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Friday, February 17, 2012

Battle of Foam Horses


With an eye on ever adding to the vast pattern of history in Khaas, this week we have pulled out a small excerpt concerning the nation of Arduin and the Nexus Wars!

There are few in the east of Arduin who do not know the Crystal River. The clear, frothing but flowing waters of this river are an avenue of trade, travel, and military use in current day, just as they have in every age of Arduin. So strategic is this river to the eastern portion of the kingdom that it has featured in nearly every major conflict to a lesser or greater degree. One conflict of note that raged on its banks was the Battle of the Foam Stallions, a small part in the greater whole of the bloody Wars of When. While some know it from the memoirs of their forefathers who shed blood and tears in that battle, most know it from the time when the great bard Fire Eyes Darkness Weeps composed and sung the ballad the “Ride of the Gallant Froth Horses” at Tai Taowyn after the first year of founding the city of Talismond√©. During that time, there was a sense of piquant desire to give homage to the brave Elven ones who died defending their home, a home from which the new Arduin was being built. This popularized the song, and the others about the same battle, the “Deed of Shaldonness”, and the “Lay of the Elven Eleven Hundred”. While these songs are not sung with the same frequency or desire as back then, they are still heard from time to time in the inns and ways of Arduin.

As in many tales, the words of the song vary depending on who sings it while the truth of the battle does not. The Elven General Almari Shaldonness had led his band of 2200 Elves to the newly named Weeping Wood with the words of the queen echoing in his ears, “let no man pass on your life!” For twenty years, this was their battle cry and they let none pass their woods. Yet, their numbers dwindled and yet always the throngs of men grew larger. Soon an army came for which the burning arrows and blades of Elves could not wither. Onward this army marched, a composite of fierce and hardy Morvaenians, Hyrkhallians, and Viruelandians all in one array of 21,000 strong. After days of devastating battle on each side and rapid losses to the Elves, Almari devised a plan and gave the marauders the desire in their hearts—to close with the stealthy Elven guerrillas! Retreating rapidly towards the Crystal River and taking increasingly worse losses, General Almari stoically continued to lead the wave of men into a muddy shallow area. When enough poured into the wet area, he gave the signal and the Elves turned and ran at full sprint towards an outcropping of stone. With cries of victory, the men charged after, not realizing that the final part of the trap was sprung by the weight of their pounding feet. While the Elves had harried and fought in the woods, the general had sent his strongest Elves and engineers to dam this part of the river. The heavy thuds of the feet of the charging men were the triggers to shake loose the stones and timber, sending cascading foam-crested waves to send them to their doom.

The full “heart” of that army died that day, swallowed under the hooves of foam-crested waves released from broken dams. General Almari swept the rest of that army away, driving them from Arduin. Still, while they celebrated mightily that day, the Elves knew more would come. They were not wrong, either. Not but two months after another army, even greater swept through their land, and while their bravery and sacrifice was no less those days than when they fought previously, Elven might did not carry the day and they gave ground before the onslaught of foreign mailed might.

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