Rasia didn’t know the true depth of what she felt in the encounter with the corrupt town. Emotions had stirred inside of her that she didn’t know existed. This was no profound epiphany that had struck her at the moment of achieving her first kill. Nor had her rage ever been so great as when she heard the peasant wizard describing the horrible acts that were meant to take place that night if they hadn’t stumbled upon the wrong outsiders. She wondered how many other women had met the fate described by the wizard. She fully knew that the strength of the fire blast that incinerated the wizard was more powerful than any blast that she had ever done. A spell that she practiced daily and knew very intimately. She had always been taught that power in spells are brought from practice, research, and strong implements. Power was not derived from emotion, she was always told. Yet she could not deny that her fire felt more intense when she felt the intensity of her anger welling up inside of her. Although there was a lot that she suspected that her professors at the Taunch School for Wizards hadn’t told her.~~The pair of dwarves had spent many days traversing the side of the snowy mountain peak that had suddenly erupted in a fiery blaze a few days prior. Little did Noraver and Elfire Warstout know that they weren’t the first to arrive at the blown away summit. The two dwarf fighters crested over the final hill that would take them to the mountain’s summit to view dozens of goblins currently in frantic battle. Some appeared to be retreating, others charging at an unknown enemy, many laying dead on the ground. What made the site a curious one is that the dwarves had no idea what enemy they were charging towards. The direction appeared to be towards the gaping fiery hole that had appeared along the eastern side of the summit, but no goblins appeared to be entering the chasm.“Ye see what I see bruddah?” Noraver casually commented as the twin brothers stood there observing the scene. Elfire ripped his battle axes from their loops along his belt. As he grasped their handles, arms bulging and tensing with muscles that were a perfect manifestation of his mood, tense and ready to explode. The heads of the axes were magically enchanted and began to glow with a blue fire that reflected beautifully off the dwarf’s fine silvery mithril armor. The armor bore a crest depicting a flaming warpig on the chest, the crest of the Warstout clan. His hair was long and wily, black and topped by a helm with multiple spikes of varying lengths protruding out of it. The hair on top of his head was braided right into his beard that made the facial and scalp hair appear to be one single entity. “yeah, the durned goblins done gone and lost their minds.” Elfire spat through clenched teeth. His twin brother, Noraver, glanced over at him with his arms crossed and his expression calm. His two warhammers had charging warpigs on the heads of each, hung easily from their loops on his belt but large enough for him to rest his massive arms on. His armor matched his brother's except he wore no helm, or hair for that matter. Noraver’s head was bald and shiny, a stark contrast to the long, orange beard that fell freely from his chin and upper lip and down to the top of his navel.Noraver brought his hand up to rub his shiny scalp “Might be that maybe we should find out what’s got the little brats all riled up,” the words were spoken to the wind as the always pragmatic Noraver watched his passionate brother charge into the open melee to engage the first suprised goblin who obviously didn’t expect to see a charging dwarf with two axes barreling down upon him while retreating from the opposite direction. Elfire buried both of his axes deep into the chest of the first goblin and ripped outwards, spraying blood and gore in all directions. “He always makes a mess,” Noraver let a smile break on his weary face before unsheathing his warhammers and charging in behind his brother, ready to engage in another of hundreds of battles the two have shared in their 4 centuries on this earth.Elfire swung across the body with each axe, one after another, each swing finding the face or the chest of another goblin. Blood sprayed all over his arms and armor each time he retracted an arm to swing at another enemy. Soon the retreating goblins began to find their nerve at the site of the formidable, yet seemingly alone dwarf. The dozens of goblins began to form a defensive perimeter around the charing dwarf. The dwarf stopped suddenly and spun all around with his arms fully extended. He willed his axes to burn blue with his mind and grinned, “Which one of you orc nuggets want to receive a burning enema right up the arse!” He screamed at the top of his lungs. As if in response, a shockwave of energy knocked every goblin in the vicinity down to their feet and Noraver charged into the center of the circle, the heads of his warhammers glowing as if they were just removed from the forge. The warpigs on the heads of his warhammers gave the illusion of charging and their forms turned all black with red fiery eyes. “I