Alonza of the Browns Clan sat quietly in his place in the Great Hall of High Peaks. His soft brown robes were not as elaborate as the Blues, nor were they as comfortable as the Greens, they were, however, extremely functional when sword or scythe were needed in a hurry.

     Across from him sat Greybeard of the Greens Clan, a nervous looking fellow, though his eyes were keen and sharp. To his right, along the expanse of the table, sat King Jor'ean and his generals. To his left sat Her'esh of the Blues Clan, a portly, but wise looking man of younger years than any there.

     Greybeard was at least three hundred, as Alonza himself was three hundred and twenty seven. Her'esh, though, looked to be only two hundred or so. Very young to be an Elder. He must be very powerful indeed.

     Alonza turned from the musings of his neighbors to the King as Jor'ean began to speak.

     "I know you all are wondering why the meeting of the Orders was called, why you are now sitting here. Well, I do not wish to delay your wonderings any longer. I have called the Orders as the Realm of High Peaks will soon enter into a great war."

     War. The word was bittersweet, but sweet nonetheless. Alonza sat in peaceful silence as Her'esh, Greybeard and the king's generals erupted into shouts of worry, concern and anger.

     As Jor'ean raised his voice to quiet the others, Alonza began to calculate the stratagy of battle, the dance and rhythm of the sword and the scythe, the feel of blood flowing.....ahhhhh, the desire of war.

     "Alonza? Alonza, are you listening?" came a voice next to his ear. Alonza glanced up to see Her'esh, standing next to him, gesturing towards Jor'ean. He then turned to watch as the King stood, raising his voice even more, quieting the group slowly.

     When they had all regained their seats and the voices had been reduced to a disquieted murmur, King Jor'ean looked carefully at everyone, before turning to face Alonza.

     "Elder Alonza of the Brown Druid, how speak ye in this matter."

     Alonza smiled. His Order was going to be ecstatic.

     Rising to his feet, Alonza opened the brown robes that cover the simple linen britches and tunic, proudly displaying the hand tooled belt and scabbard that housed his sword, Dragon's Tongue and his razorsharp scythe, Dragon's Tooth. The brilliant red sheen of the magic flickered across the blades, and as Alonza gripped both weapons, a deep, musical hum emminated from them.

     "The Clan of Brown will always be ready for war, Majesty. We train our lives for battle, our weapons are superior, our only goal in life is to die for King and Realm."

     Jor'ean smiled as Alonza took his seat.

     "I am thankful for that reassurance, Elder Alonza. The enemy we face is unknown and dangerous because of that very fact."

     Greybeard bolted to his feet, ignoring the custom of tapping the circle in front of him.

     "Your Majesty! Please! We must know what is happening, what we are facing! Please, tell us why we are here!'

     Alonza and He'esh raised eyebrows at the discourtesy Greybeard had shown, but as they too were curious, did not fuss.

     Jor'ean lowered his eyes to the table, sighing heavily before returning to his seat.

     "A few days ago," he began, "I received a letter from an unknown Druid. He gave his name only as Mithial Ringtail and stated that he had observed a vast army encamped in the Great Meadow that is surrounded by Dark Wood. I sent an aerial spy to verify this news and received confirmation that it is so. The army is not marked, but they appear to be Emperor lead. I can only assume they have come from the Barbarian lands across the Great Waters. Whomever they be, their intent cannot be good.

     This Mithial Ringtail stated that he and his mate would be arriving here at the Palace tonight to confer with us."

     He'esh looked up quickly at the mention of the mate. Following custom as only a good Blue would, he firmly knocked the blue circle in front of him, and waited for permission to speak.

     "Yes, Elder He'esh?" nodded Jor'ean.

     "Your Majesty, if I may be so bold to cast doubt on this Mithial Ringtail's credibilty, you see, mates among Druids has not occured in hundreds of years. A Brother might take a wife, but a mate, well, that implies the she is also Druid, and we know there are no women allowed in the Druid Orders." He'esh bowed his head at these last words.

     Jor'ean frowned thoughtfully.

     "Well, Elders, we will know tonight what our mysterious Druid is about. Until then, I suggest we retire. I know you have your Orders to consult and inform. We shall meet for supper in the Grand Hall at seven."

      And with the rising of the King, the three Elder Druids quietly went to their rooms, each wondering how to share such news with their world.

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