“Psst. Inch your eyes over to the window behind me. Someone’s peering in.”
“Indeed there is. Grab what you need. We must leave here at once.”
“Why? Do you know him?”
“Don’t ask questions and do as I say.”
The two elves stood and strolled from the room, extinguishing the lanterns at the door as they did.
Slipping out the back wooden door, satchels across their chests, they crept towards the stranger.
One elf stumbled on half a dozen pointed pink rocks, and they clattered together silently as the elf set them right.
“I heard that,” a calm voice called.
Nervous, the elves stepped from the bushes and towards the man, silently wondering who would have such spectacular hearing.
“Here is what I propose,” he said, the dark of the night concealing his facial features. “A challenge. Myself and my associate will play you and yours. The power duel.”
One elf raised their hand directly across from their shoulder. “I accept. You’re going to regret ever considering entering Qasdre.”
The elves each pressed their right hand against their opposers’ left.
“Key element?” one elf inquired.
“Fire and lightning,” came the reply.
The elves nodded. “May we hear the names of our challengers?” the other asked.
“It is formal.”
“Alright,” the associate agreed. “I am King Maloster of Efousiam, and that is Master Vatyn of the Domain Down Under.”
“Pudel Strema,” introduced one elf in Lyred.
“Syk Fligth,” said the other. “Are you actually Vatyn?” she couldn’t resist asking.
“I’m sure you’ll find me a formidable opponent?” Vatyn answered, his eyes flashing red.
“All too well.”
“Then let us begin.” Almost a second after Vatyn spoke, Syk collapsed, twitching, no time to scream.
Pudel bit his lip but forced himself to ignore his fallen companion, focusing solely on combating Maloster, who appeared to not be fighting back. His confidence growing, Pudel harnessed a channel of light, transferring it to Maloster’s hand, pleasure tweaking him as the king winced.
“Not bad,” Maloster commented, never breaking eye contact with Pudel, “but it’s not good.” With that, he withdrew a weapon from behind him, and struck the elf down without a moment’s doubt or pause of motion.
“For you, my lord,” said Maloster, proud.
“Attack!” Vatyn commanded the Efousiam army, who passed them quickly.
“Aye, Master Vatyn!” they chanted in reply.
“Master,” Maloster said, “during the war with Seaskri, the elves assisted them, yet we still defeated them easily. The elves will be weakened, and Seaskri cannot help them.”
“I mindwhispered to the raingburre Defender there, and told him Lefa Grene was handy with traps, and not to touch the Boomerang, but rather retrieve it.”
“Sir, what do you think will happen when they do try to touch it?”
“How should I know?” Vatyn answered in a tone which made it quite clear he didn’t want to continue the conversation.
“I hope it’s something painful,” Maloster muttered as he followed the Dark Ruler deeper into the Qasdre forest towards the elf tribes’ main village.
“As do I,” Vatyn sniffed, drawing his chipped ivory sword.
Maloster nodded, lowering his gaze.
“What is it?” Vatyn asked, sensing weakness as he noticed the hesitation.
“Master, I hope it finishes her.”
Vatyn shot him a sideways glance. “You have become obsessed,” he observed, hacking at greenery as he trekked further into the woods.
“I suppose I have.”
“Do not allow revenge to control you,” Vatyn warned. “The girl will die. I have found loopholes in His plan before, and I can again, since you want this so much. Think of it as trade-back from all your years of working for me, and especially from betraying Lord Havom.”
“Thank you, master,” Maloster replied, pleased.
“But of course,” Vatyn said slyly. “Everyone deserves something ‘good’.”
“Of course they do,” Maloster agreed. “And the Defenders deserve death.”
Here the corners of Vatyn’s mouth twitched, as if he were about to grin, although, such a feat was not capable from a creature as evilly twisted as he. “They do indeed,” he answered. “Pectar’s kind, the ones who love and follow Havom and His Father, will all be slain before three sunsets fall. Darkness is all they will have left. My workers will go out and whisper to them, mock them, trick them.” Vatyn stopped before the elves, who were all assembled as a barrier. “And nothing their Lord can do will compare to my power. For I will be His equal once the jewels are mine. Of the hidden rivals, the Boomerang of Knowledge is the only one I need. Discard the others. Soon, Maloster,” he promised, “ soon all our problems will be solved. I will make sure of it.”