The Army of Rock
The Lorandi find themselves face to face with the Ancient Rock Watchers. Will they be able to negotiate peace with these native Aarandorians? Or will it come to war?
Rumors of rumbling to the west of Torendaar grow more and more real as time goes on. The Lorandi have encountered the Watchers of Rock and are forming up their defenses and diplomatic efforts. They have been communicative and open about the foe they face. And with the spirit of cross-kinship collaboration, High Priest Rawlin Rylanth has taken it upon himself to reach out to the other kinships and gather as much information and support from them as he can. His efforts have been nothing short of successful.
Lyandra Filinnar, Daughter of the Warlord, has come forward to help drum up resources for the Lorandi in hope that it will help them better prepare for their encounter. In doing so, she has successfully opened a door of diplomacy between the Desert Elves and their Golden counterparts in Torendaar. Lady Heir Talrin Keir has also offered her advice to the Lorandi. Though the Watchers of Ice seem very different from the Watchers of Rock, her advice is taken with appreciation and respect for the knowledge she gained in the fight the Faenor faced.
Kinlessa Darinel Alcaldia went above and beyond when reaching out to the Lorandi. As the Aeran Kinship presently faces a similar foe, she took the time to help trade information as well as donate supporting resources to the Lorandi's efforts. No doubt her political outreach has gone a long way in strengthening the bond between Aeran and Lorandi.
Sister Celenia Larnorin has dedicated the Thelos Healers Guild in aide to the Lorandi during their time of conflict. She has personally assured the Lorandi that a triage center will be set up at the portal that leads to Torendaar for them to ferry through wounded and dying soldiers, should their encounter come to blows. Thelos Healers Guild is ready to help!
And with such detailed preparations and information shared across kinship lines, no doubt the Lorandi have gained an advantage in the negotiations to come.
With determination in their hearts and substantial financial backing and bargaining chips, the group of Lorandi Diplomats sets out to meet the Rock Watchers at the edge of their home near the Forest of Armanor. Their goals are clear: Negotiate a peaceful solution to this conflict, seek understanding on what the Watcher's purpose is, make their case for why they wish to make this their home and negotiate a treaty that ends with the Watchers of Stone as vassals of the Lorandi Monarchy under King Arminel. All diplomats have learned the language these watchers seem to speak, Celestrial. And before their departure, High Priest Rawlin has sat and prayed with them and for them, calling on the Gods to watch over the diplomats and guide their words and actions in these negotiations. Needless to say, the group feels rather certain that their approach is both reasonable and just and that their prayers are being heard.
On the journey to meet with the watchers, King Arminel makes his stance clear. There will be no Oaths sworn to the Rock Watchers by any Lorandi Kin. Of course he intends to be personable and charming as he always is, but the directive from the King is quite clear. Oaths will not be on the negotiation table. The rest seem to agree with their King and stride forth on their journey.
Eventually they arrive at the edge of the Watcher territory. It looks like a vast forest of jagged rocks, both beautiful and wild. Inhospitable, and intriguing. And, as expected, their arrival summons up a great rumbling from the earth as the watcher they had met previously arrives with his elemental companions beside him. For a being twice as tall as an elf and skin like marble, the watcher looks rather dignified.
"So, you seek council with the General. I warn you now, he is not used to such guests. Tread lightly."
And with that, the Watcher Sage, Summoner of Earth, leads the diplomatic envoy deeper into the forest of rock.
The group finds themselves in an open rock field, with a mighty circle of very purposefully placed stones. They seem natural and somehow completely designed and planned at the same time. In the center of the great stone circle is a throne of rock. The figure that sits on the throne is a huge, rounded figure, made of what looks like boulders and marble and living moss in the vague shape of a very large man.
The moment the Sage walks in, the circle itself it begins to rumble and the very dignified marble watcher loses his footing and falls to one knee. Which causes the large rounded General to burst out in a rumble of laughter. Annoyed the Sage presents the Lorandi guests. "They have come a very long way to seek your council." His voice is annoyed, no doubt having been subject to thousands of years of such rediculious antics.
"Please. Come and join me little elves. Tell me your stories." The General's voice is booming but jovial, clearly amused by them.
