"Elves of the Northern Vale" A Tundrawolf Story

Ice Wyrms at the top of the World

The Little Fliers and the Red Wing Hawks flew swiftly down the twisting and turning Norvale Pass. The whistling Esari and screeching Hawks called to each other as they flew in tight formation through the narrow confines of the pass. Travelers and Tundra Wolves on the road below looked up in surprise when darkness suddenly enveloped them. The noisy flock blotted out the sun making a long, fast moving shadow on the ground they flew over. After the flock passed travelers were left scratching their heads and Tundras stared up at an empty sky giving soft whines. All wondered at what they witnessed and what the strange sight foretold.

As soon as the Little Fliers and Red Wings flew over the tall gleaming statues of the High King Filvandor and his Queen Valindra they began to split up and fly towards their predetermined destinations. They fanned out with the three largest flocks heading towards the three Elven Kingdoms.

The largest of the flocks flew southeast towards their homeland in the great Gossamar Forests. From there a smaller flock would take the mountain passes high into the Tallspines for the Eastern Vale of the Elves. It was a much easier flight to the high mountains surrounding the East Vale through well navigated pathways over the forests of the Esari. Trying to traverse along the Grimfangs and into the mighty Tallspine Mountains was a turbulent air trail rarely taken.

The next largest flock continued on south and a bit west as they made for the Southern Vale of the Elves in the Ironore Mountains. It was a flight that would take many days and nights even with the strong tailwind from the Grimfangs. As they drew close to the southern mountain range a small flock of a dozen Fliers and twice that in hawks peeled off and turned east. They made for the foothills where the Ironore Mountains met the Tallspines. They flew to the Glittering Caverns, the home of the Giants. As the large flock flew continued on through the passes of the Ironores another small flock broke off heading west. These were going to see the Suthurn Manse, the people who lived in the Ironores near the Southern Elves. The Mansers mined the strong rich veins of iron for which the mountains were named for. In their great underground caverns their huge fiery forges were never at rest as they produced the finest iron ingots and the Manser Steel they were famous for. They were Elf-friends and friends to all the free people and the great Tundra Wolves.

The last large flock of Fliers to split from the Grimfangs turned towards the southwest. They made for the Western Vale on the coast of the Northern Sea. As the flock drew close to the Vale it split in two. One continued on to the Elves while the other turned west and north. The second flock made for the mist-hidden fjords of the Sea Lords who lived in shining castles of crystal and silver when not sailing the seas. Few, save the Esari, knew where the lands of the Sea Lords lay off the Northern Sea. The two races were friends going back to ancient times.

No flocks of the Esari traveled to the lands of the Barbarians in the West, nor the plains of the Mongols and the lands of the Chinese in the East. The men of these lands were not trusted and considered enemies most times by the Elves and all the Free Races. They were not united under one ruler and their small bands of savage warriors fought amongst each other just as much as they attacked the Free Lands. Every spring when the ice cleared from the seas and the snow melted in the mountain passes they conducted raids which carried on for several months until the ice and snow returned the next fall. Although there were some good men and good leaders from each of these lands none as of yet were ever considered Elf-friend.

The Eastern, Western and Southern Vales were in an uproar once they finally learned of the North’s dangerous course of action. The rest of the free people followed suit in their condemnations of the hazardous plan. After a fortnight of debate the leaders from each land decided to send armed delegations to the Northern Elves. These would be led by High Elves from each of the three Vales and important dignitaries from each of the free lands. The decision to send soldiers to the North did not come easy to any of the free people, especially the Elves.

It was decided each Vale would send two thousand of their finest mounted warriors. The other free folk would send five hundred warriors each, except for the Esari who were to send five hundred of their Warrior Caste and five hundred of their Flier Caste. None of the races were happy to be sending armed forces to the North. None of the free people wanted, nor could imagine, an actual conflict with the Northern Elves. Yet all agreed the show of force was necessary. With thousands of soldiers at their backs and all the free races represented the High Elves hoped to convince the High King Adorellan opening a pathway to the Fell Lands at the top of the world was a dreadful mistake. They needed to make the young King in the North see the danger of attacking the Fell Ice, not only to the Elves there, but to every living thing in the southern lands.

Each Vale was quick to assemble their small armies. Some awaited their allies to march from the Elven strongholds. From the fjords of the Sea Lords sailed a ‘Kings Class’ trireme, one of their finest warships, into the largest of the narrow coves of the Elven Western Vale. Only by the Sea Lord’s expert seamanship could they navigate the enormous ship through the close confines of the tall stone walls. Five hundred tall stern warriors clad in burnished silver armor disembarked from the ship. Each led a white stallion of the same blood as the Mountain Horses of the Tallspines. The stallions were huge, spirited and beautiful in their bright white coats, long white manes, tails and soft silky feathers covering their huge hooves. They were eager to be on the move after their short sea journey.

