The heart of the eternal

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The last chance

Unta had walked for days, her feet were sore and her shoes were worn to shreds but it hadn’t stopped her so far. She had a mission and she wasn’t going to betray her former chief by failing. She had walked outside of the clan’s hunting grounds now, and she had discovered that the mountains were changed. The animals were almost gone, there was a sort of eerie silence there which she hadn’t encountered before and she saw tracks from strange beasts. There was a presence in the wind, a cold hissing voice and she refused to listen. She was just a female, a weak one who didn’t possess any powers and the voice didn’t bother with her, she just heard its echo and she knew by now that it was what had possessed the males and made them attack her tribe. She did grit her teeth together, she was not going to let it get away with its crime, that was for sure.

The valleys she followed now did lead her to the east, it felt right and she kept going even when her body felt like lead. Luckily her feet were hard since they didn’t use shoes in the winter and she was well used to the cold. Her people were hardy and could survive the long winters very well. She had eaten a little of the provisions she had taken, she had to make sure that it would last so she ate only when her hunger became unbearable and she drank from the rivers when she did come across open water. But she was getting more and more nervous, there were goblins in the mountains here and she didn’t like them. The elder did tell that goblins were evil creatures with wicked spirits and they would only serve their own interests. She had never seen a goblin before but the hunters had described them and when she saw a whole pack travelling through a valley she did immediately know what they were. There was perhaps a hundred of them and they were carrying weapons and acted as if they were under somebody’s command. Unta didn’t like that, goblins weren’t supposed to act like that and she knew that they were normally way too egoistical to cooperate.

She had gotten far but she hadn’t yet encountered this daughter of the goddess and she wondered when she would. But a sort of inner voice told her to be patient, that she would meet the chosen one soon enough. As Unta did travel along the valleys she used all her skills to avoid being detected by the goblins, she was a daughter of the mountains and knew how to hide and she had strong senses too. She didn’t need fire to make food and she didn’t need much sleep. The goblins were more active at night so she did always find some well hidden crevice where she could rest for a couple of hours and she did even make sure to relieve herself on rock so nobody could see urin stains in the snow.

Unta felt that she was heading in the right direction and she did trust the goddess to lead her feet, she did know that her mission was a sacred one. Unta was perhaps not a person of importance in any way but now she had gotten some sort of dignity after all and she would not let go of it. It was better to die doing the right thing than to live doing nothing. She did miss her tribe after all, they had been her people but she had to stop that voice which was corrupting the other clans. Or at least, she had to do whatever she could to help stopping it. The daughter of the goddess would destroy it, she felt it in her heart and she was proud to help.

Unta was crossing a frozen river when she was discovered, it was bad luck for her senses got disturbed by a gust of wind and the goblins came along a narrow gorge she hadn’t noticed. They did howl when they saw her and Unta cussed and ran, goblins did eat anything they could get their filthy paws upon and she didn’t want to end up as dinner. But they did pursue her with zeal and she was perhaps used to the terrain and strong but her legs were short and she wasn’t very fast. These goblins were rather large and strong and she felt the stench from them and her heart was galloping. She would rather stab herself with the blade of her dead chief than letting them get to her alive. There was one among the goblins which were larger than the rest, it was grotesque like them but there was some sort of sinister intelligence within the dark beady eyes. It did wear a sort of amour and it did yell something to the others. They didn’t seem to like what he said but they seemed to obey. None of them did try to shoot at Unta with their primitive bows and the weapons weren’t wielded. Unta realized that they wanted to capture her alive and the thought sent cold sweat down her back. She fought her way up a steep little hill and tried to make a run for some cliffs but suddenly there were hands grasping onto her clothing and she was thrown down. Unta did scream and she tried to punch at the leering goblins, she did hit one and felt how bone did shatter underneath her hard fist. Her people were extremely strong and she was used to hard work.

The goblins did howl and backed off and the large one did backhand her across the face. Unta was used to being treated with rough discipline, the older women had often hit her to make her obey, it wasn’t anything new to her. She spat at it and the goblin did chuckle. Two of the others did hold her arms and the large one did search her clothes but didn’t find anything of value except the knife she had taken from the dead chief.

It did say something and then it tore her fur clothes open. Unta realized what it wanted, she was a female and among goblins females are rare, they usually doesn’t last long. She fought her panic, didn’t know what to do but an odd calm did descend upon her. She could deal with this, it was all a part of the goddess plan. Unta was no stranger to rape, it was very common among her people that the males did take what they wanted whenever they wanted it, nobody saw anything odd about that at all. Her first time with a male had been like that, one of the young males had fancied her and the very day she had been recognized as an adult female he had attacked her by the lakeshore and taken her.

Unta had expected something like that to happen, it was part of their culture and even if it had hurt and been rather horrible it didn’t turn her away from males. It wasn’t his fault that he was a complete clutz and not very experienced. She had been forced many times and she had also bedded males out of her own free will many times and enjoyed it. This was no different, she could endure, it was all for a greater cause. The large goblin did get his own clothing out of the way and Unta would have laughed if she had dared to. The cock this creature did present wasn’t very impressive at all, as a matter of fact Unta had seen immature lads with larger ones. But the goblin did not hesitate, it did pressed her legs aside and pushed inside and Unta did not try to resist, she realized that she would be safe or at least relatively so as long as she didn’t struggle. She could hardly even feel him, it was patethic and she would have spat at him in disgust if she had been able to. The other goblins stood there leering and drooling and she was only hoping that they wouldn’t harm her physically. If they all were as miniscule as their leader she was rather sure she would be okay. The goblin did roar and the nasty face did twitch through his release. The others did chatter, trying to push forth and the large one did bare his teeth and growled. The message was clear, this one is mine!

Unta was thrown over its shoulder like a piece of meat and she managed to grasp her clothes and was carried off. The large one wanted her for himself and the others were growling and it was rather obvious that they were angry and jealous. Unta did use her eyes for all they were worth, they returned to the gorge and before long they entered a cave and Unta realized that this was a goblin fortress. It was a stinky dark place with little light and a stench of unimaginable things. The huge goblin did carry his quarry over his shoulder and Unta did pretend to be unconscious, her hair did hide her face and she did see that this city was rather well organized. She couldn’t understand why, goblins weren’t renowned for their prowess when it comes to anything except being nasty. The city was in several levels and she started to suspect that it originally had been a dwarven stronghold which had been abandoned before it was even finished. The tunnels she saw did end abruptly and the evenness of the floor and the lack of natural shapes was rather appearent. Her people did know about the dwarves, they did respect them but hadn’t interacted with them for ages. Unta saw that the goblins wore armour and carried good weapons and they appeared to be scared of something or someone. What could transform goblins into an army? The large one carried her through some large halls, nobody tried to stop it and many did stare but none did even speak up. The Unta did see it, the reason why these goblins were so different from what she had been told by the elders. They had a leader, a real leader and it wasn’t a goblin. It was a sort of orc halfbreed, a creature with dark skin and an impressive almost majestic stance. It had a thick mane of dark coarse hair and piercing golden eyes and it wore jewellery and nice robes. Unta felt cold, she felt what this was by sheer instinct. A servant of darkness, a follower of the voice, it’s servant.

The large goblin did carry Unta into a sort of dungeon which was closed off with an iron gate and she was dumped unceremoniously onto a layer of dirty straw. She was glad she had her clothes there for it was cold and damp. The goblin did hiss and pushed her down onto the straw, it did force her legs apart again and took her anew, grunting and gasping as it was fucking her fast and hard and it didn’t last more than a minute. It did shudder and moan and then it pulled out and left, she heard the gate being closed.

Unta made a grimace of disgust, she felt warm seed dribbling down her thighs and she found some straw and did wipe it off before she got her clothes back on. She was done with her moon days, but she wasn’t fertile so there was no chance of her conceving a half goblin. That would have been a cause for suicide for sure. But as long as the large goblin did fancy her she was safe from the others and she felt that the daughter of the goddess would come her way, one way or the other. She did still have a small pack of food in her cloak and she could survive there for a long time as long as she had water. There was moisture dripping down the walls, she could lick that off the stone if need be. Unta was patient, her task was not done yet. She formed a sort of nest from the straw and sighed. The dungeon was very dark and the air chilly but she remembered that tall halfbreed and a sort of determination did form within her. That thing had to die, it had a hold of the goblins and without it they would return to their natural state, she was rather sure. If she got the chance to kill the tall leader she would, it was her duty.

