except to warn the world of its escape.


The High Mages of the Northern Vale were intent on forming an alliance with the huge Ice Wryms living at the top of the world. The idea was the dream child of the High Mage Ilphas. It was something he envisioned going back farther than the elder Mage could remember. Over the turns he enlisted many Elves of high import as allies to his cause and to share in his vision. Through the White Magic Ilphas and those with him thought to form a bond with the Wryms, much like the age old one with the wolves of the Tundra. They designed to use them to take the fight to the home of the Fell Ice and destroy it for good, however they first needed a way into the lands of ice and snow they could control. Ilphas planned for a tunnel through the northern wall of the Vale heavily warded by the White Magic to protect against anything on the other side. The High Mage deemed it a portal into the Fell Lands. It was Ilphas who convinced the new High King Adorellan of the plan to tame the mighty Ice Wyrms of the North.

King Adorellan was fairly young by Elven standards, just shy of a thousand turns old. He was also new to the honor of being the High King. His father Adraillion Nuala was High King before him for several thousands of turns. Lasting longer than most and accomplishing all he had set out to do Adraillion stepped down and relinquished the reins of power to his son Adorellan who was the next in line. As soon as the rituals, the traditional ceremonies and the long days of celebration for the new High King were over Adraillion left the Northern Vale. With his Queen and a small band of followers he went to explore far away lands and meet the many peoples throughout the world.

Adraillion was always against the plan contrived by Ilphas to form allies with the wild and menacing Ice Wyrms. He thought of it as rash and extremely dangerous to the Elves of his Vale, not to mention the rest of the world. As High King he would never consider it nor would he allow any discussion of it. His son Adorellan held a different view of the Mage’s plan. He saw it as a way to glory for himself and dominance of the Northern Vale over the other three Vales. Most of his vast family of Pure-bloods and Royals were in agreement with the young High King as they too put themselves above all Elves. With the High Mage whispering in his ear Adorellan gave his approval to build the portal and tame the wild Ice Wyrms. No one was there to counsel him against the decision to go forward with the risky ambition to destroy the Fell Ice.

In time Elves from the other three Vales living and training in the North became aware of the hazardous project the High King and his High Elves put into motion. The Esari, Giants and other Races visiting and working in the Vale also learned of the Northern Elves’ intention to tunnel a path through their barrier wall into the lands at the top of the world. The Little Fliers and Little Warriors of the Esari became very concerned and felt the Northern Vale’s plan to be extremely dangerous, a threat to all living things. Of all the Esari the Little Fliers were most alarmed and felt it their duty to warn the Elves and other Races in the southern lands.


The Esari living in the Northern Vale made their homes in three tall towers known as aeries. Named after the nests birds of prey built at great height in cliffs or trees each of the aeries stood on the outskirts of one of the three main Elven cities. The location of the main aerie was on the western side of the Vale close to Morfgroth Dorthore, the stronghold and palace of the High King. It was built on the southern edge of the city Horith-Ellan. The second tower was the tallest of the three aeries, standing almost as tall as the Central Mage Tower at the center of the Vale. It was located on the outskirts of the city Asegron-Thare. The third stood at the edge of the city of Aerith-Ellel, next to the House of Mage Lore. It was snugged up close to the dark gray mountain walls surrounding the Vale. The aeries were tall graceful pillars rising high into the sky and ending with a large platform on top. The lofty towers were as high as any of the tallest structures around and their beauty was more than a match against Elven craftsmanship. They were made of stone and wood and exceedingly strong in their construction. For thousands of turns the Esari built their aeries throughout the lands and Vales in places where cliff and mountain tops were too far away. The spindly looking towers withstood attacks from high winds, brutal storms and earthen quakes shaking the ground below them. Never during the attacks and through the long test of time did any of the aeries the Esari built fail.

