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His hand reaching gently out, Kleptico felt to the burning ridges of the shaven branch. The life of the elder was a small growth in reality, once growing from the ancient tree. This broken stem being the only piece left beside the smoldering, towered trunk and all else set aflame was reduced to a somber ash.

The green, within a circling of still aching for the next year’s layer of wooden life, began to bend to the Krieg’s crunching, black fleshed hand. A propagation in this hulked, cloven stock which began shimmering, folding as the charred limb pressed inward to the elf’s inserting grasp. Two mahogany hands mending to find a connective flow, “where is it,” whispered Kleptico as he was unable to reach the dwindling giant’s life.

Lines uncountable, swirling about its infinite center, summers and winters, lives of years through a hue of a constantly dying world. This ancient tree was a creature as all befallen to its massive stump like a reminder of death for these dark elves. The Krieg, who stay the stains of time, did so ceaseless with all alight into the trees. A flower of immortal form through grim realities shined down. Lines dripping to fall a blooded sap, did this mark out of the many wounds for war. A burn without hope to hold against failure of regaining life or the lost we left behind. All of these things began to colour in the stretching similarities of this elder tree. The black elf whose brain twinged silently, without frustration as only an accepting numbness for what was and what had yet to be.

The old sway of felled trees, no longer only into the nothing of this flowered existence came to be like shelter to these elven children, taking from the unending storms. This only as a house sized stump, remained where the tree once so grand was now home to the many. Unmarked as no longer it dared to breach the sky.

A hole turning round, the sharp rusting tip of this priest’s blade as both sank likewise into one another. The green hazed wood kept Kleptico to this loss. He had lost his way under the great siscant tree and did not know the way without such abundance. This life and the death only mirrored his foretelling. The shaman had no purpose or even the will to begin to move the mountains of his kin. Shy lit eyes of a million clay fields, all bodies drying in dead littered waves. Wooden rotting corpses of the lifeless flowed into these grooves out turning in a cork of shredding wood.

The old priest’s view of such things as the future no longer progressed and he could only stop and begin again anew. What he feared would never complete its self and his vision seemed gone. Dissemination coming from within spread to the knowledge of his people.

Kleptico pushed away from the sitting on this whispered wood and stood in the fading views. His vision released as so did his hand to let go of the crude blade. This being the only sound as all collided to the wood striking back to refuse its fall. It flickered and bent like a flame sticking straight from this heartless moan.

Up and all into a falling, flickering of lost movement, reiterating thoughts, sounds and the priest swallowed to this thudding knife as his own heart kept to the silent backward movement. His mind did not turn off as the shaman reached to the present and his feet fell like a sword into the awaiting grounds below. They bent, bubbled, and shook like a wet dog extracting whatever the future’s littered sense held. The priest stood and turned back to see the tree snake upwards to where today had left it, safe from its fated tomorrow.

The sheer shock of the clean and unlittered greens, ever flowing began to sink into Kleptico like a sunken form of terror. A shipless sea where he stood upon the drying sands and no shores could ever trace the possibilities and the realization for his race.

Kleptico felt blinded with sight yet only one image stung clear enough to erase the memory that within all truth was still yet to happen. A face more alive than dead in this child that now stood before the old black elf. He felt stolen as this human, a little girl whose tiny white hand held up to grab a hold of the elder Krieg. He could not discern whether this was truly the present or further yet the past. The priest though knew well it was neither as the image of this child strung glistening of what were so few years to him and so many to her. She huddled down to crouch, a woman of nearly twenty years, maybe more the summer’s kindness and joy flowed from her confusing smile.

It was hard to handle this twin turning sight as a child she stood alone and waited for the old elf to speak. Kleptico was silenced as most he looked to her golden soiled locks, heavy hanging and caked with mud. She bled from a battle the girl would see as a woman. A precious age like the growing of her naturally stained red hairs followed inward and she stood tall only to sink back down, covering such blessings. The Krieg could only muse as he watched her huddle once again.

“I cannot begin to unravel such things,” Kleptico spoke and his words made a sudden tap to which all around began to spread like water rippling out upon the solidifying scenery, “Why should I bother to understand who or what you are or truly mean?”

Kleptico felt her growing aura of green grown moss that poured from her scratched, bare feet and it covered the future mounds of dead in the heightening hills. Far taller than the massive tree whose returned trunk turned gray and rotted to mulch. What little life its stubbornness withheld. He mused to look up from these natural horrors as a small moth fluttered over his sullen head. Its wings trailing the beauty of such pressing flight of white centered hue to a browning black outline as its form cut with grace.

