Chapter One: The Invasion
The village was burning. The orcs bombarded the village with their catapults. Some civilians took a stand to defend. They tried to keep the orcs at bay but it only delayed them by a few hours. Hundreds of people died. This was the start of the Hundred Year War. Alliances had dragged all into it. The humans called the high elves and mountain dwarfs to their aid. The orcs had the goblins, ogres, and trolls reinforce their ranks. The wood elves had agreed to aid the high elves, and the cavern dwarfs had closed the gates to their mines and reinforced the doors. The snow elves went into hiding and weren't seen again. Civil war led to the break up of the empires.
Humans were reduced to many smaller kingdoms fighting hold their land or conquer other's. The wood elves rebelled from the high elves' rule, demanding to be treated as equals. The high elves demanded aid from the humans to put down the rebellion, but when no such assistance had come, they declared war on their former ally. The goblins took the same way as the wood elves, resulting in the orcs fighting among themselves like the humans. The ogre and trolls had abandoned the orcish cause, returning to the land they were granted, trying to avoid what they saw as petty squabbles. The mountain dwarfs had retreated to their high fortresses and kept any invader at bay. The cavern dwarfs had jumped far ahead in technology, but refused to allow any other race access to them, and often used them to keep them away from their homes. The Hundred Year War had come to a hault, but no formal treaties were signed, only verbal agreements to stop the fighting while they try to pull their realms together.
This is where the story of the Kingdom of Ephana begins. The Kingdom of Ephana is ruled by King Sgird, with a three lords under his rule. He controls a small piece of land on the northern most section of the former human empire. The old orcish empire is to the east of him, the elves to the west, and the dwarfs directly north. He controls a small army of soldiers who are usually used to attack bandit camps and defend their few villages. He tried to stay out of the wars going on around him to keep his people safe.
The frail old lady pushed the guards off of her. She ran to the king's throne room, screaming wildly and demanding he listen. "My liege, you must listen to me. I have something you'll want to hear. PLEASE!" She said as more guards tried to grab her.
"Enough!" Sgird shouted, standing and waving his hand to signal his guards to stop. "Let her speak. She has peaked my interest." He finished as he sat back down on his throne.
"Oh, thank you my lord. I come bearing great knowledge, knowledge you'll desire. I am a psychic, and I have seen two futures. Both based on your decision. I have seen you, uniting the realm with triumph after triumph against all nations. I see you restoring order that we once had over a hundred years ago. But, I also see your death, fighting to defend your kingdom on a three sided front. The humans will first restore order, with the orcs following soon after. They will both attack to get an advantage over each other. The elves will finally come down and crush what remains of your army. So I plead to you sir, take up arms and unite the nations and bring peace to all the land." She finally finished, staring at her king to see if he got the message.
"I see. Well, how do we know you're telling the truth, and not just another citizen desiring us to get involved in a war which has caused us no grief?" He stated, studying her posture at the accusation.
"I know it is a crazy statement, my lord, given that our army is small and weak compared to that of other nations, but I know if you were to send out a request for more soldier to prepare for a war, hundreds of people would gladly take up arms. Your lords would have more men than they could train, and we could be ready to fight within months. I plead you to so to protect your citizen."
"My citizens are safe and protected as it is now lady. And sending them out to fight a war we don't need to get involved in would be the act of a mad man. I will not risk the lives of my people for some silly prophecy that might just be from some senile old woman. Guards! Take her away."
"No!" she screamed. "Don't do this! Don't be a fool! You must send your request within the week, or else it'll be too late! Please my lord, you must act quickly." She screamed bewilderingly as the doors to the throne room closed before her. Sgird looked to his adviser for issues that required his attention, but his adviser was captivated by the so-called soothsayer.
"Sir Pelmad, don't tell me you actually believe what she was saying?"
"Well, my lord. Reports are coming in that a faction is begin to emerge victorious in uniting the realm and squelching their opposition. I think it would be wise if we started to really to focus on building an army and getting out there and staking our claim." Pelmad said, looking over the report.
"Well why don't we wait to see the outcome. This isn't the first time this has happened. We've seen a faction start to come out on top, but they would get taken down by an alliance forged between a few other factions, who then fight among themselves over how to split the land. And if they do get the best of the others, we can just agree to join them without spilling any blood."
"It's not that simple my lord. The leader wouldn't let you just join in with him."
"And why not?"
"The king leading this faction is..." he trailed off."
"What? Out with it already."
"Lord Belmer, my lord."
"Lord Belmer?! That lying, cheating, bastard has become a king? Who would rally behind such a pompous fool." Sgird was livid at the mention of Belmer's name. "Send a letter out. I want all my lords here immediately."
Two days later...
All the lords, a few generals, and Sir Pelmad gathered around a simple wooden table in a plain room in King Sgird's castle. All were unarmed and guards were stationed right outside to prevent interruption.
"I'm glad you could gather here on such short notice. I have some troubling news concerning out kingdom. We are getting reports of a faction rising to power, and their king is Lord Belmer." Sgird spit at the name, as everyone else in the room started getting riled up."Silence. If he succeeds in uniting the realm, it is obvious he will have us all executed. I was also visited by an old woman saying that if we take action, we will unite all races and restore peace as it was over a hundred years ago. I wanted to know your thoughts on the matter."
"I say we rally an army and take the action. Many people in my fiefs have been sending messengers begging me to tell you go to war. If you send out a request for soldiers, we will get a very positive response." Lord Borngis replied calmly.
"I think we should just stay put. This isn't the first time a faction has started to rise. Why risk our people when we don't need to?" Lord Praull rebutted.
"Do you want to take the risk of letting him become too powerful and getting sentenced too death? No. Our people are in high spirits. They want us to take action. Now would be the best time while Lord Belmer is still small." Lord Gerfalt snapped.
Three of the five generals agreed that it was time to take action, as did Sir Pelmad.
"That settles that. Sir Pelmad, spread the word that we are looking for volunteers for the army. We are going to war."
This is my first original story. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find a beta so please leave a review and be critical. I hope you enjoy.