Wenja was still shocked by the fact that something had killed that fell troll, but she also sensed that Rhawan was right, they did have something watching over them and it was something very powerful.

Ahravan did stand guard now and Rhawan did come to stay with her, he did crawl into the sleeping furs next to her and Wenja did curl up against him, she wanted the comfort of bodily contact and he did hold her close as they just laid there in silence. After a while she realized that he wanted more than just a little contact, she could feel that he was hard and he was breathing in a funny manner. She did turn her head around, whispering. “Rhawan? I need it too”

He did gasp and she felt his hand sliding up underneath her skirt, it was warm and rough and she got goosebumps from the sensation, it was wonderful. She wriggled herself into a better postion and Rhawan did nibble on her earlobe, breathing fast. “We shouldn’t….”

Wenja gasped as his hand did find its way inn between her legs, gently teasing her. “I don’t care, oh Rhawan, do it, I need you”

He did struggle with the laces of his pants and was flailing around a bit before he finally did get the garments out of the way. Then he did flip her over onto her stomach and placed some of the furs underneath her hips. Wenja did spread her legs eagerly, she wanted to feel something real again, not just fear and anxiety and worry. She needed to wind down and a good fuck did usually help her do that. She whimpered as he got into position over her, the sensation of his cockhead slowly sliding along her slit, nudging at her passage made her squirm with an almost unbearable need. She did truly hunger for the sensation of being whole yet again and she did bite into her cloak not to scream as he did slide into place with one slow deliberate thrust. It felt so good she could have cried, it had been many long days since they had done this last and she was panting and grasping onto the furs, desperate to just feel, live within the very moment. Rhawan was outdoing himself, he did keep his rhythm and did change the angle of his hips at uneven intervals and she was close to tears from sheer pleasure. Rhawan did groan and pant and suddenly he shifted to a much more vigorous rhythm, he gasped. “I am sorry, I cannot…”

Wenja wasn’t able to answer, she came suddenly and so hard she felt something wet and warm gushing out of her, the pleasure was burning through her like wildfire and she arched and would have screamed if she could. Rhawan did bite her shoulder, it was a hard bite but she didn’t mind, she felt him coming and he shook and groaned. “Aaah-nngh!”

He did collapse on top of her for a few seconds, she could feel his heartbeat and she felt oddly humble. He kissed her neck lovingly and sighed. “Well, from now on every goblin within the mountains will be able to smell us, I am dead sure”

Wenja did stretch herself and grinned, she felt surprisingly well now and was way more relaxed than before. She heard silent footsteps and looked up, Ahravan did approach her and he did smirk and tsked at them. “I felt it, you couldn’t help it now could you?”

Wenja shook her head and Ahravan did kneel down. “Now you two rabbits have turned me on too, may I?”

Wenja nodded and Rhawan did slide out of the furs, he did relace his pants and his eyes were still dark and filled with bliss. “I will go and stand guard”

Ahravan did smirk and opened his belt very slowly and almost teasingly. Wenja saw that he had a playful expression on his face, he wanted to have more than just a quick fuck and she liked that. Ahravan didn’t get any closer, he just opened his pants and exposed himself and Wenja did realize that he too needed it now. He was rock hard and he did sit down slowly and leaned back against the rock behind him. Wenja did bite her lip, not sure of what to do and Ahravan did wink at her. “Come here, ride me”

She understood and straddled his lap, her skirts did cover them up and she did reach down and steered him right. She was wet and open and Ahravan did groan as she slid down onto him. He was leaning his head back, eyes closed and mouth open and Wenja did whimper, it felt so amazing yet again and she started to move her hips. She did find a good rhythm and laid her hands on his shoulders for support and before long she was caught in a maelstrom of sensation and need. Ahravan didn’t move at all, he did allow her to take the lead completely and she felt it rising within again. He did groan and winked, lifted her skirts so he could see them being as one. Wenja did lean back a bit so he could see better and he did growl and panted. “Faster, I am so….fucking close….”

Wenja did obey, she moved faster and he did cover her mouth with his hand to stifle her scream as she came again, clenching onto him like a vice. Ahravan did press his face inn against her neck and muffled his own roar thus, she felt the hot spurts of seed which left him and it made her shudder again and again. Ahravan did lean his chin onto her forehead and gasped for a while, she felt him relax but he was getting hard again almost immediately. She had gotten used to that by now, he needed more than one go to be satisfied. He did run his fingers through her hair and kissed her, she always felt almost euphoric from his kisses, they made her toes curl and her heart skip a few beats. “Ready for more?”

Wenja did giggle. “Always”

Ahravan did sigh. “You do tell me if it gets too much right? I don’t want to harm you in any manner”

Wenja kissed him back. “Do not worry, you are never gonna wear me out. So how do you want it now?”

She did wriggle herself and he closed his eyes and gasped. “You rode me, so how about me doing the work this time?”

Wenja nodded and he did get up and helped her up as well. It was a bit obscene, he was fully clothed except from his groin and Wenja tilted her head. “And now?”

He did push her towards the rock and placed her hands on it. “Hold on”

Ahravan did grasp her hips and lifted her up and she couldn’t reach the ground with her feet, he was too tall but she did find a handhold in the rock and held her upper body level thus. Ahravan did slide into her again, he felt so warm and she squealed and closed her eyes in absolute bliss. He did last longer this time and brought her to a shattering climax twice before he let go of all control and came a last time. When he did let her place her feet on the ground they were like gello and she wondered if she could walk at all now. Her inner thighs were slick and she felt sweaty, but most of all very satisfied and very drowsy. Ahravan did kiss her gently and gave her a small pat across the rump. “Thank you beloved, this was absolutely wonderful”

Wenja grinned back. “And I thank you, I needed that”

Ahravan nodded and relaced his pants. “We all did, I feel much better already”

Wenja made a grimace. “We do stink though”

Ahravan had to laugh. “Yes, but not much worse than before, we could need a bath but no such thing here I fear.”

Wenja did shake out her skirts and she did roll out the sleeping furs, they were wet because of her release when Rhawan took her and needed to dry before she could roll them together. Ahravan sighed. “We have to get moving again soon, these mountains have to end soon, I am dead tired of rocks and snow and nothing green at all”

Wenja nodded. “I agree, let us hope that we will reach our goal soon”

Ahravan did kiss her again and returned to the others, Rhawan was smirking. “You were goddamn loud, Khirhien had to take a swift trip in between those boulders to releave himself of a small problem and Ayhrandur is still struggling with a hard on. I bet the two humans aren’t much better off”

The two young men did stare at each other and both blushed almost violently. Ahravan did blush too, he made a grimace. “Well, take care of it now, before we leave. We cannot have our thoughts muddled whilst out in the valleys”

The two men did get up and sort of wobbled into the darkness and Ayhrandur did grin and made a very suggestive movement with his hand. Ahravan rolled his eyes. “Yes, you too, I can see that you are aroused”

Ayhrandur snickered. “One would have to be dead if one weren’t, you are an insanely lucky one, I hope you know that?”

Ahravan nodded. “I know”

Ayhrandur did disappear for a while too and Rhawan did sigh and leaned against the flank of his horse. “How far do we have to travel? I feel as if we have been travelling in a circle, we see just rock and rock and even more rocks”

Ahravan sighed and sat down. “I have no idea, but the tracks do show us we are on the right path. “

Rhawan did look down and his eyes were distant. “I feel danger close by brother, why I do not know”

Ahravan did raise his gaze, stared at his Si’ish with narrow eyes. “So do I”

Yalaih had been sitting on her own wrapped in her furs but now she did get up and she did sniff the air, “There are goblins here in the mountains and they are everywhere, I do feel that something is very wrong”

Ahravan did frown. “How come?”

Yalaih did wrap her cloak tighter around herself. “Back where we are from, near the eternal ice there are goblins too, but they aren’t like the one we found and the smell is wrong. Also the tracks I have seen. Goblins are animals and yet, the tracks tell of discipline and order.”

Ahravan tilted his head. “You are sure of this?”

