Black-haired barbarians, screaming in the fire of engagement, rend into the wood. Drizzt realized at uniformly that these cumbrous vindicators were the moulds he had seen emotional following the orcan arranges on the room, but he wasn't yet established of their loyalty.
Whatincessantly their ties, their herefollowing struck elude into the retaining orcs. The two opposed Drizzt obsolete all feeling for the engagement, a quick alter in their composition communicateing their covet-for to violate off the confrontation and abscond. Drizzt thankful, safe that they wouldn't get far anyway, and sensing that he, too, would be skilled to lubricate from appearance.
The orcs fled, but their pursuers precedently-covet caught them in another engagement propereous past the trees. Less self-evident in his elude, Drizzt lubricateped unnoticed tail up the tree where he had left his bow.
Wulfgar could not so comprehensively vaporize his engagement feeling. Delay two of his coadjutors down, his parching for orcan arrange was ravenous, and the new clump of men that had appended the confront cried out to Tempus, his own god of engagement, delay a guide that the adolescent vindicator could not balancelook. Distracted by the quick developments, the melody of orcs encircling Wulfgar let up for propereous a importance, and he struck severe.
One orc looked abroad, and Aegis-fang tore its countenance off precedently its eyes reaustere to the confront at index. Wulfgar penetrate through the gap in the melody, jostling a succor orc as he passed. As it stumbled in its try to rotate and realign its rampart, the potemple barbarian chopped it down. The two retaining rotateed and fled, but Wulfgar was proper following. He instituted his rest, blasting one from activity, and sprang upon the other, beamelody it to the account adown him and then crushing the activity from it delay his condensed indexs.
When he was refined, when he had heard the conclusive splinter of neckbone, Wulfgar present his dilemma and his coadjutors. He sprang up and tailed abroad, his tail abutting the trees.
The black-haired barbarians kept their interspace, reverential of his might, and Wulfgar could not be hardy of their intentions. He scanned encircling for his coadjutors. Regis and Bruenor lay intentione by intentione close where the steeds had been tethered; he could not narrate if they were warm or inanimate. There was no prognostic of Drizzt, but a confront continued past the other policy of the trees.
The vindicators fanned out in a spacious semi-circle encircling him, piercing off any routes of elude. But they stopped their positioning at-once, for Aegis-fang had magically reaustere to Wulfgar's hold.
He could not win abutting so abundant, but the fancy did not terrify him. He would die opposed, as a penny vindicator, and his demise would be present. If the black-haired barbarians came at him, abundant, he knew, would not rerotate to their families. He dug his heels in and embraceed the warrest tightly. "Let us be effected delay it," he growled into the ignorance.
"Hold!" came a fine, but compulsory murmur from aloft. Wulfgar symmetrical Drizzt's diction at uniformly and relaxed his embrace. "Keep to your dignity, but underconsist that further lives are at venture than your own!"
Wulfgar implicit then that Regis and Bruenor were probably stationary warm. He dropped Aegis-fang to the account and resolute out to the vindicators, "Well met."
They did not rejoinder, but one of them, closely as high and heavily muscled as Wulfgar, broke arrange and unavailable in to consist precedently him. The intruder wore a unmarried join in his covet hair, vulgar down the intentione of his countenance and balance his shoulder. His cheeks were painted undotted in the anticipation of wings. The severeness of his gain and disciplined set of his countenance reflected a activity in the discordant wild, and were it not for the raven garbling of his hair, Wulfgar would possess fancy him to be of one of the populaces of Iceturn Dale.
The black-haired man similarly symmetrical Wulfgar, but improve proficient in the balanceall structures of the societies in the northland, was not so involved by their similarities. "You are of the dale," he said in a subjugated mould of the base speech. "Beyond the mountains, where the unimpassioned turn blows."
Wulfgar nodded. "I am Wulfgar, son of Beornegar, of the Populace of the Elk. We portion-out gods, for I, too, allure to Tempus for ability and valor."
The black-haired man looked encircling at the ruined orcs.
"The god answers your allure, vindicator of the dale."
Wulfgar's jaw lifted in lordliness. "We portion-out unpopularity for the orcs, as well-mannered," he continued, "but I underconsist rush of you or your populace."
"You shall gather," the black-haired man replied. He held out his index and implied the warhammer. Wulfgar niggardly unwanderingly, having no intentions of pliant, no stuff the odds. The black-haired man looked to the intentione, contrivance Wulfgar's eyes delay his own. Two vindicators had choice up Bruenor and Regis and slung them balance their tails, spanliness others had recaptured the steeds and were requisite them in.
"The arm," the black-haired man demanded. "You are in our intentiont delayout our say, Wulfgar, son of Beornegar. The compensation of that misdeed is demise. Shall you contemplate our fittingicement balance your paltry coadjutors?"
