The Jewel of Nujel’m

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The great halls of Nujel’m were ablaze with the flame of the torches upon its walls. The flickering flames faltered not in lighting all, but the darkest shadow of the deepest alcoves set within the Marble walls of the main chamber. The torch light caught the many jewels set within the rock, and it’s reflection played upon the deep red carpet that hugged the floor much in the same way as the Pixies of distant lands lit the trees as they make merry. The sound of a single harp emanates over the low crackle of the torches as a skilled player dressed in a blue robe hemmed with gold and sapphires plucked the strings effortlessly. About this player sat a council of seven, each in his own dedicated seat denoted by the golden crests upon their chair backs. The table was cloaked in a Misty blue cloth, made many generations ago by skilled Artisans. Sat upon this cloth lay a collection of fine wine in deep green gourds, slender candles held aloft by golden candle sticks that resembled the great Oak trees of the mighty forests of Yew, silver plates housed game and fish, all stacked high and well cooked. In the centre of this table stood a fraud peacock, carved from purple stone. Within it’s tail sat large gems of various colours, and its eyes were diamond. At the head of this table sat a large throne, carved from wood and set with the leering face of a beast on the end of each arm. It was cushioned with red leather, studded in place with bronze. The design looked to be of Dwarven creation, yet the folk of this hallway were far from such. At the side of this mighty throne sat a single girl, working stitch upon the steps of her Fathers seat. The council were ignoring her, indulging in their food, wine, and the sweet sound of the harp in the corner. All save for one though, who glanced at her occasionally with a smile. He swept his long blonde hair behind his ear and turned to someone who spoke at his side.

A tall figure broke the shadow of the main chamber portal, the guards at each side of the doorway standing in salute with their golden halberds held high. He strode with Pride and prestige, his long cloak set with the many shaded leaves of the Autumn Forest, a gift from his brethren of the west. His leather thigh boots made no sound upon the soft carpet that furnished the floor, and his only audible feature was the soft clinking of his chainmaille. If ever a finer suit of armour was made, it was not known to those assembled there. The links shone with individual vigour, as if light were held within the very metal its self. The bottom of the metal tunic was rimmed with red scale, presumably the hide of some ancient Wyrm. Under one arm he had tucked his helm. The helm was said to have belonged to one of the ancients, creators of the lands that homed elf and man. Its shape was unique, it having been found in a cavern when the Elven first settled Nujel’m. The metal was akin to mother of pearl, its colours swirling and dancing on their own accord, each catching the light in magnificently different ways. Its edges were plated with gold, and within the brow sat a single Gem. The gem itself had never been identified. It was perfectly oval, and smooth into a convex curve, smother then any silk braid. The coloration was clearly akin to ruby, save for a large blaze of Vermeil within the stone itself, with the appearance of a star. It caught the light differently to all the other gems within that hall. Its surface seemed to absorb the light, and ripple it across its own surface in ways that cannot be easily explained. It slithered with a life of its own, resembling the movements of the Silver Serpents that inhabited the northern mountains.

The hands that bore the Helm were long and slender, much like his body. His lean face surveyed the room with a smile. His deep green eyes shone with the intelligence of one who had seen centuries, but he had the face of a young man. His brown hair was kept from his face with a silver crown that lay across his brow. Two peaked ears poked from underneath his soft brown hair, one tipped with a ring of gold. These ears spoke his heritage, that of the ancient race of the elves. The company rose and bowed their heads upon the entrance of their lord, but the young Elf at his throne side did not look up. He petted her silky soft hair as he passed her, and slowly lowered himself into the great throne. She looked up briefly, her blue eyes shining with the fires of youth, and then returned her attention to her needlepoint. The Elven host sat after their lord, and turned their heads to gaze upon him as he readied to speak. His voice resounded above the wind itself as his gracious voice split the air of the chamber.

“Lords, thou art aware of the dire pressure that unites us here upon this Island. Those of you who dwell within my household may know more, so for that sake, I shall start from the beginning. Several weeks ago, a hunting party bound for the Western forests were assailed, and all but two of their number slain. The survivors now lay within their housing recovering from their grievous wounds. Although they barely had the strength to ride when they entered the city, within time they told of the menace. It is said that a band of Uruq, united by a foul captain attacked them as they sat skinning their quarry. Although they fought valiantly, the tide of green foul slowly destroyed them. We thought dark of this event, and dispatched scouts to the forests to seek this war band. They came across their path as the Uruq marched for Yew.” He looked upon those in front of him, as they hung their heads in memory of the fallen. The harp was now silent, and the player who had since graced them with the beauty of her nimble playing now sat with tears welling in her eyes. It seemed somehow darker in the chamber as the Elven lord continued.

“As you are aware, the Uruq are not a threat to be taken lightly. Before, they have desecrated our fine buildings, and razed our towns. For this reason do you sit before me, we shall ride against this tide and bring it to its knees.” This statement was met with an uneasy silence, broken by a whisper between two of the Captains at the table. Finally, one stood straight. His flowing blonde hair rippled as he turned to face his lord.

“Sire, I am with you.” He said gravely. At the sound of his voice, the young Elven girl at the Lords throne side looked up. Her face was that of shock, and she stared at he who had spoken. The Lord nodded solemnly, every one else sat in silence.

“My bow to your bidding” Said another, rising to full height. One after another, the Elven Nobles stood from their seat and pledged their might to this valiant cause. The Lord nodded once more.

“We ride in 2 nights time, for Yew. Rally your men to your banners, and we shall see if this tide can withstand Elven steel.” With that, the Elven harp work began once more, and they made mirth, celebrating their lives, they may not have chance again.