The aeries climbed to a great height and the tops mushroomed into spacious platforms where the Little Fliers launched, landed and stored their gliders of gossamar wood and cloth. Gossamar trees grew all over the platforms except on pathways left bare for the Little Fliers to land. A narrow trail of stone steps snaked around the outside of the spindly pillars traveling through many small gardens as it wound its way from top to bottom. Each garden had places for sitting amongst flower and vegetable plants and surrounded a large stone bowl filled with dark, rich earth. The bowls were built into the sides of the pillars and from each one grew a beautiful gossamar tree. Esari Tree Shepards pruned and shaped the gossamars forming their smooth white trunks and branches and their large canopy of deep red and dark purple leaves around the pillars of the aeries. Looking upon a towering aerie from a distance one would see a forest of the gossamar trees surrounding the base, the stone of the pillar peeking out from behind the sizable canopies of dark red leaves as the trees spiraled up its sides merging into a small forest at the top. The beauty of the gossamars growing on and around an aerie was breathtaking to look at but that was only a happy accident. Their real purpose was to provide roost and home for the Red Wing Hawks whom the Esari loved so much.

Not only were the towering aeries home to the Red Wings, they were also home to all the Esari living in the Vale. The pillar of an aerie was built around a long spiral staircase running from the ground to the platform high above. It was a very sturdy staircase solidly constructed with well laid out steps for the short legs of the little people. If the Esari within the tower needed to reach the platform or ground quickly the spiral staircase was the way to go for they could swiftly navigate the steps up or down. But the stairs were rarely used by the little Esari. They did not like the dark, dismal shaft the stairs were in, nor did they care for the dank, musty air around them. Even if it took a little longer to get to where they wanted to go they would always rather take the stone path winding around the exterior of the pillar. Walking through the small beautiful gardens under the fragrance of the gossamars was much preferred, especially when they could be amongst their friends the Red Wings.

All around the spiral staircase were chambers cleverly built into the walls amongst the stone and wood supports. These were the living spaces for the Esari and the small rooms rose level by level  throughout the pillar. The quarters for the little people had windows looking out upon the Vale and two doors, one leading to the stepped pathway outside and the other opening to the spiral staircase inside. In the lower levels of the towers the Little Warriors kept their rooms and stood as guardians to their smaller kin in the rooms above. The Little Fliers lived in the upper levels as close to the platform and their precious gliders as possible. Huge blocks of granite made up the base supporting the tall aeries. The blocks were carved out under the pillar in such a way as not to take away from the strength of the base while allowing more chambers and passageways. Some of the rooms were large such as the main kitchen, a long hall for dining and the common room for a nice glass of cloudberry wine or a delicious mug of gossamar ale.

Within each aerie in the Northern Vale there was a Chieftain in command and he or she ruled over all the Esari who made their home in the pillar. They lived in modest rooms at the base of the tower with their families and close to the quarters of their guards and servants. Their residence and meeting rooms were always at ground level to make it convenient for guests and important visitors who came to see them on Esari and Vale affairs. The Chieftains were responsible for the safety and welfare of each Esari living in the aerie under their care.

The concerns of the Esari grew the more they learned of the Northern Vale’s plan to create a tunnel to the top of the world. The Flier Caste within the aeries continued to pressure their Chieftains for leave to fly to all parts of the southern lands. Finally the three Esari Chieftains took the concerns of the Little Fliers seriously and called upon the High Elves at the palace and those within each city. To their surprise the High Elves would not see them. They were met only by underlings who gave vague answers about what was being done at the north wall. Angered by this treatment the Chieftains sent Red Wing Hawks flying all throughout the Vale. The big raptors screeched out a call as they flew that only the Esari could understand. It was a call for all Little Fliers and Little Warriors to return to their aeries. The Chieftains awaited as the Esari of the Warrior Caste and the Flier Caste returned from all parts of the Vale. It was time for a gathering to discuss and map out a plan to warn the Elves and other Races in the southlands about the Northern Vale’s intentions at the top of the world.


From the shadows spies watched as the Esari met in their aeries to form their message of warning and map out where each would fly. When the plans were made and the meetings were done the spies reported what they learned to the High King and the High Elves of the North. With that knowledge the leaders of the Northern Vale discussed what should be done about the Little Fliers and the warnings they meant to give. Heated debates ensued with many thinking the dome should be closed so as not to allow the Fliers to leave. Most of the High Elves of the Royal Court and the three Mages of the highest rank were in on the debate which revolved around the High King. Conspicuously absent from the debate were the High Generals of the North. From the beginning they felt building the tunnel to the top of the world to be a foolish and dangerous plan. They also thought it to be an unacceptable risk to their soldiers.

