Though spring was starting to give way to summer a thick blanket of rich, white snow still blanketed the top of the mountain peak known as Rhaw, Sindarin for untamed, the peak had earned it’s name by the few adventurous spirits who had brought their hikes far enough into the mountains to experience the violent nature of the weather surrounding Rhaw. Thunderstorms that seemed to only shroud the immediate area of the peak were common and most of the rumors surrounding why reasoned that the mountain was cursed in some form or another by an evil spirit whom dwelled within it’s many caves and crevices. Rhaw sat in roughly the middle of the unnamed series of mountains that made up the east-west border between the lands of Evendim and the North Downs.The terrain was difficult and dangerous to navigate for even the most experienced mountaineers and complete passage from one region to another was thought wholly impossible. It was in this desolate and inhospitable place where the trees had given way to clear, white slopes and a low hanging mist that Sapthan, the Angmarim sorcerer, and his companions Sorfem and Nilûphel had reasoned they might finally be able to evade the Ranger Turchon.
“Leave him!” The womanly form of Nilûphel cried out as Sorfem, alone, tried to pull the injured Sorcerer Sapthan further up the mountain. “You would defy your own master?” the towering form of Sorfem replied between labored breaths as he dragged Sapthan’s unconscious form through the snow.
Nilûphel nearly screamed in frustration at the man’s commitment “Do you want to die, you fool. That accursed Ranger caught us when we were all healthy and ready to fight… imagine if he catches up to us now dragging Sapthan around like a slave to his chain! What’ll we do with him anyway? He took a spear to his stomach, did you not see?” she grabbed Sorfem by the shoulder and shook his hulking form furiously as she cried “Leave him!”
Sorfem brought his hand back and slapped the woman so hard she not only released his shoulder but also went crashing into the snow “Sapthan is your master, witch, he is also speaker for the void in case you forgot.” He trudges past her as she begins scrambling back to her feet. “I don’t want to face whatever curse he brings upon us should we leave him to die, the Ranger may kill us but he cannot torment our spirits in death, Sapthan can and has, I’ve seen him do it.”
Nilûphel instinctively reached for the curved dagger at her side as she began to rise from the snow but thought better of it and instead clutched her cheek, which had already begun to turn red. “I’m sorry.” She said as she unfastened the top two buttons of her blouse and put on the most vulnerable face she could muster before rushing back to Sorfem’s side saying, “I just don’t want to die. Please don’t let me die.” She then grabbed Sapthan’s other arm to help carry the man further up the mountainside.
Sorfem glanced aside at Nilûphel’s altered wardrobe and demeanor with a snort “That won’t work on me, witch.” He said, grunting as he reached out with his hands to help guide them as they traversed a sudden incline in the slope “So you best cover yourself back up.” He glanced back at Sapthan with a worried gaze before eyeing the path ahead and saying, “I think I see a cave up ahead.”
Nilûphel frowned at the man but left her chest half exposed as she dropped Sapthan’s arm and ran past Sorfem “I’ll scout it.” She called over her shoulder as she bounded up the snowy incline towards the large mouth of the cave. With a grin she saw that a storm was starting to brew overhead “Ha! That Ranger will be caught out in the open.” She called out to Sorfem as she entered the cavern “Come on you big, dumb bastard!”
Sorfem managed to haul Sapthan up the rest of the slope and into the cavern a few minutes later and as he let his eyes adjust he noticed Nilûphel clearing the immediate area, her crossbow held at the ready.He laid Sapthan as gently as he could against the hard stone floor and began rummaging through his things as he ripped the man’s blood soaked tunic apart to reveal the nasty wound in his stomach had bled through it’s makeshift bandages.He began the process of applying new one’s as he looked over to Nilûphel saying, “He’s going to die but it’ll take a few days.” with clear indifference.
Nilûphel grinned “Good.” She sat across from Sorfem and placed her crossbow at her side “He used to look at me but not like other men look at me, more like he wanted to turn me into another sacrifice to the void.” She shudders “Do you remember that Hillman, what was his name… Aeron?” she casts a glance to her black nails and frowns, apparently having lost her train of thought “I think I broke one.” She says with a good deal of concern.
Sorfem goes about finishing the bandages apparently unfazed by Nilûphel’s reaction “He did want to sacrifice you, he implied it to me several times, you must of warmed the bed of somebody important though, because he never got what he wanted.” Suddenly Sapthan begins to cough violently and awakens from his unconscious state only to go into some sort of trance saying, “The void! I saw the power to control it… here.” He looks around and grabs Nilûphel’s arm, his ugly pale features drenched in sweat “The power is here… we must… find it” he stares intensely into the deeper areas of the cave before collapsing abruptly against the floor.
Nilûphel blinks a few times as she waits to see if Sapthan is unconscious again, finally saying “What in the name of the crown was that about?” as she looks to Sorfem whom again, seemed mostly unfazed by the goings on, he replied “He felt something, obviously. You would feel it too if you were closer to the dark but you choose to live like a child, ignorant to true power.” He then stood and drew his mace which he tapped against the cavern wall “This place is old… very old.” He glanced out of the mouth of the cave where the storm was starting to pick up in full force then back into the deeper depths of the cavern “You need to drag him further in, get away from the storm out there.“
Nilûphel scowled at the insult but raised a brow as she watched Sorfem pull a vial of green liquid from his robes and begin coating his mace in the substance.“What are you doing?” she asked as she slowly reached for her crossbow, using her other arm to drag Sapthan deeper into the cavern.
Sorfem grunted in reply “I’m going to wait here.” He practiced a few swings with his mace before looking at the severity of the storm outside and gesturing roughly further down the slope to where the trees began to dot the mountain side “If this storm lets up any time soon I’ll wander further down and see if I can leave a few surprises for our ranger friend.”
Nilûphel nodded slowly as she continued to drag Sapthan deeper into the darkness of the cavern “Better you than me.” She muttered once the hulking man was out of hearing range.“What about you Sapthan?” she asked mockingly “Will you protect me from the Ranger?” she then spit upon his unconscious form and shook her head “I think not.” Letting him drop abruptly she began to count the bolts for her crossbow and inspect the edge of her scimitar. “I’ll have have to do it myself.” She spoke aloud as she looked towards the more dimly lit corners of the cave and began to form a plan of action.