Liskief’s suggestion was met with looks of horror and disbelief. Only Kilskev’s face remained impassive.
“And how will that help exactly?” he asked.
His query was met with condescension, “Surely it is obvious! Fear is sure to stimulate action-“
Kilskev stood abruptly, cutting Liskief off with his glare.
“Do not take me for a fool Liskief! Fear will only breed desperate and irrational actions! How easy would it be for them to just start accusing random citizens? How does this make us any better than the caster? Children, especially elvish children, are precious Liskief. You would do well to remember that.”
As his opponent slowly took his seat, Liskief allowed his face to turn into a frown.
“Fine. If this council will not see reason, I refuse to bear the consequences of our failure.”
“Your excuses will not absolve you of that responsibility so long as you remain on this council,” scolded Geshea. “We need a course of action. A wise one,” he added with a meaningful glance.
Sigin sat up straighter and with thoughtful slowness suggested, “Perhaps we could ask the trees?”
Another silence, not one of fear, but of respect and awe.
“A sound suggestion, but communion with the ancestors of the forest is not to be taken lightly. We will need the utmost cooperation and attention of all our members.”
Geshea looked around the circle at each member, his face asking the unspoken question. One by one they all nodded, even Liskief who, despite his grumblings, had a strange twinkle in his eye.
“Then it is decided. Take the next day to meditate and prepare yourself and two days hence we shall convene in the Grove of Spirits.”
The Groove of Spirits was where the elves had first communicated with the ancient souls of nature. Arranged in a circle were six trees, and likewise there were six council members, one for each tree. Each elf slowly approached his respective monolith of nature with his head bowed and his right arm stretched out in front him. A keen observer might have noticed the slight resistance that the elves encountered as they drew near to the massive trunks. If an elf did not have the approval of the ancient spirits he or she would be allowed any near the towering sentinels.
Had the other elves not been so immersed in the ritual, they would have witnessed such an occurrence.
Liskief slowly looked up. He had run into an invisible barrier about ten feet away from his tree. He had expected it.
Slowly, from within his robe, he withdrew a white elven bow and a small quiver of arrows. Smiling grimly, he fitted and drew the bow back to its limit. He pointed it at Kilskev and without hesitation, he fired.
WHO DARES BRING DEATH TO THE GROVE?
The deep voice of one of the spirits was enough to start the ground shaking and throw Liskief and the other elves to the ground. Liskief crowed in triumph, even as the roots of the trees began to snake from the ground towards him. Communion between elf and tree involved binding the spirit of the elf with the tree.
Interruption of this process separated the spirit from the body and resulted in madness or death.
Accepting of his fate, Liskief announced, “I die here, but know that I, Liskief, have started the beginning of the en-“
He was cut off as the vines and roots reached his body and snuffed out his life.
The grove remained quiet and undisturbed for long hours after the tremors finally ceased.