“You are sent such signs only after the drowning thoughts and your sorrows he hides to fail and be gone,” the young, red haired woman spoke aloud as Kleptico watched the trees unwither and fade from under a pressing white billow of cloud in the moonlit sky.

The green hills, auburn from its yellow pitch and too many bloomed forms replaced the mountains like circles of moving life.

“We all lose in the end, you cannot fight what truth gives you, life and within the being returns you once more,” Lotus said smiling through the pain she held where the male elf could not, “but of what in gain did you before it found you above the lives you lead to the light and the ones you drop, unable to hold through this saturation of the dark.”

Kleptico softly let go of the child’s hand and her forms faded into the graying scenery.

Bodies to bone and dirt to cover everything as it left with the felled tree of an elder race. Beneath it all now, whenever was an endless hue of smog to fill the airs and the skies darkening. This left the warm sun to let out cries in the heat for the crackling storm’s lightning.

A male firefly, roaring in flamed trails of red laden bursts to blue, flew out under the moving storm and Kleptico stood in watch. He waited as it soared from sight and southward flew now through the vastly expanding lands.

Further still, the forest of black and green-bodied wood, standing for all these years which the twitching bug wafted and waded in upon this dying wind. His dim, inconspicuous pulse gleamed through the harmless, tiny sparks. They faded in and out in the pitch of the night.

A dull voice of survival that he put into the moaning southern trees as time neither counted nor felt land for the tiring distance. This movement below his precise path as the beetle fly finally landed only to climb up into the towering ferns. His wingless mate perched largely to hang in the gusting breeze like an unheard scream.

Her signals spanning in the infinite array as appendages and eyes rolled heaven sent. The male’s climbing mind growled in a lashing of shook wings. The flutter to his aid and hunger met this thought.

Lightning far north boomed as the rain pierced and set to fall upon a now myriad of glowered, roaring lights.

Only blurs between races and species of the outward singing flies that lowered the curtain of dark pressing cloud. Dancing, winged beetles below this fading star of light drained the night sky.

A wooden hiss within the tiny, folding of wings between the still lasting, late summer’s stubborn grass and autumn’s fading tinge; both to compare. This as well creased away like a chime of metallic shards that dug and burned away in the silence of the ground’s cold glare. Beneath the milky, iron legs that leapt to escape the freezing storm. A flapping of wings put upon to leave this silken, coming darkness.

Far away, the begging blue moon fell away in a sigh as this explosion of bursting cloud began to flood the thick moving swarms. Eggs and fallen rain began to drop and melt into the coming of days and the pupa formed to these more adult, dragonded flies. One from the other inside the passing giant of a mind, and this black God stood in each final forming hue. This living horizon began to fade as the mountains still standing like monolithic, white butterflies. They mocked the warring, natural obsessions that fell from tiny blue linings. This threat of winter and her peering snows perfused into a lessening, yellow-lit flame. The cloud’s parting and uniting body tore away this smothering ring from their bone-filled shores.

The swarm turned hard out of flight as its sleep held face, fast bent below the higher ground and the living, looming souls sailed in star dialed flash that brought this monstrous movement to a halt.

A single breath pulled harder back in as Kleptico stumbled and swooned to the rhythm’s delivering sight. Thoughts of giant dung beetles barreling forward as the creatures’ horrific, antennae like mandibles flung and pressed away a lightless orb. The secretion of warm, red liquid airs poured out fire over the twin stags’ giant backs. This horizon that bled and peaked upon the opening of day was such a wondrous sight.

His hand reaching down to wrench the air’s still frozen touch, Kleptico inhaled long to his crafted, wooden pipe. This instrument out held its burning, brown-blue weed. If anywhere did this dried herb of the far, southern snow ferns, grow in the Butterdown Mountains. The elven shaman sank inward as he blew away the burning odors and sound, ripping to crash to this crunched form. This new day tore away Kleptico’s drip led visions.

An ecstasy of black holes ranging upon the blinking sun and this yellowed pitch rose and rolled away to the ticking grasp of the scarab’s large, hind legs. Their peddling backward rift began to vanish back through the firmer reality as though the birthing sky fluttered to this moving strut. The beetle’s sharp call caught hold of the elf as the images passed.

The ground pulled up as the past, whose child and this young woman pressed into the sinking beauty. This warm and both cold sand like skin ripped to pull apart and tear under the moaning sky’s breached, blue dome. An extravagance in beautiful, burning canyons sank into sight. A flame that screamed to match the fury sinking horror and hands further then the time to push in hard.