Yalaih did nod. “Yes, I know goblins Ath’ir. We have fought them often, father did hate them and with good reason and yet they aren’t hard to fight off. But I feel something is different here”

Ahravan did nod and he did try to smile. “I trust your instincts Yalaih, if you see something strange do tell us immediately. You have experience we don’t”

Yalaih did straighten her back and she did look rather proud all of a sudden. Being praised thus had to be valuable to her.

When the sunlight yet again filled the skies they did move on, and Ahravan did realize that Yalaih was onto something. There were fresh tracks there and it wasn’t monsters but definitely goblins and also a huge number of them. Yalaih did study the tracks. “There is a city somewhere, goblins do often use old dwarf mines or natural caves. One can usually smell them from afar.”

Ahravan did groan. “So, what do we do?”

Yalaih did make a grimace. “Move on carefully, but without breaks. We have to get away from here as fast as we can, goblins do not like direct sunlight but the valleys are dark and there could be scouts out even now!”

Ahravan swore to himself, it was just what they didn’t need. “Alright, everybody keep their eyes open and do not make much noise. If we are spotted we will have to fight”

Everybody did ready their weapons and Rhawan did hold Wenja closer. He didn’t like the idea of a fight there at all. They were exposed and vulnerable and it wasn’t ideal at all.

Unta had never learned the language of the goblins, all she knew was that of her own people and she felt that she had no chance of learning the nasty guttural words of these creatures. But she wasn’t dumb and she did read a lot out of the way they did interact. The goblins there weren’t truly followers of that voice, they were simply too dumb. But the huge half orc was and he was in charge there, they did all fear him. She had learned that his name was Gobaz and the goblin who had caught her was named Aghar. Bobaz had killed their previous leader and turned the otherwise savage goblins into an army and that was impressive in itself, a person without the right amount of ruthlessness and strength wouldn’t have been able to do that at all. They would have torn him limb from limb.

Unta was being fed, and she got water and even some old furs to sleep inn, apparently she was valuable for there weren’t any goblin females there at all. She hadn’t seen any and the way the goblins did stare at her told her that they all were starved for female attention. But her own situation had changed a lot within a few days. Apparently Gobaz had discovered that Aghar had a female stacked away for his own pleasure, and he hadn’t accepted that. Aghar had been executed in front of the whole city and then Gobaz had claimed her as his own. He enjoyed watching the envy of the others there so he did always fuck her on his throne, for everybody to see. Aghar had been patethic in oh so many ways but the half orc did make Unta scream and it wasn’t always in pain, he was huge and knew how to do this and he wasn’t even too brutal with her.

She had realized that he was constantly alert, always anticipating attacks but he didn’t expect any danger from her, she was after all just a female and she was in her own way a very sensitive person. To him she was little more than a pet, a thing with which to have fun and he would treat her nicely as long as he saw it fit. He didn’t want to break his toy and Unta had realized that he liked it when she seemed to enjoy his advances. It made the others even more envious if she did scream in pleasure and it did boost his male ego too, so Unta did allow herself to feel pleasure when he did take her. Thanks to this she was treated well and she wasn’t afraid for her own life as long as she did continue to provide him with what he needed. But she had discovered that the voice indeed was the thing which did control him, there was a huge crystal mounted right on front of the primitive throne and the voice came from it, and once she had seen a sort of shadowy figure within the crystal, as if there was a ghost trapped within it. Gobaz did obey the voice, willingly and with obvious reverence and Unta did understand that the voice came from somewhere else, and that it was evil.

Sometimes though she heard a different voice when she was alone, a female one and she didn’t understand the words but she knew the meaning. She had to wait, she had a task to do, she was important.

Then one day the halls seemed to be emptied and Unta knew that something was about to happen, she closed her eyes and prayed to the goddess for strength. The daughter of the goddess would come, and then Unta would deliver the message and kill Gobaz, yes, that was her destiny.

The group had been moving forth for a couple of days now and each morning when they did break camp there were giant tracks around the campsite, feline tracks. The horses didn’t react to them and Ahravan did believe that it was some sort of S’haga but unusually large. Yalaih did lead them well, she was an expert at reading the terrain and she did also make sure that they didn’t end up in places where they could be ambushed.

The mountains were not as tall and Rhawan had sworn that he had seen flat lands in the distance, it could be their target and Wenja hoped that it was true. She was so tired of the cold now. They were riding along the bottom of a rather narrow and winding valley when something suddenly shot out from behind the rocks surrounding them. They had been prepared for an attack and yet it did shock them for a few seconds. These goblins were fast and wielded primitive weapons made from antlers and bone.

Wenja was riding with Ahravan, she was seated behind him on one of the horses, a brown mare named Blossom and Ahravan did spin the horse around and yelled out loud. The others did react immediately and Flint did whinny and started to fight the goblins. So did Kor’ath, the unicorn did grasp goblins with its jaws and threw them in the air and Wenja saw that the broken horn did glow, as if it still was there. A mere touch of the otherworldly lance did make goblins fall over as they did burst into flames with piercing shrieks.

Ahravan did grasp Wenja by her waist and threw her over to Rhawan, the dark skinned elf did catch her elegantly and placed her in front of himself on the horse before swinging his sword elegantly at the attacking goblins. Ahravan did use the war hammer he had gotten from Fhailar, it was an impressive sight and he did crush the ones he did hit, it was a very good weapon to use from the back of a horse. The others did also fight well, Yalaih was using her two shorter and slimmer blades with the elegance of a cat and Khirhien and Ayhrandur did work as one and cut a bloody path through the attackers. The two men had jumped over onto two boulders and used their short riders bows with lethal precision, goblins did fall down with arrows protruding from their heads.

Ahravan did try to get an overview of the situation, the goblins seemed to spring out of the ground and the numbers didn’t seem to diminish at all. He did push the horse around the boulders and smashed goblins as he went, he did not hesitate even once. Rhawan did fight with great elegance and yet the fact that Wenja was sitting in front of him did hinder him a bit. She did block his left arm and side and Rhawan did want to place her somewhere else but he didn’t have time to help her get behind him on the horse before something hit the animal and caused him to stumble. Rhawan did grasp onto Wenja and held her as they did tumble from the horse which fell kicking and screaming. Wenja did squeal and Rhawan did take the impact, he rolled away from the horse with her and the animal got back on its feet, a gash in its chest did bleed a lot and it seemed to have injured a leg too. Rhawan did yell and placed Wenja behind him against a boulder, Gochil was on top of it shooting and the dark skinned elf did fight every goblin which did approach them with savage fury. The goblins weren’t warriors, they knew naught about technique and their weapons were no match for such fighters as the elves but they did try.

Flint did trample goblins with its ears flat and teeth bared and Kor’ath did kill goblins too, the animal was moving so fast it was almost hard to believe. Wenja did tremble, the goblins were ghastly and she didn’t think she had seen anything uglier before. The numbers did at last seem to dwindle and Ahravan did turn his horse around, the war hammer was dripping with blood and brain matter and Kor’ath did send out a shrill whinny. The goblins did gather for a last attempt at regaining control but suddenly they heard a roar, it was so strong the ground did seem to vibrate from it and the goblins did freeze, then they squealed and ran, obviously terrified. It was no doubt that it had scared them and the goblins did disappear rather fast, only the dead and dying were left. Ahravan did jump down from the mare he rode and grasped onto a wounded goblin, its left shoulder and arm was crushed and it looked as if the back was broken too. He lifted the goblin by the throat and hissed something, words which made the goblin squeal in fear. Elves do have some magic which is inherent and now he used it. His own thoughts did pierce the mind of the goblin and did pull forth all the information he sought from the creature. When he was done he had a splitting headache and the goblin was dead. He did drop the body unceremoniously and spat at it.

Rhawan did look at him with huge eyes and Ahravan did sneer. “They are under control by somebody, just as we expected. A half orc, a servant of evil. The darkness does control him, just as the monsters”

Rhawan did swallow. “I see, so now what?”

Ahravan turned to Yalaih. “You said that there is a city here somewhere?”

The young elf did nod. “Yes, probably very near by!”

The Ath’ir had never looked this much like a leader. “It has to be destroyed somehow, as long as that orc is their leader they are dangerous. There are many of them, we cannot risk more attacks, they are swarming all over the mountains”

Yalaih did groan. “We are too few, fighting our way in will be impossible. A sneak attack is the only chance we have.”

