[RP Episode] The Northern Reach


Rhae welcomed them both back, as before, and moved to join them. She sat beside the fire, opposite Macil, when Que-Yu stepped up behind her and placed his right hand on her left shoulder, eyeing Malvor, and prompting her to turn her head to look up at him. ‘‘I don’t like this one’s twitchy sword arm, my lady.’’ he would declare loudly, holding the hilt of his own Katana with his other hand.


Macil cocked an eyebrow at the bodyguard. The Niirai’s language was unclear, but his tone and manner was unmistakable. ”If I wanted to kill you, warrior, I would not do it here. Nor would I have granted you food, shelter, and clothes. And I would do it myself.”


Que-Yu frowned at the King for a moment as they made tense eye contact, and then backed off without a word.
’‘My apologies, he isn’t being very… trusting, at the moment.’’ Rhae apologised on Que’s behalf.


”A wise decision in these lands.” said Macil approvingly. His eyebrow returned to its default state. ”Now, what do you wish to learn?” he continued, looking at Rhae.


‘‘When i was with Verel, he explained to me that this land has no ruler whom all would answer to, yet… you are considered the High King?’’ she asked, beginning her streak of questions.


”Ah, I see.” Macil crosses one leg over the other. ”That is a long tale, the roots of which are hidden in the beginnings of my people. Here is my rendition, as best as I can tell:”

”Several millennia ago, when the Helcelen were a loose organization of clans and tribes fighting each other on a scale far worse than today, there were also three great clans, just as there are now. This was before even the founding of Helcar, this city."

“The situation became so dire that finally, the clan-chief of the Angoni, called Fara, held a great council. After many days of wrangling, a Clan-Lord, a Tera-nor, was appointed as High King of all the clans. His name was Torna Sornion, and he decreed the building of a city that could house all of the Helcelen at one time in case of assault. That fortress became Helcar.”

“While Torna perished in war, his clan, the Sorni, took up the office of filling the Frozen Throne. But as time went on, gradually the High King mediated less and less, and became a weak and ineffectual ruler, who could not keep the power-hungry clans in check. So after several hundred years of peace, clans broke off and left, seeking their own lands, and war once again began to rule the Iron Mountains. The Narmani were the last to leave, and in the process attempted to take the throne for themselves. There has been bad blood between our clans ever since, though that is not the direct cause of this current war.” Macil looked apologetic. "I am not fit to fashion my answer into an epic saga, but there is such a legend that my people tell. You may perhaps hear it, while you abide here. But as for my own power, I am only in direct command of the Sorni, though I am addressed as Tera-Macil by all elves, Sorni or not.”


‘‘It sounds like Helcar should have invested in expansion beyond its walls before its clans got restless.’’ Rhae pointed out, ‘‘That is how Xia united its people, through common interests, outside curiosities, peoples fears of the unknown, and foreign threats.’’, and after a short pause, she added, ‘‘And with outside help…’’


“What could have been, and what actually caused the clans to fracture, is a subject of debate among the few Helcelen interested in such matters, myself included. The story I have just told you is generally accepted to be a logical explanation for what happened. As it stands, all we truely know is that the Helcelen were united here at Helcar for a time, and now…are not.” Macil sighed, but then his gaze grew shrewd. “Is that an offer or a observation?” he asked, eyes narrowed.


‘‘I am in no position to offer you anything, your lordship.’’ Rhae answered, somewhat cautiously, ‘‘Only what i know.’’


“I see. You are correct in your ‘observation’ nonetheless.” replied Macil less inquisitively. “Except for one simple problem that is nevertheless quite damning, by Olosse’s Frigid Axe. We cannot leave the cold.”


‘‘Why not?’’ she asked.


“I don’t know. No one does. The only explanation we can provide is that after our long habitation in this climate we have grown accustomed to only this climate, and therefore cannot survive in warmer ones.” Macil looked frustrated. “Others believe that it is a curse laid on us by the god of Frost and Sea. If that’s true I wish he’d let me know how to lift the thing. It’s damned awkward not being able to live normally in the heat. It makes for very hurried military campaigns in the south.”


Rhae lifted her eyebrows, ‘‘You… have campaigns to the south?’’


“Myself personally, no. The Narmani have kept me far to occupied to wage wars beyond the mountains. However…” Macil paused, unsure as how to put it. What he was about to say would be completely strange to the Niirai. “The third of the three great clans is called the Angoni, the Dragon-Clan you could say. They have destroyed, not conquered, every smaller clan that dared to stand against them. And with Verel and I busy fighting one another, their chieftain, Belar Mighty-Fist, has no worthy opponent in his eyes. So he has taken to assaulting Midland castles and villages in the hopes of drawing them into open combat. Unfortunately for his dreams of glory, the Angoni are just like the rest of us, and cannot venture far south outside of the winter months unless attired in clothes not at all suited for battle. Therefore, Berel attacks the Midlanders in whatever manner he thinks will draw their knights into combat. My brother Magor spent sometime with Berel and his Angoni the last few years. It is why we both speak the Common Tongue, and my squire is beginning to learn.” Malvor smiled from his seat in the background.


Rhae scratched her head, ‘‘So… the Angoni attack this Midland place, because…’’ she left the sentence hanging.


“…boredom.” finished Macil.


Rhae then sat there, completely still, staring at Macil with a horrified face.


There was a brief pause. Macil had nothing to add to the topic, and he doubted Rhae would take kindly to descriptions of the other regions of Helegeron which made the brutal and fanatic militarism of the Angoni look like child’s play.


After a minute of awkward silence, Rhae spoke up, ‘‘Okay? Um…’’ she coughed, and changed the subject ‘‘Do you wish to know anything of me?’’


Seizing the opening with inward relief, Macil responded. ”What clan of the Niirai do you come from? Why were you chosen to find the Helcelen?” Despite his bearing, the King was rather uneducated on nations outside the Iron Mountains, though it was through no fault of his own. The few books he had managed to procure had been from the Midlands, stolen in raids, or discovered in the abandoned lower levels of Helcar, and few of either spoke on subjects concerning the workings of nations or the workings of a kingdom. His knowledge of the word ‘empire’ extended merely to the vague idea that it must be some sort of massive clan controlling other tribes, having no real experience to run off of.

And as for Rhae, as of yet she was a complete quandary. She was not a warrior, expressed horror at the common place doings of the Helcelen, and broke into tears at the mere possibility of her friends dying, in front of a potentially hostile chieftain not less. While it must be said that the Helcelen were not a fair standard, as rather than weeping most seized an axe and began wreaking havoc, Rhae was nevertheless unusual. And as the first foreign elf Macil had ever met, she was fascinatingly unusual.