Igneous, Yasevl, Nora, and Thomas huddle around Lupin, Nora stepping forward and fixing a suspicious gaze on the wolf demi-god, “ What do you mean armies on their way?”.
The wolf glares at the huntress, “ I came to warn you as a favor for Gaia’s new servant and out of respect for the imp, but you hold no such favor in my heart human. I suggest you speak with respect you to talk with more respect, when addressing me!”.
Lupin bares his teeth at Nora, whom allows her hand to drift toward the bow slung on her back. Stepping in between the two, Yasevl holds up his hands, “ Whoa, whoa, whoa. Lets just calm down. Nora please refrain from angering the giant talking wolf, and Lupin, was it, could you please start from the beginning?”.
Lupin glares at Nora for a moment longer, but turns his gaze to Yasevl and says, “ A few days ago, I was hunting in the forest with my pack and came upon a group of blue elves, I believe humans know them as high elves. I was curious, so I followed them for a little ways, and I heard some of them talking about how great it was to hear of an elven village so close to the human border, and that they could use it as a way of keeping an army closer to the humans, just in case another war breaks out. After following them for a little longer, I figured you would want to know, so I took my pack towards the village, but you had already left. While I was there though, I saw a large pack of humans covered in that metal stuff they use to fight, and I heard the pack leader talking of going to war with the elves. Lucky for you I was able to pick up the imp’s scent and track you. There I came and warned you, you’re welcome I will be going now.”.
As Lupin turns to leave, a howl pierce the stunned silence that had over come the group. Lupin stops and looks over his shoulder, “ That was one of my wolves, the human army is getting close. You should get going, they are cutting straight through the forest, they will be at the village before long.”.
With that Lupin disappears into the forest, Yasevl calls after him, “ Thank you! I will return the favor one day!”.
Lupin’s yipping laughter can be heard, followed by him calling form far away, “ You can count on that!”.
Nora jumps into action before anyone can think begin to fret, commanding everyone to get their stuff together and to get moving. The camp is packed up and everyone is marching through the forest with the priest using magic to light the way. Igneous looks up to Yasevl, “ What’s the plan brother?”.
Yasevl whispers darkly, without looking back at Igneous, “ To not die.”.
Caria follows the eldest of the young miners, who she had learned was named Geffory, down the stairs and into the basement. Upon touching down on the basement stone floor, she can see that the brothers had been busy. They had started in the in the high-priest’s office, the furniture in the room had been strewn out in the hall haphazardly, books and scrolls scattered along the floor and shelves toppled. Caria looks at the havoc and yells, “ What have you done these are the high-priest’s belongings! He is going to be livid! I ca-,”.
Geffory cuts her off before she can finish her rant, poking his head out of the room he says, “ Are you coming or what?”.
Grumbling, Caria stomps into the room and gasps. A long the wall left of the door, a huge hole extends into the darkness, with a flickering lantern a hundred yards into the tunnel. Rocks, dirt, and other debris litter the floor. Looking at the hole and the room, Caria looks over to Geffory, who smiles proudly at her, Caria asks, “ How did you do this in only a few hours?”.
Geffory grins widely, “ Well we do this all the time, if we had better tools and equipment we could be out of the village by now, but we are managing. We take turns digging, while the others move the rocks and dirt to other rooms.”.
Caria thinks of asking what he means by other rooms, but thinks better of it, if this can get them out safely, she will have to deal with the mess another time. Caria looks back to Geffory and asks, “ So how long till we can get out of here.”.
Geffory’s smile falters and he says begrudgingly, “ That’s kinda why I asked you here, other wise I would have waited till we were done. You see if we keep digging there is a good chance that the tunnel will collapse. We have tried to use some furniture and varies tools and wood to reinforce it, but sadly it isn’t doing much. We need proper beams, and we simply can’t do that right now, not if we won’t to get out of here.”.
Not completely understanding everything Geffory is saying, but was getting the gist, they were doomed. Not optimistic but feeling as if she needs to ask, “ So what should we do.”.