Lady Caelia Rylanth is the first to come forward with a gift in hand. She, very graciously and gently, steps forward with several potted plants in offering to the General. Large beautiful flowers with lush greenery, clearly she has a talent for horticulture. The General laughs a deep booming laugh when he sees them, having never considered capturing plants like that before! But the gift is well received.
Lord Telassin Nalduine takes a pragmatic and practical approach. He spends a great deal of time discussing structure with the Watchers, and how the rocks are used, both naturally and by them, to form barricades and and structures, strong walls and roadways. The General and Sage alike seem to enjoy this mutual love of a strong foundation and it sets the negotiations off on a good foot.
Lady Priestess Seren Rylanth takes her turn to talk about the journey they took to arrive in Aarandor and their intent in these lands, to build a home and regain strength. The Sage sort of rolls his amber colored eyes at the tale, mumbling about how none of that is -their- problem at all, but the General seems much more open and sympathetic to their plight. "You have suffered much in your journey, little elves. Perhaps the need for suffering is at an end." He says with a bassy rumble.
Lord Zedmir Nalduine steps in again after a few have spoken their points and really lays out the whole plan for the watchers in this negotiation. King Arminel stands at his side as Zedmir explains their proposition. A peaceful agreement wherein the Watchers of Rock serve as Vassals to the one true King Arminel. As Vassals of the King they will be invited to all that Lorandi Kinship has to offer. Their protection, their aide when asked for. So long as the Watchers give service to the Lorandi Crown. Zedmir speaks wonderful Celestial and outlines the terms gracefully and with impeccable tact.
At this proposition, the old General laughs again. "Little elves, your shiny crowns mean nothing to us. Our purpose is divine. Your King, charming though he may be, is not above the Gods or their reason for appointing us this domain to watch over." He makes a gesture for them to try again at their terms.
Lady Priestess Kaelyn Serannar steps in at that moment, bold but respectful. She gives another more theological approach to the proposition of the Army of Rock becoming a Vassal of the Lorandi Crown. They clearly serve a divine purpose, and so do the Lorandi. It is the good and right thing to do. Sparing precious lives, working in harmony. This is, of course, the best option for everyone involved.
A little taken aback by the bold nature of theses elves, the Rock General finally stands from his throne to speak most directly at Arminel, a glance given to Zedmir as well as he recognizes the elf's role in bringing the negotiations together.
"I can not give up my hold on the Realm of Rock and give its dominion to an elf. It would be against my purpose." The General says, sweeping a hand over where one imagine a heart might be, signifying the depth and truth of his words. "We seem to be at an impasse. You will not give an oath to us, and we will not give one to you. If you can take these lands from us, then we do not deserve to be guarding them." Just then the ground beneath the envoy begins to shake and a formation of rock juts up from the ground into the shape of a mighty club. "Run back and tell your warriors, we shall be settling this the old way."
Back in Torendaar...
The fruits of so many labors have started to take shape around the walled city. Before King Arminel left for negotiations he made his directive clear to General Helene. If peace should fail, destroy the Rock Army. To back up his words, he has issued an immense amount of resources and supplies to the army to see that his directive is followed. Swords have been sharpened, crystals polished, and armor secured.
Marquis Valatir Palinnar has been using his oratory skills to inspire his countrymen. Speeches given on the importance of a unified front, rallys to excite and inspire the soldiers to do their part for the Lorandi and for Torendaar. The whole city feels a buzz with patriotism and pride in who they are and what they stand for, giving them that extra bit of inspiration to fight on, should they need to.
Lord Talyn Palinnar has been working alongside Marquis Hatharal Palinnar to ready the troops of their respective command. The infantry have been planning and preparing for weeks to fight against oncoming boulders, remaining agile and effective in their strategies. The Cavalry has been training to work on unsteady ground and prepare for the strange foe that waits for them to the west. Both divisions of the military are well prepared to fight by the end of it.
Lord Telassin Nalduine had done his part long before the army ever made threat of arrival at their gates. Supplies have been managed and moved in to their precise locations. The civilians and non combatants have been given shelter. All logistical considerations have been taken into account leaving the city well stocked should they come under siege.