That night the crickets spoke with a loud chirrup and the wind whistled lightly through the brush. In the distance an Owl spoke to the darkness, but all other birds were already in roost. The sound of the see crashing upon the rocks below filter slowly into the air from the coast, which was but a few moments away. Elven towers broke the dank night air with their expertly crafted white marble walls, each topped with blue slates, and capped with a golden cone. Most of the towers were dormant, their occupants in slumber awaiting the mornings preparations for the ride. One or two of the chambers were lit gently as their occupants went about their nightly business. In the centre of the grouping of towers sat a small park. Wild flowers from distant islands played each others colours in such a way as to delight the hearts of the elves. It is said that many Elven poets had found inspiration from those flowers. Now, upon an oak bench sat one upon his lonesome. He sat deep in thought, his chin cradled in the palm of his left hand. With his right he held a piece of cloth, embroidered finely by the fingers of a skilled needle worker. He sighed as he stared at the cloth, clutching it closer to his chest. He had been sat there for some time. The news of the Uruq invasion was unsettling, and now he had to leave his love and ride against them. He sat for some time more before the sound of light footsteps broke him from his trance. The footsteps came closer, and then a tearful voice broke out.

“Why?” She looked down at him, but he feared to look into her eyes. “Why did you stand?” He sighed again and looked up at her slowly.

“If I had not, who would have? Times are not as they were, these Uruq must be turned.” There was a brief silence, as she looked at him hard. Then she noticed what he clutched in his hand, the veil she had made for him so that he could take a memory of her upon his rides. Upon sight of the garment she broke down and fell upon her knees sobbing.

“Jyazelle, you weep as though I were already dead”. She looked up at him with her large blue eyes, her tears glinting in the light from the towers about them. She turned her face away from his and then buried it within her hands. He sat and cradled her hair, stroking her soft blonde hair, and in the distance the Owl hooted once more.

The next morning, the Elves buzzed with their preparations. The banners of the Elven Nobles had been stationed upon the walls of the settlement, and the villagers amassed beneath each. It is to be stated, that although the Elves are a peaceful race until dire need drives them to arms, they are well versed in the Lore of their weapons. Each Elven male, within a year of walking is introduced to their first blade. With this they will grow, their weapon slowly becoming apart of them. It is not uncommon to meet Elven warriors who in fact bear the very weapon they had sported as a young child, although many will change to use various magical pieces re-found whilst on quests of Errantry. They stood their now with lack of sword or bow this moment however, for their lord was addressing them in the situation at hand. Jyazelle watched this from her chamber window, her eyes fixated upon her Father as he delivered another rousing speech. Shortly, the mass broke and dispersed as the citizen levy made for their homes to ready for the ride north. Noon came swiftly, and she was bade to attend services to the gods in prayer of the safety of the war host. The day passed in much this way, the Elves hurtling from place to place. Jyazelle watched it all, until there came a rap at her door. “Enter” She said wearily. The door opened slowly to reveal the Captain that she had met with the night before.

“Jyazelle, I wish to spend some time with you.” He entered her chambers, the maids bowing and retreating through the open door. He had been here many times before, although her father, and his Lord, had failed to be told of this. She turned and walked to her bed, patting it as a gesture for him to join her. He walked to her side, but did not sit. “Jyazelle…” He said hesitantly. She looked up at him, and he found it hard to believe that she could have been the same girl that wept at his feet the night prior.

“Say nothing Cil-galeth, for I know what must be done.” With that she leant over and kissed her beloved.

The night came slowly, and the flurry of activity outside was slowing down slightly. The air was somewhat pleasent that night despite the heavy hearts of the Elven folk that breathed it deeply. Stars broke out one by one from the carpet of azure that coated the sky and shone down with wisdom upon those that looked back. The shrine had been active that day, as it always was before battle. Lords and Ladies, commoners and warriors, all joined to pray for the lives of those who would ride shortly. Adjacent to the park squires led a train of warhorses to be barded. Jyazelle sat with her family within the main dining chambers of their household. The mood was stale, but that was to be expected. Her father could not ride to face the Orcs, he was to stay and protect their settlements from the Liches of the south, but still his son, Sil-mair was to ride in his place. They sat around the same table where the news was broken to the Seven Elven lords, Jyazelle stared at the empty seat where Cil-galeth had sat. Jyazelle was sat in thought for a long time before her fathers speech broke her.

“You are yet to start your meal celeb-su.” Celeb-su was a name she had been given by Turin, her archery master for her skill. Translated to human languages, it widely translates as ‘Silver Bow’. She looked up at her father slowly, and took a deep breath.

“Father, I wish to ride against the Uruq.” She said quickly. Her father suddenly sat stiff in his seat, and several spoons hit the table having being dropped in shock.

“You? My daughter? Even if it were not for the laws, I would not let you ride against these beasts” He said in disbelief.

“Father, I am no longer a child. I am skilled with my bow, I could be of use.” Jyazelle retorted. Her father slowly relaxed in his seat, but the eyes of those sat in the room were trained on him.

“You may be good at hitting archery butts and taking down Deer, but you have no idea what you propose. These…things…they know no pity. They attack anything that opposes them, and will continue to attack until they lay dead, or are pressed into their service as slaves. Jyazelle, I forbid you to ride, continue with your meal.” Jyazelle looked away from her father, and stared into her meal.

At about ten that night, the Elven host mounted on their mighty steeds. They broke like lighting from the main gates, their banners held high. Their finely decorated armour simmered in the starlight, and their lances glinted with beautiful menace. With them rode one extra rider that night. The armour seemed to fit this one awkwardly, and from the pack attached to the saddle protruded a finely crafted Elven bow.

Last modified: March 27, 2011

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