Smoke. The moon elf's conscience flooded back to him but all he could see was smoke. Then the smell of burning flesh hit him harder than the hilt of the orcan blade that had stolen his consciousness in the first place. The foul odor slipped down his nostrils and found its way to his stomach, causing him to lurch over and gag. He fought back his nausea and stood uneasily. Regaining some measure of his elven composure and grace he set his eyes about to take full account of his current predicament. He was still in his own home, he knew that much at least, but before the orcs attack he distinctly remembered two other figures... his wife and daughter! He grabbed his dual longswords from the ground where he had previously lay prone and rushed to and out the door.

As he exited his home he looked up to the sky. Through the pillars of smoke that filled it he caught a glimpse of a slender man in a brilliant orange robe and with the blackest of black hair, which hung several inches below his feet, riding atop large demon. His glare swept over the elven settlement and he turned angrily on his unholy mount and sped off to the south. The images wholly left Kairel's mind in the next instant, though, as his eyes took in the scene unfolding before him. A primal scream erupted from the depths of his lungs as tears brimmed in his eyes. Keadrea, his love, lay upon the ground battered and bloody, surrounded by orcs. The biggest of the group began to raise a rather large axe. With more speed than he knew he possessed, the elf rushed forward, gaining the hundred yards that separated him from the orcs in the blink of an orcs eye. A smile found Keadrea's ebon lips as a long sword tip burst through the axe wielding orcs chest. The other five orcs turned to their leader when the blow did not fall but the only response they got from him was a bloody gurgle as the sword slipped out of his back.

As the orcs corpse slid to the ground all that remained to answer his companions was an enraged elven warrior, enraged that his home had been invaded, enraged that the smell of smoldering elf was in the air of his wood and most of all enraged that his wife lay on the ground surrounded by the foulest of beings, blood readily dripping from several grievous wounds. Enraged beyond the point of mercy, Kairel Lightshadow stalked in. An orc turned to meet his steady advance only to meet a sword tip through his throat. As the doomed creature went down to his knees, clutching the wound, the deft slice of an elven blade detached the whole of its head, as well as several fingers of both hands, from the rest of his body. Two more rushed at Kairel, only to be doubly disemboweled and similarly decapitated.

Keadrea rose weakly to her feet behind the remaining orcs, whom where very distracted at that moment, having just witnessed four of their kin being slaughtered. One of them lurched as her trident tore through his back and into his heart. He fell as the others had and Keadrea's smile doubled. The last orc fled for his life, only to be shot several times by a volley of arrows from a contingent of elven archers as they rounded the corner to the section of the village where Kairel and Keadrea lived. As the elves approached Kairel, Keadrea swooned at fell to the ground, nearly. Kairel was with her and had her in his arms in an instant. On his knees, cradling her in his arms, he watched the last moments of his love's life. Her smile remained and she looked up into his eyes.

"My dear Kairel, do not let our daughter fall under the prejudices that her, that my, skin color will afford her...train her as we had intended, that she may defeat the hatred that I will now escape in death, of most import though, let her know how much I loved her, and never forget how much I loved you..."

As the light faded from her eyes, tears fell from Kairel's, creating streams through the sweat and smoke already covering his face. He turned to the guardsmen to his right.

"Where are the children?" he asked urgently.

"They are in the magical tree cubby, as they would be under any attack." the guard replied.

"And my daughter?" Kairel dared ask...had his entire family perished?

"With the rest, sir." he replied reassuringly.

Kairel's body relaxed at the news and he looked down at his beloved Keadrea one last time before he began to rise.

"We have reason to believe that the wizard you and several others saw was heavily involved in the invasion sir," the Lieutenant Guardsman reported, "they where cloaked with invisibility and silence far beyond any orc shamans ability."

Kairel slammed his fist into the table he was leaning over.

"Find out as much about this wizard as you can... on Keadrea's grave, he will die by my hands."