thought ye’d never get here!” Elfire grinned as he watched his brother wade through the crowd, sending goblins flying 3 and 5 at a time with his magically enhanced warhammers. From afar you would think a hill giant was charging through the crowd, a considerably larger creature by comparison. Noraver tossed a wink to his brother, who returned it and began charging right into the midst of the goblins who had set up a perimeter in between them and the chasm. The goblins stood about a dozen long and 3 rows deep, all holding various forms of spears and short swords. That front line diminished quickly when they saw Elfire coming their way, but not quickly enough to avoid the shouting Noraver who came flying over Elfire in a great leap that ended with him slamming down both warhammers onto the ground. The shock wave created by the impact made the entire terrain roll like a great wave. Snow on lower peaks began to avalanche from every side and even the fiery chasm grew a little larger as pieces of the mountain on the very edge of the hole fell into it. Goblins in the immediate area were blasted back many fell in all different directions, killed by the blow of various impacts either into other goblins or into the ground. Both the retreating goblins and the ones that were still engaged in combat with the unknown force stopped to take note of the blast.For some of them that pause in action was too long because right as Noraver bounced back to his feet, Elfire charged passed him and began spinning and putting his axes into motion. One over the other he swung them while circling to cover every angle. Many goblins who were slowly making their way back to their feet were either met with an axe to the face or throat or were burned horribly by the blue flames that came off the weapons as they flew past. Particularly hot, the flames made short work of any flesh or armor it came into contact with, and could not be put out by normal means. Noraver kept a few strides back to avoid the flames but also to cover the flank of his berserker brother who left the occasional goblin still moving. Moving that is until it met Noraver’s warhammer.Soon, the goblins were in full retreat in both directions. The whole scene turned into a chaotic mess of blood and violence. Noraver noticed that in some groups, the goblins were fighting amongst themselves. Elfire paused his rampage as he approached from around the side of the peak to the short climb to the summit of the mountain when he finally saw what it was that the goblins were fighting earlier. A great red dragon reared its head and turned to face the dwarf who felt equally intimidating with blood and gore dripping from his entire body and weapons. Although he knew that there was nothing he could do to strike fear in the heart of a dragon, he wasn’t going to die in a puddle of his own piss, he thought to himself. “So thats whats been causing all the ruckus up here eh? bwahahaha!” he let out a great laugh to hide his nervousness. He felt the dragon staring him down but it didn’t feel like a threatening stare, more like a stare of recognition. While that didn’t put either Elfire or Noraver, (now standing beside him) at ease, it did stop their charge and caused both dwarves to regard the dragon curiously.“You think we should run?” Elfire turned slightly to Noraver, axes still in hand, still glowing with the blue flame. Sweat began beading on Noraver’s hairless scalp. Always known to be the strategist of the duo, Noraver had no solution for what they were facing. “Run where ye dolt?! its a dragon!” Noraver began slowly circling the dragon and watched as its eyes darted between the two dwarves but no attack came forth. “Elfire! Noraver!” an unusually soft and feminine voice came from the dragon, full of elation and joy. The dragon then turned into and insubstantial black mist, which fell to the ground as if the mist was as heavy as water. It splashed and spread out across the snow as it dissipated into nothingness. Where the dragon once stood was there was now a human female with a big smile on her face and a baby in a sling across her shoulder.“By far you are the first welcome site in many tendays,” she said as she hastily approached the dwarves. Elfire and Noraver, at first put off-guard by the dramatic change in events, but they too relaxed and breathed a sigh of relief when they recognized the mage that they haven’t seen in close to a century. “Grace!” they both yelled in unison.GraceLynn Uthgar, Valiant Grace is what she was once known as, she recalled when she heard her name used for the first time since she last saw the pair. Her wizard’s robe was all white with gold trim and she carried an orb that floated around her whenever she wasn’t using it. Valiant Grace had been known to the pair of dwarves as the greatest illusionist they had ever adventured with. Usually a woman of unparalleled beauty (which some hinted at to be an effect of magic) her face wore an expression of profound fatigue and great stress. Her perfectly symmetrical face was streaked with blood, sweat and dirt. Her eyes were baggy and eyes sunken in and