The Fate of Respen Tuin (part 3)
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Respen struggled to open his eyes; his eyelids were heavy and cold and his head ached with an unrelenting fury. Looking about for just a moment, the drow found himself indoors, in a snowy cave system, the cold air whipping in from a nearby cave mouth. The light was faint, but it reflected off the white surfaces and were painful to the dark elf’s sensitive eyes all the same. Respen struggled to move, but he found his feet secured to the floor. He squinted and looked around, and finally spied eilistraee’s moonblade shoved blade-first into the ceiling… or was it?

After a moment, Respen’s wits returned, and he found he was hanging by his feet from the ceiling of the cave, his legs frozen in place by some foul magic or mundane means. He reached out for his bastard sword, but it was out of his reach.

Since he had awakened, Respen’s ears had been assaulted by a vile sound he had been unable to place, but at last he understood. A terrible creature snorted and breathed heavily as he tore through bone and sinew alike, a dark banquet being held somewhere nearby. Respen frantically checked his person, and found all of his parts to be right where they should be—that’s when he noticed the eviscerated corpse of his horse lying nearby. The foul stench had gone unnoticed thanks to the great northern winds that blew in and out of this place, but at last Respen began to understand what would become his fate…

A large creature lumbered into Respen’s chamber, his rubbery green lips twisting into a horrid grin, bits of horse still clinging to his face and teeth. The troll grew nearer and Respen acted quickly, casting dancing lights to distract it. The troll’s face twisted into a dopey smile, something you’d expect from a cheerful toddler (if that toddler was nine feet tall, green, and horrendously ugly, anyway).

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The troll’s amusement was cut short as three eagle-fletched arrows pierced the illusion and struck the giant in his face. He screamed loudly, spurting black blood everywhere, reeling in pain and stumbling about like a drunken dock-worker. The troll’s arms flailed wildly, knocking stalactites from the ceiling and freeing Respen from his icy shackles.

Respen moved quickly to free his sword, and with a brilliant silver flash he relieved the troll of one of his arms. The elf prepared for a fight, when another two trolls turned the corner, hooting and howling like apes. “This way, Respen!” a voice called out from behind, “Their master will certainly hear the commotion!”

Respen ran toward the cave mouth, where Glorfindel Silverleaf nocked three more arrows and let fly. “I’m glad to see you’re safe, Respen of the Silver Company. We must move quickly to the south. If we are separated, meet at the large citadel atop that mountain.” Glorfindel turned from the trolls and with a long, sweeping motion pointed directly at the fortress of Khundrukar.

“I understand,” Respen said as the elves sprinted toward the cave mouth, “let us move then with winged speed!”

The trolls had little hope of catching the elves, but their fears were made manifest as the creature Grimlight skimmed the surface of the snow toward them, banks of ice and frost thrown fifteen feet into the air, moving toward them with the fervor of a locomotive.

”We’re not going to make it!” Glorfindel screamed. “We have to split up!”

…and Respen kept running, never looking back. Half a day passed before Respen reached the fortress of Khundrukar, and rendezvoused with Thorin Ironhand and the dwarves under his command, and rejoined the Silver Company soon after.

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