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Last Laugh

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Calaeril pulled her robe closer around her, wanting nothing more than to curl up under her furs and rest. They had spent weeks riding over harsh terrain, tracking down one of the last threats known to Middle Earth. The War of the Ring was over, the land slowly healing.

All that was left was a whisper of evil magic. Tales overheard amongst the hushed voices of the refugees in Minas Tirth. There was no name to put to the stories though, something Calaeril still frowned at. The refugees spoke of a blast of magic, strong enough to level an entire village in seconds. Magic that brought forth creatures from the depths unlike any had seen before, Magic such as this had never been seen during the war. Was this a new threat? A new grab at power?

We make camp here for the night,” she called out to her companions.

Night was starting to fall, and with the shadow of the White Mountains soon upon them it would be getting cold as well. Winter was soon here, or it felt as such. She was already missing the sweet warm air of Greatwood. Around now there would be wine flowing, dancing long into the night, and songs sung under the moonlight.

Calaeril dismounted her equally as tired mount. Whispering words of thanks as she looked into the beast that had carried her far. Her armour clinking softly under her robe as she surveyed the area. It would have to do for now. There was enough cover to shield them for any unwanted travellers stumbling into their camp.

After a simple meal she sat next to the fire, the heat of the flames warming her as she listened to Feron, her second in command, gently pluck the string of his small harp. It was an unexpected touch of home, one she hadn't realised she had missed until the soft music flittered about her.

"How long do you think until we meet this wizard?" Feron asked looking over to her.

Calaeril looked towards him. “I don't know,” she admitted. They had been on his tail now for almost two weeks. Every time they got close he seemed to slip through their hands, escaping into the winds, just as he came. "Hopefuly before the first snow."

Her armour, now feeling heavy, gave a creak as she got to her feet. The horses had settled for the night. Many of her men had retired to their tents to rest. Although elves did not need much sleep, they had been travelling for so long now even the best of them were feeling tired. Her body was screaming for rest, but her mind was wandering, scanning the campsite for any threats. Old habits die hard. She had been a soldier for so long she sometimes wondered what it would be like to live as a noble as her sister had chosen to.

Her sweet younger sister, Midhel. Oh how she missed her. Almost identical to her in appearance. The same light, almost white, hair that hung loose to their waists. The same body, lithe and limber, both made for dancing, but hers was a dance more suited to battle. The only noticeable difference was in the their sea blue eyes, Midhel's were always smiling, showing joy in all things around her, while Calaeril's were always watching, never missing the fake smiles of court, the weakness in someone's armour. She had never been suited to the sheltered life her parents insisted she live and jumped at the first chance she got to train alongside Thranduil when they were both children.

Her mind darted off again, thinking of her childhood. The games they used to play and pranks they used to pull on anyone who tried to tell them off. She missed those days.

A shrill whistle from the treeline snapped her from her thoughts, followed by another two coming from opposite directions. Warning alarms. Her hand reached for the horn at her waist, bringing it to her mouth she blew and sounded the alarm.

The camp was suddenly brought to life. Her men sprouted from their tents, weapons in hand, only to be met with a volley of arrows. Orcs charged from the trees towards her, she raised her weapon and met them head on. Their stench mixed with the smell of blood in the air around them as Calaeril and her men cut them down. But, they still kept coming.

Calaeril wretch her twin swords from the body of a mutilated orc and felt something tickle along her skin. A pit formed in her stomach as she recognised the telltale sign of magic. But this magic was unlike her own, it was dark, twisted. Her head darted back and forth, searching for the source, only to lock onto a figure standing half hidden behind a tree. The magic rolled off him in waves as his lips moved in a silent motion. She lifted her blades again, Calaeril's eyes set on her new target.

His eyes locked on hers, sending chills down her spine as he uttered something in his foul tongue. The air grew heavy and thick and the very ground around her started to shake. He threw his head back and laughed, and fixed his eyes on her once more. Calaeril struggled to keep on her feet as the world around her was shifting. The men around her were also having the same problem, but the archers were able to deal with the last few orcs. The Wizard the last one standing.

His laughter grew louder as the ground shook more violently. The horses shrieked in fear, threatening to bolt had they not been tethered earlier. Above the campsite the wind picked up, swirling as the night sky turned light as a shining sickly green appeared above them. Calaeril's eyes widened in fear as the magic emanating from the light pressed against her skin. The light encompassed the camp as the ground continued to shake, and with an ear shattering explosion the light was all she saw as it expanded and consumed them.