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something akin to a faint echo. He could not seize the true fabric of this
call, but he was certain something of great importance waited for his
discovery. He wondered if it would hold the answer to his questions or
onlycreate more mysteries, but whatever the case, he wished to find it. Such
was the strength of his pursuit that he nearly forgot about his companion.
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The elf kept pace, although it proved to be a struggle. As accustomed as
Lief was to this form of travel, he was not prepared for the great speed of a
delver. He called upon his own natural skills to keep up. He considered
calling out to Ryson to slow his travel, but changed his mind as he saw the
outline ofSanctumMountain .
It was just as he thought, even as he feared. Following the path of the
tremor continued to lead them to his personal objective, the sight of
entombment for the Sphere of Ingar. Even as he mulled the seriousness of this
sign in his mind, he still could not guess what the final outcome might be.
Again, he cursed the lore and the prophecies. Not a word about this existed,
not a prophecy, not even a warning.Nothing.
The elf gritted his teeth as he smelled the late afternoon air. It was
heavy with magic, power that should not exist. Such energy was captured long
ago, captured by the sphere, which was in turn buried deep within Sanctum.
Yet, the magic was strongly prevalent here. More proof that the sphere's
centuries long entombment had ended. Powerful thoughts as well as fears filled
the elf with despair and confusion. Lief became so consumed, he almost passed
by the delver.
Ryson had come to a complete halt within a broad leafed maple. He stood
rigid upon a heavy bough. He looked off to the north. His nose sniffed the air
as he remained motionless. Only the elf's continued movement caused him to
react. As Lief stepped forward to Ryson's side, the delver put out an arm and
grabbed the elf's shoulder. He made it very clear that he wanted silence.
The elf complied completely. He crouched slightly but then remained
perfectly still. He peered in the same northern direction. His sharp eyes
caught glimpses of movement within a shout's distance away, but branches,
leaves and pine needles blocked clear sight of the ground based commotion.
Ryson moved his head near the elf's ear.
"What do you see?" he whispered.
Lief stared for a moment more.He answered in a whispered but sturdy
voice. "My vision is blocked, but I make out the movement of a least three.
There may be more out of sight. I have caught the glint of steel in the
sunlight, normally a sign of weapons or armor, but I can not say what they
carry. I also can not determine who they are. It is hard to say for sure, but
they appear short in size. They might be nothing more than human children,
though I can not explain the existence of steel if they were. Perhaps, they
are soldiers that are crouching."
Ryson shook his head. "I don't think so. What do you hear?"
The elf brushed the hair away from the side of his head, again revealing
one pointed ear. He listened for a moment and grimaced before explaining. "It
is strange, a grumbling of strangely pitched voices. It reverberates with a
strange echo, as if they were talking in a cave. I can not make out any
words."
Ryson did not respond. He sniffed the air again, and then put a hand to
his chin. He crouched deep in thought as he considered their findings.
The elf turned his gaze upon the delver. "You are confused. What's
wrong?"
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"The smell," Ryson acknowledged. "It's strange to me."
"It was the smell that made you uncover the undead, was it not?"
"Yes, but this is different. This isn't decay. This is something totally
new."
The elf took a moment to cast a glance at the outline of Sanctum. "If I
am right about the sphere," he whispered, "and now I believe I am certain,
there is magic in the air. That may be what affects your smell."
"The scent is coming from that group," Ryson insisted. "They're the
source."
"More evil," Lief mumbled as he turned his attention back to the
unidentified strangers. "I see another. I'm sure there are now at least four.
They wear thick breast plates. I believe they are warriors of some type."
"Perhaps, but they're not human," Ryson said with great certainty.
"They may be dwarves," Lief interjected. "That would explain their
apparent size. It would explain the chest plates, although they only wear
armor in times of battle. I wish I could see their faces."
Ryson blinked at the thought."Dwarves?"
The elf quickly reminded Ryson of the situation he faced. "Remember your
legends, delver. You see before you an elf, and you have faced the undead.
Take my word for what it is. Dwarves still live in this world."
"I guess it's possible."
"But still confusing," Lief added. "Dwarves do not make a practice of
mulling about in the woods, even close to a mountain. They live in the comfort
and security of tunnel caves. Daylight is not kind to their eyes. I can not
understand why they might be here."
The elf paused a second before offering his own theory. "Perhaps they are
also aware of the freed magic. They might be here to inspect the tomb. It
would explain much."
Ryson made it clear he wanted more than just a plausible theory before
they disregarded this encounter. "How can we be sure?"
Lief responded with quick certainty."We need to get a better look at
them. Dwarves are unmistakable in feature. All are stout and powerful. They
are shorter than the average human. Their faces are much like yours or mine
except stern, as if chiseled. The men wear long beards, and most let their
hair grow full and long. They wield axe, mace, and broadsword."
"Excellent," Ryson exclaimed. "Let me go and have a look at them. I'll
come back and tell you if your description fits."
Lief's voice grew stern and demanding. "You do not intend to go alone? I
shall accompany you!"
The delver shook his head. "No. I'll move easier if I only have to worry
about myself."
"But that is not all you have to worry about," Lief responded adamantly.
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"You face many things you know little of. I can not let you blunder mindlessly
into such a thing."
"I have no intention of blundering into anything. I fully intend on being
as careful as possible."
"You will take greater care if I am with you."
"I don't think so," Ryson whispered. "This is what I do. You've seen me
move, do you really question my abilities? I can investigate without being
seen or heard, but to do it well, I have to move alone."
Lief considered what he had already learned watching the delver upon this
day. He could not deny the skills which were inherently the delver's. He
accepted the situation, although reluctantly. "Very well, but take heed.
Dwarves are known to be dangerous. They are strong and deadly with their
weapons. If you arouse them, they might attack. If you are spotted, I suggest
you flee. It is your best chance. I can tell you truly, no dwarf could match
you in speed and agility."
"I'll remember that. I'll be back in a moment. This shouldn't take very
long."
Ryson looked about quickly before leaping to a higher branch. He
continued climbing, barley making a sound or even disturbing a single leaf. As
soon he was several lengths above his previous position, he moved toward the
unidentified persons. High in the trees, the delver used the cover of the
branches and leaves to his every advantage. He became less a shadow and more a
part of the trees themselves. He made his way to a better vantage point before [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]