Clang, clang, the two small cylinders that hung form Terik’s neck began to rattle. The cylinders had become more active as Castle Ferin came closer to falling. Clang, clang, the contents strained for freedom. Terik gently wrapped his fingers around the cylinders as if to soothe them, communing with them, soon we shall all be free.
The rain had been falling hard and relentless for several days, turning the ground to a deep ocean of mud. The moat around Castle Ferin had overrun and now beached itself on dirty shores. The luckiest of the soft skinned humans were sheltered form the storm under heavy canvas tents, but most had no such sanctuary. The very soldiers that would be sent over the walls, the men that would face charging destriers and angry lances, the men that were meant to be the hammer of the human forces sat pruning in the rain, their resolve softening like bread in stew.
But not Terik and his fellow Mahnikee. The platelets that grew hard over their skin in adolescence, the very same bark like armor that had earned them the hated name of Wood Elves, protected the Mahnikee from rain and blade alike. Wood Elf. A derogatory term shackled to the Mahnikee by the supposed High Elves to frighten children. “Behave or the Wood Elves will steal you away and eat your heart”. Clang, clang, clang, the cylinders stirred. Anything that was wanton or craven or other than good and pure had been ascribed to the Wood Elves, and all the lies made up and whispered through thin lips of the soft, pasty skinned High Elves. High Elves indeed. Clang, clang, clang. Soon the truth would be laid bare and the Mahnikee would take their place at the Great Table. But to bring low the High Elves Castle Ferin must fall.
A quarter league off the lords of House Martin were rutting about in the Campaign Tent planning the final siege of Castle Ferin. A sigil had never been more truly matched to a house than the pig of House Martin. Most Martins were squat, round of belly and short of leg, and just in case the imagery were not blunt enough the gods had seen fit to give them flat, turned up noses. Clang, clang, clang, clang, the cylinders flew into a rage. Jerin must be near. Terik turned to find his son’s head bowed in deference.
Jerin addressed his lord father, “It is just as the soothsayer said it would be. We must act quickly, my lord.”
Terik turned back to look on the pigs of House Martin and said, “Tonight we wrap our handsaround the throat of the High Elves and reclaim our birthright”.