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  1. Harsov the Harsh (Chapter Eighteen)

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The Stone Throwers:
A Man-Hunt For Vietnam War Draft Evaders


Harsov the Harsh (Chapter Eighteen)

Lorash and Adam were at it again. Harsov had been doing his best to let them settle matters between themselves, confident that in time they would do so. In time was the key phrase, as it seemed they disagreed on almost everything.

"Look "god learner", we are a long way now from Elmwood. We are running low on supplies, and I miss sleeping in an actual bed, the taste of wine and wine red lips. Not sure which one I miss the most! So I'm going to take a little stroll through town, with my new lady." Adam ended by patting the stock of the mahogany hued crossbow.

Lorash's eyes flashed as he replied. "Listen, "boy", you are NOT taking that bow into town! Our people have sought for Ravensfeast for nearly a century. Now that it is in our possession once more, I will not allow you to risk losing it!"

Adam sneered, "You won't allow me? You can't STOP me! I'll go where I want, when I want, with whoever I want, and there's nothing you can do about it!"

A hard smile curled Lorash's lip. "I never said YOU could not go into the town. You are NOT, however, taking that bow with you! Ravensfeast is the greatest artifact our race ever created, do you truly think the humans have forgotten that, or us?"

"Oh you would just LOVE that, wouldn't you? For me to lay down the bow and walk away so you could grab it for yourself? But you can't, can you? You need me to carry it for you! So where I go, it goes. And I am going to that city!"

Harsov stepped forward, placing himself between Lorash and Adam. In common so they could both understand him, he said, "Adam, I not know humans like you. Want to learn more of them, you teach me? I leave my sword and bow here with Lorash, he guard them. Humans not like us carry weapons through city, true?"

Adam continued to glare at Lorash for a moment, then turned to grin at Harsov. "Well, at least someone here has common sense! Yes, Harsov, you are quite correct. Any guard that saw me stroll through town holding this beauty would be sure to raise an alarm."

Holding the crossbow at arms length, Adam continued. "However, if this lovely were a smaller weapon, say the size of a dagger, I could easily conceal it. Then I could carry it with me wherever I went."

Lorash's eyes opened wide in alarm, but before he could speak a dark haze engulfed Ravensfeast. When it dissipated, Adam was holding what appeared to be a mahogany knife. "Ah, that should do the trick," Adam confidently proclaimed.

Turning to bow to Lorash, he continued, "And Poppa Worrywort here should be happy as well. As he stated, I shall indeed NOT take the bow into the city with me."

Harsov tried to hide his grin, as he turned to Lorash. "Don't worry. I'll keep him safe. We will be back before sunrise." Kneeling, he cradled Silvershadow's head in his arms. "You would not like where we are going, little brother. Nor would the humans welcome you with open arms. Besides, we wouldn't want to leave Lorash here all by himself, right? So you stay here, and keep him safe. I will return before morning light."

Lorash scowled blackly. "I couldn't care less if that popinjay dies. But we cannot afford to risk Ravensfeast falling back into human hands. His life, yours, even mine are nothing in comparison to it's value."

Harsov looked puzzled. "I have often wondered, if it is so valuable, why have we not simply made another? You have much knowledge and mystic ability, surely there are others like yourself. Could you not pool your knowledge and create something similar?"

Lorash shook his head in negation. "Impossible. Ravensfeast was crafted from a branch of the Mother Tree, the very first tree. It was destroyed ages ago, and this is the only surviving portion. In addition, a score of master mages worked together in unison to create it. Many died in the process. Ravensfeast is unique, and can never be duplicated."

Harsov whistled softly. "That would explain its value, alright. But if it is so powerful, and if we are likely to encounter others seeking it, would it not be wise for you to aid Adam in fully attuning it?"

Lorash's lip curled in scorn. "Aid him? An elf so perverted by humans that he thinks of himself as one of them? I would sooner die first."

