It was as Blink had said, no more then an hour, before they crested a low rise and were able to see the hills the beast had spoken of. Dark against the starry night sky, the range stretched on far out of sight of the two humans. Thaellen walked forward, Blink at his side, and peered off into the night.
“I think I can see the cave, just over there.” he waved his hand in a northward direction.
“Would you like me to go ahead, and check it out?” Blink growled warily. It was clear that what ever evil was around, Blink was feeling it more acutely than the others.
“No, I don’t think that will be necessary,” Kennon said after a short pause. “stay with Thaellen.”
Blink sidled up to the elf, and Thaellen tousled the fur on his feline head.
Thaellen had run away from home many years ago, probably before either Kronin or Kennon had been born. From where and why he had left, he had never told the others, in fact they knew very little of him before his meeting with the frelis Blink. From what the elf would say, their meeting had come about long after leaving his home.
He had been sitting on the banks of a fast moving stream in the quite hours before dawn when he heard a soft whimper. At first, though his hearing was keen as any elf’s, he thought he had imagined it. He continued refreshing himself in the stream when he heard it again. It was clearly the sound of some young creature in trouble. Thaellen followed the sounds, to a shallow valley not far from the stream. There, incased in a thick web of spider silk, was a young frelis. The giant spider that had spun the web was lying on its back, all eight legs grotesquely splayed in the air. Thaellen approached with care, not wanting to frighten the beast any more then was necessary. It was so young, it clearly had not grown into any of the properties that frelis where known for; such as their ability to phase in and out of reality, allowing them to move anywhere they wish on this plane of existence. It was not a newborn, evidenced by the poison that was in it’s sharp teeth that had laid the aggressing spider low, but it clearly could not free itself. Thaellen had never seen a frelis in this region, in fact, he could not remember seeing one for over a hundred years. However this little creature had gotten here, he was not going to leave it to die. Thaellen set aside is bow and pack and proceeded to use his long hunting knife to cut away the spider bonds.
They had been friends and companions ever since.
Thaellen and Blink met Kennon years later, many years later. Blink had matured into a full grown and very articulate frelis, and he and Thaellen were acting as scouts for the army of a lowly baron who was serving the Silver Order. The three became fast friends, and when Kennon left to begin his life as a wandering vagabond, he first searched them out. Their current profession as “holy men for hire” had been Thaellen’s idea, and it had worked wonderfully for some time.
Now Thaellen looked at Blink, the beast’s amber eyes spoke volumes. They both were very aware that this job was not going to be like the others.
“ready?” Kennon asked.
“Of course” Thaellen answered.
Kronin simply nodded.
They moved down from the rise into a short trench that lead roughly in the direction they wished to go. It took less then twenty minutes before Blink said that they should move out of the gully and head a little more eastward.
The climbed out, and started off again.
Before long, Kennon stopped.
“I think we are here, or at least very close. I can feel it now.” Indeed the Paladin felt as though the oppressive sense of evil was going to make him pass out.
Kronin, on the other hand looked quite strange. His usually grim expression was alight with a weird glow. He removed his pack from his shoulders and began rummaging through it. After a few seconds he withdrew four amulets.
“Here, each of you should wear one of these. I am not sure what we are about to face, but I think it is safe to say that there is more than thieves putting on a good show in that cave.”