"Heart's Revenge"

Lorin
Gently his hand held hers, his eyes red and tired from lack of sleep. He had lost track of time long ago, never once leaving her side. Many had come and gone, none he took notice of, none he would remember patting him on the shoulder, leaving food or taking away a still full tray, none of their words had reached his mind, his thoughts were for her and her alone.

Rorin looked from her hand back to her face and again the tears tried to come. His eyes hurt from all the tears that he had shed. Again his thoughts raced in his head, ideaís forming only to be discarded in a flash. Over and over pleading words left his lips, words of hope and promises for the Gods if they would only aid her. Lowering his head to her hand again, Rorinís heart called out to his God in silent prayer; again he called on his power to heal and again no response to his plea. Slowly he brought Kaylareaís unresponsive hand to his lips; gently he kissed her soft skin as the tears renewed from his eyes.

He never heard the door opening and closing, he didnít pay any mind to the hand that gently patted his shoulder, but when something blocked his sight of Kaylarea, he reacted. Without thought Rorin pushed at the thing that blocked his view, his strong hands closing on something soft but firm. With what little strength left in his limbs, Rorin shoved, and still the object refused to move. Rising to his feet, Rorin focused in on the thing blocking his view. Lorinís smile looked down at Rorin, compassion and concern written on his face.

Tis good to see that you are not completely lost to us, Lorin said. My friend, you need rest and to eat, you can barely stand and I fear you will grow ill should you continue to act this way.

Rorin locked eyes with Lorin as he stepped around the large human, I am fine Lorin, Rorin said. Let me be and worry not, I did sleep not more then an hour ago and I did eat what was given to me, Rorin said as he pointed to the tray of food near his chair.

Lorin glanced at the still full tray, noticing how the food had not been touched in hours. You leave me little choice Rorin, Lorin said as he reached out and stopped Rorin as he stepped neared to Kay. We have tried to aid thee, many have come to comfort thee in thy time of need but again and again you have pushed us away. Not this time my young friend, you will take rest and food if I have to hold you down and feed you. In his weakened condition Rorin didnít have the strength to resist as Lorin easily picked him up and carried him towards the door. Again and again Rorin pushed against Lorin but what little strength he had failed him.

Lorin pulled the door open and Dragons stepped in, Forgive me Rorin but this is for you own good. Gently Dragons reached out and gripped Rorinís head in his hands, as he mutter words under his breath, a small light formed around his hands holding Rorin. Rorin tried to pull away but Dragons grip was firm. Slowly Rorinís eyes closed and his body became limp in Lorinís arms.

Forgive us my friend, Lorin said as he adjusted Rorin in his arms. We but think of your health and would see you fit.

Take him to his room, Dragons said. I will send Gruntie to keep an eye on him. He should sleep for a good while; I did put a lot into that sleep spell. Tell Gruntie to keep him in his room until I have had a chance to talk with him. I will have Kailea take a look at Kay and see if there has been any change yet.

Any word yet on Arichi? Lorin asked.

Nothing yet, I sent Twisterkahn out looking for him but I have not heard from any of them as of yet.

I pray it will be in time, Kay has not changed in the two weeks since we rescued her from the grips of that foul beast, Lorin said.

I know my friend, but we can only trust that the Gods hear our prayers and speed Arichi to us as fast as possible, Dragons said.

With a nod of his head, Lorin headed down the hallway, Rorin held gently in his arms. Dragons stepped into the room and approached Kayís side; gently he laid his hands on her forehead and whispered intangible words to soft for any to hear. No change, Dragons thought to him self. Adept in the arts of healing, Dragons still lacked the skills to discover a cure for some of the new illnesses that seem to arise again. Running the keep and the Syndicate took far too much of his time, leaving no room to increase his skills further in the art of healing. Still this did not trouble him much, as he gladly gave of his time to do what he knew was his purpose in this life.

Closing his eyes, Dragons formed the message, I need you in Kayís room Please, and with his powerful mind, sent it to the one he knew could do more with her healing skills then he could. Sitting in the chair that Rorin had sat in for the last two weeks, Dragons awaited her arrival. Again his mind wished that he could send such messages to his friends that were further away, and then would he be able to contact Arichi and not have to send others out looking for him.

The soft crick of the door opening brought Dragons out of his thoughts. Kailea quietly stepped into the room and smiled at Dragons.

Did he finally leave on his own or were you forced to help him get some sleep, Kailea asked.

Lorin and I convinced him to get some sleep, Dragons answered. We helped him to find sleep at last. Lorin has taken him to his room and Gruntie will make sure he dose not leave until I have spoken to him.

Good, Kailea said as she approached Kayís bed side. Gently Kailea touched Kayís head and neck, her hands sliding across Kayís body with surety and confidence. Dragons watched in admiration as Kailea examined Kay from head to toe, not missing any part of her body.

Dragons smiled as he remembered almost 6 months ago when Kailea had first shown up at the keep gates asking to speak with Dragons. The guards had given her instruction in the proper way to petition to see Dragons and sent her on her way. Each day she would again show up at the gates and send in another request. For one month Kailea had sent in a petition each day, each day waiting in the main keep hall for a chance to speak to Dragons. Never once in that month did she complain of the wait, quiet and courteous to anyone that approached her or spoke with her. Dragons had been closed off in his counsel room with Taeeren when again the words was passed that Kailea was in the sitting room and would like to speak to Dragons. With the meeting almost over, Dragons told the steward that he would see Kailea in his audience hall.

He sat at his desk as the steward introduced the lady Kailea. She walked up to the front of his desk with confidence and surety. Most high elfís have a stately walk and were known for their snobbish attitude about them, this lady however stepped forward with grace. Dragons watched as she approached and he smiled when his eyes meet hers. Her lovely blue eyes held power, not the power of force but instead the fierce look of caring. Here he knew was a woman who would stop at nothing to help another in need.

I greet you My Lord, Kailea said as she stopped before his desk.

Greetings to you lady Kailea, Dragons said as he stood from his seat and extended his hand. Be welcome in to the syndicate hall, how may I be of assistance to you?

Kailea smiled slightly as she let Dragons hand fall from hers, It is I that would help you my Lord, Kailea said. Many have I heard of the exploits of the syndicate, many are the words spoken among the leaders of the world, words of your generosity, compassion, and honor. Long have I sought such a place to be a part of, long have I worked to better my skill in the healing arts. If you would have me Lord Dragons, I would join with your mighty guild and add to the healing efforts that you do give to those in need.

I see by the amount of petitions that you have sent in, more then 30 it seems, that you are interested and patient, Dragons said as he glanced at the documents lying on his desk. Lady Kailea, I will accept your request and I will tell you that to enter the service of the Syndicate is not an easy matter. If you will agree to the standards as others have then you may start your probation period.

I do agree my Lord, Kailea said. Merely start me on the path I need follow and I will not let you down.

Dragons smiled again as her face shown with determination, Take this note to the steward that escorted you in, he will show you a room to stay in and your squad leader. Your squad leader will help you get started and see that you are tested to see where you will fit in. I wish you the best of luck Kailea.

Kailea took the note from his hand and with a smile turned for the door. Thank you my Lord, Kailea said as she closed the door to his office.

Six months ago and since then she has shown herself far more valuable then he thought she would be. Many times she had assisted when wounded had been brought into the keep. Wounds that he himself would think not healable, she would heal. Her skill was incredible in the arts of healing. She had grown into a wonderful asset for the guild.

