glanced over at Taluen, who looked extremely nervous as he led Bane and Strut on
leashes. The two hounds looked uncomfortable on their restraint, and they kept
snapping at each other - they were wound up, as was
she. Viresse just wanted to
get started and find Rube. Even if getting started
meant the beginning of the end for some of these
people, and even some of these elves. But Viresse was single-minded. She wanted
one thing. For Rube to be alive.
Viresse looekd past Taluen to Tristen. He tried his hardest to stifle
himelf, but his face kept splitting into a smile and he giggled like a small
child. He even had a spring in his step. Viresse wondered about Tristen
- was he really going to be any help? She
doubted it for the most part. He enjoyed the hunt too
much and he enjoyed killing. Who could restrain him if
he went ape on Rube? If they found Rube.
Viresse then looked to Terquan. And worried. She should have told him. But would
he have listened? And if he did - would he be able to
restrain himself enough to hold off on killing Rube?
She wasn't sure - she was more worried about Rube
being alive than she was about Terquan.
They stood before the clerics, as more dark elves came filing in
- gruff hunters, with masive hounds, swords and bows of threatening make,
and even a few crossbows. The most fidgety of the hunters were ones that had no
weapons at all - they were acting like dogs on leashes
She looked to Terquan again. He seemed to fidget oddly, jerky movements, and
Viresse even thought she saw him talking to himself. Terquan quickly whipped and
stared at Viresse before she could look away and deny her stare, and something
in Terquan's smile was off. Sickeningly off. She shuddered and looked away. It
was good that she didn't tell him about Rube - his
darker half may have killed him just out of spite.
The clerics raised their hands as a sign of silence,
and soon all was quiet, save for the snapping and howling of wound-up dogs.
Viresse glanced over the area and noticed there were
over a hundred hunters. She shivered. With this many hunters after so few people
- she would be insanely lucky just to even SEE him,
dead or alive.
For just a second, Viresse was angry with herself. It was a DREAM! Dreams aren't
real! What was she thinking
- that Rube would be here? Was her
unconsciousness just playing a sick joke on her
- that she really wanted Rube to follow her ? She huffed loudly at
herself for her stupid mistake.
And Taluen's hounds caught her attention. She looked up to Taluen
- he appeared scared, but he was here. And he
had the dream too - though different. She swallowed
and pushed her thoughts of denial away. Taluen was here to help her. And Tristen
was - well, he was kind of here to help, but he was no
doubt planning on hunting.
As the clerics in the front of teh gathering began to
speak, Viresse let an image slip into her mind -
Tristen pinning a man with his body weight, turning to Viresse and saying "Is
this him?" and when she said "No.,
Tristen would maul them. Then he'd move on to the next quarry. "How about this
one?" "No." Gnash gnash. "This one?" "No." Shred
Viresse shook her head clear of the thought. The clerics were finishing their
speech, and the crowd was getting restless. She felt the tension rise and surge
through the crowd as the clerics moved toward the wagons. The people began
screaming louder as their release was imminent - they
didn't notice the legion of dark
elves standing before them. The clerics opened the doors, and then quickly
The people pired from the wagons, arms and legs
flailing. Some were already beaten in some way - their
faces bloodied and some with black eyes. Viresse shook her head slowly
- where did they get these people, and weren't
A flash of black hair caught her attention - it was
caught in a slow moving cluster, and it was all she could see. She desperately
wanted to cry out Rube's name, but knew it would be stupid to do so. She snapped
her head and looked to Taluen, who was peering
intently at the crowd as it surged and swayed as it spilled out.
Viresse looked back to the crowd - and lost the hair.
She desperately began searching again, and found it. And,
to her dismay, it was just a scruffy man with greasy black hair. She sighed,
she'd never find him.
A voice caught her attention through the incoherent shouting... it sounded like
her name was being called. She looked in the direction
of the voice, and saw a flailing arm. It lurched forward
- and its face became visible.
It was Rube.
Viresse grunted as she stared, and then quickly looked to Taluen. She found that
Taluen was looking to her, and she nodded eagerly. They watched Rube as he tried
to run toward the crowd of dark elves, but was roughly
shoved back by one of teh clerics. He fell on his rear
- he must have been be very weak,
Viresse noted, and a couple of people streaming
toward the forest tripped over him. He got to his feet as quick as he could, and
bolted off into the forest.
The human crowd finally dispersed into the forest, and Viresse became very
antsy. She wnated to go -
she wanted to bolt off right now, but it would
be way too obvious. She kept glancing at Taluen, who kept glancing back while
being yanked one way and another by his eager hounds.
Finally, they were released, and all the elves ran in different directions.
But Viresse and Taluen ran in the direction they last
saw Rube's head. She didn't care if Tristen and
Terquan followed or not - but it seemed they did as
heavy breaths and thundering steps follwed them, right on their heels.
As Viresse ran, she began shouting out to Rube, hoping
he'd hear her and come toward her. It would make him easier to locate. But all
she heard in response was the shrieking, and the shouts of Styrásh
made by dark elves as they either arranged a trap or
permanently subdued their quarry.
Viresse continued to shout, and soon Taluen was doing the same, although with a
accent that made it sound as if he was mimicking
Viresse in the hopes of catching him rather than
actually helping her.
A sound caught her interest - it was her name again.
She looked in the direction of it, and saw something run in the forest
- it was dark so she couldn't entirely tell, but she took off after it.
"Taluen!" she called, and ran off, hoping that Taluen
would follow her. As she continued to call, the answer back became stronger, as
if she was closing in.