Geffory shrugs, “ We dig up and make a run for it as soon as we break through.”.
Caria sighs, “ Alright, we can do that. Let me know when you break through.”.
Caria turns to leave, but Geffory stops her with a dirty callused hand, “ Well we are not quite sure when we will break through. You need to get everyone down here and ready to go, because when we bust through to the surface, we will most likely be out in the open and I don’t think you want those things getting in here while we wait for the others to get down here.”.
Caria gulps and nods, she definitely doesn’t want that. Taking in a deep breath and letting it out, she says, “ Okay, I’ll go get everyone ready to go now.”.
Geffory nods as Caria makes her way back up the stairs. Mumbling to himself he says, “ I just hope we break through before they do.”
Bigsly jerks awake, suddenly feeling as if he was falling, looking down he sees that Lily is still asleep on his chest. Lifting her head carefully, he slips away and leaving Lily to sleep. Closing the door to the unrented room, Bigsly makes his way down to the bar, to find only Ira up. Some had made their way to rooms to sleep, others like the adventures had drunk until they had pasted out in booths and under tables. Smiling to Ira, as he makes his way over, Bigsly slips behind the bar and picks up a jug of clean water and pours himself a cup of water. Holding the jug of water up he looks pointedly at Ira, silently asking if she wanted a cup as well. Smiling, she shakes her head no. Bigsly shrugs and places the jug down on the bar and takes his cup in his hand and drinks it in one sip. Letting out a light sigh, he wipes his mouth. Leaning his large frame against the bar, Bigsly looks at Ira and asks, “ So how is the escape plan coming?”.
Ira scrunches up her face, and shrugs her narrow shoulders, “ Not to great. I checked outside, by slipping onto the roof and they’re everywhere. The wards I put on here has kept them away for the most part, but a lot of them still keep close, eyeing the place. Others are converging on the Dorean temple and The Adventurer’s Guild. I guess others are hiding in there. If we try and make a run for it, I am sure we will have all of them on us in a matter of seconds. With the only being just south of us and the Guild close to it, there is a good chance that all the creatures there will come for us.”.
Bigsly casts his eyes down, shakes his head then grabs a different jug from under the counter. This one is painted red with three white stripes, he pulls the cork and the fumes burn his nose, but he puts the jug to his lips and tilts it back. After taking four large gulps, he slams the jug down and coughs. Wiping his lips, Bigsly’s face begins to turn red and his eyes soften, smiling he says, “ I guess this is it then. We die one way or another.”.
Ira frowns and grabs the jug, herself and takes a long swig, then looks at Bigsly, “ Looks like it. I am going to call my superiors and tell them the village is lost, they’ll let the proper spies know and the word will get to your king. Hopefully this won’t spread, further.”.
Bigsly looks at her confused, “ What do you mean? Don’t you want Albion to fall? We are enemies aren’t we? I mean I know I sold you secrets, but crap, why do you care what happens to us humans?”.
Ira smiles sadly, “ Actually, we were hoping of finding a way of finding peace, but we did take other information that could be used against Albion just in case. Why did you sell me information if you thought it would lead to your countries demise?”.
Bigsly chuckles to himself and shrugs, “ You were pretty, and the money was good. Why wouldn’t I?”.
Ira stops smiling and looks at him and asks, “ No, really why would you do something if you thought it would hurt your people?”.
Bigsly recoils and then grabs the jug and takes another swig before saying softly, “ I fought in the war, from the beginning. I was so young, barely fifteen but my father was sick, and the draft board said that he couldn’t fight so they took me instead. My mother cried and my father pleaded and begged to take my place, but it fell on deft ears and I was sent off. As luck would have it, I didn’t have to fight. My father was a modestly successful merchant, he bought and sold surplus crops from our village and sold them in the capital and if he made more than he had told the famers he would, he would go back and give them some of his own profit. He was a good man, everyone loved him.”.
