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|It had been a long time since Starshadow had liberated his people from goblin rule and taken his rightful place upon the throne of Crystalmyst. But where did all the goblins go?||
It was Spring in Crystalmist, and there were few visions more lovely than a Springtime forest in the land of Faerie. Huge oaks and maples spread their limbs with verdant green, towering over the blue spruce and fey fir that canopied the wood in wintertime. Sunlight fell in dappled rays through the leafy thatch to light atop the myriad flowers beginning to blossom upon the forest floor.
This was the time of year that the unicorn would show itself, a garland of flowers, provided by the fairies, hanging about its neck, denoting its place of honor among the beings of Crystalmist. The unicorn could be seen prancing through the wood, thrilling to the sound of the syrinx, as the satyrs played and frolicked in their chase of the nymphs and dryads.
The music was so lovely, that even the loch Undine, the infamous water nymph, would swim to the shore and wade in the shallows, enjoying the sound of the Spring celebration of life.
While amongst the elven folk, the maidens ran through the forest, in search of safety from the lust-driven satyrs, the young elven men sought out careless dryads with whom they could sow their wild oats.
These were some of the Springtime activities of Crystalmist's flora and fauna for time immemorial. The fey live for the Spring, and through the joys of love, lust, laughter, dance and play, they celebrate the gifts of their goddess. In the forest and in the palace of Moonbeam, the wine and song were incessant.
But not all of Crystalmist's inhabitants were children of Danu, and while the fey reveled, there were those that brooded, nursing their hatred and old wounds.
At the farthest reaches of Crystalmist, days beyond the most remote habitations of the most reclusive leprechaun, there abided the Outlands, home of the outcast denizens of Crystalmist. All manner of dark creatures, shunned, exiled and banished, dwelt in this domain. Some were alive, others dead and undead. Many doomed to eternal torment, some repelled by arcane magic, others existing there by their own twisted desires. Occasionally, some would venture into the forest proper: the Ban Sidhe, at times of death, would emerge from the swamp. The Phooka at Samhain, called All Hallows by the humans of this world, would sometimes be seen. The gremlins would also trespass on all sorts of odd occasions, giving way to their thoughtless chaotic natures.
There was one variety that had not been seen in almost a decade, though they once were plentiful in the forest. For over a hundred years, the goblins had ruled Crystalmist, enslaving the elves, raping the nymphs, hunting the unicorns and devouring the fairies. That was before the king returned.
Long ago the forest of Crystalmist had been ruled by a wise and just king by the name of Moonbeam. Moonbeam and his wife Juniper were gracious to all of the good Faerie races, respectful of the mystical beasts, such as the unicorns and manticores, and tolerant of the mischievous goblins, gremlins, imps and such. He and the Dwarf King to the north were tolerant of each other, and old enmities were forgotten by even the oldest of the fey. The divers creatures were all facets of the same Faerie gem, and no creature alive was forbidden to walk the forest or share in its bounty, so long as they followed the few laws set in place by the king.
Yet Moonbeam's kindness may have been his undoing, and he discovered too late the plot to rob him of his life, family and kingdom. Once the war had begun, the king had the foresight to insure the kingdom's future in case of his defeat. He placed his magical family heirloom, along with his only son and a brief message, into a Faerie Ring, transporting them to an elvish couple that dwelt in the Forest of Everlasting Green on the other side. During the war, Queen Juniper gave birth to a girl child. This child they meant to keep by them, so that they would enjoy the company of a child if the war was won. But the battle raged against them, and in their darkest hour, the girl child was sent off with a trusted officer to be placed into the Faerie Ring. Perhaps in this way, she could avoid the goblin slavers or their dinner plates, and possibly reunite with her surviving family member, her brother. In this way, the line could be preserved, and perhaps one day, either son or daughter might return to claim the crown.
After many years, the reunion occurred. Brother met sister and all was well for them. Then, through prophetic dreams and the guidance of a magical steed, who unbeknownst to the prince, was his reincarnated father, Moonbeam's son came into his own. Traveling to Crystalmist through the same Faerie Ring, with magical weapons and tools provided by his friends and family, the rightful king returned to free his people. Slaying the Goblin King with his own hands, he and his people chased the remnant into the Outlands and banished all malevolent creatures from his realm.
But history is written by the victors, and the losers seldom believe the outcome of any war to be just or true. The time arrived when the son of the Goblin King decided to take back what was rightfully his. Now in the goblin caves in the Outlands of Crystalmist, Slagmok Gordurath readied himself for war.
While elves live for many centuries and are slow to procreate, goblins are short lived and prolific. In the short time between the end of the war and now, the small band of escapees had become a flourishing tribe; young, strong and eager for vengeance. While elves train long with sword and bow, learning to kill quickly, gracefully and efficiently, with little desire to inflict pain in the process, goblins delight in maiming, rending and unmaking, and they do so with relish and glee. And while goblins are dull and stupid, heeding not past mistakes nor learning from old lessons, elves, despite their wisdom, grow complacent, and trust too much to the natural order of things good and pure.
The King's Guard patrolled the borderlands with sharp blades and sharper eyes for several years, but the goblins had not made a move. As time passed, they patrolled less, and spent their time more and more with the better things in life. The King had other allies as well, and magical devices, like his heirloom, the Moonbeam Elfstone, to warn him of harm. But with the approach of Spring, the inhabitants of Crystalmist gave little thought to unthinkable goblin uprisings, and it was hardly common knowledge that the king had lost the Elfstone, which might have alerted him to the problem.
And so it was that in the Springtime, one year ago, events began to unfold. As Starshadow Moonbeam, King of Crystalmist, lay bound to a table in Neftah's hall, the new Goblin King began plotting his revenge in earnest. At the very moment that the Queen of the Unseelie had torn the Elfstone from the neck of the absentee King, Slagmok was giving orders to his bodyguards to assemble the troops for an urgent meeting.
And in the Summer, while the defeated wood elf returned to his chosen clan, bearing the burden of a Spirit Leech in his heart, rather than an Elfstone upon his breast, messengers were sent to the mountains in the north. There they would seek aid from their kin and allies, who were always well armed in defense of the dwarves of the Crystalmist Mountains.
On a Winter day when Arëanna and Cygnus transferred the Spirit Leech to the Tantro Staff, the mountain goblins, with the help of a few renegade dwarves, were amassing an arsenal of weapons to match those held by the elves of Crystalmist. The Dwarven King knew nothing of these events, for he too had become at ease, having had no problems since the war.
In the new Spring, as Master Coll took the Sleepy Satyr Tavern into another plane, so that the Spirit Leech could be banished for good, the goblins began shipping troops and arms around the outskirts of the forest to rendezvous with Slagmok's people. When the Spring reached its climax, the creatures of Crystalmist celebrated the season while their king joined his chosen clan in their own Springfest. While he did so, Gordurath the Goblin King prepared to strike.
|The Staroidal Sphere (Part 5 of 5)||Hunters Moon|
|The Staroidal Sphere (Part 2 of 5)||Shadows in the Sand|
|Shadows of the Future||Shadow Over Crystalmyst|