History I

The rain beat down on the battlefield. Awilda looked back, a mixture of pity and relief on her face. The Convoy’s had just been rotated so it was time to go back behind K’etale’s walls – and she would say it to whoever asked: she was glad.

Magical warfare was a fickle thing to get right. It wasn’t two armies, set against each otherwaving around swords – no, this needed cunning, intellect and as many tricks up your sleeve as possible.

This kind of warfare saw small groups of fifteen to twenty men (called Convoys) rushing to find the best defensive-offensive position around their home city. Then specially trained soldiers (“Tricksters”) would go out and place traps that would, hopefully, reduce the enemy’s numbers. The range of traps were plentiful, there were teleportation ones, simple energy blasts, freeze bombs and – particularly nasty – snares. Each category was more extensive, each having different types of energy blasts or different ways to snare foes. There were, also, the odd ones that didn’t fit into a category.

As well as this, there were standoffs between the two fighting Convoys which resulted in the Tanks and Long-Shots coming into play. These were uncommon, but usually one of the Conveys never returned while the other limped home, decimated. Coupled along with malfunctioning traps, Healers were always needed in a Convoy. And then, to add onto it, their transport, had to be hidden or let loose to avoid detection. A good leader had to be take it all into account and juggle it accordingly.

But, it had only been made even worse by the weather. Now that the rain had come, everything had turned damp, probably disabling most of the traps. The troops’ morale would plummet and Lurid would gain ground. The elves really didn’t have enough leeway to allow that to happen.

The elven healer scowled as the city came into sight. She really couldn’t say if they were going to win. The Tree Gates parted as her convoy came to it, and then entwined itself back together when they’d gone through. It had been a difficult process to grow the entrance to the city from the surrounding rock – but they’d done it, and it was impenetrable.

Awilda dismounted her horse, a beautiful silver mare with a calm temperament. Her name was Silgen. Awilda dropped the reins; the horse would make its own way back. K’etale was a laid back city – the elves that had just got off duty could head home straight away. This was exactly what Awilda wanted. The weather and condition of the healer, made her want to take a shower as soon as possible. She ran quickly home, much quicker than a human could, but still slow enough that the human eye can see.

Even so, by the time she reached the cover of her porch, she was drenched. Awilda’s house, like every other house in the city, had been built entirely by nature. It was a single floor, brown branches making up the walls and fleshy green leaves overlapped each other to create a water tight roof. She muttered a few words in elfish and the door swung open. When she stepped in and closed the door, she said a few more words and the door merged back with the tree.

She walked straight to her bedroom. It was a simple room with nice sized desk and a comfortable chair by the wall opposite the door. A large, plump bed was by the right wall when walking in, and on the side closest to the desk was another door leading to a bathroom. The wall opposite the bed had water flowing down it. It was difficult to tell that it was water because although it was moving, there was no sign of it. It was reflective like a huge wall to wall, floor to ceiling mirror.

As Awilda crossed the room to go shower, she undressed. First her shirt – a practical, hard-wearing one, coloured in a healer’s silver. Then she removed her jodhpurs and calf high riding boots. They were also dark silver and were made for easy movement. She turned to look at the reflective water and grimaced.

Her dark blues eyes were now permanently ringed with a bruised purple that clashed with her pale skin and her whole posture seemed shrivelled. Her vibrant green hair streaked with blue was now lank and greasy. It rested pitifully on her scalp as if it had given up. She scowled at the reflection and messed about with her full fringe to try and give it a bit of bounce – she failed.

With a huff, she stalked into the bathroom, the only tiled room in the house. She said an incantation and the water began pouring from a hole in the ceiling. Awilda took off her remaining clothes and stepped under the running water. The perfect temperature.

She sighed, content as the warm flow of liquid washed over her, pulling away the dirt and dust and bad memories of a battlefield.