Fog, slowly drifted among them clouding their view. They could barely see the fortress beyond the swamp. But Silvernist could tell it was a large fortress.
“Follow me,” Ludok said. Arake, Ariana and Silvernist followed him deeper into some trees.
“We’ll walk along the swamp until we get there then I know a secret way into the fortress.”
“How do you know?” Arake asked. Ludok looked at him and shrugged.
“Well, this isn’t the first time I’ve been here,” he replied with a small smile. Silvernist looked at him suspiciously. So he’s been here before, why? She caught up with them as they began to walk farther away from her. Just as she caught up to them, her right foot automatically sunk deep into the ground. Uh-oh.
“Uh, guys!” She called after them. They turned.
“What is it?” Ludok questioned. Silvernist pointed to her foot.
“It’s stuck.” Ludok came over, knelt and grabbed her leg to jerk it up. It took about two times until it finally came out of the mud. Right when it came out, Silvernist lost her balance and fell backward into the mud.
“Ugh,” she said.
“Ooo, Silvie,” Ariana said. Silvernist lifted a hand. It was covered in mud and so was her backside. Arake held out his hand for Silvernist to take it and she did. She stood up and began to walk.
“Let’s go,” she said glancing at Ludok. The others followed.
“Make sure you watch your step. There’s quicksand in some parts of this area,” Ludok was saying. Silvernist muttered something under her breath but they didn’t hear it. She must be in a bad mood. Arake thought. He watched her kick twigs and small rocks ahead of her.
“Is anything wrong?” Arake asked softly as he walked up beside her. Silvernist shook her head although Arake knew there was something wrong. He nudged her with his elbow.
“There is something wrong,” he spoke closely to her ear. She sighed, looked back to see Ludok chatting with Ariana then whispered back to Arake,
“I just don’t trust him.” Arake lifted one eyebrow.
“Why?” he asked.
“I just… I have a weird feeling around him.” Then they flinched when Ludok’s voice alerted them.
“Wait. Stop.” Ludok stood in front of them.
“What is it?” Ariana questioned. Her voice wavered with fear. Again, Silvernist saw the elf’s ear twitch.
“We have company.” He and the others hustled behind a tree and waited in the thick fog.
“Who is it?” Silvernist whispered.
“A group of gnolls are heading our way. If they find us, we’ll be captured,” Ludok replied. Silvernist peeked from behind the bark and saw a large amounts of gnolls heading in their direction. She gasped and hid herself. She caught a glimpse of Ariana burying her face in her brother’s shoulder. She felt like smiling but was too nervous even to move. They felt the ground begin to rumble. And then it stopped.
Silvernist knelt there like a statue. Her heart beat against her chest and her face was cold as ice. Suddenly, she screamed as a gnoll’s face popped out from behind the tree and stared into hers. Silvernist nearly fell back but caught herself. The gnoll turned away and jibbers came from it’s mouth. Soon, the group of gnolls surrounded them and grabbed them. Ariana was trying to get away as one of them lifted her up and tied her hands behind her back. It was done to each of them except Ludok.
Silvernist glared at the elf.
“What? Why aren’t they-?” She started but was cut off when a knife was pressed against her back. She watched in unbelief, as one of the gnolls, maybe the captain, went over to him and dropped a bag in his hand. She couldn’t believe it. Ludok had led them into a trap.
“You tricked us!” She yelled. Arake and Ariana couldn’t believe it either. The captain spoke in some language they didn’t know and the gnolls forced them to begin walking.
Ludok had been working with the gnoll king.