Bigsly smiles sadly to himself, wiping away a single tear he continues, “ Any way he and my mother made sure that I learned to read and write, because of this instead of being sent to the front to die, I was made secretary to a general, I would compose letters, shine his armor, get his food , and the like. I was still on the front, but I was in the back, safe and sound. After we would win a battle, we would make our way through what elven towns. I saw a lot of travesty, but I told myself it was all apart of war, but one day I could no longer tell myself that. We had just taken a small elven village, not anything new by that time, but this time the elves hadn’t all been able to run in time. While searching some of the homes, a group of soldiers had found a bunch of children and a couple of elderly hiding in a secret room. They were dragged before the general, I was thinking he would have them locked up and used as hostages, not great but not the worst thing that could happen.”.
Ira looks down at the floor, her eyes distant and says, “ I take it that is not what happened.”.
Bigsly shakes his head, more tears forming in his eyes, “ No, its not. He asked them were the others had gone, one of the old men stepped forward and told him that they had all left and they had been left to behind. The general didn’t believe him, and had him beaten right there, but the man wouldn’t change his story. After a few hours the man, was un recognizable, the children and elders cried begging for it to stop. The general pulled out his sword and held it to the man’s throat and said he would stop it. One of the children, a little girl, ran forward begged the general not to kill her grandpa, that she would tell him were her parents were. She led us to another basement, where found a false floor were a dozen or so elven warriors were hiding. The general had them dragged to the center of town, were he killed all the men and elderly, right in front of the children. Then he gave the woman to the soldiers to enjoy, then he sent the children off to other generals and nobles with certain inclinations. And I did nothing to stop it.”.
By this time tears poured freely down Bigsly’s face, the man doing nothing to stop them, “ I did nothing. I should have done something, anything. I could have begged or fought, I could have snuck them out. But, I was too scared of what would happen to me if I did. So, I did nothing. Soon after my five years were up and I was given the chance to either go home or stay and advance in rank, I went home as soon as I could. I had trouble sleeping after that day, I will never forget what I saw or what I was apart of, but I thought maybe going home would help. It took me nearly a year to get all the way back home from the front, but I finally did it, but home had changed. Soon after I left the government came in and took over the distribution of crops, almost all of it going to the war effort, with nothing left over, my father’s business went belly up. Without anyway of making a living, he couldn’t afford the medicine he took to help with it, and all of the priest were off in the war, so no one could heal him. He had died four years before I made it home, my mother had tried to write me, but none of the letters made it to me, or so I was told. My mother had died six months before I had got there, it was an especially cold winter and she had succumbed to the weather, froze to death in her sleep. I found myself all alone in the world and all with the government and military to blame. I hated them they took everything from me; My home, my family, my ability to sleep, being able to live with myself. I planned to take my own life, I had all my wages from when I had served, the same ones I would have sent home if I had known they were needed, and I planned to use it to drink myself to death. I made my way to the nearest tavern, and I drank and drank. I drank until I would pass out, then I would wake up and do it all again. I eventually found my way to the capital, I tend to wonder when I blackout. I was in a tavern, drinking away the last of my coin, and planning on how best to kill myself, seeing as it seemed I couldn’t drink myself to death. When I found myself being recognized by Lord Sven, we had met early on in the war, we were by no means friends, but he said he hated to see a young soldier drink himself to death and asked what had me in such a state. I told him, everything. He grew silent and dark as I told my story, when it ended he slammed his fist on the table. He was furious about it, he said he would look into the matter and that he would hire me own as his personal clerk. He did, we worked together, and we looked into the matter, and for our troubles, Lord Sven was sent to a fledgling village to serve as it’s lord. He could have been a lord of a much larger town, or even lord of court, but because he tried to help me, he was sent here. And we both have been here ever since. I learned that my kingdom is corrupt and if you try to cure it, you get sent out to the cold. So that’s why I sold every secret I could to you, because I figured why not let someone else get the revenge for me.”.
Bigsly wipes the tears and snot from his face and sits down on the floor. Ira makes her way around the counter and sits next to him and leans her head against the wooden counter, “ It’s not your fault, that evil men do what evil men do. You tried to help after the fact, and you serve a good man. After this is all over you can still make a difference.”.
