I was there when my people fell. Five years ago.
For a long two-thousand years, we had ruled Kinrick and Caledonia under the good faith of the faery. After the first millennium, humans had arrived on our borders. They made for such effective slaves; they were numerous, short-lived, had a primitive language, and they multiplied rapidly compared to us: There were always more to work with should one of them die.
Then, after nine-hundred years, they finally struck a successful rebellion. They were led by the human Artair. First he led a revolt in Anderitum. The loss of that small city was ignored by the king at the expense of his empire. He had sent soldiers to guard the surrounding area, but only light numbers were present. I and my brother were two of those soldiers. We decided to run reconnaissance in Anderitum to see what was happening.
There, we saw innocent people being butchered by the humans. Suffering hardships under the savages. Those that were spared 一 the women 一 were raped, in an effort to breed out the remaining population. We were there to bear witness as a child’s father was decapitated before his eyes, and his skull was removed to be sued as a drinking vessel.
We were mortified by this, and when we returned to our watchtower, we sent demands to retake the city while we could. Our demands were ignored.
A year later, they attacked the city we were stationed near, apparently with aid from a free human tribe to the south 一 or what we thought was a tribe. We were to evacuate the city, while us soldiers were to stand our ground and fight to our last breath. I was able to escape the carnage, though I had lost my eye, and my brother.
I petitioned that our king take the threat seriously, and yet he remained wilfully ignorant. Instead, he just sent his dreadful cousin to act as an envoy. I was one of the soldiers assigned to guard him. Then it was one ambush and we were overtaken. They fed the prince to their hounds, and I and four other soldiers were able tell about it.
Of course, it was only after the king’s cousin had died that he decided to take it seriously. Not when I and my brother had witnessed atrocities, not when I and over a hundred refugees aggrieved, but when a corrupt noble who only had decent ties with the king had died did he think to lift a finger.
In any case, we entered a war with the humans, who were pressed onwards through some invisible force. This force was making them fight harder. Somehow, they summoned forth unholy beasts.
Every settlement within a league of the humans was evacuated northward. That was one of the many shortsighted mistakes our king had made, as our people were being forced to amass into an even smaller and smaller area upwards towards the tip of the peninsula; a terrible mistake, as proven later in the war.
After seventy years, what I and my brother saw in Anderitum was happening all over Caledonia, and the amount of area we still controlled in Kinrick was rapidly decreasing. We realized that they weren’t stopping when they had freed all humans under our ownership. They weren’t going to stop until we were wiped out. We then realized that this was a war of extinction.
Our warriors, tactics, and technology were dramatically superior, but it would ultimately be the very factours that made the humans such inexpensive slaves, and therefore so common, that would win them battle after battle. There were simply too many humans for even the finest of our armies to fend off. The humans were short-lived anyway: this drove them to a need to achieve as much as they could in less time than our patience, a consequence of our longevity, simply couldn’t allow. None of this was helped by the fact that some of the humans were beginning to have some of our blood in them, as they weren’t just fighting us off the brink of extinction: they were breeding us away, too.
They were also learning from, and adapting to our tactics far more rapidly than what was anticipated. They were reverse-engineering our technology, and using ancient, holy relics against us, even, stripped from our churches. This drove many within our numbers to believe that the gods had abandoned us.
Yet even so, our king refused to adapt. He was decadent and corrupt, even as the death of our species, and all of civilization as we knew it, was at the doorstep. We were then planning a coup d’etat. We needed someone who was competent to be in control of the reins.
Our coup was successful, and our fair lady, Athellia, was left to rule until the war was over. That, however, would end dreadfully.
Ten years later, our capital fell, and I was among the legion of six-thousand soldiers that day that saw the head of our corrupt and decadent king held high in the hand of the human Artair, proclaimed king, with our king’s blood splattered and sprayed across the human’s armour and roaring face.
For the following decade, we were driven further north, upwards until we were at the final battle, at the turn of the millennium.
Athellia’s Last Stand, it’s called by humans, alternatively the Battle of Titanic Castle. There were five-hundred soldiers, counting myself, and one-thousand refugees. Us against the innumerable human barbarians. High risk, low odds. We knew that this would be the life or death battle of our kind.
The castle was well-designed, though, and our soldiers had all had great training, and this time, we made certain not to underestimate the humans. We made the prediction that the siege would last for at least four seasons 一 more than enough time to develop a gate into another world and escape, which would take us only a season to build… Now allow me to tell you how we overestimated our odds, and fell in only a quarter of a season.
We were at the top of a tall hill, surrounded by two rivers except the north-end, which was over the sea, enabling us to fish, and thus never run out of food. The humans knew this, and wanted to end it quickly. They knew that a war of attrition would end in failure, so they began fishing in the waters, and the humans on those fishing boats would shoot any of us who went out to fish.
