The Orkfic Series
In the east, a shadow fell over the moons of Orkfia. The radiant visage of Deam at last succumbed to the cover, albeit timidly illumined the night overcast, a corona of ill omens. Yet despite the heavy clouds filled to the brim with spite and rain, the shining comet could not be denied from the eyes of those that looked to the heavens. It pierced through the shroud as if to mock it, the reminder of its approach never dulled for a moment. No one could be permitted to forget its presence.
Hairen pulled his hood farther up over his head, hiding his features. The stirring lights of the firmament cast haunting shadows beneath the canopy of the Darkwood. The others gathered were likewise cloaked, their faces hidden. These were the guildmasters, lords among the thieves in his lands. He could not let his identity be known here. Nor they to him. Most among the dark elves thought their existence to be a mere story.
The priestesses warned to be wary when crossing the path of a thief. Be ever wary to never let your eyes leave them, lest they plant a knife in your back. That was the saying. The elfchilds were bidden to not wander too far in the night, lest the thieves come for them.
Few knew just to what extent the thieves were spread, hiding and watching. It suited Hairen just fine. They were useful, though he did not trust them.
None could know of these secret meetings, for they belied the true power held over these lands. It was a mystery wrapped in enigma, painted with deception.
Hairen was High King of these lands. He was not supposed to know about the guildmasters, indeed in these conclaves they plotted openly to manipulate him for their own ends. Nevertheless he had infiltrated their order, and attended every meeting that he could. Their hand was open before him. It had been like this for many Ages, and had become a simple game for him.
Thieves didn’t know mages also dealt in illusions and trickery.
“Reports account that our ‘righteous cousins’ are expanding into the north,” One of the robed figures began, his voice muffled; “It seems they are seeking the Library of Arathos.”
The others nodded quietly. There was no first among equals here, no one could be permitted the distinction of being made leader. Thus the guildmasters plotted behind one another’s back, always seeking to gain a secret advantage. At least one person had been brutally tortured to yield the information that had just now been spoken. Who knew how many messangers it went through before at first coming to the ear of the speaker? They fed on one another as well.
“Naturally scouts have been deployed to secure the information for ourselves,” Another broke in. The first speaker stirred, the slightest hint of discomfort showing in his movements. A loose string had disheveled his plan. It was clear as if he had spoken it aloud. Many would suffer in punishment of that grievous error.
“What are those white wizards seeking?” A third inquired, the distaste on her voice. There was no doubt she was a priestess underneath that hood. The Maidens of Ciorin held no love for these newcomers, the light elves. They claimed to come from the realm of the gods, but recognized none that were worshiped by these people. Hairen smiled in secret, knowing the truth of the matter. They were one in the same, their names warped by the passing of Ages. None now called them by what they were known when they walked the lands of Orkfia, in the beginning.
There was a silence. Perhaps no one knew the answer to that question, but it was more likely that they merely thought it too important to share. Hairen dispelled their ambitions.
“They are seeking a lost source of power,” He explained, just as he had heard from Ancero; “Drawn from something else entirely than the Comet.”
A few were unable to contain their surprise, expressed as discreetly as it was in a quiet gasp. So, he knew a great bit more than any of they. Good. The sooner it would change the ways of the dark elves.
“What is this source of power?” One figure demanded, angry at not having been the first to know of it.
“It is Creation, the opposer to Destruction,” Hairen answered; “With it they shall restore the shattered force of Preservation, and return the world to peace.”
Many began to speak at once. It had always been the case that the Comet was the source of all mystical power. And through it, destruction and war surged, ravaging the lands. As the guildmasters rightly ascertained, a new source of power would put the thieves to a disadvantage, and furthering such goals as peace would surely clip their own aims.
“We should destroy it,” One concluded finally.
It was really quite simple. As the world unraveled before the power of Destruction, the thieves profited on the decay. So they fed the chaos, tending it like a weak flame until it roared into calamity. All for gold and power. They were unable to see the lasting consequences that their actions held for them, the ruin that awaited their short-sighted greed. Hairen would use it to crush them.
“I agree,” He lied smoothly. All was going exactly according to his plan.
First published on the Orkfia-Portal.
Last updated: January 2013