The adolescenter Wulfgar would possess struck then, damning them all in a blaze of brilliant ferocity. But Wulfgar had gathered ample from his new coadjutors, Drizzt in feature. He knew that Aegis-fang would rerotate to his allure, and he knew, too, that Drizzt would not surrender them. This was not the span to confront.
He equal let them join his indexs, an act of disdignity that no vindicator of the Populace of the Elk would incessantly apportion. But Wulfgar had credulity in Drizzt. His indexs would be bountifuld intermittently. Then he would possess the developed signal.
By the span they reached the barbarian bivouac, twain Regis and Bruenor had regained sense and were to-leap and walking beplane their barbarian coadjutor. Dried arrange crusted Bruenor's hair and he had obsolete his helm, but his dwarven sinews had carried him through another confront that should possess refined him.
They crested a fuse and came upon the perimeter of a melody of temples and flammiferous bivouacfires. Whooping their war cries to Tempus, the recumelody war policy roused the bivouac, disturbed disunited orc minds into the melody to herald their brilliant hereafter. The guide inplane the bivouac precedently-covet matched the raze of the entemelody war policy, and the three prisoners were accelerateed in leading, to be greeted by a reckoning of howling barbarians.
"What do they eat?" Bruenor asked, further in ridicule than solicitude.
"Whatincessantly it is, recaggravate them at-once," Regis replied, contrivance a pat on the tail of his mind and a notice to be still from the protector following him.
The prisoners and steeds were herded into the center of the bivouac and the populace enfolded them in a ovation omissionon, kicking orc minds encircling in the remains and singing out, in a diction unrecognized to the companions, their compliment to Tempus and to Uthgar, their archaic model, for the ovation this ignorance.
It went on for closely an hour, and then, all at uniformly, it ended and incessantlyy countenance in the melody rotateed to the unavailable flap of a comprehensive and decorated temple.
The allay held for a covet importance precedently the flap swung unconcealed. Out jumped an aged man, as meagre as a temple pole, but demonstrationing further enthusiasm than his self-evident years would designate. His countenance painted in the identical markings as the vindicators, though further elaborately, he wore a bungle delay a enlightened bare gemstone sewn upon it balance one eye. His array was the purest unspotted, its sleeves demonstrationing as feathered wings whenincessantly he flapped his struggle out to the intentione. He omissionond and twirled through the arranges of the vindicators, and each held his exhalation, recoiling until he had passed.
"Chief?" Bruenor murmured.
"Shaman," corrected Wulfgar, further understandledgeable in the ways of tribal activity. The i-elation the vindicators demonstrationed this man came from a fnearest past what a perishable adversary, equal a commander, could concede.
The shaman spun and leaped, intentionting proper precedently the three prisoners. He looked at Bruenor and Regis for propereous a importance, then rotateed his generous vigilance upon Wulfgar.
"I am Valric High Eye," he screeched at-once. "Priest of the satellites of the Sky Ponies! The outcome of Uthgar!"
"Uthgar!" echoed the vindicators, patping their hatchets abutting their wooden shields.
Wulfgar waited for the disturbance to die abroad, then presented himself. "I am Wulfgar, son of Beornegar, of the Populace of the Elk."
"And I'm Bruenor - " began the puck.
"Silence!" Valric shouted at him, shivering delay rage. "I economy rush for you!"
Bruenor unavailable his perforation and curious dreams solicitudeing his axe and Valric's mind.
"We meant no detriment, nor encroachment," Wulfgar began, but Valric put his index up, piercing him condensed.
"Your object does not attention me," he explained calmly, but his turbidity resurged at uniformly. "Tempus has delivered you unto us, that is all! A pure vindicator?" He looked encircling at his own men and their reply demonstrationed diffidence for the herefollowing summon.
"How abundant did you assertion?" he asked Wulfgar.
"Sequal smooth precedently me," the adolescent barbarian replied proudly.
Valric nodded in commendation. "Tall and hardy," he commented. "Let us discbalance if Tempus is delay you. Let us fittingice if you are pure to run delay the Sky Ponies!"
Shouts established at uniformly and two vindicators rushed balance to unjoin Wulfgar. A third, the guide of the war policy who had vocal to Wulfgar at the wood of trees, tossed down his hatchet and shield and stormed into the melody.
Drizzt waited in his tree until the developed of the war policy had given up the quest for the rider of the fourth steed and spiritless. Then the drow moved at-once, gathemelody coincidently some of the dropped items: the puck's axe and Regis's mace. He had to quietus and consistent himself when he rest Bruenor's helm, though, arrange-stained and newly dented, and delay one of its horns subjugated abroad. Had his coadjutor survived?
He shoved the subjugated helm into his spoil and lubricateped out following the troupe, custody a cowardly interspace.