As the debate heated up the High Mage Ilphas moved from the crowd and stepped up onto the dais at the front of the room. He stood next to King Adorellan and addressed the High Elves of the North. Standing on his authority as the High Mage of the Vale he said, “My friends, please, calm yourselves. I have an announcement to make!” As soon as the room quieted Ilphas continued, “By my order let nothing be done to stop our friends the Esari in their desire to fly away. It was always inevitable the other Vales would learn of our plans. What difference if it happens now, or in a hundred turns from now?”

The True-bloods and Royals began talking amongst each other after the High Mage spoke out. Most seemed unsure his idea was the wisest course of action. Ilphas began walking around the room looking into the eyes of each High Elf as he went. As he moved around he started speaking again. “I have no doubt once the Southern Kingdoms learn of our endeavors they will be very angry. I am sure they will rant and rave and shout out their condemnations against what they do not understand. Yet what do we need to fear from them once they find out? Are we not completely safe within the walls of the Vale? We will let them blow off their steam, and once our brethren calm down it will fall upon us to educate them of the pressures we are under. We must make them understand the fortitude it takes to constantly battle the Fell Ice and keep it at bay. We must let them know how important it is that we take the battle to the evil ancient swirl and destroy it for good! I have faith those in the South will come around to our thinking in time. Once they learn the benefits of our plan and they come to realize the strength and bravery of our High King who has authorized this daring vision!”

The High Mage stopped once again at the front of the room on the dais next to the High King. The room had quieted and all eyes were upon him. His voice grew in volume as he looked upon the High Elves. “The might and power of the Elves of the Northern Vale will once again be realized my friends! Just as it was in the Dark Days of the age past when the Black Magic lay heavy on the earth and the Fell Ice began its attacks upon the world. With the Sun at their backs and strong in the White the High King Filvandor and his Queen Valindra led the North and the rest of Elven-kind in a battle that returned them to the days of plenty! So shall it be again my friends, when we vanquish the alien Fell Ice and rid the world of its terrible swirl! Once again Elven kind will look to the North for our strength and leadership!”

All of the High Elves within the room were energized by the passion filled words from Ilphas. Even the High King took to his feet and gave a cheer while raising his glass to the High Mage of the Vale. The King nor anyone else seemed to notice that Ilphas did not once compare the High King Adorellan to his ancient ancestor King Filvandor. Nor did they question the lie Ilphas told of the constant battles currently being carried out against the Fell Ice. The High Mages Orndacil and Nardual noticed and became very nervous. It was very unwise to tell stories and lies to the High King, the Pure-bloods and the Royals. Both the Mages were in deep with his plots and if Ilphas burned they would surely burn too. They could only hope none of the High Elves would question the comments of the High Mage to the Vale in their desire to be leaders over all of Elven-kind.

As the cheers throughout the room died down Ilphas held up his hands and spoke loudly to address one more thing. “This shall take some time my friends, just how much time I do not know. Our goals at the northern wall and beyond may take many, many turns to accomplish. It will take time for the other Vales to see the wisdom of our plans. So we all must be patient, we must work hard and we must endeavor to persevere.”

A week after the meeting of the High Elves spies reported the Esari were once again meeting in large groups within their aeries. It was not long after hundreds of Red Wing Hawks were seen taking to the air above each of the three towers. From a distance it looked as if a dark angry cloud floated in to hover above each aerie. The Red Wings flew in spiraling patterns above the tall towers as more and more of the big raptors joined with the boiling kettles.

