Full background story:
High within the treetops in the Sylvian forest Fenrir surveyed the area, the woodland expanded far beyond the horizon. The forest itself was calm, the only noise the filtered through the branches of the thick oak trees was that of the forest inhabitants. Fenrir had lived in the forest all his life, even though he was a fairly young elf of 25 years, he had a deep regard for Nature. This he thought was not only due to his upbringing but also the fact that the Sylvian forest had a beauty unlike that he had ever seen. A smile formed on his face as he happily reminisced.
Fenrir’s attention was brought back to reality by a bloodcurdling roar from somewhere near by, travelling treewise Fenrir estimated he was only a few minutes away. With his heart racing Fenrir launched himself from tree to tree until he was a few hundred yards from where the roar had emanated from, Fenrir stayed in the treetops and listened carefully for any more disturbance. He could faintly hear swords being drawn or sheathed, to get closer he would have to be careful.
The branch adjacent to the one Fenrir was standing on suddenly moved violently, Fenrir jumped. He was concentrating so much on the strange noises that he had become oblivious to everything else, cursing himself slightly for being so foolish he looked up and saw Nissa. Nissa, a female elf of his own age, was dressed in scouting gear and her long blond hair, that reached her waist, was tied back in a ponytail. Her piercing blue eyes looked straight into Fenrir’s own eyes.
“What’s going on?” She asked. Before Fenrir could reply there was another roar, this time louder and more ominous before.
Simultaneously Fenrir and Nissa, leapt along a few more trees and dropped to the ground, drawing their bows as they landed. They had been trained in ways to protect the forest and its inhabitants, instinct took over as they armed their arrows and ran deftly round the corner and into a clearing where the commotion had been coming from.
One glance at the clearing told them all they needed to know. Five hunters stood around a motionless jet black dragon. The dragon’s body was covered n several deep wounds, blood gushed violently onto the soft green grass below, staining it dark red. The blood splashed against the hunters’ boots, their brows ferociously sweating with the effort of the fight. Despite this their faces bore huge grins and no doubt their minds were on the plentiful bounty that they would receive. A couple of the hunters were still hacking away at various parts of the dragon. There was a triumphant yell as one hunter severed the dragon’s head. The hunters were so involved that they hadn’t even noticed Fenrir and Nissa’s arrival at the clearing.
Fenrir and Nissa acted quickly, Fenrir launched a volley of arrows at the hunters whilst Nissa blew her scouting horn to alert any nearby scouts. Before the hunters had a chance to react the trees surrounding the clearing rustled furiously as other scouts arrive at the scene.
“Move and die!” Fenrir yelled whilst hurrying over to the hunters, Nissa quickly but silently behind. Both bows were pointed at the hunters. The hunters, not ones to be threatened or turn away from battle, turned around and started charging towards the two scouts. At that moment every tree within the perimeter of the clearing shifted as other elves launched themselves from the treetops and landed on the clearing. A tight circle formed around the hunter’s and they were quickly detained.
The scout commander entered the clearing and shook his head in slight despair, “Take them away and inform the elder!” The commander ordered. As the hunters were carted off to Slyvas, where they would be executed for their crimes, another elf approached the elder and muttered something in his ear. The commander nodded in response and looked around the clearing.
His gaze fell on Fenrir, “You there, Fenrir Fanghorn.”
“Yes sir. Is there something I can do to help?” Fenrir asked slightly nervously and with an air of confusion.
“Quite possibly. Your father, in his youth, was highly skilled in the arts of spectral hunting. Did he ever teach these skills to you?”
Fenrir thought quickly, he could feel all eyes on him. His father had taught him a few skills when he was younger, namely the ability to see auras and spirits. Nissa jabbed Fenrir sharply in the ribs to remind him to answer quickly.
“He did teach me a few skills sir, I can see auras and spirits”
With a mumbled confirmation the commander motioned Fenrir and Nissa over. The commander briefly explained the severity of the situation and what needed to be done. A treaty with the Draconians meant that any slain draconian must be taken to a representative in the correct many.