A tear fell on the old Krieg’s hot cheek as he thought of all which was coming to pass and the sheer acceptance pulled him free from the child’s clutching within. The draining girl pulled them free from this blood-laden clothing under an orb held sun of tomorrow.

This son, vulnerable from distant kings across time’s politic and the broken lands to Kleptico looked down. This infant simply cried through its human, cracked grin mouth, unaware of the world it was now a part. A population of lost souls and acceptance and yet they want to stay. The priest held him high away from his dying mother as not to corrupt him and his innocent will to her pureness.

The old elf could not find his now wandering thought and the whole scene simply faltered. A call in this frozen, northern desert that was refused the blazing sun’s aid and fading the returned glare of the new morning’s frigid sands.

The sudden returned movement of the tiny scarab beetle on the ground then took the old elf in full to the present. Kleptico’s black feet felt this or his mind truly belonged here to match its aging body. No child or its human mother, beautiful or not, no one but this elf and the so seemingly empty desert were to the present. Kleptico wretched his cold hands once more, but warmth from holding the newborn remained as the bloodied babe burned inside his empty shaking and darkening palms. He could not reason any of this given sight, or its fading yet still remaining touch, or even when or how so troubling things would ever be.

The sky merely an echo as its blood-rimmed horizon tore wide and then tall with the returned, mocking sun. A flare stood high like the breech of the newborn’s hairless head. Both peering out of their mother’s womb and only this would survive to the end of such cruelty.

What war had come to this place, the largest settlement city of Halflings upon this twin of the northern being so far from Talimast? What would it mean if the dry winds became as nothing and these tiny creatures along the shores disappeared within the darkening hisses? Who would live between the uniting straits of emptied land to the Barbenden and the Kalelilfot would simply be as one unaffordable land. A clean fit of grass ridden land and what horror truly stuck to this very night to claim anything but acceptance for what was coming.

The greater reaches seemed already lost as further down the south reached to the high western slopes and the cobbled hills and its eastern rims folded away to the higher still land. The snow held steppes of the quiet Butterdowns ranged as they rolled over leaving this city and its robust little children of Halflings to fall beneath this crumbling. With arms out, they withheld against, or not it was all the same to the grinding of bone to bloodied dirt as if ants upon a great lilac mound. The Bao’d Kai was of no more as her waters ran red.

The Krieg who mostly comprised such brutal force were more than capable of claiming the great city of the hills. Even though they were only a nomadic eleven tribe of darkness that stained their skin, so from the cold reaches of the great sand dunes throughout the northern Boneshards desert.

This burning loss was not only the echo sent from its falling massive walls or its many dead Halflings. All was to this singular black army as even more to the news of such a defeat began to ring outward through the many-circled heights of these lands called Khendreen.

No one would listen through the frozen stretches as the cold sands fell, uncaring of each new day or to what bodies fell beyond its fruitless shores. The old land of the Boneshards was not one to care for anything, even within the shifting mounds that burned like this new terrible winter. All year to come undone for this war, which they did not want, held no cause for concern or wants. The faces of the dead little ones fell beneath the burying west and still a war has no eyes to carry out this unwanted blood.

This was a place of ancient battles, lost hope in the bending sands, and a borderless home for the darker elves if that was truly, what they still were. These elves only known as the Krieg or the darkness, took comfort in such a place where even the sun’s beaten rays refused to dent the desert’s snow less breaths.

The massive spine of rolled sands stretched out like a great skeleton to resemble Kraigon, the great yellow dragon. They stood though, these sands like a golden crescent for hundreds of miles. This was not much in a loss for the once ancient beast’s size was little below the moaning mounds. Kraigon having been the largest creature ever to touch Khendreen of its entirety as to this dragon had fallen alongside his brother. The great blue dragon, Sleptic, was as the sea is deep and where his size was lacking his pulsing blue mind bled. Cosmically and forever as the pools of the dead did flow, a stain was here there twin loss. Would this echo ever end here in the great flowing seas of rock-havened salts? This fed its purity south into the Galpin River.

A story of long ago, told of sacrifice and a place of perished good and of immense evil. A father of the plagues that would forever claim cities and lives was this darkness. Khendreen was a land of this broken soul and a cradle of bones. Life and the climbing insects over these fallen was a place where myth and stories became the greater truth. This would wrap to a cloth its naked children so that this life cold stretching of the west to the shore ran into the endless south, a forest of dying trees. They went north to east through destiny for these were now becoming known as the lands of man.

