A Fiery Destruction
Year 70 Month 6, continued.
They speak of a new breed of demons, large, ferocious, and with teeth able to chew out any creature.
Giant, walking on two feet, massive, magically reinforced jaws, and armored with thick skin.
Some have horns along their backs.
“Are all demon kings the same” I ask Casshern, to which she shakes her head.
The adventurers are stable, physically.
The two of them who lost their arms are emotionally unstable, lamenting about their lost future as adventurers, and they would be nothing more than beggars now.
It is so bad, that Ricola separates the two one-armed adventurers in a room, so that their negativity don’t spread.
“Have we met any demons described by these adventurers”
“I think the description is pretty standard.
Fangs, claws, scales, horns.”
Year 70 Month 7
The adventurers eventually come around and they leave.
The King’s demon slaying army starts their march for one of the heavily contested passes for the rift.
No worry about the demon king so far.
Strange, maybe they did not get the message.
Year 70 Month 8
A demon raid.
It starts in the morning, a small trickle,.
One of the elves spot a group.
Thirty demons, led by an elder demon.
This, will not end well.
The elves quickly assemble for battle, whilst the young, men and women without combat skills quickly retreat to the fortified village hall.
The demons, these group is different from the earlier ones described by the adventurers.
These are winged, mild fire wielders, using axes forged of dirty metals.
The two forces clash, and the elves throw everything they have at them.
Every skill, all their familiar powers they have unlocked.
And the demons fall.
But so does the elves.
The demons are tough, and they have three times the toughness.
Even with the advantages provided by the fortifications, familiar blessings and other tactical, for every four demons killed, one of the elves still get a fatal blow.
The dying elves, they still try their best, everything they have.
And I try to help, by the battle is fought mostly outside of my very limited range.
I see their fading spirit, and I try to reach out to it. Hey, don’t die on me.
They walk closer, their spirits turning deathly pale, the wound on their body too deep, too serious.
The tide turns, the elves now outnumber the demons, and with numbers, the deaths stop.
And the elves win.
Four of us too many.” Ricola kneels of their dying bodies.
All of them placed next to me, right next to my roots.
I try to help, with every single healing ability in my disposal.
I sigh, if I could.
Maybe my branches droop a little.
The wounds too serious, the damage too great, the bleeding too much.
Casshern leans and holds onto one of the dying fighters.
“Death comes to us all, but for some earlier than others.
Death, may come, but your spirits will never die.
Oh tree spirit, take good care of them.”
I gulp if I could.
The four soon pass on.
I see their spirit fade to darkness, and a brief flicker of light at the end, like the last hurrah of a match.
And they fade, their spirits drift into the ground below.
The mood turn grim since then.
The men focus on repairs, and sharpening their weapons.
The women focus on their children.
The loss of four men is too much for some, and the only way they could cope is to hold it in.
But at night, when the house is quiet, some of the women and some of the men come to talk to me.
“How do I move on I have known him all my life.
Things just cannot be the same, can they”
I have no answer.
I am just a tree spirit, but I have no words who can calm the hearts of those who lost someone.
I nod, and I try employ some empathy, but I know it is no cure for the hole in one’s hearts.
[Level up! Level 50! You gain the following skills, [calming voice] and [haunted tree]]
Year 70 Month 10
More demon attacks.
But mostly small groups, so no biggie.
Year 70 Month 11
But not from demons.
“Village of Freeka!” A roar breaks the morning quiet.
“You have failed to send what your King required of you.
5 soldiers, and you failed.”
Ricola and the villagers, those who wake up early, quickly wake everyone up.
The King should have known that elven villages have no loyalty to the King.
Only humans know what it means to live under his majesty’s protection.
A small platoon of the army.
About four hundred, comprising a mix of knights, archers and other fighters.
They carry insignias, and wear standard issue armor.
The army surrounds Freeka.
There is no retreat, with their large numbers.
Ricola sighs, they must have taken out their sentry.
Ricola offers to talk, to explain, “The Demon King has come.
Without heroes, the army is doomed!”
Let me correct that, traitor!” Laughter from the human army.
They are confident, as they should be.
They outnumber the fighting force almost twenty times.
“I will not listen to your excuses.
Those who dare defy the King will be punished.”
The army has not tried to make its move yet, so the women and children quickly hide.
Lausanne, Brislach, Wahlen, Laufen and two other younger ladies squeeze into the secret hideout beneath my roots.
The rest, even the older women grab whatever weapons they could.
“Are you ready, elvish scum We are going to kill all of you now.”
“The humans… they do not plan to fight us!”
The burning arrows fly, and explode mid air in a fireball.
The fire torches the roofs, the houses, the furniture.
More arrows, and the elves try deflect the arrows.
“We must break through! That is our only chance!” Jura yells.
The rest of the elves follow, creating a wedge, and all of them head for it.
Their only chance of survival, rather than being trapped in the inferno created by all the burning arrows, and burning homes.
They could dodge the arrows, but as the fire spreads, it is either make a break for it or be cooked alive.
The elves and the human army fight, and it seems some manage to escape.
But I also see many die.
Unlike demons, humans have levels and skills, with actual military training.
This is a force that has done these sort of “rebel suppression” many times.
As for me, I could only watch in horror, as the humans remain firmly outside my [root strike] range.
The fire spreads, and I think a part of me is on fire.
But such mild fires cannot kill me, even if they do burn my branches and leaves.
