Chapter 2 Part 4
About midmorning on the 8th day of the second ride of Tarsakh, they came to the crest of a hill and the elven siblings halted their mounts and took a couple minutes to survey the low valley before them and the river Ashaba several miles in the distance. They stood at one edge of a very wide, flat and rather shallow valley. They could see where pockets of mist still lingered in places. They were standing on the de facto border of the region the humans called Mistledale, them calling it after the regular fog the blankets the valley every dawn and dusk.
Nodding to his sister as if to say, “That’s the place.” Arthon nudged his mount and let her begin to find her way down the gradual and lazy decline into the shallow valley, the bottom of which at the river, was no more than a total of 40 foot lower than they were. The two rode at a leisurely pace for close to two hours when they began to hear something. They dismounted, tied up their horses (after a bit of sibling squabbling over how far they now had to walk) and began sneaking towards the noise. It became evident that it was a group of humans, and they were trying to construct some kind of a trap or something and some in the group were displeased with how things were going.
When they got close enough to view them, the elves saw a group of five humans. Two males were lugging around huge logs and tree limbs while a third chastised them on how stupid a plan this was. There were also two females, one lay on her back on a log reading a book and the other sat on the ground, leaning on the log near the first ones feet while she tried to spin a dagger on the tip of her finger.
About the same time the Arthon and Ardinia realized they were trying to build a trap for “gnolls” the dagger twirling woman stopped and gazed intently into the woods in their direction. She nudged the book reader, whispered something to her and pointed at the forest in the general direction of the hiding elves. Seeing this group was apparently here for the same reason, and coming to realize they were on the verge of being discovered anyway, Arthon whispered for Ardinia to stay hidden and cover him and then he stood and stepped from the trees onto the path a couple yards from the group.
To say the group was surprised to see an elf would be a remarkable understatement. They dropped logs, bumped into each other and basically gawked slack jawed in complete awe. Surely this was the first time most of them had even seen an elf. After the initial awkwardness, Arthon informed the group that they were also in the valley to deal with the gnolls and it seemed obvious that they would both be better served through cooperation. Ardinia came out of the woods and they got down to business.
First, introductions. The one taking charge, and the least impressed with their ‘elfness’, was called Helix. The large, burly and well built one helping him lug around tree trunks was named Karza and the third male, the one wearing a religious medallion and insisting the trap idea was pointless introduced himself as Brother Marcis. The woman who had been reading wore a pin depicting the symbol of Mystra and introduced herself as Maggie. The other woman, who of the five seemed the least trusting and never took her eyes off the Sylvan strangers, was called Irma.
After the introductions, Arthon asked Helix to explain his trap. It did not seem to make much sense, it seemed like a tremendous amount of work for little benefit; two logs swinging down and meeting in the middle of the path…he would be lucky to actually hurt one or two and perhaps trip another couple. This was until Helix took him aside and told him that while he didn’t want the others to know, his intention was to capture one of the gnolls alive and the trap was designed simply to incapacitate one or more of them. With this knowledge and appreciating the tactical advantage it could provide, Arthon changed his opinion on the contraption and they began setting up an ambush plan.