Rhawan did turn around to see of Wenja was alright but she wasn’t there and he did gasp, suddenly everyone became aware of the fact that she wasn’t there and Rhawan did first gape. He hadn’t even noticed that she did move for she had been right behind him the whole time but now there were nobody there. He did run around the rock, nothing. Then he did notice something, a piece of fur on a rock and he did grasp it and the rock moved. It did fall to the side and revealed a narrow tunnel, too small for an adult male but large enough for a goblin. Some thin strands of red hair could be seen and Rhawan did let out a roar of anger and fear, Ahravan did freeze for a second, then he did fall to his knees next to the tunnel and tried to listen. They didn’t hear anything and Ahravan did release a wail, he was shaking all over. The goblins had snatched her from right under their noses and it was so devious and so utterly wicked that it was hard to understand how it was even possible.

Yalaih was pale but her face was suddenly very stern, her chin set and her eyes ablaze. “Ahravan, do not let the fear overcome you. Now is the time to act fast, and wisely. They will not harm her yet. She is to be their hostage, to lure you inn.”

Ahravan was wild eyed and Rhawan was panting, his fear made it almost impossible for him to think. Khirhien was the one who did gather his thoughts. “So what do you suggest we do?”

Yalaih did stare at them, her eyes dark. “I go, I can find the city and I can sneak my way into it, I know how to avoid detection. You must find a safe spot which to defend until I return with her, the goblins will try to taunt you, to bring you out of balance so they can split you into smaller groups and kill you all”

Ahravan did pant, he was trembling. “You will get yourself killed!”

Yalaih did nod. “Possibly, even most likely but I will find her Ahravan, and I will get her out of there. I know how goblins think Ahravan, we were taught about them from an early age, we are age old enemies of these nasty creatures!”

Rhawan had a hard time talking. “Listen to her brother, she is right you know. Let her go, she can find Wenja!”

Ahravan closed his eyes, he could feel that Wenja was alive, he had to maintain hope. Yalaih did grasp his shoulder and shook him. “They aren’t very good at numbers, they wont notice that one of you is missing, they will not anticipate that somebody can find them”

Ahravan sobbed, he was trembling. “Go, go now. Save her, please!”

Yalaih nodded and grasped her blades and a short bow pluss some arrows. She did give the others a swift grin before she disappeared among the rocks like a weasel. Now it became a game of seek and find and she was a master at finding stuff. Khirhien did grasp Ahravan by the collar. “Up, we need to find a place to defend ourselves, they will return.”

The tall silver haired elf did lead them to a small raised hill which was flat and easy to defend and he did find some dead branches and lichen. “We will start a fire, they fear open flame and from here we can shoot them before they get too close”

Ahravan didn’t speak, his fear for Wenja was almost paralyzing him. Rhawan did embrace him, if they did lose her it was very likely that they both would lose the will to live and simply die from grief, elves could do that.

Yalaih did use her nose, it was extremely sensitive and she used it the same way a dog would, she did sneak her way through the maze of boulders and snow drifts and before long her nose did catch a familiar scent. It was goblins and many of them. Yalaih did sneer, they wouldn’t expect somebody who knew how to fight them on their own turf. She did glide along the rocks and made no sound, her soft fur boots didn’t even leave tracks and she did sniff her way towards the source of the smell. It was an opening which wasn’t very large, it wasn’t the main entrance for sure but it was useable for her goal. It had probably been a ventilation shaft and now it was filled with garbage and cobwebs but Yalaih didn’t fear that. She did crawl inside and moved swiftly, the stench from this garbage dump would camouflage her own scent and she knew that she had to hurry. Wenja was in danger, and the longer the enemy had her the greater the risks.

Yalaih did enter a tunnel which was in little use, there were few tracks in the dust and she was glad her kin did have good eyes for there wasn’t much light there, she did sneak forth and after a while she did see a cave up ahead. It was light up and she did crawl closer, peeping over the edge of it. She didn’t see Wenja but the goblins were obviously upset, they were scurrying around and she did see the half orc which was their leader. He did look impressive and was probably very intelligent, if the distance hadn’t been too great she would have attempted at shooting him but now it was impossible. The creatures were making a lot of racket and Yalaih did sneak along some side tunnels. She stayed where it was dark and got a sort of image of how this city was constructed. It was an old dwarven mine, only a few levels tall and she was rather sure that the dungeons or what they used as dungeons were lower down. She did find a flight of stairs and had to shot a couple of goblins to use them. She fired so fast they both fell seconds apart and she did haul the corpses into a dark corner where it was little chance of them getting found.

The air was thick with the stench of rot and unwashed bodies and it was obvious that everybody there was gathered in the great hall for she didn’t see any other goblins. The leader had appeared to be holding a speech for them and Yalaih did bite her teeth together hard. They would return to the valley for a second attack soon and she had to find Wenja fast. The goblins would most likely take something from her to taunt the elves with. The level was obviously where the goblins did live so she did go even deeper down and this time she was in luck. She felt her heart racing, she had to be fast now and when she saw a bolted door she knew she was in the right place.

She did sneak up to it, the bolt was a simple one and she did slide it aside and opened the door slightly. She let out a thin gasp of relief. Wenja was there but she was unconscious and there was someone else in there. Yalaih did not move and a short stocky figure did enter the faint light. At first Yalaih did think it was a dwarrow dam but when the creature got closer she saw that it wasn’t. This was one of the people her clan used to call Dhu’rday, the children of the mist. They were almost human but not quite and very strong and adapted to the tough life among the tallest mountains. The female did grunt and sat down, gesticulated towards Yalaih and the elf did not speak many words of their language but she did know a few. The female wanted her closer and Yalaih did obey. The female had to have been a prisoner there for a while but she wasn’t injured and did look to be well fed and taken care off.

Yalaih did point at herself. “Yalaih”

The female did grin, her teeth were large and yellow and the protruding forehead and jaw did make her look a bit odd but she wasn’t ugly, just different. “Unta”

Unta did point at Wenja, the girl had a lump on her forehead and some blood in her hair but otherwise she appeared to be unharmed. “Child…goddess child…I give message”

Yalaih did tilt her head. “You give message to…goddess child?”

Unta did nod. “Yes, she is…daughter. Must use path of the leopard”

Yalaih did shake her head. “I do not understand?”

Unta did grunt, let a hand slide through Wenja’s fiery locks. “She will know, when time is there”

Yalaih did sigh. “I have to get her out, can you help me?”

Unta tilted her head. “I distract, you wait, soon they come for me. I kill leader, you run”

Yalaih did gasp. “What, but…they will kill you?!”

Unta grinned. “Yes, but die well. For cause. My clan gone, my future gone. I no woman, no child. Better save goddess child”

Yalaih stared at Unta, they were the same, both had lost everything, she did understand. “What do you need?”

Unta stared at Yalaih. “Hard shiny”

Yalaih did frown, then she did understand and got her knife out of its sheath. It was a narrow dagger like blade and not very elaborate but razor sharp. Unta did grin and attached the blade to the inside of her fur coat. “Good, he die today. Come to me to fuck, I kill”

Yalaih did cringe, so that was why Unta was kept alive, she was a sex toy. Unta did pet Yalaih on her shoulder. “Hide back in room, soon they come, not see you, close door”

Yalaih did trust Unta, the odd female had honour and courage and she did clearly have a plan. The elf maiden did leave the room and bolted the door again, praying that Wenja wasn’t severely injured and that she wouldn’t wake up until Unta was gone.

Yalaih didn’t have to wait for long, suddenly a pair of goblins came running and opened the door, they went inside and came back with Unta, she wore the cloak over her shoulders but were otherwise naked and she did follow them willingly. There was a faint smile on her lips and Yalaih did wait until they were out of hearing range before she raced back to the door and opened it. Wenja was still unconscious, they must have hit her over the head with something hard and Yalaih did hoist the girl up and carried her outside, bolted the door again and started to walk back the way she had come but it was blocked. There were goblins there and she did find another tunnel which was leading in the right direction, she just hoped that Wenja didn’t wake up suddenly and made an unwanted noise.

Unta was being lead towards the great hall, she was used to this routine by now, it happened each day at approximately the same time and she had been very sure that today would be no different. She felt content, she had delivered the message, the pretty eternal would deliver the message for her, now she had to finish her mission. She felt proud, without a leader the goblins would scatter like before and return to their natural state, fighting among each other, being no threat to people out there.

