The Kelpie War

It is said that during the reign of our great and now deceased leader, Feather Beard III, The Kelpies started a bloody and woeful war with the wolves of Cairn Holme. Our cave dwelling cousins, forever bloodthirsty, had a long held hatred for the beasts which they saw as an abomination.

Young spratlings today may not realise, but the wolves of Cairn Holme, now seldom seen, are not simply doglike creatures. While wolves are rare in this part of the country, these creatures have been touched by the magic which emanates from the hills around us. They are said to communicate in a language which is clearly understandable to our own ears and also contains a deep earthy magic which allows them to communicate with nature around them.

The Kelpies, in their ignorance, decided that the wolves were merely hybrid mutations, creatures which had been formed because of their exposure to the land. As such, they did not deserve to live. They did not understand that we are all the earth's creations, and that without exposure to such magics, none of us would be what we are; may leaf and pool be praised.

So they sought to destroy the wolves, and in their arrogance, thought that this would be an easy task. Seeking out the home of the pack, they struck in the night, hoping to wipe out the creatures in one fell swoop.

The wolves, however, were a suspicious people, something which the Kelpies did not anticipate. They had sentries posted around their dwelling place in order to protect their cubs, and as the Kelpies marched, word was sent to their leaders of the coming army's approach.

So ensued a bloody battle in which many were lost on both sides. Unfortunately, it was not the only battle to take place between the two, and before long, a bloody feud had ensued. Each drop of blood spilled was an abomination to the land, and it began to tell.

The trees surrounding the valley began to warp with the bloody sacrifice being poured into their roots and some of the great creatures even developed a strange thirst for the savage offerings being made to the forests.

When it became clear that the continuing conflict was becoming apparent to the two-legs, Feather Beard in his wisdom decided that we, The Nuggies, should take action to end the bloodshed.

So, as we have on several other occasions throughout our history, we made contact with the Staff Wielder of the time, a humble man by the name of Caolin. Knowing his duty, he joined with us and together we set out to force the Kelpies and the Wolves to see sense and end their conflict.

Messengers were sent to both sides, and under protest, a summit was arranged to try and hammer out some kind of peace between the two. Under the magical laws which bind us all, no blood may be shed at such a meeting, lest those who shed it wish their people to be forever damned. And so, under duress, both sides met and said the sacred words before our own leader and the Staff Wielder, both bearing magical witness to the temporary truce.

Both now deeply suspicious of one another, each side had assembled an army at the summit, something which deeply disappointed Feather Beard, for no true peace can be reached while both sides are still so thirsty for vengeance and blood.

It took many hours, and the moon was low in the sky when at last the group separated; each side having agreed to lay down hoof and claw for the sake of the valley.

Feather Beard and The Staff Wielder, although both cautious, believed that disaster had been averted, and that both sides would hold to their promises made under the moon in a sacred clearing.

However, in an act which still resonates today, the Kelpies betrayed their vow, and while the Wolves' elders had been gathered in the sacred circle, they had sent a band of warriors to attack their cubs in their beds.

Those left to defend the pack during the summit fought bravely, but were outnumbered and many an innocent creature was slaughtered before the sun rose on that fateful day.

And so, the wolves, now vastly reduced in number, left the place that had been their home for many generations and vanished into the woods. There are those who believed that they chose to leave the valley all together. However, the wise among us know that they simply vanished from our eyes, as we had from the two-legs many cycles before.

The majestic animals no longer trusted the sprites of the valley and instead, chose to live in complete isolation. Unbeknown to the Kelpies, the magic created by the sacrifice of the wolf pack had boosted their powers, and allowed them to shield themselves from the eyes of others.

A secondary and troubling after-effect of the magic created, was that the Kelpies seemed to lose some of their power. While still formidable beasts, as the cycles progressed, fewer and fewer men wandered into their halls, and they became almost reclusive themselves.

And so, even today, the wolves are hidden from us. They move among the shadows of the trees, and some say they hear their cries in the night, but none can find their dwelling place.

It is a sadness to our people that another of our magical brethren has moved beyond our reach. It is also a sad note in our history, that on this occasion, man was not responsible for the loss. We sprites must bear the burden of the crimes here committed, and hope that one day, our wolf friends will return to our number.

A Nuggie Buy on Olida
Graphics by Paul Gildea