Shortly after the Red Wings took to the air a flurry of activity broke out on the platforms under the gossamar trees. Little Fliers carrying packs, wearing flying leathers and holding leather helms with crystal goggles attached began stepping out onto the platform from the staircase or the stone path. The Elves could see the Fliers congregating all along the three edges of the platform as they looked out to the Vale and waited for their gliders. The Fliers did not stand along the fourth edge because it was lined with a series of low buildings in which the Little Fliers stored their gliders. Paladanes, the name for an Esari Captain, stood on top of the buildings shouting out orders. These were of the Warrior Caste and they began ordering the Little Warriors who had followed the Fliers onto the platform. Patroons, Esari Sergeants, began walking up and down the lines of the Fliers urging them to form up under the gossamars to make room for their gliders. Groups of Little Warriors worked on pulling out the little gliders from the buildings and from large holes cleverly built into the platform among the gossamar trees. The gliders were broke down for easy storage but it was a fairly simple task to assemble them. Once the gliders were on the deck groups of Little Fliers and Little Warriors quickly put them together by running a rope through holes in the gossamar cloth and wooden frame, pulling it tight and tying it off. Tree Shepards and servants of the aerie moved through the Warriors and Fliers with mugs of light ale and sweet gossamar bread. Once the gliders were together large Esari Warriors carried them around the perimeter of the platform. Little Fliers ran out from the lines when they recognized their glider. They gave the craft the once over, stowed their pack and then strapped themselves in. With the help of two Warriors, one on each side holding a wing, the Fliers walked up to the edge of the deck and put on their leather helm and crystal goggles. From the edge they looked out at the sky and began reading the thermals that only they could see while the two Warriors let go of the wings and stepped back. With very little ceremony the Little Fliers stepped off the edge when the air currents were right and dropped out of sight to those on the platform. Seconds later they came back into view as he or she soared on the air waves climbing up into the kettle of hawks who screamed happy greetings of “keeeee-arr”  as the Little Fliers joined in the spiral flight pattern above the aerie.

In the tall buildings and the towers throughout the cities the Elves gathered to watch the spectacle of the Red Wing Hawks and the Esari flying above their aeries. None of the Elves watching could remember such a sight in all their long lives. Usually the Little Fliers sailed from their aeries in pairs throughout the day accompanied by a handful of the great birds . That was such a common sight hardly anyone ever paid attention. The Elves were amazed as they watched the flock of birds and gliders growing larger and larger as they flew in their lazy circles above.


From a balcony high in the palace the High King and a handful of his closest advisors watched as the Little Fliers and Red Wing Hawks flew above their aerie in the city of “Horith-Ellan.”  Most could see the distant tower because they had the magic to call up the Mage Sight, but there were a few who could not. For those not strong enough in the White the King summoned a Palace Mage to bestow a spell of far-sight on them that would last a short while. The High Elves were amazed every time they watched dozens of Little Fliers jump at the same time from the edge of the deck with a glider on their back. They fell straight down for a bit until their wings caught air and then they flew up to soar in circles with the hawks. The King and his High Elves treated the falling of the Little Fliers as if it were a tournament between them and the ground. They also turned the whole thing into a drinking game. They cheered and shouted encouragements loud enough to be heard throughout the whole of the palace when the Little Fliers lined up along the edge. When the Little Fliers fell and then successfully ascended to join the hawks above they  took long pulls from their mugs filled with strong gossamar ale to toast their honor. Only if an Esari did not pull out of his dive towards the ground would the Elves not drink. Thankfully this never happened as every Little Flier made it every time.

The High Mage to the King was on a balcony two floors below the High King and his advisors. With four Battle Mages around him he watched as row after row of the flying Esari fell from the platform. It was a sad day for the High Mage Nardual as more and more Little Fliers joined with the hawks above. He had no desire to celebrate this day with the High King. The High Mage could sense almost every Little Flier and Red Wing Hawk would be leaving the Vale today from all three aeries. He was afraid the Little Warriors would be following in the not too distant future. For him it was not a day to be drinking. The High Mage watched one more row of Little Fliers fall before turning about with his robes flying. Four Battle Mages were at his side as he tapped out a fast moving rhythm with his staff striking the tiles and then the step, step of his tall riding boots. He walked quickly going through passage ways and down stairs to reach the ground level. He left the stronghold out of a small postern gate where five golden horses anxiously awaited him and his four Battle Mages. The High Mage Nardual had business on the other side of the Vale in the House of Mage Lore. He needed to talk with the High Mage Ilphas and he no longer trusted sending his messages through the aether.


The High Mage Orndacil looked out of his huge crystal windows to the Esari tower in the north. It looked as if all the Little Fliers were now away from the aerie and flying with the hawks in the boiling kettle above. From Orndacil’s view, when not using the Mage Sight, the Fliers and Red Wings looked like an angry swarm of bees flying above their hive. Two small groups separated from the main swarm, one heading west and the other east. The rest of the Little Fliers and Hawks did one last circle around their aerie and then flew south, straight for his Tower. Orndacil was amazed as he watched so many of the Esari and Red Wings dance in the air as they sailed swiftly by with not one collision. To think they flew without any kind of magic except for the Esari’s ability to see hot and cold air currents, their skill was impressive.

