Try as he might, Almonihah could catch only glimpses of their captors. He could tell they were all around his friends as they led them through the jungle, but they moved like they were part of the trees. All that Garkhen or Zakhin’Dakh could keep track of was the voice ahead of them, telling them which way to go.
Eventually they stopped, in a patch of jungle that seemed much like the others.
“You will wait here,” their guide said, still concealed in the underbrush ahead of them, “While I go and inform the council of your presence.”
And with that, he was gone. They waited for a long, tense time… maybe an hour, Almonihah guessed. At last someone returned… and this time they showed their faces.
A small party of people—three elves, two humans, and even a dwarf—emerged from the jungle. The elves moved like their brethren, unseen and unheard until they chose to reveal themselves. The other three… well, they weren’t as bad as Garkhen or Zakhin’Dakh, but the elves certainly put their skills to shame.
“Well!” The dwarf exclaimed as he made his way into view. “This is quite the little group, eh?”
“Well-armed, clearly dangerous,” one of the humans remarked, looking at the two half-dragons and the griffon suspiciously.
“The bronze one moves as if elf-trained,” one of the three elves commented—their guide, from his voice.
Another of the elves, the only female of the group, held up her hand as if to stop the discussion. “We will hear them out before making our judgments,” she firmly stated.
“Yes,” the third elf agreed. “What brings so unusual a group to our shores?”
“Javni’Tolkhrah,” Almonihah stated, flatly. “Madness-Touched. Big one attacked our ship, so we drew it off ‘nd landed here.”
“Why didn’t you return to your ship?” The suspicious human asked.
Almonihah glanced over at Garkhen. He didn’t really want to talk about it…
Garkhen sighed. “We carry something that we wish to destroy, which seems to attract such creatures.”
That caused some rapid discussion amongst the small group.
“We certainly don’t want something like that here!” The suspicious human said, loudly enough for the three to hear.
The other human, quiet until now, spoke up. “And yet such a thing would hardly be less dangerous in the hands of the pirates.”
“I don’t know, maybe it’d get some of them eaten!”
Things continued in this vein for a while, until the female elf again cut the rest of the group off. Once they were quiet, she turned to Garkhen.
“What is the nature of this item you carry?” She asked. “It seems we shall decide little without knowing more of it.”
“Dangerous,” Almonihah stated, scowling. “Not safe t’ talk about.”
“It… has shown the ability to tamper with memories and desires, yes,” Garkhen said to his friend, “But I think speaking of it is safe, so long as we do not remove it from its protections.” He turned to the group questioning them. “We do not know its true nature, save that it is difficult to destroy and possessed of considerable chaotic powers. We know not how to destroy it, for which purpose we were going to the mages of Midport. And we have had no desire to experiment with its powers. But it seems capable of drawing the Madness-Touched to it of its own accord.”
“We have no more desire to bring trouble upon you than you have to receive it, but we have no way to safely dispose of it. I fear that, were it cast into the ocean or deep in the earth, it would twist the animals or the soil itself to its purposes. We must destroy it… we need only know how.”
Almonihah growled, unhappy at how much Garkhen had revealed… but it was too late now.
The six were silent for a long moment, taking in what the half-blue dragon had said. At last the elven woman looked at her companions. All nodded at her, though the louder human seemed reluctant.
She turned back to the three companions. “Then we must aid you.”
Gasp! Help? But can they trust it?