The wind rustled the leaves of the thick forrest, while Zekyrr walked down a small beaten path. The humming and buzzing of the insects as well the constant crying of the birds in the tops of the trees made it hard for him to concentrate. Nothing hinted at the presents of another being – yet Zekyrr’s heightened senses told him a different story. He was already being watched.
Zekyrr stared to whistle. He was aware that his sister is probably out there watching him, and he didn’t want to appear nervous.
"You know, skulking through the weeds, and pretending I don’t know you’re there, has got to get tiring at some point!", He shouted.
Zekyrr slowed his pace. No need to get too deep in the forest in case things go poorly.
An arrow whistled past Zekyrr’s head and hit a tree trunk where he just had been standing a second before. Just a split moment later another arrow struck the ground right before his feet. The message was clear: Don’t you dare move!
A small figure dropped down from the top of the trees, landing right behind Zekyrr. He felt a cold blade touching his unprotected skin at his neck. “What is your name, drow?”, the cloaked figure growled – a female, just as Zekyrr had expected.
"My name is Firus Kennyrraheal… But my friends refer to me as Zekyrr.“, he responded. ”Would I be correct in assuming you are Amaria?" Zekyrr stood perfectly still, arms stretched out in a non threatening manner.
The woman hesitated. “… Firus Kennyrraheal… yes. I have heard of a drow carrying that name.”
She pushed the blade of her small knife even closer, scratching Zekyrr’s skin. “And I remember the shame I felt when I found out why the rest of our community thought our family to be cursed. What do you want from me… brother??”, she hissed with disgust in her voice.
“You should feel shame.” Zekyrr said with an edge in his voice.
"Any family that abandons a helpless child should feel exactly that. Shame.“
Zekyrr’s blood boiled with the anger he felt at being abandoned. At being rejected simply because he was born different.
”You should feel…" His voice trails off. His momentary anger replaced by sadness.
"I simply wanted to find out if you were alright. That you were safe.", he said.
For a long moment Amaria said not a word until she slowly removed the blade from Zekyrr’s neck.
“But…”, her voice small and broken – too much had she lost to have the strength to fight now. “Why?”
"Because we are family.“, Zekyrr said softly. He slowly lowered his hands and turned around to look into his sisters face. A sister he knew so little of. ”And because I have so little family left."
Amara was confused. There he was standing, right in front of her – The brother whose pure existence gave her and her family so much grief. Only a couple months ago she would have shot and killed without hesitation. And she would have been happy to do so.
But now, there was no family anymore. There was not even a home to go back to.
With a determined move she put her dagger back on it’s spot on her belt, while secretly blinking the upwelling tears out of her eyes.
“Fine.”, she said, staring back at the drow coldly. “There is no need to kill you just yet anyway.”
Zekyrr thought for a moment and then a tiny smirk appeared. “Yep. We must be twins. Because I was just thinking that exact same thing.”
But despite his attempt at levity, he noticed that she didn’t even crack a smile. So his smile faded. “Fine.” "So now that we’re here, I have a question. Who attacked West Crook? And why target the elves?"
Amaria tilted her head slightly. “I do not know why, but I do know who. They are the reason why I am not staying in the town but also not leaving the general area. It was an inside job.”
She considered her words carefully. She was far away from trusting the drow before her, but she also knew that there was nothing she would accomplish alone.
“Have you ever heard of the Clan of the Dragon”?
Zekyrr thought for a moment. “No… My compatriots and I once fought dark Mages that turned into a giant skeletal dragon and to our knowledge, they had ransacked a nearby town. But I’m not sure it’s the same thing.”, he said. "Who are they?"
“It is a secret and, from all I was able to find out, a very young clan. But powerful, with the followers being absolutely devoted to their leader.”
She nodded into the direction of West Crook. “The city was not raided by outsiders. The attack came from within. This is also the reason why only very little news about what happened have left the city gates.”
She paused, trying to give weight to her words. “The attackers and clanmembers consist of military leaders, nobles, rich tradesmen… practically everyone with influence in the area.”
Zekyrr thought for a moment. It didn’t seem fit in regards to the groups recent revelations. As tragic as it was, it could just be some sort of local disturbance. Still he could not shake the feeling that there had to be more to it than that. Why target only the elf population. "Who is the leader of this vile clan?", Zekyrr asked.
"A mystery." Amaria shook her head. "They tend to refer to their leader only as “HIM” or “The blessed one”. I do not think he resides in this city."
She moved her head and stared into the direction of her hometown.
“It angers me. So many dead, a third of the city is basically wiped out. And nobody seems to take action against the murderers.”
Zekyrr didn’t want to overstep his bounds and speak for the group, but this was his chance… Perhaps his only chance at connecting with his sister. After all, this is why he had come… Right?
He had come to find her. To help her. And surely the others would understand.
“We will take action!”, he shouted. Zekyrr was shocked that it had come out so loudly. "I mean, my friends and I… We would be delighted to help you track down these murderers.", he said.
Zekyrr really hoped he hadn’t just doomed them all to… Well, certain doom.
“That is… If you are sure you are done trying to kill me.”, Zekyrr said. He smirked again.
Amaria flinched at his sudden outburst. She distrusted his eagerness to help her – nothing that happened here had anything to do with him. Unfortunately for her she was alone, and she knew there was nothing she would accomplish this way, no matter how good of a hunter she was. This drow and his so called friends might at least be useful as bait, if anything.
“Fine. I will accept your help.”, she said, nodding. Then she stepped to the side, opening the path for Zekyrr.
She would be an idiot if she ever would turn her back towards him.
>Let’s hope I won’t regret this…<,><excellent>
“Lead? Fine. Just don’t put a knife in my back.” Zekyrr started the long trudge back through the forest.
Amaria followed quietly with her hand resting on the hilt of her weapon. When they passed one wide beech she jumped behind it just to reappear with a longbow and a quiver hung over her shoulder.
What an odd situation she found herself in. She inhaled deeply. Somehow she had the feeling that this would not end well…