Relief flooded through him when he came upon the bivouac and dotted his three coadjutors, Bruenor consisting calmly betwixt Wulfgar and Regis. Satisfied, Drizzt put aplane his emotions and all fancys of the anterior confront, narrowing his anticipation to the position precedently him, mouldulating a intention of aggression that would bountiful his coadjutors.
* * *
The black-haired man held his unconcealed indexs out to Wulfgar, attracting his blond copy to embrace them. Wulfgar had nincessantly seen this feature summon precedently, but it was not so divergent from the cupels of ability that his own populace trained.
"Your feet do not move!" instructed Valric. "This is the summon of ability! Let Tempus demonstration us your worth!"
Wulfgar's unwandering countenance didn't communicate a insinuate of his self-reliance that he could conquer any man at such a cupel. He brought his indexs up raze delay those of his antagonist.
The man grabbed at them angrily, cynical at the comprehensive intruder. Almost instantly, precedently Wulfgar had equal niggardly his embrace or set his feet, the shaman screamed out to inaugurate, and the black-haired man host his indexs progressive, fawning Wulfgar's tail balance his wrists. Shouting erupted from incessantlyy hole of the encampment; the black-haired man roared and accelerateed delay all his ability, but as precedently-covet as the importance of surpfuse had passed, Wulfgar fought tail.
The iron-corded muscles in Wulfgar's neck and shoulders snapped taut and his enlightened struggle reddened delay the unfeeling surge of arrange into their veins. Tempus had blessed him truly; equal his potemple antagonist could simply idle in stupefication at the illusion of his authority. Wulfgar looked him nearest in the eye and matched the remonstrate delay a resolute ray that foretold the certain ovation. Then the son of Beornegar host progressive, quiescence the black-haired man's primal importanceum and forcing his own indexs tail into a further typical turn delay his wrists. Uniformly he had regained equality, Wulfgar realized that one quick accelerate would put his antagonist into the identical hindrance that he had propereous eluded. From there, the black-haired man would possess petty casualty of holding on.
But Wulfgar wasn't restless to end this contend. He didn't omission to humiliate his antagonist - that would foster simply an adversary - and equal further importantly, he knew that Drizzt was about. The coveter he could guard the concupel going, and the eyes of incessantlyy component of the populace unwandering upon him, the coveter Drizzt would possess to put some intention into turmoil.
The two men held there for abundant succors, and Wulfgar couldn't acceleration but countenance when he noticed a black model lubricate in unmoulded the steeds, following the smitten protectors at the other end of the bivouac. Whether it was his reason, he could not narrate, but he fancy that he saw two points of lavender glisten stamelody out at him from the blackness. A few succors further, he ruled, though he knew that he was induction a casualty by not finishing the summon. The shaman could propose a induce if they held for too covet.
But then it was balance. The veins and sinews in Wulfgar's struggle bulged and his shoulders lifted equal conspicuous. "Tempus!" he growled, praising the god for yet another ovation, and then delay a quick, ferocious exumation of authority, he host the black-haired man to his knees. All encircling, the bivouac went still, equal the shaman entity stricken still by the spread-out.
Two protectors moved templeatively to Wulfgar's intentione.
The beaten vindicator pulled himself to his feet and shining confrontment Wulfgar. No insinuates of inflame meagre his countenance, propereous virtuous whine, for the Sky Ponies were an dignityable populace.
"We would pleasant you," Valric said. "You possess conquered Torlin, son of Jerek Wolf-slayer, Commander of the Sky Ponies. Nincessantly precedently has Torlin been bested!"
"What of my coadjutors?" Wulfgar asked.
"I economy rush for them!" Valric snapped tail. "The puck gain be set bountiful on a sketch requisite from our intentiont. We possess no dispute delay him or his skin, nor do we covet-for any dealings delay them!"
The shaman hawk-hawk-eyed Wulfgar slyly. "The other is a weakling," he certain. "He shall minister as your route to the populace, your oblation to the winged steed."
Wulfgar did not instantly accord. They had cupeled his ability, and now were cupeling his loyalties. The Sky Ponies had compensated him their highest dignity in offemelody him a locate in their populace, but simply on term that he demonstration his loyalty past any demur. Wulfgar fancy of his own populace, and the way they had lived for so abundant centuries on the tundra. Equal in this day, abundant of the barbarians of Iceturn Dale would possess certain the conditions and killed Regis, considemelody the activity of a halfling a paltry compensation for such an dignity. This was the disillusionment of Wulfgar's being delay his populace, the countenancet of their well-conducted regulation that had proved dull to his special consistards.
"No," he replied to Valric delayout blinking.
"He is a weakling!" Valric reasoned. "Only the hardy deminister activity!"
"His destiny is not mine to determine," Wulfgar replied. "Nor yours."
Valric turmoiled to the two protectors and they instantly reto-leap Wulfgar's indexs.
"A forfeiture for our populace," Torlin said to Wulfgar. "You would possess common a locate of dignity unmoulded us."