Darkness

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Darkness had fallen and the fire had died down, but the two of them continued to sit in silence. The other elves that they were traveling with had already settled down for the night, each of the having already entered the Reverie. They say there holding each other close, watching the edge of the dark forest that was so close to them.
Amras could tell that Tamuril was tired, slowly falling unwillingly into the Reverie. A small smile creased his grieving face as he looked down at Tamuril’s beautiful face. And then another scream floated out to them from the forest.
Amras could instantly tell that the scream that rent the air at this time was different. It set him on edge and made him grab for the scimitar that lay next to him. Tamuril’s head also shot up off his shoulder, and her hand gripped Amras’s arm painfully tight. The scream had seemed as though the screamer had been right inside the edge of the forest, which made them both think that their kin was close to escaping, but also that whatever evil creature lived in the forest was also close to them. Amras rose slowly, grabbing Tamuril’s hand and pulling her up as well. He drew his scimitar from its sheath as Tamuril picked up her bow and notched an arrow.
She looked behind them towards the other elves, but was greeted with a confusing sight. Not one of the others had awoken at the sound of the scream. She looked back at Amras, but he was no longer next to her. He stood close to the forest, scimitar in one hand, a large mace now in the other, along with his many daggers placed strategically over his body. She quickly threw her quiver over one shoulder, strapped her short sword to her belt, and grabbed one of the few remaining magical torches, and joined Amras next to the forest.
They peered into the forest from where they stood, trying to see some sign of their imperiled kin. Seeing none, they entered the forest warily, but were worried for there kin, so after a few minutes of searching without finding anyone, caution was thrown to the winds. They were almost running as they searched the forest, but they still failed to find a single trace of another elf. They began to panic, and they delved deeper and deeper into the forest without thinking of the danger.
After another ten minutes of searching, Amras remembered where they were and grabbed Tamuril’s arm. They slowed and looked cautiously around them, expecting something to leap out and attack them at any instant. They both had a feeling that something was watching them, something dangerous. Tamuril thought of something that Amras was not and impulsively looked up.

She saw a dark form swooping down at the two of them, and she gave a shriek. Amras’s head shot up, and in an instant, he had pushed Tamuril out of harms way and positioned himself to strike the unknown foe.

Huge black wings snapped out from the things back and it’s decent halted as it hovered above the two of them. They could not see its face, or any specific features of its body, but it was obvious to them that this was no normal monster.

Amras kept an eye on the thing as he inched closer to Tamuril. She was back on her feet quickly and had re-notched the arrow, and was now drawing a bead on the creatures head.

The three of them waited like this for many minutes when the creature suddenly reached behind it and drew out a shining sword. Amras tensed, and Tamuril let fly her arrow. The creature gave a beat of its huge wings and lifted up above the arrow, and then issued a bout of malicious laughter.

The wings folded and it was speeding down at them, the sword leading the way. Tamuril quickly notched another arrow and hastily shot at the descending creature. The arrow missed the things head by an inch, but that was all that was needed to make the thing veer to the side. It landed ten feet from them with a loud thud. Amras quickly got between Tamuril and whatever the thing was.

Now that it was closer, they could see that what was in front of them was a complete monstrosity. Skin that looked like scales that were black as night, huge wings moving through the air behind it, a smiling face with a mouth full of long, dagger-like teeth. Amras grew worried as he studied this creature further. The creature moved towards them confidently, its sword low at it side, held easily in one hand. Amras moved out to intercept, scimitar and mace poised and ready to strike at the first threatening movements.

Up went the huge sword, both hands grasping the immense pommel, and Amras instantly stopped where he was. From over his shoulder there was a soft twang as Tamuril fired yet again. Her arrow scored a strangely weak hit on the thing’s left arm, but it did not even notice.

The dark eyes were locked onto Amras’s as it continued to stalk towards him, its sword held over its head. Another arrow sliced through the air, this one striking the hand but cutting off only one finger. The creature took note of this, and stopped for a second, sticking its sword in the ground and holding the wounded hand with the other one. A strange look passed over its face, and when the wounded hand was visible again, they were both shocked to see that the finger was back.

Amras cursed to himself, and threw himself forward, knowing that Tamuril would be of more help the farther away she was from the monster. His mace lead the way with a strong side swipe, but the thing had gotten its sword back fast enough to block the simple attack, but Amras’s scimitar had been coming from the other direction and sliced a shallow gash in the things chest. It blinked in surprise, but was not bothered by the wound. It's sword leapt in from the side and quicker than Amras could follow it struck him in the side.

