The thick, pointed leaves of the elder forest underbrush pricked at his face like hundreds of needles. But the pain was preferable to the horror that lurked in the darkening skies above, strafing through the high tree tops in search of its prey.
Rynn had drunk far too much of Gurvy’s best ale at the village tavern, and stayed far too long into the day. Dusk was fast approaching, a deep chill in the wispy air as the sun traced it’s nightly decent into the darkness that was the realm of the Wyr Dragon. An ancient, powerful beast with claws of steel and teeth of daggers. The Wyr were powerful, frightening, and voracious beasts that had a taste for the blood of Rynn’s people, the Elven.
Realizing his dangerous error, Rynn had attempted to race home to warmth and safety by taking the shortest path through the elder forest. The towering trees would protect him, shield him from the Dragon’s hunting eyes, wouldn’t they? He ran regardless, chest heaving with the exertion, icy breath billowing behind him. When a tremendous and terrible roar reverberated through the trees, Rynn dove for the nearest cover within the prickling underbrush.
“Lord of the Elven,” he prayed between gasps, “Deliver me from this nightmare!”
Yet the Wyr Dragon had scented him. Curse the ale and the acrid sweat it dappled upon his face when he drank! The Dragon circled overhead, determined to feast upon the Elven it sensed below the forest canopy. Rynn desperately hoped that if he could contain his panting breaths, remain unmoving and silent, the Dragon would become discouraged and soar off in search of easier prey.
Mere minutes that felt as hours had passed when the elder forest became eerily silent. Rynn’s own panicked heartbeat pounding in his chest and his stifled breathing the only sounds he could hear. Had the Dragon given up? Was he safe? His pleading prayer perhaps answered?
The numb silence creeped on an instant too long. Rynn knew not whether to feel panic or relief. His anxiety was abruptly answered when the forest around him exploded with raging power and cacophonous noise. The violence of cracking and splitting elder trunks, crashing of foliage and earth torn asunder. A horrific, deafening roar. Rynn’s utterly terrified shriek was the final sound his Elven ears would hear before it was suddenly silenced in a blaze of intense agony, then engulfed in absolute darkness.