My Lord, Kailea said as she stood over Kayís quite body. There is no change my Lord, her body is whole but her mind, my Lord I can only guess but I feel nothing when I try and touch her mind.

Dragons smile fade from his face, Thank you Kailea, you have helped more then you know. Now if you would please, could you step in on Rorin and tend him. He is stubborn and I am not sure if he needs your art or not but I would have you check on him.

As you wish my Lord, Kailea said as she turned toward the door. Please my lord, I would like to be here when Arichi dose arrive. I would know what he thinks has happened.

Sure Kailea, I would have it no other way, Dragons said without looking at her, his thoughts on Kay and how was he to supposed to tell Rorin that there was still no change. Slowly Dragons reached out and gripped Kayís hand, lowering his head he began to pray once again.

 

Swiftly Kailea walked down the long hall, glancing from one door to another. She had met Rorin once while he sat with Kay in her room. She had spoken to him and like everyone else, gotten no response. Her heart had cried out to him each time she had come to check on Kayís condition. Each time she found Rorin sitting in that chair, his face locked on the slumbering Kay. A few times she had touched him with her gift of healing; he neither moved nor spoke after her gentle touch.

Stopping a servant in the hall, Kailea asked for directions to Rorinís room. After a few turns she stood before his door and knocked. The door opened and she recognized Gruntie as he stepped back to let her in the small room. Rorin lay on the small cot, by the sound of his snoring, she knew he slept finally. Crossing the room and standing next to his bed, Kailea gently began her examination.

Have not had a peep out of him since I arrive, Gruntie said as he closed the door. Lorin told me I was to keep him from leaving the room till Dragons did say. I know you have watched over Kay, has there been any change, Gruntie said as he stepped to Kailea side.

She is the same,: Kailea said as she turned from Rorinís still sleeping body. I am hoping that Twisterkahn can find Arichi fast and that he can shed some light on how to return Kay to us.

He sleeps deeply, Kailea said glancing at Rorin. It would seem that Dragons has put a heavy spell of sleep on him. He should sleep for a good six more hours.
Good, Gruntie said looking at Rorin. He needs that and more. I cannot guess at the pain he must feel. If only we knew a way to lessen it and easy his burden.

We have not given up yet, Kailea said. Still weather Kay can be helped or not, it is we that he will need to return him to whole again. I fear that what ever happens to Kay, he will be hard to stop in his vengeance on Broxx.

He shall have it, Gruntie said. A fiery light filled Gruntieís eyes as he looked at Kailea. This cannot go attended Kailea. There are many that agree with me in this. When next Rorin is able, we shall seek out this one called Broxx and we will gladly take our price for his harming one of our own.

Kailea stepped back at the strength of Gruntieís words. Having seen this look before on other men, she knew there would be no stopping him or changing his mind on this. With a smile and a few words for Rorinís care, Kailea left the room. As she closed the door, she watched as Gruntie sat down next to Rorin. Barely had she heard the words that were meant for Rorin ears alone.

Worry not my friend, Gruntie said in a whisper to Rorinís sleeping form. Your family has already begun the move against the Broxx. Soon we shall know where he is and then will you, I, and others of the family take our due of him. Rest my friend, know that we are here and al that can be done is being done.

Kailea closed the door completely, shutting off the rest of Gruntieís words. Her mind began to race as she quickened her steps down the hall. I must prepare what I can, I suspect that when Arichi dose arrive, there will be much need of healing to come. Her face firm in concentration, Kailea quickened her steps more. She knew she had much to prepare for. She knew that there would be blood flowing in the days to come and that it would not only be the blood of their enemy but those of loved here also.

Slowly Rorin opened his eyes. The little bit of light let him know that he was in his own chamber. Trying to keep his body still, he quietly turned his head towards the side of his small room. His eyes widened as he saw Gruntie sitting on the chair next to his cot.

How do you feel my friend? Gruntie asked noticing Rorin looking his way.

I am fine, Rorin said as he began to move. His body was slow in responding as he attempted to roll to the edge of his bed. Arms felt like lead weight and his legs felt far heavier.

What was done to me? Rorin asked as he struggled to sit up.

Dragons made you rest, Gruntie said as he helped Rorin to a sitting position. You have pushed your self to far Rorin. Dragons had no choice but to make you sleep.

How long have I been asleep? Rorin said as his anger began to rise. How was Kay, they had no right to take him from her. She may need him, she may be calling for him and he was not there. Pain exploded in his chest at his thought of not being there again for her. She is like this because I failed to protect her once, Rorin thought. I will not let her down again, he thought as he slipped to the end of the bed.

You have slept for almost two days, Gruntie said as he helped Rorin off the bed to stand. Gruntie held on to him as he tilted from side to side. Slowly he watched as strength returned to Rorin.

Two Days! Rorin yelled. I need to be with her, you have kept me from her that long. She needs me, I must be there when she awakes Struggling from Gruntieís hands, Rorin made for the door, Gruntie following behind.

There has been no change in her condition, Gruntie said as he followed Rorin through the door. We would have woken you if there had been. Gruntie watched as Rorinís strides became more and more stable. His strength was returning and so was his anger. Gruntie increased his step from a walk to a run to keep up with Rorin. Knowing that he would not be able to stop him, nor if he would want to, Gruntie stayed close behind. Watching to make sure he made the fast trip to Kayís room.

Rorin skidded to a halt as he rounded the corner to Kayís room. In front of the door stood Ulkaur and Gazzaz stood in front of the door. Gruntie could not help but smile as he saw the two guarding the door. No matter what anger Rorin called upon, he would not get past two Trolls instructed to keep him out. Yesterday Dragons had stopped by to tell Gruntie that Arichi had arrived and cleared all from the room. Dragons had also told him that he had Gazzaz and Ulkaur watching the door, to keep Rorin from returning to the previous state he was in last time and to also keep any enemy from gaining access to Kay again. Arichi had spoken to him that there were ways to gain access to her from outside the keep. Once touched, she is easily touched again from far away, Arichi had said. Dragons had said that Arichi had gone into the room and told all other to leave, including Dragons. Two hours after leaving the room, Arichi had sent for him, instructing him to place a Guard on the door and to send Kailea to him as soon as possible. Neither Arichi nor Kailea had been from the since as far as Gruntie knew.

Gruntie watched as Rorin appraised both Gazzaz and Ulkaur in one glace and then began to stride towards them again. Gathering what little strength he had, again he tried to force his way between the two Trolls. Gazzaz and Ulkaur exchanged a look of sympathy as they easily restrained Rorin from the door.

We are sorry Rorin, Ulkaur said as he and Gazzaz gently picked Rorin up and set him back down farther from the door. We have our instruction to keep all out unless Arichi says different.
I must go to her, Rorin said as again he attempted to past the two hulking trolls. She needs me and I must be at her side.

She has the best looking after her now, a strong voice sound out behind Rorin.

Detangling himself from Gazzazís and Ulkaurís hands, Rorin turned to the voice he knew. Dragons came to a stop before Rorin, his face evidently tired. Why wonít you let me go to her? Rorin asked in a heated voice. She needs me and I cannot let her be alone again.

Please understand Rorin, Dragons said. Arichi and Kailea are still with her and you would just hinder them as they try to help her.

