The Forgotten One – Section Two, Part Two

by Jul 14, 2003Stories

Mordraug ordered his guards away and walked over the single tapestry that covered the black stones of the back wall in his Chamber. He swept it aside to reveal a spelled black door. Mordraug spoke a word of command to release the spell and entered the concealed room, shutting the door noiselessly and allowing the tapestry to fall back to its place.

It took Mordraug’s eyes a moment or two to adjust to lack of real light in the room, only two torches were lit. They were massive stone and bone structures shaped to look like the hand of a dragon, the flame in the grasp of the curled claws. In between these was a vile mockery of a sacred alter. It was made of a dull, red streaked black substance that pulsed with an unholy light. The substance’s dark surface did not fully hide the dark stains, some which were lighter than others, left from the many sacrifices that had been made on its cursed surface. The only other thing in the relatively barren room was a massive black dragon.

Anaclagon the Black was truly a fearsome sight. His eyes were a smoky crimson red, his fangs the size of Mordraug’s arm and sharp. Horns taller than Mordraug crowned the beast’s head, curving outward into vicious points. Jagged black scales harder than any substance known to neither elf nor man covered the dragon’s powerful body. The long tail tapered to a point on which rested an enormous barbed spike made of the same material as the dragon’s scales. Powerful black wings, tipped with barbed claws, were pressed up against the dragon’s body; there was no room to spread them in the confines of the hidden sacrifice room. Anaclagon’s scarred claws gouged the earth as he hissed in Mordraug’s mind.

“What do you want, Dark Wolf?” Dragons never spoke aloud, rather, they communicated mentally, projecting there thoughts into the minds of those with which they wanted to speak.

“Anaclagon, I have captured the girl Kalavai, and my servant Haldir has confirmed that she is the One.” Mordraug licked his dry lips, running his tongue over his fangs; Anaclagon always made him nervous, though he would never admit it.

“Do not be nervous, Little One. I have no intention of eating you,” the dragon grinned wickedly, revealing rows upon rows of razor sharp teeth. “At least, not yet.”

“Very funny, Anaclagon. You know very well that I can send you back to the Under-Realm if I wish.” The dragon’s scornful look angered Mordraug, and his anger gave him courage. “As I said, I have obtained the One, but you will have to wait. I need a new- what shall I call her- trinket.”

The dragons surprise was evident on his scaled face. “What?”

Mordraug gained confidence with this reply. “I’ll only need her for a day or two, maybe three. And I hope it doesn’t matter if she’s a little- damaged for the sacrifice.”

“Humans, they always need there toys,” Anaclagon rumbled. “As long as she’s alive, it does not matter. But you have to kill her with the shard of my tooth.”

Mordraug raised an eyebrow. Usually, Anaclagon killed the sacrifices himself, and if Mordraug did it, Anaclagon had not previously cared with what he had killed them. But Anaclagon had given him a shard from one of his teeth, saying that he would need it later. Mordraug had stored it away in a hidden cabinet in the side of his throne. “Do I have to kill her outright?” Mordraug asked, a plan formulating in his mind. He wondered how using a dragon tooth in a new method of torture he had thought up two nights ago would work. Maybe he could try it out on Kalavai . . .

“Yes, you do.” Anaclagon hissed. He was in no mood for Mordraug’s new torture planes.

“Oh. Oh well then, I guess I’ll have to find another test subject . . .” Mordraug sighed. It had been such a good idea, too . . . “Now, on to business. I’ll perform the sacrifice on . . .”

* * *

Kalavai felt as if her whole entire body was on fire, every cell, every molecule, every tiny particle in her body felt as if someone had just dropped her in a pool of molten lava. She could not remember such pain; the worst of Lady Siddan’s whippings seemed nothing compared to the pain she felt now. And that pain had only been on her back. There was not one part of her that did not hurt now.

Kalavai lay, limp, on the cold stone floor of her barren cell. She dared not move; it hurt too much for her to even blink. Her eyes watered, and tears streamed down her face, the light paths they made across her check felt more like it was a renegade horse that ran down her check rather then tears. She cried for herself, for the fact that she had been helpless, and for what her tormentors had done to her. They had not seen it fit to just use the flogging whip and their fists- a mental wall rose in her traumatized mind, forbidding her to remember what they had done. She didn’t think she could handle reliving those horrible moments until unconsciousness had come to her like one of the Valar from the elenath. And she cried for Dayarvon, who had been so nice to her, and was a murderer. Part of her still would not accept that fact, but it fit- why he had lived so far away and was a loner, why her had always seemed so sad . . . But then why had he been so nice? But- she thought- what if he set me up? What if he had this planned?!

