Faithseeker 7: Darts in the Dark
Rauthauvyr's Road, on the way to the Abbey of the Sword, at the edge of the forest of Cormanthor.
Second week of Kythorn, 1372 DR
A few days after Keldoth’s trial, the knights leave the Abbey of the Just Hammer to help the village the poachers spoke about. Eghlen, Selia, Keldoth and Hervor decide to leave with them, as the village is near their new destination: the Abbey of Sword. At the crossroads, Tyspian is asked by his commander to go with Selia and Eghlen to the abbey and convince the Tempus’ knights to join Tormites in their fight against the “dark raiders” who torment the village.
It turns out that Tempus’ knights are aware of the raids, and know exactly who the “dark raiders” are: drows. After hearing this, Eghlen decides to stay in the abbey for a few days to report on the events. Tyspian, however, wants to rejoin his regiment as soon as possible and warn his colleagues that the foe is stronger and more cunning than anticipated. Tempus’ knights, unfortunately, don’t have enough manpower to help the Tormites: they had to increase the patrols and guards after drows started raiding the abbey grounds as well. In addition to that, most of the knights are spread across the lands, searching for the demon who recently killed their abbot. They hope to resurrect the abbot after he’s avenged. Tyspian is sympathetic to their cause, but doesn’t want to leave the abbey grounds without getting any help whatsoever. After a heated discussion, the knights agree to send out one of their scouts. They stress, though, that the scout’s priority is to search for the demon and if he finds any tracks of it, he needs to report it back immediately.
Selia volunteers to assist Tyspian in the quest to help the village. She also convinces Keldoth and Hervor to join (the former does it to show his gratitude for saving him from prison sentence; the latter only agrees after Selia reminds him that nobody will be able to pay Keldoth’s debt after they both die). Together, they leave the abbey. The scout, called Randor the Serious, turns out to be an enjoyable companion, telling jokes all the way to the Tormites’ camp.
The Tormites set up their camp close to the farms that suffered the most harm from the dark elves. When Tyspian and others reach it, though, it turns out to be almost empty: the knights, divided into two groups, have already left to engage the enemy. Tyspian, Selia and Randor decide to search for them immediately. Keldoth and Hervor go as well, although they are clearly not enthusiastic about having to run around without a break the whole day. One of the local hunters offers to help them track the knights. His task turns out to be pretty easy, as the knights move through the forest deliberately and without stealth, leaving a wide spoor of their passage. However, Tyspian’s party does not manage to catch up to them before it gets dark. The hunter does not want to move during the night, as he’s afraid of the drow attacks. They make camp in a small clearing, but do not start a fire, with hope it would be enough to not get noticed.
Selia and Tyspian take the first watch. They enjoy each other’s company and talk in hushed voices while trying to pay attention to the surroundings. They fail to notice a small party of drows sneaking towards them, and are attacked with the sleep-inducing bolts. Selia is hit in the neck, but she manages to stay awake thanks to her strong will: she runs towards the tent to wake up the others. Tyspian’s shield covers him from the shooters and he doesn't get hit.
Once awake, Keldoth summons a thick mist that covers the whole camp. Together with Selia, Tyspian and Hervor he hides under a ledge behind a huge tree. The hunter, disoriented and scared, runs in the opposite direction and disappears in the forest. Randor the Serious is not afraid of the enemies and charges at them with his axe. Tyspian tries to convince Selia to use the power of light to blind the enemy. Hervor and Keldoth are very much against the idea, preferring to stay low while the drows are fighting Randor.
Randor is no match for the dark elves and is quickly overpowered. The drows search for new victims and manage to sneak up on Hervor, Keldoth and Selia. The element of surprise gives them an advantage only for a moment, as Selia summons glaring light to blind them. She then draws her swords and attacks one of the drows. The drow covers his eyes with his left hand and fights with the right one, blocking Selia’s knockout attempt and inflicting a flesh wound to Selia’s right hand. Selia changes tactics and with a sudden shift thrusts her sword into her opponent’s calf. The drow falls to the ground screaming in pain and swinging his dagger wildly. Selia disarms him with a kick so strong that it dislocates the dark elf’s arm. Certain that this enemy won’t harm her or her friends anymore, Selia leaves the drow on the ground and rushes to help the others. She discovers with horror that Hervor has already defeated his enemy, killing him. Keldoth, on the other hand, has a hard time with his opponent and Selia helps him. Tyspian manages to defeat the drow attacking him without any help.
The drows, surprised by unexpected opposition, back off. Tyspian and Hervor scout the surroundings to make sure they are safe, while Keldoth and Selia provide first aid to Randor and the hunter, who lost consciousness due to drow poison. Selia is so distraught that she does not notice the dark elf she wounded is losing blood until Tyspian draws her attention to the pool of blood forming beneath the drow. She tends to the drow’s wounds the best way she can.
The other dark elf captured by the group seems only to speak drowish and is very hardened – he does not seem to respond in any constructive way to Tyspian’s questions. As there is nothing more to be done, Keldoth and Hervor take watch, allowing Selia and Tyspian to sleep for a few hours.
In the morning it turns out that the wounded drow died during the night. Selia is devastated, blaming herself for her lack of healing skills. Tyspian tries to console her and says that during a fight between good and evil, evildoers sometimes need to be killed – and as they are usually the ones who start the battle, they themselves are to be blamed for their own demise. Hervor argues that if this is the case, the other prisoner should be killed as well. Selia, however, does not want to hear about it. She realizes that Keldoth was right when he said that Hervor is evil, but she does not know what to make of it.
During the day, the group catches up with the Tormites. The leader, after hearing their story and seeing the captured drow, orders the knights to go back to the camp and regroup to think of a better way of fighting with such a dangerous and elusive enemy.