A Dark Winter's Tale
It had been a successful day in the woods for Kael and his loyal friend Theren. Five rabbits were strung to the tip of Kael’s bow as he balanced his finely carved weapon across his shoulder. Theren’s lessons in the wild were coming to an end, he had shown himself to be well on his way to becoming a seasoned hunter under Kael’s tuition, as he had been to his father. They had decided that tonight’s banquet could not possibly require more rabbit and boar than they already carried and began to make their routine loop back home through what they had named ‘the path of calling’. The birds could always be heard in the afternoon, songful and busy through every branch that provided a perch. The trees murmured in the afternoon breeze and the autumn leaves could be heard rustling across the forest floor.
An hour later…...Now….
The fire danced from tree to tree, licking every branch, charring it. Stunned and shocked, Kael’s face remained in an emotionless state momentarily as he watched the devastation rein through his village. His hollowed eyes watched as others writhed in agony, the stench of burning flesh reached for his nostrils, the fire raged through his family heritage and he then suddenly overcame his incapacity to act and hastily began move through the searing village, deftly leaping over ignited branches towards his family’s residence.
As he sprinted across the crafted balconies towards his home he noticed that Theren had found his parents. who were now grieving as a family over the devastation that they were witnessing.
As he arrived at his family landing, he became aware that this family home stood as the only one in the village unscathed and he approached the entrance his father could be seen stapled with wooden sticks to the door, blood drained from elven oak beneath him creating a stream of red down the trunk of his family’s tree. He dropped to his knees in mourning, his father the oldest of the Elders dead and left for all to see. He screamed in emotional agony and the enchanted trees carried his fear and pain over the mountains.
Kael gracefully lifted his father down from his sacrificial perch, carrying him inside to rest on the bed and covering his body with a rich black silken robe. After laying his father down to rest he desperately began to search the home for his mother but she could not be found.
Kael glanced down from his elevated position staring at the massacre before him, Theren and his family other than himself were the only life below, what was once a beautiful forest settlement was now a mass of charred wood with ashes dusting the ground, withered bodies and collapsed buildings. Fire still burned in in several parts of the village, patches of yellow, orange and red amongst the black shadow of death. He recognized the corpses of his ancestors and was struck by fear as he noticed out of place remains. He recognized these the corpses from his fathers stories of far away lands.. Tieflings. This was no accident! “MURDER!!” echoed through his thoughts. He turned to Theren and his family.
“Who did this?!?” he exclaimed.
Theren’s father pointed to one of the Tiefling that laid at his feet.
Kael’s face contorted with anger, clenching his fist into the soil, he stood, lifted his fist high and released the earth that he grappled, watching it strain from his fingertips into the wind until all had settled on the ground from which it came. He stared upwards looking at the leaves above him began to attune with his ancestral surroundings, an unnatural wind came suddenly, aggravating any incinerating that remained. Theren thought he heard females voice echoing Kaeld’s name in the wind, through the trees and perhaps even the fire, he was unsure what he heard but was distracted for a moment, when he turned to Kael again….he was gone.