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Library: The Drow Chase

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Author: eletra
Date:Jul 22 2012

The forest was full of sounds and scents. Birds sang elegantly, moles scurried
around their burrows and grasshoppers sat between blades of grass making
noise. After all, it was summer and all the animals were vigorously carrying
out their important duties.
Three men were also proceeding through the forest, charged with a more ominous
and daunting task. They were chasing a dark elf, who had under the cover of
darkness descended from the depths of the forest and murdered a family of
farmers in cold blood at the outskirts of the village of Brimshire. When he
heard of this tragedy, the Sheriff of Brimshire summoned two of his most
experienced rangers and immediately set on pursuing the vile drow, whose
footprints led into the very same dark forest whence it had come.
The three men, Sheriff Frederick and his henchmen Janos and Rudolf, edged
through the woods as quickly as they could, following the tracks of the drow.
The sun had risen hours ago, but some dark elves were able to operate in
sunlight. The chasers had brought bloodhounds with them and swift horses
helped them to catch up. Over small streams, gloomy dales and luminous groves
they pursued, but finally they reached a small, moss-covered timberjack's
cottage and a river near the centre of the forest. A tall, black-haired
timberjack in threadbare green clothing advanced to meet them. "We seek a dark
elf, who passed this hut. Have you perchance seen it?" asked Sheriff
Frederick, an aged but bulky guy with a grey moustache. "I have, and I know
where it went", responded the timberjack, who looked like he knew little and
less about life outside the boundaries of the woods. "I followed the drow
beyond that river and saw it entering the old ruins of the Grave Robbers'
Keep". "Take us there then, quickly", demanded Frederick, and so they set on
pursuing again, guided by the timberjack. The dogs had become wary and growled
more than before, indicating that the dark elf could no longer be far away.
Beyond the river the forest was thicker and darker, so much so that moving
with the horses was arduous for a while. But soon the appearance of the woods
changed again, and the men came upon a much older part of the forest. Huge oak
trees loomed all around them with their old crooked arms stretched in every
direction. The Sheriff and his rangers were starting to sense a malevolent
presence, and they merely hoped that they could soon return to their homes.
But suddenly there was an opening, and the ruins of a once mighty fortress
towered ahead. Most of the stony structures had collapsed and were covered by
plants and vines, but the tower of the keep stood, defying age and gravity.
"Just beyond the gate of the tower, I saw it sneaking in!" bellowed the
timberjack. The three pursuers dismounted and advanced slowly so as not to
warn the drow of their coming. Before they could reach the gate, however, a
dark figure with fiery-red eyes and crimson cloak appeared from below the
arches of the gateway. "I am a high priestess of Lolth", boomed the dark elf,
"and I have prepared a small amusing surprise for thee". Three more drows
advanced from the tower and threw three lifeless bodies on the ground, one
small boy and a grown-up woman with bleeding holes where their hearts used to
be. And the third body, it belonged to thetimberjack!
Frederick and the rangers turned around to look at the man who had guided
them. The timberjack had an expression that resembled both amusement and
sadness, and he made a slow horizontal movement with his left hand, after
which his outline became completely blurry. After a few heartbeats his shape
sharpened again, but the pursuers saw to their horror that the illusion of a
timberjack had vanished and that the real creature underneath was another
drow. Even worse, all around them scores of dark elves with bows and wands
suddenly rose from behind stones and other hiding places.
"What, a bloody trap!" yelled Rudolf. Janos made the first aggressive move.
Remarkably swiftly he pulled an arrow from his quiver, aimed the shortbow and
shot at the priestess. The ebony arrow pierced the air as fast as lightning
and flew toward the head of the priestess, but with a movement quicker than
thought she caught the arrow between her thumb and index finger. Frederick
took hold of his javelin and hurled it at the priestess, but she dodged it at
the last moment. The bloodhounds charged toward the priestess and her three
helpers, and for a moment it looked like they would get a bite of drow meat,
but when they were already very close the high priestess lifted up her left
hand and channeled forth a sort of magical projectile, which during its flight
divided into five different missiles. These projectiles hit the five hounds in
their muzzles, respectively. There were no death cries, since the sheer
magical pressure made the dogs burst in pieces in an instant.
By now many dark elves were already shooting either arrows or spells toward
the pursuers, so they had to do something quickly. Rudolf rushed forward to
fight with the three henchmen of the priestess, and Janos followed. Rudolf,
clad in studded leather, managed to deal many vicious blows to the enemy, and
soon one drow raised his oval-shaped shield too slowly, whereupon Rudolf
struck his head with a longsword, and the head flew in a long bloody arch.
Janos could have killed another one, but the priestess made him fall with a
whip's lash, which caught his legs. Arrows whistled past Rudolf, but one
pierced his armour and stuck on his shoulder, which made him wince and fall on
his knees. A drow seized the opportunity and thrust an adamantium dagger
through his mouth and neck. When he saw this, Janos broke and decided to run
back to the horses and escape; but he couldn't get far, for the treacherous
dark elf who had led them to their doom set him on fire with a magical flaming
arrow.
Frederick himself was battling with the priestess, and the female drow, who
was incredibly skillful but rather frail, had to dodge all of his blows
instead of parrying them. But once she was not fast enough and had to receive
a blow from a battle hammer with her shield, and although the shield didn't
even get any dents, the hit was nevertheless so powerful that she lost her
balance and fell. Unfortunately the dark elf had one final trick; she plucked
a glass ball out of her pocket, the ball flashed and suddenly there was a
cloud of darkness, which could be penetrated by drow eyes but not by men.
Having to fight blindly, Frederick struck where he thought the drow was, but
there was nothing. A lash from the whip, the pommel of which resembled a
wolf's head with rubies in place of the eyes, took the feet from under him. A
drow spear pierced his shoulder and nailed him to the ground.
Frederick was almost unconscious and bleeding heavily, but he saw how the
priestess appeared above him. The female drow pressed her black boot on
Frederick's throat. For a moment she considered and then said "No. I will keep
you alive. You are more useful to Lolth as a slave and can help us enslave
your village. For Lolth demands a far greater sacrifice than the timberjack's
family or the farmers that we have slain."



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