Bigsly shrugs and begins to say something when they hear a crash coming form the cellar of the bar. Jumping up they run down stairs to see a young man stick his head out of a small hole in the floor. The man looks around then up at them, he scratches his head and says, “ Hey, sorry about the floor.”.
Igneous and his friends run through the night, not slowing until dawn, taking only a few moments to rest and eat. After a quick break they resume running, Vance using his bardic magic to push them on, and Thomas and the other priest and priestess healing them anytime they over did it. By the time the group make it to the outskirts of the elven village, the sun is beginning to set. As they draw closer, four wood elves descend from the trees, and two goblins step out of the shadows. One of the elves steps forward, holding a grey metal spear out towards the group, he calls out to them, “ You are trespassing on the land of the wood elves and goblins, leave now or face the consequences.”.
Nora and the rest of the adventures step in front of the priest and priestess, Nora glares at the elves and goblins, “ Lower your spear, now! You know us! And I travel with your lord Yasevl and his brother!”.
The elf squints his eyes trying to see better in the dark, once the elf recognizes the huntress, he lowers his spear and nods his head apologetically, “ My apologies. I did not recognize you in the dark. Where is lord Yasevl?”.
At this time Yasevl steps out from behind the group of humans, followed closely behind by Igneous and Nelly. Yasevl smiles at the elf and calls him by name, “ It is good to see you, Ber.”.
The elf, Ber, studies Yasevl and his new form, he then looks to Igneous and Nelly, then back at Yasevl. He steps closer and looks closely at Yasevl focusing on his face, then he feels something inside him that knows that it to be him. Dropping to his knees, the other elves and goblins following suit, “ My apologies, My lord. Forgive my mistake.”.
Yasevl steps forward and places his hands on both of the elf’s shoulders and says warmly, “ It is alright my child, you were only trying to protect your home. I am proud of your commitment to protecting our home.”.
Ber looks up at Yasevl with teary eyes and says, “ Thank you my lord.”.
Yasevl pulls the elf to his feet and says, “ Now rise.”, looking to the others kneeling he adds, “ All of you stand.”.
They do as they are told and stand before their lord. Yasevl turns back to Ber and says, “ Please go ahead of us and let the others know we have returned and that we have brought friends that should be treated with the upmost respect.”.
Ber replies, “ I will do so, my lord.”.
Ber turns to his fellow guards and tells them to return to their posts, then he takes off to inform the village of Yasevl’s return.
Bigsly sat a long wooden table along with Greg, Ira, her head covered with a hood to hide her elven identity, Caria, and Geffory. Greg leans forward and looks at a Geffory with a cocked eyebrow and says, “ Let me get this straight you, you want to dig a tunnel from my cellar to the outskirts of the village, then make a run for it into the woods and hope we can catch up with the army before those things can catch us?”.
Geffory shares a confirming look with Caria then nods, “ Yes, that’s right.”.
Greg smiles and leans back and says, “ Sounds good to me.”.
Ira cuts in and says, “ Won’t they just attack while we are coming out of the hole.”.
The group at the table looks down and frown, Geffory nods and mumbles, “ Yeah, you’re probably right, but what else can we do?”.
About that time, one of the adventure that had been in the tavern steps forward, he pushes his long sandy hair from his eyes, and says , “ I think we can help with that.”, he says gestures to the other adventures and some of the people from the temple, “ We have been talking and we thank we can hold them off while everyone else gets away. Then we will try and join you.”.
Bigsly looks them and says , “ That’ll be suicide you know that, right? Think of your families.”.
One of the men from the temple steps forward and says stoically, “ We are doing this for our families. If we do nothing we all die, if we dig this tunnel and some of us stay to fight, then we give our families a chance to live. We want to do this.”.
Bigsly looks down and nods, the rest of them follow suit, Caria says, “ It’s decided then. Begin digging Geffory.”, and turning to the ones that will fight adds, “ Thank you for your sacrifice, you should go spend time with your families while you can.”.
