It Takes a Villain (Part 3)

The group was still getting their bearings when Gilla said almost in a whisper, “Tabeetha says the dragon knows we are here. There must be some sort of connection to Haven that allows those that dwell here to have an increased awareness of trespassers in their domain.”

The shadow elves prepared their composite short bows and went over the arrows each of them had. The older shadow elf said in his quiet manner, “Use the black and yellow first. If those should fail, then use the black and green. If those fail as well, run for your life and do what you must to stay alive.”

The younger shadow elf nodded his head in silent acknowledgement and ran his fingers carefully over the fletching on the arrows. Two of his arrows had black and yellow feathers, and only one had black and green. The rest of his arrows were fletched with dull grey and tan feathers to indicate that these were nothing special, at least not in the hands of most archers. These shadow elves were not mere archers, though. One of them was the sort of marksman that legendary songs were written about, and the other was getting close to being one of the most lethal shots in the whole of Partum. So finely tuned were their senses that they could literally tell what color the feathers were that fletched their arrows merely by touch. Both kept their hoods down to fully engage their hearing and eyesight, and with arrows nocked they kept their attention locked on the sky and the treetops.

September the drow elven priestess lowered her voice and whispered to Lendler and his clan, “There is no point making you invisible, any dragon can see right through the ruse. Instead of doing that I will increase your overall health and agility and do what I can to create an even more enticing target away from you. For now, stick close to us, but as soon as you see the dragon it would be advisable for you to find a good place to hide and be as quiet as possible.”

Lendler and his kin knew better than to argue with the lady and at any rate they were not equipped for this sort of mayhem. Knowing that green dragons are treacherous and cunning in the best of circumstances this was no time to let down their guard. They had brought along some swords and had light leather armor, but this was not what one would wear to confront a wily and deadly dragon such as Untote Druuna.

Spindler and Ponce, the two xvarts, were uncharacteristically bold in this moment. They were chuckling to themselves and drew their wicked-looking short swords. Unlike the shadow elves who were scanning the air and the leaves of the trees for any sign of the green dragon the xvarts kept their gazes lowered in case the dragon decided to attack from ground level. The jorish huntsmen had already gone airborne in the polymorphed forms of ravens to see if they could spot the dragon before she arrived. Elliott the human huntsman was still a novice and wasn’t able to transform into a bird yet, so he busied himself with preparing his throwing axes and keeping an eye on those less capable of defending themselves.

This left Baron Chaverin the priestly drider, September the drow elven priestess, and Gilla the night hag. The three of them were adept spellcasters and individually they were terrifically dangerous. Together they had learned to work with one another and had a keen awareness of what each of them were able to do and what they couldn’t. Chaverin had cast a protective spell over the entire group and wasn’t at all convinced it had done any good. Nothing about Haven felt right. The colors were too muted, almost washed out as if the illustrator had gone on break after getting some of the earth tones down and not much else. September was equally perturbed and while she wasn’t as comfortable in the surface world as others in the group, this was something even more troubling. It wasn’t that the details were lacking. It was that September felt as though more attention had gone into something else. What it was she couldn’t exactly say, but her mind was racing trying to decode the methodology behind how Haven was constructed.

Gilla wasn’t as uncomfortable as anyone else here. In fact, she found Haven to be vaguely comforting and a source of reassurance. And unlike those that couldn’t quite define their anxiety, Gilla could readily identify why she liked it in Haven. Except for the fact that it had trees and rivers and terrain features that clearly mimicked those of the Prime Material Plane, Gilla found Haven to be much like her native plane, the Grey Waste. There was one thing about that though that concerned the night hag. She knew firsthand that things in other planes of existence didn’t always act or react the way one planned on. They all knew that Untote Druuna was coming for them. How that was going to play out had yet to be seen.