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Of all those elves encountered in my captivity none were so
strange or so fierce as the sworn huntsmen of the forest king.
They seem to suffer no female membership within their ranks: an
odd arrangement for the Sylvan Elves, though not dissimilar to our
chivalric orders. This appears to be the only similarity, for in temperament
they are mercurial and belligerent even by the standards of other
elves, and in appearance they are wild to the point of barbarism.
They go about their day bare-chested and carry bone and horn fetishes
that they scrimshaw themselves. When called to ride forth,
I was told they wear terrifying masks and communicate only in the
growls and bellows of beasts. Their skill with the lance is such that it
is said that no prey, once spotted, escapes the Wild Hunt. Certainly
the common elves, even those of the aristocracy, treated them with
a level of wariness that spoke of caution around these wild warriors;
only those strange Blade Dancers and the heralds of the Forest Queen
would long hold the gaze of one of the King’s Hunters.
They seemed to possess no inherent nobility as a man would judge
such things, save for that which one might expect in a good hound,
and they seem ill-suited to any work not involving battle or prey. Firsthand
I saw their frequent feasting and the great bonfires on which
they lazily roasted meat. Around such flames they would sit and drink
of copper-red mead while recounting crude tales with great animation
to the hoots and jeers of their fellows.
It was to these Trewi I turned my thoughts of escape, believing they
possessed some of the avarice which makes men malleable. I spun a
tale of lost Equitan riches awaiting in the haunted ruins of Doum-
Corin. They seemed to care little for my presence, but listened to my
story with every appearance of interest. I answered their questions,
stretching my Elvish vocabulary until I realised they were jesting with
me, flashing wolfish grins at this game. They even dubbed me ‘Delyn’
in their own tongue, clearly thinking me a jolly fellow. It was only
later that one of my captors explained the term to mean boar.
Groups of male elves would sit around
their cooking fires, lethargic to the point of
sullenness. Then, as one, they would stand.
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