The men and women nod and go off to find their families in the crowed tavern, Bigsly gets up and says, “ I’m going to go check on Lily. Let me know when it is time.”.
With that the group begins to get up, Caria going to check on the people, Ira checking to wards, Greg serving drinks to those that want them, and Geffory goes and grabs his brothers to begin digging.
As Igneous and everyone steps through the gate they are welcomed by the site of a large camp of high elves. Large blue tents doting the meadow, with fires burning in the low light of late evening. As the humans catch site of the high elves, they rush forward with weapons and spells ready, Nora pulling her bow and notching an arrow, Mitch pulling out his sword, Korren readying a spell, and Marigold and the other priests and priestess pulling out maces and readying wards. Not sure what to do Igneous and Nelly both rush forward and ready spells and flames. The high elves are surprised by the sudden attack and rush to get ready, mages raising staffs, some upside down, warriors fumbling with spears, swords, and shields, archers scrambling to ready arrows. The two sides eyes each other, both waiting for the other to make a move, when Nevil’s voice rings out through the night. Everyone’s heads jerk towards the sound of his voice, in the dwindling light, they can make out the shape of Nevil being followed by Heva, Corma, Giblex, and two short figures that none of the returning people recognize. Nevil runs toward the two facing of sides and runs to Nelly, wrapping her in his arms. He smiles and says, “ My child I am so glad that you made it here safe. I was so worried!”.
“ DAADD!!! PUT ME DOWN!!!”, Nelly says laughing, not meaning it.
Nevil pulls back and looks at his daughter’s face and smiles wider and kisses her on the cheeks over and over. Nelly wiggles and demands to be put down, this time meaning every word.
Still grinning Nevil puts his daughter down and turns to the high elves and says something in their flowing tongue, causing them to lower their weapons, but still eye the humans warily. Nevil turns back to the humans and looks around for a moment before his eyes following on Nora and he says warmly, “ It is alright you may lower your weapons, they are friends.”.
Nora sneers and says, “ Friends, really? I’d hate to see how they treat their enemies. Oh! Wait! I do know.”.
Yasevl steps forward causing Nevil’s eyes to jump to him, sudden realization on his face. Nevil drops to his knees and bows his head and says, “ Lord Yasevl, I see that much has changed for you as it has here.”.
Yasevl places his hand on Nora’s shoulder and says, “ It is alright. If Nevil says it is safe, it is safe. Lower your weapons.”.
Nora looks at the demi-god, then to her friends, Mitch shaking his head contrasted by Marigold smiling warmly at the high elves waving at them. Rolling her eyes, she slings her bow over her shoulder and replaces the arrow in her quiver and holds up her hand and says just loud enough for her group to hear, “ Lower your weapons, they are friendly.”.
Mitch groans, but does as he his told, the others following suit. Nevil rises to his feet and thanks Yasevl and turns to the high elves. A beautiful female high elf with long flowing red and blue robes steps forward and says something to Nevil, Nevil responds in the high elf’s langue. Nevil turns back to Yasevl and the group of humans, and asks, “ They wish to know if the humans in yellow are priests of Dorean?”.
Yasevl nods his head and says, “ Yes they are. Why?”.
Nevil turns back to the high elf woman, who is obviously the leader, and relays the answer and question. After the high elf responds, he turns back to Yasevl and says, “ Could they possibly cast a spell to allow everyone to understand each other?”.
Yasevl turns to Thomas and asks the same question, which Thomas then slaps his hand against his forward and says, “ Why didn’t I think of that?”.
Holding his hands up, Thomas chants as golden and white light flow from around him and around his hands then to his lips. Suddenly he drops his arms throwing them outward, and a wave of gold and white light cascades over everyone standing there. Nevil looks to Thomas and asks, “ Did it work?”.
Before Thomas can answer, the smooth powerful voice of the high elf cuts in, “ It seems it has.”.
Fixing her vibrant purple eyes on Yasevl and Thomas, she says, “ We need to talk.”.