Riklaun strode through the forest on the trail of Modar. He was at point, Starrbolt was second, Brisid third, and Nalynn at the rear. They moved quickly and pourposefully, wanting to get to Modar before Ebonstarr did.
They had gone for over an hour when they came upon the glade where a fight had taken place. Rik fannned everyone out around the glade. Caustiously, he entered it searching for clues.
"Looks like the skeletal riders were ambushed here," suggested Brisid. Suddennly, Nalynn called out.
"Over here!" she yelled.
The elves moved over to where she was and saw the remains of the Drider on the ground. They saw the claw marks across the driders face and the gash on its belly. Starrbolt examined area and saw tracks lead off into the woods.
"This way. " Starrbolt said and moved off. The elves followed Modar's trail through the woods as he had followed the driders.
After a few minutes Brisid started to cough. Nalynn moved over to him, "Are you okay?" she asked.
"It is nothing. Just a dry cough." he replied, coughing again.
The elves came upon a road leading through the woods. The driders tracks stayed well away from it, leading deeper into the north-western part of the woods.
Brisid brought his hand up to his mouth, coughed and wiped it off on his breeches.
"You are not alright," said Nalynn, concerned for her friend. "You just hacked up something purple!"
Brisid turned around to her and Nalynn gasped in shock. His face was ashen and pale. His eyes rolled back into his skull and he collapsed. Nalynn caught him and screamed.
Rik and Starrbolt came over. "Brisid!" Riklaun said. "We might've underestimated the poison. It looks as if he has not fully gotten rid of it yet. We need to get him to a bed quickly!"
Starrbolt mentioned that he knew of a place nearby, so he and Riklaun picked up Brisid's limp form, and the elves headed west.
After a short while the woods seemed to brighten. Brisid had regained consciousness and was able to walk slowly with the others, leaning on Rik for support. Sunshine broke through the canopy of trees and revealed a glade.
The clearing had a garden in it and a house to one side. An elf was tending the garden and looked up at the weary travelers. She wore a blue raiment that showed her to be a moon elf. Her bronze skin contrasted well against her snowy white hair. A flute tucked in her belt completed the ensemble. She stood to meet her visitors.
"Quel du, mellonamin, mae goveannen." she said with a smile. Starrbolt walked up and hugged her. Riklaun grinned.
"Oio naa elealle alasse'" Starrbolt returned.
Nalynn looked at Riklaun, perplexed. She had not yet mastered the elven language. Rik looked at her and smiled again. The female elf moved over to where Riklaun was.
"Vedui' Rik, it has been a long time," she said.
"Yes, it has Ilustriel. Nalynn, I'd like you to meet Ilustriel, former Tel'Mithrim," Riklaun said.
Through all the excitement of meeting her old friends, Ilustriel just then looked at Brisid and gasped. "Come bring him inside, I can help him."
The elves moved Brisid, whose mind was spinning, inside the house and laid him down on a bed. As Riklaun explained Brisid's experiences with Ebonstarr, Ilustriel went over to the kitchen and started mixing a salve. Nalynn went to her and pulled out a small packet. "This is what is left of the antidote that was given him. Perhaps it can help."
Ilustriel took the package and opened it. She took a whiff of the antidote.
"This stuff is impure. Perhaps that is why he has fallen ill again. I will purify it."
While Ilustriel began purifying the salve, Starrbolt looked around the house admiring what had been done since his last visit. "So, where is your husband, Ilustriel?" he asked.
"He is out playing in the woods." Ilustriel said. "He should be back soon."
Starrbolt just laughed. "Playful as ever I see. Will he ever give up the adventuring spirit and settle down?"
"Perhaps in a few decades," Ilustriel said as she smiled. She continued to mix the salve when a commotion could be heard outside. Laughter filled the glade. The elves looked up to see an elf enter the house, bearing no weaponry. A small elfling followed him in.
"Mommy, look what daddy did!" The small boy held up his hand to Ilustriel when he noticed the company in the house.
The elfling's father stepped up to the visitors and said, "Vedui' melloneamin!"
"Quel undome, Lywnis!" responded Starrbolt.
"Vedui', Lywnis," Riklaun responded in turn. Nalynn sighed, clueless to the conversation.
"Hello, my name's Nalynn," she volunteered.
"Mae govannen, Nalynn.," Lywnis said and turned to the elfling.
"Endril, I'd like you to meet some of daddy's and mommy's friends. Everyone, this is our son, Endril."
Riklaun says, "Ahh, named after a former captain of Tel'Mithrim?"
Ilustriel nods. "Yes, we just thought it'd be appropriate. Okay, the antidote for Brisid's ailment won't be done until tonight, so if you'll wait an hour, dinner will be ready then. We're having...What did you catch, honey?" she said, facing her husband.
"Um, I got a boar..."
"We're having poached boar tonight. It'll be fantastic!"
Brisid awoke as Ilustriel entered the dark room. He squinted as she created a small magical light.
"How're you doing, Brisid? I have something for you," holding out a vial filled with a black liquid.
"Oh, I've been better. What is that?" he asked.
"It's my own special healing potion," the moon elf responded.
Brisid looked at it the murky liquid skeptically but drank it, grimacing as it burned down his throat.
"It may not taste good, but it will do its job."
"If you say so."
"So, how're things with Tel'Mithrim?"
"The guild is doing well, but of course there're holes when you and Lywnis... eloped."
"Well, we didn't want a large ceremony, and we didn't think raising an elfling in Neverwinter, with all its problems, would be a good idea.
"Agreed. The embroideries are beautiful," Brisid said, motioning to the many wall decorations, barely visible in the dim light
"Thank you! Well, while Lywnis is doing, oh... what he does in the forest, and while I'm not cooking, cleaning, taking care of Endril or tending to my garden, I embroider. This is one I'm working on," she responded, lifting a piece of cloth with the beginnings of a picture of a bow and arrow.
"Beautiful" Brisid repeated.
"I wish I had gotten to know you better before I left."
"Well, I had just joined. I was young and a little shy back then..."
Ilustriel nodded. "Well, I should let you sleep. I'll stay here for awhile to make sure you're okay."
"Thanks, Ilustriel," Brisid said as she took a seat near the door.
Silence filled the room and Brisid became drowsy. The last thing he saw before
sleep claimed him was Ilustriel gently tugging on her embroidery, trying to pull
a stubborn knot through the dark cloth.
Continue to Chapter 21