"Elves of the Northern Vale" A Tundrawolf Story

The Land of Plenty

A long time ago, before the rise of man in the world, the earth was a paradise and home to many beings and creatures of all kinds. White Magic flowed free upon the lands and seas like an invisible fog drifting wherever the need arose. The magic could not be used by all races or animals, only those that could see it, and it worked differently for each that did have the honor of its use. These were known as the magical folk throughout the lands. There were no wars and no threats of wars in that time and almost all enjoyed a good life of peace and prosperity. It was the time before the Fell Ice returned once again. It was the land of plenty.

The Elves were the most numerous people of the time and the strongest in the White Magic. For unlike most, the magic resided within them. Four great tribes lived together in those times. In a huge peaceful valley that would someday be called the Wolf Lands. They befriended the Dire Wolves that lived to the north of their realm in a forest that the wolves named the Wolfswood. The trees that grew there were the tallest and most beautiful the Elves had ever seen. When the Fell Ice came and covered the land it crushed the huge trees, grinding them into oblivion and erasing the Wolfswood from the world forever. But the Elves and Tundra Wolves, ancestors of the great Dire Wolves, would always remember the forest. The Elves called the Wolfswood, ‘Agari Shea Nalas’ . They called the huge trees that the wolves did not give name to the ‘Nar Agari Sheaan‘.

The Dire Wolves called the whole of the Wolfswood their home. It was a mighty forest that stretched across the northlands from the Tallspines in the east to the Northern Sea in the west. Their packs hunted the large herds of bison, reindeer and would sometimes even bring down one of the huge mammoths that grazed on the plains that surrounded the great forest. The wolves became fast friends with the Elves for both races shared in the White Magic. To the Dire Wolves it was known as the Wild Wolf Magic, a much different magic from that of the Elves, but good magic just the same. The Dire Wolves shared in the bounty of the lands and befriended many different creatures of magic during their time in the Wolfswood, but all of that changed when the Fell Ice came.

Many great packs of the Dire Wolves stayed in the Wolfswood when the cold came and the tall trees died around them. They stayed as the herds disappeared and so with them went their food and sadly the wolves starved. It became too late for them to leave and follow the few small packs that had traveled south ahead of the Ice. Those wolves that made their escape were gone from the Elves for turns uncounted, for the Elves had stayed behind to battle the killing ice from their Vales atop the mountains. The wolves did not count the thousands of long turns they were gone from the north because they did not care and the Elves did not count them for they lived forever. It was a grand reunion when the wolves returned after the ice had been defeated and sent back to its frozen kingdom. The Elves now called them Tundra Wolves.

The wolves that returned were different from the wolves that had left the Wolfswood those many turns ago. They were still larger than the common gray wolf whose packs roamed all throughout the lands. The numerous grays were only cousins of the great Dire Wolves, the wolves that returned to the lands of what was once the Wolfswood were their true descendants. They were not as large as their ancestors, but they were still big and their fangs were long. The numerous packs that returned were large as they made their way home from the south lands. They came home to the Tundra, a vast frozen snowy plain where remnants of the Fell Ice still had a hold. The beloved Wolfswood their ancestors had roamed in was only a memory.

The Tundra Wolves that returned were intelligent and filled with the Wild Wolf Magic. They were able to carve out a home on the Tundra where their ancestors had once lived. In their minds eye they could still see the huge trees of the Wolfswood all about them. From their fathers, fathers memories, that went back to a time even before the Wolfswood, the great trees were all around as they traveled the old trails just as their forefathers had done. They made paths through the snow that zig zagged around trees that were no longer there. To men that do not know the Tundra Wolves they called their intelligence just a better instinct. But the Elves and the men that bonded with the Tundras knew better as they caught glimpses of the wonderful memories that guided the great wolves.

Before the Fell Ice the Elves were also friends to two very small races of people that lived from the vast plains in the east to the shores of the Great Water in the west. The Elves called them the Pixens and the Esari. The main realm of the Pixens were known as the Emerald Aisles while the Esari lived all throughout what are now called the Tallspine Mountains. They lived in the vast forest of gossamar trees that covered the Tallspines and surrounding lands.

The wee Pixens and the Esari rode on the backs of many animals in those days because they were their friends and these friends helped to keep them safe. In the north they rode the big furry Dire Wolves when they needed to travel the Wolfswood. Throughout the gossamar forests where the large Red Wing Hawks made their home the Esari and the Pixens were small enough to jump on the backs of these big raptors and fly the skies. In the mountains they made friends with the little three toed horses that called the forested mountain sides and the high meadows their home. They rode on their backs as they ran swiftly up cliff sides like a wild mountain goat.

The Pixens were a very wee people, only growing as tall as an Elf’s ankle boot. They were truly a magical people whom the Elves say are related to the Fae Folk of the Emerald Isles. They are a secretive race that can disappear like a whisper and not be found if they do not wish it. The closest kin to the Pixens are the Esari and they are the only reason that they travel away from their home on the Isles.

