SHareg shivered slightly.
"It is not a matter of time, Erumber. A few weeks of meditating is a small price to pay in my opinion. Once you find it you will be able to use your own body's magic. Once you take that step, the journey is more than half over. I can teach you spells and magic and you will be able to test your limits for yourself."
As the two chatted on happily, the days slowly grew shorter. Darkness, it seemed, was overtaking the light of the sun sooner than expected. Or perhaps it was just a trick of the forest, it is not unheard of for one to lose their wits in the trees around them, as suddenly life seems an illusion. But what if it wasn't.
Suddenly Shareg felt a tremor in the earth and reached a hand out in front of his companion, stopping the two in their tracks. Moments later a dreadful rumble could be heard in the distance, like mountains slowly moving amongst each other. A calm wind blew through the leaves as the two listened. Erumber glanced into the trees, his hearing alert, looking for any sign of movement, as Shareg gently closed his eyes to feel the elements shift around him.
"The earth is changing," said the wizard. "It feels as if something is splitting the ground in two, tearing it down to its core. No machine, neither dwarf, elvish nor orc, could reach so deep into Ea, but that must mean..."
"Something is getting out," mumbled the ranger, speaking what he meant to be a thought. He dropped to his knees and placed an ear to the dirt beneath him. As the mysterious sound ended, Erumber stood and pointed to the Northwest. "It is coming from many leagues away, no less than the other ends of the Misty Mountains, though perhaps further."
Shareg stood tall (tall as a dwarf can stand at least), "then there is not a moment to spare! It's time we moved this journey along, something big awaits us!"
Shareg wrapped his hands around his staff as he tried to conceal a smirk of excitement.
Shareg spurred the Ranger to move at a speed that surprised the Man. The Dwarf's short stature did not hinder him from quickly outdistancing him. THe Ranger smiled slightly and ran faster.
Soon the Ranger's smile was lost to a panting tongue and weary legs. The Dwarf however was as sprightly as a young Elf.
"Come along slowpoke!" he called back. The Ranger tried to comply but his legs burned and he grunted as he sat down hard. The Dwarf hurried back with a concerned yet apologetic look.
"Forgive me my friend, it is easy to forget that a Dwarf is endowed with the virtue of endurance far beyond that of even the Elves. Here, take this and drink." He pulled a flask from his side and lifte it to Erumber's parched lips. The foul liquid was immediately spit out, follwed by a gaging from the Man's throat.
"What in the name of Elwe is that foul poison!?" he demanded. Shareg chuckled.
"That, my friend, is the blood of a cold drake. Unwholesome as it is, a virtue resides in it for giving strength beyond that of the body's ordinary bounds. Take only one sip. Then you may have a sip of water to wash the taste down."
Erumber reluctantly took a small draught from the flask and refused his stomach's plea to throw it back up. He then sipped from his waterskin. Suddenly he felt strong and leapt up. Shareg followed suit and the two bounded off into the East, fleeing from the westering sun, unaware of two jet blacks watching them from afar.
THe black stranger from Bree smiled, revealing two rows of sharp jagged teeth. His face was hidden by his hood from the nose up, leaving only his red skinned cheeks and chin visible.
"Soon my master..... very soon!"
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