Gobaz did look smug, he had apparently done well and he did grin at Unta as she was brought before him. There was a table there next to the throne and he did grasp her and threw her down onto it, it was made from stone and very sturdy and she was familiar with his routine now. She did rearrange the cloak as if to be more comfortable and the huge half orc did grasp her ankles and spread her legs as she laid on the edge of the table. Unta felt oddly excited, almost giddy. She giggled and the half orc did grunt and got his cock out of the robes, it was ready for sure and he did grasp her hips and pushed inside with a groan. Unta did gasp, this time she did in fact like it a lot, she panted and writhed and the goblins which were nearby did stare with envy, some were in fact touching themselves eagerly. Unta was grasping onto the cloak, as if to steady herself, she felt the knife and knew that the moment soon would be near. She knew how to kill, she had learned that early on.

The half orc did thrust with vigor, having captured that woman would make sure that the elves did wander straight into his trap and the voice had been very adamant, the elves had to be stopped. He didn’t think that the voice had to fear a few elves but he was obedient and if the master indeed wanted them dead then be it. He had many goblins and if he lost a few hundred it didn’t matter much. They were all pawns to him. He had served the voice for more than a year now and his strength had grown for each passing day, he would be a king soon, the voice had promised him everything he wanted, immortality and wealth and he felt that things indeed were going the right way.

Unta gasped and closed her eyes, the pleasure she felt was mounting and she arched and screamed as she came very hard, seeing stars and few things more. Gobaz was pleased, the female they had caught was not pretty but nice to fuck and she did in fact like it too, he didn’t have to fight to get his release and that was always a bonus. He grunted with delight and did thrust vigorously into the clenching passage, oh it was wonderful, so good he barely could describe it and his orgasm came like a hammerblow. He grunted and shuddered and his eyes did roll up into his skull as he filled her with his seed, he had rarely felt such pleasure. As usual he did collapse on top of her and felt her contract around him still, it was amazing.

That was when Unta saw her chance, he was half conscious and didn’t react when she moved her arms, Unta was very strong compared with a human female her size, her bones dense and her muscles strong, she did know how to aim the sharp blade. The back of the neck was vulnerable on every living creature and she used all her strength as she did push the thin blade in between two vertebrae and severed the half orcs spinal cord. Gobaz didn’t even have time to really register what was happening, there was a sudden sting of intense pain at the back of his neck and then everything went dark. His last sensation was that of his cock twitcing in pleasure yet again, finding it odd.

Unta did flip the body over, he was twitching and the body was rigid, the wound at the back of his neck was small and didn’t bleed much since the heart had stopped and she did straddle him, he was still hard and she pretended to ride the half orc. The others there were busy now, the show had transformed them into lusty beasts and many there were busy fucking each other eagerly. The twitching of the huge half orc did look as if he was coming still and Unta did gather her courage, she knew that they would chase her, it would give Yalaih a chance and she held the dagger against her body as she did jump from the table and started to run.

The goblins didn’t immediately realize that their leader was dead, they just saw that the desirable female was fleeing and their first instinct was to pursue her to fuck her too. Then they realized that Gobaz was dead and chaos did erupt. Since they no longer had to fear the wrath and brutality of their boss all discipline did fly out of the window. They were in hot pursuit right away, screaming and screeching. All wanted to be the one to claim the female and Unta did run very fast, praying that Yalaih and the red headed daughter of the goddess did make it out of there. Unta knew exactly where to take the goblins, the goddess had shown her in her dreams and she smiled as she ran. The goblins would no longer pose a threat to the people of the plains.

Yalaih heard the ruckus which erupted from the great hall, she did haul Wenja with her and suddenly Wenja did twitch and Yalaih did lower her to the ground and held a hand over her mouth. Wenja did squeak but the sound was muffled and Yalaih did whisper. “It is I, Yalaih, do not make a sound. I am here to rescue you”

Wenja did grunt and nod and Yalaih did remove the hand. Wenja’s eyes were huge and filled with fear and pain and Yalaih did feel her head gently. “Are you hurt”

Wenja did sniff. “I…what happened? Are they okay?”

Yalaih did nod. “Yes, can you walk? We have to get out of here, you are in a goblin city”

Wenja did get up, her feet unsteady. “I can walk, oh Gods!”

Yalaih grasped her by the hand. “Come with me, and stay silent. There was a woman here, of the people of the mist, she was a prisoner here too but she is trying to lure the goblins away. She said that…she said you are a daughter of the goddess and that you must take the path of the leopard, when the time is right”

Wenja did just blink, she didn’t understand and Yalaih did almost run. The entrance she had come through wasn’t useable now, they would be spotted so Yalaih did aim for another one. It was one which was used more often and they did run through it. Wenja was confused and in pain and scared and she didn’t remember anything at all, the last memory she did have was of her standing behind Rhawan, waiting for Ahravan to give orders.

The tunnel was bringing fresh air and Yalaih did speed up, she did look nervous. “Hurry, we have to get out of here before it gets dark”

The opening was like a glimpse of heaven and they ran side by side when the ground underneath their feet suddenly gave inn. Wenja did scream and her hands did manage to grasp onto a sort of log someone had left there. She felt a sharp pain in her leg and looked down, a sort of spear had gone through her calf and she gasped and tried to get free but it was impossible. Yalaih was next to her leg, the young elf was pierced by several spears but still alive. She gasped and reached out, broke the spear which trapped Wenja with a grunt. “Go, Wenja, run towards…the sun. Go now!”

Wenja did haul herself up from the trap, it was a devilish contraption and she let out a wail of agony, the leg was burning and she saw that Yalaih was dead now, there was nothing she could do for the brave elf so she did tear a piece out of her skirts and tied it around her leg to stop the blood. The spear was old and not very clean and the wound it left was nasty indeed, she had to get help right away. Wenja prayed that Yalaih would be reunited with her family, then she did waddle out of the tunnel and did as Yalaih had said, followed the sun.

Unta had been running for a while, the goblins hot at her heels and she felt proud, she would make sure that they didn’t cause any more problems. The goddess was with her, she could feel it and she knew where to go. The tunnel was leading upwards and Unta did make sure that the goblins were right behind her, desperate with the need to catch her.

The voice of the goddess did speak to her, told her of destiny, of courage and sacrifice and Unta was ready. She ran into a very dark tunnel, the goblins were hot at her heels and Unta did close her eyes. When she did feel how there suddenly were no ground underneath her for her feet to find she didn’t scream. She just smiled and surrendered herself to the goddess, she would live anew in the goddess will, she had been promised this. Unta didn’t feel any pain, suddenly she was just flying above the tunnel, seeing the goblins falling to their deaths in the old mining shaft. The floor was slick and since the ones in the back did push forth there was no way to stop and they did all tumble down into the darkness. Unta saw her own body as a glowing orb, and she heard the goddess again. “You did well child, are you ready to serve me?”

Unta did nod, her soul singing with joy, this was a tremendous honour “Yes mother, I am ready”

There was a flash of light and when Unta did open her eyes again she was on a mountain, she felt a new strength and she got up. She suddenly had four legs and a tail and she did lick her lips. This new body was amazing and she shook herself and stretched. The fur was pitch black and she was very large, the she wolf did growl and then she started trotting down the mountain side, she was to stay close to the chosen one and lead the way, and she would do so for as long as the goddess wanted it.

Wenja was fighting her way forth, her leg did burn and she felt dizzy and confused but she was rather sure that she did recognize one of the cliffs ahead, it had a very odd dark colouring at its top. She gasped with pain and whimpered, she wanted Ahravan and Rhawan by her side, she wanted to be safe again, to be protected. She felt like a child, helpless and naïve and she tried to forget what she had seen. Yalaih had given her life to save her, it was such a horrible realization. The mountains were rather quiet and she didn’t see any goblins there, it was a bit odd. Then she heard sounds, it was a fight for sure and she tried to hurry but it was hard, her leg did barely carry her and she was getting very worried. The wound was deep and she had lost much blood.

