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> The Settlement, a tale of elvish justice, A short story (CW practice, comments welcome)
post May 13 2007, 02:54 PM
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Part 1 Infiltration
The settlement, Jackson’s Mill, had been founded little over ten years ago. It consisted of five timber longhouses with poorly thatched roofs; an inn with stables; a smithy and the sawmill that gave the place its name. The residents of the longhouses were all human, come here to work and earn a small fortune felling the Valash trees. The trees the elves of the woods claimed as theirs. Felling a healthy Valash tree carried severe penalties under elvish law. Four years ago, when the humans of Jackson’s Mill increased the rate they were destroying the trees, an envoy was sent by the elves to ask them to stop. The envoy was ignored.

Dusk cast its eerie pall across the land, shadows spreading from the dark places like hungry wraiths to claim the land as light fled. The smell of wood smoke and the noises of the inn echoed across the clearing between the hamlet and the ancient woods, fuel for the fury that burnt behind eighteen pairs of elvish eyes.
“This place of desecration will not see dawn! Their bodies shall feed the treelings we plant to replace the damage they have wrought.” whispered the Wing Leader angrily. She pulled her live-spear out of the leaf littered ground where it had been feeding during the last few hours, roots vanishing back into the haft to reveal the razor sharp, wavy blade at its tip. Her warriors, lithe figures in light armour of cured leaves and hardened bark scales, readied their own weapons at her words.
“Let’s move!”

They emerged from the cover of the woods and flitted between the stumps of dead trees in silence, quickly covering the ground between them and the human settlement. At the Wing Leader’s gesture the group split into pairs and fanned out to encircle Jackson’s Mill just within bow range. The eight humans posted as guards on the outskirts of the settlement were oblivious to the movement out in the dark.
Barb tipped arrows, wet with Vine Toxin, were nocked to elvish bows. A call of a hunting owl disguised the twang of sixteen bows; the ruckus from the inn was too loud for the humans to hear the whisper of arrow flight over. Small gasps of surprise escaped lips as each guard was struck by at least one poisoned arrow. The Vine Toxin killed, within seconds, anyone who survived the wound from the arrow.
The hunting owl cried again and the circle of elves closed in, five marksmen staying back to prevent any possible escape by humans or provide covering fire in the highly unlikely event of a retreat.

A pair snuck into each longhouse with short blades in their hands, swift and silent death their intent towards all within. The hunter sent to the smithy found it empty and proceeded to the inn, joining the lookout keeping watch from the shadows behind the stables.
The Wing Leader had taken the sawmill herself. She entered the living quarters via an open window and followed the snoring to locate the only occupant; a middle aged man sleeping soundly in a hard looking, wooden bed. Not the humans’ leader, as she was expecting, but condemned nonetheless. She reversed the live-spear and, with an over-head chop, thrust it deep into his chest. He didn’t even have time to wake and scream, so clean the kill. After wiping the gore off on the man’s blanket she ducked back outside and walked cautiously to the inn where any real fighting was likely to occur.

Dwilf - Project Wish Tool Coder
"A Knife in the Dark is worth a thousand Swords at Dawn"
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