"A Short Story…"

by Izrion
The sharp whistle of an arrow broke the silence of the night. Fired by an expert marksman, it felled the deer in a single shot. Izrion silently approached his quarry to make sure his aim was true, and found that the animal was no longer drawing breath. He bound the large buck with a length of rope and shouldered the heavy beast for the short trek back to his camp and his awaiting companions. As Izrion drew near the camp, he stopped and listened. Something was wrong, there were no sounds of merriment, or even quiet conversation. His group of companions were normally careful of drawing unwanted attention when in the wilds, but his practiced hearing should have picked up even the slightest of sounds. On his guard now, Izrion carefully unshouldered the animal and stealthily approached the perimeter of their camp. With his expert hand, he drew his wickedly curved sword with a faint hiss of metal on scabbard. He didn't see his companions, and expecting an ambush, he entered the soft glow of the campfire. They were gone! Where were Daisho and Heracleitus??!!

Izrion noticed their traveling packs and gear near the campfire, and the telltale signs of a small skirmish. As he looked around the camp, he discovered several prints that didn't match those of his friends. Izrion knew a little about the basics of tracking, thanks to his Hunter friends, but was certainly no expert tracker. He was however, adept enough to recognize the clumsy bootprints of humans. He counted five pairs of human tracks. Somehow, the filthy hummies had managed to take his friends by complete surprise. The raiders had subdued his friends, with little to no resistance,"they were probably imbibing" Izrion mused. "Probably going to get tortured and questioned about our involvement in the war". His heart began beating faster as he realized the dire situation his friends faced. He was really their only chance of rescue, as the guild hall and reinforcements lay several days away. By the time he returned, the trail would be too cold to follow, even with his hunter friends finely honed tracking skills. They would be lost. Izrion checked the two packs laying on the ground for anything that may aide him on his attempt. After a fruitless search, he steeled his reslove, and dowsed the campfire.

Slowly letting his eyes adjust to the gloom of the forest, he prepared to break camp. After a few moments of searching, he discovered the hummies prints leaving the camp with two large pairs of cloven hooves. As he followed their trail, it appeared they were trying to cover their trail by carrying a branch of leaves. He would not be detered by such feeble attempts, and pressed on. As he got further away from the his campsite, the forest came alive. Night birds and animals he did not recognize, broke the stillness of the night with their howling and calls. As quietly as he could, Izrion followed the trail for what seemed like hours. As the night grew darker, he thanked Trall for the quarter moon that had risen that night. With the moon as the only source of light that evening, being spotted by his enemies would be much more difficult. A perfect night for a rogue on the hunt. Eventually, he spotted the soft glow of a campire through the canopy of trees in the distance. He'd found them it seemed.

Quiet as a hunting cat on the prowl, Izrion crept closer to the ring of firelight. As he drew near, he saw four men sitting around the campire, quietly conversing between bites of food. He saw his friends a short distance away, bound and gagged. "There were only four men, they must have a sentry" he thought. With weapons drawn, he stood next to a tree and began thinking of a plan of rescue. Deep in thought, he was startled when a sweet feminine voice whispered in his ear, "you were foolish to follow us you stupid orc". He felt the sharp point of a finely crafted blade resting in the center of his back, poised for a killing strike. His mind reeling, he thought, "Damn those nightelves!" Quicker than the eye can follow, Izrion vanished and whirled. His Heartseeker outstretched, he dealth a vicious cut to her throat. Taken completely by surprise by the lighting fast manuevar, the Elf had no defense against the fatal blow. With a great gout of her life blood splayed accross his chest and face, he watched as the light faded from her eyes. Before she slumped to the ground, with a gleam in his eye, Izrion whispered, "Foolish Elf, you should have killed me when you had the chance." Her body collapsed, creating a slight rustle in the dead leaves.

Suddenly aware that his actions might have alerted the other sentry, Izrion melded back into the shadows of the large tree. As soon as he vanished from sight, the alerted sentry walked into view. As he passed by Izrion, the man stumbled on the elfs still warm body. He knelt to see what had tripped him, and before he could raise the alarm to his nearby friends, Izrion struck him a stunning blowing from the shadows. While the man tried to regain his senses, Izrion struck again, nimbly sliding his enchanted Dagger into the mans lung from the small of his back. With a puff of air, the man fell to the ground, unmoving. Trying to calm his racing heart, Izrion tried to decide what to do about the four remaining men. While deciding his next course of action, he heard a twig snap off to the east several paces. He peered back at the camp, and noticed only three men were sitting at the fire now.

Drawing his bow, he sighted down this newest threat. With deadly accuracy, Izrion let loose his knocked arrow. With a little luck, and the grace of Thrall, his shot took the man in the center of his chest, piercing his heart. Izrion replaced his bow on his back and drew his sword and dagger again. Only three hummies remained to face for his friends' freedom. He fearlessly crept closer to the campsight. He waited in the shadows, silently observing the three men for several minutes. With their backs to him, Izrion silently moved up to the nearest mans back. With a ferocious blow, Izrion rendered the man unconscious. As the other two men stood and drew their weapons to face him, Izrion threw blinding powder and hit one of the men directly in the eyes. Leaving the man to stumble about blind, trying to regain his bearing, Izrion faced off with the remaining man. Izrion and hummie traded several blows, each receiving a number of small hits. The ringing of blades cut the air, and finally after a fierce struggle, Izrion was able to slip his sword past the mans defenses and deliver a fatal blow. As the man fell, Izrion suddenly felt a sharp crack on the back of his head and nearly lost consciousness. He wheeled around on the man that had been blinded and traded several blows with him. With a deft twist of his blade, he sent the mans mace flying. Aware that he was overmatched, and seeing the blood of his friends covering the murderous orc, the man fled into the forest.

Hearing a groan from behind, Izrion remembered the man he had knocked unconscious. Turning to face the man, he saw nothing. He was gone from sight. "Another rogue" Izrion sighed. Off to his left, Izrion saw some movement in the bushes. Thinking the fleeing man had returned with help, Izrion quickly turned his head. As the blade cut into his back narrowly missing vital organs, he realized his mistake. Izrion whirled to face his assailant, barely bringing his blade up in time to parry the second thrust. Back and forth these two masters of the blade went. Daisho and Heracleitus watched their masterful friends swordwork, silently cheering him on. After what seemed an eternity, his opponent collapsed from loss of blood and sheer exhaustion. It took all the strength Izrion could muster to cut his friends bonds. He succumbed to the darkness himself after receiving such a terrible wound, and the exhilaration of the fight was over. Daisho and Heracleitus hurriedly rushed to their fallen friends side. With a practiced hand, Daisho healed Izrions many wounds. Still too exhausted to walk, Heracleitus valiantly carried their friend out of the enemy camp. With bleary eyes, Izrion asked, "what should we do about the rogue that's still alive?, He's still alive I'm sure." With a grimace, the normally peace loving Daisho responded, "leave him to his fate." The three friends made their way back to camp to collect their belongings for the long trek back to the guild hall.
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