Saturday, November 06, 2010

The History of the Domini: Part III

Old Post: Part II can be found here, while the beginning is here.

Being a further account of the history of the Domini, as recorded by Randall Aurelius.

Part III: The Amaranthine

To humans, a hundred years is three to four generations. Events that happened that far back are no more than legends to people without written histories. To the Malwer, it was just enough time to prepare the means to avenge themselves on their escaped slaves. By that time, the humans who had fled the Malwer had lost all contact with those who remained behind to fight. The communication had slowed to a trickle over the years, stories of a distant war that most of the newly free humans did not believe was worth fighting. When it finally stopped, there was some worry, but a few years passed and the worries ceased.

The free humans were focused on the business of surviving and building farms and communities in the their new lands rather than on the distant, mostly forgotten threat of the Malwer. The Shades among them were likewise occupied with building their cloistered communities and finding recruits among the other humans. Over time, methods of recruiting were developed to take young men with the ability while minimizing the trauma to him or his community, but in the process the Shades became more and more isolated from the rest of humanity. Some preferred reclusiveness, while others used their power to try to force people to serve them. Occasionally, Shade communities of differing philosophies would clash, but these were mere skirmishes compared to the later wars.

The Malwer would have overwhelmed humanity when they finally came upon them in force, if not for the Amaranthine. The Amaranthine are nearly as great a mystery as the Malwer. They lacked the Malwer’s ability with magic (although there were a few among them, called wizards, who had powerful magical abilities), but they were similarly long-lived, and they knew a great deal about the Malwer, whom they held a bitter grudge against for unknown reasons. They looked nearly human, although with odd coloring and strange characteristics. Many today say they were related to the Kawyr, although they regarded humans with more sympathy than the cold Kawyr ever could. When the Amaranthine first came, warning that the Malwer were coming with a large force of creatures which no one had ever heard of, no one knew what to make of them, including the Shades. Just a few messengers came at first, but soon it became clear that there was a mass migration of the Amaranthine, women and children along with men, fleeing from something. Although many took their warnings seriously, a few saw them as interlopers. The Shades themselves were divided, and many of the communities forbade the Amaranthine from entering areas under their control. There were a few skirmishes, but no widespread conflict, and eventually the Amaranthine settled just outside the human areas. They continued to warn of brutish, violent creatures behind them, but the humans saw no reason to take their warnings seriously, until the Orcs came.

There were, in fact, creatures of two types in the initial invasion: Orcs and Goblins. Orcs are roughly as tall as humans, but more muscular. While most of them are not very intelligent, the commanders of their armies are as smart as we are. There were no warlocks or witches among them at this time. Goblins are smaller, uglier, and stupider. The humans had little chance against the invaders. In the hundred years they had been free, there had been no wars more serious than a skirmish, and no human community had formed anything resembling an army. The Shades fared little better. They too had only skirmished, and they had developed little magic capable of facing armies. While the goblins were less an army than an unruly mob, forced to fight by their Orc masters, the Orcs showed a surprising grasp of tactics and strategy, even though their forces were lacking in discipline. And if what the Amaranthine said was true, the Malwer were the ones truly behind the attack. They had recruited the Orcs to carry out their vengeance on the humans.

Fortunately for the humans, the Amaranthine had been fighting Orcs for years, and they lent their aid against them. It was not enough, though, as the Amaranthine were few in number, and their wizards were even fewer. Humanity was forced to retreat from their attackers, driven towards the sea in a narrowing strip of land as the Orcs laid claim to the countryside. In desperation, the Shades and the wizards pooled their abilities, and performed an act of magic unlike any seen before or since. They called the First Legion.

This is a 750 word continuation of a 2,200 word story in progress.

New Post: The next part can be found here.

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