In the Ironore Mountains the Suthurn Manse sent their five hundred warriors on secret paths to the Southern Vale of the Elves. Some rode upon their sturdy mountain ponies, a breed related to the strong horses of the Mongol plains. However most rode in the battered wooden wagons the Manse used to haul iron ingots from the mountains for trade. Most of the short wide men preferred to ride in the wagons instead of on horseback. The wagons also carried their iron armor, which was all battered and rusty, and an assortment of weapons. Most of the Manse were family men first, miners second and traders third. Although they were in-humanly strong very few pursued the life of a warrior. During times of their festivals the Manse would hold crossbow shooting contests and fight in melees wearing their heavy armor while carrying blunt weapons. Donning armor and carrying weapons for war was something that had vary rarely happened during their long history. As the wagons traveled through the mountain trails the men of the Manse sang the mining songs they worked too while breaking rock throughout the caverns under the Ironores. The songs were accompanied by the rasping noise of their files as they put gleaming edges on their weapons while they traveled.

Once the men of the Suthurn Manse joined with the Elves of the Southern Vale they rode down secret mountain trails to the foothills where the Ironores ran into the Tallspines. They came to the Glittering Caverns, the ‘Qrezurst Vretgand’ in the tongue of the Giants. At the Caverns five hundred of the mightiest Giants awaited with the only horses able to carry them, the Mountain Horses of the Tallspines. Most of the horses stood over twenty-four hands tall, the tallest in the world, yet they looked small next to the towering Giants who stood fourteen to eighteen feet tall. The Giants wore no armor and the only weapon they carried were their huge bows of yew. They had two quivers slung across their backs, one filled with long arrows of oak-wood shafts. The other filled with long arrows of iron shafts that made a mournful wale when let loose from their bows. Never had the peaceful Giants used their bows in anger as they generally avoided all conflicts, but the threat of the Fell Ice being let loose on the world again was much too dangerous to ignore.

The Elves of the East were the last to form their small force of warriors and send them from their Vale in the Tallspines. They were the most reluctant to march on the Elves of the Northern Vale who they were very close to. Their small army took a path down through the mountains leading through the Gossamar Forests and the lands of the Esari. They joined with five hundred of the Warrior Caste riding the small feisty horses of the Mongol Plains. When the horse soldiers of the Esari and the Elven cavalry began their ride westward five hundred of the Flier Caste launched from the cliff tops above the Gossamar Forest. They set sail in the skies over the small force accompanied by their ever faithful companions the Red Wing Hawks.

It was decided these three small armies would join at the ruins of the ancient Elven stronghold which was at the very center of their old homeland known as the Valley of the Sun. Once all the armies were united they would march onward to the Northern Vale. The Little Fliers and Red Wing Hawks would fly over the army and scout the lands around the path ahead. Once the three armies were joined the High Elves deemed the army to be called the Southern Host of the Freelands.

As an unexpected boon the ranks of the army swelled as packs of Tundra Wolves from all across the Wolfswood came running to join with the Southern Host. The Tundras were also against the dangerous plan of the Northern Vale. When they learned of the force of Elves and Free Folk on the march packs of the fierce wolves from all three of the tribes flocked to their banners. Over two thousand Saddlebacks, Solids and Whites ran at the forefront and along the flanks of the Host as it marched its way northward, with more joining everyday.

When the Southern Host finally arrived at the Norvale Gates they found them to be closed and barred against them. The High Elves of the South were furious to be denied entry to the Northern Vale. Their fury grew as the High King of the North addressed them from the ramparts high above. He informed that the building of the portal had been in progress for over a hundred turns. The tunnel was almost complete and they were far too late to stop it. In a veiled threat the High King told the southern Elves their kin within the Northern Vale would be well cared for.

After much debate between the High Elves and the leaders of the Free Folk it was decided the Southern Host would march back down the road away from the Norvale Gate. Although the main gate still remained barred High Elves of the North met with the leaders of the Southern Host at a small postern gate just to the west. Under a tent erected just for the occasion the leaders of the Northern Vale told those of the South their plans to tame the great Ice Wyrms and destroy their ancient enemy the Fell Ice. After much talk the Southern leaders could see there was no way change the minds of the High Mages of the North. Their only hope was to save as many as they could from what they deemed an extremely dangerous plan connived by the North.