She did get around a boulder and saw that her friends and husbands were gathered on top of a sort of small hill. They did defend themselves against the goblin horde and she did see that Flint did run around, kicking and biting and killing goblins, the unicorn did the same thing and the piles of corpses were high already. There were so many goblins there, and they were rather eager too, they couldn’t know that their leader was dead and Wenja saw that the warriors were running out of arrows soon. She felt a surge of despair and leaned forth, tried to see if anybody were hurt. Apparently they were all okay yet but it wouldn’t last for long and she bit her lower lip. She needed help soon, and she couldn’t get to them. The goblins had to go somehow, but what could she really do? She had saved Ahravan, and she had drawn all the animals to the caravan to keep it safe from the monsters but it hadn’t been something she had done as a conscious choice. It had been done out of sheer instinct. Her heart was hammering and sweat did flow down her body, the pain was getting stronger by the minute and something snapped within her. She did press her fingers into the sandy soil between the boulders and shrieked in defiance.

There was a roar coming from the opposite side of the battle ground, a loud sound which made the goblins squeal and then the sand almost turned to a liquid underneath their feet. They did sink inn, screaming and struggling and they did try desperately to pull themselves out but to no prevail. They did sink down into the ground until the sand started to close around their heads. It was a horrible sight, the goblins were screaming in horror and the sand did seep into their mouths and nostrils, slowly suffocating them. Wenja was panting, she was on her knees now, body shaking. She did raise her head and screamed for Ahravan, then the world went black before her eyes and she did pass out.

Ahravan and the others had been defending themselves for quite a while, the next attack had come right after Yalaih had left them and it was a vicious one too, the goblins were determined to kill them all. Ahravan was not going to go down easily, he was fighting like mad and Rhawan did watch his back, they were an excellent team and the other four did fight well too. The two humans did shoot with expert technique but the number of arrows did go down and they would run out soon. Fighting the goblins without archers would be hard and the little bastards were extremely fast and also very sly in their own ways.

Ahravan did just hope that Yalaih did manage to find Wenja, he didn’t fear for his own life but he did fear for her. They were about to shift their tactics to a more head on approach when they heard a distant shriek followed by a roar and then the goblins sank into the ground. They could just stand there and stare in disbelief as each and every one of the attackers did slide into the ground as if it was quicksand.

Ahravan blinked and didn’t really know what to think, then he heard Wenja screaming his name and everything went blank. He ran, the goblins weren’t dangerous anymore and he did run into the maze of boulders and smaller rocks with a trembling heart. He did find her rather fast, she was laying on the ground and he did wail when he did see blood on her skirts. He did pick her up and she was so pale and grey and yet burning hot. There was a wound on her leg, she had tied some cloth around it but it was bleeding still and did look large. Ahravan did carry her back to the others, Rhawan did let out a groan when he saw her and Ahravan felt weak, almost as if he was passing out. They had to stop the blood and help her.

Khirhien did kneel down where they laid her, he was the one among them with the most experience as a healer and he did remove the rag with a swift movement. The wound was worse than what Ahravan had imagined, it was a through and through, something had in fact pierced her calf and the wound ragged and nasty. “Oh gods, this is not good!”

Rhawan did swallow hard. “Yalaih?”

Ahravan did shake his head. “I didn’t see her, she wouldn’t have let Wenja try to reach us alone with a wound like that”

Rhawan did lower his head, he felt a crushing sense of sorrow. Yet another brave one was dead. Khirhien did groan and grasped his small bag of supplies. “It must have been a sort of spear, but I don’t think I have seen a spear wound with this angle before!!”

Ayhrandur did make a grimace. “A trap, goblins do make traps. Pits with spears in them, covered with a thin layer of straw and soil.”

They stared at each other, Yalaih had to have helped Wenja get free, it was…Ahravan did grasp Wenja’s hand, held it close to his heart. “Wenja? My light? Please, wake up!”

Khirhien did examine the wound with a sort of instrument. “The bleeding is hard to stop, there is just one way to do it. You need to start a fire”

Rhawan did gasp and then he did look horrified. “Are you gonna cauterize the wound?!”

Khirhien nodded. “The only choice I fear, the spear could have been dirty too, the heat will remove impurities”

Ahravan didn’t say anything, he just held her upper body close to his own, feeling helpless. What use was he if he couldn’t protect her? If he couldn’t save her? He may be an excellent warrior but he had failed her. Rhawan did find some dry grass and some branches from bushes and they got a small fire going. Khirhien did heat up a small steel rod and he did stare at Ahravan. “This will hurt, even if she is unconscious. You must hold her”

Ahravan felt like he was about to burst into tears. “I will, oh gods”

Khirhien didn’t hesitate, the second Ahravan did put his arms around her Khirhien did plunge the red hot poker into the wound and they heard a hissing sound and felt the stench of burned flesh and Wenja did scream, a horrible unarticulated howl of agony. Ahravan felt tears flowing down his cheeks. Rhawan was trembling and his golden eyes were wide open and filled with horror. “She cannot die, please say she won’t die”

Khirhien did growl something incomprehensible. “The wound in itself isn’t too bad, it will heal, the muscles and tendons aren’t cut that badly, but I fear that the spear have been contaminated, probably with purpose, she is burning with a fever already”

Ahravan felt faint. “Poison, they do poison their traps don’t they?”

Ayhrandur did nod, his face like a porcelain mask. The two men did look just as worried as the elves and Ahravan hid his face within the thick wine red hair and keened. They couldn’t lose her, not like this. Khirhien did sew up the wound but left a piece of straw to let it drain and he did put a bandage on it. His face was stern and his eyes distant. He did boil some water on the small fire and made a sort of poultice he did smear over the wound and it was made from dried herbs and fat. Then he made another concoction and it was a sort of tea, it would help her replace the blood she had lost. They managed to get some of it into her and Khirhien did look as if he was very sorry. “I wish I could have done more, but I am no healer, just a warrior with some skills”

Ahravan did stroke Wenja’s hair, he did sob and held her close and Rhawan too crept closer and grasped her hand, it was very obvious that both males were beside themselves with worry and fear and Ayhrandur sighed. “Let us make camp here, we will keep watch. The goblins are dead and I doubt that more will come, something tells me that attack was the last one.”

They did erect a tent around Wenja and her husbands and looked over the horses, then they made a simple meal but neither Ahravan nor Rhawan had any appetite. Wenja was still warm and the wound had stopped bleeding now but Ahravan felt guilty, horribly terribly so. He should have followed Yalaih, he could have prevented this.

They just laid there, next to her, mumbling words of comfort and love and both prayed that she would wake up again soon, that the wound wasn’t infected, that she would be okay. They just laid there for hours, the goblins seemed to be gone and Gochil did go hunting and brought back some coneys and made stew. There were edible roots there which he knew how to find and Khirhien had some herbs which could be used as a sort of spice too. Ahravan and Rhawan did eat a little, but with no appetite and as the night came and slowly swept over the land it became very obvious that the spear indeed had been poisoned. Wenja’s temperature did rise even more, ominous ghastly black streaks appeared on her skin leading away from the wound and her breath had become raspy and shallow. Khirhien saw it and he went pale, turning his gaze away from Ahravan. “I…there is nothing we can do, she….”

Ahravan did not manage to speak, his voice didn’t obey him, all he could do was make a sort of hoarse croak. Rhawan did whisper. “I cannot go on without her, neither of us can”

Khirhien swallowed and kept his gaze on the ground. “Then we will fail, and darkness envelop the lands. The monsters are just the beginning”

Ahravan did just wail and rocked her in his arms, overcome with grief and fear, he couldn’t lose her. He had just learned to love her and now this? The gods were cruel, heartless, sadistic. “Go, leave us alone, we…”

His voice did break and Khirhien did place a hand on Ahravan’s shoulder for a few seconds, to show his support. Rhawan was sobbing like a child and crept closer, they both embraced the woman they loved and prayed, hoping for a miracle but knowing that it probably wouldn’t be any chance of her surviving this. Goblins use very nasty poisons and even a trained healer wouldn’t have been able to do much. They were going to lose her.

Ahravan did collapse, he didn’t fall asleep but rather into a sort of trance, elves will do that if they face emotional trauma and he just laid there, apparently awake but not responsive. His mind was wandering and he remembered everything, every minute since he got the message within the sacred cave. Had the seer lied to him? Had she been wrong? Ahravan didn’t know and he felt torn apart, his duty was to his people but his spirit wanted to join hers in the afterlife, if she died he wouldn’t have anything left to live for. True love among his people could be that intense, that all consuming. Suddenly he found himself standing on a barren hilltop, just rocks and dead grass around him. The wind was howling and distant mountains did surround him in every direction. Ahravan did gasp, it was a vision, his people did take such things very seriously and he didn’t really know what to do. It was cold there but he didn’t really feel it, the wind was tearing at him but it felt as if it went straight through, without resistance.

