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Monday, January 9, 2012

The Brothers' War - Chapter 28

Enter: The elves.

Chapter 28 - Argoth

Gwenna watches the the invader on the beach as is required by Titannia's law. Titannia speaks for Gaea and when Gaea speaks everyone listens, whether they be elven like herself, a druid, pixie , or treefolk . The intruder must be watched, and when he inevitably harms the forest he must be killed.

The invader was mannish, like the druids of Citanul, Argoth's only true city. The invader was taller than these druids and had sandy blond hair gathered in a horse's tail behind its head. It was dressed in blue pants and white shirt, with a blue jacket that now hung from the side of its craft. The invader said something in a language Gwenna did not know and kicked the machine. Gwenna assumed it was a mannish curse, invoking mannish gods who never listened anyway.

In the stories, the invaders were always mannish, despite elves clearly being the most numerous people in the world. But in those stories they also always came from wrecked ships, while this intruder fell from the sky. He didn't seem like he needed destroying, but Titania's law was clear. She was to watch for his crimes, and she would do her duty.


Kicking the device did no good except to make him feel a bit better. It's been twelve years now since he's been an ornithopter pilot, and while he eventually suspected that it was a conspiracy between his parents and Tawnos to keep from joining any combat unit, surviving a storm for three days and crashing into an unknown island wasn't the excitement he was looking for.

He wonders if this place is what Argive was like before the land was stripped bare to give way to factories which turned the sky black with smoke. A rustle in the leaves causes him to grab for his sword, sword made of the new metals that Tawnos has been working with, but he ends up spotting is just a large slug. The day was bright, the sky was blue, and the trees were massive and Harbin pulls out the repair kit.

Within the steel box was a collection of tools: a hammer, and an axe with two spare heads; a flexible piece of saw-toothed metal; spools of wire and spare pulleys; spools of thinner catgut and steel needles to repair holes in the wings; a balled coil of rope. He thumbed through the box. Fishing hooks. Tape measure. Emergency rations. Flint and tinder. An oversized hat to protect him from the sun. Harbin looked at the collection and felt Father's heavy hand again. It was as if his elders thought of every contingency for such a crash. And Urza probably had.

(Oversized hat. Nice.)

Most of the repairs would be easy enough, but replacing the broken strut meant going into the forest and finding the right tree.


Gwenna watches the intruder with his axe and knows he's going to have to be killed soon. That'd be such a shame. She wants to see what he can really do with his machine. There's never been a winged invader before. When she sees him circle a sapling and leave straight for the beach with determination, there's no doubting his intentions.

He's going to have to die if he cuts down the sapling.

When he walks away, Gwenna decides to interfere. Just a tad. She finds a fallen tree of the same size as the one that was marked and she drags in directly in the path he's sure to return by. When he returns, the man looks down a the fallen tree with confusion, and looks back and forth between it and the sapling. He shrugs as he ties his rope around the fallen tree and drags it back to the beach.

Gwenna watches as he measures and cuts and measures some more. For four days he works on his machine and eats only food brought with him or fish taken from the sea, which isn't against Titania's law since she only protects the land.

One day, Gwenna wakes to a horrible noise and watches the machine hop and then take off. The man circles higher and higher and then heads off into the sea.

When an elder appears he's surprised that the intruder never damaged the land while he was here, and he tells her she did right by following the law. Gwenna hopes she did the right thing by keeping it from despoiling the land. She hoped no harm would come to Argive because of her actions.

She would live long enough to find out the magnitude of her mistake.

* * *


Look at that, Harbin actually has a role in this story and isn't just a symbol and representation of the night that truly drove the brothers past the point of no return. Clearly this new discovery is going to be important, and this is the site of the final battle.

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