Chapter 5

It was a brisk, clear day in early winter. The elf was lazily walking along the road south towards Triboar. As he passed Dagnir en Taur'ohtar, better known as Berun's Hill, he stopped suddenly. Quietly he examined the mark in the trail. It was a footprint, but it was so shallow that most would never have seen it. Whoever made this print had been very light on their feet. Graywolf knew it had been made by an elf, and an elf who was in a hurry. Silently drawing his sword, he headed in the direction of the tracks. This was, after all, a fairly dangerous stretch of road. It seemed as if this unknown elf might use some help.

After almost an hour, Graywolf saw a figure in the distance. It appeared to be the elf he had been following, running lightly along the edge of the road. The figure had a flowing black cloak that hid much of its features. Knowing better than to call out, he stopped running and silently cast a spell. A shimmering door opened in midair, and he stepped through.

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Riklaun had been sprinting along the road all morning. He had made good time from Longsaddle, and was nearly in Triboar. Suddenly, the air in front of him seemed to bend. Riklaun stopped, drawing his swords as he dropped into a defensive crouch. Out of the magical door, stepped Thranduil Graywolf. Riklaun's eyes widened a bit, then a sneer twisted onto his face. Graywolf stopped short, the mischievous light in his eyes flared into an angry, hot glare as he recognized the drow.

The first thoughts through Graywolf's mind were to wordlessly slaughter this evil thing. Never before had rage so consumed him. Slowly, however, a more reasonable voice forced itself into his thoughts. What would have caused the actions of this drow, once a friend? This was a question that had long troubled the gold elf. If the drow had been sent to gain the confidence of the Company so that he might be in place for use at a later time, it would seem that he had failed. He had revealed himself too early. Yes, he had slain a few elves. But that crime alone could not justify the trouble the drow had gone through to become trusted by the surface elves. So what was his motivation? None really knew, and Graywolf had to find out. Perhaps it had just been the magical dagger, there were tales of sentient weapons possessing their wielders.

Slowly, Graywolf forced his rage down, the fires in his eyes calmed. Riklaun had not moved, he just crouched low studying this tall elf before him. " 'Quel undome, moriquendi," Graywolf began, "it has been a long time." Riklaun took a quick swing at Gray's head, just to feel out his defenses. Almost without thinking, Graywolf blocked the swing, reversing his parry into a thrust at Riklaun. Dodging away, Riklaun slowly circled. "The dagger has been destroyed, why do you fight me," asked Graywolf as he fought to maintain control. Without warning, Riklaun waded in, swords swinging with incredible speed. Graywolf slowly gave ground, parrying both blades as quickly as he could. Totally on the defensive, he gave up. Riklaun still did not want to talk. For whatever reasons, he had always remained a drow in his heart. He deserved no more chances to explain his actions.

Splitting his concentration, Graywolf began to cast a spell with his free hand. Riklaun pushed in harder, believing he had gained the upper hand already. Suddenly, a lightning bolt tore through his armor, sending him sprawling out onto the road. Shaking his head in amazement and pain, he looked up to see the surface elf running towards him. Quickly, realizing his vulnerability, he became invisible and rolled away. Graywolf stopped, trying to tell where Riklaun might have gone. This time, however, the drow silently slipped away, leaving no traces. After a moment, Graywolf was certain that Riklaun had left the area. Fading into invisibility, he trotted off towards Triboar hoping to find Riklaun again quickly.

Once in the city of Triboar, Graywolf began using detection spells to find the invisible drow. After an hour of fruitless search, he finally found him. Riklaun was trying to slip out of town to the south. Again, Graywolf teleported in front of the drow. Without a warning, Graywolf stepped out of the portal and swung violently at the drow. As their swords hit, both of them became visible. The crowd in the streets backed off quickly. Graywolf gave himself over to his rage, channeling it into his sword. Riklaun was slowly pressed backwards, deeper into Triboar, away from the safety of the open road.

Riklaun broke away from the fight, backing towards the door to the Arena. Graywolf suddenly appeared much taller, somehow much more imposing than Riklaun had ever remembered him being. Slowly Graywolf walked toward Riklaun, seemingly in no hurry, his eyes smoldering with hatred. Riklaun backed into the arena, trying to find room to maneuver. Swordplay had not helped, perhaps spells would. The drow began to cast. Seeing this, Graywolf quickly put up a magical globe for defense. Riklaun's spell failed. Graywolf countered with his own spells. The battle became a mix of furious swordplay and quickly cast spells. Riklaun was tiring fast, and began to wonder if he was overmatched.

Finally, a spell hit Riklaun that caused his muscles to contract, forcing him to drop his swords. Another spell hit him, paralyzing him. He looked to Graywolf, his once friend and tried his last trick. The pleading look in his eyes might have worked, but Graywolf was too consumed with rage to even notice. Bright lights flashed from his hands, tearing into Riklaun's body, knocking the drow down. "Bragollach tel'llach," he spat out the words. Flames sprang from his hand, arcing out to strike the drow. The explosion was tremendous as the ball of fire spread over the room.

In the wake of the destruction, Graywolf walked over to where Riklaun had been. There was nothing there but charred ground, the drow's body apparently consumed by the fires of the angry elf. Part of Graywolf wished that Riklaun had been willing to talk, willing to explain his actions. But, this one was too dangerous to allow any mercy. Already he had slain too many of the fair folk. This hunt needed to end, the drow had to die. Graywolf silently shook his head as he got up. No longer did he seem quite as imposing a figure as he had when in battle. He easily slipped away in the crowd, a scowl on his face as he dropped deeply into troubled thoughts.


Continue to Chapter 6