‘“It is rare for a hero or king to die in battle in the last life. I welcome you to my halls. You will be able to see into the mortal world, so your son will always have a guiding light,” responded Frond. “You will also fight alongside the gods and heros of this realm. We shall combat the gods of evil and monsters in glorious battle. This life is better than the last.”’
The king stood atop the crest of the hill. The king, Sentryil, was tired of the matter at hand. Goblins were, more frequently than ever, raiding the old kingdom. His kingdom. He was 578 years old and had been on the old kingdom’s throne for many years. The goblins meant to take it from him, and he wasn’t going to give it up without a fight.
A dozen spellcasters stood on the ridge next to him. In front of them, 120 elven soldiers were arrayed for battle: 70 infantry, 40 cavalry, and ten archers. Sentryil was worried that they had too few archers, but his second-in-command, Natrelig, had assured him it was enough. Natrelig, who had been organising the troops, ascended the hill and addressed the king.
“Your majesty, the troops are positioned as ordered. Are there any other things we need?”
Sentryil responded, “I still think we need more archers. Archers are the key to an elven victory. Just five more will do.”
“We have enough,” his second-in-command assured him.
“I hope you’re right” replied the king.
Sentryil entered his leaf-green tent. He needed to do one thing before the battle began. He sat at his table and placed his scrying bowl in front of him. He knew it took a lot of effort to see into the future, but he needed to see this.
He spoke to the pure spring water. “Show me my son after the battle.”
The water swirled around and then solidified itself into an image. A young elf was dressed in an inky black robe. His head was lowered as if praying. Satisfied, Sentryil dispelled the image and walked over to his bed. He picked up his sword off the blanket and clipped it to his worg leather belt. He draped a shirt of silver chain over him. Lastly, he put his sheathed hunting knife onto his belt. Then, he walked out of his tent, ready for battle.
The king stood on the ridge once more, looking at the approaching goblin host. His dozen spellcasters were arrayed in a spearhead formation, with him at the tip. Sentryil drew his sword, which had a crescent moon imbedded in it below the tip, almost like a trident.
He pointed it at the goblins and cried, “CHARGE!”
The king’s sword stabbed a goblin through the ribs, staining his sword in black blood. The elven army plowed through the fray, cutting down many of the 250 goblins. The ten archers fired three rounds of deadly shafts into the goblin army. Sentryil hacked and slashed with his crescented sword, but then a goblin bruiser with a mace leapt in front of him.
The goblin wore leather armor the color of beige. He hefted his mace and swung, screaming, “Blood!” Sentryil parried and blocked, and then with one swift, graceful movement, he lopped off the goblin’s hand. The goblin screamed and wailed in pain, and Sentryil thrust his sword through his heart.
The king picked up the mace in his left hand, and caved in a goblin’s skull while stabbing another one with his sword. Around him, his spellcasters lay waste to the goblin ranks with magic blasts of ice, fire, energy, and lightning. One threw a stone inscribed with the symbol beneath a large goblin, and said goblin spontaneously combusted. One of the twelve spellcasters had already fallen to a goblin scimitar, and the rest were plowing through the goblins, but some were being separated from the group. Suddenly, an arrow flew into of the fray and struck the king on the left forearm.
The king uttered a short “OW!” but he staggered onward through the battle. Soon, the goblin commander was visible. He was a 5’8” goblin wearing a muddy, chainmail hauberk, and he carried a serrated shortsword. He also carried a longspear that glistened with a strange light. Sentryil gasped as he recognised the lance. It had come from the fallen city of Gondolin and had many magical abilities, the least of which was that it turned red-hot when it came into contact with goblin blood.
The royal magician’s guard had been largely separated from the king, but three of them still remained by his side. The goblin commander thrust the spear into one of the magicians, leaving him mortally wounded upon the bloodied ground. Then, he and another two goblins slashed at the king. Sentryil stabbed one of them dead, but the other two struck him. The half-elf screamed, but his mind was thinking something else: I really should have worn a shield. Blood trailed from his left forearm and ribs, where the goblins had struck him. Around them, the magicians held off the goblins, but were unable to reach their king.
The lead goblin laughed, “You are weak, and a sorry excuse for a king. I will enjoy purging this kingdom of you.”
Then, without warning, Sentryil struck. He swung his sword, but his wounds made him miss the lead goblin. His sword shattered the lead goblin’s sword, and the momentum carried it through the other goblin’s skull. The lead goblin took advantage of the opening in the king’s defenses and thrust the spear into the king’s heart.