Horrified, she tried to push the awful thought out of her head, put it would not go away. Kalavai cried harder with despair, ignoring the pain that increased with each racking sob. And even if he had not set her capture up, she knew that he wouldn’t come to save her. Neither would Legolas or Ianithiel, either. After all, why should they? She was just a worthless, half-elven wench, why would anyone want to save her . . .

Drained and deep within the clinging grasp of despair, Kalavai curled into a heartbroken ball and sought relief in shelter of the black wings of sleep. But though she slept, her torment continued on in her dreams in the forms of Dayarvon’s sad, shadowed face and the leering form of Haldir.

* * *

Lakaríön flew, powerful wings beating the air with each broad stroke, pulled on by a force he felt rather then saw. She needed him, that was all Lakaríön knew. Her need, her despair formed a cord, a bond from her to him and it was this bonding Lakaríön was following. He had been in the air for a day now, and although he was pretty sure that he could fly two days strait, Lakaríön did not want to risk it. Yes, her despair pulled at him, begged him to come and to hurry, but good sense prevailed. Lakaríön spotted with the keen sight granted to him through his azure eyes, a lush island in the distance, not far off his present course. Doing his best to ignore her need, he swerved a point or two east and headed to the promising island in the distance.

He landed in a large forest glade two minutes later, feet cushioned by the lush grass that carpeted the rich ground. The trees were tall, a good wingspan taller than him even, and the calming sounds of waves breaking gently on the shore calmed him. The mountains he had seen in nearby during his landing would be strewn with caves and crevices; he could hunt in the forest and then retire to the mountains to rest. Lakaríön felt a longing well up in him; if he had ever wanted a place to live in and call home, this would be it. Lakaríön closed his eyes, savoring the feel of the breeze in his wings and the smells in the air. In fact, he relaxed so much that he did not realize that he had been surrounded until a voice interrupted his drifting thoughts.

“And who are you, Bright One?”

Lakaríön opened his eyes with a start, surprised, but the owned of the voice that had spoken in his mind surprised him even more. Standing in front of him was a small golden dragon. A beautiful, small female dragon. “I am Lakaríön,” he responded, to startled to do anything else. “I did not know that there were any other dragons left.”

She stiffened. “I am not a dragon. Do not call me one.”

“But how can you not be a dragon?” Lakaríön asked, confused. “You look just like a dragon, and you use the mind-tongue as well as one. How can you not be a dragon?”

“I am not a dragon. I am not even worthy of the name dragon. I am not even close to worthy.” Her green eyes closed with some remembered pain.

“Please, at least tell me what you are and your name.” Lakaríön begged. He wanted to help this proud, not-dragon creature.

“Very well.” She opened her eyes again, and her emerald gaze caught Lakaríön. “I am Yamyrri.”

“But how are you not a dragon when you look so much like one but for your size?” Lakaríön questioned.

“I was . . . created by a wandering rouge sorcerer. He wanted a pet dragon to protect him, to try out all of his new spells on, to use the scales, talons and teeth in his potions. But he did not find a dragon, so he made me.” She turned away from Lakaríön, her mind voice soft. “Every day, he told me what a worthless beast I was. I never did anything right; the talon clips he took didn’t work the way he wanted, the scales the wrong color or too bent or too shiny, and I was of no use. At first I listened to him, and believed him, but then he went too far. So I killed him, and ran away. And if that was wrong, then I do not care, for what’s done is done and I do not regret it at all.”

Lakaríön contemplated this. The Akrine had a strict set of morals and an extreme sense of justice, and it seemed that Yamyrri was no different. So, not to insult the proud creature blazing in the sunlight before him, Lakaríön thought about all she had done and why. Then he asked, “Why are you at this remote island?”

“I came here so that if I was truly a worthless, evil murderer I would never harm anyone else. The only other creatures on this island are the birds and beasts,” Yamyrri replied solemnly.

“Then would you mind terribly if I preformed a Reading?” Lakaríön asked. Dragons, like some elves, had the ability to read a person’s soul if they wished. Dragons never preformed a Reading without a warning, for they considered immeasurably rude.

“What is a Reading?” Yamyrri asked, not veiling the curiosity in her crystalline voice.

