Battle of Yrcrost
One night Corellon awoke from sleep in his tent and went out into the night. There stood a great Unicorn, the most beautiful he had ever seen, shining with a silver light like the moon itself. She turned and cantered off into the trees, and he felt compelled to follow her. She led him on and on, while night-birds sang softly all around him and fireflies lit the shadows. Eventually the two of them came to a mighty ring of trees, taller than the tallest towers Corellon had ever seen in the land of his birth. The Unicorn led him through them to a huge clearing floored with lush green grass studded with silver flowers. In the very center of the clearing she stopped and turned to the young Elf, and he came cautiously up to her, astounded that she allowed him to approach so close. Then he saw that at her feet was a mighty sword, with a long broad blade, stout silver hand-guard, and ivory-white pommel bearing a large green gem. Etched down the blade on both sides in the Elven tongue were the words: “I am the wolf’s teeth, the storm’s lightning, the moon’s light on the darkest mere.” This was the Sword of Ehlonna, which the Kings and Queens of Eliondé have worn for century upon century.
The Unicorn spoke to Corellon then, and no tale tells of what exactly was said between them. But when he returned with the dawn, his wife, Sehanine, looked on him and saw a light of wisdom far beyond his years in his eyes; and he carried the sword in a jeweled scabbard. The first thing he said when he came up to her was simply: “The Orcs are coming.”
And they came. At first they were reluctant to enter Ehlonna’s woods, fearful of the lurking menace which seemed to brood in the shadows beneath the trees. But Gruumsh stormed forward, felling trees right and left with single swings of his mighty spear and leaving them to rot on the ground, and his followers trampled over the fallen trunks, gaining courage from their god-tyrant’s disdain for the power of the Forest-Goddess.
Elven scouts returned to Corellon with tales of the destruction, and the Elves were enraged; for already a bond of love had grown between them and the woods themselves, and the Goddess who watched over them. After so long running in fear, and suffering the loss of friends and loved ones and all that they’d once held dear, they had once again found something worth fighting for beyond their own lives – and, of course, their thirst for vengeance.
They had a military council, and when the matter of the demi-god Gruumsh was brought up, Corellon surprised the assembly by showing no concern whatsoever. He simply said, “If it is my fate, I will slay the beast.” Somehow his words put them at peace, and the Elves assembled all their warriors for what they felt sure was the final battle in a long and bitter war.
So came the Battle of Yrcrost, or Orcfall in the Elven tongue. For the Elves won the day, against all odds. It was Ehlonna’s aid which saved them. For Gruumsh came to the fore, scattering terrified elves with the aura of his power – but Corellon stood alone against him, a shining figure before the oncoming mass of shadow, and his sword glowed with a golden light like the noon-day sun. And the Elves and Orcs all watched in awe as the two fought, and for a while it seemed that Corellon could match the living god blow-for-blow, and the Sword of Ehlonna defended his flesh from Gruumsh’s awful spear.
But Corellon was still of mortal flesh, and his arms tired from the strain of prolonged combat, and his will began to falter under the constant assault of Gruumsh’s demonic power. Then the god-tyrant pierced the Elf’s breast with his bitter spear, and Corellon fell dying before him. Gruumsh roared in triumph, the terrible sound echoed by all his host, and the Elves cried out in horror, knowing their deaths were near.
But a white streak like a lightning-bolt flew across the field, and Gruumsh staggered back, snarling in rage and disbelief. The great Unicorn stood over the fallen Corellon, and she was clad now for war, with great plates of armor covering her flanks and face – all made seemingly of tree-bark, yet harder than the strongest steel. She was Ehlonna incarnate, the avatar of the Forest-Goddess, and her brilliant aura stung the eyes of the Orcs. The Elves stood in awed silence as Ehlonna bent her head to Corellon’s chest, and Corellon gave a clear cry which echoed across the battle-field. Ehlonna’s image seemed to fade, to pass into the fallen Elf’s form, and he seemed to grow suddenly in stature and in power, and his sword became a terrible flame as he stood once more, blood pouring still from his wound, yet his eyes blazing with wrath.
Then he and Gruumsh fought in earnest, and both took many wounds, but the Sword of Ehlonna split the Spear of Gruumsh, and Corellon plunged his blade through the Orc-God’s left eye, slaying him and sending his spirit howling into the darkness. Then Corellon collapsed as the Elves roared in triumph and surged forward, and the Orcs shrieked in fear to see their God slain, and the people of Corellon chased their enemies back into the mountains, slaying them as they ran. The Orcs have never since been united in war, and have often been content simply to war among themselves, and upon the other savage races of the mountains, or to prey upon those who wander in the Redwind Wastes beyond the Cloud Peaks.
The body of Corellon was ruined, marked up and down with grievous wounds, and he died there on the field with Sehanine weeping over him, and his people hanging their heads in sorrow all around him. But as his spirit quit its house of flesh, Ehlonna’s spirit went with him, and the Goddess gave him a great gift: she infused him with great power, so that he became a God himself, and to this day the Elves worship him as their protector and the forefather of their Kings and Queens; and the soldiers of Eliondé revere Corellon as their eternal General, and pray to him to guide their swords and arrows in times of war. And Corellon returned to Sehanine in a dream, blessing her and comforting her with the knowledge that he would always be with her and with their children; and Sehanine became the first Queen of Eliondé, by unanimous acclamation of the Elven Host, and Corellon’s son Tharanel, who had been but an infant at the time of his father’s death, became King when Sehanine died. And at Corellon’s request, Ehlonna also elevated Sehanine to godhood, where she remains Corellon’s consort and councilor, the matron of Elven mothers, and of archers and hunters.
The spirit of Gruumsh fled into darkness, and wandered for many years through nether planes, regaining strength. Eventually he returned to the Material Plane, exerting his influence over the shamans and chieftains of the myriad Orcish clans; for he has always been a masterful brute, wishing to command the unquestioning loyalty of all Orcs and the fear of all others.