Part 1 “The winding path.” “I still remember that day; foolishly both I and Zavrosh thought this contract would prove as easy as it would lucrative. We had no way of knowing the terror that lurked within the stone, perhaps if we had known we would have ventured a different route. Turning down the wealth promised for something far more easily obtained. As beings of conviction and principle, we found ourselves bound to this path of shadows. Blindly wandering the realms, accepting contract after contract just to make it in this chaotic world of ours. Once we had signed the dotted line, our fate had been sealed, our path set. The time for regrets had faded; our chances of avoiding the disaster to come had diminished. By our own volition we ventured out into the mountains, hearts filled with joy and our empty pockets demanding fulfillment. Zavrosh and I had adventured along each other’s side for many months now, though he had become a trusted ally, I knew little of his past. And even less of the world he had escaped, a world too foreign to my own, filled with countless dangers. I remember the day we met, his eyes filled with the desperate thirst for companionship, for he had been like me…alone. Out of necessity we became one, a dangerous gamble that had proven worth the risk. Many might find such origins to be demeaning if not insulting. But we knew no regrets, nor did we know any certainty. He had no reason to stand by my lonely side, yet at the dawn of each morning there he was, a sight I always welcomed. The unusual circumstances surrounding our current job became apparent fast. With it fear and concern unbridled had set in, only to be brushed off as quickly as they had formed. In a fight there was little time to question, when faced with a foe the only thing that mattered was survival. Seldom do we ask ourselves why, seldom do we ponder over the consequences of our actions until it is far too late. I will not avert my eyes from this road, I feel as if Zavrosh felt the same. As usual he stood by my side in silence, only speaking when he had something wise to say. Even then as we ventured up the winding mountain path, we had been as always…alone. Pilgrims to a world that had little room or respect for our kinds.” Spoiler (Move your mouse to the spoiler area to reveal the content) Show Spoiler Hide Spoiler Eveline. Spoiler (Move your mouse to the spoiler area to reveal the content) Show Spoiler Hide Spoiler Zavrosh. The hoarse whisper of steel friction against metal had pierced the normal clamor of the mountain side. Once more we found ourselves locked in combat between the Goblin and their brothers. With ease we dispatched of the lesser of the two races, yet now we found ourselves locked in combat with the Gnolls, part Hyena part humanoid. Much like their Goblin brothers they were renowned for their cowardice, fleeing at the sight of a powerful foe. Fighting only with ferocity whenever backed into a corner, yet something was wrong with this lot. They did not flee, their eyes burned with the fires of one with unwavering resolve. As if they understood their purpose and wholly accepted the fate of those that failed, that being death. Their opponents served just as strange, defying the norms of their races. The first being a female Tiefling monk with crimson skin and trimmed horns, her fists covered from the rock of the earth. The female stood proudly, her defined form adorned in a set of simple leather armor capable of stopping any arrow or knife. Granting her mobility and stealth at the cost of defense against a keen blade, the armor seemed crafted just for her, fitting her as if it were another layer of skin. While her partner, a Drow with onyx like colored skin stood firmly. In his hands rested two blades, the hilt designed after an eight legged spider with its legs pointed skyward. He wore a set of chain mail that seemed enchanted as to muffle the sound his armor made during movement. With pale eyes he surveyed their targets, in silence formulating a plan no doubt. “Be weary Zavrosh, these Gnolls seem to thirst for blood!” Eveline warned her partner, knowing better than to wait for a reply. Without delay both Gnolls were upon them, one charged at Zavrosh wielding a fine crafted battle axe, whilst the other bore a spear. Letting out a shrill the Gnoll would charge, the stone head of the spear pointed toward Eveline’s abdomen. No doubt wishing for a quick and painful end toward their encounter, something the Tiefling saw coming long before they had locked eyes. With an outstretched hand she waited, standing firm as the Gnoll closed the distance for her. Her left hand did grasp the tip of the spear, quickly forming into a clenched fist. The Gnoll seemed to snarl out of approval, ignorant of what was to transpire. No blood had trickled down; no expression of pain had adorned her face. Clenching with all her might the stone head did shatter, sending countless shards flying every which direction. An expression of pure shock and awe now lingered on the Gnoll’s scarred face. Seeing her window of opportunity Eveline acted without delay, her left hand grasping the shaft of the spear pulling the Gnoll closer to her. Being caught off guard the Gnoll stumbled as it fell forward. Eveline now moved at full sprint, retracting her right hand that now formed a fist. As the distance was closed she’d send the fist flying toward the creature’s chest. The blow connected, shattering the frail tribal bone armor that he so foolishly thought would stop her attack. Sadly he was wrong; the armor barely slowed the blows speed let alone its force. The sound of shattering rips served as music to her ears. The broken rips pushing inward, penetrating the Gnoll’s heart, thus ending its life. Eveline peered into those milky white orbs of her opponent as its back lied on the floor. Not taking any chances she raised her foot, sending it downward, crashing her boot against its snout several times. Causing the ugly creatures face to cave in, leaving a pool of blood in the wake of her attack. An improvement in her humble opinion… Zarvosh raised his twin blade heavens ward, making the shape of an X as it caught the attack. Sparks danced and twirled in the howling breeze, his wild white mane dancing to the tune of the mountains song. Those pale irises of his drifting momentarily toward Eveline who had finished her opponent before him, stinging his ego quite potently. In a fit of rage the Drow pushed forward, throwing the creature off balance for it did not expect the Elf to possess such strength. What transpired next could only be described as a fluid ballet of swordsmanship. Vainly the Gnoll attempted to fend off the aggressive series of attacks, sparks flew as the clash of their weapons resembled that of a beating war drum. But even the Gnoll knew what was to come, that this was his end unless a fatal error was made. Regrettably for the Gnoll no such slip in his opponent’s defense occurred. Finally a blow connected, a vertical slash tore the skin and flesh form the monsters core. A splash of blood slammed against the bland stone walls of the pass. Buckling out of pain, accepting its fate, it awaited the sting of the Drow’s blade. No clemency could be shown to these raiders and slavers; even now Zavrosh had sensed his foes resignation. The end of their waltz was at hand; his other blade connected with the creature’s neck, cutting a deep wound the tore apart its wind pipe. The battle was his, elegantly the Drow flicked both his blade sending the blood that adorned them to slam against the ground. With a single motion he would sheath the extension of his arms, pivoting to face Eveline whose face seemed to glow with glee. “What took you so long?” She questioned, her words stinging him. Though no offense had been birthed, for he knew she jested. Instead he’d shrug his shoulders, exhaling. “Shall we be on our way?” Zavrosh retorted, for they were not far from the slave camp. That so happen to be on the way to the temple that served as these beings base of operations.