The time was dark in the House of DíZdakAuthor: Dean Kirkpatrick © 2022 (on Facebook)
The time was dark in the House of DíZdak twelfth House of the Crystal Lotus. Seito, the second daughter to the Lord of the house, had just given birth to a bastard son. Seito was a young elf; she was impetuous and ignored the traditions of the strict elfin society. She was arraigned to be married to a young rake from sixth house of the Crystal Lotus. This was a gainful political marriage for DíZdak. Seito had met betrothed and despised his vanity and his narcissism. She could not stand to think of him let alone marry such a person.
She had fallen in love with a young stable hand Ė a commoner. They met daily while she was practicing her riding lessons. Their love was not a secret, but the Lord of the House ignored the signs believing it was a simple crush that would pass. Soon as days became weeks and weeks into months the Lord of the Houseís impatience grew. The Lord DíZdak loved his daughter but could not allow a common stable hand to ruin his plans for the alliance. The marriage had to go through as planed. The Lord DíZdak ordered the stable hand away to a far-off land to fight in the waste lands against the accursed Devout, followers of the five false prophets, where he should surely die.
Meanwhile, the women folk learned that the young Seito was with child from her stable hand lover. From orders of the Lord of the House the chambermaids feed the young Seito lotus leaves in an attempt to abort the growing child, but the fetus was strong and the lotus leaves seemed to strengthen the growing fetus. The baby inside the womb would not die!
DíZdak loved his second born daughter and was torn with anguish at what he should do by the custom of the lands, to put the girl to death along with the bastard she carried. But he could not, so he hides her away.
As the months went by the shame of Seito could no longer be hidden, the family of the sixth house demanded satisfaction or a feud would be declared. The Lord DíZdak knew he couldnít afford a feud with a stronger house especially at the time of the lotus harvesting. He agreed that his daughter would be put to the sword. However, he delayed this until after the child was born. He had to have something to remember his daughter by.
The lord raised Drzídak DíZdak with all the education due a grandson of the Lord of the House of DíZdak. He had best teachers in reading and writing, dragon riding (a flightless two-legged lizard about the size of a horse,) fencing, history, lotus lore and military science. Even so he was still just a bastard son of a disgraced second born. He never was afforded any of privileges of rank outside of his schooling.
As the young Drzídak grew to manhood he began to resent the rank of his cousins. He would best them in reading, writing and all the martial skills yet they seemed to get all the attention and prestige. As time passed, he was shut out of more of the Houseís business. With Lord of the House growing older and he lamented less over his younger daughter and was more concerned with current events. Drzídak was forgotten to the Lord. This made the young Drzídak depressed and vengeful. The young Drzídak wished he could advance his status, as the Obsidian Elves do, by assassination Ė but that is not the way of the Crystal clan. He decided to join the army of the houses and protect the land from the evil of the Devout. Of course, he was looking for glory so he would be honored in his own house.
Drzídak was assigned to the axmen, skipping the commonerís militia and the spear men units. The axmen of his house are renowned for their prowess in battle and usually were drawn from the best of the ranks of the spearmen and militia. The axmen are known as the headhunters; in fact have their training hall built from the skulls of slain foes. His House of DíZdak is known for their collection of heads of slain foes.
The young stable hand was sent to the wastelands for falling in love with someone above his station. He often thought of Sieto and about her betrothal to that rake. It just made him burn with hatred, how her father was forcing her into a marriage she does not want, only for political gain. Again, his blood boils through his veins. The stable hand did not know that Seito and his one night of passion had led to a child.
He was also the product of a political marriage, although being of common blood the lords made his parents marry in a village "exchange." His father was a weapon smith while his mother was a maidservant. They raised him well and gave him what education their limited funds would buy. He learned to read and write; he also learned the smiting works of his father.
Unfortunately, during a raid from the obsidian clan his father was slain in the defense of the village. This put hardships upon the family and the lad was sent to the Lordís manor house for work as a stable hand and smith. While working the stables he and began a friendship with Sieto that begun with a few riding lessons from he to her as young teenagers. As their friendship blossomed into love - her father was busy maneuvering to ally himself with another lotus house by arraigning a marriage between Seito and the young rake of the other house.
Seito and he often talked of running away, it was one of these nights when the moons were crescent that they found themselves in each otherís arms, and they made plans that night to steal away to the farther reaches of the Houses. Events changed their plans!
That next morning the Lord sent the militia to draft the young elf into the ranks and was he sent to the nether reaches of the territories, to guard against the Devout the followers of the five false prophets. They never saw each other after that night.
He often thought of his love being married to another, again and again his blood bakes with hatred. He has not heard that young Seito is now dead
Drzídakís first days in the military were filled with misery. He quickly was given all the jobs nobody else liked to do, he cleaned the other soldierís armor, he did kitchen duty and latrine cleaning- more than his share. The warriors and other trainees teased him without mercy. All this he endured he was used to this after years of torment from his cousins and their friends.
As the weeks melted into months Drzídak proved through his long silent suffering that he could handle all that was placed upon him. He gained the respect of the other recruits.