her usual tan complexion appeared paler than its typical hue. Her curly brown hair was matted to her head, caked with dirt and blood, even though her magically protected robe was spotless. All of that did nothing to diminish her bright smile and elation over seeing the dwarves.The three ran up and embraced for the first time in half a century. Since Valiant Grace was lost to them in a battle to close an opening to the Abyss, a place populated by demons and evil denizens. In an act that lived up to her title, she used her aptitude in magic to seal the rift in space from the other side, forever sealing herself in the Abyss. Or that was what the adventurers with her that day believed, Noraver and Elfire included. “We thought ye lost to the Abyss! Yet hear you are!” Elfire roared.“Yes and not looking a day older than when we last saw you,” Noraver stated as much as he asked. Rightfully so considering that dwarves can live for many centuries, but humans were only known to live for about half a century, if not slain or taken by sickness.“Yes but not all has remained the same,” Grace replied with a serious tone to her sweet voice. She opened her robe wide and both dwarves jaws dropped and they couldn’t believe their eyes. A young child, no more than a year old, riding Grace in a sling. While Grace had the appearance of someone who just took part in a major battle, the baby appeared to be calm, clean, and even began to smile and reach for the dwarves. Before either of them could ask Grace cut them short “ I promise you that it is a long story that I wish to tell you someday, but my time on the plane is short so please listen. This is Rasia, she is my daughter.” both dwarves looked at each other in surprise and back to Grace. Valiant Grace rolled her eyes and let a smile escape, and then continued, “she requires your protection...from her father. I knew if I exited the Abyss close to the location to where our final battle took place, well I had no way of knowing how much time had passed....” Valiant Grace began to stare into space, a blank expression on her face. The dwarves had seen enough battle shocked warriors to know that look. She was reliving a dark memory, maybe decades worth of pain.Her focus came back to the present and her face was alarm stricken. “You must take her, protect her, I cannot stay here, Please, GO!” she screamed. Although by dwarf standards, the time they had spent with Valiant Grace was short, in that time she had proven herself time and time again in battle. Saving their own hides more than once, and then making what they thought to be the ultimate sacrifice to save all their lives. If Valiant Grace needed them to protect her only living sibling no questions asked then that was what they would do. They both regally snapped to attention and saluted the mage, then they reached over to receive the child. Elfire reached to receive the sling but pulled back when he noticed all the smelly goblin blood dripping from them. Instead Noraver put the sling on and the baby began laughing and playing in his beard, which brought a smile to the old dwarf’s face. The child had the most peculiar large eyes. Although it was not the size of the eyes that made them peculiar, but the colors, one red and one blue. The infant also sported a lush head of red hair, very thick for a child of such a young age. The two dwarves gave Grace a salute, and began to turn away, “She has a stoneskin enchantment that should last about three more days..oh please never let her forget her name, its Rasia, goodbye Rasia,” Grace began sobbing and reaching out. Elfire began to turn back to the woman but stopped abruptly as the woman dropped to her knees. Her face in a tight grimace and grabbing her head as if it were about to explode right from her shoulders. Her orb dropped hard to the ground from its levitated state and she let out a screech of abject horror. Her form then froze in place and faded from existence right in front of their eyes. Noraver and Elfire could only imagine the type of pain their friend was in, but had no time to mourn her existence. They knew now the source of the explosion on the side of the mountain, but with their new cargo, were now unable to safely traverse the unknown drop and fight whatever may be down there. Elfire spat on the ground as they strode to the edge of a small drop that would lead to a gradual path back down the mountain. “I’d give me beard to give me axes a shot at ol pappy of hers,” he spat again. “I wonder what she had fought to get out the cavern,” Noraver pondered as he stared down at the child, who was sleeping, but wore a troubled expression for a face with such soft features.”Aye, whatever it was is still down there, and once we drop off this babe I’m for going back and finding out,”“Dropping off where?”The comment stopped the two dwarves in their tracks. Where do they proceed? They were not equipped to take care of such a young child. The nearest town was 3 days of hard travel and the hills were crawling with orcs, goblins, and other sorts of vagabonds of good and evil natures drawn to the cataclysm. And