Anger, pain, and fear flashed again across Rorinís face and finally resignation that he would not get past the two trolls settled upon him. With a loud grunt, he turned and sat on the bench opposite from Kayís door. I shall wait here then, Rorin said as he crossed his arms and stared at the door.

Without a word, Dragons and Gruntie each sat on the bench; on opposite sides of Rorin, both staring at the door.

 

Rorin lost count of the hours that had past, but when the door creaked, he shot to his feet and made his way to the door. Arichiís tired face shown out the door, You may all come in now, he said as he opened the door the rest of the way.

Rorin was the first in the room, shooting by Gazzaz and Ulkaur as fast as he could move in hope they would not stop him. Dragons and Gruntie were fast on his heels.

Kaylarea still lay upon the bed, her eyes closed, seemly sleeping peacefully. Rorin was at her side in a moment, her hand in his and his eyes searching her body and face for any changes. His heart began to beat harder and harder in his chest. Eagerly he reached out to her with is heart and mind, trying again to find some sense that she knew he was there beside her.

Tell me Arichi, have you helped her? Dragons said in a stern tone.

Arichi glance once at Kailea and then turned back to Dragons, It is hard to explain my Lord, Arichi said. Kailea and I have checked all that we could and we have tried every one of our skills to bring her back to us, but it is as it was before. She is whole in body MíLord, but her mind is not there, her soul if you will. She is healthy and whole but for the part that is Kaylarea is not there. It is as if this Broxx has reached in and tore her soul from her. I have heard of such a thing once and already I have sent for information on what we need to do to help her and return to her that which was taken. Still there is one problem my Lord.

Dragons looked from Arichi to Kailea, Speak, what is this problem and what do we need to do to help her.

We are not sure but I think that in order to return to her what was lost, we must first find this Broxx and take back what he has taken. I do not know if it is even possible to do such but there can not be complete healing if we cannot find what was lost.

I will find it, Rorin said. I will seek him out and take back what he has stolen from Kay. Rorin began to push between Dragons and Arichi, heading towards the door.

Dragon took a step back at the intensity of Rorinís words and reached out and stopped Rorin. He had not even noticed when Rorin had stopped looking at Kay and had been listening to the conversation.

I know that you will Rorin, but alone you cannot take this Broxx on, Dragons said looking down at Rorin. You will need help and we need time to plan.

Rorinís eyes rose to meet Dragons, Plan what you will my Lord, I leave in the hour. The longer we do wait the harder and farther away this beast will be. I will be at the front gate in an hourís time, if you would send others with me, then have them there, I shall not wait. With those words Rorin pushed through the rest of the people in the room and out the door. Dragons could hear his footsteps as he ran down the hall.

Arichi, Kailea, stay with her please, Dragons said as he turned towards the door. Gruntie I need your help

It will only take a moment to gather my equipment and I shall be at the gates awaiting him, Gruntie said.

Dragons smiled at Gruntie, he had hoped that he would accompany Rorin, a clear head and strong friend was one thing he needed on this trip.

We will need others to assist him, Dragons said, his thoughts searching for those that would benefit the most. Gather Trelisha, Stun and Kelador, they are in the training hall. I have spoken to them previously and they are ready to leave as soon as you are.

Good, Gruntie said. We will need some stealth and surprise in this for sure.

I agree, and also you will need some help in finding the place this Broxx has gone or been. Taeeren and Duegan are both here about in the keep. Both will be able to help you greatly in this.

This should be enough, Gruntie said. We do not want to announce our selves but instead catch this fiend by surprise. I would ask Twisterkahn to meet us at the gate, he could save us a lot of time by porting us back to the place we last met this Broxx.

Aye that is a good idea, I shall send him to you shortly, Dragons said as he and Gruntie walked through the door. Their voices faded as they talked of supplies and equipment need for the trip.

Arichi and Kailea again turned their attention to the still sleeping body of Kaylarea. Arichiís mind raced, he had not told Dragons all that he feared or knew. He held back as he knew that such further news could only hurt Rorin. News that if her self was not returned to its body soon, she would suffer damage, perhaps even death. He had not lied and he told Dragons that he had only heard of this one time before. Holding back the information that that one time they had tried to return the soul to the body, had failed. That person had died a horrible death, full of pain and unending screams.

 

Five days they had been pushing hard, Harder then Rorin had ever pushed himself before. Five days ago his six companions had met him at the keep front gates. Five days they had searched and followed the cold trail of Broxx.

Rorin slowly lifted his head and looked at those around the small fire. Gruntie, Kelador, and Duegan sat and talked in hushed tones. Trelisha stood not far away scanning the camp for any unexpected visitors. Stun leaned against a tree, one of his daggers flipping in the air and quickly caught again with deft hands. Most of them Rorin had only heard of, a few he knew a bit more.

Gruntie, the small but fierce warrior that he had met many times before and also sparred with from time to time. Many a foe had thought Gruntie a easy target, only to find out sooner then they had wanted, that he was one of the most talented warriors that walked the world. His reputation had grown many times over as a great warrior and the planner of many Syndicate raids. Rorin knew that his chance of killing Broxx had increased when Gruntie joined the group.

Kelador laughed at some joke that Gruntie had made and slapped him on the back. Rorin had never worked of traveled with Kelador, but he knew of his skill and reputation. Not a liker of death but he was counted one of the most stealthy members of the guild. Kelador would kill when he must but he hated to do so.

Stun was to most a stand offish person. Rorin had known him a little, little enough to know that he did not hold himself aloft but instead was a quiet and reserved man. As with Kelador, his skill was impressive and deadly. Where Kelador took no pleasure in death, Stun did not seem to care. He would let his victim live or die and it never seemed to matter either way. Rorin found himself feeling a kinship to Stun at times. His thoughts ran over and over again on how he would kill Broxx when he met up with him.

Trelisha was a surprise to many. Another of the Rogue class and one would never think that of her. Her beauty astounded many on first meeting her. Soon everyone would see the sharp mind and strong presence she always seemed to exude. Unlike Stun and Kelador, Trelisha would kill when only all other avenues had been tried; she prided herself on using her mind to get her and other out of any situation and had done so many times in the past. Still Rorin was stunned that one of the Squad leaders would join him on this mission. He was glad to have her with him; her quick thinking would defiantly come in handy where they were headed.

Duegan was a spirited dwarf. In the five days they had been traveling, Duegan had on a few occasions tried to talk to him and lift his spirits. Rorin had never hunted or worked with Duegan, except for the occasional Orc cleaning or Giant bashing that many Syndicate member went on. Still Rorin had heard that his skill at tracking and finding items or people was uncanny. He took turns with Taeeren in scouting ahead and behind the group.

Taeeren was the biggest surprise of the group for Rorin. He was always closeted with Dragons, planning one raid or another. His skills with tracking were up there with Dueganís but his biggest asset was his ability to plan things on the fly and when time was short. Taeeren had been gone for almost two hours and Rorin knew that soon Duegan would head out to find him shortly if he did not return.

The group amazed Rorin with the way they took to their individual task without question or concern. He knew now that if he wanted to help Kay and bring back that part of her that was stolen, he would need each and everyone of those in his group.

The snap of a branch brought the small camp to silence. Everyone turned towards the sound, Stun and Kelador both stood ready with knives in their hands. Gruntie had stood up and was facing the direction of the sound. Everyone had moved to ready themselves but Duegan. The Dwarf still sat and showed no worry or concern about the sound.