A rather feeble creature was this human, though it seemed to flourish in finding strengths from the absence of its own origin and their frail bodies were like the clouds; dark and white as too fast to fade from the skies of Khendreen. Their children though were forgetful to the blood where fueled this nature of constant salvation.

The Krieg and their lighter, elven relatives, both lived many lifetimes compared to man, but through the turmoil of this eternal battle this brought balance. They were finding a true end within a new forming world at which they knew not where they went.

No doubt, there were many other such lands and worlds beyond Khendreen and its rich sound, and like the emotions, this was only one. The constant changes of its face are still only one to which places hope and her body now cut to the four winds, finding each to the altar of this dismay.

His ancient bones fell helpless to the heated lands below and Kraigon, like a magmatic storm of life lost to his wounds and turned morbidly cold to the unforgiving sand of this now arctic tundra. The great yellow dragon, verily dead, could not see his brother Sleptic, the great blue who began to melt. The flames into the green mixture, this burning thought as yellow sands began to flow like moths to the fire. A death a fight they shared within sacrifice, these brothers had dispersed a plaguing evil from Khendreen that had preserved in a single, black bodied form for ages and eons uncounted.

Of what had been set in stone, to say was torn and blossomed anew within the very flames and tainting blood of these many species of creatures.

A war led by the poisoned elves, one not decided so long ago where the darkness only fed on the fallen into these growing forms above the sunken city of Serenis. The dead pools brewed in his lost embodiment of hope like a well to bring waters of hate and indecision of this once living creature. Death for this angel, of death within its black walls sank. Hate incarnate would only bring upon a caricature of its black modeled God, Seren; the dark angel of power being known to every dying race upon this carved earth. An angel unfolded from the rim of powered orbs and rang a vein of twelve golden rays as wings to hold his unnatural reign. He of God’s most trusted fell free, clipped of his glories to sink into the lands, singing in rage within odium.

He now named of many faces grew jealous in his own ranging wisps, the power now true and gone, had to rely on the very salvation lost of those who inhabited this plane of material flesh. Bone grown in blood did run to sculpt the essence Seren truly deserved. He took from their giving hearts, a name and a mark he placed for its price. One on their very souls as in debt for the gratitude in showing how blessed these creatures were. This was a claim on the very make of their demise.

His voice ranged, and gained amplitude and the thunders themselves copied his form. They carved great swaths of lightning to hold lashes like four massive, flamed claws, one each for the price bore of the last day into this cauldron of his tongues.

What truth did these beasts deserve? For Seren’s kind, the Sharealm had created these hapless mounds of rotting flesh. He was still one of God’s true voices, unbroken from his ascension. Angels of light inside the blackness like cores of existence in the very spirit of he, the Creator. They now slept in an unbalancing rift as each one differentiated with the accordance and will as shinned to the shadows of earth and all of its nubiant souls.

“What colours and shapes are gained and lost, perfect by nature and unseen by the voiceless,” the black, monstrous, almost humanesc form of the embodied god. Serenis called out to the oncoming realities of these twin dragons. The voice and failing land folded upon Kraigon’s bitten touch, like silence over the absent faith as here, where this becoming demon burst from such force. Serenis like hewed marble, cleaved in two, and two mounds that are more shapeless poured from their mouths. The snapping maw stole into the very marrow of the greatest dragon’s spine.

Kraigon fell as though his mighty wings were like death and they suddenly shook and blew away into the winds. A foggy swarm for this new coming and hatred stood.

Serenis’ tongue rolled wide over his dilapidated head as the violence set to tremors of this yellow mounding beast. Cracking and bore away, the seven temples built in the black city, shared of the fallen and his name sank to its still crying master. Darkness had grown inside the angel Seren, the same darkness that flowed like summer’s dried flowers. Serenis shook violently under the discharged dragon’s girth as only the remembrance for the loss in his own Lord brought him from the greatness of that height. The Sharealm of power turned in upon himself repeatedly as the screams began and ended to this word of his descent through the birthing void.

“Return to me, salvation,” the creatures all cried, forever lost from the love of the beloved God. Seren bubbled and broke as this will began to tear at his very soul. The tainted form and power growing inside only making the Sharealm want more. They tilted high like a cone of wings and tempered orbs, bodies twisting to aid Seren and his unending want. The height of this pitch straight into the weight of the world fell to horror and chaos to flow the flames of these lost souls. The sheer demand and feeding wrapped his absolution and pulled from the one, the true form, his very essence draining God. He accepted this form and folded the nine warped frames into one solid hand. A collapsing in full passed the line of corruption, this balance and Seren’s poison ceased.