More fire arrows, and the surrounding is just a blaze.
I check in on the three children and two women now squeezed into my [secret hideout].
Shaken but still safe.
It seems my roots and bark protects them.
The fighting intensifies, and I see Ricola.
He staggers towards me, bleeding.
His spirit is weak, and an arrow pierces him.
“Oh dear tree spirit….
I will soon leave this world.”
I try to heal him, but with multiple arrows through his body it is not working.
And it seems the fact that my branches are burning also weakens the power of my healing.
Take care of my children and my wife.
Protect them from the demons… and these monsters too.”
Don’t die.” I respond telepathically.
From the blaze an armored knight emerges, he holds up a sword.
“Why won’t you die!” He stabs.
And stabs again.
The blood splatters, all over my trunk.
I feel anger.
What is this stupid human doing fighting each other when there is a demon king out there.
A root surges from beneath, impaling the knight, and he dies.
There is still fighting in the distance, as some of the elvens run for their lives, as Freeka burns in a swirl of fire.
But not enough to kill me.Somewhere along the way, I gained [Fire Resistance - 80%], and mortal, normal fires cannot kill me.
One of the elves fight, but she takes a few hits.
And deciding she cannot make it, she retreats, and she soon stands next to me.
“Casshern!” I mentally yell
“Oh tree spirit.” She is wounded, two daggers still in her chest.
“I thought of choosing my place of death.
Let me die beside you, spirit.” She coughs.
I think blood came out.
This is madness.
Man against elves! When there is a demon king around!
Two human knights with spears close in on Casshern, they attempt to lunge at her.
I strike at both of the knights, killing them.
But not before one of them used a skill and drive a spear through Casshern.
“We will meet again, tree spirits.
Elves who die with their tree guardians never truly die.”
And she collapses, a spear through her chest.
The fire rages on, and the battles soon come to a conclusion.
The humans win, overwhelmingly.
One by one the elven fighters die, and once the battle is over, the humans drag the corpses of the elves, towards me.
“Hang them on this tree.” A commander of human army says.
I count, about twenty five bodies.
Maybe fifteen or so made it, and manage to flee.
“Then burn it.”
“How about those that got away, commander.
Should we give chase”
Let them spread the word, disobey the King, and face dire consequences.”
The commander surveys the corpses, and walks well within range of my root strike.
I have three root strikes left for the day.
And in my anger, I attack.
Two root strikes right at the commander.
The roots shoot out of the ground, and though he sees it, he is not fast enough to dodge.
He activates some kind of shield and barrier, but it is not much use.
My roots struggle a little, but eventually crack the barrier.
It pierces him right through the heart, and the other through his pelvis.
“A druid! Fan out, there must be a druid that is still hiding.” The vice commander shouts, and he runs.
Lucky he did not suspect the tree.
Argh, he goes out of my range.
One root strike remaining.
I see a bloody soldier, “We should totally do this more often.
Y'know, killing elves.
Always hated these long eared dudes.”
“Rather than talk **, why don’t you find where is the druid”
“Chill the ** out dude, the druid probably used the last of his magic to take out the commander.
If he is still around, he is defenseless now.”
Huh these people seem really apathetic to the loss of their commander.
Or maybe death is just a common thing for them.
Still some of them manage to run.”
The village is now totally no more, replaced with burnt ash.
“This tree is pretty sturdy, even though its all black.”
“We should just impale the elves on the tree.
Teach these long ears the power of humans.”
“Thats a little too much, man.”
“You killed elves too.
I am merely enjoying the process.
Seriously, elves on a stick, like a barbeque.”
I agree with the other human, and in my anger I strike him with my last root strike for suggesting such an abhorrent idea.
In a flash, it kills him, as it went right through his armor and his heart.
“Fuck! The druid is still around.” The soldiers look around, and they spread out.
An hour later they all return.
“What should we do with the bodies”
“Pile them up with the tree and burn them.
Don’t want them turning into undead or zombies, or food for the demons.”
The humans stack and pile the elves around me, and then start a fire.
I feel helpless.
So very helpless.
The fire did not hurt me much, even though I look like I am charred.
And more importantly, the six in my secret hideout is still safe and alive.
The humans left after three hours, deciding their raid is over.
The elven corpses, the heat and fire cook and roast them, and slowly they turn into ash.
The fire rages.
The elves in the hideout shivers.
They are afraid, I can sense it.
Their body weak, so I use [nourish], restoring their body strength.
So many dead.
Is is my fault Why did I not ask them to send the 5 men to the army anyway No.
I may have a part, but they decided it.
Maybe I have a role, my lack of knowledge of the tensions between humans and elves, and weakness and inability to protect those who give me a place in their lives.
So many, dead.
The fire burns into the night.
Though intense, my trunk and branches are fine, the surface blackened.
This pain pales in comparison to what I felt before.
The death that I see stirs something, a desire, a fury, a need.
I, must change.
I have wasted my last 70 years in this world, taking things as they come.
As a result, everywhere I go, I am a bystander, with too little power to intervene meaningfully.
I, must be a whole lot stronger.
Else these deaths, of those around me will never end.
[Ricola Searwind and six others died]
[You gain a total of 13 levels]
[You are now level 63]
[You have unlocked the next species change, upgraded from spiritual tree to magical tree]
[Secret hideout upgraded]
[Camouflage & illusions upgraded]
[Spirit Collection upgraded]
[Essence harvesting obtained]