Stop teasing everyone Taeeren and get in here, Duegan said as he began to rise to his feet. That grows very old over time Taeeren; you would think that you could come up with a new trick to surprise everyone.

Without making a sound, Taeeren stepped into the camp from the opposite direction that the broken branch sound had come. With well trained reflexes, the members of the group all spun with weapons in hand. Even Gruntie had one sword drawn and the other half way out of his scabbard.

Sorry everyone, Taeeren said as he stepped further into the camp. I sometimes forget that we are not here for fun.
Rorin shook his head as he began to sit down again, surprised when he found he held his sword in his hand and hot not remember drawing it.

Well? Gruntie said staring at Taeeren, did you find anything?

Iím not sure, Taeeren replied. We have been following these tracks for the last four days and they have not changed. Still we gain no ground nor lose any. The tracks seem to always be that same. If what I read of the trail, they are only three days ahead of us. Again we gain no ground on them but I have not seen any other tracks to suggest this in a false trail.

Perhaps we need toÖ. Dueganís words cut off as he rolled from his sitting position to a standing position, his swords in his hands. Where he sat a moment ago an arrow was embedded in the fallen tree trunk.

The camp exploded with intruders, dark forms swarmed into the camp. Rorin was on his feet without thought, his sword again in his hand. His anger filled him at the sight of the dark elves, strength filled his arms and he swung. His first opponent never had a chance; Rorinís blade cleanly cut him in half. On the back swing, Rorin blocked the blade of another dark elf and forced his attack. Rorin heard the sound behind him and blocked his opponents attack and rolled to his left. Coming to his feet, his sword raised before him, Rorin watched as the dark Elf that had come up behind him, dropped to the ground. Trelisha wiped her blade on the dead Elf and with a small grin on he face, she turned back into the fray. Rorin smiled as he also headed back in to the fight.

Two Dark elves pressed Taeeren and three more had Stun surrounded. Rorin turned to help Stun when he saw the five that had Gruntie pressed back against a large Tree. Knowing that Stun could hold out against the three for a short time, Rorin turned to help Gruntie.

Long hours had Rorin practiced his skill with many blades. With Lorinís help he had increased his skill many times since those long ago days of no skill at all. With new found respect, Rorin watched as Gruntie took the elves apart quickly. Two in front, one on each side of him and one from behind, they came at Gruntie in unison. With a sword in each hand, Gruntie flowed into a dance of death. The Elf behind him swung and his blade passed through empty air, Gruntie had ducked the swing without seeing it coming for him. With a twist to his left, Gruntie reversed one sword in his hand and stabbed behind himself without looking. The Dark elf never saw the blade that pierced his heart. Gruntieís dance didnít faulter, already his other sword sliced across the thighs of the elf to his left, dropping him in a heap to the ground. Raising his right sword, he deflected the slice from the elf to his right, at the same moment his left sword arm sliced forward, relieving one of the two dark elves approaching, of it head. The remaining elf in front of him hesitated a moment, that was more then Gruntie needed. With a simple step forward, Gruntie buried his sword into the dark elfís chest. Pulling the blade free, Gruntie spun to face his last attacker. The elf that had come at him from the right had backed away, fear and a respect for the fighter that now bore down on him, evident in its face. A small squeak escaped the elfís lips and he turned and began to run. Without a lapse in thought or motion, Gruntie hefted one of his blades and tossed it. The force of the blade slamming into the dark Elfís back threw it a good five feet, as it settled, Gruntie was at the body, pulling his blade free.

Rorin realized that he had stopped moving and had gapped at the skill Gruntie had displayed. Shaking his head, he scanned the rest of the carnage, running to catch up to Gruntie as he entered the fray again.

Stun had dropped two of the three that had jumped him, Rorin noted as he ran into the fray, Stun stepped into the reach of his last attacker and quicker then Rorin could follow, his dagger sprouted from the bottom of the dark Elfís chin. Slowly the elf crumbled to the ground, as he began to fall, Stun pulled his blade free and turned for more.

A loud roar filled the night air; the party froze in their tracks as the roar continued on. Dark elf bodies lay spread across the groupís camp, the night was still a moment then the roar again filled the emptiness of the night.

To your left Rorin, Taeeren called out.

Rorin spun to his left, his sword held ready, Gruntie and Stun at his side. A Dwarfís eye sight was much better then most but still Rorin could only discern shapes moving at the edge of the camp and his vision. Trelisha stepped up next to Stun, her daggers at the ready, and Kelador stood on Gruntieís side, one of his daggers still wet with blood. The small party was ready for the expected rush from the moving shapes at the edge of the camp, each one tense and tight as a coiled spring ready to burst forth.

Again the monstrous roar filled the soundless night; the party members clutched their weapons, each eager to end the overpowering sound. Rorin saw the movement a second before the shape entered the light of the camp. Red eyes shown from the triangle shaped head, the rhino shaped body moved with incredible speed. The shear size of the beast would have invoked fear in anyone standing before it. Easily twice the size of a horse or oxen, and fast as a plains cat, the beast raced toward the four facing it.

Itís a Rogg, Gruntieís voice cut through the night. Seek the eyes and watch for it teeth and claws, both are poisonous.

The Rogg was ten feet from Rorin and Gruntie when it leaped into the air. Its landing would have brought it down upon Rorin and Gruntie, but at the Rogg reached the highest part of its jump, two arrows slammed into its head. The impact of the arrows halted it fall a spilt second and Rorin rolled out of the way of its landing. Coming to his feet near Stun, Rorin raised his blade to strike. The Rogg landed with a loud crash and lay lifeless. Rorin moved to the front of the beast beside Trelisha and smiled at the two arrows that had pierced each eye. Looking over his shoulder, Rorin grinned as Taeeren and Duegan both had another arrow notched and ready.

Rorin scanned the night, waiting for another attack but silence was his only answer. Gruntie stood up from the fallen Rogg, his blade dripping blood after severing the head from its body. It is the only way to be sure, Gruntie said as he tossed the severed head to the side of the camp. The party stood ready for more they thought would come. Rorin looked through the trees around the camp, but no movement or sounds could he hear. Turning to Gruntie, Rorin noticed for the first time that Stun and Kelador we not in the camp. Opening his mouth to ask where the two had gone, the words stopped in his mouth as Trelisha stepped off into the night, two steps from the camp and Rorin lost all sight and trace of movement of her.

Rorin and Gruntie stood shoulder to shoulder, Taeeren and Duegan behind them, both with arrows notched and ready. Rorin had seen both of them shoot and knew that they could empty the quiver of arrows faster then most could fill the quiver.

What seemed like hours and instead only minutes, Kelador stepped from the darkness into the camp. Nothing else out there I could see of find.

Nothing on this side either, Stun said as he stepped into the camp from the opposite side that Kelador entered.

Gruntie shook his head in acknowledgment and began to put more wood on the fire. Letís see what Trelisha finds, Gruntie said as he stoked the fire to life.

Voices held to a low whisper, each party member sat around the fire, facing out and watching for anything to enter the camp. 30 minutes had passed when Trelisha stepped into the camp, pushing a dark Elf in front of her. The party members came to their feet as the Dark elf fell to the ground, his arms bound tightly behind his back and a trickle of blood falling from a cut in his forehead.

