Defenders of Ulthuan/Sons of Ellyrion
A Black Library two part series set in the Warhammer Fantasy setting depicting a recent invasion from the Dark Elves of Naggaroth upon Ulthuan and the High Elves. Although these books are two parts of the same story, they are not counted as being part of a larger named story.
|This article contains spoilers! You have been warned.|
A High Elf washes up on shore off the coast of Saphery, suffering from memory loss and carrying a non-elven dagger which cannot be drawn from its sheath. The castaway is found and rescued by an elf maiden who is the daughter of Anurion the Green. Meanwhile, an elven Prince of Ellyrion called Eldain mourns the loss of his brother Caelir as his wife Rhianna and the household suffer. The castaway is taken to Teclis to have his mind, which has an enchantment upon it blocking his memory, uncursed. After a night of passion with his wife, Eldain received a summons from his father-in-law Archmage Mitherion, who specialized in the Lore of Heavens and thus had foretold many futures, that an important foresight depends upon Eldain traveling to the Tower of Hoeth.
Meanwhile, Malekith took half the Dark Elf army (and its entire navy) and attacks Ulthuan's capital Lothern to avenge Eltharion's raid on Naggarond. Morathi manipulated a large group of Warriors of Chaos to march with her army under the promise that their leader, Slaanesh's champion, can have sex with her, and the rest of the Dark Elf forces as well as the Warriors of Chaos forces attack western Ulthuan and lay siege to one of the great Gates protecting the outer kingdoms from the inner ones. As Teclis began to undo the magic of the castaway's curse, a powerful surge of dark magic erupted, burning Teclis horribly and painfully consuming the elf maiden - body and soul - to power another spell hidden within the first elf that opened a portal to the Warp. Daemons surge forth and attack the tower, killing many. The elf fled, but not before Eldain and his wife Rhianna get a good look at him. It's revealed that the castaway elf is actually Eldain's lost brother Caelir, who was said to have fallen while the two partook of Eltharion's raid on Naggarond. It's also revealed that Caelir was originally betrothed to Rhianna, who had later turned to Eldain in her grief over Caelir's loss.
Still tortured by memories he barely recalls, Caelir is driven against his will to travel to Avelorn to seek out the Everqueen. He ingratiated himself with a band of performers seeking favor within her court using skills and talents he knew he does not naturally possess. Meanwhile, Eldain and Rhianna rode to Avelorn seeking Caelir. Upon meeting the Everqueen, the spell on Caelir's mind unlocked and he is filled with the horrific tortures inflicted upon him by Dark Elf Slaaneshi worshipers. The unlocked spell also made Caelir draw the dagger against his will and plunge it into Alarielle's heart. Now free of the spell, Caelir is horrified by his unwilling actions and fled, pursued by Alarielle's bodyguards and admirers who don't know he did it unwillingly due to magic.
The Everqueen entity preserved Alarielle's life, then awakened her under its merciless influence. She commanded Eldain and Rhianna come before her. Under the Everqueen's stern gaze, Eldain confessed the truth of Caelir's disappearance; Caelir was injured as Eltharion's forces fled the Dark Elves following the latter's poisoning, and Eldain left Caelir behind to die so he could marry Rhianna instead. Rhianna is naturally horrified and enraged upon finding out and all but divorced him on the spot. Alarielle then banishes Eldain and summons an army to march against Morathi's. By this point, the Phoenix Gate had fallen after a Dark Elf assassin killed the garrison's commanding officer and his highly incompetent and arrogant successor was assassinated by his own men. A High Elf army made up of most of the western forces that can be mustered quickly (mostly Ellyrion) gather to stop them. Meanwhile Phoenix King Finubar himself fought alongside Tyrion and Korhil with Ulthuan's southern armies to beat back the Dark Elves. Sea Lord Aislinn and the entire High Elf fleet that were in the area were destroyed (although Aislinn later turned up alive, saved by his own god Mathlann).
Meanwhile Caelir, having regained his memory including knowledge of Eldain's betrayal, headed to the family's home and waited to confront Eldain. Eldain arrived and the recriminations were fierce, followed by Caelir thrashing Eldain within an inch of his life. This only stopped when Eldain confessed all the bitterness and envy he had for Caelir and why. The two accept the past, and don their armor and mounts to ride in defense of Ulthuan.
