High Elf Chapter 18
High Elf Chapter 18 Order Storyline
location: Caelanriol, Dragonwake
npc: Hithandror Oakbrow
Chapter Lore: "Commander!"
A horse stumbled through the camp perimeter, quivering with exhaustion. The expressionless rider who slid stiffly out of the saddle did nothing to elevate Hithandror's fear.
"Message for Commander Oakbrow," the wearied rider gasped. "From Baelthir's forces on the Isle of the Dead."
Hithandror stepped forward, giving the courier his arm. "I am he. You may deliver your message."
Feverbright eyes focused on the commander's face. "I am to tell you we have succeeded. The Isle is ours." A joyous cheer rang out, drowning the messenger's next words. Furious, Hithandror called for order.
"Aefwyn, see to the horse. Tirinfir, I want double guard on the camp. Now! It would be beyond belief to assume our cousins haven't followed her here." Easing the exhausted rider into a chair, Hithandror filled a goblet and handed it to her. Thin hands raised the glass in thanks before drinking deep.
"We arrived on the Isle to find it overrun. The Dark Elves were there before us, commander, and they were interfering with the integrity of the warding spells. They-" the whispered voice broke off in pain. "Their workings disrupted the stasis of time within the Vortex. Some of those locked within aged before our eyes. It was horrible?..."
Wordlessly, Hithandror refilled the goblet, wondering where the tale of victory had gone so horribly awry.
"Their plans came to naught, commander. Baelthir slew their leader, and Saruthil entered the Vortex. But not before he?... saw?... something. He was screaming as the magic claimed him, and it is those words I was bid to bring you: 'Danger comes from the west. The Forge has been claimed by the Bloody-Handed God.'"
"Vaul's Anvil has been?... tainted?" The words were ripped from him as something inside shattered and began to burn.
"Baelthir believed that was what the sage meant, yes."
"I thank you for this news. Your horse is being seen to, and a tent has been prepared for you. Please take your ease this evening. We will ride at dawn."
"My thanks, commander."
Hithandror stood, already lost in thought as a nearby guard bent to help the messenger to her feet.
"Baelthir wished me to deliver one other message, commander. For your ears alone."
An icy chill threaded down Hithandror's back as he turned to the pale-faced rider once more. "Deliver your message."
"Elthrai." The whispered word hit Hithandror like a fist around the heart.