Ch. 4

Akil looked at Ahmed. This creature looked like some sort of abomination of their people's image, and therefore should be extinguished. On the other hand, the Hivemaster would not have sent them down without a good reason. Imps were taught that he was all knowing, and not even the Great Ones were allowed to question his wisdom. "We have decided that the creature's tale is to be believed, at least for the present." Abdullah did not agree with this decision, but knew his place well enough to keep such thoughts to himself. The Great Ones left.

Cắt observed that the talks were growing more aggressive. Her understanding of elvish politics was too poor to completely understand the issue, but it seemed that there was a dispute occuring between the current leader and a fringe religious group. She also noticed a small child among the non-religious group, which seemed idiotic and nonsensical. "But won't you at least listen..." "No! The followers of the Skull Spirits will not tolerate the unholy acts committed by the Stormrider dynasty, no matter how many times they try to mitigate the horrors!" "What horrors? We've simply put trade routes through the goblin territiories!" "You are forcing innocent merchants to walk through those wretched lands! You are putting them in the line of fire for goblin attacks, and even the potential accident or two in the attempts for eradication of th accursed blight." "Well, maybe if you left them alone, the goblins would stop their raids." "They are monsters, and this place will benefit greatly from their death!" "I don't like them either, but your, well, genocide, seems rather extreme." The leader of the skull spirit followers glared at him. "I feared that this would occur. The only motivation for showing those things any sympathy is an unholy alliance. All reason leads to the conclusion that you're part of the group of monsters that we are tasked with destroying, and therefore must be destroyed." He who was spoken to paled. "Are you suggesting..." "Carry on our holy task, my companions! Eliminate the assisters of the blight!" "THIS IS MADNESS!" Those were the last words spoken by the representative of the Stormrider dynasty, as an arrow cut through his vocal organs. Arrows cut through alternate organs of alternate individuals, most causing mortal wounds. While the government group was not without arms or training, they were caught unawares, giving their opponents a severe advantage. Cắt noticed the man nearest the small child lift him up and retreat. Some instinct within her demanded pursuit of the pair, and she followed the instinct.

"Because this 'Gillen', as he calls himself, is obviously unaffected by his distance from our hive's presence, he will assist Haqq as the scout," Abdullah decreed. "Tonight the Duke El Spree is having many important from the pale-flesh's cities for dinner, and more importantly, a discussion of current politics, as Abdul-Haqq brought to our attention not too long ago. You two are to use your size to infiltrate Castle Spree and listen in on what they say. If any information relevant to our people is mentioned, it is to be reported back here as soon as possible. I trust you understand?" Haqq understood his part in the mission well enough, but the logic behind sending Gillen was lost on him. This sounded rather dangerous, and they had little knowledge of the newcomer's capabilities. Then it dawned on him; Abdullah still thought that the creature was a monster, and if scouting proved outside of Gillen's prowess, he would be eliminated this very night. Why does Abdullah hate him so? The two left. Questioning Abdullah's orders was not their place in this situation.

"I'm scared," the little elf proclaimed in a whisper. "Don't worry, Oberon. Those fanatics have no way of finding us out here. I know that this trip to show you how political business was done didn't go so well, but you're safe now." The soldier who took Oberon away from the battle did what he could to reassure the boy, but he really didn't have the knowhow to perform such an act. "I've put a magical barrier over this tree. Try to sleep." "Whenever I close my eyes, I see images of rats with bows and skeletal deer dancing, destroying me and every elf they can find." "I know it's hard, but you'll have to pull through." The soldier looked grave. Understanding could be reached in that area, for he hadn't had the greatest of days for reasons already described. "Just think of the trees rotecting you, the way this one is." "Okay" With that, the boy slept somewhat soundly. Cắt was beginning to grow weary of their banter. "Someday you'll be king, lad. I just hope that it's in better times than this." This attracted the goblin's interest. If me get friendship with king now, me kind no worry about king's anger later. She tried to greet the two, but the soldier was on the offensive as soon as she came in sight. "Die, monster! You will not harm this boy!" "Me no want harm boy, me want-" "Save your idiot speech. Without you monsters, the Skull Spirit Followers wouldn't have started this rebellion." The much larger elf pulled out his blade, knowing too well that the creature could break through his shielding if it truly wanted to. Instead, the creature left, knowing that another chance for peace with the elves had just vanished.