The High Mage watched as the last of the Esari flew by and then went back to work. There were several Mages in need of his counsel and awaiting him in the lower levels of the Tower. Orndacil had one last thought of the Little Fliers and their giant hawks. Watching the two Races working together so beautifully made him realize how truly majestic they were. It took their gathering to leave the Vale for Orndacil to stop and take notice. A day ago if someone said he would miss the Esari once they were gone he would have laughed and called them daff. Now he hoped the little people would return to the Vale once all this nonsense with the portal was over. The High Mage realized he would miss them when they were gone.


The High Mage to the Vale stood at the tallest point of the battlements on a flanking tower beside the Norvale Gates. He was looking down from between the merlons at the twisting and turning mountain road leading to the Vale. With the use of his Mage Sight he could see far as he tried to gauge how many soldiers the Vale could possibly face from the other three Vales. He knew his calculations would be much more accurate if the warriors he walked with would offer more detailed answers to the questions he asked. Instead he only received curt and gruff replies from the officers and hardly anything from the High General Dorial of the Norvale Guard. She was obviously of the same mindset as the rest of the Generals in the Vale who were dead-set in their opposition against the portal in the north. Ilphas knew General Dorial and her officers could be relied upon to follow orders and do their duty. They would lay down their lives defending the Vale against its enemies. But there was no order Ilphas or even the High King could give that would make these officers more pleasantly forthcoming in answering his questions.

Horns could be heard sounding a warning off in the distance of the Vale. It was the excuse General Dorial and her officers were looking for to leave the High Mage. Ilphas suspected the High General ordered the horns blown at a certain time to end the meeting. He only wondered why it was sounded from the Vale instead of the Norvale Road. It was something he would surely be asking her before he left, especially to let her know he wasn’t fooled. After the soldiers left the High Mage, and the two Mages with him, looked down upon the steps they had to walk to get down to the horses. There were no magic platforms at the Norvale Gate to take one up or down and save the wear and tear on the knees. Ilphas was still too dignified to be taken up or down carried by his servants on a litter. As he looked to see how he could best navigate these steps he made a mental note to himself to see the Healing Mages on a more regular basis. The spells to help his old bones were not lasting as long as they used to.

The High Mage heard the horns again, closer this time. He was surprised, these were horns of warning, but still coming from inside the Vale. Ilphas walked over to the other side of the battlements and looked out over the rolling green hills and fields of the valley. He called upon his Mage Sight and could see clearly to the city of Asegron-Thare. All looked to be normal. Soldiers were starting to form up on the battlements around him. Some were facing the Norvale Road but most were facing the interior of the Vale. Once again the horns sounded, this time from the Norvale Dell. Finally the High Mage could see what the horn blowing was about. Ilphas looked to the skies over the fields and could see what looked to be dark clouds on the move.

The Little Fliers of the Esari and their great Red Wing Hawks were on the move. The High Mage knew they were gathering over their aeries from messages flowing through the aether all morning long. He ignored most of them because of other things on his mind, so he missed the warnings they were flying this way.

The High Mage of the Vale stopped for a moment to take a good look northward. He was taken by total surprise when he viewed three dark clouds advancing on the Norvale Gate. He could see clearly now the Little Fliers of the Esari and their Red Wing Hawks flying swiftly over the lands the Vale. Ilphas was amazed by their numbers and the dark shadow they cast on the valley floor as they flew towards the Gate. One flock was coming from the aerie in the west, another from the aerie in the center and the third from the one close to the House of Mage Lore in the east. It would not be long before the three flocks combined into one huge flock flying for the Norvale Gate. Ilphas could just make out with his Mage Sight smaller flocks of maybe a dozen Fliers and Hawks heading for the tall mountain walls in the far west and far east sides of the Vale. Those Little Fliers and Red Wings were very brave, the peaks they flew towards were so high they were perpetually covered in thick clouds and freezing air so thin it was unbreathable.