I thought it a good idea to not to kill this one and see if he can tell us anything, Trelisha said as she pulled the elf into a sitting position.

Gruntie moved to face the elf and began to speak in a language Rorin didnít understand. The elf remained silent and again Gruntie spoke, this time a little louder. Still the elf would not respond. With a quick movement, Gruntieís fist struck and the elf fell back to the ground, blood now flowing from his lips.

Gruntie move forward and grabbed the elf and began to pull him back up when Stun leaned down and placed a restraining hand on Gruntieís arm. Allow me a little time with him, Stun said. Gruntie looked from Stun to the elf finally nodding his assent and moved away from the elf. Stun pulled the elf to his feet and pushed him into the woods. Together Kelador and Trelisha smiled as Stun disappeared in the night. Everyone knew the skill Stun had in extracting information from those with closed lips. Rorin had never seen the things that Stun had done in the past, but the stories were many and his results were very effective.

Gruntie whispered to Kelador and Trelisha and both moved off into the night in the direction Stun had gone. They will make sure Stun is not disturbed, Gruntie said as he again tended the fire.

Taeeren and Duegan had lowered their bows and replaced their arrows back in their quivers, both stepped up to the fire.

A Rogg, Taeeren said as he bent to inspect the dead beast. Those are rare and hard to control.

Aye and with out archers, very hard to kill, Gruntie said as he smiled at Taeeren and Duegan both.

What little I know of these beasts is that only an Enchanter can control them, Duegan said as he sat near the fire, his blades lying across his lap.

A blood curdling scream broke the silence of the camp, everyone turned in the direction of the scream, the same direction that Stun had taken his prisoner.

I am thinking that we should continue on tonight, Gruntie said. Depending on what information Stun can acquire, we should set out and avoid any more interruption tonight.

Every shook their heads in acknowledgement. Rorin busied himself with packing his gear and helping others as they all made ready to leave once Stun returned.

The camp had been cleared and all supplies packed and ready to by the time Stun returned to the camp alone. Three more times had the screams sounded out in the night.

Well it seems that we have been following a false trail, Stun said as he sat down on a tree stump near the fire. The elf died before I could get more information then I wanted, but I think I have an idea where and how far away or prey is.

Stun went into detail about his questioning of the captive. He told the group of Broxxís plans to lead the group into an ambush just a few more miles up the trail. Stun told everyone the plans they had for the ambush and the strength in numbers that awaited them. Stun talked of how Broxxís base had been move into a mountain, and how that anyone would need magical abilities to enter the lair. For the next 10 minutes, Stun told all that the dark elf had said.

Now here is where it gets interesting, Stun said. I had not planned to kill the poor fool but instead to leave him bound for his friends to find. But it seems that this Broxx has a long reach. As the elf was telling me of the way to enter this lair, his eyes rolled back into his head and he began to scream. He screamed for a short time then he merely fell over dead. I was only able to get a general location of this lair before he died. If I understand him correctly, we are closer then we thought.

If you have a direction Stun, I am sure we can track and find this place, Gruntie said.

Before he died, the elf told me that the lair was in a mountain, one with liquid rock all around it, Stun said. If I am not mistaking, the lava flows are about 15 miles or so in the southern direction from where we are now.

Do you know this place Taeeren? Gruntie asked.

Yes, Taeeren replied. Duegan and I should be able to find this lair without much effort.

Ok you two take off now and see what you can find, Gruntie said as he rose to his feet. Check back with us and do nothing until we are all together.

Taeeren and Duegan both nodded and grabbing their packs, started off into the woods, heading to the south at a fast clip.

Let clear the rest of the camp and head out, Gruntie said as he started kicking dirt over the fire.

Rorin began clearing any signs that there was a camp here, inside his mind began to race. Soon, he thought to himself. Soon will I have you in my hands Broxx.

Taking only a few minutes to clear the camp, the remaining group members set out in the direction that Taeeren and Duegan had taken. With Gruntie in the lead, Rorin following him and Stun, Kelador, and Trelisha bring up the rear, the group sped off.

It was a moonless night, but Gruntie seemed to find each of Taeerenís or Dueganís markers as they sped south. Throughout the night, they would meet up with Taeeren or Duegan, each time they would tell of what was found and how far the lair maybe from them. It had been almost an hour since they met up with Taeeren when they topped a rise and found Duegan standing next to a tree.

I think we have found the lair, or we are real close to it, Duegan said as the group stopped before him. We found some sentries ahead and Taeeren is watching them now. Gruntie, the sentries are dark elves.

Sounds like you found the place indeed, Gruntie said. Ok everyone, letís keep it quiet and follow Duegan.
Duegan lead the way and the group followed in his foot steps, Rorin could not hear any sounds of their foot steps as they followed him. Duegan guided them through trees and then out among large boulders. Rorin noticed the night was becoming warmer and that he was seeing more and more of the surroundings. They followed Duegan for ten minutes when he raised his hand and brought them to a halt. Stopping next to a large boulder, Duegan ducked low and pointed out the sentries to Gruntie. As Gruntie was studying the sentries, Taeeren stepped out from behind another boulder and next to Duegan.

There are four guards on this side of the bridge, Taeeren said drawing a map in the dirt. Across the bridge there are 4 more and a large set of doors in the side of the mountain.

How many can you two take down fast? Gruntie said looking at Taeeren and Duegan.

We could drop the four on this side of the bridge quickly, but I am sure that other four will notice for sure, Taeeren said.

Hmm, Gruntie said as he studied the map drawn in the dirt. Ok here is what we will do.

Quickly Gruntie gave out instruction to each member. Taeeren and Duegan were the first to leave followed by Stun, Kelador, and Trelisha shortly after. Gruntie wink at Rorin and gave an evil grin as he motioned Rorin to follow. Rorin followed Gruntie up the trail leading to the bridge and between the four elf guards coming into view.

The four front elf guards drew their weapons and stepped towards Gruntie and Rorin as they came into view. Without hesitation, Gruntie has his blades free and the first elf lay on the ground. Rorin stepped past Gruntie and engaged the nearest of the other three elfís. Blade ringing out against the elfís blade, Rorin pressed his attack. His opponent suddenly stiffened and fell to the ground, again Rorin watched as Trelisha pulled her blade free from the elfís back as it fell. Rorin watched as the last two guards also fell to the ground, Stun next to one and Kelador cleaning his blade on the last.

The four guards at the other end of the bridge raised the alarm. Three of them started down the bridge towards the group and the fourth turned towards the doors; Rorin was sure that one went for help. Before the elf reached the doors to the mountain, two arrows stood out from his back, silently the elf fell to the ground.

Gruntie had already raced down the bridge, Taeeren and Stun close behind him. Watching as he ran to keep up, Rorin saw another guard fall from the bridge, again arrows sticking out of its body. Gruntie had engaged the first elf and the last elf staggered as a dagger suddenly appeared in his throat. Stun wasted no time in reaching the dying elf and pulling his dagger free as it slipped over the side of the bridge. As Trelisha past Gruntie and the elf he fought, Rorin watched her arm move and the elf fell to the ground, his body falling away from his head.

