December 31, 2011 Leave a comment
Andarthir did his best to gather his courage as night fell. He was not nearly as comfortable as his tree-loving cousins when it came to moving about in the dark, but he knew the orcs would be resting then. The danger would be lessened; and he could see well enough by the moonlight. He had no idea which way they might have gone, but he decided that following the small stream nearby would be the most logical place to begin looking. For this, he could not remain in his borrowed saber form; he would need to be ready to cast should he be ambushed by orcs — or sentinels.
The forest was not as silent as he had imagined; the calls of owls and night birds rang through the treetops, answered by the low growls of some large animals. Bears, maybe, or sabers. He heard wolves calling in another part of the forest, and was relieved that he heard none close to him. Even the insects still stirred at night, their wings still whirring in the darkness. Orcs, though, he thankfully heard none. He searched the hilltops for any sign of fire, but the trees were so dense that he could not see far at all.
If there were any orcs about tonight, surely they would have heard him. It seemed that every twig and stone in the forest made its way underneath Andarthir’s boots. With each scuffle and snap, it seemed that the forest stopped to listen, and he would freeze, scarcely daring to breathe until the night sounds returned. He held his wand tightly, debating which spell would be the most suitable should he come across an orc. A turtle, that was slow, surely he could escape in time. Or a rabbit. No one was ever killed by a rabbit. Of course the difficulty was condensing the enormous bulk of an orc into such a small shape, but it was an art he had practiced for thousands of years. So long as he could remember the words with an orc bearing down on him, of course.
It was late, but he couldn’t see enough of the sky to tell how late. If he returned to Dalaran, he might never find the camp. But if he stayed in the forest, he could be eaten by bears. Or orcs. Or orcs riding bears. The stream looked to curve ahead, and split into a small island in the middle. The trees grew thick there, and it seemed that it might be a safe place to rest, at least for a time. He splashed across the stream, wishing he’d worn his traveling robes, and froze. There was already a camp here, he could see two tents, and a thin tendril of smoke rose from a recently extinguished fire.