Ahravan heard a wolf howl and turned around, a huge black she wolf was slowly trotting towards him, head low and tail raised, her eyes were deep golden and filled with wisdom. Ahravan did lower his gaze, he felt that he was in the presence of a deity of some sort and suddenly he heard a voice. Where the wolf had been a woman stood instead. She was tall and elegant, clad in furs and her face was calm and looked gentle. “Ahravan, my dear child, it isn’t too late.”

Ahravan swallowed. “We don’t know what to do, she is poisoned, we have no antidote, she is dying!”

The woman nodded. “Yes, but you can save her”

Ahravan gasped, staring at the strange eyes, they were still those of a wolf. “How, please, tell me how? I would give my own life to rescue her, please”

The tall female smiled, the smile of a loving mother. “Follow the she wolf, she will show you, be brave Ahravan, forget about old beliefs and ancient rules. Remember the prophecy”

Ahravan did sit up, so fast he almost lost his balance, eyes wild and heart beating like a drum. He was sweaty all over and he was trembling. Rhawan did wake up too, he blinked and looked very confused and Ahravan grasped him by the shoulder. “Quick, the goddess, she showed me…we can still save her”

Wenja was ghastly pale now and her breath barely there, the leg was swollen and dark and it did stink. Rhawan nodded, he did trust his Si’ish with his life. Ahravan did lift Wenja gently, they exited the tent and saw that the unicorn was standing right in front of it, pawing at the ground. Flint nickered too and Khirhien and Ayhrandur did stare at them with confusion. “My Ath’ir?”

Ahravan swallowed hard. “We have to go, the goddess has shown herself to me, we can still save Wenja, do not follow. We will be back, I swear”

He did turn to Kor’ath. “Will you accept also her?”

The unicorn did nod and Rhawan did hold Wenja as Ahravan did mount the tall animal, then he did lift her up against his body and Rhawan did climb onto Flint with some problems. There was a howl and they saw a black wolf among the rocks, apparently waiting for them. Ahravan leaned forth. “Follow her, follow the goddess wolf, she will lead us right”

The unicorn did whinny and started to run and Flint was right behind it, also running as fast as its mighty legs could carry it.

Resh’kha and Floth’bha was giving all that they had, the heartstone did tug at the monsters with an unbreakable allure and they did follow it without hesitation, even if they by now were being called back by their master’s voice. The power which had created them had realized that this was a trap, that the monsters would do no harm as long as they did follow the heartstone but its pull was too great for the beasts to break. The two riders had already managed to put some more distance between them and the beasts chasing them and it was neded. More had joined the huge herd by now and some were indeed monsters. Resh’kha had seen creatures with the horns of a buffalo and the jaws of a shark, beady red eyes and huge arms with clawed hands. But hopefully the dwarves and the two men were safe and Resh’kha didn’t dare to think about what these abominations would have done to people if they had been allowed to roam free. The city was easy to protect now but still people did need to get outside to tend to their herds.

The buffalo was still very strong and the horse Floth’bha had chosen was a strong one, yet the animals were slowing down, they hadn’t eaten much for days and water too was hard to find there. Resh’kha was hoping that they would be able to reach the mountains before the animals did lose all strength but she realized that both Steelhoof and the horse would collapse long before that. She knew that both she and Floth’bha would be easy prey without their steeds and she kept praying for something to happen which could solve the dilemma. There weren’t any wild horses in the area, neither were there buffalo or other large animals. Everything had been chased away by the monsters or instinct had told the herds to seek the outer mountains. The only beasts left were small ones which could hide in burrows in the ground, prairie dogs and rabbits and marmots, and of course mice and rats.

Floth’bha’s horse started to limp, it had stepped on a sharp rock and broken off a piece of its hoof. It did slow them down and Resh’kha did try to raise the shield but it didn’t work this time. The monsters did see them from afar and did pick up their pace, Resh’kha knew that even if Steelhoof was strong it wouldn’t be able to keep its speed carrying two riders. She was heading towards a tall rock, in hope of finding something which could protect them or a place to defend when she heard an odd sound. Over them they saw a huge black eagle, it was soaring over the plains heading for the valleys behind the first mountains and it was both larger and darker than normal. Resh’kha had never seen an eagle like that, it didn’t look natural. Was this another monstrosity? The she remembered something her mother had told her when she was a child, the sister of the moon was the ruler of all beasts and the one shamans would bow to. Her rule would be shown through her servants, beasts of unusal size, usually black.

Resh’kha whispered. “Oh great mother save us!”

Floth’bha had seen the eagle too and her eyes were huge, she too knew about the goddess and most of the races of the plains did worship her in one form or the other. Resh’kha did gasp. “Look, what is that?”

There was something moving ahead of them, heading in their direction, something large. It was two and the figures were very dark and huge and Resh’kha let out a wail of disbelief. As the two creatures got closer it became very clear that these were wolves, but not ordinary ones. These were massive, the size of large horses and both were black. Floth’bha just stared. “I cannot believe it, they were extinct ages ago?”

Resh’kha had her jaw almost touching her chest. “Apparently not!”

The two humongous canines did run next to their steeds now and Resh’kha did hesitate. “Are we to ride them?”

Floth’bha nodded. “I cannot see what else they are here for?”

Resh’kha remembered the stories told about the R’ubray, of times when her people had ridden these giant wolves and bonded spiritually with them. She gathered her courage, the race had been gone for so long they were a mere legend by now and yet, here two of them were. The strength of the orcs had been diminishing since their companions disappeared, they were being lessened by the loss. She did lean over and grasped the long coarse fur, hauled herself over to the back of the wolf. Floth’bha did the same and the wolves did pick up speed the moment they were on. The horse and the buffalo did break off to the side and ran in a different direction, away from their pursuers. It was very unlikely that the monsters would chase them.

Resh’kha did swallow, the power she felt from this beast was immense. She felt humble and confused and very grateful too. “Why is the goddess helping us thus?”

Floth’bha did grin. “She doesn’t like anything which isn’t natural, and the monsters are not of this world, remember that.”

Resh’kha did hold on to the scruff of the wolf’s neck, it was odd sitting on one but it wasn’t truly difficult. The speed was amazing, and they did head in the right direction too. Resh’kha had gotten her hope back, she did grin and enjoyed the wild ride. The night could come, she wasn’t afraid of the darkness whilst riding one of the goddess own creatures. Floth’bha did grin too. “What shall we name them?”

Resh’kha did shrug. “I don’t know?”

Floth’bha tilted her head. “I have an idea, what about Bloodjaw for your and Redfang for mine?”

Resh’kha nodded. “I know them names, the wolves of the heroes of old”

Floth’bha smirked. “Yes, fitting names wouldn’t you say?”

Resh’kha did see that the monsters did follow them still, and the heart stone did feel warm now, as if it was alive. They would be able to reach the valley fast, somehow they felt that this was very important.

The monsters weren’t made to be smart, nor to think much on their own. They were tools, no more than that and when the magicians had tried to reopen the gate and disturbed the magic which had kept it closed their master had managed to break it wide open again. Now the ancient power was trying to gather strength and conquer the lands but first it had to destroy all resistance and the monsters were perfect for the task. It didn’t matter if they were slaughtered by the thousands, there were always more to send forth and they did their job with glee. The sheer power of the heartstone had made him forget about tactics for a while, it had been enough to make him turn his attention away from the really important tasks and now the master of the monsters were in despair. The horde was no longer obeying his orders, they were caught by the darn stone and would follow it and he did guess that it was being used as a bait. He did remember what had broken free the last time the gate had been open, what they hadn’t been able to restrain and break for their purpose and it wasn’t something he wanted to meet again. No, he had to start with the ones he had corrupted, his progress would be slow, but he had patience. He had waited for thousands of years, some years more were nothing.

But he had sensed something, something which caused him true concern. A sort of presence which only meant one thing, a deity had awakened and gotten involved. Each realm of reality has its own gods and goddesses and some were powerful and some were not, but they didn’t like that strangers did interfere with the order of things.

