After walking another day, the party came upon a large clearing in the middle of the forest. It was so large that the other side could barely be seen, and would not have been if there had not been a green glow emanating from the other side. Curious as to what the glow was, the group rushed forward, not noticing the sentries posted a few meters from where they had emerged. With a shout they charged.
Quinn was first to react as an arrow came hurtling towards him. It grazed is arm but he knew this could have been much worse if he had not made the turn towards the ones firing upon him. He took a closer look at who was firing at him and noticed they were elves. Thinking that this could be simply a misunderstanding, her tried to shout out to them. He was answered by another volley from the two archers. This time he was ready and dodged out of the way. There was no mistaking it now. Those were Eladrin. Their single eye colour gave them away and they were much more graceful than any elf that Quinn had ever seen. Even so, they should not be firing on him. This mystery was getting more and more strange.
Demia was dealing with some men that were bearing swords and another that was holding leashes to two great wolves. This worried her slightly as she was not sure how to deal with them all. That was until a great hand carved out of ice shot up from the ground and grabbed one of them in its icy grasp. Thanking the stars that they had the witch, she lunged at the one with the circle of orange chains etched onto his over-shirt. Unfortunately this was the man holding the wolves and as she did this he let them go. Now they were in trouble.
Duth could see the predicament they were in and was liking it less and less. They had been foolish not to check for enemies as soon as they had left the clearing. He sommoned a giant hand of ice to deal with one of the men approaching Demia but then saw she had unwillingly unleashed the wolves upon them.
“Just perfect,” he snarled.
Unleashing another torrent of magic he started to deal with the wolves as the other two quickly dispatched with their respective opponents. Unfortunately for him, wolves are much better at working together than humans and eladrin. This proved difficult for Duth and it wasn’t until Quinn turned his attention towards them that they were able to finally kill the beasts.
With their enemies dead, they knew that they would need to hurry before someone found out about their presence. Sticking the dead soldiers on pikes to keep them up straight, they quickly skirted around the clearing, avoiding other sentry posts by going deeper into the forest as needed. Quinn was uneasy though. Why would eladrin and humans be working together, and what evil could have possessed them to attack like that? this was becoming much more than they had bargained for.
Finally reaching the other side of the clearing, they decided that the best way to avoid detection was to get off the ground. Duth enlarged his broomstick and the 3 of them hopped on. Rising to the canopy, they got a much better view of the camp they were observing. The green light was coming from a fire. But this was not any old fire. This was gigantic. As big as a house and great green flames dancing into the night made it seem much more menacing than any normal fire. An old man was dancing around it and throwing powder on it. He spoke in a strange tongue that the group had never heard before.
This was odd enough, but the worst was yet to come. A cold chill fell over them as if their very bones had felt wind from the mountains hit them. Off in the distance, but getting closer very fast, they could hear a beating, and not any old beat, a wing beat.
As it got closer the cold got worse. The fire however seemed to be as strong as ever. As is got to shivering point, A giant shadow passed over them and soared over the clearing. It circled around and landed at the other side of the camp. What as in front of them, illuminated in the green light of the fire, was a giant White Dragon.
“You imbeciles!” it roared. “You have let intruders into the area. The southern sentry is dead, and now we must move on to keep our presence here a secret!”
The old man walked up to the dragon and began apologizing profusely but the dragon would have none of it.
“Make ready to leave. I must talk to the master and then I shall be on my way.”
The camp was suddenly very active. tents were being taken down and camp fires being put out. Horses were being readied to leave and it looked like the way out was directly under the group hovering in the trees. This could be bad.
The dragon walked up to the fire, breathed on it and as it shimmered in his breath, a shape formed. As it became clearer, Quinn was filled with dread. A skull was staring back through the flames. It had a large pointed crown on its head and its mouth moved though no sounded came out. The dragon was watching and softly growling every now and then before giving a nod and blowing the fire out. As the flames extinuished, Quinn could have sworn that the skull turned and looked directly at him, but he couldn’t be sure.
“Meet the rest of the army at the second camp. They will be ready to march soon and their mission must succeed. We cannot allow one man to interfere with our plans.”
With that the dragon took one wing beat and soared up into the sky before disappearing into the distance. The camp was now ready to go and the started marching below them into the forest. Duth motioned for them to be quiet and they did not make a sound. Quinn was not used to heights and it bothered him to be so far away from his beloved earth but he did his best to remain quiet too.
The camp was almost fully past when Quinn decided to try and get more comfortable in his seat. This was not the best decision as as soon as he moved, a twig broke next to him and before he could grab it, it fell towards the last man in the march. Not daring to make a sound, they all watch as it fell and landed just behind him.
Not daring to breath, the group was silent while they waited and watched the man turn and look to see what noise had startled him.