The first mission the new axe warrior was sent out on was a mission to guard a shipment of lotus flowers through the passes, which have always been known for banditry. While traveling through the passes some bandits appeared on the ridges of the hills and shadowed them for a couple of miles. The leader of the guards gave each soldier a bit of lotus flower for strength; however, in Drzídak it swelled into a power that was barely contained within. He discovered a surge of power that his eyes were blurring trying to maintain the ranks waiting for the order to attack.
The drivers laggard the wagons and gathered in the center of the wagons while the warriors made a half crescent perimeter on of the circled wagons. The bandits maneuvered forward towards the out numbered guards. Then only a few yards away the bandits made a mad rush towards the awaiting axmen. Like a well-oiled machine the axmen moved slightly forward anticipating the order to charge. The order never came as an arrow had pierced the leaderís larynx and he lay on the ground dead! No longer able to control the swelling energy within his bosom, Drzídak broke ranks and rushed head long into the charging hoard.
Hatred, hatred was the calling of the stable boy forced away from his love. He used this swelling of hate to survive the vigorous training and forced marches to the wastelands. He gained expertise in the use of the shield and pole arms of the militia. When he wasnít training or marching, he spent the time by himself Ė not in self-pity but in evil meditation letting the hate build his strength and his resolve to survive.
Upon entering the border of the waste lands, his company was immediately dispatched to the North to confront a devout war band that was terrorizing the peasantry in the northern villages.
The two war bands met on an open field that had just been harvested; the militia, in which the stable hand was in, was to flank the devout to the left. The spearmen and archers held the center and the dragon rider was to circle the right flank along with another group of militia.
The Devout moved across the muddy field to meet the elves, they moved forward in a circular formation falling right into the elfin plan. The archers let loose a hail of arrows into the ranks of the accursed killing the lot of that horrible unit. Suddenly from the necromancerís thoughts, a dozen skeletons burst from under the ground to the front of the devout army screening the other units from the elfin archers. While the militia rushed forward to flank the vile beast that was pink on itís under belly and a dark blue coloration over its back. The creature has six legs and a powerful tail, which swung back and forth in anger. On its black colored head rose a huge horn over the creatureís snout. Its mouth was large enough to bite a man in two with its razor-sharp teeth.
Flying monsters that were the size of a large goat, with large leathery wings that spanned six feet and the head of a grotesque human armed with spears in their arms flew toward the spearmen and the dragon knight lowered his lance for a charge. Meanwhile the devout had sent their swordsmen to meet the militia on both sides. The evil necromancer moved his hands wildly then gave forth a great curse, he placed his hand to his temple and the skeletons lumbered forward toward the archers. The archers readied another volley into the skeletons but proved to be ineffectual against the skeletal masses.
The militia on the right flank rushed the swordsmen engaging them before the swordsmen were ready felling three of them and forcing the others to give ground. A great beast slithered forward from the side of the necromancer dragging his lower half as it appeared as he was cut in half. Its intestines oozed and festered as they slid upon the ground leaving a slimy trail in its wake. The Tormented as the beast is called, reached the militia causing great fear in them as it crushed two of their squad with ease. The Knight atop his dragon reset after his charge at the bat creatures and rushed forward at the Tormented beast striking it hard in the side Ė it let out a hideous scream of pain and hatred.
Meanwhile the stable handís militia squad was set upon by the great swordsmen of the devout and they tore path of death through militia like a scythe through a wheat field. All that remained of the war band was the poor stable hand that had been sent to the north to die at the hands of the devout by the Lord of the House of DíZdak for loving the lordís second daughter. It seemed as if the lordís plan was to be come true.
Seeing how easily the two-handed swordsmen dispatched his comrades, the stable hand fled that horrific scene. The stable boy ran with all his speed away from the battle in an attempt to circle around to where the spearmen stood firm against the demon wings Ė or so he told himself.
The demon wings swept in upon the steadfast spearmen of the crystal elves, the elves set their spears to accept the charge. The demon wings dove in hoping to crush the spearmen as they had just don to the militia unit they leveled their lances. The demonís first rank was impaled upon the elfinís spears slaying half the demons on the demonís initial lunge. The elves only suffered a single causality. By this time the archers were maneuvering from the protection of the spear men to have a better shot at the necromancer as the skeletons were not affected by the arrows.
As the stable hand ran from the field, the Knight struck the great beast with his sword, as his lance was still buried deep in the monsterís side. His mount also took a big bite out of the monster. But still it stood and with a mighty head butt the knight and his mount were sent through the air only to land with a sickening crunch and both were still. What remained of the militia ran from the field throwing their weapons and helmets aside, in an effort to lighten their load and escape the carnage.
The necromancer laughed maniacally. He urged the skeletons forward with spells; beside him grew a great skeleton warrior that seemed to float on the air.
The archers let loose a vicious volley into the great Tormented monster that had just slain the knight. As the second volley from the archers landed home on the beat it fell over as if it had just fallen asleep- with a dozen arrows in the side of its head for a pillow.
The archers thought they were out of range from the skeletons slow walk, but due to the black arts they seemed to leap through the air. They set upon the archers with horror as the archers fell to the mass of undead.
As the Great swordsmen moved forward to reinforce the demon wings the horns sounded for the retreat of the surviving elves. They quickly disengaged and to their surprise they were not chased down from their rout, for some unexplained reason the necromancer let them flee. Pity the poor farmers whose fields were lost that day.
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