He had been gone a little more than a fortnight, when thoughts drenched in sorrow crept into his mind. He hadn't wanted to leave, but Brand - his General - insisted that he, like many of the others, follow a path only forged by leaving the shelter of his proverbial wings. The Elf had no idea where to go, for he had considered himself the sword and shield of Brand, his eternal protector, his solider.
Still, at his behest, Adinraen Barriurden packed a small rucksack of survival essentials, as well as twin Boneswords, and a similarly crafted Bow, and set off. He headed in an easterly direction, wondering what he would find and why Brand felt it so important that he followed the flock, so to speak. So when the feeling settled in, he almost turned on his heel and raced back, something had to be wrong, right? Yet, the misjudged Elf steeled himself and carried onwards, until the next night when he set up camp on the edge of a clearing, so he could see any potential threats coming from the forward and sides. With the forest to his back, he felt strangely safe.
The night wasn't long born when the news came to him, by chance or by fate, when a travelling party stumbled upon his fire. Like many others, they were taken aback by his appearance, but steady words calmed them down. They brought word from back home with them, perhaps the most jarring of which was that a known ranger from the forest had been killed. They stumbled remembering the name, but Adinraen knew it in his heart. He was quiet the rest of the evening.
For months after, he stalked the forest around his childhood home, not able to bring himself to enter the place where Brand would no longer offer solace or training. He blamed himself, he should have stayed and fought by Brands side, protected him from the unsavory circumstances of his death. What could was a solider, a sword and shield, if it were not there when needed?
The darkness of the forest provided a sinister comfort, embracing thoughts of exacting revenge until they bloomed. Today was the day, heads would become charms of a necklace in honor of his Master. But was that Master the darkness or Brand?
Before he took to setting off, he passed by Brand's house one more time, but something was notably different. The ground around the entrance was disturbed. Had they come back after all this time to rummage through Brands belongings?
Adinraen drew both swords and almost soared through the air as he leapt from a branch. He landed with a little thud, and brushed the rune that would allow entry. His breath almost caught, he was entering for the first time in months. The Sword and Shield had returned home to roost.
With nerves of iron, he stepped through the entrance, his left hand sword immediately coming to a stop right before piercing through the back of Andreas neck. Trained eyes flittered around, the numbers inside were numerous.
What had stopped him? Recognition. Though they were older, different, he knew the faces he saw.
Is he dead too, Adinraen asked, his voice descending quickly into contempt. He referred to Diē, the one who left long ago to die. As he did so, he lowered his sword and stepped to his left and forward, eying those who had returned. This had to have been due to one thing, the death of Brand.