New Beginings.. An excerpt from Steel Jaw, Book II of the Eun Trilogy

PROLOGUE

The High King, Phael Ameth Frey, stood as silent as the runic stones that made the walls and floors in the chamber looming in the pre dawn darkness around him. He could hear the sounds of the forest waking beyond the high arched windows that circled the Hall of the council.

He had spent so many dawns of his days as High King to the Elves, and even in the days before being crowned, doing as he did now, alone in reflection in the waning minutes of the night just before the days first light.

As he reflected on the measure of those daybreaks, which now numbered in the thousands as High King, he could not help but remember that the counting of them had come all too soon. He had been young by elven standards when he ascended to the throne and what should have been a son grieving a father lost instead became the ruler of the elven kingdoms.

King Phael sighed at the memory of how unready he was for the title that had become his. It wasn’t just the lack of experience and the wisdom that it rewarded that had been so evident, but the fact that he had succeeded the greatest ruler his people had ever known.

His father, Hahmael Ameth-Di’ah, a name now of legend to not just elves, but to man, dwarf, centaurs, even ogres and orckind, for he had been a noble and brave champion in the days of the coming of Avthroz, the Lord of Demons.

It had been he that was the voice of reason. It was his courage and wisdom that helped bring the people of Eun together in those dark times. He had built friendships with the leaders of men, and dwarves, that had led to true prosperity for all.

Eventually, the powers of deceit that the Demon lord, Avthroz, wielded and the failings of those leaders whom he had allied to the elves had led to his fall on the slopes of Mount Lhinu. With it came a lingering resentment and distrust between King Hahmael’s people and those of the realms of man and dwarf.

In his own heart King Phael battled the bitterness he felt towards dwarves most of all, for in the battle that had claimed his father, King Hahmael, it had been the dwarven guard, a company of Steel Jaws, who were among the most capable warriors of any race living both then and now, that had abandoned his father, Hahmael, to the minions of Avthroz, that slew him.

He would need to revisit that conflict with his feelings to the dwarves this day, for Phael and the council of elders would receive a dwarf to this chamber, A Steel Jaw in fact, and all the more troubling was the fact it would be one of the very same dwarves that had been there with The high king’s father in the battle of mount Lhinu.

A Dwarf, that had been his father’s closest friend, Broden Beldas.

King Phael was pulled from his thoughts by a light in the chamber, not from the dawn just ready to break, but from a door behind him. he turned to see the oldest of the council and among the oldest elves living, the Arch Magus, Endrasque Noer.

Accompanying the mage was the king’s nephew, Serasthial Ameth- Noer, the mage’s apprentice and husband to the Arch Magus’s daughter. It was the king’s nephew that broke the silence.

” My apologies King Phael, for our early arrival, but my My lord has bid me to ask for an audience with you sire prior to the joining of the counsel this day.”

King Phael took a moment to separate the thoughts of his own worried reflections and focus on the here and now, and then spoke.

“Your lord, Noer knows he ever has my ear, Serasthial , sister son, and his sense of formality has taught me as many lessons in being king that the wisdom of his words have.”

The King smiled as he stated this, for it was the way of elves to give dignity to even the most simple of occasions, and none better personified the way of his people than the Arch Magus.

Endrasque Noer bowed formally before responding. To this King Phael could not help but smile. That smile quickly disappeared and was replaced by a graven and worried look.

” I bring to you news of a war that will soon be upon us sire, not just by the minions of Avthroz, but by the armies of the Witch King, Jenter Spade. They march from the mountains near Moorith Seda As I tell you. A host of ogres giants and orckind, along with members of his elite guard.”

The King paused but for a moment before he asked the first of countless questions that now formed in his thoughts.

” How did you come by this Knowledge, Noer.”

His tone was not of doubt so much as reaching for some desperate hope that it was not true.

The Arch Mage responded in such a way that removed any chance of it being anything but truth.

“I was bidden this by Solauramaus, Dragon of Skylake.”

As Noer finished speaking, King Phael watched as other members and their attendants began entering the chamber, and he knew that matters which were to be discussed had rapidly changed.

King Phael took a look at the morning light from the windows where he had been watching the coming dawn he had now missed, and wondered how many more might rise on the kingdoms of elves, and feared that number might be reached, and very soon.

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