There had been no communication with the Esari to learn how they planned to warn the other three Elven Kingdoms about the portal the North was building to the top of the world. In days past Ilphas sent word to the Esari Chieftains asking for a meeting. His request was ignored and it wasn’t until sometime later he found out why. At the same time the Esari Chieftains asked for a meeting with the High King that Ilphas was not told about.  At the High King’s request Orndacil and Nardual set up the meeting with Mages of low rank who were only to collect information. All requests from the Esari to meet with the King and his High Mages were ignored. For reasons unknown to him at the time, and still not known today, Ilphas was never contacted by either side for a meeting. If the High Mage to the Vale did not have so many other concerns to tend too he would be at the bottom of this mystery. Little did he know and he would never have suspected the High King’s hand in the dealings with the Esari. Shrewdly he had kept Ilphas and the other High Mages away from the meetings. He only let the Esari meet with underlings knowing it would anger the Chieftains. In their anger they sent away almost all the Little Fliers ridding the Northern Vale of those that could spy on their doings and get messages swiftly to the southern Elves. When Ilphas later found this out he was angry for not being told, but secretly he applauded the High King.

Ilphas watched as the host of Little Fliers and Red Wing Hawks drew closer to the Norvale Gates. He would never have thought there were so many of both in the Northern Vale. It was an awesome sight and he had an unobstructed view to their flight. By now over a thousand soldiers of the Norvale Guard stood amongst the battlements looking to the sky. Well over a thousand Elves were spread out on the grounds inside the Gate. Tundra Wolves were running amongst the walls and the grounds starting to howl to the sky for their friends. Mixed in with the howls Ilphas could hear the Elves starting to cheer. In seconds the Esari were over the Gates and flying down the pass through the Grimfangs. Scores of gliders riding the thermals accompanied by thousands of large raptors flashed by overhead, just how many there were the High Mage had no idea. Hearing the shouts and howls from the Elves and Tundras on the ground the Little Fliers let out shrill whistles as they passed overhead. They wiggled their wings and some, along with the Hawks, flew down close to the battlements. With so many in the air it was amazing they did not run in to each other. The Red Wing Hawks sang out their echoing call of ‘keeeee-arr’ in unison as they flew overhead.

Just as quickly as it started, it was over. The flock of Fliers and Hawks rapidly disappeared as they followed the Norvale Road down through the Grimfangs. There were still happy cheers being let out to the vanishing Esari. The grandeur of the Little Fliers with their companions the Red Wing Hawks flying overhead instilled pure joy in those who watched.

For the High Mage to the Vale the joy lasted only seconds after the huge flock disappeared down through the pass. He had grave concerns seeing so many of the Little Fliers leave the Vale. It was beyond the norm to send so many into the southern lands to deliver a message. No doubt the Esari Chieftains sent such a large number of Fliers to stress the importance of their message. His informants within the aeries told of the Chieftains expressing their unhappiness of the Northern Vale’s plan to build a tunnel to the lands of the Fell Ice. They also told of the anger the whole Flier Caste felt against the plan. They were strongly against it and had a great worry for their friends living in the Northern Vale. The High Mage never thought there would be this kind of reaction from the Esari. It appeared every Esari of the Flier Caste had now left the Vale. It would be a surprise to him if any were left. Now he worried the rest of the Esari would leave. If the Little Fliers did not come back the Warrior Caste would not stay in the Vale long. They were only here on behalf of their smaller brethren.

Ilphas forgot all about the ache in his knees as he turned toward the steps. He told one of the younger Mages with him to run ahead and make sure the horses were ready. He stopped on the steps for a moment to send a message through the aether. He called for his counsel of Mages within the House of Mage Lore to be ready for his return. They were as much the power behind the throne as he was. He also sent messages to the High Mages Orndacil and Nardual. Things would be progressing quickly now that the Little Fliers were traveling south.  Ilphas had a good idea how the High Elves of the other three Vales would react. It was time to make all the Elves living in the Northern Vale partners in the quest to destroy the Fell Ice. It was time the High Elves moved amongst the dells and cities and deliver their message to the Elves of the North. It was time they realized their ancient bloodline and fulfilled their destiny as Masters of Elven-kind.

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