Monday, 31 December 2012

The Tale of Years - Part Six

For the complete story so far click HERE

Betrayal in the Council of Princes

Of Elves

When Malekith returned from his travels to Ulthuan he found it a different place than that he had left.

In the wake of the war, dark cults of pleasure and death had arisen amongst much of the populous, most prevalently in Nagarythe, his homeland. There, the sorceress Morathi, his mother, had nurtured the growth of these sinister rituals, goaded by the shard of evil that had been placed in her heart by the exalted daemoness K'syarta.

Malekith was seen as a saviour, returned to set these dark times aright; to guide his people back to the path of goodness... and indeed he immediately made a public declaration that he would expunge this cult before it could spread too far. He declared his mother outlaw and set his forces to hunt her down.

And then Alatariel, his twin sister, returned from the Chaos Wastes.

Malekith was stunned that she yet lived and begged her forgiveness for leaving her to the cold and ice, yet she only smiled and caressed her brother's face. Of course she forgavce him. There was nothing to forgive.

And so he took council with her, and as she whispered in his ear, the Circlet of Iron he wore on his brow whispered in his mind. For days did they convene in quiet discussion and when they finally emerged, Malekith declared that he knew exactly the path to take to bring these terrible matters to their conclusion.

He requested that the Phoenix King convene the council of princes such that he could request the power to take control of the armies of the elves to end this threat. But betrayal, instead, was in his heart; and as the princes gathered at the Shrine of Asuryan where the sacred flames burned that had once tested Malekith's father, the fell prince announced that Bel Shanaar, the Phoenix King, was the true villain behind the cults. It should be him that was brought to justice.Malekith himself would assume his rightful place now as Phoenix King himself and drive out this evil if only the other princes would support him.

There was chaos within the council of princes. As many that wished to side with Malekith also stood against him, demanding that he leave the chamber.

Rhetoric had failed Malekith but that was only the opening gambit of the sinister plan. At that moment the doors were smashed asunder as the agents of Nagarythe burst in to wrest control over the council for their fell master.

Blood was falling as knives flashed in the light from the sacred flames but even this was not the quick victory that Malekith had hoped for. He had thought a show of force would tip fate in his favour but here now before him was only death.

Then a whispered voice came in his ear; gentle caressing fingers on his arm and Alatariel's soft words telling him that only one action now from him could end these hostilities and allow him to stake his rightful claim to the phoenix crown.

Following her advice, Malekith strode into the flames of Asuryan as his father had done, knowing they would cleanse him and prepare him for rulership.

But instead, Alatariel smiled coldly as the flames smote her brother, flaying the skin from his flesh as he flailed in agony. For long moments the sacred fire tore at Malekith's hair and eyes and then he threw himself clear, wreathed in smoke and ash.

Led by Alatariel, Malekith's disciples hefted his smouldering form and flew from the chamber, hacking at what princes they could as they went. The dark prince himself was not dead but he was scarred horrifically and for all time.There were no moments left to tarry now and he could barely move.

In his stead, Alatariel commanded his forces to withdraw to Nagarythe to consolidate and prepare while her brother healed. And she made a declaration on his behalf.

The time of peace amongst the elves was over now.

From now on it was the time of civil war.

And in Malekith's blackened body, his heart now had turned entirely to hatred of those fair elves who had rejected him.

The tragic steps of history were striding on relentlessly. 

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