“It is a Reading of the mind and soul. Nothing can be hidden in a Reading. It will help me know if what you did was wrong or right.” Lakaríön turned away, then turned back to face Yamyrri again. “But if you would rather I not-“

“If it will allow me to know if what I did was right or wrong, then I will agree. I have been in turmoil since then.”

“Then I will proceed.” Lakaríön settled into the trance position and entered Yamyrri’s soul. When he had, he almost wished he hadn’t. What the mage had done to her was horrible. Lakaríön needed only one look to find the answer he was looking for. “You did the right thing,” he announced. “In fact, if you hadn’t killed him I probably would have. No one creature has the right to do that to another.”

Yamyrri exhaled, and Lakaríön realized that she had been holding her breath. “Thank you,” she said simply. “That is a great weight off my spirit.” She paused, and then asked shyly, “Were you looking for a place to spend the night? There is enough room in my cavern for you . . .”

“Thank you!” Lakaríön said. “But I must leave on the morrow.”

“Follow me,” Yamyrri said. She turned and spread her wings, then flew off to the mountain range, Lakaríön right behind her.

* * *

Dayarvon could not sleep. He knew he should, but he just couldn’t. He sat, perching like some kind of bird of prey, on the broad limb of a tree near Orod Gwathorod, the Shadow Mountain. He was waiting until midnight, when he had decided to try and infiltrate Mordraug’s fortress in Orod Gwathorod. He had already eaten, and knew he should sleep so that he would be rested when he attacked, but he couldn’t. Even when he didn’t close his eyes an image of Kalavai’s frightened face came in his mind, haunting him.

Staring at the looming mass of the Shadow Mountain, Dayarvon went over his plans in his head. He would enter Orod Gwathorod from a shadowed cave near the base of the mountain; he had seen a few Dark Elves furtively enter it earlier. He would use his sword to slay the few `concealed’ guards and then hopefully find a vantage point from which he could observe his opponents without them seeing him. Dayarvon had not brought his bow with him, although it was his weapon of expertise, there would be little use for it inside the ominous mountain. He had, however, brought two extra daggers in addition to his usual one. Somehow, he would find Kalavai, and get her out of there. But before that, he had a score to settle with Haldir and this Mordraug/Dark Wolf elf.

Why am I even trying this? After this, I’ll have to tell her about my past, and she’ll hate me, Dayarvon thought, but he already knew the answer. I’m doing this because I love her and I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t at least try. He looked up at the stars and gave a short prayer to the elenath; it was time. Wordlessly, he put on his armor, check to make sure his daggers were still resting secure in their concealed positions, and slung his sword in its sheath across his back. Quite and as a pale wraith of the night, he jumped down off the limb and started off towards Orod Gwathorod and Kalavai.

* * *

Arwen Evenstar lay in her soft bed in Rivendell, deep in peaceful dreams full of softly murmuring water and gently flouting leaves. She was walking through her home, her beloved Mirkwood, but something was odd. The trees had grown everywhere; the beautifully crafted homes of her people were overrun with cruel thorny vines of hate and wild bushes overflowing with evil purpose. Then the vision changed, became more shadowy and the forest of trees thicker and the run-down homes of her people disappeared. Dimly her dream-self recognized it as the untamed wilderness of northern Mirkwood. Gradually, as if covering distance although she did not move, the scene changed again. She was now at the foot of a vast, forbidding looking mountain. The sight of its dark and shadowed peaks filled with a fear she could not explain; she had been to Mirkwood before, but she had never seen a mountain this- this hostile, this intimidating.

Again the dream vision changed, and Arwen saw a thin, frightened face in a dark cell. Briefly her dream self wondered if this girl- no, young elf, she could see her pointed ears, was in the prisons of Mirkwood. But no, that did not make any sense; this cell was cold, inhospitable and the condition the girl was in was worse. No elf of Mirkwood, no elf for that matter, would treat another in this way. Although she had never seen this elf before, her suffering drew Arwen. A deep desire to help this pitiful girl of her race welled up in her chest. If only she knew where the girl was-
Again the dream vision showed her the Shadow Mountain, and Arwen concluded that the girl was kept there. But as the vision did not waver nor change, Arwen began to think that she was missing something important, very important- A small figure nearing the Shadow Mountain’s base abruptly caught her attention. It was another elf, loping resolutely to an almost invisible crevice in Orod Gwathorod’s shadowed surface. And it was one Arwen knew well.

