The aftermath of the dragonslaying was, all in all, rather profitable. Our esteemed sorcerer was gifted with several wands to aid him, whereas I was given access to many spells. I only wished I had more ink with which to copy them; I could likely have spent months there poring over the books that were made available to me. However, we were somewhat pressed for time, and we made, once again, for Celembril.|
On our way, as we were camped one night, Dulartu happened to notice a man and a woman through the mists. It turned out that we were in a fight for our lives, for these were skilled foes, indeed. Too, they had the same glowing eyes as those we dispatched in Thanandir. They also had lupine servants to send after us, for we had hidden ourselves amongst the foliage. After dispatching the wolves, we turned our attentions to the man and the woman, who were by this time rifling through our camp. Dulartu, with the aid of one of his wands, made short work of the man, apparently a warrior.
He had in his possession a blade of considerable power. It shone as if a piece of the sun itself were used in the forging. It is light as a feather, and as quick as a viper's sting. It was a good thing this blade was available to me.
Jacques stood athwart the woman, as I was retrieving the blade and advancing behind him. She then demanded something of him, I heard. She said only 'it,' but there was little doubt of what she sought. It was the shard she was after, surely. After a few more words, I saw Jacques unleash at her a most powerful blow. It should have shattered her ribs, but instead it did nothing. At this, Jacques a most peculiar and uncharacteristic thing: he ran, saying that we could not win this fight.
Now, I quite realize that I know him very little, and that he has many odd...shall we say, quirks, but I have not known him to back away from anything. He has proven, in spite of my contempt, a most stalwart ally. To see him thus was, to say the least, a bit unnerving. True, he does come from an uncivilized and brutish people, but there is an undeniable, dare I say, nobility in him, that seems to transcend human nature. I was distressed, in spite of myself, to see him run thus.
And, as grieving as it is to remember, he was paid for it. The woman, who shrugged off a blow that should have left her a bloody mess on the ground, caused his eyes to actually burst forth, it appeared later when I examined him, from his head as he was running. Though I did not see the effects until after she was gone, the scream I heard from behind me when it happened was unearthly. I had never heard more pain or anguish in all my years.
Thus, it is probably unsurprising that I felt sure I was to die there, facing this demon of a woman. But, I could not let her escape without *some* justice, nor could I let any violation of my compatriot go unpunished. So did I find myself squared off against an opponent I felt sure I could not defeat.
And then I swung my new blade. I knew it sang true even before it touched her; such was the lucky precision and power of my blow. It knocked away the mask she wore and carved a slash down the very center of her face, and yet there was no blood. She melted away into the mists, obviously more afraid of the blade of her companion than of my skill with it. She was defeated, but almost certainly not dead; I felt sure we'd meet her again.
Though I faced her with only resigned acceptance of my fate in my heart, after she had gone it was replaced by slow dread. Upon reflection, as we were trying to ease Jacques' discomfort, it seemed she was only toying with us, as a cat will with a mouse before it makes its kill. Needless to say, I did not sleep well that night.