Spatterings of light speckled the forest floor, highlighting hues of red, orange, brown and yellow within the leaves that laid carpeting the ground, embracing it with their levels of decay as they returned from the soil from which their parent had so long ago sprouted. None of the usual sounds echoed through the forest. No bird calls, twittering to their hearts content, or cackling of the little primates as they swung down close to inspect intruders, sometimes just brushing upon them as they aimed to incite some sort of reaction. Today the trees were silent. Even the wind did not blow, making the air hot and heavy within the confines of the forest.
Ritzel was different to other elves. His people were artists, from sword masters, to architects, they all designed for beauty, or deadliness. Ritzel did not. Instead he was more attuned to nature. This was not to say the other elves weren't, on the contrary, all elves had a natural affinity to nature. Ritzel's simply went further. He could commune with the animals, listen to the words of the wind. Hear the thoughts and wants of the trees. It was special. All knew this. It was why he had been sent deeper into the forest to find out what had been scarring the animals.
It was as he put his head upon the bark of a tree, that he heard the wind's warning. It sang for him to run! Danger was fast approaching! He listened and heard the high note of a howl. Another joined, and another. At first he did not fear. These were no Wargs. They were the Wolves of Mythshir! But as the wind's warning picked up in urgency, he noted the pain and anger that carried upon the howls. It was then that he turned and fled, staff in hand as he darted through the trees, all the while the wolves were gaining. Ritzel was fast, he was an elf, but even they could not outrun wolves.
Quickly, he changed direction. A memory of an old ruin came to him, and he knew it was potentially his only chance, should these wolves prove to no longer be the kind, caring beasts he knew.
Turn 1 - Priority Roll - Mythshir Force
Glancing behind, Ritzel see's the hunger in the eyes of those he once called family. Moving swiftly, he ascends the stone steps and comes to a stop atop a stone bridge. With little pause, he casts the spell he knows he must use often from this point on, and sends a killer swarm toward the Alpha. Instantly the swarm lay into the wolf, and two wounds are inflicted, rending the Alpha instantly unconscious.
Thinking this would quell the rest of the pack, Ritzel is shocked to see them run on, splitting in order to pincer him.
Turn 2 - Priority Roll - Wolf Force
The wolves are not in range and spend their turn moving closer.
Seeing the threat, and knowing he can not face these beasts on both sides, Ritzel casts restrict, and manages to pin two of the wolves in place for two turns.
Turn 3 - Priority Roll - Wolf Force
The two wolves who have been restricted struggle against their bonds, but cannot move, however this does not slow the other two, who race up the stairs. Ritzel is well positioned, meaning only one wolf can attack him from this side at a time, and the creature's jaws, narrowly escape, with Ritzel's counterstrike also missing.
Ritzel then casts Killer Swarm, where none of the bugs are able to penetrate the thick fur of the wolf.
Turn 4 - Priority Roll - Mythshir Force
Again Ritzel casts swarm knowing the number of attacks possible with it would be more successful than his one attack. However only 1 wound is caused on the wolf.
Potentially distracted, the wolf fails to sink his teeth in.
Turn 5 - Priority Roll - Mythshir Force
Swarm is cast again but utterly fails, with the wolf faring no better. But Ritzel's staff connects in a stunning strike back which knocks the beast unconscious.
Turn 6 - Priority Roll - Mythshir Force
Ritzel casts swarm and successfully wounds the last wolf on this side.
The wolf hastily moves in for the attack, along with the other two wolves who have now escaped their restriction. With two wolves now able to attack, Ritzel parries the teeth of one with his staff, whilst limbering out of the way of another. So busy defending, he is unable to counter strike.
Turn 7 - Priority Roll - Mythshir Force
With another cast of Killer swarm, a final wound is inflicted upon the last wolf on the right handside of Ritzel, and the beast falls unconscious, freeing up attention for the other threats.
The Wolf was unable to land a claw, and a counter strike against it goes wide leaving it uninjured to try again next turn.
Turn 8 - Priority Roll - Mythshir Force
Ritzel swings his staff low, but the wolf simply jumps, gnashing his teeth mere millimetres from Ritzel's flesh.
The wolf swipes at Ritzel, but with a twirl of his staff, the blow is knocked aside, and Ritzel follows it up by bringing the other end of his staff down upon the beast. With the instincts of a beast, the wolf steps to the side just in time to allow the staff to hit the ground harmlessly.
Turn 9 - Priority Roll - Wolf Force
Making use of the failed attempt last turn, the wolf darts forward too quick for Ritzel's elven eyes, and sinks his teeth into the elves' calf. Crying out in pain, Ritzel is wounded, but his Killer Swarm respond to his suffering, inflicting their own wound upon the wolf.
Feeling the danger before them, it is the wolves that begin to fear what they have hunted.
Turn 10 - Priority Roll - Mythshir Force
Ritzel attacks the wolf with his staff, but fails to connect as he finds the beasts are no longer there, instead fleeing. With their pack almost all down cold, and one of their remaining number injured, it is too much for them, and they flee from the ruins, leaving Ritzel to tend to the three he has managed to defeat.
Without a thought to the wounds upon his leg, Ritzel quickly moves towards the wolves, ignoring the pain that stings and bolts through him with each foot fall. First administering a sleeping agent to keep the wolves calm, but more importantly, stop them from attacking him, he then looks to check over them. It is not like the creatures he knows to hunt his people, let alone him. He knew these wolves once. Raised some from pups. Now he questioned if he had really known them at all.
But it was hard for anything to hide their true persona for so long from one so close. He knew these were creatures he thought of. Not the cruel and menacing humans, or the elves with their vast wisdom and artistry, nor the dwarves, stoic in their beliefs and chiselled in their ways. But creatures were less given to lies. Less given to hide their true selves. No, something had happened. It was then that he found the blade lodged in the Alpha's side.
As always, thanks for taking the time to visit and read. See you next time.