One lung collapsed instantly, and his left arm went dead, the mace dropping to the dirt. He could only stand there stunned with the creature’s sword still sticking from his side, a cold sensation flowing from the wound. Tamuril gave a shriek and fired again. This arrow hit the creature in the eye, and it howled in real pain. Stepping back from Amras for a second, it grasped at its eye.

Amras regained his senses at that moment, and he knew that he was dying. Doing what he knew that he must to protect Tamuril, he lunged forward and thrust his scimitar into the things throat, then quickly withdrew it and stabbed hard at the creature’s heart. Black blood dripped from its mouth as it fell over backwards, dead before it hit the ground. Amras pulled the sword from his side and fell as well, his breath shallow.

Tamuril dropped her bow and ran towards Amras, fearing the worst. She dropped to her knees and grasped Amras by the shoulders with tears flowing freely, “Amras! No, you can’t die! Please, stay alive, I can go get help.”

Amras’s eyes darted about sightlessly, unable to see where Tamuril was, but he shook his head slightly. He knew that he was going to die, and just wanted her to be with him. Amras tried to speak, but all that came out was a bloody gurgle. Tamuril sobbed loudly, hardly able to cope with the inevitable loss of Amras. She rested his head on her legs and sat with him in his last moments.

He lifted his still working hand slightly and managed to beckon her to bring her face closer to his. Amras raised his head just slightly, and managed to whisper in a hoarse voice, “I love you. Don’t forget me, but live out your life with joy. Do this for me, I beg you.”

Tamuril bent down even lower and kissed him. Tears dripped onto his face. He smiled weakly, and fell back, the light leaving his eyes as he entered the realm of the dead and left Tamuril alone in a cruel world.

She let out a loud wail, her head bowed in sorrow. She broke down completely and sat there, stroking his face, crying long and hard. Shaking her head in denial, she spoke softly to his unmoving body.

A sound cut short her mourning however, and she looked up to see that whatever it was that Amras had given his life defending her from was not dead. It was withering on the ground, and Tamuril could see that the wounds were closing. Confused beyond all belief, she quickly moved from Amras and grabbed her bow, ready to defend herself to the death against this undefeatable foe.

The thing struggled to its feet, looked around the clearing again, and laughed at Tamuril. It took one step at her and stood menacingly, “You can not defeat me. I am Gizoz! Elf-bane, dwarf-bane, human-bane!” It roared at her, still laughing.

Tamuril was stunned for a moment, then fired, and quickly sent a second arrow racing after the first. Gizoz managed to deflect the first one, but the second stuck into his eye for a second time. As it reacted, she shot a third time and hit his other eye. It reeled in pain again, cursing her in a foul language she did not understand. Getting desperate, she looked around for a different weapon. Her eyes landed on the magical torch she had dropped a few feet behind her. She ran over to it, picked it up, and began moving cautiously towards Gizoz.

Gizoz had removed the arrow from his eye, and was holding his hands over it, growling softly as the eye fixed itself, not paying any attention to her.

Moving right up to him, she lashed out with the torch. The moment it touched his arm, Gizoz gave a great howl and tried beating the flame out with his other hand, but that hand caught fire as well. The flames hungrily spread across his body quickly, devouring him in hot red flames.

Horrified, Tamuril backed away from the living inferno. She began to suspect that this thing was some type of weird crossbreed of monsters, including a troll.
As the corpse tumbled down to the ground and the flames died out, she let out a sigh of relief, and moved back to Amras’s body. Tamuril knelt down beside him, and said a small prayer to his departed spirit, wishing him luck in reaching elfheaven.
She then put her bow over her shoulder, and hoisted his body up and began the long trek back to the campfire. A second later though, she looked back to the clearing and the sword that Gizoz had wielded. It had obviously been magical. She considered it, and then decided to go back and get it.

The blade lay in a pool of Amras’s blood, and she had to wipe it off on the grass before placing it were her old sword had been, and tossed the regular sword to the side. She could feel cold power emitting from the blade, and wondered what type of enchantment someone had placed on it.

Leaving again, she hurried back the way they had come, following the signs of their passage. Amras was heavy, but she was able to bear his weigh because of the love she felt for him and the promise she had made to herself to not leave him in this accursed forest. The tears continued to flow, and she stumbled often as her vision was clouded by them.

Making it out of the forest, she laid Amras’s body by the dead fire. She started the fire again, and sat there the entire night.





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