once they got there, could they find someone they trusted to take care of the child? Never had the two brothers faced a burden too great for them alone, and when they did they were always with friends to assist them. A great roar from the direction of the chasm broke the dwarves out of their joint contemplation and jolted them back into motion.The dwarves traveled the rest of the evening and well past dawn. The sun was beyond its daily apex before the two finally reached the bottom of the mountain. Luckily the evening had been uneventful and the child slept straight through until their first stopped, although the troubled look never left her face. Exhaustion is what made the two finally stop, they set a camp and Noraver delved into the forest to find fruit and herbs that the child may eat and some meat for themselves.Rasia was propped up on the side of a large tree with many roots and a mossy bed under it that raised her to about eye level with Elfire. This was the first time Elfire had ever been alone with a baby before, never had the old salty dwarf feel so out of place. The baby smiled and giggled often, so happily content with life she seemed to be Elfire thought. So different than her nighttime appearance. Her expression was appeared to be even more jubilant because of her bright, colorful eyes and hair. She was wrapped in a leather cloak that was extra long so that the tails could wrap around her many times over. Elfire began making funny faces to the child and she started laughing all the merrier.“Ye like that eh? Well hows this one, Troll!” Elfire pulled his nose out as far as possible and pulled his lips out and let his tongue hang out the side of his mouth. Rasia laughed and snorted, which in turn made Elfire start to laugh. “Orc!” and he hung his jaw out like an underbite and used his fingers to simulate fangs and furrowed his brow. Rasia began crying, and Elfire stopped and regarded her, “Wat ye don’t like that one?” he jokingly asked the baby. “Stupid smelly dwarf,” a deep, gurgled voice came from behind Elfire. He spun around axes in hand right as an Orc almost twice his size swung a club straight down upon him.Elfire moved his axes in to block right at the moment of anticipated impact. The block was successful but he was thrown hard to the ground by the force of it. Pain reverberated back through his arms in waves and Elfire had barely recovered from the first blow before he gained the awareness to see another overhand chop swatting down at him. This time he rolled to the left and began to will his axes’ blue flames to life but remembered that the baby was within the range of the widespread assault and instead pulled up short awkwardly and feigned an axe throw. The orc read the maneuver perfectly and charged forward without hesitation, dropping his shoulder and charging into the dwarf straight into a tree. Elfire gasped as the air was knocked out of him and the world around him began to swirl. The orc swept back and swung his club in an upward arc to uppercut the dazed dwarf, sending him flying into the air and knocking him unconscious.Noraver made haste back to the camp. He dropped all provisions and pulled out his hammers and sent the boars on them charging as the heads began to glow. He heard the loud clanking noise of the two axes making contact with the club when Elfire blocked the orc’s initial attack. He broke through the brush to find his brother unconscious on the ground and Rasia missing. “Bruddah! Get off your stinking arse! The girl is gone,” Noraver prodded his brother with his foot. Elfire replied by farting and rolling over on his side. Then he hopped up suddenly “The girl!” he exclaimed as he hopped back to his feet suddenly, axes somehow back in his hands. “A smelly orc ambushed me from behind and gave me head a thumping, where’s the girl?” He was hopping to and from foot to foot eager to fight, anxious to find Rasia. “How should I know ye dolt?” Noraver began to scan the area. Soon enough he was able to discern a path of disturbed bushes and broken branches leading back into the woods, not too far from where he had emerged when returning back to camp.“Looks like you got a good hit on him,” Noraver commented as they moved through the thick brush as fast as they could. Elfire glanced over to regard the trail of blood that began to appear on the trail they were following. Elfire knew that he hadn’t struck the orc, but he wasn’t about to admit that to his brother. It was already embarrassing enough that he had been laid low by the fiendish creature, but to admit that it was a flawless victory would of been even worse. The duo came around a large tree to witness the final blow to befall the creature. Resembling a porcupine, the orc’s back was covered with protruding arrows. The final of those arrows making contact right at the back of the orc’s head, the creature suddenly became very stiff and fell over with a hard thud. “Rasia!” both dwarves screamed, thinking the baby to be pinned down under the massive corpse. They ran up to roll him over (or fling him would be a more accurate statement considering the force and urgency in the dwarves’ movements) and to their surprise they found nothing.