Quickly the group ran to the doors, ducking off to the side. Gruntie whistled and they watched as Taeeren and Duegan ran across the bridge towards them. Gruntie scanned the area around the doors as Trelisha looked at the locks in the doors. Taping Taeeren on the shoulder, Gruntie pointed to the outcropping of stone above the doors. Taeeren nodded and notched an arrow. Drawing back his bow, Rorin followed where he aimed and saw for the first time the small window about 4 inches wide and narrow length of 12 inches and the guard standing before it. Rorin concentrated on the guard and wondered if even Taeeren could hit such a small opening so far away. Rorin glanced at Taeeren as he pulled the arrow back and sighted in on his target. Watching Taeeren let the arrow go; Rorin jerked his head back to the guard, the guardís expression could not be seen from this distance but Rorin watched as the guard seemed to brush as something on his chest, then the guard toppled out of sight. Rorin caught sight of the feather shaft sticking out of the guardís chest as he fell.

Gruntie patted Taeerenís shoulder and nodded at Trelisha to push on. Trelisha again began to probe at the locks on the door, in minutes there was an audible click and Trelisha pulled the door slightly open. Quickly Trelisha stuck her head inside and just as quickly pulled it back. Seems all clear, Trelisha said.

Stun, Rorin, you two bring up the rear, Gruntie said. Trelisha and Taeeren will take the lead. Duegan stay with me.

With instructions given, Trelisha and Taeeren disappeared through the door. Gruntie Waited for about half a minute then followed, Duegan right on his heels. Rorin slid up next to the door and stuck his head in. The hall continued farther then he could see. Torches along the walls at set intervals gave enough light to see and of course be seen. Rorin watched as Trelisha and Taeeren made their way further in, from intersection to intersection. Gruntie and Duegan stayed back and moved only after Trelisha and Taeeren moved further in. Reaching the second intersection, Gruntie waved for Rorin to follow. With Stun on his heels, Rorin entered the door and made his way to the first intersecting hallways and froze.

Gruntie again waved Rorin forward and when he reached his side, Gruntie pointed to the door across from his position. Nodding his head, Rorin and Stun made their way to the door. Stun reached up and gave the handle a turn and then pushed the door open. Rorin on one side of the door and Stun on the other, they both shook their heads after scanning the room and fining it empty. Quickly they entered the room, Stun signaled to Gruntie the all clear as he slipped in behind Rorin.

The small room held a small cot and not much else. There was a small desk that had seen better days, and the dust on the bed was thick enough to show that no one had been in this room for some time.

Gruntie entered the room followed by Trelisha, Kelador, and Duegan. I need you three, Gruntie said pointing at Trelisha, Stun, and Kelador. : I need you to scout out, each of you in different direction. I would prefer to keep this as quiet as we can and as fast as we can. I want you three to head out and check back in no longer then ten minutes. If you are not back in the ten minute time then we will know that the alarm is given. Trelisha, you take the main hall and follow it to its end. Stun, head to the first intersection we passed coming in, and Kelador, you head down the one hall across from this room. I expect you three back in less than ten minutes.

Shaking theirs heads in assent, all three lowered their packs to the ground and made their way out the door. Rorin heard not a sound as they slipped away.

Lets stow our gear and be ready for when they return, Gruntie said as he began to remove his small pack.

Rorin removed his own pack and pulled his sword and held it ready. This close and he could feel the need to search and find this beast. His thoughts raced over and over again of how he would dispose of this foul monster. His mind and heart beat with anger, his limbs seem to hold more power then they should be able to. Gruntie glanced at him and the stern look he gave caused Rorin to think a moment. Slowly his training took over and he realized that his anger would have gotten him killed, or worse yet his friends killed with him. Pushing the anger down deep, Rorin nodded his head at Gruntie in understanding.

Ten minutes passed and none of them had returned. Gruntie peered out the door and then closed it. No sounds could be heard and Rorin could see Gruntie was becoming inpatient for their return. Having waited for another ten minutes, Gruntie reached for the door handle again and stopped as the door began to slowly open. Trelisha quietly slipped into the room, Kelador right behind her.

Gruntie began to ask what had taken so long when he noticed the blood running down Trelishaís arm. Rorin, Gruntie said pointing at Trelishaís arm. Rorin had already been moving towards her when he had seen the blood. Gently he held her arm in his hand. Slowly moving up her arm till he found the wound. Trelisha gasp slightly as Rorinís hand closed on the deep slice in her arm. Speaking words in a soft voice, Rorin closed his eyes and began to call upon the power within. Trelisha gasped loudly as Rorinís power flowed into her. Lasting only a short few minutes, Rorin removed his hand and a quick examination showed only a small scar. Trelisha sat back, relief evident on her face.

What happened? Gruntie said looking at both Kelador and Trelisha.

We all headed off as you instructed, Trelisha said. I had made it to the end of the long hall when I was set upon by 4 dark Elfís.

She was holding her own when I arrived, Kelador said. The hall I followed looped around to the one main door that Trelisha was fighting at. She had three on the ground and was dealing with the fourth when I arrived.

Thank god he came when he did. Trelisha said. The last one gave me this and then two more came from the main door. Kelador made quick work of them and we headed back here after looking in the door. Gruntie, Broxx is in that main room behind the doors at the end of the hall. There are about 10 Elves with him and he surrounded by all kinds of tubes and bottles; many desks with all kinds of tubes with different colors of liquid running through them.

Do you think he saw or heard you two? Gruntie asked.

I donít think so, Kelador said. We watched him a moment and then left. The dark elves are scattered all around the room. They didnít move once while I watched so I am not sure if they live or not, but the armor and weapons they hold seem real enough

Thanks, Gruntie said. Any sign of Stun?

Both Kelador and Trelisha shook their heads no. Gruntie nodded his head and glanced at the door, Rorin could see his mind was racing.

We cannot wait for Stun, Gruntie said as he edged towards the door. He can take care of himself and I am sure he is ok. Now then here is what we will do once we enter the room.

Trelisha and Kelador drew out a rough design of the room on the floor and pointed out to Gruntie where Broxx stood and also the elves. Shaking his head, Gruntie quickly gave out instructions to each member. With everyone acknowledging their roles, Gruntie opened the door and they followed him into the hallway. Rorin hesitated in asking Gruntie what the small vial was that he had strapped to the underside of his wrist. The Small vial held a blue liquid and something in Rorinís mind pulled him that he should remember seeing such before. Dismissing the question out of haste, Rorin stored the question in the back of his mind for later and moved out into the hallway with the others.

Signaling Trelisha and Kelador, Gruntie motioned the rest to stay behind him and flat against the wall. Trelisha and Kelador made their way down the hall, one on each side, hugging the wall as the slowly made their way towards the end of the long hall. As the two made their way closer, Gruntie signaled to those behind to him to follow. Slowly the company moved to the large doors at the end of the hall.

Ok everyone should be ready, Gruntie whispered as his hand settled upon the door handle. Remember you place and sing out if youíre in over your head.

Gruntie nodded his head at Rorin and they both pulled the doors open. Taeeren and Duegan stood and drew back their bows; Kelador and Trelisha both sped into the room, one to each side. Rorin and Gruntie leap with weapons drawn in the room. Rorin heard the sound of arrows passing his head as he moved to confront the large form in the center of the room. Off to his right two elf figures had already fallen, arrows sticking out of their bodies. Glancing to his right, Rorin saw another elf fall and the dark movement of Kelador stepping towards his next target.

Slowly the large form in the center of the room began to turn. Rorin moved around to the left of the desks in the room, Gruntie moved to the right of the desks. Clashing of metal upon metal filled the room and both Gruntie and Rorin made their way to what they knew to be Broxx.

