Riklaun eased Ilustriel to the ground. He quickly checked the mark on her neck.
"The line is deep enough to be life threatening." Lywnis moved over to his wife and gently picked her up. He carried her towards the house, making sure to hold pressure on the bleeding wound.
"Modar," Riklaun said, "Glad to see you. Any success?"
"No, the Skeletal Riders were attacked by driders," Modar said. "They were in a glade not far from here. The driders were with a couple of Remorazes. When I turned to leave to get you, I was attacked by Ebonstarr. She caused my trail to disappear."
"That's okay, we can pick up the trail again." Riklaun said.
"Rik! Get in here!" Lywnis cried from the house. The elves rushed into the house to find Endril sleeping on the floor. Brisid and Nalynn were gone. Lywnis knelt by his boy. Ilustriel was on the bed with a cloth covering the wound. After a few minutes, Endril woke.
"Daddy! He took her! Mean Uncle Brisid cast a spell on me!"
"It seems Ebonstarr is body hopping. Brisid would never do that unless he was controlled." Riklaun said. "He must be taking her to Ebon's hideaway. Lywnis, will you come with us?"
"No, I cannot old friend. I have to take care of my family. But I will give you some help. Come."
Lywnis walked out of his house and put his hands to his mouth. He made a strange bird call. After a short while, a raven glided down and rested on his outstretched arm. He spoke in hushed tones to the bird. The bird leapt to the air as Lywnis called out to it, "And do not peck his eyes out, he is under a spell!"
Lywnis turned back to Riklaun, "The raven is Lady Nalynn's protector. I gave him to her a long time ago, back during her first few days as an elf. He has been with her ever since. Although lately he has settled down with his own family, so he has not been near.
"Riklaun, I wish the best of luck to you. Take this vial, It will allow you to talk to the raven. I have to see to Ilustriel. The wound is deep, but I have stanched the blood flow." Lywnis said.
"I understand." Riklaun gave him a hearty handshake. "Lissenen ar' maska'lalaith tenna' lye omentuva."
Dinalqua awoke with a start. Looking through the window, she noticed it was well past noon. Despite her attempts to do otherwise, she had fallen asleep in the comfortable padded chair in the Grey Company guild hall. She had heard about the Skeletal Rider attack but nothing of later events. Waiting for many hours for some news had driven her to boredom, and sleep had pulled at her eyelids constantly.
She slowly stood up, restoring the circulation to her limbs and walked over to a mirror. She almost shrieked as she saw her reflection. Her long blonde hair was disheveled about her face, and her pink cloak was terribly wrinkled from her elfin chain mail. As she tried to persuade her hair into a decent arrangement, four elves entered the room.
"Quel undome ," a male said. She looked at them and saw that two of them were twins.
"Vedui'," she said, slightly flustered with her appearance. The elves moved over to a table and set a large bag on it.
"We have not seen you around here. Are you Grey Company?" one asked. Dinalqua nodded. "Then let us make proper introductions. I am Tarion Peredhil, and that one, hunched over the gold, is my Brother Edan." Tarion and Edan both looked alike, as they were twins. "This is the lovely Jem Val'istar." The elf he pointed out had beautiful features. He then introduced Caran Pinnath. Dinalqua thought this last elf was sly looking and seemed almost evil. But his expressions were of kindness. He was the thief of the group.
"It's a pleasure to meet you. My name is Dinalqua."
"Dinalqua... A beautiful name. We come to seek membership into the guild. Can you help us? What do you require for membership? Tarion asked. Before she could give an answer, a young elf burst through the door. He saw Dinalqua and went up to her.
"Dina, Riklaun needs help." Randow looked and nodded at the other elves in the room. He told Dina the story thus far as to what has happened. The other elves listened in earnest. "Can you come? We must hurry if we are to catch up to them."
Dinalqua brushed her hair one last time and began to pack. "Yes, I'll help. Where are all the other Grey Company members? "
"They are scouting out the area for signs of the ITB's. It is rumored that they plan to attack Neverwinter again. They tried last year and were repelled by the Good-aligned guilds." The other elves heard this and Tarion went over to Randow.
"Say, how much help can this Riklaun use? We are capable and willing to fight for our potential new guild." The other elves agreed.
Randow said, "Okay, then, let's get going. He will need all the help he can get."
The elves packed for the journey when Edan walked up to Randow and asked, "So, why does Riklaun need help?" Randow proceeded to tell him the whole story about Ebonstarr.
Brisid edged into a clearing. Nalynn stumbled behind him. He looked around for any signs of pursuit. Seeing none, he went up to a tree. He pulled on a branch and stepped back. The tree lifted back to reveal a passageway into the ground.
Nalynn, oblivious to what was happening, gazed into the sky. She watched a giant eagle circling the clearing. Brisid grabbed her arm and said, "Come on." She tried to mutter something, but had forgotten words.
She pointed to the sky as she was being dragged into the earth. "B-b-b-b..." she muttered.
"What?" Brisid asked. He looked around and saw nothing. Nalynn kept looking up and then saw a smaller bird fly into view. The bird was pitch black. It swooped toward the tree as the door began to shut. Brisid was already halfway down the stairs when the tree finally closed. The raven landed softly on the ground, just inside the entrance.
Continue to Chapter 25