Crimson Legacy by Len Weatherly
Lady Swarmstrike heard the shuffle of her daughter’s feet as she returned from her classes at the Crimson Academy. The lady of the house was pouring over some old tomes, and spoke over her left shoulder toward the hallway.
“How was your training today?”
There was only silence. It was not the first time Swarmstrike had been ignored by her daughter; so, she simply tucked her dark curls behind her pointed ear and continued her reading. Lady Swarmstrike’s face was flawlessly smooth, which belied her nearly three hundred years of life. She had seen many battles, but her visage still seemed that of a young girl. It had taken Swarmstrike much longer to settle down and have children due to her travelling across Delphia. She had not been prepared to have sole responsibility of her daughter, but the death of her husband left her unprepared for a lot of things.
Then Swarmstrike heard a sound she was not expecting, the light and hopeless sigh of her daughter. The lady slowly turned to see the young elf leaning in the doorframe, one arm across her torso and the other dangling down with parchment clutched in her slender fingers.
Her daughter, Greyhaven raised her hand and extended the letter but kept her silver eyes lowered. “They are wrong,” she muttered as her mother pulled the note away. As Lady Swarmstrike read the words, Greyhaven put her back on the doorframe and crossed both arms in a defensive posture.
Your daughter, Greyhaven, disrupted my class discussion today when she decided to argue the role humans and dwarves played in the War of Horded Magic. It is our duty to instill the correct teachings of that part of history. Apparently, Greyhaven’s grandfather has filled her mind with stories that simply are not true. However, your daughter refused to relent and was thus sent from my class. Any further instance such as this will result in her immediate expulsion from this academy.
With warmth that neither Greyhaven nor Swarmstrike expected, the mother uncoiled her daughter’s arms and embraced her. There were several moments of silence as the two women let years of unspoken anger and resentment at the loss of their husband and father die. The realization that they now only had one another settled over them. For too many years, Swarmstrike had buried herself in her books while Greyhaven found solace in her painting.
Finally, Greyhaven exploded into an explanation. “Vonorola said that the dwarves closed themselves up in Dundersnuff to save themselves while the rest of the world burned, but Pops told me the dwarves closed their gates only after the majority of refugees from the surrounding areas were inside; AND that most of the dwarven soldiers were dispatched out to fight evil. Pops said that we were the ones that ‘tried to hide under the supposed safety of neutrality’. Mom, they are not teaching us what really happened. Vonorola told us that most of the humans fought alongside Rainor, but I know that is isn’t right. Pops said that the humans made some of the greatest sacrifices of all time during that war.”
“I had no idea that this is what the academy is teaching now,” Swarmstrike said, shocked.
Immediately, mother and daughter made their way to the Crimson Academy. Swarmstrike, because of her father’s legacy, was not questioned in any manner as she quickly paced through the halls looking for Professor Vonorola.
She found the teacher and cornered her in the hallway. “You claim to be telling our children the truth about the past, but you vomit lies and then blame the stench on my child. You will no longer be teaching at this Academy, if I have anything to do with it. I promise you that.”
“I teach the curriculum assigned to me, nothing more,” Vonorola stated in a stoic tone. “If you have a problem, take it to Marcev.”
“I plan to,” Lady Swarmstrike answered.
“I heard my name?” Marcev, the highest ranking official in the Crimson Academy had obviously been told of Swarmstrike’s presence on the school grounds and had made his way to see her.
Swarmstrike explained about the fallacies in Vonorola’s teaching, and was surprised at the regal elf’s response.
“Your words are far more venomous than the hordes of vermin you summon forth. Be away, and know that none of your blood line will ever be Crimson Elite.”
“My family will always hold true to the core values of what it means to Crimson, long after your spires collapse and your books burned. When the races you sneer and gawk at march upon the bodies of your deceased, we will remain Crimson. When the very soil of Alhaven drinks your blood and the carrion birds blot the sun, we will remain Crimson.”
They were banished from Alhaven that very day, escorted out by two armored guards. Swarmstrike left her tome open on the table. Greyhaven did not bring her expensive paints. They had the truth, and now they had each other.