Arwen had never felt any hatred towards Dayarvon, despite the fact that he had killed her brother, Elrohir. She had never been close to either of her brothers, preferring to spend her time in Lothlorien rather then Rivendell. And Elrohir had always seemed- well, cocky and aloof, even for an elf of his heritage. He had always seemed rather corrupted, and although Arwen had been appropriately sad at his death, she had not mourned nearly as much as her father, Elrond. He had, in an extreme rage, banished Dayarvon and termed him Dayarvon Narvglor, or Dayarvon the Exile. She had not known Dayarvon well, but Arwen was one of the few elves with the ability to read another’s heart, mind and soul. She had secretly done so to Dayarvon, and found that he was clean; his heart was not that of a murderer, and his spirit, while longing revenge against the murderers of his mother, was not filled with eternal hate.

But why, she wondered, was he approaching Orod Gwathorod? Then she saw the look upon his face, and felt the tortured longing in his soul. He was here to rescue the elf she had seen, he loved her. Again the image of the girl elf came into her mind, but this time it was worse. She saw her being tortured, whipped, beaten until even the intense pain of a deep, jagged line being drawn slowly across her forehead and down below her right eye with a dagger brought no movement from the girl. Then she saw the young elf being brought, limp, to lie on a red streaked black stone that radiated dark power and death. Out of no where a figure loomed up over the girl’s skeletal body, clasping a strange, dark shard of something in its bony yet powerful hands. Arwen felt fear rise in her breast as behind the figure rose a thin wisp that resolved itself into a shadow of a dragon- Anaclagon the Black. Just as the figure was about to plunge the long jagged length into the girl’s chest, Arwen realized what the figure meant to do, and the figure looked up and its blood red eyes seemed to stare through the mists of dreams and distance to pierce Arwen. And at that moment, Arwen’s dream self was cast violently out of the realm of sleep. Shocked, Arwen woke up and sat bolt upright on her bed, got up and clasped a light elvish robe around her. She had to get to Orod Gwathorod immediately. For Arwen knew in her heart that what she had seen was a vision of the future, and unless something happened, all of Middle Earth would be doomed.

* * *

The prince of Mirkwood paced nervously back and forth in a clearing a short half hour away from the border of his home kingdom. It had taken much persuading from Ianithiel, but eventually he had been convinced to stay and wait with the patrol as a small group of scout elves went to check out the situation in the elven kingdom. But Legolas was extremely short on patience, and the visions of bloody chaotic slaughter being wrecked on his home that kept invading his mind did not help his state of mind at all. His mother, his father, elves that he had known for all of his life and cared for . . . they were in danger, they could be fighting for their life right now and he was stuck here, unable to do a Valar-cursed thing!

Ianithiel eyed Legolas worriedly. She had hated making him stay behind, since it was obvious that the elven prince was in a tortured state of mind, but . . . if his parents had been slain, then he was the only heir to the Mirkwood throne. In an unconsciously human gesture she had picked up from when Aragorn had visited Mirkwood with a company of Gondorian knights, Ianithiel bit at her thumbnail. Then, making up her mind, she walked hesitantly up to Legolas and laid a hand on his shoulder. “Legolas, calm down. Their fine, I’m sure of it, and the scouts will be back any minute-” she began.
“For all you know they could be slain, the scouts could have been killed, the fortress of Mirkwood collapsed, the horses killed and the stables and buildings burned down! You know nothing! Do not tell me to calm down, how can I be calm when my family is in danger and I cannot do a star-cursed, Valar-ridden thing?!” He stalked away, back rigged with tension and anger.

Hurt and offended, Ianithiel drew back her hand and held it to her as if it had been scorched. “Well! I beg your pardon, sire; I never would have guessed that this situation would have bothered you!! Forgive me if I was wrong in trying to help you, I’ll never do it again! Good bye, I’m off to go somewhere where my efforts will be appreciated!!!” Furious, Ianithiel turned on her heel and strode away without a word.

Realizing how bad his sharp words had hurt her, Legolas whirled around. “Ianithiel, wait! I’m sorry-!!” he cried, but he was too late, she was gone. Deeply regretting that he had lost his temper and with it his closest and most trusted friend, Legolas gave into his emotions and embraced the well of sorrow he had tried to lock within his soul, silently praying as he did so. Valar, say they are all alright . . .