When the Fell Ice came and covered the world it was said that the Pixens one and all returned to their homeland, never to be seen again in the lands of the north. But after the Ice and as man moved into the northlands it is said by many that the wee Pixens still travel and live in the lands of the Snow Forest. Many a man that has traveled and hunted the forest tells a tale of seeing a wee Pixen’s house from the corner of his eye. Some say they see a small cottage with white smoke curling out of the chimney and the smell of bread cooking in the air. When they turn a second later to get a good look they see everything is gone, even the smell, as if it had never been. When they search the ground at where they thought that had seen the tiny house they would usually only find a small hollow mound on the earth that could have been home to a  squirrel, if they even found that.

The larger cousins to the Pixens, the Esari, did not travel the same path as the wee Pixens. They were a carefree race of very small people with the tallest maybe reaching an Elven knee. They had the look of being small men with the only difference being their pointed swept back ears. Their skin browned in the sun as they ran, rode and flew through their gossamar forests with their long hair flowing down their backs. They were a beautiful little people and very endeared to the Elves who watched guard over the lands of the Pixens and Esari. The only thing that the Esari took serious were their jobs as tree shepards and the caring for their beloved gossamar trees that ran throughout the wide land of the North. They made their homes in the trees and received everything they needed from them to survive.

When the Fell Ice started its advance the many tribes of Esari came together and made their plans to survive the deadly cold. Two-thirds of their people decided to travel the way of the Dire Wolves and the Red Wing Hawks and migrate south to warmer lands, staying ahead of the cold. The other Esari took to the caves under the Tallspine Mountains, growing varieties of mushrooms, fishing in underground pools and hunting the little furry things that had the same idea to survive the cold. They traveled down tunnels that led to the molten bowls of the earth, fires even the Fell Ice could never put out. They built their homes close to the warmth away from the freeze. Both groups of Esari carried with them thousands of seeds from the gossamar tree for they knew the great forests would be destroyed. Over many generations they protected the seeds from vermin and rot, dreaming of the day they could replant the forests of old.

The long time away from their homeland changed both of the Esari tribes and they were much different once they came out of their caves and returned back to their ancient lands. The ones that had gone south had grown much larger in size so they could defend themselves from the many predators about and the rising threat of man. They learned to ride the sturdy and swift Mongol horses and became a warrior race. These tribes of Esari were called the Warrior Caste once they eventually returned to their ancient homeland.

The Esari that stayed and went underground also grew larger, but not as large as their brethren in the south lands. The warrior Esari grew to around five feet tall where the cave dwelling Esari between three and four feet tall. What mostly changed in the underground Esari were their eyes. They grew larger in their heads, almost twice the size of normal, and they gained the ability to see in the dark and watch the movements of the hot and cold air waves throughout the caverns. They had no need of torches to hunt in the tunnels or fish in the streams and pools beneath the earth.

When these Esari emerged from the caves and once again began growing their beloved gossamar trees they dreamed of flying the skies as their ancestors had done before them on the backs of the Red Wing Hawks that were returning to the land. The big birds were some of the largest in the land, standing taller than the little people. Even so, no longer could they take the Esari into the air, for they had grown too much. But the Esari, a very clever people, will work hard to devise a way to get what they want. Eventually, after the gossamars had grown a generation, the Esari learned how to make gliders from the strong, light wood they harvested from the trees and the fabric they wove from the silk around the gossamar seeds. The little Esari could once again sail the skies along with their friends the Red Wing Hawks. With their large farseeing eyes they could see the hot and cold air movements and ride their gliders high on the thermals for days on end if they wanted to. They sailed all about the Wolf Lands, observing and being warriors from the air when needed. They were called the Flier Caste.

The Elves also befriended the race of people known as the Sea Lords. They numbered few before the Ice keeping mostly to the sea and survived the freeze by sailing away to warmer waters around lands unknown. Once the Fell Ice retreated and the land became livable again the Sea Lords returned and built their shining castles out of the silver and crystal that they treasured so much.  They built their fortresses along the coasts of the cold northern lands in hidden coves along the Northern Sea. The Sea Lords were most akin to the Elves in stature and stance but they used a different form of the White Magic and their only desire was to sail the immense oceans of the world exploring far off places. The Western Tribes of Elves that lived in the Western Vale that overlooked the Northern Sea took interest and learned the ways of the Sea Lords. They built swift ships to sail the seas in, they just did not travel quite as far.

There were many tribes of Giants about the land well before the time of the last battle of the Fell Ice and Sun. They lived in the grand caves that bordered the lands of the Elves. Most of the Giants resided in the caves that were formed along the southeastern corner of the Elven Realm when the world was young. What are now called the Ironore Mountain Range collided with the tallest mountains on earth, the Tallspine Mountains, creating miles and miles of vast and beautiful caves. After thousands upon thousands of turns as the earth settled and water trickled and ran through the caves they had become a wondrous marvel to look upon. When the Giants were a young race they traveled to the caves, almost as if being called to them. They named them the Glittering Caverns, or ‘Qrezurst Vretgand’ as the Giants called them, and the grottos provided them with everything they needed. They would stay in their caves turns on end never seeing the light of day as they explored their way through the mountains making great homes and cities in the volumeous caverns throughout.

