In the northern woods, not very far from my guard post, a lone dwarvish ranger trudged through the snow. Seemingly unaware of my scrying so far, he was making steady progress in my general direction.
When it was obvious he was not in the area by accident, I muttered an incantation while outlining a box in the air, and stepped through the summoned shimmering door to take me closer to the ranger. As I was closing the distance to him, I kept on guard for any thrown weapons.
The man noticed my arrival, stopped on his tracks and turned to look at me. He was undersized and powerfully built, and his skin and hair were a ghastly, pale white. His strangely reddish eyes met my inquisitive gaze without faltering, although he must have been aware of the dark clouds gathering above.
"You're far from your mountain burrows, dear hobbit," I mocked. "Are you sure you've not gotten lost?"
He cocked his head. "I get around." The strangely shimmering armour, the extensive weaponry and the fact that he was all but ignoring the biting chill in the air was evidence enough that this was not an ordinary woodsman on the hunt. He clearly did not belong to these parts.
"Where do you hail from, stranger?" He was probably after my master's fabled treasures and would have to die for it, but knowledge never hurt. He could have been a scout of a larger group on the move.
He answered absently while checking the sharpness of his enormous, wicked-looking battleaxe. "Scythe."
At this point I did not bother to question the man further; no living soul of his brutish allegiance was welcome anywhere near my master's estate. I glanced at the promisingly dark clouds, shouted a phrase and lifted my arms high. A glaring bolt of lightning splintered down from the clouds and slammed into the intruder, the sheer unleashed power lifting a billow of steam and snow in the air.
As it settled down somewhat, I was pleased to see the ranger down on the ground, immobile. He never even had time to realize what hit him. I got closer to check if he had anything interesting on him to take with me.
A few steps before I reached him, my eye caught a faint movement to my right. I barely had time to turn to look when a dark gray blur of fury plummeted into me, knocking me down with the impact.
I had lifted my arms up in reflex, and realized they were being torn to shreds by fangs attached to something that must have been the steaming maw of death itself.
I heard something resembling a command from nearby, and as suddenly as it had appeared, the furry demon was gone. My arms fell down, out of my control. I lay in the snow, breathing in rugged gasps, trying to understand what had happened.
A face appeared in my area of vision. I blinked to drive the illusion away, but it stubbornly remained. I was pretty certain that my earthly remains were still alive enough to be filling my mind with throbbing, searing and chilling pain. Yet the ghastly dwarvish face peering at me with its red eyes implied I was, in fact, dead, and as a result free to be pestered by other spirits of the recently deceased.
He did something with one of my arms and I stopped worrying about everything; my vision erupted in a burst of red stars and I blacked out.