I'm sure the others are fine, but I'm a bit worried this time - while there's no evidence of death, we've come across some sort of Necromancer who is raising an undead army!
Firia is still missing from the night we got separated, but El, Aeowynn and I found Sharn by following the sounds of small explosions. She looked a little charred - I think she was “experimenting.” Between Sharn and El, I'm surprised any of us still have hair.
We exited the mountains and entered the forests below. Remembering Tree Stalker's conversation, we kept an eye out for the “Tree Predators of Death”. Didn't see much until we stumbled into an orc patrol. That was surprising, and not encouraging at all!
Sharn did well in talking her way out of trouble, and the patrol was too dumb to realize that I don't look at all like a slave! I guess not all orcs are as clever as Sharn. There were 50 orcs, and they decided to “accompany” us back to their camp.
I was riding Scáthfile when an arrow came out of nowhere and skewered the orc next to me. Forest elves? I hastily decided that I'd rather be captured by elves than orcs, and I quickly unholstered the loaded Básbogha and fired at an orc's back. I realized that the one beside him had turned to look back at me and noticed my betrayal… And luckily, my quarrel deflected off my target's helmet and pierced the eye of the gawker.
Chaotic battle cries filled the air, and then the air at my back became chill. I turned to look behind me just as a wall of flame erupted from El's staff and created an arced barrier between us and an army of wraiths! I had had enough, and I directed Scáthfile to run off obliquely into the forest to the right, away from the wraiths and orcs.
In my peripheral I saw El jump at Sharn - I have no idea what they were doing, it looked like some sort of dance routine. I didn't have time to consider what was happening.
Underneath the trees of death. It suddenly dawned on me that Tree Stalker was referring to the elves, not some sort of dangerous drop-bear. I was okay with this epiphany.
I thought I had escaped, when a dark shadow lunged at me - a tree exploded in shards as two giant hammers came together, whistling above my head. Good thing I'm so short!
A massive troll roared at me, and in terror I had time to fire Básbogha wildly - and missed. I was already off-balance, and the recoil caused me to tumble out of my saddle. I screamed as the troll heaved up its hammers, but Scáthfile managed to drag me backwards by the collar and the hammers smashed the earth at my feet. Too close for comfort.
As I got to my feet, I heard the twang of a bow, and the giant beast swung off to my left. I heard the sickening squish of an elf-head imploding. I tried not to look.
Holstering Básbogha, I grabbed my lute and began to play - first an Augment battle tune, then I layered on top a screaming Curse, focused cleanly at the troll's mind. It was masterfully done, Daideó; my fingers flew and two more elves began wardancing to the rhythm - it was beautiful!
The troll began thrashing about - my Curse perfectly attuned, and he started banging his ears with his hammers. Not a bright fellow.
While the elves pinned down the troll, firing arrow after arrow, the wraiths approached, burning from El's fire. The sounds of distant battle continued, but faintly. I was definitely alone, apart from these elves.
A few shades were consumed before they reached me, but the nearest one stared at me and screamed - very terrifying! Scáthfile came to my rescue again, this time tossing me up onto his back and then padding backwards, out of reach of the nasty enemies.
I kept the music going, knowing that if I faltered at this point we would all be dead.
I took a deep breath between verses, and my mind cleared, and I became calm. The situation was under control - I could see the troll weakening, the elves confident, still dancing in time with my lute. It was clearly crippled so I let the Spellsong die away.
I happened to remember that I had gathered some marshmallow candies that Sharn had mixed up for me, and so I stabbed one through with a nearby stick, and started roasting it as the next shade reached for me. I simply stepped back as it collapsed in flame, and my marshmallow was a perfect toasty brown as I popped it in my mouth.
May as well win with Style!
One of the elves turned to fire at the next wave of slowly-moving zombies, and so I decided to finish the troll. One careful shot from Básbogha… The troll toppled over with a quarrel in its eye. I love my crossbow!
My new elf-friends - Yoshe and Moshe - brought me back to a nearby village in the trees. I was exhausted, and they provided a flet for me, and I fell asleep to the swaying branches.
When I woke, the elven scouts told me that the orcish invasion had overcome the humans on the Eastern side of the mountains. The orcs had tried attacking the elves, but are not good at forest warfare. There are also Shadow Beasts boiling down from the mountains in the North - much increased from past activity.
There was no sign of Sharn, El, Aeowynn, or Martin. The elvish scouts had to burn their dead because there were zombies wandering around. I did manage to meet up with Firia, though - she had been captured a few days earlier, and didn't look too worse for wear.
Hopefully we can find the others, and that everyone is okay…
Maebh the Magnificent