Giants like rock. They love the touch and feel of it and forming it to their needs under the power of their hands. They like throwing the large stones that they have made to fit their needs around all day and putting them in place. For Giants are strong, their bones and muscles are as hard as the stone they work and toss. They are tall, growing between ten and eighteen feet high, looking much like big men before any of them ever set foot in the northlands, only harrier and much kinder. Giants were a tranquil race and it took much to anger them. It would be thousands of turns before any of the magic folk ever saw their anger and it only ever came out when man was involved.

Before the Fell Ice attacked the lands the magical races grew together developing bonds of friendship that would last an eternity and making the world a better place to live. They intertwined and helped each other at times of need because their were still predators about the land and danger sometimes lurked for the unwary.

The predators were varied and the most dangerous stayed to the colder lands of the north. They were a threat to many before the cold came and survived to still be a threat when the world warmed again. The three that caused the most concern were the Dread Cats, the wild packs of Grim Wolves and the Cave Bears that came down from the mountain heights. Dread Cats were strong and powerful, larger than a Tundra Wolf and they prowled the foothills of the Grimfang Mountains. They ran in pairs as they mated for life and were serious ambush predators when on the hunt. They mostly hunted the migrating herds of reindeer and bison when they came down from the foothills of the Grimfangs to the plains that surrounded the Wolfswood. They were few which was a good thing for they had six inch long knife sharp claws that would come out of huge paws when they flew through the air at their prey. They bit down with saber-long pointed fangs that could bite an Elves leg in two in seconds. Their furry coats would change colors depending on the time of year becoming a coat of mottled grays, drab greens, oranges with black stripes during the summer. During the winter their fur changed to white with black and gray stripes. Winter was the most dangerous time to be near a Dread Cat for you could walk right by one and never know it as it lay on a rocky snow covered perch.

The Grim Wolves of old had more courage than the Grim Wolves that now roam the north after the Fell Ice. They were few in numbers before the ice as the Dire Wolves kept their small packs under control. They ran in the northern parts of the Wolfswood looking for anything they could scavenge. They were big lazy brutes with mangy black fur that they never cleaned. The only time they did attempt to groom their greasy parasite filled coats was to rub up on a tree streaking it with pitch. It made the large hump-backed wolves deathly afraid of fire for they went up like a torch if it touched them. But they were very clever and very dangerous, especially in a pack with their long claws and long misshapen black fangs, and the black wolves were always hungry.

The Cave Bears were giants that roamed all throughout the southern and western mountains bordering the Elven Realm. They stayed mostly at the higher elevations where few wanted to live. In the spring they would bring their young down to hunt the wild berries and nuts that grew easier in the lower lands. If one moved too close to the young cubs coming down for a meal there was always a chance the mama Cave Bear would be none to happy. Fortunately they mostly stayed in the high meadows eating plants, berries, insects and stealing meat from the smaller predators that also called the mountains their home. The bears also craved honey and at times would stroll down to rip a bee hive out of a tree. In the winter one rarely saw the big bears about for they slept through it in their caves, as long as the warm part of the turn had been good feeding for them.

Rarely, but sometimes, one of the huge bears would come down from the mountains bellowing and in a rage. It was usually an older male at the end of its long life and unaware of its actions. If the Elves could not calm a raging bear it had to be brought down, and that was always a very dangerous and tiring struggle. They were massive creatures, standing up to sixteen feet tall on their hind legs and quite able to destroy an Elf’s cottage clean to the ground with powerful swipes of its huge arms and the longest claws of any animal.

All of the other predators stayed mainly to themselves hunting the deer, elk, bison, wild aurochs and reindeer that were plentiful throughout the land. The predators did not come from a world filled with magic so theirs was a tragic way to live as far as the Elves were concerned. So it was live and let live as far as the magic peoples of the Lands believed. Predators were never hunted down just because they existed, they were only killed if they became a terrible danger to the peaceful peoples and animals of the Land and there was no other option.

The Elves traveled far and wide observing the struggles of man. Watching, reporting back to their kin and helping where they could. They rarely made themselves known to man at that time as they did not trust them. Man was proving to be the most dangerous predator of all. But when the Elves did step in they were in disguise and they helped the tribes of man that appeared to be on the path of peace. Many of the tribes of men were not.

The Lands of Plenty reigned for a very long time until the Fell Ice came, destroying much and changing all. Only the Elves did not change as they lived in their Vales under the protection of the White Magic. They felt secure in their valleys and thought nothing could defeat the spells of magic that kept them safe. And they would be safe for a very long time, maybe too long. For eventually an evil so dangerous and deadly would be at their door, and they would not even realize it.

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