Dulinhel crouched in the bushes, perfectly still, almost a statue save for the slow breaths that moved her lips, and the watchful eyes that scanned the surrounding forest. Risking movement, she slowly reached her hand up, and pulled her hood down slightly further to cast her face further into shadow, before returning her arm to its original position. The cloak kept her perfectly hidden, the camouflage dyes in the soft material blending in with the forest around her. Her eyes caught a rustle in some bushes a few dozen meters away, then let her breath go as a the small form rabbit hopped out of the bushes. She thought back to the past few days, and what hell they had been. Ever since coming to this blasted region. The heat, the annoyingly thick jungle, the rough terrain, not to mention the undead that had been chasing her for the past few hours.
Wolves howled and snarled in the distance. "Nadorhuanrim!" she cursed under her breath. If they had been normal wolves, it would have been simple. A single arrow for each of them would have taken them down. Unfortunately, hellhounds were a bit harder to kill. The necromancer around here was making things much more difficult, and even though she had already outrun the other undead, the hounds were both more persistant, and much faster. Hellhounds were not really much of hounds, closer in appearance to wolves, although slightly larger. In addition, they had softly glowing red eyes, and much darker fur, along with the disgusting blood and guts of normal undead. Another howl sounded out, much closer this time. She cursed herself for not moving earlier. She was slowly being worn down, her endurance being pushed to the limit. What had been a short break at first turned into an hour of hiding in the bushes. Now it was too late to move, the hounds would be on her too fast.
Dulinhel carefully and silently pulled three arrows from her quiver, placing two of them point first into the dirt, and nocking the third one, gently pulling back on the string, just enough to keep some pressure on the string. After a few more minutes, a dark shaggy shape crept carefully into the clearing which the elf had chosen as a place to stake out, nose to the ground sniffing the area. Unfortunately, despite being dead, the hounds kept their amazing sense of smell. Before taking any more actions, Dulinhel made a mental check. Five arrows in the quiver, two in front of her, one pre-nocked. Two hunting knives in their sheaths. Another hellhound entered the clearing, then another, and then another. Four hounds total. Last she had escaped from the pack, there was six. The other two were probably hanging back, or circling around. Again she wished that death had increased their stupidity. Making slight, slow motions, she lifted the bow and pulled the string back. The string dug into her leather glove as she took aim, the largest of the wolves. She then reached mentally inside herself for the magic power she possessed. She hated using magic, it drained her energy quickly, and she was never very powerful. But in this case it seemed vital for survival.
It was quick. Release. An orange glow flying through the air. An arrow stuck into the largest hound's eye socket, then exploded with fire, engulfing the creature as it writhed, covered entirely with flame, before finally becoming still. Two more arrows followed, taking out two more of the wolves similarly, and the air immediately stunk of both burnt and rotten flesh. The last hellhound snarled while it charged the elf that it now saw crouched in the bushes, its mind focused only on killing the living thing that dared travel into the territory of its master. The hound's loyalty was rewarded with an arrow smacking solidly into its shoulder, causing him to stumble and crash to the ground. It stared at its adversary, growling at it as it struggle to rise once again. Then an arrow slammed into its eye socket, and it collapsed once more, now fully dead.
Dulinhel smiled to herself. Good shooting, all of it. She wasn't going to be able to use magic for quite some time, and not until she was properly rested. But to wipe out most of the pack right there, it was worth it. She drew another arrow out of her quiver, now only three remaining, and scanned the clearing with her eyes, carefully watching for the remaining two wolves. Maybe they left the group, maybe they died some how, maybe maybe maybe. The other two could be absolutely anywhere. There was a quiet rustle in the bushes to her right, then another, then an enormous hellhound exploded from the bushes, jaws open, razor sharp claws extended. In the blink of an eye, the monster clamped its jaws around the elf's slim arm, fangs digging deep through her leather bracer into soft flesh. At the same time, its claws dug into her abdomen, raking them across leaving angry red gashed through the leather and skin beneath. Having dropped her bow, she pulled her hunting knife out with her left hand and desperately drove the knife into the beast's face repeatedly, hoping to hit something vital. Finally, after what seemed an eternity, the glow in the red eyes faded and the jaws loosened. Rolling out from the heavy body, she gingerly stood, holding her right arm to her chest, not wanting to look at the wound. She slowly wobbled her way into the clearing, stumbling on a small rock and falling to her knees. She looked into the dense vegetation around the clearing, and seeing nothing, turned her attention to her wounds.