The City itself, the actual stone structures of the castle and the walls that surround the city, have taken some extra special care by a group of abjurationists. Lady Nesara Palinnar has done her part to reach out to the Faenor and understand their foe a little better. Taking that knowledge she has helped others develop some defenses for the structures themselves from an impending seismic attack.
The newly named Lord Freyvidr Nalduine wasted no time at all stepping in to aide his new family and Kinship. With Marquis Galeren Nalduine and Lady Oriana Tenlindil helping Freyvidr the city's abjuration practitioners have developed a network of casters to help keep the structures strong and protected during combat. Their plans are in place and all there is left to do is wait for word from the diplomatic team.
The sun sets on another day waiting for the Lorandi diplomats to return. Those in Torendaar have received no word from them one way or another. Soon the city's touches and braziers are lit, setting the city aglow for the evening. Not long after, the earth begins to shake and a rumble can be heard coming from the west. Their answer comes from the distance. There will be war after all.
General Helene Tenlindil climbs her way up to the tallest tower when she hears the rumbling in the distance. Deep down she knows the fight is coming, but it's not until she has visual confirmation that she makes the call. Clouds part allowing the light of the moon to shine down on the storm of dust and rock barreling towards the city. "To your stations!" She shouts, and at her word, ripples of commands sound like an echo around the city. She readies her weapon and takes her place with the commanders to fight alongside the Lorandi warriors and mages.
It doesn't take long for the clash to begin! Duke Rollant Tenlindil is right in the mix along with his soldiers. He inspires them to keep fighting as bolder after bolder assault the city. Marchioness Yvette Monstald, Grandmaster of the Solaris Order keeps her elite and powerful warriors close, heading in for the center of the battle. Brave and tenacious, the push back against the enemy with all their might, keeping them at bay.
Lady Saga Brixtien had taken the cavalry along the sides of the city, waiting to flank when the time is right. And when it is, she calls the charge and the stampede of horse hooves rivals the rumbling of the rock elementals. Hammers swing down at them, smashing them into pieces as the agile riders galop by, Saga herself spots the Watcher Sage conjuring up more elementals to assault the city with. She manages to interrupt him long enough for her riders to take out a good portion of the onslaught.
When the enemy is in range, Lord Gureylain Rylanth calls the Archers to their positions. He holds his hand up, holding them in position until the exact moment. "Loose!" He yells and hundreds of arrows come down at the elementals below. Their tips have been blunted, causing the rocks to burst apart on impact.
In the midst of battle, as only the Lorandi would do, an incredible song broke out from the towers. Lady Nyssa Serannar had composed a battle song that carried across the field, inspiring those who heard it to continue fighting on. One such fighter, Lady Ember Palinnar, was so moved by the music that her energetic flame slinging took on a new life. Rocks burst in to dust as she pushed back against the oncoming army.
At the edge of the city, Lord Haedirn Rylanth had gathered a few other scouts and stealthy fighters to set up an ambush. A group of elementals thought they were going to flank around the north side of Torendaar but we met face to face with the group of roguish survivalists. Haedirn used every trick in his book to stop the flanking maneuver and crushed the enemies that fell into his trap.
Though there were many heroes in the battle, each elf fighting passionately for their Kinship, it is no doubt that one stood out among the rest. Prince Aurri Serannar had clearly practiced and honed his evocation skills to work with exacting force against the rock elementals. Aggressive but precise, he blasted back the whole frontline. So fearsome was his attack that the General called for a retreat.
The elementals all stopped and turned back towards their home, the Sage and General going with them. Cavalry chased and cleared out as many as they could, but soon enough the Army of Rock was gone. Miraculously, very little damage was done to the city itself due to the incredible preparation work and the tactical focus of the abjurationists. And though there were certainly injuries and scars to tell the tale of the battle, the death toll was zero.
When the King and his envoy of diplomats made it back to the city it was with the news that the Army of Rock had decided to barricade itself off in its realm rather than fight or continue negotiations. Mounds of earth and rock block the path that lead into the forest of Armandor and seem to stretch for days around the perimeter of their territory. There will be no settling that portion of the land and and future negotiations with the Watchers will need to be done more scrupulously. All in all, Torendaar was kept safe and the Lorandi are left assured that the Watchers of Rock would not be bothering them or Torendaar any time soon.