“Did you lose this?” the brothers heard come from behind them in a sweet, melodic tone. The two turned and for the second time in a day were relieved to see an old friend from their past. Xyrora Gentleharp was one of the original party members who traveled with Grace, Elfire, and Noraver to close the rift those many years ago. “Aye, a baby and a friend,” Elfire remarked with a sly smile on his face, “and it appears we have found both,” Noraver finished while wearing a matching smile as they both noticed that she was holding Rasia in her left arm and her bow in the right.Xyrora’s lifestyle was not common amongst her own elvish kind. She had left her homeland many centuries ago to seek the life of a ranger. She always felt more comfortable around animals than elves or other races, so she resided wherever people were nowhere to be found. Before she abandoned her original lifestyle, Xyrora was a bard who would sing wherever she we went, and was especially talented with the harp. Her fingers were said to dance on the strings of a harp the way her voice would pull at the heartstrings of anyone who heard her song. It was her familiarity with the harp that made becoming accustomed to the bow child’s play to the practiced bard. A skill she expertly demonstrated on the orc who was laying at their feet.“I knew the Warstout twins were somewhat absent minded, but to bring a baby onto a mountain crawling with orcs and goblins is down right foolish. This little one is like venison to those savages,” Xyrora remarked as she began pulling arrows from the dead orc, baby still in hand “you do know we are surrounded on all sides, and they can probably smell her from a mile away.” The two brothers looked at each other then back at her, “Aye, and what brings YOU back to civilization, Xyrora?” Elfire asked with a face full of intrigue. “I saw there was a party going on at my favorite mountain and decided to join in. You remember the fun we use to have here, don’t you Elfire?” Of course she was referring to the time they closed the rift, Noraver thought. That was the only time that they had all been together in that area. She originally met the duo along with Valiant Grace and the rest of their party as they were headed to the mountain to investigate the increase of attacks by otherworldly creatures that travelers from all different regions were reporting. Xyrora was searching for a secluded area to relocate. She quickly changed her mind after finding out the state of the region,but not being the type to walk away from a good fight, she attached herself to the first group of adventurers headed out to dispatch the menace. After Grace closed the rift, she refused the dwarves’ offer to accompany them back to the nearest town for rest, and they never saw her again, until today.“Aye, looks like you started partying without us this time,” Xyrora smiled hard when she thought how she must of looked at that moment. Her brown leather armor was worn and carried many nicks and tears from combat. As did her short sword and buckler that she kept on her left forearm. Her bow on the other hand, was magnificent. The curve of the bow was whittled out of a solid piece of oak and carried many designs inspired by her time as a bard and as a ranger. Her bowstring was from her harp that she didn’t take with her when she went into seclusion. The magical enchantment that was imbued into the harp to pick up on the slightest of touches to allow her to play the most complex of scores, carried over into the string. So it required no effort for her to draw back an arrow on the bow, which made her rate of fire a lot faster than the average ranger. She kept her jet black hair tied back in a bun, but only when combat was anticipated. Otherwise she let her back length hair flow as wild and freely as she liked to live.“Well you know,” she sang sweetly and skipped over to hand the baby over to Noraver now that her brown and gold quiver was full of arrows once more. “You know this is the babe of Valiant Grace?” he said as he reached for the baby. Xyrora stopped moving and began to regard the baby with scrutiny, then she looked back to Noraver with tears forming in her eyes “that's impossible, she’s dead, she fell~” “She didn’t, she broke through the Abyss at the point she entered to save the babe, from what I can only imagine,” Noraver explained and Xyrora almost seemed not to hear him. She was enamored with the baby girl. “What's her name?” she asked. “Rasia” they replied in unison. “Rasia, Rasia, what a beautiful name, for a beautiful girl, from such an ugly plane” she began to sing. The two dwarves looked at the girl, who seemed to be in love with the elf. It wasn’t until she started singing that the two realized that Rasia had been quietly smiling and staring right back at the elf the entire time.The two dwarves looked at each other again before Elfire commented” so what was this about us being surrounded?”Before long the dwarves were making a steady pace back to the main trail, switching between various