Varathorn Dalren, the current residing elder of Sylvas, donned his official ceremonial robes and stroked his long grey hair. When he first become elder some 70 years ago he hated the pomp and ceremony that came with the job. Varathorn, nonetheless, was grateful to be named as the successor to the previous elder. He had a deep regard for the forest and upheld its laws and natural flow vigorously, some his actions had been as controversial at the time but had brought a heightened level of prosperity throughout Sylvas and the Sylvian Forest.
Breaking away from this pleasant reminiscing he wandered out of his house high in the oldest oak tree in Sylvas, across a carefully constructed bridge towards the town square. As he walked a group of advisers and guards flanked him on each side, Varathorn had become accustomed to this and paid no attention to them. His advisers were dressed in long brown and green robes bearing the official symbol of Sylvas, a tree whose roots extended down and around the tree itself, on the front and back. Most, if not all, carried a vast mountain of scrolls for Varathron's attention. The guards in, stark contrast, were dressed in reinforced leather armour which also bore the symbol of Sylvas. They were armed with short swords at their waist and a bow on their backs, each guard was hand picked by the commander of the Sylvian militia and had exceptional skill in fighting with both weapons. Their sole purpose was to protect Varathorn at all costs, Varathorn in turn was highly appreciative of their vigilance and rewarded them very generously.
None of this went through Varathorn's mind, however, as they walked approached the square. Varathorn was completrely mesmerised by the myriad of colours that the forest had to offer during the season of high summer. A smile broke his face as his eyes attempted to appreciate and treasure the beautiful sight before him. All around flowers had bloomed, painting the square with a mixture of deep reds, playful yellows and mesmerising purples. Sunlight filtered through the luscious deep green of the forest canopy, the sunlight reflected and refracted within the forest giving it a shimmering glow. This is truly paradise Varathorn thought to himself. A cough from one of his advisers brought him out of his daydreaming, as Varathorn turned his mind to the day's business one final thought crossed his mind. It's a shame people insist on harming this place.
With a sigh at this last thought Varathorn entered the town square, a large circular wooden platform positioned within some of the strongest trees in Sylvas, along the north edge of the square there was a slightly raised section. Usually the square was used for markets or official council meetings, however today its use was for a entirely more sombre affair. Hunters had been caught in the act of slaying a dragon, they were quickly detained by the forest scouts who had raised the alarm. Due to forest law everyone was entitled to a fair trial, however there was no doubt in Varathorn's mind that the evidence stacked up against these hunters would result in a guilty verdict. Varathorn took his seat at a large table placed upon the raised section in the north, his advisers sat either side of him and the guards stood to attention at either end of the table.
Nodding a signal to the baileff the hunters were marched in, a scruffy darkly clad group of five each with their hands bound behind their backs. They had only been imprisoned for a day or so yet Varathorn noticed that their appearance had considerably degenerated since he last set eyes upon them. Maybe it was realisation of the inevitable Varathorn thought glumly to himself. The trial was as much as a non-event as a trial could be, the hunters kept silent throughout the whole report. Even when the scout Nissa had given her eye witness account of the crime.
The bailiff announced that all the evidence had been presented and gave the hunters a chance to speak, however they remained silent. The jury was then called upon to decide a verdict. A moment's conversing and the jury returned a unanimous guilty.
Varathorn slowly rose and pondered his words careful, "You have been found guilty for crimes against the forest and invalidating the draconian treaty. You are hear by condemned to death by execution." Varathorn had never had to pass such a harsh verdict, it had left a horrible sickly taste in his mouth. Varathorn thought all life should be respected, even that of criminals. There were crimes that due to their severity had to be punishable by death.
As soon as the words had left Varathorn's mouth the captain of the guard ordered the hunters to be taken to the execution pit. The execution pit was a large pit dug within the ground of a hidden cavern in the dense forestland. It had been commissioned by the previous elder a couple centuries ago to preserve the forest against the taint of death and decay. The pit itself had been enchanted so that the negative energy from the executions were destroyed instead of leaking into the forest and tainting the forest. A huge mass of people, distracted from their daily activities by the trial, followed the guard as the hunters were taken away.
The hunters were thrown into the pit, the cleanliness of the pit surprised the hunters however this was only a minor distraction from their impending doom. A huge muscular elf, completely clad in black and a mask to protect his face, dragged a huge two-handed broad sword into the pit. Varathorn nodded to him in acknowledgement and as a signal to proceed. Within a few seconds the five hunters lay motionless on the ground, their heads completely separated from their bodies. The executioner wiped the blade with a clean rag and plunged the sword into some clean purified water, tinted with flecks of crystal. This ensured any traces of unnatural death had been removed from the blade.
A huge cheer ripped through the crowd of spectators as the executioner lit the rag with a torch and flung it into the pit. Flames quickly spread through the pit, consuming everything in its path. Just before the flame had reached the last of the hunters he noticed a small insignia tattooed on the hunter's upper arm and cursed himself for not noticing it earlier. An open eye within a circle, the insignia of the Network of Shadows. This can only mean trouble Varathorn thought to himself. Once the flames had eventually died down in the execution pit there was absolutely no remains of the hunters or the insignia. It was almost as though they had never existed. Varathorn left the execution site and silently made his way back to his house, his mind full of worries. Varathorn's advisers and guards quickly followed him, they could all sense Varathorn's troubled mind and uneasiness was instilled in them. What had caused their elder so much worry? Yet none of them voiced their concerns.