From an untitled fantasy project in an untitled fantasy world (the same world as Fate and Second Chances).
For more than two hundred years, Felicitiana Solonastarn-Kindaer Verrel has ruled Kel Carridal, the shining jewel of Valellen, the sacred city amidst the ancient trees, capital of the Elven Kingdom of Valyn in centuries long since passed. It is a city, a nation that she wrested from the grip of fel powers such as the devil Grendalis and his minions, who had held the city for more than a thousand years.
The fel powers would never forgive her for it.
In the past centuries, the forces of Kel Carridal—drawn largely from the exiled elves of Kel Dannan, who lost their home to similar powers and civil strife within a decade of the recapturing of Kel Carridal—had crafted lasting peace, especially after they liberated the subterranean city of Tyr Evlanarnon from the same fel powers that had held Kel Carridal. That was nearly a century ago.
Fifty years ago, the Wraithien came. Sentient undead, they poured from the blight that has since come to be known as the Spawn Lands, nestled in the heart of the continent, far to the southwest of Valellen and Jalanthe, far to the southeast of Port Valens and the Dravenwood. The Spawn Lands have only grown since the first of the Wraithien emerged from it. They overwhelmed the nearby settlements, forcing their way out of the Spawn Lands in every direction, laying waste wherever they went. Some places withstood them—the Dravenwood thwarted them, halting their advance toward Port Valens; they never managed to press further north in that region, not much past the highway that wends east-west between Port Valens and Jalanthe. Still, the road is a dangerous one; many travelers have been overrun by the Wraithien each year, disappearing into their camps and settlements…most never to be seen again.
The furthest north that the Wraithien have managed to press is up across the northern mountain ranges, through the region northeast of Valellen. Kel Terradoc fell not too many years ago and has since become a stronghold for the Wraithien in the north.
In Kel Carridal, they’ve known of the Wraithien almost since their first appearance—citizens of Valellen were along with one of the first caravans to be attacked by the Wraithien. Seven were killed, a bare handful returned home from that first fateful encounter. Few who are captured—and only a bare few are captured, most usually die before the Wraithien can take them—ever return. No one knows what becomes of them. Queen Felicitiana, however, has urged caution; she is unwilling to commit her nation to a war when so much is still unknown about the Wraithien threat.
Of course, the Wraithien have already declared their war. Still, they do not range too closely to Kel Carridal proper—their noses have been bloodied one too many times for that. In the years since their rise, despite her reluctance to wage all-out war against this new enemy, Felicitiana has authorized the creation of a standing militia. This militia, largely consistent of elven rangers and the like, have been counter-raiding against the Wraithien, and this has largely discouraged encroachment. The last handful of years have seen even more extensive counter-raiding, to the point of destruction of some Wraithien camps.
What horrors they have seen. By the gods, what horrors they have seen.
— From the Annals of Xerafeln Kindaer, brother to the Grey Lady, Queen Felicitiana of Valyn
Copyright 2007-2011 Erin Klitzke.