Cloaked in darkness, the ranger moved swiftly through the night. The scent of blood lingered in every inhale of cold air, it sent thrilling chills up his spine.
Trillian hopped swiftly onto a boulder for a better view of the battle grounds of Taar. His dark violet eyes scanned the moon washed fields for any sign of life, but all he saw were the carcasses of the trolls of Ganth, which had been left to rot in the open plain. The ranger had been sent back to find what his students had missed in the earlier scrimmage. Unfortunately, their training had turned into a real battle and the young rangers had fled in fear, leaving the experienced trainers and swordsmen to fight off the advancing horde of beasts.
Trillian searched the surrounding forest, but found no sign of life anywhere. He sighed heavily, it had been quite a day and a final kill would ease the tension.
After an hour, Trillian gave up. Nothing was out in the night. Not even the old white owl who haunted the battle grounds of Taar with his banshee-like wail.
“You know,” Trillian said thinking aloud, “if I had been harder on my students, they might have learned to fear me as they do Sideon.” He pushed his dark hood off of his head, letting his hair flow down over his shoulders. His long hair was jet black, naturally streaked with deep red highlights. He ran a gloved hand over his narrow face, massaging his high cheekbones, then rubbing his inset eyes. “Yes, were I as strict as our Master.” He laughed at himself.
Suddenly, a cry of distress in the most melodic voice he had ever heard broke the silence. Instinctively, he ran toward the screams. Drawing his hood low upon his face and replacing his black leather gloves, Trillian slid silently into the clearing from which the screams were coming.
To his horror, the young woman crying out for help, was surrounded by three of the druid knights from Câr. A small hunting knife glinted in her hand, paling in comparison to the broadswords the druids pointed in her direction.
Trillian strung an arrow on his bow, then hesitated, intrigued to see how the situation might turn out.
The woman threw her dagger at one of the knights, which missed its target and stuck fast in a tree just beyond him.
Seeing she was now miserably weaponless, Trillian intervened, bringing down one of the knights with his skillful aim. The other of the two turned, taken off guard as another arrow hissed through the air.
One of the knights grabbed the woman and carried her off into the trees as the other stood guard, carefully avoiding the volley of arrows rhythmically flowing in his direction.
Once the knight and woman were safely hidden in the forest, the druid hissed sharply, “Show yourself! You who dare to take away our prey, did you not see us here first?” Each “s” was spoken in snake like breaths of air through the knight’s teeth, which clashed brightly against his black lips and glowing green eyes.
Trillian knew better than to speak. These demons only needed to hear a voice to kill an enemy.
He moved swiftly out of the line of fire, lest the druid decide to throw some form of magic in the direction from which the arrows had been raining.
“You are a smart one, I will give you that. I sense your presence, but your silence disavowals my ability to summon power against you.” Raising his hand, the druid sent a ring of blue fire in the direction from which the arrows had come.
Trillian heard the mock sound of laughter in the voice of his adversary, as he stole silently around the druid.
The druid hissed, “I feel your breath, so I know you are still here. Why don’t you fight like a man and show yourself?”
Trillian dodged a radius attack of purple smoke as he slid around a tree. He tipped an arrow in the vial of poison he carried with him, strung his bow, and spoke softly to the arrow, bidding it fly quietly and quickly. He aimed for the druid’s heart, letting loose the arrow. It landed perfectly embedded in its target.
The druid cried out as he removed the arrow, grunting angrily as he realized the poison had already released into his body. “That is not fair. What did I do to you?”
Trillian tipped another arrow, as he ran stealthily to another location.
A burst of flame disintegrated the tree Trillian had been hiding behind.
The druid was losing strength. He whirled about, “Where are you?” sending another radiant plume of smoke into the forest.
Trillian held his breath and hid behind the tree to escape the toxic fumes.
This time the druid walked in and out of the trees, shadowing them with an inky black liquid.
Trillian recognized the fluid as Leuth, a cruel poison that melted any form of flesh, fur, or fabric that touched it. He strung his second arrow, and it hissed quietly into the back of the druid, siding into his heart.
The druid gave a blood curling cry as he shrunk to the ground.
The ranger waited for a few moments before coming out to examine his kill, satisfied that the druid was indeed dead, Trillian kicked the body harshly. “May the fires of Hell be comfort to your damned soul.”
He hurried with swift soundless steps into the forest to find the last druid, and the woman brazen enough, it seemed, to have traveled at night by herself.