Within God’s love for his most trusted angel, fell a dark burning sun. Birth, as he the maker cast his love with one resounding blast into the soundless void. Celestial flesh torn with a beautiful reason to fail was this soulful purpose. The sheer will of being inside the one was lost as Seren’s soundless scream and body plummeted out of the burning views. Only embers of his essence and ever existence burned into the flameless heavens.

The host and all of his former beauty bent and broke in through the shattering temperature of space. A comet of the dead burnt the very life of the cosmos toward the aperture. The pain, now painless with the memories forgotten, and Serenis grated his rattling maw. He was unable to sit or stand within this fallen point, a throne for the fallen angel. Sleptic came like a wave to drown this breach through time.

“Perversion gone from sensation and I will your kind away to the pity of this world,” Serenis’ cracking mouth cursed to enflame Sleptic’s eternal blue fire as the beast and these words faded. The coming white blasts of these forces collided, “a world so despised and in servitude is my pain,” Seren himself finished for the loss, “this creature of my skin on its slighted frame will find freedom from love and your pitiful light.”

Seren stood wingless and without a way to walk or move within these confused motions. Sight and soundless waves around this breaking frame and an empty position within the heavens and forever was Seren away from his God’s touch. For what was hell was truth to be in heaven without being able to feel. He stood over to look on the destruction of this city and Serenis’ being fell to the absolute darks. They grew in a place where the Lord’s light and love could no longer be. His kneeling, whispering hold spoke names and his own touch set three fold upon the cruel earth.

A dark trinity to mock the one and many bodies boiled to the beast to follow. Seren could no longer see past the sightless cloud as heaven, his eyes closed to this impossible angel, and they drew breath from loss. These creatures became his depth and hollow, the void and within the very depth of him became a form to his majesty.

The sound of a million, million curved trumpets failed to the winds and hate was bore for the new world’s desert.

The legend of the brothers began to unravel through the land and time sat Serenis to this city where foe were no more to dust. An ever-blowing cover to this hate was his face. Seren’s dark eyes closed. Two grand designs as Arnate stood tall in the spilling of blood from the devices that was his war. Kaipun was a banner for his love to evil and did he floe ever darker to blue from the thoughtless and death of these beasts.

Flesh upon this earth and his slaves, sentient to Seren spoke in the pitched black mist that crowned for his tearing mouth. Srenis hate reborn to the shame for his maker. The plagues on three curving axes rolled a new tune to these eager creatures and earth itself began to upset the balance of heaven. The tranquil peoples set to tilt upon their ears to hear this satanic call. Seren’s rule did not begin and end with this unforeseen shadow. The sentient dragon, pure white to scale that shimmered and fell without a natural enemy. This magnitude that would set Seren’s rule to the cruel earth was immense.

The earth and its ignorant children began to bend and bow to these wages of war and hate and they spread evil to the ends of their fading shores.

Over time, the city of old Serenis was covered in these natural plagues of locusts and sand. Yellow flowed where Kraigon took the black gates to sunder and a white bog of the dead waters held them back. Nothing but their stale flowers like an echo in the Dead Sea was to this memory’s loss. Sleptic’s purging, dying thrall turned into the everflowing seas of the salt fields. They sprawled beneath and over the ends of Kraigon’s massive frame and spread throughout the regions of Tanor and Tazar.

The two warring states of Khendreen would only forget this debt. They took only the pure waters of the long flowing Galpin as the fresh river refused the unity of the sands and dirty salt. The overflow of one gift and this ice floe into the Boneshards of cold and unforgiving sand fell into the salt fields that ate into the abandoned. A city left to bury its incumbent Lord forever forgotten to the darks.

In that desert grew flower of great stalks and plumes, where blossoms were wild to form the elves. Living wards to nature guarded against the resurfacing of this darkness. So too were the Krieg born as did the ancient hatred come straight from its sanded soils staining them. These elves to the urges of killing one another, staying war and evil until hate brought about a new enemy.

Inhospitable earth and these manifesting winds of the fallen were well suited to breed the Krieg and all elves for they loved war even more so than the wellbeing of their fairer lands. Such was to the southern seas and fair wood where trees echoed the far off waves, enriching this given life. Tombs of hate, fueled from the ancient time to poison these creatures both black and white for even they were joyful and born free from the darkness.

The Halflings had not a chance against the poisoned Krieg and this death of the wind.


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