Propping herself against a large rock on one side of the clearing, she unbuckled her right bracer, gingerly pulling it off and examining the wound underneath. Small but deep puncture wounds made two semicircles on the top and bottom sides of her arm, blood seeping out of all of them, covering her arm in red. With a grimace, she dug around in her bag, pulling out some form of hard liqueur she had bartered for some towns back. It was disgusting to drink, but it would do as a disinfectant for now. Taking the bottle, she gently tipped it so that a small stream came out and landed directly into the wounds, stinging the raw flesh. Wincing, she turned her arm over and continued to pour the alcohol into the wounds. As soon as she was satisfied, the took some bandages out of her pack and wrapped the arm tightly, then put the bracer back over the bandage to help hold it place. Then pulling off her cloak, then her leather jerkin, she started to examine her chest wound. Gently pulling up her shirt, the stared at the four angry red streaks that angled their way across her body. Dreading what she was about to do once more, she splashed more alcohol into her wounds, before wrapping them up once again and pulling her light armor on. Feeling slightly better now, and slightly less woozy, she risked standing up now. Taking another bottle from her pack, she stared at a half empty bottle of enchanted wine. The stuff was extremely addicting, but it deadened pain and gave strength, and would hopefully last her until she got to some sort of safety. She took the cork off, then took a very small sip, the liquid burning her throat as she swallowed, warmth and strength returning to her limbs, the pain slowly fading away. Replacing the cork, she placed the small bottle back into her pack, then put her cloak back on top of that. Re-energized, she set off in the direction of Xin Kou, her hopeful destination.
A Few Hours Later
Slowly the pain was returning, very slowly. Dulinhel had been aware of it for a while, but she refused to stop, even though her bandaged needed changing and she was becoming tired once again. She had seen the village she was trying to reach when she had come over the rise in the hill a few miles back, and she had seen black smoke rising over the trees. She had heard that the village was having undead problems, but it almost looked like even more destruction than even the undead could do. Almost of course. As she cautiously stepped through the trees, the vegetation became more and more clear, until it opened up into more of a valley, with a half destroyed looking town at the bottom. Dark smoke rose from sections of the town, and from a field that the elf was approaching charred and destroyed corpses littered the ground, burnt ground here and there. Tired looking people walked around the field alone or in small groups. Stopping to examine a corpse in front of her, she saw a starved body, hollow eyes, decaying burnt flesh. The necromancer surely had expended a lot of energy to raise this many undead creatures.
Staring out across the battlefield, she saw the vast number of undead forces. She silently grieved for all of the tortured souls captured by the damned necromancer, and vowed to herself to kill the man that would torture so many people in such a way. Turning her attention away from the undead, she slowly picked her way through the battlefield, winding her way around various grotesque figures littering the ground, trying her best not to breathe in the smell of charred decaying flesh. She stared out at the various people around the town. She tended to avoid groups, it made her uncomfortable, but for now it was unavoidable. Staring at the various people, she focused on to knights crouched next to a woman lying on the ground. Walking slowly up to the three, she saw the the woman was unconscious, and one of the men was gently shaking her, trying to wake her up. Judging by the gentle rise and fall of her chest, she obviously wasn't dead. Probably just fatigue, judging by her magical staff that lay near her it was probably from overuse of energy.
Consciously making her footsteps audible to not startle the two knights, as she often did with her near silent movement, she stood next to one of them, and cautiously said, "I...I can help her. Here, give me a second." She pulled her small pack out from under her cloak and dug around, wincing slightly as her injured arm brushed against something hard in the pack. She then pulled out the enchanted wine once again, and undoing the stopped, carefully tipped it and let a small stream enter the woman's mouth, then gently rubbed her throat to encourage her unconscious body to swallow. Standing, the small elf, replaced the bottle back into her pack. "That should help her recover more quickly. My name is Dulinhel Elenren by the way." She looked back at the two tall humans, a bit uncomfortable speaking with the strangers.