23 Feb

Prince Ilyon bolted to his feet, focused intensely on the bushes nearby. There it was again. The soft sound of crunching leaves whispered a warning. He shook Lord Derrold’s shoulder gently and nudged Teroth. “Shhh. Grab your weapons. We may have an unwanted visitor.”

Teroth grabbed his Elven bow, enchanted to never miss its target. Lord Derrold was not as quick. He was still sleepy and couldn’t find his sword.

“Hurry up, Derrold,” whispered the prince, tapping him with his foot.

Derrold jumped to his feet in panic. “It’s gone! Someone has stolen my sword.”

Prince Ilyon pointed towards the bushes. “Listen. Maybe whatever is lurking there, is your thief.”

A large, dark shadow with glowing red eyes padded towards them. Teroth took aim.

As the creature left the bush, they saw a magic, flaming, red tail completely made of fire. Teroth´s arrow flew towards the creature and in a loud woosh of fire and smoke only the tip of it remained and fell to the ground with a thud. In the flash of light from the fire they could see the creature was a wolf.

He sat down for a second watching them intently then stood up again and sniffed and began to walk around them as if analysing them. The men stood still, afraid that the wolf would pounce.

The wolf stopped then padded over to them, its eyes never leaving theirs.

He sat down and spoke, “I am The Dark One, ruler of this land. I am here to guide you on your journey.

“Why do we need you?” asked the prince.

“There are many creatures like the Gnor waiting to attack you when you pass through these woods,” said the wolf. “I will lead you to a safe valley, where you can camp.”

Teroth, still taking aim, grunted his disapproval. Derrold shuffled nervously backwards, tripping over his sword which had been lying on the ground the whole time, and landed flat on his bottom. Ilyan looked unimpressed and rolled his eyes.

He turned back to The Dark One.

“My friends do not trust you, I think. Perhaps they are right!”

The wolf growled, “We need to leave now!”

He turned and walked away, when suddenly fiery arrows pierced the air around them. The prince and his companions quickly gathered their things then ran after their protector. They had no choice.

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