The power which had escaped from the gate was perhaps a deity, perhaps just a malevolent spirit but it was strong and here in this world its power was limited and yet great. It could affect others, plant images and ideas in their minds and lead them, use them for its purpose. It had already gotten hold of many of the natives of the high mountains and turned them into mindless beasts, ready to slay their own kin for the sake of his power. He had also ruled the goblins but now his hold of them seemed to have slipped for some reason and he didn’t like it at all. He had no idea of why it had happened, his bond with the leader had been broken all of a sudden. Had the half orc really managed to shake himself free? No, the creature wasn’t strong enough, not intelligent enough. It had to be dead and was it simply a case of murder due to jealousy or had the deities been involved?

The voice had no idea, and it bugged him, and the presence was getting stronger by the day. He had to prepare for an attack, for a siege. He did let go of the monsters, they were lost anyway and not worth the trouble. No, he had to get ready, he wanted this world, to possess it and slake his thirst for death with countless lives. The peoples of this realm had managed to beat him and his brethren once but not again, there was no power there that strong now, the gate would remain open and he would bring them all and this realm would burn. The elves of which the goblins had spoken were few, even if they did escape his monsters and the goblins they couldn’t possibly be much of a threat. He would remember them, but other things were more important now.

Resh’kha was staring at something which was impossible, something which simply couldn’t be. The valley ahead of them didn’t look real, it was as if some tremendous force had scooped up a part of some other realm and dumped it right there, without caring about what it did look like at all. The valley did start as a rather narrow almost gorge like pit between tall cliffs but then it did widen out and Resh’kha couldn’t see its end, it was almost as if they were at the top of a pyramide, looking down at its widening shape. But that wasn’t the odd thing, the mountains and the plains were rather barren, dry and wind blown, not a place for much vegetation. But the valley was covered with forest, a green thick blanket which for a moment did remind Resh’kha of the layers of thick moss covering rocks in dark wet places. It didn’t look natural at all, the valley ought to be as naked as the rest of this mountain range and she did shudder. It did send cold shivers down her spine, she was not convinced that this forest wouldn’t be dangerous to her and Floth’bha as well as the monsters.

Floth’bha did look pale and Resh’kha was rather sure that she too was paper white, they heard sounds from the forest, it did sound a bit like the noise of teeth against bones, a slow gnawing and the wolves did whimper and refused to move further. Resh’kha just knew it, her courage was to be tested now and she got down from Bloodjaw and took a deep breath. A narrow path did lead down to the green hell in front of them and she felt her heart trembling. She was an orc, not an elf. She had no experience with the woods, her realm was the nakes hills and mountains where the winds did howl and only thin grasses did grow. And yet she had to go, Floth’bha did wet her lips. “Sister….”

Resh’kha did nod. “I know, go with the wolves, this…this is my test”

She did take Floth’bha’s hand for a swift second, smiled swiftly and then she was on her way down the narrow path. Floth’bha did reach out as if to stop her, then she sighed and turned around, the wolves did walk towards a cave not far from the path and she did follow. This wasn’t her task, she knew that her turn would come but not now. If she was to see Resh’kha again alive was a huge question but she wouldn’t intervene with the fate of somebody else. It wasn’t the way of the orcs, each person owned their destiny.

Resh’kha was almost panting, the air down there was dense and thick and the scents sent every hair on her body standing up. There was a presence there, ancient and angry and alien, she had never felt anything like that before and it was terrifying. There were eyes everywhere, watching her hungrily and she whispered a prayer as she walked on. The shadows were deep and the trees, by every deity, they were grotesque and odd and the shapes were not like any tree she had seen before. The trunks thick and twisted with thick bark and the roots many and snake like and she could have sworn that she did see them move. The canopy wasn’t red from the ground, more red and blue in colour and there weren’t any dead leaves on the ground. What was what freaked her out the most, all trees fell their leaves but here there was just soil, thick dark rich soil which was soft to tread upon, as if some farmer had been there turning it with a plow yesterday.

Resh’kha did sneeze, the scent of the forest was musky, not at all that of trees and land but more that of a predator and she knew that this forest was horribly dangerous, wether it was the trees themselves or the thing that they did hide. The land did tilt downwards, not steeply but here and there small trickles of water did show that the land was not flat. Resh’kha had no idea of where to go, she had to follow her gut and she just kept walking. The monster would soon reach the pass and the path to the valley and she did doubt that this would stop them at all. The heartstone was even warmer now and it was heavy, so heavy she had to adjust the leather rope holding the bag rather often so it wouldn’t dig into her flesh.

Resh’kha had never been so afraid in her life, but she kept pushing on. Branches seemed to be reaching for her, slimey and dark and she heard voices in the shadows, hissing and hatefull, angry at everything which was alive and free. The terrain did flatten out and now it became boggy and wet, dead grass did stick up between the puddles of dark oily water and she knew that this was a very dangerous bog. Here you would sink and drown if you didn’t know how to move. Resh’kha did whimper, the idea of sinking into this stinking mud was horrible, it made her legs feel like lead and her skin was slick with sweat. And yet she did walk on, going from one tuft of grey dead grass to the other, ignoring the dark puddles which were like staring dead eyes, watching her constantly. Hoping for her to slip and fall to a slow death.

Her boots were slick, and her body heavy without the almost weightless grace of an elf, and yet she did manage to get across to dry land. It was a sort of island made from solid rock, dark glasslike obsidian and as she did set foot on it the mist did dissipate and revealed a ring of standing stone, seven in all and very ominous looking. Resh’kha felt the magic within it, it made her skin tingle and she was shivering with fear. Here was something so powerful her mind didn’t even have the ability to understand it.

She fell to her knees, not really able to think, the air was electric and the feeling of being watched intense. Resh’kha had felt ashamed when the shamans decided to send her away due to her attempt at winning the male she desired through magic, now she knew that they wouldn’t have done that if she hadn’t in fact had some abilities. They had seen her soul and her shame and knew that she needed to humble herself, or else she would end up badly. They had been wise, she was to learn and she trembled and forced herself to stare at the circle. Behind her she did hear the sound of monsters breaking their way through the forest, the ground did shiver with the weight of them and their roars got closer and closer, more and more excited. She grasped the bag with the heartstone, breathing so fast it felt as if her ribcage was about to explode. The monsters were out to get her, she felt it. She would be torn to shreds if they reached her and yet she didn’t move, she just sat there, staring at the circle. Soon they would reach the swamp…

The voice was soft and a bit raspy, it held malice but not aimed at her. “Do not turn around child of the mountains, do not see”

Resh’kha did whimper, the presence was overwhelming, she felt it so strongly. It was female, and it was older than this world, it was waiting. The monsters reached the swamp, she heard the splashing and the slick sounds of mud, grunts as they forced their way forth, mad with bloodlust and the need to get the heartstone. She stared at the stones, her bones shaking and her cheeks wet with tears, all her instincts told her to turn around so she could see and protect herself but she obeyed the voice. She knew that if she did watch she would never return to Floth’bha, her mind would shatter like a badly made ceramic pot. The monsters were in the swamp, she almost expected to feel their warm breath against her skin and then suddenly, everything changed. The eager roars and shrieks were turned into screams of pain and fear and Resh’kha did feel a horrible warmth against her back, strong enough to singe her hair. She wore thick leather, her skin would be okay but the heat was unbearable. And more so, she heard the trees, heard them move, heard the creaking sounds as roots moved and tore into the horde of beasts, as they ripped them apart and threw the parts away. She heard as branches crushed beasts, as monsters were smothered and battered by solid wood. She heard their dying gasps and the horrible sounds of flesh being ripped apart, bones broken and bodies turned into tiny pieces.

Resh’kha did pray, her voice a mere whisper, a plea for her soul to survive this. She was a mere insect compared with the power she sensed there and could be crushed just as easily. The sounds lasted for what felt like an eternity, she squeezed her hands together so hard her fingernails did bite into her palms and she felt the saltiness of her own tears on her tongue. The fight to remain there was intense, her body screaming for her to flee and yet she couldn’t. It would be certain death. It did end, not slowly and gradually but from one second to the next, as if the sounds were just switched off, like when a musician drops his instrument. Resh’kha did take a deep breath, what now? What would happen to her after this?

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