In the western battle, Anurion is torn apart with his skin turned to a flag by Chaos Warriors. The Everqueen meets the champion of Slaanesh on the battlefield as he was charging with the intention of violating her (literally stated in the book), and she instead takes his hand and purges him of all Slaanesh's gifts. She sees his soul, and how he deep down feels guilt about sacrificing his wife and children for attractive looks and Slaanesh's favor, and forgives his soul making it once again his own. She lets him go and like a rope in tug of war that's been let go on one side, Slaanesh's energies drown the champion's body and morphs him into a Chaos Spawn that is then killed by the two brothers. Meanwhile in the southern battle, the High Elves are losing badly. The Phoenix Guard and Caradryan show up, which is a pretty damn good indicator that Finubar is about to die. Malekith has apparently learned words that can manipulate reality, and shouts like the Dragonborn and destroys chunks of the city.
Morathi flees the western battle on a winged demon horse towards the vortex in the center of Ulthuan. The two brothers follow along with Rhianna (who stopped loving Eldain after learning of his betrayal and is once again in love with Caelir). Upon reaching the Island of the Dead, the trio are separated by magic where Eldain has a pleasant chat with the anthropomorphic manifestation of Death. Upon finding each other again, Caelir exclaims that he met their father.
The trio reach the vortex, maintained by a series of High Elf mages stuck outside of time casting the spell that keeps the Warp separate from the material plane, several of which Morathi has stabbed to death. Caledor the Dragontamer appears, as an emaciated skeleton wreck, and tells Morathi he never liked her. She attempts to undo the spell keeping the material plane separate from the Warp and Caledor lashes out, searing her mind and driving her further insane. She flees with her very soul bleeding. Caledor calls upon Rhianna to stay and take the place of one of the slain mages to keep the spell at full power, since she is his descendant. Traumatized by his experiences at the hands of the Dark Elves and Eldain's betrayal, Caelir requested to accompany Rhianna into the Vortex, which Caledor allowed. The two lovers are trapped in magical amber together, leaving Eldain all alone.
Upon the spell in the center of Ulthuan being strengthened, Teclis is healed of his wounds and magics himself away to the western battle where with one single spells he destroys the entire Dark Elf and Chaos army in a whirlwind of flames. Though physically weakened now, Teclis alive and stronger than ever. Alarielle returned to Avelorn, her wound entirely healed.
In the southern front, Eltharion the Grim holds off Malekith and his dragon from gryphonback until Imrik finally arrived with dragons. Imrik and Malekith do battle in the sky, with Malekith's dragon being blinded and crippled and flying away while Malekith himself bleeds badly in the saddle, his magic shield lost in the waves of Ulthuan. The remaining Dark Elves are defeated to the last. Upon being asked why the Phoenix Guard had come despite Finubar surviving, Caradryan smiled and pointed to a statue of Finubar that was destroyed before his warriors turn and leave with him at the head.
EPILOGUE: Eldain returned to his home, wracked with guilt over all the harm his betrayal of Caelir caused and grieving for the loss of him and Rhianna. For months he spoke to nobody, let the house fall into disrepair and nearly starved to death from barely eating. One day, Caradryan arrived at Eldain's house and handed him a suit of Phoenix Guard armor. The two travel to the Shrine of Asuryan, where Eldain realized and accepted his new role as a member of the Phoenix Guard.
While the book is considered fairly slow and at times the characters and plot are predictable, the fight scenes are well described. The real interest of the book is that High Elf daily life is actually described, and well, fleshing in a previously unseen part of the setting. Generally speaking it's well received among Fantasy players.
|The High Elves and their gods of Warhammer Fantasy|
|Characters:||Eltharion - Everqueen - Teclis - Tyrion - Prince Imrik - Alith Anar|
|Cadai:||Asuryan - Hoeth - Isha - Kurnous - Lileath - Loec - Mathlann - Vaul|
|Cytharai:||Addaioth - Anath Raema - Atharti - Drakira|
Eldrazor - Ellinill - Ereth Khial - Estreuth - Hekarti
Hukon - Khaine - Ladrielle - Morai-Heg - Nethu
|Events:||The War of the Beard - The invasion of Naggaroth|
|Misc:||Ulthuan - The Vortex - Waystone - Widowmaker|
|Appearances:||Blood Bowl - Dreadfleet - Mordheim - Warhammer Fantasy Battle|