Chapter 2 Part 7
A tense evening spent wondering if the threat had passed, as well as a good amount of concern for wounded and fallen comrades, gave way to a seasonal dawn. As the morning mist cleared, a crisp clear spring day was revealed. Arthon was releaved to see his sister wake on her own, though obviously still uncomfortable. Helix rested as well, though his wounds were a little more troublesome, internal injuries taking a little more ‘bounce back’ time.
It was shortly after breakfast time when Lei informed Ardinia that someone was approaching. A few moments later, they could hear the sounds of metal and boots tromping through the woods. Still a little disconcerted from the previous evening, the group was very nervous and they immediately took up arms and got ready for the worst. Still out of sight, the sounds stopped and a few seconds later, the elves recognized the gnollish language as a gnarled, barkish voice called out,
“We no hunt you. We hunt renegages. Put down weapons so we can talk.”
After a couple seconds of looking at each other, the group lowered their weapons, all but Ardinia who refused to unknock her arrow. Even at her brother’s insistance, she refused to lower her guard, the pain in both her kidneys strengthening her resolve. After a few minutes, they heard the strangers retreat and a few minutes after that, the sounds were gone. Ardinia came out of the woods, sheathed her arrow and gave her brother a ‘yah…you can kiss my ass’ look before he even said anything. He simply shrugged, rolled his eyes and no more was said.
And so it was with even greater suprise when the other stranger strolled into their clearing shortly after lunch. Had he meant them harm, he could have dealt it out before they even knew what was happening. But he did not. He simply came calmly walking into the clearing, wearing a simple robe and his arms behind his back. A male teenage human followed shortly behind him.
With alarm, Arthon jumped up and fumbled for a weapon,
“Who are you!” he demanded as he found the hilt of his sword.
“My name is Zolton, and I mean you no harm. I only seek the one named Helix and have been charged to see him back to Shadowdale as ealy as possible.”
He nodded to Brother Marcis, who hailed him knowingly, “Zolton! It is good to see you well.”
These eased Arthon’s concern and he settled back down. This new visitor was amazed to see elves, and the elves were even more amazed at his almost nearly perfect conversational Elven as he spoke to them comfortably in their native tongue. It seemed Zolton had been hired by the leader of Shadowdale, Lord Mourngrym, who had employed him to track down Helix, ensure that he was not bringing a living gnoll back to his employer, and subsequently deliver him to the officials of Shadowdale for questioning.
It was with ease and comfort that the elves spoke to this human. Whether it was the nature of his profession, he was a self-proclaimed monk, his knowledge of Tel’Quessir or what, but he was unlike the other humans they had met to this point. They spent the day talking, he knew several elves by name and asked about them. He was also very interested in the Retreat and Tel’Quessir in general.
Through the evening they talked and shared stories. In the morning, they parted ways, Zolton forcing Helix up and on his way regardless of his objections and the elves returning to the Court.