“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!” screamed Sentryil’s son Erevant.
Erevant had picked his weapons up from the armory and was heading to the battle. With him, he had thirty reinforcements: fifteen infantry and fifteen archers. He could see little through the tangled fray, elven cavalry leaping over goblins, archers shooting shafts into the fray, and he rushed to his father as he battled the goblin commander. And he saw his father fall. The king’s crescented sword and flanged mace struck the bloodied ground. As the goblins saw the king fall, they swarmed over his corpse, eager to loot him of his valuables. Erevant rushed the goblins, slashing them off his father’s corpse, and looked at his father’s fallen form. The king’s mail was rent over his heart and on the right side of his ribs. His mace and hunting knife had already been carried off by goblin looters, but his crescented sword was still clutched in his limp grasp.
Erevant picked up his father’s sword and addressed two of his men: “Take the king back to the castle and prepare him for burial.” As they carried of his father’s body, he shouted to the elves, “To me, spellcasters! Soldiers, charge! Avenge our king!” And with that, 110 elven warriors charged as one through the goblin enemies.
The battle was turned with Prince Erevant’s arrival. Twenty minutes later, less than thirty goblins still remained. The spellcasters had expended all their energy protecting the king from the goblin hordes, so they were of little more use in the battle. The goblins were fleeing from the elves’ wrath, but their leader wasn’t.
“Get back here, ya lily-livered, yellow-bellied cowards! We kill elves, not run from them!” he shouted at them.
Suddenly, a voice behind him said, “Well, you’re the one getting killed today.”
The goblin commander turned around to see Erevant standing atop a pile of goblin corpses. Erevant gazed coldly at the goblin who had murdered his father and leapt at him. They exchanged a few blows, stabbing, slashing, parrying, and twirling their weapons. Then, Erevant kicked the goblin in the stomach, knocking him off balance. With that, Erevant brought the crescent of his sword down on the goblin’s hand that held the spear.
There was a sharp KRAK! as the goblin’s hand broke.
“Ghahh!” he screamed as he cradled his shattered wrist.
Erevant picked up the goblin’s spear. He plunged the spear into the goblin’s chest as his father’s sword decapitated the goblin. The goblin’s headless body slumped on the spear, while the head rolled on the bloodstained ground. Erevant pulled the spear from the corpse and walked back to the castle. With his father dead, Everant was now the king of the old kingdom. He had a lot of work to do.
Erevant walked toward the birchbark burial site. All of those who fell in the battle, save for the goblins, were to be buried there. Elf after elf was lowered into the ground in caskets made of assorted wood: oak, alder, elm, but mostly yew, the wood of life and death. Finally, they reached the final elf to be buried that day: King Sentryil.
Erevant had dressed in an inky black, silk robe for the funeral. The king’s hair was bound in a silver circlet, and his sword lay across his chest. Coins, runestones, and jewelry lay beside him. Erevant bowed his head before his father’s grave. He knelt before the coffin and laid a medallion of a crescent moon on his father’s chest. The top was laid over the birch coffin, and was thus lowered into the grave.
With that, the priest recited the final verse of the funeral: “And as we all rise from the earth, we now commend the dead to the earth.”
Erevant began to walk back to the castle, and he looked up to the sky. He wondered, Where is my father now?
King Sentryil sat up with a start. Where was he? It was really bright. What had happened? He remembered the goblin’s spear, the instant of pain, and then everything went dark. He remembered a light in the darkness, and the brief image of the beautiful, moonlit forest. Then, he heard a voice speak to him through the blinding light.
Two figures emerged before him — 9’ tall elves wearing robes of divine craftsmanship. Sentryil immediately recognised them and knelt.
“Corellon Larethian, Frond. I am honored,” spoke Sentryil.
Corellon Larethian was the god of the elves, and Frond had been the first elven king. The legend was that Frond had been raised to godhood by the elf pantheon. The spirits of the fallen kings and heros had been inducted into Frond’s halls if they were deemed worthy.
“It is rare for a hero or king to die in battle in the last life. I welcome you to my halls. You will be able to see into the mortal world, so your son will always have a guiding light,” responded Frond. “You will also fight alongside the gods and heros of this realm. We shall combat the gods of evil and monsters in glorious battle. This life is better than the last.”
“Well then,” replied Sentryil. “Let’s get started.”