In addition to starving us out, the humans were draining the rivers, and were filling them in. Then they started digging under the hill, in hopes of resurfacing in the bailey behind the walls. They had shields, archers, and crossbowmen defending the tunnelers, and shooting the defenses.
Not to mention that, as we were occupying ourselves with having to fight off diggers, ships of archers, and attackers at the gatehouses, with us losing a gatehouse every five days, they were also placing stress upon the postern every minute.
Just three-hundred soldiers and two-hundred refugees were killed by the ships, but then a thousand more soldiers were killed defending the main battlements. We began drawing upon the refugees to defend, and thus the casualties began to leak into the refugees as well. I myself would have lost my other eye had it not been for the young carpenter who leapt in front of an arrow for me. He died in my arms.
Then the humans were launching the heads of the dead over our walls, trying to not only break our wills, but also to attack our immune systems. Because of that, as much as we tried to practice hygiene and tried throwing the heads back over the walls or burning them, since most of those who were left were the refugees, only five-hundred of the soldiers were taken by disease, but six-hundred refugees died, at an ever-increasing rate.
Then the postern garrison was defeated by human archers, and although we were defending the door with as much might as we could spare, it was a great challenge.
We were down to one-hundred refugees and three-hundred soldiers when sanity started to run low. The humans were far better warriors than we initially believed 一 not for individual combatants, but for how they waged war. They were deceptive and brutal; a devious lot, which made them tricky to fight. We were becoming paranoid, and fearful of if when the humans might break in.
We were only twenty soldiers and fifty refugees when we were forced to barricade ourselves in the keep. And it was then, when we were brought to the jaws of extinction, that Athellia gave me and two other soldiers the duty of defending the refugees as we escaped the castle.
I remember her words to me in her heavenly voice. “, our defense has come to its unfortunate end. We cannot expect our people to survive this. We need to send them away, while we make our last stand.”
She told us to exit through the postern: the number of humans harassing it had been greatly decreased after the tunnelers had dug into the bailey and forcefully removed the defenders of the final gatehouse. Now only ten humans were at the postern. I know because that’s how many I killed.
I had a dagger in my shoulder, and was greatly exhausted when the ten were dead. We fled into the woods, trying not to draw any attention to ourselves. It was then that I heard the door into the final room broken open, the blasts of magic, and the screams of death coming from the keep.
We fled south, far beyond Kinrick and Caledonia, only to find ourselves in Allemagne. The hilly region, with many coniferous forests and rivers running through it. It was then that we were caught by the previously mentioned free humans to the south.
They weren’t a tribe at all, like we thought, but were a full-blown kingdom, with their own state religion and a more developed language. These humans called their kingdom “Teuton”. They killed the other two soldiers, and who-knows how many other refugees. I don’t know, for I had been separated from them after an annoyed troll, presumably awakened by the screaming, came down and slaughtered the soldiers and, I’d assume, the refugees as well.
After that, I don’t know what has become of the others. I find it safest to assume that they’re all dead.
And there you have the end of the greatest empire the world had ever seen. Once a glimmering pillar of civilization and culture, now a series of ruins, and vilified figures.
That was five years ago, now. Now, I’ve had recent word from a Zharkhonian accomplice about one such gate to that “other world”, somewhere deep in the deserts to the distant south. I am headed there now. I must cut through Makdasti, and travel into the arid lands of the sands, constantly radiating the dark energies known as jondee, and where, as we have had evidence of, there is quite possibly a whole nother civilization, terrifying to behold.
Let me know if there is anything wrong with this.
I'm Dead Knight and here, I make memes and post my short stories.
If you have no issue with dark fantasy, then these stories should be good.
If you're fascinated by historical weapons and armour like I am, then we'll have quite a bit of enjoyment.
Currently reading Norse Mythology, as retold by Neil Gaiman.
My favourite music genre, generally, is Metal. I also listen to rock, classical, atmospheric (for when I'm writing), and traditional folk.
In games, I love RPGs. My first RPG was Unhallowed: Metropolis, and now I play games like D&D and Pathfinder, and have been meaning to play Savage Worlds, the 40k RPGs by Fantasy Flight Games, and the Star Wars RPG by Fantasy Flight Games.
As for video games, again, RPGs tend to be my favourite. I especially love games like Dark Souls and Elder Scrolls which have rich lore. But I'll also play games like FPS's and RTS's.
Recently picked up Starcraft II. I'm not expecting an awful lot in terms of lore. Still, as much as people like me love to chew on lore, it's not what's important to a good game.
Although nobody's questioned it yet, I feel like it would be confusing to some as to why I'm from the US and yet I use British spelling (i.e. using U in certain words). It just feels more natural to me. I don't know why. Maybe because I watch a lot of videos from people from Europe, Canada, and Australia (Possible), and their spelling just feels natural to me at this point.