Air!

He needed air!

The elf's eyes snapped open, only to see nothing but dirt above him, and he immediately began to struggle, his lungs screaming at him for breath. He retained enough of his wits, however, to keep his mouth firmly closed, lest he swallow dirt and cut his life even shorter.

He thrashed, trying to lift his hands to push at the dirt above him, and he felt light-headed as he clawed desperately at the soil that covered him. He felt the soft dirt give way under his grasping nails, but he feared that even if he managed to get his hands out of into the open air, it would be too late.

Vainly trying to fight the panic and claustrophobia welling up inside him, brought on by the dirt pressing down on him and restricting his movements, the elf increased his struggles, feeling the energy leaving him as he began to suffocate, and his eyes drooped as he felt the urge to fall asleep and leave all else behind…

No!

The word was screamed inside his head, and his eyes widened, somehow finding the energy to renew his struggles, and he felt a sense of elation as his hands emerged from the earth and felt the sensation of a soft breeze caressing his dirt-encrusted skin.

His fingers clutched desperately for a handhold that he might use to pull himself out of the ground, and he kicked his legs as hard as he could, trying to somehow propel himself out into the open air. One of his hands found a sturdy root, and he clutched desperately at it, pulling with all his remaining strength, trying to escape his earthen prison before he suffocated.

First his arms, then his chest, and then - thank the gods! – His head emerged into the world above ground, followed soon after his waist and legs.

The elf gasped desperately for breath, taking in all the air – sweet, sweet, blessed air! – that he could as he collapsed on his side, away from the prison of dirt he had just escaped from, and with his hand still desperately clutching the tree root that had saved his life. His blue eyes were clenched shut as his lungs protested their being deprived of air for so long, and his breaths came in harsh, ragged pants.

His naturally blond hair was hardly visible through the layers of dirt left over from his escape from his underground prison which, when he cracked open his eyes and looked back towards it, he saw was an actual grave. His heavy pants, though less ragged than before as his body grew accustomed to the fresh air once more, became quicker as he realized that he had actually been buried alive, though in a shallow grave, which he was incredibly thankful for.

The elf began shaking as he tried to remember what had happened, which he knew would help him remember how he had ended up in that grave. He looked around, belatedly remembering to remove his hand, which had been clutching the tree root that had saved his life so hard that his knuckles stood out in stark relief, from the aforementioned tree root.

He looked down at himself, taking in his dirt-covered clothing, but even underneath the layers of soil he could see that they were of fine make, and well worn, obviously meant to hold up against many tendays of travel. His clothing was sturdy, and his boots showed signs of many travels. He furrowed his brow as he looked around, taking in the area around him and the now-empty grave, trying to see if there was anything to jog his memory in the scenery.

And then it all came back to him in rush akin to getting hit by a giant's club.

For a moment, Kellindil couldn't breathe, and once that moment was over he hurriedly gasped for breath, not wanting panic to overwhelm him as it almost had back in his shallow grave. Black shadows closed in on the edges of his vision as he lost his fight against the panic welling up inside him for just a moment, but he took several deep breaths and managed to force the tidal wave of feeling back down.

However, the effort left him panting and shaking, his eyes clenched shut as he struggled to stay conscious through the onslaught of memories.

In his mind, he saw the battle at Mooshie's Grove, he saw himself shooting arrows from his bow and felling worgs as they fled after the fall of their leader Caroak, he saw himself capturing Roddy McGristle, the bounty hunter who had been responsible for all the trouble because he pursued the dark elf….!

Kellindil remembered the dark elf, he recalled following the drow and trying to discern his intentions, and he remembered his relief when he had learned that the dark elf openly wandered the old ranger's grove. The blond elf relaxed as he remembered that the dark elf was a friend, and then tensed again, his breath coming quicker as the memories of what had happened after he had captured McGristle came back to him.

He remembered the journey towards Sundabar where McGristle was to face punishment, and he grit his teeth as he remembered the small green sprite that had set McGristle loose. He clenched his hands into fists as he remembered the bounty hunter attacking him, and he lifted a shaking hand to his throat, which had just begun to throb at the memory of McGristle's fingers around it. His breath came fast, as though to reassure himself that he could still breathe, and the elven archer felt a wave of anger rise up inside of him, especially when he looked around and saw that the bounty hunter had taken all of his supplies along with his weapons, leaving him essentially defenseless should any wild animals or monsters come upon him. Though, Kellindil guessed that Roddy McGristle had thought him dead when he had buried him, however the elf wouldn't have put it past the bounty hunter to have knowingly buried him alive.

The elf took a deep breath, grimacing when his throat gave a particularly painful throb to protest that motion, and then took a more thorough look at his surroundings to try and recover his bearings. He saw several places where the earth had been disturbed, though none of them were large enough for a human or an elf, so Kellindil guessed that the bounty hunter had buried what he couldn't steal. He sighed wearily, feeling the events of the past day catch up with him, and he wanted nothing more than to sleep, but he shook himself slightly and told himself that he had to stay alert at least until he got to a better hiding place.

Kellindil braced himself and slowly pushed himself to his feet, swaying alarmingly and clutching at the nearby tree trunk for support. He took a deep breath, trying to ignore the throbbing pain in his throat, and steeling himself as he took a small step forward, removing his hand from the tree trunk in the process…only to almost fall flat on his face as soon as he moved away from the life-saving tree. The elf stayed on his hands and knees where he had fallen for a few moments, trying to gather his strength in order to rise to his feet, and this time when he attempted it he managed to stand on his own to feet, though he swayed alarmingly.

He took shallow breaths, fighting back the urge to pass out where he stood, and he understood that he was most likely too weak to make it very far in his condition. He would settle for making it to a safe place to rest, or at least a good distance away from what would have been his grave. He glanced around one last time, deciding that it wouldn't be worth the effort to unbury any of the supplies that the bounty hunter had decided not to take with him.

The elf needed all the strength that he could get in order to walk without the aid of something to hold himself up without wasting any digging up most likely ruined supplies.

He took deep, steadying breaths, relieved that his throat wasn't protesting quite as much as before, and then took a small step forward. The blond elf smiled happily when he didn't fall over, and he looked up as he tried to figure out which way he should go. He was only a day away from Sundabar, since McGristle hadn't bothered to bury him away from the campsite, but there was no guarantee the people of Sundabar would help him. He knew that it was unfair of him to think like that, since the people of Sundabar were good, honest people for the most part, but in his weakened state he didn't want to take any unnecessary chances.

He decided to head back to his kin in Coldwood, since they would help him and they deserved to know what McGristle had done – or at least, tried to do. After he had recovered and restocked his supplies, he would make his way to Sundabar and then on to Silverymoon, where Dove's sister Alustriel was High Lady, in case his companions had already left Sundabar.

Kellindil the elven archer turned determinedly in the direction of Coldwood and started off, heading back towards his where his kin had last set up camp.

I got so upset when RA killed Kellindil that I found myself inspired to write this, so please review and tell me what you think! I may continue this if I get enough reviews asking me to. ^_^ Constructive criticism is welcome.