Chapter 2 8

Dae turned as voices erupted from one of the side passages. The crashing of the stalagmite had drawn the attention of a drow patrol. The wild elf stood in the center of the passage and prepared for the assault. While Sheil looked after Nalyn, Dae pulled his twin swords from their sheathes and faced the charging drow warriors. Tizer came up beside Dae and stood ready.

Several drow fell to their whirling blades before Dae was struck by a bolt of magic from a drow priestess at the rear of the group. Both elves then stopped moving under the effects of a powerful hold spell. The nearest drow dove forward and chopped Dae's right arm off at the elbow.

The shock of the wound broke Dae out of the hold spell and he quickly took the head off of the warrior which struck the blow. As the wild elf peered down the passage at the few remaining drow, two larger patrol groups arrived in the corridor behind them. Looking at the sixty charging drow, Dae glanced back toward the three elves behind him and smiled.

"My friends, your struggle will not be in vain." Dae whispered to himself. The wild elf dropped the sword from his remaining hand and, reaching under his long, black hair, he touched a symbol of a huge red comet tattooed there ages ago. The room crackled with powerful magic as the wild elf changed from the copper color of his skin to a very bright red.

The form of Dae Draug melted away as he became an enormous firey comet. The huge red comet flew off down the tunnel and incinerated the entire group of drow. Dae slowly floated back into the chamber a short while later and collapsed to the floor. The tunnel behind him still glowed red from the intense heat.

Dae looked at his friends and smiled weakly. Then looking up toward the ceiling of the cave, he called out in the ancient language of wild elves. "Meilikki, I place myself in thy glorious hands." With his final breath, Dae bid farewell to Tizer, Sheil, and Nalynn and asked them to pass his parting words on to the other great members ot the Grey Company.


*****

Blank and Macheala had been sitting at the bottom of the wall all night, cold, tired, wondering if it was possible to break into Nightsedge after all. They had hunted all night for a door, drudging the woods and stirring up all sorts of foul creatures, but through their troubles they found no solution.

They saw off in the distance, the faint beginnings of dawn, and they knew that with it, they would be allowed entry to Nightsedge. However, they knew also that they were too late. The mayor would be angry with their tardiness, and though it was not their fault, they would not get the job they had worked all night for.

After several minutes, the glow on the horizon had not moved. This puzzled Macheala immensely. What startled them both was another dawn, another rising sun, far distant to the one they had been watching.

"Blank," Macheala said, "let's get a closer look at that sunrise...," pointing to the glow behind the trees.


*****

The three elves wandered through the forest looking for where the raven had landed. Riklaun, with his mental link to it, moved quickly. He heard the voice of the bird in his head saying that it had flown into a tree.

The bird led Rik to the tree. "He went in here." Rik said.

"That cannot be. How can a bird get into the trunk of a tree?" Modar asked.

The three elves searched the tree for a lever or button. They found none. Riklaun closed his eyes for a moment. "A cave-in has happened in the passage farther down." he said.

"Well I cannot find anyway of opening the passage up," Starrbolt said, "so I will resort to magic." He prepared a knock spell and cast it. Nothing happened.

"Let me try." Modar said. "Stand back." Modar stood about twenty feet away from the tree. He let loose a lightning bolt spell and it hit the tree, sending chunks everywere. The three elves peered down the hole created.

"Let's go" Riklaun said. They dropped into the passage and started down the corridor. The raven flew up and perched on Riklaun's shoulder. The elves continued down farther until they came upon the blockade. Searching, they found no way around or through the cave-in. "This is not good. Brisid and Nalynn went this way. We need to get through." Riklaun said. Starrbolt came up to Riklaun, handing him a note. "I found this on the floor. It's about Brisid..."


*****

"Hey, yous oer der. Wake oop!"

Brisid slowly opened his eyes and looked around. A dim light illuminated a small cavern. He was surrounded with metallic bars that glowed of their own accord. Not wishing to try his luck, he kept his distance from them. At his feet was a small bowl of foul-smelling gruel. He wasn't going to try that either. Glancing around, he noticed the owner of the voice. A short gnomelike figure stood a few feet away in another holding cell.

"You're a faerae elf, aren't ye?" the figure asked with a heavy accent the elf didn't recognize, his features undiscernable in the darkness.

"Yes. Who are you?" Brisid responded curiously, examining the stranger.

"Gods! Yer staring at mae like ye've naer seen a deep gnome in yer life!" He continued, reflectively, "Ahh, ye've prolly naer seen a deep gnome in yer life. Ma name's Dwaerten, Dwaerten Stonepunter."

"Vedui', my name is Brisid," the elf said. "Where are we?" The response came from a drow priestess who had silently glided into the cavern.

"You are being held by Ebonstarr, surface elf."

"You won't get away with this! My friends will come for me..." Brisid started into a line he had heard often used in street plays.

"Of course they will, surface elf," the drow affirmed, smiling. "Of course they will, and when they do come, they will die."

Continue to Chapter 29