The issue the elves currently faced was the dragon’s body was so big and so badly desecrated that it would be difficult to get it to the nearest representative. The commander also admitted that the only representative he knew was the Draconian Council themselves, which resided in a city, Draconia, high within the most distant mountain peaks. To Fenrir anywhere outside the forest seemed like a completely alien world.
“You will need to perform a ritual tonight to track down the dragon’s soul and persuade it to travel with you to Draconia” The elder’s voice cut through the clearing. Everyone turned to face the elder and bowed to show their respect.
The elder put his hand on Fenrir’s shoulder, “Come, we have many preparations to make. Commander, please ask your men to pull out.” The elder turned to Nissa, “Fenrir will need your help to get through this.”
The rest of the day was spent ritually cleansing body and mind. As darkness fell, the trio gathered around the slain dragon. The elder circled the dragon three times whilst chanting words in elvish. Still chanting the elder dipped two fingers in the dragon’s fast congealing blood and pressed the blood dipped fingers against Fenrir’s forehead.
All the muscles in Fenrir’s body relaxed as he quickly lost consciousness, Nissa caught him as he fell to the ground. “The rest is up to him now.” The elder commented and sat patiently on the grass.
Fenrir’s mind was reeling as he awoke in an unfamiliar place. Everywhere around him was dark and nothing seemed to have a definitive form. “Focus.” The elder’s words drifted through to him. Fenrir spun round but saw nothing but more darkness. He began to focus on the scene at the clearing. As he did the darkness began to take the form of the clearing, though something was different. It was as though everything was slightly transparent, giving the whole environment a slightly ethereal atmosphere.
It dawned on Fenrir that he was in the spirit realm and understood what he needed to do. His purpose here was to find the dragon’s spirit and bring it back to the physical realm. How to find the dragon’s spirit though? As if to answer his question a shimmering jet black dragon appeared a few metres away from him.
“Why have you summoned me?” the dragon asked.
“I...I mean you know harm.” Fenrir stammered slightly nervously. “I approach you as an escort back to Draconia.”
The dragon stood silently assessing Fenrir for what seemed like an eternity, “What is your name elf?”
“Fenrir Fanghorn” Fenrir replied, bowing slightly to show his respect for the dragon.
“Very well, Fenrir Fanghorn, I accept your proposal. I am Talesin. We must leave soon for my energy weakens and I fear that I will not survive much longer.”
Fenrir knelt directly in front of Talesin and with head bowed offered his body as a vessel for Talesin’s spirit. A sudden sharp coldness flooded Fenrir’s body and chilled the core of his being as Talesin merged with Fenrir. The ethereal environment dissipated and Fenrir began falling at an alarming speed, as he fell he passed out for the second time in the same night.
Fenrir awoke to a concerned expression on Nissa’s flawless face, throwing herself over Fenir she exclaimed with great relief, “I’m glad you’re okay. I was worried about you.”
“Are you alright?” The elder asked out of concern. Fenrir, feeling completely drained of all energy, only managed a nod. “Rest for tonight, in the morning Nissa will travel with you to the edge of the forest. Your journey to Draconia will be a long one.”
“I will keep watch over Fenrir tonight and at first light we’ll leave for the nearest village outside the forest.” Nissa informed the Elder.
“Very well, I will return to Sylvas.” The elder turned to Fenrir, “Good luck, I’m sorry that you have to bear this burden.” With that the elder was gone.
Nissa put her hands over Fenrir’s eyes and whispered softly to him, “I will always look out for you, now get some rest. You’ll need your strength.” Fenrir wanted to reply, wanted to tell Nissa that he would do the same for her. The words, however, did not reach his lips as he quickly drifted into a deep dreamless sleep. He knew the next day he would leave everything and everyone that he had ever known, worst of all he knew that this maybe the last time he saw Nissa.