Broxx large form faced them, his face beautiful but darker then most. Slowly a grin spread across his face as he watched Rorin and Gruntie approach. So you bring me more subjects to play with Rorin? Broxx said in a deep, seductive voice. Oh what a joy, you have brought me Gruntie, the Syndicates most powerful warrior. This is indeed a great surprise. Oh and another beauty has come to die at your side, Broxx said as Trelisha stepped up next to Gruntie. Ever has the Syndicate provided me with such pleasure and joy. I suppose you come seeking this, Broxx said as he stepped to the side and rested his hand upon a large glowing globe. Yes small one, the essence that you seek, that part of your loved one that you want so badly, is here. You need only get by me and it is yours. Oh but can you return it to her body safely? Broxx smiled evilly and his hand slowly began to caress the globe. There are few that would attempt such a thing and none I know of with the knowledge or power to return what I have taken. That matters not, come join your love on my lab table. I am sure there are many things I could use your essence for.

The chamber had grown quiet, Trelisha stood next to Gruntie and Kelador stood to Rorinís side. Taeeren and Duegan slowly approached, bow at the ready.

Rorin felt nothing but rage, each time Broxx would touch the globe Rorinís rage grew. Anger filled his mind and heart. Slowly he took one step forward and then another. Gruntie stepped with him knowing that there was little he could do to stop Rorinís intent. Quietly the small group fanned out around Broxx, each with weapons drawn and ready.

Five steps from Broxx Rorin raised his sword to strike. Broxxís hand shot out towards Rorin and Gruntie, Blue lighting flying from his finger tips and incasing both. Rorinís body was racked with pain. His feet held in pain and he screamed out in agony. Wave upon wave of pain rolled through his limbs, trying as hard as he could, Rorin fought with his mind to endure. Slowly the pain ebbed some, enough that Rorin called forth his inner strength. Mentally completing the summons, the blue force slowly faded from his body to be replaced by a shinning white glow of holy strength.

Rorin raised his head and faced Broxx; slowly he began to climb to his feet, not remembering falling to the floor. All the other lay upon the floor, blue force surrounding each of them. Anger washed away with the power of the holy light, Rorin stepped towards Broxx again.

Broxxís smiled faded from his face as Rorin came closer. For the first time in his life, Broxx felt fear, before him came one that would not be stopped. Summoning up his most powerful of spells, Broxx raised his hand once again. Black light flowed into Rorin from Broxxís hands. The white aurora around Rorin reflected most of the black light, but still Rorin was picked up and thrown to the far wall. Rorinís body hit the wall with stunning force and fell to the floor lifeless.

Broxx cackled with glee and turned his attention towards the others. So we have the might Gruntie with us today, Broxx said as he stepped to Gruntieís body. Let us see what wonderful things we can steal from your mind? Broxx easily lifted Gruntie with hand. Holding him at face level, Broxx placed his other hand on Gruntieís head and let flow blue energy into Gruntie. Gruntieís scream filled the chamber.

Not to my friend you wonít, a voice sounded out in the chamber above Gruntieís screams. Broxx staggered back as the force of the dagger sank into his neck. Dropping Gruntie and stumbling back against the large desk, Broxx gripped at the dagger handle protruding from his neck, black blood flowing heavily from his throat.

It is wrong to over estimate your foe or foeís in this case, Stun said as he stepped out of the darkness to stand over Broxxís body. You have hurt my friends and for that I will take you life, but I will let you chose how to die. Will you slowly die in pain or would you prefer I remove this from your throat and let you go quickly?

Broxx tried again and again to remove the dagger from his throat as more and more of his life spilled upon the floor. Slowly Broxx slipped to the floor, the dagger handle to slippery for him to gain a good hold on. Stun watched as Broxxís strength faded from his body slowly. Your choice foul one, tell me what needs be done to restore Kay and I shall let you go quickly, Stun said as he placed one finger upon the dagger handle, slowly pushing it back and forth. Broxx whimpered and more blood erupted from his mouth. There is not much time left, tell me what I would know, Stun said as he moved his hand from the dagger. Broxx whispered and Stun lowered his head to hear. With a smile stun stood from Broxx and looked down on him. Maybe I will not grant you a swift death. You have harmed my friends and for that I should make you suffer to no end, but as I have very little time so be it. Stun reached down and slowly closed his hand around the dagger handle. With a smile, Stun ripped the dagger from Broxxís throat; blood erupted in a stream as the blade left the fatal wound.

Stun wiped his blade on Broxxís cloak and turned to check on the others. Gruntie was almost to his feet, his face pale and he moved weakly. Trelisha and Kelador were helping Duegan and Taeeren to their feet. Each seemed to be well if not shaken and weakened by the Broxxís attack.

Gruntie help! Trelisha shouted bending over Rorinís body. Rorin is hurt badly and I know not if he will live.

The entire party moved to Rorinís body. Slowly Gruntie bent to his still form, his hands probing up and down Rorinís body. Rorinís heart beat but faintly, Gruntie found numerous broken bones and some cuts that could wait, still he had to hurry. Quickly Gruntie pulled bandages from his pouch and asked for more. With tried and true skill, Gruntie began to bind Rorinís wounds. Taeeren and Duegan soon had litter made from things they had found in the chamber. Gently they lifted Rorinís still form and placed it upon the stretcher. We must hurry, Gruntie said as Taeeren and Duegan each picked up a side.

He will never make it back to the hold, Trelisha said as Gruntie turned to the tables near Broxxí dead body. We could summon Twisterkahn to us to help, or Merlota. Either would be able to help us return Rorin to the keep in time.

No we cannot, Kelador said. Neither knows this place and cannot come to where they have never been. We must get him to a place that one or the other knows.

Hold a moment, Gruntie said as he moved items around the large desk. Searching, Gruntie moved things back and forth, looking for the thing Arichi had told him of. With a smile, Gruntieís hands landed on a large globe covered with a white cloth. Moving the cloth, Gruntie grasped the globe of blue light that pulsed and slipped it into his side pouch.

Trelisha look on that table for books or papers, Gruntie said as he began again to search the desk. Stun check that other desk for any kind of book or papers.

Taeeren and Duegan held the stretcher as the rest of the group searched the remaining desks. In minutes they had each collected numerous papers and books.

Now stand back a bit, Gruntie said as he pulled the small vial from his wrist. Raising it above his head and balancing the books he had collected, Gruntie smashed the vial to the ground. Backing up a few steps, Gruntie moved away as the magical energies escaped from the broken vial. The strands of magical energy began to form into a ball. The ball grew in size; from small as someone hands to a circle easy big enough to cover a full grown man. As the magical circle reached man size, it began to glow brighter and brighter. At the center of the circle an image began to form.

I recognize those grounds, Trelisha said as she looked at the circle.

Come, we must hurry now, Gruntie said as he motioned them through the now fully open portal. Without being her you have saved us again Twisterkahn, Gruntie thought to himself.

