Lilith and I neared the edge of the woods, the sun was setting, and a campsite came into view. Two figures were standing around the fire that lay just outside of the forest. One was a short, odd little Dwarf. The other was a strong-looking Half-Orc, who seemed rather dull. I was now standing just outside the forest, when I turned to ask Lillith if these were the people we were supposed to meet. She wasn’t there. In fact, it was almost as if she never existed. Instead, there was a man trying to stay hidden in some bushes forty feet away. He wore a black cloak, and he seemed to be watching us. I wasn’t going to just let him stay there without me doing anything, so I cast a sleep spell on him. At first, he tried to resist it, but he gave in quite quickly. I motioned towards the Half-Orc, “Hey, could you help me over here?” He clumsily stomped over and held the mysterious man’s arms and legs while I tied them with some rope. Of course, the Dwarf soon followed, “What’s going on over here?” I turned to face him after standing up, “This man was watching us from these bushes!” The Dwarf look disinterested “Hmph, is that so?” The perpetrator suddenly became conscious as he sputtered out “Why have you done this? I only mean to assist you.” His skin was black as night, and seemed to pulsate with darkness. I realized this was no ordinary being. “What are you?” I stared in anticipation, eager to learn of this unknown force that stand before me. “I go by many names, but most call me the Wanderer. I am not a being as far as the inhabitants of this plain are concerned, but a manifestation of darkness as it is perceived in this realm. I’ve only recently come to use this humanoid form, but of course, recent is relative to an eternity of existence.” By time he had finished his explanation, he had phased out of and around the ropes. They passed through his arms and legs and fell to the ground, useless. The only things I knew of this “Wanderer” were less-than-credible stories from travelers that had passed through The Middle. The Wanderer looked up, as though he had remembered something, “You don’t know it yet, but you three have a journey of great importance ahead of you. It is imperative that you are successful in your quest. Because of this, I shall be accompanying you until the deed is done.” He seemed to be content enough to remain silent, and so we all returned to the campfire.
I figured that I would go ahead and get my name out of the way, so I turned to the Dwarf and spoke, “I’m Balzac, by the way.” The Dwarf was not amused, “You think that’s funny?” “No,” I replied, “it’s just unfortunate.” His face betrayed the slightest smirk, “I’m Uther, Uther Lightbringer. That’s Thog, he’s not much for words, but he’s good with a sword.” Thog just grunted in agreement. “I was actually led here by another Half-Elf named Lilith, do you know her?” His smirk widened ever-so-slightly, “Yeah, we know her. Did she do her disappearing thing again?” He laughed as my face answered his question, “Don’t worry, she’ll be back.” I wasn’t so sure she’d left by her own power, it was far too sudden, even for a rouge of her skill. It was decided that I would stay awake and watch the site for any potential threats while Uther and Thog slept. It would then be Uther’s turn later, and finally Thog’s.
I waited for Uther and Thog to fall asleep before I went over to investigate the spot where Lilith had been. The Wanderer, who had been sitting cross-legged in a sort of stasis for the entire evening, decided now would be a good time to scare me out of my wits. “Don’t worry, she’s safe.” I nearly jumped twenty feet at the sudden sound of his voice, he barely seemed to notice. “I know of the people who took her, but I do not know where they’ve taken her.” I knelt down and looked closer at the ground where she stood, there was a small pile of white ashes. I carefully gathered them up and put them in my bag. Soon afterwards, Uther woke up, and we switched places. I fell asleep quickly to the sound of my green snoring tent-mate. Tomorrow, my journey would begin.