"Stop running!" Viresse
shouted, and heard a skitter in the forest ahead of her. She continued to run
- and did not stop until she ran into something that
sent her spilling onto her feet. Whatever she ran into, it came out of nowhere,
or at least she didn't see it. She clambered to rise, and a hand was held out
for her, though it shook like a wet dog. Viresse looked up.
And she never felt as happy before that moment - for
Rube was staring straight at her.
She sprung to her feet of her own accord and leaped into his arms. "I thought
you were goign to die!" Viresse exclaimed, her voice
muffled as she spoke into the hood of his cloak.
"So did I..." he said. She could feel him shaking in
fear, and it made her clutch him even tighter.
Suddenly, they were plowed into, and they fell to the ground,
Viresse and Rube, and another person. Another weight
landed upon them, and growlining ensued as whatever it was begna tugging
violently at Viresse's cloak. She struggled to get whatever it was off of her.
And then Taluen came running in - stopping just a ped
short of joining the pile. His chest heaved as he breathed looking down at them.
He made a quick noise, and the struggle for Viresse's cloak stopped
- it was Bane and Strut. Viresse smirked.
Quickly she was thrown aside and Rube lunged at
Taluen, tossing him to the ground. Rube punched Taluen in the gut a few times
while Taluen struggled to throw Rube off.
"Rube!" Virese shouted, and pulled Rube off of
Taluen with all the strength she could. Rube must have been weary, for he was
easier to remove than she expected. Taluen gasped for air and coughed.
"For Coór's sake, Rube!" Taluen gasped.
Rube looked to Viresse. "Friend of yours?"
She nodded. " He had a dream about you too."
"You dreamed of me?" Rube asked.
Viresse rolled her eyes. "People are still hunting
- we have to get out of here." She picked Rube up by hauling
him up by his arm. They turned to begin running again.
And Rube was thrown to the ground by a flying monster. He was caught square in
the chest with a forearm and was thrown to the ground
- then it tried to strike him in the face with a clean
hand. Rube turned his head, and caught a glancing blow to his brow
- it sliced open and seperated like the cleaving of a loaf of bread.
Taluen and Viresse leaped forward and pulled the monster off of Rube, all
the while Taluen shouting "It's ours! Back off!" But
as they stood up the monster
- they saw it was no use.
For it was Terquan. And the way he stared at them, then shoved them away with an
incredible strength, it was as if he did not recognize them at all. His chest
heaved and he spewed warm breaths of air into the night like a dragon spewing
smoke. He glared at them wickedly, his eyes red as blood,
snapping at each of
them like a dog - perhaps showing dominance over the situation, then turned
Viresse lashed out. She jumped at Terquan, or at least, what used to be Terquan
and used her nails to rip at him. He grunted as the struggle began and focussed
on her for a second, but he easily threw her aside.
"Terq! Snap out of it! If you want to hunt - get
something else!" Taluen said,
and shoved Terquan. Terquan snapped his head toward Taluen, and struck him in
the face with an open hand. Taluen went sprawling - and his hounds took the
attack to heart.
Despite the fact they knew who Terquan was, Bane and Strut ripped into Terquan
as well as they could, but he easily kicked them away. He bellowed loudly, a
monstrous sound that escaped him, and he turned back to Rube... to find that he
Viresse looked up at Terquan, ready to try again, but the skitter of fleet feet
in the forest ahead caused her to look that way. She too found that Rube was
gone - and yelled in agony. She knew why he bolted
- to keep them safe, and not to
be a coward, she hoped. But it meant he was fair game yet again. Viresse
struggled to her feet as Terquan bolted after Rube, followed
by a pair of fapple
grey hounds and a dazed Taluen. Viresse quickly jumped to her feet.
Viresse ran as fast as she could after Taluen. He whipped through the trees at a
speed she could barely keep up with. Of course - he'd been hunting for years and
probably knew the forest like the back of his hand. Viresse hoped he knew where
he was going.
A couple of shouts were heard ahead of her and Taluen stopped dead in his
tracks. Viresse slammed into the back of him, unable to stop in time. They both
tumbled a few feet, then slid down the embankment of a dry river bed. Viresse
got up as fast as she could, but Taluen was quicker. Viresse only caught a
glimpse of him as he tore off to the right down the river bed.
She slipped on the smooth rocks but kept her footing. Fortunately she was more
nimble than Taluen in this type of situation, and soon she was only a few peds
behind him, as opposed to barely being able to see him. He broke off of the dry
river and tore up the river bank, Viresse on his heels. He paid no attention to
her, but it seemed he ran even faster as he heard the growling yip of dogs
directly ahead of them.
Viresse's heart began to race more than it needed to for a run. Did the dogs get
Rube? She hoped they didn't. But they got something, for as they got closer, she
heard the sounds of a fight - shouts, growling, grunts and barks and the sliding
of dirt and leaves as the fight moved about.
Again Viresse found herself plowing into the back of
Taluen, and he fell to his knees, sending Viresse and her momentum headlong into
the clearing. She thudded against something heavy, and stopped in her tracks. She looked up
- and into the
Face of Terquan.
But... it wasn't him. His eyes burned with a hellfire not seen this side of the
Dream in millenia - and his face seemed unnaturally contorted. He heaved and
throbbed with a strength unreal for his size, and Viresse stared in fear.
Terquan stopped in his tracks as he was bumped into and stared at Viresse, a
note of recognition in his eyes. He leaned in close, their faces mere spans from
each other, and he sniffed like a dog - heated breath become a frosty cloud and
curling into her face. It smelled of rotten flesh. She released a heavy,
quivering breath, and recognized the moment. She could not help but exclaim it.
" I dreamed of this," she said.