paths through the woods to make them harder to follow. Xyrora scouted ahead from the treetops. She nimbly jumped from branch to branch with Rasia secure in her sling around the elf. Occasionally, Noraver and Elfire would come across a pile of orcs just in time to see Xyrora pulling her last arrow from them. She would toss them her charming smile before jumping back up into the treetops to continue her patrol. “You feel that?” Noraver remarked as he and Elfire both came to a halt. “Yep, about four of them, they’ll be upon us in a few minutes. Xyrora dropped down from the trees to discover the reason for the halt, but as soon as her feet hit the ground she also felt the vibration in the ground. “‘I’ll take care of them,” she said and she was about to jump back into the trees before Noraver grabbed her by the arm. “These are trolls chasing us, at least four of them. Let us make the first move, and ignite your arrows before sending them’” he said and then let her arm go. Xyrora nodded and was away.The dwarves both posted themselves at the trunks of massive trees apart from one another but facing the path. The ambush was prepared and would be sufficient for a few cave trolls, what they didn’t expect but soon found out was that only three of their stalkers were cave trolls. A large, hulking Black Troll was accompanying them. While trolls were already considered formidable by most due to their large size, long lanky limbs and claws that they employed as weapons, and limbs that regenerated, but Black trolls were especially sinister. Black trolls reside in the Abyss, and are much larger than their cave cousins. He had tall, pointed horns that rose from his giant head that appeared to just be a row of teeth with eyes. Another distinction between the trolls was that while most varieties of troll lack intelligence or the ability to organize any form of attack other than straightforward, Black trolls are highly intelligent and are known to have magic capabilities. The two dwarves looked to each other, thinking that maybe they should let this group pass and take a different path out the woods. While the dwarves never known for shying away from combat, they knew that today their mission was to get Rasia to safety and nothing else. The decision was taken out of their hands when the party of four came to a complete stop in the middle of the trail in between the two dwarves and right below Xyrora. The Black Troll looked around and then straight up to the air. He let loose a roar that made the whole forest quake and a demon began crawling through the ground from a hole that wasn’t there. “Thats a cue if I e’er heard one,” Elfire remarked. Noraver nodded and Elfire took out his axes and willed them to fire.Two flaming pitches came towards the trolls then from the trees. The demon was unphased and shot straight up into the air with it’s powerful wings. Two of the cave trolls caught fire and began falling back and flailing. The Black Troll let loose a lightning strike in the direction from where the fire came from but only struck the tree Elfire threw himself behind. Noraver was originally suppose to use his warhammers to smash the ground and stall the trolls so Elfire could get off another attack. But he saw that the demon that had pulled himself from nothing was approaching Xyrora and a great pace and he didn’t want the elf to get into one on one combat while still carrying Rasia. He sent the boars on his hammers in motion and the heads began to glow as he pulled back and threw the hammer at an intercept angle and made direct contact with the back of the demon’s head.The trolls all saw the glowing hammer fly above them, and then as if scripted, all looked back down and at the exposed Noraver. “Well what’re ye waiting for ye durned muck brains,” Noraver bluffed as he tossed the one hammer from one hand to another. He knew he was at a great disadvantage with only one warhammer and a Black Troll staring him down. He could only hope, as the one cave troll who wasn’t on fire began to charge him, that his strike was enough to utterly defeat the demon.Xyrora was just about to put her first flaming arrow into the face of the charging demon before Noraver’s axe blinded her. She felt the shockwave created by the magically enchanted weapon making contact with the skull of the otherworldly creature and she had to jump back to a branch further behind her to prevent being thrown from the tree from the force. Her arrow stil drawn, she let her shot loose and it struck at the ground not far from where the cave troll had been standing before it began its charge. She knew she didn’t have the time to light another one so she began letting arrows go one after another at the cave troll. The shots were making contact in the head and back of the creature, but even as one tore through its skull and popped out its eye socket (eye on the tip of the arrowhead) its charge continued.Elfire let loose another fiery attack, aiming towards the Black Troll. The enchanted flames washed over the troll like water against the stone. The troll grinned a sinister grin and began wiggling his fingers