Adam tapped his foot impatiently, clearly annoyed at being unable to understand the conversation. He was skilled in reading people though, and it was quite obvious from the looks Lorash was directing his way what the subject of the conversation was. "Harsov! Are you coming with me, or do you want to spend the night chatting with Poppa Worrywart there?"

Chuckling, Harsov jogged over to Adam. "We return here before light is in sky once more, yes?"

Adam grinned as he replied, "Why certainly, certainly. I just want to pick up a few supplies, and look the town over. We should be back before dawn easily. Perhaps as we go, you can teach me a little of the elven language? I would really like to be able to speak the language of my people." As well as understand that pompous ass Lorash when he starts mouthing off, Adam silently added.

Harsov nodded happily. "Yes, I do this with gladness. You teach me speak better as well, yes? Learn me about human cities? Like why they chop down trees, then use wood to build walls? Why not grow trees to make wall? Easier, better for trees and people!"

Adam stared at Harsov a moment. "GROW trees to make a wall? Maybe that would be an easy thing for forest de...*ahem* forest people to do, but magic of any sort does not come easily for most humans."

Harsov nodded in return. "This I know well. Even small magic not easy for me to do. Lorash say I hopeless, and give up."

Adam scowled blackly back at the camp. "Seems to me Lorash needs to be taken down a few notches. He may know a few tricks, but then so do I." The two continued walking away, deep in conversation.

Lorash shook his head. "Strangest duo I ever saw. A human who thinks he's an elf, and an elf who thinks he's human. Surely the gods are laughing right now."

Silvershadow whined softly as he watched his brother walk away with Stink Elf. He did not like Elf Wolf either, but one thing he agreed with. Elf wolf was right to be concerned. They WERE being followed.

"Well," Lorash said, "I might as well set a few traps while I wait. I do have some ideas I've been wanting to try." With a slight frown he turned to look at Silvershadow. "Not sure why I'm talking to YOU about this. Picking up Harsov's bad habit I suppose." Reaching down he ruffled the wolf's fur.

Entering the city was rather anticlimactic. After his own aborted attempt, Harsov was anticipating a confrontation. Instead, Adam had whispered a few words to an armored guard at the gate, dropped a few pieces of metal in his hand, and the two of them had simply walked in. Humans had such odd ways.




(A LARGE PORTION OF THIS STORY WAS ACCIDENTALLY DELETED. PLEASE BEAR WITH ME AS I ATTEMPT TO RECREATE IT)

If ever I needed you babe, I need you now! How about a spear? A nice boarspear, with a crossbar? Please?"

Harsov took a deep breath. If this creature was more than Lorash could handle alone, it as likely beyond anything he could do to harm it. Or was it? Holding the flamberge firmly in both hands, he leaped forward, shouting "Adramaloch!"

Silvershadow growled and lunged forward. The pack was together now, and his brother was in danger. This was a time for fangs to sink deep!

Lorash held his staff level, as he reached deep inside himself, summoning all his will and mystic might. Perhaps he could at least slow the beast down, give them time to flee...

Burning Ash staggered as his creature was assaulted from all sides. A boar spear plunged deep in its chest as it surfaced, shearing through its armor plated hide. Raw mystic force battered it, slowing its reaction time. A blazing flamberge smote it on the head, engulfing it in flames. A half grown wolf leaped in and out, snapping as it tried to chew through the tough hide.

A single bugling cry of anguish burst from the creature, as it plowed to a stop, still half submerged below the ground. Burning Ash blinked, still half in shock. They killed it! This same creature had torn apart whole squads of soldiers, yet these three had slain it without receiving a scratch in return!

So, his "son" had found competent allies, it would seem. This might be more interesting than he had first thought. One thing was certain, he would need a more refined tool to test them next. The landshark, for all its brute power, was far too clumsy. Next time, he would be better prepared.

(WATCH FOR CHAPTER 19, COMING SOON)



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