In the Tangle, the great copper forest on the metal plane known as Mirrodin, a young elf ran through the trees. This was a common occurrence, the youth of Mirrodin's elvish tribes often played amongst the great copper trees, racing to see who could get to some arbitrary point first. Or at least, that used to be the case; since the conquering of most of the plane by the invading Phyrexians very few remained free from their tyranny, much less able to play innocent childhood games. No, the young elf ran not in the sports of children, but for her life.
Elysa panted heavily as she weaved through the trees, ducking under low hanging branches and vaulting over protruding roots. She was exhausted both physically and mentally after running for nearly three passes of the green sun. Only her fear of what pursued her kept her awake, and only small strength spells drawn from her dwindling mana reserves kept her body from collapsing. She dared not turn her head to see how close her pursuers were, nor turn her mind to anything but the path ahead. Even the slightest distraction could cause her to trip, and then they would surly catch her. So she ran, and she ran, and she ran, thinking of nothing but what was in front of her. So dedicated was she to not tripping or hitting a branch that, in the middle of her fourth pass of running, she did not notice the thinning of the trees, so when she burst out of the forest into the shimmering plains of razorgrass she took such a jolt of surprise that she almost fell. Quickly recovering, Elysa continued to run.
Toward the end of fourth pass since she had started her flight Elysa had reached her limits. Had she been in the state of mind to think about how much further she could continue to keep up her flight, she would have given herself mere minutes. But, as it was, her brain was too addled from exhaustion to form coherent thoughts on much of anything. Finally at the crest of a hill, she tumbled sideways and fell end over end toward the bottom of the hill, her uncovered arms lacerated by the aptly named grass. Upon reaching the bottom, she, by a stroke of luck, continued downward, falling into a hole concealed by long grass. Elysa slowly regained her feet and then in the almost complete darkness made her way to a wall and felt along it, in hopes of finding some way to continue moving forward. Finally she found a narrow passage and slipped into it. Before she had gone five feet, her exhaustion overtook her and she fell to the ground, resigning herself to her fate at the hand of the Phyrexians as she fell asleep. As she slept the dreams of her exhausted mind turned to the events of four passes ago…
Elysa woke up with the rise of the green sun, and turned to see her younger sister Kaysa lying peacefully in sleep on the bed next to hers. She smiled and then got up to prepare something for them to eat. As she rummaged through their small larder she hummed a tune her father had taught her and wondered when he would be back. Her family lived deep in the tangle, far away from any major elvish settlements, so when her father had left six passes ago to try find Ezuri and inform him of the hideous beasts that he had been seeing on his hunting expeditions with now disturbing regularity she had expected him to be away for a while, but it was starting to become worrying. Ezuri was known by everyone, it should be easy to find him. Or that is what her father had told her as he left, she hadn't been very far from her house since her mother had died around five years ago since her father couldn't watch both her and Kaysa as they travel through the forest and didn't feel comfortable leaving one of them alone. Elysa selected a piece of vorrac meat and took it to the kitchen table to cut it up. As she was cutting the meat with the small kitchen knife she heard something crashing through the forest. Elysa ran to the window the sound was coming from and peered down into the forest. After a few seconds she saw her father coming running out of the brush. Elysa smiled, and yelled down to him "Welcome home!" not noticing the panicked look on his face.
The fear and worry in his voice , not to mention what he said, freighted her as he called back up to her, "Elysa take your sister and run. I'll hold them off as long as I can." Before she could ask him what was wrong she saw things come pouring out of the bushes into the clearing below their house. The things resembled elves, with tall frames, pointed ears and copper hair, but they clearly were not. Or at least not anymore, their faces held a cruel grimace, except where they showed no emotion at all, their bodies had spines coming out of the joints, the copper on their bodies tarnished, many had bones and organs visible through their thin skin, and a feeling of taint and dread exuded from them as nexrogen from the Mephidross. Her father turned around and brought his hunting spear to bear while Elysa ran to the bed room and grabbed her sister, then proceeded to jump out the window to the forest below. Kaysa woke with a jolt and groggily asked what was happening, Elysa quickly replying to her that they needed to run.
As the sister ran into the underbrush, they heard a scream of pain behind them. Kasya's eyes went wide with shock and she asked, "Was that daddy?" Elysa cried but said nothing. And so they ran on, Elysa helping her younger sister along. Shortly though, the not-elves were close behind them and Kaysa got her first look at the beings that had killed her father in the reflection of a particularly smooth tree trunk. She screamed and tripped. Elysa carried on a few steps before managing to turn around, but it was already too late. One of the not-elves had reached her sister and was standing over her with his sword drawn; he stabbed downward crying out in a guttural roar, "By the orders of Vorinclex, Praetor of Phyrexia, and of Glissa, his chief lieutenant, the week shall not be suffered to live." The blade split Kasya's head in twain, killing her so quickly she had not the time to even scream. The not-elf then looked up at Elysa and said with an air of absolute certainty, "Your next" as more of the monsters appeared from the trees behind him. Elysa turned and ran into the forest nearly overwhelmed by the grief of losing her small family in a matter of minutes.
Elysa woke with a start, rested but with renewed grief after rewatching her family's deaths. She looked around to see that she was still in the dark cave that she had fallen into; apparently the Phyrexians had been unable to find the hole. Working her way back out of the crevice into the room she had fallen into, Elysa looked up at the ceiling, which was probably twenty feet above her. Spying the entrance hole near the top, she sighed, there was no way she could make it back out. Sighing, she began to look around the room for another way to go. While she was searching she thought of what the Phyrexian elf had said about Glissa being one of them. Surely it could not be true, Glissa the Sunseeker was a hero, Elysa had always loved the stories her father had told her about her adventures. But the manner the thing that had murdered her sister had said it in…Elysa sobbed, the Phyrexians had killed her family and turned her hero. After working her way around almost the entire perimeter of the cavern, Elysa found a tunnel much wider than the crack she had fallen asleep in and decided to venture down it.
After carefully walking for a decent ways in the darkness Elysa saw a faint light ahead. Rushing forward with hope that she had found an exit she was instead greeted by an expansive cavern light by a dozen or so feebly glowing mage-lights. Elysa gazed in awe at the center of the room for there stood a massive golem. It was taller than any she had ever heard of in the tales her father had told her, and its rusted iron frame held an air of dignity and power, despite the fact the Elysa could see as she drew closer, there were a few parts clearly missing, most notably the head. As she reached the iron golem and walked around it she saw a dead vedalken propped up against one its massive legs. The vedalken had died with tools in three of his hands and a sheaf of thin metal sheets with words etched onto them in the fourth. Curious, Elysa gently pried the sheets out of the vedalken's fingers and started to read them. The sheaves of metal turned out to be a journal of the progress the vedalken, his name was nowhere to be found in the sheaves, had made on fixing the broken golem. She was done shortly, and what she had read gave her hope for the first time in days. The vedalken had believed the golem to be a one of Mirrodin's first golems and had originally started repairing it in hopes of gaining knowledge about the worlds earliest days. When the Phyrexians had first appeared the vedalken had worked with renewed vigor in hopes that the golem could be of assistance in the war. Elysa began searching the cavern and soon found other notes about what was wrong with the golem and plans to fix these problems. With these in hand she began her work, think her first happy thought since her father had come home; that she might actually be able to do something to hurt the monsters that had destroyed her family.