Chapter 6

The elf first felt the pain: a dull, throbbing pain that started at the small of his back and creeped up to the back of his neck, where it joined another forming in his head. He opened his eyes and found himself in a small room with an iron-bound wooden door, a couple chairs, and a bed he discovered he lay on. He found his clothes, folded, on one of the chairs and his magical longsword and armor sitting nearby.

The elf had no idea where he was, but after dressing he felt slightly better with a tougher skin. He turned to leave just when the door opened and a stream of light almost blinded him. He could make out the silhouette of a tall female, elven. Flashes of surprise and then anger raced through his mind. Ebonstarr!

"Brisid! You're up!"

Nalynn ran to her shocked friend and embraced him in a bear hug that ignited new waves of fire through his back. He grimaced and Nalynn immediately let go and apologized.

"What happened, Nal? Where are we?"

"I'll bring you up to date over breakfast. They have the best spiced potatoes here!"

Nalynn told Brisid of his near death experience at Ebonstarr's hand. She and Riklaun had transported the injured elf back to Crossergate where there were better healing facilities due to the continuous stream of wounded coming from the hills. He'd been unconscious for four weeks, constantly in a high fever until the previous night when it had suddenly dropped.

"We're supposed to meet Riklaun in Nightsedge, so whenever you're ready, we'll go," Nalynn said.

"How did you know I'd awaken today..." Brisid started and paused, thinking. A ringing started in his head. He decided he didn't have all of his marbles collected yet, so he stopped his train of thought.

After many assurances he was ready, they left for Nightsedge.

The journey to the woods of Nightsedge was uneventful. As soon as they entered, though, a veil of evil seemed to settled over the trees. The two elves quickly unsheathed their swords and proceeded silently into the darkness.

After ten minutes of slipping through the forest they heard murmuring. They peered through the bushes and saw a dozen tall forms standing in a small glade.

"Trolls," Nalynn mouthed.

"I thought they only stayed in the Neverwinter Woods. What are they doing here?" Brisid asked. Nalynn replied with a shrug.

They heard a groan and peered through the bushes again. A male grey elf was bound to a wooden stake. The elf hung his head low, and white hair obscured his face.

"We have to save him," whispered Brisid.

"Sure you're ready?"

"Yeah. Let's go."

They separated to different sides of the clearing. Brisid peered over a thicket and accidentally stepped on a twig. The trolls couldn't hear the snap, but the white-haired elf slowly raised his head. Brisid realized the elf was not an elf, but an albino drow.

"Riklaun," Brisid realized with concern.

The conversing trolls grunted with a sound of agreement and one walked over to the bound drow. With a flick of it's wrist, the troll's axe flew through Riklaun's neck.

"No!!!" Brisid yelled and charged out from his cover. He dispatched the two closest trolls with two swings before they could raise their weapons. Waves of heat blew by him as a fireball scorched a group of trolls a few dozen steps away. Nalynn ran into the glade swinging her broad sword through a troll. Tears were in her eyes; she knew her friend had just been slain. Brisid turned to an advancing troll who was showing off some intimidating moves. Brisid raised his hands and murmured, "Templa pilini'," watching almost stoically as a magic missile burst into the troll's chest. He quickly drew a bottle of oil from his pack, lighted it and threw it into the already regenerating troll. The elf then glanced at a charging group of monsters and dropped a fireball on their heads.

Brisid saw a flash to his left and whipped his sword in front of his face to deflect another troll's axe. The troll backed away, reconsidering the wisdom of attacking such an experienced fighter. Its thoughts were abruptly halted as Nalynn's sword entered its chest.

Realizing there were no more opponents, they ran to their fallen friend. They heard a shriek behind them and turned about to face a drow priestess. The shrieking was actually Ebonstarr's laughter.

"Ahhh... The great Riklaun has finally fallen. All alone, and from the axe of an insignificant troll. Awww, poor little elves, are you sad your friend has left you?" the drow priestess taunted. "Don't worry, you'll be joining him very soon."

She let loose her five-headed snake whip, and they writhed around, hungry for blood. Brisid stepped away from Nalynn to surround Ebonstarr.

"No. I think I'll save you, stupid elf," Ebon said to Nalynn and muttered a spell, and Nalynn disappeared.

"Tell me what you did to her!" Brisid commanded.

"You talk too much," hissed Ebonstarr who whipped the snake heads at the elf.

Brisid twisted his sword to block the heads, but two snakes got through and bit him with their poison.

"Not this time, drow scum!" Brisid growled and chopped off the two snake heads. Two more quick swings removed the remaining snake heads, and with a third he slipped his sword into Ebonstarr's heart.

"It is ended," murmured Brisid.

Another shrieking cackle made Brisid turn around. Ebonstarr stood forty paces away, unscathed.

"Did you really think you could best me, dumb elf?" Ebon yelled between shrieks.

He turned back to the body he had impaled. Brisid watched with horror as the body's lifeless face changed into Nalynn's.

"No!" Brisid shouted in anguish. Ebonstarr's cackling stopped, and he turned back around just in time to see a fireball collide into his face...


*****

Nalynn and Riklaun stood over Brisid's restless form. "The drow priestess has some sort of control over his dreams, probably created through the cursed dagger," a cleric said. "She keeps his mind awake, but controls what he thinks. Even these blessed temple walls cannot stop it," a cleric continued, gesturing around him. "It's like Lloth herself tied a fine string to him and gave the other end to Ebonstarr."

"Then we'll just have to sever it," Riklaun quietly stated.

Continue to Chapter 7