in spell casting as the demon that had been clobbered came down fast and hard his horns. The creature was impaled on the horns, it shook and shimmied for a few seconds and then became very still, which didn’t seem to phase the troll in the least as it let loose another blast of lightning. Elfire threw himself against the back of the tree again and looked over to his brother. Noraver swung his remaining warhammer back and forth, swatting away the swiping claws of the cave troll. Given the great difference in height between the two, the troll typically would of had the advantage over any ordinary dwarf only carrying a warhammer, but the warhammers Noraver carried were far from ordinary. The size of a great hammer, and enchanted with great strength, Noraver was doing more than blocking the swipes, but blasting them back, making the troll’s swings begin to come in slower and delayed. Noraver gritted his teeth and spun inwards and under a wide swipe from the troll and let his hammer arm fly. He felt the crunch of ribs as he made contact right under the troll’s armpit and sent him flying to the side, bouncing off of a tree and falling to the ground in a heavy heap. Another arrow went through the side of his face for good measure.Now out of arrows, Xyrora took a moment to observe the status of the ambush. The two trolls who had originally been set on fire had began to regenerate and appeared to be getting their bearings back. The Black Troll had both arms extended and was in the midst of spell casting, the demon still dead on his horns,the demon’s wings flapped about with every movement of the troll. The troll let loose another lightning strike that hit Noraver directly in the chest just as he began to charge the trolls. The strike held him in place as he fell to his knees and grunted as if he was trying to scream but he couldn’t force his jaws to separate. The strike continued to chain and struck Elfire in the back as he too, had began a charge towards the trolls. When the attack ceased, the two were still on their knees, but obviously in great pain. Both their beards frizzed up into large hairballs and their weapons’ enchantments had deactivated. Xyrora prepared her short sword and buckler and was ready to drop down on the Black Troll until Noraver managed to finally say with great difficulty “Looks like rain,” and then he fell unconscious.That was the the same line that Valiant Grace used before she closed the Abyss. Xyrora knew that it meant that he was about to give his life for the sake of the mission, and to not try and rescue him or his brother. She looked upon the only friends she had ever knew and was about to intervene anyways, thinking dying next to the pair would be a better fate than living on knowing that she had left them. Then she looked down to Rasia, and remembered her other friend she thought to be dead almost half a century ago. Not just her friend she thought, her best friend, the only other person she ever desired to accompany anywhere. She was now holding that friend’s only offspring in her hands, charged with the duty of protecting her. She somberly looked to the dwarves one final time, as the trolls began cackling with sick laughter and moving towards them. She turned away and leaped off into the trees again. No sooner than she leapt off, another pair of demons and a much larger creature came down the path from the opposite direction that the trolls had came from. “Where is my daughter!” the large creature roared. The Black Troll looked up to the branch he thought he saw the elf in and looked back to the hulking figure with a look of shock and fear on his face. The creature punched through the chest of the troll with one of its giant pincers. He withdrew the pincer that left a gaping hole in the chest of the troll. Of course a hole in the chest meant nothing to a creature that could regenerate, but the monster wrapped his pincer around the neck of the troll and decapitated him. “Find her NOW!” every minion of the creature that was currently searching the forest for the baby heard the call before the troll’s head even hit the ground. Xyrora heard it as well, and began moving as fast as she could traverse the tree canopy. And for the first time since she left the Abyss, Rasia started crying.Xyrora knew of a place she could take the child. Although the location was a highly guarded secret, Xyrora was aware of a school where mages trained under the tutelage of some of the most powerful mages in the region. She knew that level of protection would cost her. For a long time, the organization had sought her out for her abilities. Many times their emissaries would interrupt her tranquil solitude and attempt to petition her to join their group. She would refuse them outright without hesitation. But servitude was a small price to pay compared to the price Grace had paid to save them from enduring the fate she believed her best friend was currently experiencing. If Grace was still alive and fighting for survival, she needed to figure out a way to save her Xyrora thought. But first, she would have to make a deal with Taunch.