* * *

Dayarvon looked down the length of his bloody sword, to the bandaging covering the jagged cut that laced the outside of his arm, then back again and sighed. The slash wasn’t serious, but it hurt, and again he wished that his swordsmanship was as good as his skill with the bow. But thinking of his pain served to remind him only of what he knew with agonizing certainty Kalavai must be suffering through right now. Resolutely Dayarvon stood up and grasped his sword, he had to get going, he had to find her.

Dayarvon walked alertly down the stone corridor he was following; so far he had only encountered three of those Dark Elves. However he knew that Mordraug would not leave himself so unguarded, there had to be more somewhere. Suddenly Dayarvon froze, his thoughts confirmed- from around the turn in the corridor just ahead of him he could hear the rough grating of Dark Elven voices.

Moving slowly so as not to make a sound, he crept forward and glanced carefully around the corner. Then what he had seen registered in his mind and Dayarvon whirled around to look around the corner again. Haldir was lying on the ground, unconscious, and above him stood four Dark Elves. The one farthest from Dayarvon had six teeth in each ear and was holding a thin vial containing a smoky reddish gray liquid. The three other Dark Elves held down Haldir as the one with the vial poured the liquid down Haldir’s throat. The three Dark Elves still held Haldir down as the one with twelve wolf teeth walked over to a waist high pillar of black stone and removed from the top an amulet unlike anything Dayarvon had ever seen.

The amulet had started out as a simple piece of black stone, but the magicks Mordraug inflicted on its dull surface had warped it so much that if one had held it next to the original stone it had been taken from one would see no resemblance. The stone now glowed with a dark, unholy hazy green light. Its surface was streaked with jagged blood red lines and gray-green lines, indeed the red lines had been drawn with Haldir’s blood and the sickly gray green lines drawn horizontally across the red one’s Mordraug had drawn with his own blood. The amulet was carved into the shape of a glaring wolf eye pierced by a massive wolf tooth. The amulet, suspended on a grossly carved, barbed chain, made Dayarvon shudder with horror and disgust at the aura of perverted magic that the thing excreted, poisoning the very air.

The Dark Elf held the amulet gingerly by its barbed chain and walked back over to the still unconscious Haldir. Careful not to let the amulet touch his own scarred skin, the Dark Elf slipped the chain around Haldir’s neck, letting the amulet fall heavily onto Haldir’s chest. The moment it hit his flesh, Haldir screamed and his body convulsed violently. The four Dark Elves held him down, leering and laughing at his sufferings as his eyes opened, spewing a sickly gray-green light into the cavern as Haldir screamed again. Then, with one last massive convulsion, Haldir’s eyes snapped shut and his body stiffened abruptly. The Dark Elves relaxed, rose and stood around Haldir’s stiff body as if waiting for something. Dayarvon did not have to wait long to find out.

Slowly, as if waking from a deep sleep, Haldir got up and shook his head. Then he turned to the Dark Elves and said, “Thank you for your service. You may leave now.”

The elves nodded, turned and began to walk away towards the cave’s back exit but Haldir glanced in Dayarvon’s direction and at once his eyes flared the same repulsive gray-green as the amulet. Dayarvon knew he had been discovered. “Stop!” Haldir flung out the command, hung it out in the suddenly thick air, and the four Dark Elves halted simultaneously. A grin slowly spread across Haldir’s twisted face as his eyes, still glowing sickly gray-green, pierced the stone wall and found Dayarvon. “I believe we have a visitor.”

The vile grin slowly spread from Haldir’s face to the four Dark Elves and they walked slowly towards the stone tunnel where Dayarvon moved out into the open, muscles tense. It was no use hiding anymore. One of the Dark Elves made a harsh gurgling sound of glee, and Dayarvon recognized Rygotha, one of the Dark Elves who had tried to assassinate him in his home. She drew her weapon from its sheath on her back and licked the blade; evidently she had gotten herself a new axe. The other two drew curved swords, but it was the one with twelve wolf teeth, the leader of the small band, that worried Dayarvon. He was standing back, letting his companions go first, and had not yet drawn any weapon that Dayarvon could see. But he had no more time to worry about him, for the other three were upon him.

Rygotha, ever forward, swung her axe towards Dayarvon’s stomach, he jumped backwards and then ducked to avoid the double slash the other two had been trying to catch him in. Rolling backwards, Dayarvon lashed out with his sword, catching one of the Dark Elves in the leg. The elf screamed and fell, and Dayarvon finished him off with a downward slash across the neck. Angry now, Rygotha and the other Dark Elf closed in on Dayarvon, trying to catch him in a pincer movement. Dayarvon dodged both of their attacks and was just about to make an attack of his own when at once a sharp pain pierced his right shoulder.

