This is the next blade of the prophecy listed in [link] .
This is Ravenward, the Blade of the Teacher. It belongs to the one known only as the Teacher and was said to be created by the Goddess of Magic herself. The weapon acts as both an Arcane staff, and as a glaive-like weapon. I must truly confess, the design is heavily influenced by the designs for the mage staves of the game Dragon Age II. I loved the idea that the mages would use them for close combat weapons and therefore would have blades or maces attached to the ends. The Teacher is a character I felt sorely needed in my world, someone who would work for peace amongst hatred of bigotry and intolerance, and who has lived to see it abolished and instead, having the pinnacles of cooperation between the races come forth. Therefore he is a character similar to Merlin in his desire to achieve this goal.
Footsteps, painful and faltering from blood loss, felt uneven purchase on the ash and bone of the battlefield as he looked across the desolation in grim despair. As far as could be seen, the bodies of elven dead littered the earth, the fires of arcane war having burnt the skin and cooked the flesh until one could not tell which side, Elven or the newly christened Drow, the unfortunate soul belonged, only the fine featured bones and skulls, stripped of skin and muscle, leaving only charred ash, remained, some still encased in armor and bearing weapons of such arcane power, that they had survived the war flames pristine in their glory, unlike their owners. “Such a waste.” He muttered. Three simple words, fallen from tired lips, cracked and bleeding, but the volumes they spoke. The lives gone, the magic wasted, the sheer destruction of it all. What did it matter what side won, if any actually did? The elven nation was crippled, their rebellious kin no better, what glory came from such a violation of the natural order?
“Truly?” a lilting voice sounded behind him. Whirling around, the survivor clutched at his side in pain as the habits of a lifetime came to play and lifted the broken and spent length of wood that was once his greatest pride and triumph. Garbed in woodland green and bearing no weapons, a figure stood on nothing but air, his hair, a pale white mane dancing in unfelt winds around his shoulders. With a sardonic smile the figure looked across the carnage. “Oh great nations, what fools ye mortals be.” He mused, and then turned his gray-eyed gaze back to the ruined staff between them. “Yon piece of wood, as crutch to bear thy weight a better task than weapon, good sir.”
“I know you,” the figure groaned. Light danced in the visitor’s eyes, aspark with mischief and mirth.
“Many know of wandering me, jester, prankster, messenger. All these things and more am I, harkening to the call of my Queen.”
“You are the Fey known as Puck.” The wounded figure whispered hoarsely. At the sound of his name, the figure smiled in delight and bowed gracefully onto bended knee before coming again to his feet.
“If ever a sad crime the burden of the name of Puck becomes, still happy am I to bear its title, good sir! For I am he of whom thou labeled, glad of tidings, quick of wit, and merry jape. He who stole the cold of winter, he who makes the stone faced laugh, and he who summons you to court, at Titania’s urgent command! So away we must flee, good sir, thy Mistress doth sternly call.” The stranger looked at Puck in exhausted silence, and nodded with tired understanding.
“As you say, knave. When she who is magic itself calls to one such as I, there is no denying her. Lead on.” With a merry scamper, Puck lead the way over hill and grove, threading between the carrion of the battlefield, pausing impatiently as the figure struggled behind, leaning heavily on the splintered oak of his staff, only to whisk ahead again, like an impatient child. Finally they approached a final hill, alit with the rays of the setting sun behind it, or so it seemed until they crested it’s top and revealed the light’s source. The smell of wild roses assailed his nostrils as he saw a woman of breathtaking beauty standing in silent sorrow amid the desolate surroundings. Wings of flame graced her shoulders, blending into the red gown she wore perfectly without seam. Eyes of shimmering blue, framed by auburn hair, looked at him and he flinched under her gaze. “My Lady.” He murmured as he lowered himself to one knee in spasming pain.
“Puck,” the vision before him gently scolded. “He is in pain.” The Fey looked at his mistress and then back at the kneeling elf before them.
“Are they not always?” he remarked curiously. “They die slowly as the days pass, my Lady. Is that not painful?”
“Puck.” Titania’s voice held a slight note of reproach and lifted a languid hand. Immediately his wounds healed, fatigue vanished. “Rise mage.” He stood before his Goddess, his eyes still avoiding her gaze. “Tell me, mage,” she asked, gesturing to the remains of the battlefield around her. “What do you see?” He looked at the bodies stacked where they fell, blackened and smoking, the blood long boiled from the ground where it was shed. The skeletons of cavalry and rider lay stricken by swarms of ravens as they fought for what morsels still remained on their bony frames. Great items of arcane art lay shattered and split, rendered useless, husks of their former glory. What did he see? What did this immortal creature; the very goddess and font of magic want him to say? What did she expect? What could he say that would encompass the entirety of this blasphemy? Then a single word came to mind. A word so perfect that he knew it was correct and true.
“Sadness, my Lady.” He said dully, the carnage a sea of despair to the horizon. “I see sadness, and waste.”
“Were your kin so evil, mage?” she asked. “Did they deserve this? This extermination, this sundering of flame and death, was it of worth the cost it brought?” Her questions brought shame to his soul, for he was of the Council, and though he had not supported the Sundering, his vote had not prevented it either.
“They turned from you, my Lady, and had found power in the Unseelie, and that of your sister, the Maiden of Darkness. They reveled in their power and in their superiority over the other races.” He recited the reasons like a mantra, a chant to bring peace, or at least a justification. But in his heart he knew, they were just words.
