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Memories of my Youth

      "Below ye will find the memories of my youth that I have written down, tae (pronounced tuh)remind me of what has past and what I still need tae do. More memories will follow, when the paperwork at the guild lessens enough tae give me the time tae put them down on parchment."

      Across the snow covered valley could be heard the roars of angry beasts on the hunt. Bursts of flame lit the cliffside in a rhythmic pattern of light. The sound of a large horse charging could be heard above the din. From within the valley rode an elf astride a large black war stallion. A helm made for battle could be seen through the front of the hooded cloak the rider wore. The sun caught upon a bronze scale on his chest armour. He wielded in his right hand a flaming bow. Steam poured from the quiver on his back in the chill air found in this forsaken pass. The tall figure pulled his bow sting taut and let fly a flaming arrow into the valley. The arrow flew straight and true towards one of two Ice Trolls. One of the trolls screamed out in agony as his chest was engulfed in fire and collapsed to the ground, dead. The other of the pair charged up the hill trying to gain the vantage point. Another arrow flew, fire streaming behind it, but was dodged by the oncoming troll. The troll, spittle flying from it's mouth, viciously clawed at the mounted bowman and drew blood. The warrior winced as he charged his mount around the troll and downwards into the valley again. The troll followed. Three arrows rained down upon the bloodied troll, two finding their mark as they burst into flame upon impact. Again the troll attacked, but missed as the horse and rider rode farther away from it. Two more fiery arrows flew out. One found a snow bank, the other found the troll's heart. The death roar of the troll rang through the hills. The ranger began the casting of a spell, intensely concentrating upon the exercise at hand.

      "Hmm...," thought Cameron Mu'ab Dib, "I better hurry up and heal meself 'fore any who heard that come tae investigate."

      Lo and behold, as if in answer to the rangers thoughts, a frost beast ran into the room with near blinding speed. Cameron finished casting his spell and targeted himself. A soft white glow spread across his chest, where the troll had injured him just moments ago. He quickly drew his flame bow out and attacked the beast. Moments later, the beast lie at his feet, a burnt shaft still protruding from it's body.

      "I wonder if today will be the day ...," he muttered under his breath as he began healing himself again. The faint aroma of woodland pine caught his nose as it always did when he cast this spell. Today it also caught a memory from far in his past....

      He stood in a hut, clutching his mother's thigh as the sounds of battle again reached his ears. His sister was beside him on the bed, trying not to look scared. How old was he? ... eight? it was difficult to remember anymore. He remembered watching his father, the ranger Elantark Gorstadta, leave to answer the call to arms when the troll attack had began. They had been attacking more and more of late. The sounds of screams reached his ears, this time closer. They had never been this close before. His mother moved to the doorway of the hut, half pulling and half carrying him across the room. She pulled the blanket aside ever so slightly, hoping to keep her children from seeing outside. Cameron pulled the curtain aside, fearing his mother would scold him, but she did not seem to notice. He peered out into the night and saw some wounded warriors stumbling down the dirt path towards the center of the village. Behind them were large ... very large creatures striding towards them. His eyes grew wide in fear as he tightened his grip on his mother's leg, drawing a cry from her. He had never seen a troll, at least not a live one. And the sight sent a chill down his spine. His mother realizing that he had been watching the whole time, lifted him up to hold him in her arms. She moved to the bed, grabbing his sister and holding them both in a tight embrace.

      "It will be all right. It will be all right. Nothing bad will happen to ye. I will see to that...," his mother said as she stared back at the doorway, with a bit of fear now showing in her own eyes, "Yer father will drive these beasts back to their dens, you will see." She began to rock them back and forth and hum the lullaby she always sang them at night.

      The faint sound of horns could now be heard. The knights of Moorgate had arrived.

      "Ye see children? The humans have come to help us with these vile things. We will win the night for sure, now."

      Cameron sat and held his mother, remembering the sight of the wounded elves. Elven screams sounded outside the hut, and the sound of something going, "Hur, Hur, Hur." His mother stood up and grabbed one of his fathers bows down from the wall.

      Just then, shouting could be heard. It was his father. He ran to the door wanting only to see his father. The sound of many arrows in flight filled the air like bees in a flower covered valley. He pulled the blanket aside and saw his father and a few others rallying together to kill the trolls who had made it this far in. Five trolls were racing towards his father's group, one of them immense in size, even compared to the other trolls. More arrows flew and one of the smaller trolls fell to the ground. The sound of an arrow leaving the string came from above his head. His mother was firing her bow against the trolls. All would be well now. His father and his mother would see to that. The trolls reached his fathers band of bowmen and an already wounded elf fell before the onslaught.

