The Faenum War
Any war is a horror and the Faenum War is no different. Dave is forced to face the worst choice of his life, a galling dilemma that leaves him staggered, and this is in addition to the task of leading the war against the overwhelming might of the empire. It puts them in deathly peril throughout and they must search their souls for the strength to try to prevail. In the end, after the traumas of fighting against a relentless foe, outnumbered and ever pressed backwards, the time of the master comes and Dave must face a fight against an opponent from beyond. Even with all of this Dave is still Dave and he never loses his goodness and his hope of salvation for all.
Graile and Sylvia saw him walking past them, distracted with his thoughts.
“Dave, hello,” called Graile. “Where are you going?”
“Away,” he replied. “This place is getting on my nerves.”
“I think Andron can relate to your feelings,” Sylvia observed.
“If I took advantage of him before, I’m getting paid back now. I don’t know how he put up with this. I wonder if anybody would notice if I rode away into the sunset and didn’t come back.”
Graile and Sylvia chuckled.
“I think they would notice,” said Sylvia. “I don’t think that you would get very far.”
“It’s worth a try,” Dave replied. He saw a knot of counselors heading in his direction.
“My lord,” they called, “if we could have but a minute of your time. We have an urgent matter to discuss with you.”
“Tell them I’m going to the sandbox.”
“What?” asked Sylvia. “What does that mean Dave?”
“You know,” he replied, making a squatting motion.
Sylvia laughed heartily. “They’ll find you there too.”
In spite of her observation, Dave hurried away.
He went straight to the stables to retrieve his horse and rode eastward toward the forest across the border into elf country. He let his mind wander as he relaxed from the stress of the camp enjoying the peace of a rare moment of solitude. It was a warm day as winter had long since passed and spring was nearly over.
He rode into the forest and slowed down to a walk just savoring the fresh air and the clean scent of the trees. Birds chirped loudly and flew about busily making their nests and foraging for food. Dave smiled and looked up at the sky at the cumulus clouds drifting along like soft clumps of cotton candy. The warmth of the sun felt good on his face. It was a perfect picture and an ideal day.
Dave suddenly froze in his saddle as his intuition flared that danger was near at hand. Gloin hummed as he extended his power to locate the threat. He heard an agonized cry and set off at a gallop toward the sound. He rode determinedly but only with a generalized idea of where he was going. He sensed a magical disturbance ahead but it was difficult to get a clear read on it exactly. It seemed to vacillate waxing and waning, moving from point to point.
Dave growled in frustration. He continued to hear the disturbing sounds of someone suffering terribly. It irked him that he couldn’t solve the problem of locating the source of the trouble. Each time he rode in a particular direction the disturbance seemed to move.
He concentrated with his power and searched for any magic being wielded. The instant he sensed a flicker he drove toward it and ignored the false signals around him. He broke past a nearby thick stand of trees into a small clearing. He saw an elf woman lying on the ground surrounded by five figures. They looked similar to elves, but elves that were jaded, dark and malicious. He realized he was seeing his first goblins. They were torturing the elf and the power they wielded was red. What they’d done to her was monstrous, but what struck Dave like a hammer was the delight he saw on their faces as she suffered. They weren’t looking to simply kill an enemy; they were savoring the torment they were inflicting on her. Two goblin females were using their power to sustain her life to extend her pain while the three males inflicted the punishment.
They looked at Dave contemptuously, a single opponent against their five, but they had no idea who they were dealing with. Dave was driven to utter rage. The goblins were too slow to react as he unleashed a feral blast that incinerated them on the spot leaving only smoking hulks remaining.