“All of them?” She asked, and it was that statement that broke his resolve. No, not all of them. To see the looks on the soldier’s faces as they put children, even infants, to the sword, justifying the slaughter with grim fury and righteous zeal. To see brother turn against brother, sister against father, clans against family. To see an entire bloodline receive the sword so that the nobles could rest in the night with no fear of blade or spell coming unaware in their reverie. “Let me show you someone, mage.” Titania said as she opened a shimmering portal in the air. Flickering in the sunset fires of her wings stood an elf of dark midnight skin, her hair a cascade of white. Eyes of ruby hue looked back at him with bewitching beauty. She wore armor of mithril worked in enamel of colorful hues into the image of peacocks, a sword hung loosely in her hand, it’s blade dripping blood slowly to the ground. She seemed worn, tattered, and she seemed to be looking through Titania.
“Lady?” She whispers, and it almost seems as if she is afraid of Titania being there as much as her being absent.
“I am here, child.” Came the soothing tones of the Fey goddess. At the first words, the woman’s eyes seem to focus and she looks at Titania fully. “What has happened?”
“My mother and the others of the city have finally fled. It was a close battle, but I managed to rescue those I could. There are perhaps three score of us, most wounded. I have tried, my Lady, I have tried….” The words choked in her mouth as tears gathered in her tightly shut eyes. She looked down at the bloody sword in her hand and hurled it to the dark sands at her feet in anger. “Your teacher has left us, as he said he must…. I have brought them here as you commanded. What wish has my Lady?”
“Though it may seem strange,” Titania asked, “Would you introduce yourself, my dear?” The woman nodded and turned towards the mage, squaring her shoulders proudly.
“I am H’Kyra Sha’Karnn,” The dark skinned beauty declared, looking at the mage for the first time. “First Daughter of the House Sha’Karnn, Battle Mistress of the House and House Mage.” The titles rolled of the tongue in a litany that seemed familiar to the mage. Such formality, the exact placement of title and position was a trait adopted by this Drow following, where did…. The truth hit hard, he felt a cold pit within his stomach. “I see we met again, old one, though this time it seems is your first with me. If memory serves, I am to tell you that the Drow still live, and have become even more so that what we were before the Sundering. Yet there are still those of us that forsake the Dark Maiden, and embrace the light.” The Drow intoned. She then looked back at Titania with hope. “Is it finally time, my Lady?”
Titania raised her hand again and a white porcelain mask wove from the air. Upon it’s face was the image of two peacock feathers, one on either cheek. With another wave of her hand, the mask disappeared and took shape on the Drow’s face instead. “Welcome, my Indigo.” Titania smiled. “My servant, and child.”
“I thank my Lady.” The newly named woman whispered hoarsely as tears ran down the slick surface of her mask. “We will abide and wait.” The image faded and once again the mage felt Titania’s gaze fall to him.
“Where was she?” he asked in wonder, the surroundings had been a bleak desert of obsidian sands and hot sun, a place unlike any he had ever seen before.
“Here, far in the future.” Titania replied in sorrow. “The magics that were unleashed here have poisoned the earth, soon it will turn to black sand and all will die at its touch. The Elven nation shall abandon their first home, having destroyed it in their zeal, and only the sands and their wild arcane winds shall remain.” The pain of that revelation ate at his heart.
“What can I do?” he asked. To his surprise Titania looked at him with interest lighting her eyes.
“Your people have harmed these lands beyond even my mending, have slaughtered those they deemed evil, and you ask what can you do? You, who have lived through this travesty? Teach them! Teach all who would harm and maim in the belief of justice. All races, all paths, teach them of the folly of hatred.” The mage looked across the battlefield once more.
“They will not listen.” He finally sighed in despair. “Not in a hundred lifetimes.” Titania raised her hand once more and placed it upon his shoulder.
“A hundred lifetimes? A thousand? More?” she whispered. “We shall see, my Teacher. We shall see together. Teach them, go forth, to all races and teach. Learn as well, for there are lessons in everything.” She spread her hands to encompass the surround lands. “Teach them the costs of their paths and their hatred, teach them peace, and guide when you can, lead where you must. You shall become my child, my servant and be my voice.”
“My Lady, you ask much of me, yet I shall do as you wish, but what shall I do when they do not listen, when they will not be lead?” Titania looked at the mage in sympathy.
“Then you will have to use your strength to lessen their damage, my Teacher, contain their errors.” She gestured and from the battlefield a broken staff rose before her. With another wave a shattered sword joined it. The sword was of ancient design, clearly a weapon of the elves’ past. The staff seemed new and slightly alien, apparent in it’s design touched by Drow hands. With a third gesture, the two merged together, an amalgam of both. A long elaborate glaive of a weapon, which would serve as arcane staff, and deadly martial blade to the bearer, as well as a stout support for the road of travel. The new staff moved to hover before him, waiting for him to grasp the artifact, and he could almost feel the weapon radiating magic across his face.
“Take this gift, my Teacher, let it give what aid it can. Let it serve you as companion and defender, for though you are now timeless, or at least as ageless as the ignorance you strive against, it will be a long journey.” Hesitantly he reached for the staff, and at the last moment, paused, as if to reject the offering, but his eyes took one last look at the destruction around him and his fingers closed with finality. A deep surge of power wracked through his body, searing in it’s intensity and leaving him gasping and kneeling in the dirt. When he came to his senses, he was alone. Both Puck and Titania were gone, leaving him the only living thing save the ravens as far as the horizon. Standing, he looked down at the clothing he wore. Gone was the burnt and bloody chainmail armor, the torn robes. Now in it’s place was a multi-layered robe of waterproofed tan linen, complete with hood and cowl, and a thick woolen travel cloak A sachel hung across his chest, filled with travel food and water and a purse, modestly full with silver coin was at his waist. With a sigh, he took up his new staff and set forth to the nearest road. Within three paces a raven, an old Stormcrow, landed on his shoulder with a loud cry, settling as if to stay, and staring at the path ahead intently. Such was the first steps of his journey.
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