Taeeren and Duegan stepped into the circle with the stretcher between them, Trelisha and Kelador following close behind. Hold the books and lose papers close, Gruntie motioned Stun through the opening. Glancing around his surrounding, Stun stepped into the opening. Slowly Gruntie back towards the opening, reaching into his pouch again he pulled free another vial. A gift from Lorin, Gruntie said as he smashed the vial on the ground and backed into the portal. As the vial opened a blinding light began to grow. Small at first but soon it grew larger then the room. Blowing the doors open and engulfing everything in the chamber, the light force bigger and bigger. Few dark elves knew what hit them, some were sleeping, and others were standing guard when the bright light descended upon them. Never given a chance to run but only to scream a short scream as the bright light consumed their lives. In days that news would spread news of the bright light that had eaten a part of the dark mountains. The bright light that must have been the touch of the Gods, someone or something had angered the gods for sure.

 

Gruntie stepped on the main training grounds of the Syndicate hold. Ropes had been setup to fence off this section of the keep for any and all ports to the hold. Already many people surrounded the stretcher that held Rorin. Pages were taking books and papers that had been collected, one page took from Gruntie that books and pages he held. His hands now free, Gruntie stepped into the crowd surrounding Rorin.

Kailea was bent over him, her hands pressed hard against his chest, a faint glow pulsing from her hands to his chest. Dragons knelt on the other side, holding Rorinís hand in his. For minutes Kailea concentrated on Rorin, moving her hands from one place to another on his body, each time a small gasp came from Rorinís lips. What seemed an hour later, Kailea leaned back, exhaustion clearly written on her face, He will live, Kailea said. Take him to his room and see that he is kept warm. Being the closest, Citgo easily picked up the stretcher in his large Troll arms and with little effort turned towards the keep, many following him.

Gruntie watched them enter the keep and then he turned his attention to Dragons. During Rorinís healing, Arichi had arrived unnoticed.

Did you find what I spoke of? Arichi asked.

Yes, this and all the books we could find, Gruntie said as he pulled the globe from his pouch and handed it to Arichi.

Seemly to forget Dragons and Gruntie, Arichi took the small globe and began to walk towards the keep, mumbling to himself as he walked faster and faster.

Sliding his arm around Gruntieís shoulders, Dragons began to walk him towards the keep. So tell me everything that happened, Dragons said.

 

Slowly Rorin opened his eyes. His whole body seemed to ache and he was unsure of his surrounding for a few moments. Rubbing his hand across his eyes, he slowly lifted his head and gazed upon the person sitting next to him.

Slowly Kaileaís face came into focus as Rorin blinked his eyes a few times. How long have I been out? Rorin asked.

Three days, Kailea said as she gently wiped his forehead with a damp cloth. You were hurt bad and if not for Gruntieís planning you would not have made it back alive.

Broxx? Rorin shouted as he sat up quickly in the bed.

He is dead, Kailea said. Stun made sure of that. The whole group is back and safe and Arichi is with Kaylarea at this moment.

Can he return to her what was taken? Rorin asked eagerly.

Know one knows for sure Rorin, Kailea replied. Arichi has been with her now for three days and only leaves to rest and then return. He has said that the books and papers that Gruntie returned with for have helped a lot and he is hopeful.

I need to go to her, Rorin said as he tried to slide his legs to the floor.

Kailea gently but firmly pushed him back down, You will lay there and rest. I did not spend all my healing skills to save your butt only to have you fall dead after taking a few steps.
Rorin lay back down and watched as again Kailea checked his forehead and the bandages on his arms and neck. The determination of this woman was not something he felt he could over come, besides he was tired and perhaps he did need to sleep a bit more.

Tomorrow you can try moving about some. Kailea said as she placed one hand on his forehead. Till then you will rest and when food arrives you will eat. I shall be back to check on you from time to time.

Rorinís eyes became heavy as Kailea murmured a few words. Try as he could, Rorinís eyes slid shut. Kailea smiled to her self as she tucked the blankets around Rorinís now sleeping form and moved to the door. Turning the door handle, Kailea looked back over her should at the sleeping Dwarf, her lips parting into a small smile. She still felt a bit of him inside her. Know one did she tell of how far she had to reach into Rorin to save his life. Know now knew that she now carried a part of him inside of her and forever would. Fighting the feeling to return to his side and hold his hand, Kailea opened the door and closed it behind her. Her step light and happy, he would live. She had made sure of that, but what would happen with Kaylarea, Rorinís love.

 

Two weeks had past and still they would not let him see her. Rorin again sat in the training yard watching as many practiced their skill with the weapon masters. Rising from his bed the following day that Kailea had put him to sleep again, Rorin had made his way to Kaylareaís room. Again as before, Gazzaz and Ulkaur stood before the door, orders had been given that none may enter save Kailea and Arichi. No matter what he had tried, no matter how he had pleaded, Gazzaz and Ulkaur merely repeated that they couldnít allow him past. Every day he had attempted to enter her room and every day Gazzaz and Ulkaur would not let him pass.

Kailea had given her rating that he was healed and could return to the living as long as he took it easy. Each day after his attempts to enter Kayís room failed, Rorin found himself at the training yard. Some days he joined in and others he merely watched.

Again today, Borlin, the man that had come with Kailea to join the syndicate, was working with the training masters. Many had thought him Kaileaís love but she had put and end to that speculation quickly. Still each day Borlin would be here training, each day his skill grew. Rorin laughed as he watched the ladies watching Borlin, each one of them staring at him as if he was some new creature. Rorin had to admit that he was not a bad looking Barbarian; still these ladies were making fools of themselves. One in particular, Aveen, she was the worst of them all. No sooner was Borlin here then Aveen would be sitting in a seat and watching him as he went through his warm ups and then took on another master or student. A couple of times Aveen had taken him on with the sword only to step back as Borlin realized that she was far more advanced then he was. Rorin chuckled again which drew Aveenís disapproving gaze at him again. Raising his hands in defeat, Rorin chuckled a bit louder and moved further away from her blade arm. Aveen gave him an evil sneer and moved towards him as if to attack and Rorin leaped away.

Smiling Rorin barely stopped in time to avoid running into a small boy. Sir Rorin, the young boy stammered out. I have been sent for you, the lady Kaylarea is awake and Lord Dragons bid me find you quick.

Rorinís feet were moving before the page finished his last words. Running as fast as his legs would carry him, Rorin entered the keep and took the stairs two at a time to the floor that Kay lived on. Knowing the way by heart, Rorin rounded each turn quickly and with sure feet, only twice did he collide with servants carrying arm loads of cleaning supplies and other things. Finally he rounded the corner to Kayís room and Gazzaz opened the door for him, waving him through.

Arichi, Dragons, and Kailea stood near Kayís bed, talking quietly when Rorin burst into the room. Skidding to a halt, Rorin tried to make his way between the three and to Kayís side.

Rorin, wait a moment, we need to talk to you first, Arichi said as he tried to block Rorin from Kayís bed.

Rorin side stepped Arichi and pushed him self through Dragons and Kailea, finally reaching Kayís bedside. She sat up in her bed, her hair combed and a smile on her face. She turned her face towards Rorin as he made it to the side of her bed. Rorinís heart soared in his chest as she smiled at him.

Hi, my name is Kaylarea, Kay said as she extended her hand towards him.

Rorinís heart filled his chest, words would not come to him and his mind felt as if it would explode.

We wanted to talk to you first Rorin, Dragons said as he placed one hand on Rorinís shoulder. There have been some good things and some bad.

Kaylareaís face smiled brightly as she let Rorinís hand go.

Rorin could not feel his legs or feet as he slowly backed out the door and into the hall ÖÖ.

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