Dayarvon saw Rygotha’s swinging axe just in time to stumble groggily backwards, barely avoiding being chopped in half by the vicious blow. His hand went to his shoulder; in it was a small dagger, embedded to the hilt in his flesh. Wincing, Dayarvon yanked it out, it hurt but the wound wasn’t serious, it had missed all of the major veins. Or so he thought.

The third Dark Elf lunged towards him, sword extended. Dayarvon just managed to block him in time. Why am I reacting so slowly? he wondered, confused. Then at once he knew what had happened, the forth Dark Elf, the leader, must have a set of poisoned throwing daggers! Just as that sudden realization came to him, the hair on the back of his neck prickled. Dayarvon threw himself to the side just in time to see the dagger the leader Dark Elf had thrown tear through the throats of his attacker and Rygotha then bury itself hilt deep in the stone wall. Dayarvon turned around and brought his sword up barely in time to deflect another dagger thrown so hard it left his arm stinging. Before the Dark Elf could throw the dagger that had suddenly appeared in his hand, Dayarvon was on top of him, sword slashing. Two seconds latter the elf’s head lay on the floor and Dayarvon turned to face Haldir.

The blond haired elf turned to Dayarvon, an amused smile on his thin lips. “So, we meet again, my murderous friend.”

Dayarvon glared at Haldir, fighting the poison in his veins. “I am in no mood for your games, Haldir. Where is Kalavai?”

“Oh, you mean the half elven wench? I’m afraid that she’s not available right now. She’s . . . entertaining . . . Mordraug right now. I believe he’ll be done with her in, oh . . . say . . . a few hours. But I’m afraid that she won’t be much use to you after that.” Haldir grinned. “And, if she survives that, Mordraug has promised that I may have her for a few hours.”

“Shut . . . up,” Dayarvon hissed, his voice deadly quiet.

“First I believe I’ll use the standard method of torture, you know: whipping, flogging, things of that nature, but Mordraug and I were discussing a new method of torture that I believe will be perfect to test out on Kalavai. You use a dagger or some other weapon, the duller the better, to carve a pattern onto . . . shall I say . . . interesting parts of the body; I believe I had a suitably dull knife somewhere that will work perfectly. . . And who knows, Kalavai might even like it.”

“Shut up!” Dayarvon screamed. Before Haldir realized what was happening, the point of Dayarvon’s sword was in his face. Haldir leapt back just in time to avoid having his face slashed open to the bone, but a lengthy red line had traced its way down his forehead to his cheek. Quick as lightning Dayarvon whipped up his blade and struck again, but this time Haldir was ready and caught the blade with his bare hands, pushing it back towards Dayarvon.

“I think she will enjoy it,” Haldir leered. “After all, she enjoyed what my two Dark Elves did to her!” Haldir laughed, pushing the blade towards Dayarvon’s poison-weakened heart. The amulet pulsed with its sickly gray-green, and the vile thing filled Dayarvon’s vision. All he could see was its evil, repulsive surface, he couldn’t tear his gaze away; it was as if the vile thing was controlling his mind . . . Of course!!

Wrenching his sword out of Haldir’s grasp, Dayarvon swung it in a sweeping curve. The shining silver blade connected solidly against the surface of the amulet for an agonizing instant, then sliced cleanly through the wolf’s eye and the amulet and its chain shattered. The green light left Haldir’s eyes, curling upward like smoke, and then vanished. Haldir collapsed to the ground, and Dayarvon bent down wearily next to him.

Slowly Haldir opened his eyes; they were their normal frosty blue. “What? What happened?” he asked, tried to sit up, and failed. “I feel so . . . so drained!”

“You were possessed by Mordraug,” Dayarvon said bluntly. “I’d stay and help you, but . . . I can’t forgive you so easily for everything you’ve done, and I have to find Kalavai. Sorry.” Dayarvon got up and began to walk away.

“Wait!” cried Haldir, struggling to his feet. “Let me come with you! I- I remember everything, now,” he said softly, staring at his bloody hands. “Maybe I can help, maybe not. I can at least apologize. It is the least I can do . . .”

Dayarvon paused. He knew Haldir had been possessed now, that nothing he had said or done had been his fault, but . . . “Fine. But we must hurry. I have a bad feeling that if I- we don’t find her soon I’ll- we’ll never see her again.”


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