The elves run quickly as always through the forest. Totally at home, with the irregular terrain. Elven feet always seem to land sure of themselves as if there was something communicating between the land of Phostwood forest and them. Their feet seem to always avoid, that sharp stone or stick that’s point up, that crocked root, that would trip any other runner. Many places were still slippery from the night’s frost, other were a bit more damp where some old tree had fallen giving a bigger opening for the sunlight to shine through.
As the Sun rises the forest becomes more and more alive. The birds chirp and sing more, the nightly frost starts to melt, allowing more smells and odours to escape their icy prison, to rise and float in the air. The elves can some times get a glimpse of a few squirrels, before they climb away at they approach.
Time passes, there’s a few short pauses for food and water. Few words are said during the march, no words need to be said. A shared thought goes through everyone’s head:
“Why us… we are not experienced heroes, The Starbow brothers and Ivar are all good with a bow and spear, but many an elf is and there are far better, such as the veterans of the battles against the humanoids of Nutherwood.
Veg has just now started unlocking some of the secrets nature, there are more advanced druids in the village.
The Witch is actually still learning, and her master had died recently before she could teach her all her secrets, not even a potion can she brew, what will she be able to learn on her own now?
And what of young Merriladrin? She seems at home in the shadows easily hiding there, springing forth when you least expect it. Good for a child’s game, but on this mission will it be of value? Her more sinister skill perhaps may come in handy. When some one has caught some animal, Merriladrin is able to get close, and strike it with a blade in a way, it does not even know what happened, no suffering, no moment of fear or terror, it’s just done and over. But how well will she do against something that’s capable of fighting backing?
Night falls, camp is made, weapons are sharpen, rituals are said and rest is then welcomed by them all. With the morning, camp is undone and the running restarts to the south towards the Gnomes, but also closer and closer to Nutherwood do they go.
As they run through the forest. Elodil’s voice breaks their silence.
“Smoke, black smoke… from the west, from the looks of it far west”
“A fire in the forest? In midwinter?” says Veg while shaking his head, an expression of dismay falls over him. “That smoke is very black, this is unnatural, we need to know the forest is safe”.
“What about talking with the gnomes?” asks Ivar.
“What ever knowledge they know now of what the humans are doing, they will also have should we speak to them latter.” replies the druid.
“Ok, fine be me, just asking” is what Ivar replies back.
“I suspect the scum humans are behind this! ” an anger Elodil ads “West I say”.
Elodil’s brother nods in agreement.
Seeing that the druid has convinced the rangers to go west, the Witch comments.
“Fine west we will go, following the Druids is the elvish way.” she the looks side ways to the druid and hissing almost like a cat “But Veg, I hope you have learned more of nature and of the four elements from the Ancient one, than you have of foolishness of his dementia!”
Veg just shakes his head at the Witch, trying to give the idea that her words had meant nothing to him, he then moves West, the Rangers shortly after take the lead
The Witch slyly smiles at the druid’s reaction, she know she has struck a nerve and enjoys it.
As Merriladrin passes the Witch she winks at her “Good one, though to spite the druid I think I would have done better” she says while smiling sure of her self.
“Oh, really … like what?”
“Err.. don’t know, but I’m sure I would, if I wanted to”
“Bah, you still got allot to learn,… young one”
Merriladrin in an mixed of surprised and anger “Young one! You’re barley a couple of decades older than I am! You aren’t an elder! Who are you calling young!”
“Oh you can learn allot in a couple of decades, like how to spite some one younger” the Witch ads with a wink.
“You really are good at this!”
“So true, so true”
3 days the elves run west, resting only the minimum necessary. The travel was not uneventful or without hazards.
First there was the Wolves, which had ambush them along the way, two wolves attacked them from the front, while the rest of the pack came from behind, catching the elves by surprise.
Fortunately Veg showed the Witch that he had in fact learned a thing or two about the spirits of nature. With the right ritual the plants seem to come alive, grabbing and holding fast many of the vicious wolves. Still the elves had to killed a few wolves that were already attacking them. The rangers showed their talent with their bows, spears and blades. Despite all this several of the elves were very badly wounded by the wolves. The Witch proved then her value as she could produce good-berries. Eating just one small berry was like eating a meal but, it also help cured wounds, most of them completely disappeared after several berries. After making camp and resting every one was totally healthy and healed.
Latter on they had some run ins with some wild boars, at least they ended up with lots of fresh meat. Not as much as they may have expected though, while camping some bears came along but they managed to resolve this peacefully (it cost them though allot of boar meat)