by Aaron Nowack
Duke Alvar of Haifen rode down the mountain path followed by his small force. His shield bore his personal device, the forked river symbol of Haifen with a small tower in a corner. The tower was the emblem of the Guardians of Asagmar, a group dedicated to defending the nation from the goblins. The Duke sighed. The goblins had come pouring through the Telar Pass, the easiest route through the Mountains of Tavar over fifty years ago. Telar had soon fallen, and one of the four Dukes with it. The Cedonians had been more a hindrance than a help in fighting them off. So Alvar's good friend Obinah, the figurehead King and Duke of Asagmar, had taken control. And as for the Cedonians, they hadn't even decided that the attacks were anything to worry about until the capital had nearly fallen in an assault fifteen years previous.
Alvar had manage to save his friend then, but he wondered if he could this time. Most of his army was attempting to liberate Jorgan. He ran his fingers through his graying hair. All this time he had effortlessly been controlling his Raken mount. However, he stopped when he encountered a similarly mounted warrior on the path in front of him. The warrior's shield bore the mountain symbol of the Crusaders of Tavar, who traveled through the mountains to strike at the goblins from behind. Alvar recognized this warrior. He was Duke Dargon of Jorgan, forced to flee when his city fell.
At Alvar's nod, he fell in behind Alvar, and his men emerged from the mountains, following along. No words were necessary. They had worked together long enough that there was a nearly telepathic understanding between them. The new arrivals nearly doubled the size of the Asagmari force, but they still might not be enough.
A few hours later, the city of Asagmar was in site. The smoke from numerous fires filled the air. The bodies of countless goblins and humans lay entertwined on the battlefield. Even from this distance, it was obvious who had been victorious. Asagmar had fallen. Alvar was determined that it would not stay that way. He drew his sword. He held it out in front of him pointing at the city. With a wordless cry on his lips, he led the charge, scattering the goblins before him...
Asagmar had been retaken, but not for long. The King's body was nowhere to be found, leading to the assumption that he had been captured by the goblins. Alvar was asked to accept the crown. He refused, but stated that he would rule for the vanished king, but not as King. Thus he became Asagmar's first Regent...