**** Note: If you find yourself a bit confused on this story... keep reading. It will come together in the end. Also, be sure to read "Closure" for an added bonus, and check out my Mega Fan Fiction Hangout for all the goods.
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“Everyone get in the wagon!” Mitchell shouted.
In the easternmost province of Eschalon lies an enormous body of freshwater. The lake extends for almost half the length of the Thaermore peninsula. In fact, between the lake and the connecting Nimmia River, Eastern Thaermore is nearly a gigantic island of its own.
“Grandfather, get in the wagon! We haven’t much time!” An explosion on the north island punctuated the urgency in his voice.
Current methods have proven unsuccessful in charting the depths of this near inland sea, aptly earning it the name of Bottomless Lake. There have been claims that an underground channel connects the lake to the northern sea, but this is generally dismissed by the observation that only trace amounts of salinity have been detected in water samples.
“Alley, honey, get in the wagon! We can come back for Mr. Toddles later!” Mitchell grabbed his daughter, who was crying for her stuffed animal, and literally threw her up into the covered wagon.
There is a consensus by experts that either an underground spring or river must be connected to the lake. The runoff from the Barrier Range would not be nearly enough to supply the lake, especially considering the size of the Nimmia River.
“Hurry, Mitchell! I can see them!” His wife was at the reins, having trouble keeping the horse calm. They had been able to hide the mare when the Guard had come to collect all of the healthy ones. It had required but a small bribe to a former comrade-in-arms.
Recent discoveries by scholars of ancient documents and partial maps have revealed that the lake may not have always existed in its current form. The maps show that there was only a river that ran the length of the peninsula. Rough translations of the documents tell of a battle between two powerful wizards that tore the land asunder, creating a rift that was eventually filled in with water. When inquired about at Shadowmirk, the mages therein would provide no information to deny or support that story.
“I’ll catch up with you later,” He lied. “Make your way to Blackwater!” Mitchell slapped the mare’s hindquarters, and she reared up before bolting, hauling the wagon along at a dangerous speed.
In the shallows of the southeastern shore of the Bottomless Lake are three small islands. It is on these islands that the establishment of Vela is situated. With a population at this writing of less than one hundred inhabitants, it is a close-knit community comprised mainly of fishermen and their families. Their primary commodity is platefish, whose scales are extremely sturdy and often used for manufacturing equestrian armor.
Mitchell ran back into his house and retrieved his sword and bow from underneath the bed. Being the only village member with a military background, he would be needed to help secure the escape of the women, children, and elderly. Slinging a quiver over his shoulder, he left the house and headed for the middle island.
Originally founded on the middle island, the village has since grown to encompass all three, with floating bridges built between. The bridges are secured to sunken poles with belknap, a kelp-like weed that grows in the shallows around the islands. It is a very hearty weed, and the local wives weave it into rope that is claimed to be as strong as steel chains.
When he arrived, the goblins were already invading the middle island. The men of the village were managing to hold them back but with their steadily increasing numbers it was only a matter of time before they would have overwhelming superiority. Seeing Mitchell gave the rest of the villagers a morale boost. They cheered, and actually started pushing the goblins back almost to the north bridge.
The residents of Vela are a private people, distrusting of outsiders. But gain their trust, and you will be treated like family. Shop owners are often known to give discounts to friends, yet it is not unheard of to charge double what an item is worth to a stranger. Regardless, they are a tough breed and a hard-working group, and the quality of their products is quickly becoming legendary.
He fired off another salvo of arrows, felling three goblins in an instant. The little green monsters had begun to push back, and the villagers were quickly losing ground. Edwin the blacksmith, who was a bear of a man, came roaring out of his shop with a huge double-edged axe that Mitchell had never seen. He swung it in a wide arc that beheaded three goblins and nearly severed a fourth in half. I guess he was holding out on me, keeping the good stuff for himself...
There has been some concern over the safety of the village, with the recent explosion of goblin population and increased activity from brigands. When questioned as to why they refused the offer of having a military outpost stationed nearby, the current mayor had this to say:
“We’re plenty capable of defending ourselves out here. Besides, this is a remote village, and has no strategic value. Why in the world would anyone want to attack us?”
As Edwin was attempting to remove is axe from another goblin, he failed to hear Mitchell’s warning. A goblin bombthug rounded the corner of a house and bolted right for him. By the time he looked up it was too late. The explosion tore a hole in the side of the house, and Mitchell hit the ground as the top of a battle-axe flew through the space where his head just was.
In the end, the village of Vela is a small but thriving community that has become quite prosperous in recent years. Never has this author seen such a devoted number of friends and family work together without conflict. So impressed was he that by the time this information booklet is available to read, the author will have settled down for a permanent residence in the village, proud husband and father-to-be. It is a village with a bright future ahead, indeed.
At the sound of faint screaming, he spun around. Off in the distance, his wife had only just made it off the islands to the main road. Some of the village men had defended the wagon, which was almost clear of the battle. However she was still having trouble with the horse, and approaching it at a high speed was a bombthug. Mitchell thrust his sword into the ground and strung his last arrow. The arrow flew true, and the goblin hit the ground. However, the volatile contents of his barrel detonated prematurely, and the explosion sent the wagon flying.
“ELIZABETH!!!” He fell to his knees, but had little time to grieve. The goblin arrows finally found their mark, and several sprouted from his chest. Well, we’ll be together sooner than I thought, Elizabeth... and Alley. With visible effort, he stood, and pulled his sword from the ground. Scanning the battlefield with fading vision, he located his target. With his remaining strength, he threw the longsword. It flew end over end, until it came to a violent rest in the chest of the newly arrived goblin warlord. Mitchell fell backwards, a smile forming on his face. Soon.
The Garrison Commander put down the report. “Any survivors?”
“They’re still looking, sir. There were some tracks leading from an overturned wagon into the woods. Human tracks. They sent Corporal Randall and a squad of men in to search.” His aide placed some documents on his desk.
“Make sure they keep going until they find the owners of those tracks. Did they locate him?”
“No sir. They didn’t find his body, but his bow was nearby and his sword was discovered in a goblin warlord’s chest.”
“Very well, let me know the results once the search is complete. That will be all, Claire.” She inclined her head and left his office.
I should have never let him retire. The Commander got up and walked towards his window. He would have made a damn fine general someday. After gazing at the setting sun for a short period, he turned towards his bookcase and selected a small, thin booklet. The title simply read: “Vela”. He turned the booklet over; in small print on the bottom, “An Informational Booklet by Sgt. Mitchell Farland”.