      "Retreat!", cried out his father, "Retreat!"

      His sister tried to get him to move away from the door, but he wouldn't budge. He was going to see this if he could have any say in the matter. Another arrow flew from his mothers bow, finding it's mark in the largest troll in the group. The troll roared in pain and turned to face the hut. Cameron could now see that the troll was missing one of its eyes. Where an eye should be was only skin.

      His father's group had moved farther away from the hut in hopes to draw the trolls away from the center of the village. His father saw what was happening and shouted his mothers name.

      "Niniel, run! RUN!"

      The immense troll advanced on the hut, Cameron backed into the hut, no longer wanting to see this fight. His mother fired another arrow and backed up as well. The Troll Champion forced his way into the hut, bursting one of the support beams as he did so.

      "RUN, children! RUN!", screamed his mother.

      The troll charged at Niniel, bellowing in it's accursed tongue at her. It swung it's claw at his mother, ripping the bow from her hands and raking her arm. Blood flowed from his mothers arm. Horns blew again, now much closer.

      "Run children ... run...," his mother gasped as she fell to her knees, " before it is too late"

      His sister grabbed his arm and pulled him to the door as the troll champion attacked his mother again, killing her with the blow.

      "NOOOOOOOOO!!!", screamed Cameron as he saw his mother die.

      The champion turned at his cry and gave him a grin that showed all of his teeth. His sister drug him from the hut, forcing him to leave his mother behind. The troll champion exited the hut, his claws and hands covered in blood. His father ran up, blood seeping from an open wound on his brow.

      "Get behind me children! GET BEHIND ME NOW!", screamed his father as he let an arrow fly towards the troll. The troll advanced on his father. "I will see ye dead, ye twice damned bastard!", His father yelled at the beast. "

      Cameron looked around at the pathway outside his home, and saw it littered with elven and troll bodies alike. He grew sick and vomited as the sights, and smells of the dead lying on the ground, overcame him. He turned to see his father fight the beast that had killed his mother. His father already wounded appeared to be losing the fight. The troll, seeing that Elantark was trying to protect the children, was exploiting it at every chance by putting his father on constant defense. Yet every now and then the troll champion would claw at his father, dealing wounds every time. His father was weakening. Horns sounded, very close now.

      "Run, son. Run daughter. Run tae the humans. They will protect ye. RUN!", his father said through gritted teeth.

      Just then, the troll dealt a severe wound to his fathers left arm, causing it to go limp. His father ran to one of his fallen comrades and took a sword from the dead soldiers hand. The sound of horses hooves could now be heard charging up the pathway. His father turned his head to see if Cameron and his sister had done as he had said. The troll advanced and raked his father across the neck, dealing a killing blow.

      Cameron was frozen in shock. He had seen both of his parents die in a matter of moments. He could not move from the spot but stared at his father's body in disbelief. His sister screamed at the beast and started to throw rocks at it. The troll looked at the little girl and grinned. It ran up to her, and picked her off the ground by her head, it's hand nearly covering her entire face. Cameron heard his sister screaming but could not move from where he stood on the path. The troll champion tossed his sister aside like a rag doll and moved towards him. Cameron could only see his fathers body lying on the ground. The troll reached for Cameron.

      Suddenly the world became filled with the sound of arrows in flight. Many missed their target, but enough hit the mark that the troll jerked back, dragging a long claw along Cameron's neck and jawbone. Cameron collapsed as blood seeped down his shirt.

      "Get 'im men. Charge the bloody beast. We need healers up here! That boy may still be alive.", shouted Paul Mu'ab Dib III.

      The troll was hit several times but did not fall. Realizing that it would not win, it retreated and ran, several knights following after.

      "Samhain to me side! This boy still breathes.", ordered the Knight.

      Cameron looked up into a bearded face of a strange looking man. "This must be a human," he thought," ... I wonder what my dad will do now that humans are in the village..."

      As he slowly began to pass out, Cameron could hear the chanting of a healing spell begin and the smell of woodland pine was the last thing he remembered of that day...

      Cameron Mu'ab Dib, or as those who know him best would call him, Troll Hater, shook his head as he tried to push the memory back into the past. He ran his finger down the scar that was still visible through the thin beard he had begun to grow. He was here for a reason today. He had heard tell from one of the members of the guild that a one eyed troll had been seen up in Dark Blizzard Pass. He knew it was a long shot, but he would not rest until he knew the killer of his parents was dead. He looked up into the waning light of the sun, wrapped his cloak tightly about him and charged over the next hill in search of trolls.

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Crisis of Faith part 1
Crisis of Faith part 2
Crisis of Faith part 3
Crisis of Faith part 4