TALES OF THE TEN YEARS WAR, Final Part 04/21/2015 | 863 comments

Previous episodes
  1. 843 YSD – Falcon’s Last Flight
  2. 844 YSD – The Conclave of the New Dawn
  3. 845 YSD – Omens of War
  4. 846 YSD – The Maiden's Tears
  5. 847 YSD – Dead of Winter
  6. 848 YSD - The Blood-Drenched Horns
  7. 849 YSD – The Hour Of Truth
  8. 850 YSD – The Stag Emperor
  9. 851 YSD – Scars of War
Suddenly ice and lightning were raining on the Stag and Greyhound soldiers, causing great confusion across their ranks. As the mysterious blue bird guided Kente and Ivan to safety, it became apparent the delegation from the Silver Cities – or at least part of it – had decided to turn against Seamus.

Tales of the Ten Years War

852 YSD – The Griffin’s Resolve


The Long Road Home

Following the bird allowed Kente and Ivan to regroup with the dissident Wizard forces, which, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise, were led by lady Tanis. The unity of the Silver League had fractured on the question of an alliance with Seamus, and Tanis had managed to convince several of her Wizard colleagues to side with Ivan instead.

Yet she had not sent the bird to Ivan – the bird had actually come to her. The creature was ancient and powerful, a Spirit more than an animal, and it had delivered a message to Tanis. Bluebeak, as it called itself, had urged the Wizards to come to Ivan’s aid, as without their intervention he would meet his doom at Meadowfair.


Bluebeak

Who could have sent this bird to Tanis? This answer was obvious to me, of course, as I had already encountered Bluebeak in the past, and had fond memories of its mistress. I had heard she had disappeared during the Purge of the Necromancers, but she had always been smart and resourceful. I had no problem imagining her finding ways to cover her tracks, even from the likes of me.

I shared my suspicions with the Duke on our way back to Talonguard. He nodded absently, his mind aggravated by something else. Around us, it was all burnt villages and devastated fields; mass graves, famine, plagues, decimated families. Ivan’s defeat at Meadowfair had scarred his face but opened his eyes. He had been focusing on winning the war for so long, it had all become abstract to him. Now he was seeing the toll the war had been taking, and who had paid it in full.

Strange Bedfellows

As I had surmised, Anastasya Griffin was waiting for us at Talonguard. I had not seen her in three centuries, but she had not changed at all – although her eyes were colder that I remembered them.

Of course, I had to explain to Ivan some chapters from the secret history of his family, and of the incredible fates of his ancestors, Duke Slava’s children. If you wish, I can recount their stories for you as well, my fellow Shadow Councillors, you only have to ask. Although that would be a tale for another time. 

Throughout history, a few members of the Griffin line had left the Empire to walk… different paths. Like her great-aunt Sveltana, Anastasya had become a member of the Spider Cult, a Necromancer. But she was still loyal to her name, and had come out of exile to help its current bearer. She had sent Bluebeak, her familiar, to Tanis, knowing she was her best bet to save Ivan at Meadowfair.


But it rapidly became obvious there while there was some begrudging respect between the Wizard and the Necromancer, there would never be neither friendship nor trust. The horrors of the Purge and of the War of the Broken Staff were still too young. As for Kente, well, he was wary of all Wizards, regardless of the colour of their robe. Needless to say, the halls of Talonguard soon became a rather… lively place.

Ivan however was oblivious of their constant quarrels and incessant bickering. His defeat at Meadowfair, the destruction of Iron Feather and the devastation he had witnessed – and often caused – had all but neutered his fighting spirit. The war was still raging on beyond Talonguard’s walls, and Ivan was still leading the Griffin-Wolf alliance, but his heart was not into it anymore. The daring commander he had been a few months before was planning his next moves with a sense of fatality, not purpose.

Later that year, the Angel Murazel returned to Talonguard with a man named Bleddyn. He was a Bloodsmith of Hammer Fall, a crafter of enchanted objects. Murazel had asked him to forge a new sword for Ivan, in the hopes of lifting the Duke’s spirits. Bleddyn left a few days later, promising he would be back before the year was done.

Gathering of the Council

As the first snowflakes began to fall on Talonguard, Bleddyn returned. Hearing the news, Anastasya, Kente, Tanis and Murazel all gathered to Ivan’s war room, to see the sword he had forged for the Griffin Lord.

“The secret of Bloodsmithing”, Bleddyn explained, “is to understand that weapons are not just metal, they are living things. They become part of their master’s very being. Iron Feather has accompanied the Griffin family though centuries of war and countless hardships, Duke Ivan. It was a symbol of the Griffins’ indomitable spirit and when it was destroyed, a part of you, of what makes you a Griffin, died with it. Simply giving you a new sword would not help you.”


To get a sense of who Ivan was, and what would make him whole, Bleddyn had used his last visit to talk to everyone that was currently in the room.
From me, he had learnt of Ivan’s tragic past, of what had happened to his father and brother when he was but a child. 
From Anastasya, he had learnt the complex tale of the Griffin family. 
From Kente, he knew Ivan’s courage and sense of honour. 
From Murazel, he knew Ivan’s sense of duty. 
And from Tanis, he learnt of Ivan’s… fickle heart. 
And so he had given the sword a name, symbolizing what Ivan had lost. He had called it the Griffin’s Resolve.

After Bleddyn the Bloodsmith had left the room, Ivan spent long moments admiring his new blade, but his gaze also drifted to all the people – Angel, Necromancer, Wizard, Orc and Faceless – gathered around the table, around himself. And finally, he spoke:
War is ravaging our lands. Brothers fighting against brothers… I need to stop this madness. But I cannot do it alone.

He took a deep breath.

This sword made me understand what I was failing to see before now: that I need you, all of you. You are what I’ve been missing all along. Harsh times require an extraordinary council... like none the world has ever seen. United in purpose, we shall win this war!”

Ivan’s Council was born that day. And it is now up to us, to all of us, to write the final chapter of the Tales of Ten Years War.

Stained Glass
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Ubi-Nox  The Shadow Of Death April 21, 2015 18:22:47

Discover the full story of MMH7 Tales of the Ten Years War in a single file: Click here to download.

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