Sorry for not updating recently...I lost steam for this, but finally regained inspiration. I hope you'll forgive the long hiatus. :)

Chapter 3

Alaza was scared. The wizard had warned her to hide when he sensed people coming. Two hours had passed, and the wizard hadn't come for her.

Alaza was crouched in the large food cupboard, hidden behind the fake back that the wizard Alatar had built for this purpose. Her muscles had stopped screaming a half hour before and now simply ached.

She bit her lip, tears leaking out of her shut eyes. She hated how cowardly she was being, remaining hidden while her protector might be risking his life.

The door creaked open. Alaza grew still, hope and fear rising equally in her chest. Was is Alatar the Blue? Or was it an enemy?

"Who would have thought that Alatar would be harboring an orc." a low, melodic voice said. "Pallando, you knew Alatar best. Why would he do such a thing?"

The door slammed behind the men, and one dropped a bag. "I do not know. I did not foresee this happening, other than that Alatar was in trouble."

"Well, he is indeed." the first man said, leaning against the cupboard where Alaza was hidden. Alaza put her hands up to her mouth, stifling a cry.

"So, are the rumors true? A half orc, half human, protected by the Blue Wizard Alatar, last said to be in the East?" the first man continued.

"I do not know. But I can't see Alatar harboring a normal orc. Besides, wouldn't the orc have attempted to kill him by now?"

The first man was silent for a moment. "Besides the obvious shock of you not knowing something, shouldn't that be impossible? I mean, an orc and a human...can orcs even mate? Do they even have genders?"

Alaza heard the sound of the second man, Pallando, sitting down. He sighed, before speaking. "Arthur, do you know how orcs are created?"

"No."

"Some orcs were once elves. Others were corrupted men, some a mix of the two. No one knows quite for sure, but orcs aren't born, they are made. If it is true...that the creature my colleague was hiding...it may not seem very orcish at all. Orcs do have genders, although it it difficult, if not impossible for humans to tell the difference. Let's just find the creature, and bring Alatar to the council."

The chair scraped back, and Alara heard Pallando rise to his feet. Alara scrunched down further, compacting her 3 foot eight frame as far down as possible.

"Let's go, Arthur."

"Righty." Arthur responded, straightening up.

"Check all the cupboard doors and possible hiding places. Don't forget to check for hidden back areas. Knowing Alatar, he could form a fake back with ease."

The two set about ransacking Alatar's home. Alaza prayed to whatever god was out there that Alatar would be okay, and that the two strangers wouldn't find her.

I'm only eleven, Alaza thought. Would they kill me? I don't want to die!

"Hey, did you check all the cupboards yet?" Pallando said.

"No. I'll finish."

Arthur's footsteps drew him around the kitchen. Alara could hear him opening doors and rapping on the insides.

Alaza heard Arthur draw closer. She heard the door open and saw a tiny stream of light enter through the tiny cracks.

"Seems normal." Arthur said. He rapped on the back, making Alara flinch.

"Hmm." Arthur didn't move. "Hey, Pallando!"

Alaza's heart sunk, and her mind began formulating ideas to get her out of the fix.

"Is this hollow or not?" Arthur asked.

Pallando knocked on the wood. "I can't tell. If Alatar was still on our side, we could tell, but..."

"Could you try Seeing where she is?" Arthur asked.

"I don't know...I usually have to be sleeping..."

"Try. You know how he gets." Arthur prodded.

"Fine. But while I do it, you might as well break all the backs of the cupboards. I don't like doing this kind of thing..."

"But we have no choice." Arthur finished.

Alaza's heart was beating very fast, and despite all of the crazy ideas she had thought of, she couldn't see a way out of this.

A hammer began slamming into the cupboards. Alara scrunched her eyes closed and waited for the wood to shatter above her.

CRASH. Wood fell onto her head and light flooded into the secret compartment.

"Pallando!"

Two faces looked down at where Alaza was hidden. Alaza, her limbs unresponsive and slow from two hours of little to no movement could offer no resistance as she was lifted up by her white shirt.

"Bind her arms! We don't know what she's capable of!"

Alaza thrashed, feeling coming back into her limbs. Rough rope bound her arms and legs, and she was lifted over Arthur's back.

"Let me go! Where's Alatar?!" Alaza yelled, her voice hoarse from not speaking.

"Shut up, you little-" Arthur groaned.

"Knock her out. It'll be kinder for her." Pallando said. Alaza twisted her head to see a man not unlike Alatar in appearance, but younger. He was clad in a different shade of blue, and his eyes...his eyes frightened Alaza. They were electric blue and seemed to see right into her, and through her.

"Okay." Arthur said, raising a fist. Alaza screamed, thrashing. Then everything went dark.