Several men and women from around the kingdom of New Gharne are about to be called upon.
Off in the distance an onslaught of thundering clouds can be seen quickly approaching the lush land of a New Gharne, a peaceful kingdom that has kept its distance from the wars of others for over a millennia. The neutrality of it being quite a feat as they now live in a time of war and anger, the kingdoms of the north and the east rage countless battles of brutality against one another. Famine and hunger spread throughout the known world including the elves and the dwarves and the gnomes, each race included in the war, each believing their cause just.
Unfortunately, the peace and tranquility for New Gharne is not going to last. Already they struggle to maintain the comfort they once enjoyed, their lands being overrun by those seeking power and recourses to fund their wants and needs. As the war brings itself to the outer walls of Windrum, the heart of New Gharne and the host to the kings’ castle, tensions grow high not just in the public but also in the High Court’s where our story begins.
• • •
“Your Sire, I beg you to listen to reason. Our walls are being threatened even as we speak. The Nomads push our borders back from the east claiming all the land theirs while the men of Bournwick bully us from the north. Meanwhile the elves of Sen’wal and the dwarves of Harshnev both pressure us for their support, each threatening to turn on us should we remain neutral,” Commander Adenhall stood tall, a mighty presence in the room where all twelve members of the council are present alongside himself and the king with his advisor.
“I know well the situation at hand Commander; do not waste your breath repeating yourself. I am also aware that to act too quickly could put the kingdom as a whole in jeopardy where as a steady response to the outside threat would save many a man any unnecessary hardships,” the king sat patiently next to his advisor listening to the council while giving away no emotional response to anything being said. “I wish more than anything that we could remain neutral in the war but I am afraid that time has long since past. However I will not act foolishly on the recommendations of a commander who, while being great in the field and the courts, is too eager to bloody his sword.”
The King had a reputation for being fair to all but strict where he believed was necessary. He is slow to punish and quick to reward, almost the exact copy of his father, King Duladin the third. However, where his father lacked King Ponias, known as King Ponias the Second, made up for with a willingness to take action when needed, he had earned much respect doing just that.
“What would you have us do then, sit idly by while our lands are being raped of their recourses and our people butchered at the hands of murderers and thieves?” The commander spoke with a voice of authority having often used it to intimidate his soldiers and enemies alike.
“Watch how you speak Adenhall, I will not tolerate disrespect even from you.” The king watched as the commanders face twisted with anger and then settled to a quiet exasperation.
“That is what the purpose of this council is for. We will discuss and explore the possibilities of action. No, I do not intend to watch as my kingdom falls apart at the hands of men too ignorant to appreciate the beauty of life, which instead chooses to punish and take in the name of self wanting.” The king was standing now addressing the council as a whole. “Now this is how I see it.”
• • •
A young man of humble beginnings lied still as he so often did, watching the clouds float by unbothered by anything other than their own nature to fly and take shapes in any manner of way they chose. The field in which he occupied was lush and green providing great contrast against the blue of the skies, the white of small flowers and silver clouds above accenting the vivid display. Above it all, the sun shown illuminating everything with a glow it would otherwise lack. The image was one of peace.
"Arduan! Arduan!" A younger boy came running along the field from a short distance off to the west. His voice was cold and raspy, panic stained his face and tears ran down his reddened cheeks following the path of previously cried tears having already dried. His dark brown hair fell just above his eyes, sweat gluing the individual strands to his forehead.