UrSen, the Mystic monk introduces the tale, which takes place during the Garthim War, 800 years after the Great Division. Lahr, a simple herder and music maker, is a peaceful young Gelfling content to watch over his herd of mounders with his doglike companion Whouf.
While watching his herd, Lahr spies a troop of Garthim descending upon his village. But by the time he reaches the village it is too late. Devastation, destruction and disaster fell upon the clan. His friends and family - including Gar, Mikka, and Ineth - have been taken by the Garthim. Lahr's resolve is soon put to the test when more Garthim move through the area. In a head-to-head struggle, Lahr fights for his life. He saves himself by killing one of the Garthims – a feat that amazes even him. But amid the struggle his flute is broken, and so is Lahr's innocence.
Lahr wanders the village and remembers all the good times. He can feel change taking place in his life, and declares that "a tremendous song will come out of this adventure; if there is anyone to sing it for." Lahr, along with Whouf and the herd, leave the devastated village behind to search for survivors.
Lahr soon meets Neffi, another surviving Gelfling of the area. The two dreamfast to share the stories of their past. Neffi was a weaver from Greengrove. Neffi made tapestries with Lolly. Neffi drew the designs and spun the yarn while Lolly did the weaving. Everyone from the village helped, especially the little ones. But soon the Garthim descended upon the village. They took everyone - everyone except for Neffi, that is. Her friends and family were gone, and her village distroyed.
Lahr comforts Neffi. He shares his food and the two take off in search of other Gelflings. Neffi is exhausted and so she naps on the back of a mounder while Lahr and Whouf lead the heard onward.
The pair reach Namopo Valley where they meet Kelsee, a Gelfling. She tells them that the village is in hiding inside the caves of the valley. She takes Lahr and Neffi to meet the others. While Neffi entertains the little ones with her yarn tricks, Larh talks with the elders. The elders are discussing what to do about the garthim attacks. Belleg thinks the tribe should stay put, while Vhant wants the tribe to move. When Larh tells his tale and how he killed a garthim, the elders are shocked. They did not know the garthim could be killed. Belleg tells about how his village was destroyed by the garthim and how he won't let such devastation take the Gelflings here. Smeeshun, a very young Gelfling in the crowd, speaks up (much to the amusement of the elders) and says he could battle the garthim. After much debate, the elders decide to bring the decision of whether or not they should stay or leave to vote.
Over in the Castle of the Crystal, the emperor skekSo and the general skekVar are talking. SkekSo reveals that he is aware of many plots to overthrow him. While skekVar predges allegiance to the emperor, when the emperor begins to choke the general reaches to take the sceptre. The true intentions of the general are revealed to the emperor, much to the amusement of skekSil who is watching the events through a hole in the wall.
Meanwhile in caverns of Namopo Valley, the vote of the council is underway. The gelflings place colored stones into a pot to cast their vote - a light stone for leaving and a dark stone to stay. Just as the voting is finishing in the caves the scouts above spy garthim coming toward the valley. And as elder Vhant prepares to reveal the results of the vote a scout rushes in to inform the others of the impending attack - she knocks the pot over, spills the stones and ruins the votes. Panic breaks out in the caves. Soon Lahr speaks up and helps calm everyone down. With the help of Neffi, Lahr develops a plan - stay and fight.
The Gelflings prepare for battle by playing a ceremonial symphony. Meanwhile, in the Castle of the Crystal, skekLach steals and consumes a vial of essence intended for the emperor. He blackmails skekTek into remaining silent, as reporting skekLach for consuming the essence would only reveal skekTek's inability to protect the vital essence.
Back in the Namopo Valley, the Gelflings prepare for battle by building weapons from instruments and other common items. Smeeshun is playfully trying to help the other Gelflings. However the older Gelflings yell at him telling him to "stop getting in the way". Saddened the young one goes off to cry, elder Belleg goes to comfort the boy and give him an important task:
I have an important job for you…If the Garthim breach the cave entrance you must lead the smaller children deep into the caves, Smeeshun. Tell Each one to tuck themselves into the small crevices, deeper then the Garthim claws can reach. Stay very small and keep very quiet. You make sure each child is hidden away, then hide yourself.
Neffi is hard at work weaving a large net with spiked gourds. Larh asks if she needs any help, but Neffi refuses saying that Larh is already doing more valuable work elsewhere. Larh is confused saying he's doing nothing but encouraging others, to which Neffi explains that he is serving as a leader – using his skills as a shepherd to herd and organize the Gelflings. Just then Dhirmer angrily confronts Larh. Dhirmer protests the ideas of the Gelflings waging war against the Garthim. He declares that violence is not the way of the Gelflings. Lahr responds stating:
Dhirmer, you’re right. Gelflings have always been peaceful. That is our way, but our land is no longer at peace. We’ve never had to live in fear like this. So we have to try something different. Maybe we lose. But if we do not change our ways, there is only one outcome...we die.
It's the final climatic battle between the Gelflings of the Namopo Valley and the Garthim invaders that wish to capture them and bring them back to the castle. Neffi has weaved a large net lined with spikes across the entrance to the valley to keep the Garthim out. Everyone is a little nervous and anxiously awaiting the arrival of the approaching Garthim Horde. We see Neffi working out the last details including various strategies in their defense she even takes the time out to comfort one of the children assuring her that "It'll be okay!". Then Kelsee yells "Here they come!" and it's time for the battle. The net keeps the Garthim at bay initially, but soon they break through it. During the battle Timdel gets pinned underneath the claws of a Garthim. Vhant rushes in to save him but ends up getting struck in the back of the head with a menacing blow that eventually kills him. It's a difficult fight, but the Garthim aren't used to being stood up to, so they become confused, and eventually retreat. SkekLach observes all of this, and vows that he shall be the one to take revenge. The battle won for now, Lahr explains to the village that their victory was a matter of "doing what you can". Lahr and Neffi then decide to go to Dark Castle to rescue the other Gelflings.
Guest Art GalleryEdit
- Chris Lie
- M. Alice LeGrow
- Jessica Feinberg
- Jake Myler
- Leigh Dragoon
- Chrissy Delk
- Erica Reis
- Amy Mebberson
- Melissa DeJesus
- Whitney Leith
- Tim Smith 3
- Steve Buccellato
- Bret Uher
- Sarah Ferrick
- Mara Aum
- Elisa Kwon