The High Elves of the three Vales to the south recalled their kin that lived in the North along with the Mages studying in the House of Mage Lore. They also offered a home for any Elf that was against the portal and wished to leave. The Giants working in the Vale and the Esari Warriors still in their aeries were also recalled by their leaders and ordered to join the Southern Host. Of the Sea Lords only a few Nobles and their families lived at the stronghold of the High King. In their burnished silver armor upon their white stallions they rode out with the Warrior Caste of the Esari when it was time to leave.

Only the many packs of Tundra Wolves living amongst their friends in the North chose to stay in the Vale. They did not consider the right or wrong of the plans of the High Elves of the Northern Vale. They only knew the love for their friends and would stay at their sides no matter the danger.

The High Elves of the three Vales came together one last time when the North was emptied of their kin and all the Free Folk wishing to leave. Under the tent standing next to the Norvale Gates they admonished the young High King, the Royals and the High Mages of the North as arrogant fools. They deemed them as perilous to the safety of their people. The Northern Vale was cut-off from the rest of Elven-kind because of their dangerous plan and left to their own designs.


After the portal to the top of the world was complete the Elves of the North worked to tame the wild Ice Wyrms. They were huge beasts, some over a hundred paces tall and five times that long. They were monsters of another time related to the great Sea Wyrms swimming the deep oceans and the Sand Wyrms that burrowed in the dry lands. Upon each side of their heads grew large back-flowing horns with a crest of tall thin spines in-between. A row of spikes trailed down their backs getting smaller as they reached their tails. They slithered on the ice like huge snakes or crawled when they had to upon small fore and hind legs. Their entire body was white from the great scales along their backs to the tiny claws on their small feet. When the sun shown down on them they sparkled and shimmered like new fallen snow. The only thing of color on the great Wyrms were their eyes. They burned a blazing red, orange and yellow that swirled round and round in their slitted orbs. The fiery eyes were a reflection of the inferno that burned deep down inside them.

After four hundred turns since the rest of Elven-kind turned their backs on the Elves of the Northern Vale they still pursued the daunting task of trying to tame the wild Ice Wyrms. It was taking far longer than most thought it would, and there was very little to show for the effort. Even with the many set backs and the death of many Elves the High Mage Ilphas, the most powerful Mage of the Vale, was not deterred. He continued to push the Elves forward and would not accept any talk that the wyrms could not be controlled.

There were many dangers for the Elves who worked with the wyrms in the lands where the Fell Ice roamed. Those that went to the other side of the portal had to be powerfully warded for their own protection in a land filled with dark magic. It happened from time to time the wards would fail leaving the Elves exposed and easy prey for the ancient magic. Elves were also killed in their attempt to ride the wild Ice Wyrms as they slithered across the snow. After the first two hundred turns of failed spells a Beast Mage finally came across a thick tome of ancient knowledge on the wild wyrms. Within it he found a spell to call the Sand Wyrms of the dry lands which he was able to conform to work on those of the ice. He also composed a spell able to calm the beasts enough to allow riders on their backs. But the wyrms had minds of their own and the ancient magic within them that was at odds with the White Magic. As soon as the wyrms traveled a short distance on the snow they would ignore the commands of their riders and burrow into the ice. With a breath as hot as the sun the great wyrms would bore into the ice and snow melting every thing in front of them. They could tunnel through the hardest of ice just as quick as they could slither on the snow above. Any rider that was not quick enough to jump off their backs was either crushed between wyrm and ice or scalded to death from the boiling water and steam the beast left in its wake.

The three most powerful Mages of the Northern Vale were Ilphas, High Mage of the North, Nardual, High Mage to the King and Orndacil, High Mage of the Towers. They observed the progress with the wyrms from afar and ensured the work continued no matter the mishaps. If any spoke out against the plan to destroy the Fell Ice they were dealt with quickly by the High Mages and their minds were changed. No one could stand against the three who were so determined to see the plan succeed.

Because the three High Mages were so committed they did not give importance to the growing presence of the Black Magic within the Grimfangs. All Mages and Elves strong in the White were beginning to feel the subtle taint of the Black that seemed to be drawing ever closer to the Vale. Most shrugged it off as an effect of the portal being opened in the Vale wall, for the longer the portal remained open the stronger the taint of dark magic became. Any forewarnings of the growing evil or any thoughts to investigate the burgeoning taint fell on the deaf ears of the three High Mages. They were pulling the strings and their sole focus was on the training of the wyrms and the destruction of the Fell Ice. They did not fear the Black Magic as they sat protected within their walls of stone and under the dome of magic. Never did the three most powerful High Mages of the land consider the warning they had received so long ago from a young Elf of the Western Vale. Never did they think that their doom would come from below.

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