Faroth: Avo of Knives

One hundred years before the orc’s sacked Sing’jar, the elven tribes of the Sing’jar mountains ruled out to the plains far to the east. The crops were bountiful, and there was feasting every season. Thoughts of the fire giant were distant and dim. Ginndale the Swift, at five hundred years old, decided he would push the eastern border of further to the river of Y’lima. The quest was worthy and fighters from north and south trekked through the mountains to join up.

I was a child, and my father was tempted to join up as well. His friends would stop by our tree and ask if he were going, but I was always at his knee with my wooden play sword pretending to fight orcs. I’m glad he didn’t leave me, and those are my fondest memories. When the crusade to the east left, I remember trumpets playing to send our troops off.

I must have had two birthdays before we heard from them…of them again. A wildfire was set in the fall when the hay was dry, before winter began, and burned many farms on the east side of the mountains. Maybe a dozen families lost their trees and houses. The eastern foothills were black for years. The place where the fire started, there was a burnt wagon with the skeleton of an elf placed with a red sash over its rib cage, with the symbol of a serpent-haired monster.

My uncle told me that story, because he was right next to my father when they both discovered the wagon. The circlet on the skeleton was of Bindle’ti, a young second cousin that went on the crusade. The wagon was filled with elven skulls. The night my father’s patrol found that wagon, they were attacked by a hundred orcs, and he and the rest of the squad, except Feltor, were killed.

Only magic could have masked the scent or sound of that many orcs from an elven patrol. Since then, the orcs reclaimed the eastern foothills and have pushed west almost right through the middle of the mountains. With our best warriors lost, the camps of the Sing’jar elves retracted and became defensive.

I harnessed my anger and hatred and forsook Ehlonnah and all the spirits of the trees and I looked to the stories of Erevan to help me take revenge on the orcs. Down through the east foothills I traveled, constantly sharpening my knives, shadowing the orcs, flaying and torturing them to find which killed my father, and who led them.

In one midnight fight, a Drow priest of Lolth and an unnaturally ageless priest of Sevarash caught me in a magic circle. Playing up my madness, I tried to convince them we were on the same side: full of vengeance, powered by hatred. The priest of Sevarash said, “You lie, green stick of an elf. You love killing orcs, but you are not mad.” And the priest of Lolth said, “We plucked you up in the night, creature of the day. Your hatred is only a folly. If you drip your blood in this circle, you will be bound to powers greater than Ehlonna, and no orc nor man will stand in your way! But you will sacrifice your vengeance forever.” Faced with this dark choice, I rejected it and they released me.

Halfway to the river, I found a huge pit mine, home to a thousand orcs. The whole countryside stank of waste and was littered with corpses of starved and mutilated cattle and humans. This wasteland was an orc’s dream, but on a scale that no elf had ever told stories of. I only made it as far as the edge of the pit mine before some frightening magic  began to hound me…and I fled. Nightmares for two years drove me to the islands. The sight of trees made me break out in a sweat–trees felt like skeletons to my spirit–all my hope drained away for months.

The mountains have no love of me–I’m a bad example. I have no respect of those cowardly elves, either. These islands are full of survivors, and I respect that. So it is quite a surprise to see Simon here. It is time I related my story to Simon, of the dark evils on the east side of the mountains. The young fighter, Eliza, she reminds me too much of my youth and I don’t want her company. This Lothric and his gang…they can be my hammer to flatten more orcs.

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