|Favorite Wonder:||Tower of Eyes|
The smell of the smoke became worse. Not like a cooking fire, the sweet smell of dry wood tinged with game and entwined with all the smells of the woods he knew so well. This was the smell of burning leaves still moist from yesterday's rains, of the deep wood from the interior of ancient firs ablaze, and the fear of trapped animals waiting for painful death. His home was burning.
It wasn't long until Amelanchier and his rangers met the inferno that was raping their homeland. With a signal he dispatched two to nearby Elendwine, to alert the citizens and ready the mages. The rest followed him, circling around the flames and surveying the extent of the damage. Shortly the elven prince was stopped by a hand on his shoulder. He turned to face the unseeing eyes of Calatin. The ancient elf had been a gift to Amelanchier when he pledged to Arendel Phaedra's court. "Fire is a natural part of the cycle of the forest. But it should not have spread this far, this fast. The heat..."
Amelanchier nodded. "It is unnatural."
"Or perhaps... supernatural." They grimly continued their search from the treetops. It did not take long for their suspicion to be confirmed. At the heart of the semi-circle of fire a battle was raging. A company of shining Paladins faced down a Balor. But it was the lone elderly man that caught Amelanchier's eye. A wave of flame radiated out from him, washing over a group of imps, which vanished in a puff of acrid smoke.
"Do you know where they are?" Amelanchier asked.
"No, but the forest does," replied Calatin.
Calatin spoke gently to the mammoth ancient fir tree in which they were perched. A low rumble filled the air, though the combatants on the ground were oblivious—until the roots and underbrush around them rose up around them. Before they knew it they were trapped. Amelanchier pointed to the Balor, and his ranger's let fly their arrows. They were not blessed, nor enchanted. But the demon was injured, and the elves had more than enough ammunition to put down the monster. It died with a roar.
The druid kept the humans entangled, however. "Bring me the old man," said Amelanchier. Calatin nodded and spoke again to the tree-trunk. After a moment, the forest next to them parted and a giant treant emerged, looking the druid in the eyes, then turning and picking up the old man from the tangled underbrush, holding him up to Amelanchier.
"This is your doing, human? This fire?"
The old man mustered what dignity he could. "I am an emissary from Pontiff Elmin. I have come to bring the message of Junil to the Ljosalfar. In Elendwine we found a branch of the Ashen Veil cult and sought to cleanse them from your lands."
"The Veil will bring corruption from hell to the world! The must be opposed at every opportunity, for the sake of the world!"
"Why should I care for the world when you imperil my home?"
"Already the world is moaning from the stain the Veil has placed upon it. Surely you have seen the crops dying, disease spreading... The Elves cannot ignore the coming apocalypse!"
The elf seemed to be considering the argument. "Perhaps I can." He held two fingers in front of his face, pointing at the treant, then slowly separated them. "If I make a suitable example of interlopers." The treant ripped the confessor in two, and the elven rangers struck the Paladins dead from their perch.