Tristan held his breath, as he lay hidden in the thick undergrowth. Alwyen Silverleaf walked slowly and softly past him. She was listening for any sound that would betray his hiding place. Tristan, Alwyen, Landos, Megan and a few other children were all out in the nearby forest of Haven Wood playing hide and seek. Tristan loved the forest, he felt so at home amongst the tall oaks and pine. The forest sounds were music to his ears. The little band of friends had been playing in the forest for most of the morning when Tristan noticed the normal forest sounds had died down to sporadic bird chatter only. Looking around Tristan wondered why the chirping crickets and chattering of the squirrels had all but disappeared. Thinking back to his training with Alren, Alwyen's father, he had mentioned the forest sounds would always stop when danger was near. Danger thought Tristan, as his heart began to pound in his chest. He began to scan the forest for any signs of the danger. Scanning the undergrowth Tristan glimpsed a lone figure creeping slowly in the direction of where Alwyen had just disappeared through a thicket of bush. It was also were Landos and the others had gone in search of their hiding places. With a cold sweat on his brow, Tristan left his hiding place and slowly made his way towards the clearing ahead. While making his way to the clearing he spied what was stalking Alwyen. It looked like a giant hyena, standing seven feet tall and weighing at least three hundred pounds. It wore a leather tunic over the reddish-brown fur, which covered its body. The hair on its body becoming shorter as it got to its face. The creature looked around, allowing Tristan to see its little beady yellow eyes as they focused in on the back of Alwyen. In its clawed hand, it carried a rusty scimitar. Tristan had heard of these feral nomadic creatures from Alren, these creatures killed and pillaged without warning. Looking upon the Gnoll for the first time Tristan felt a strong feeling of hatred for this creature, something primal was ignited deep within him.
Entering the clearing Tristan made no sound as he looked up to see where the gnoll was. Seeing it almost upon Alwyen made him quicken his pace, losing his concentration. With blood pumping he quickened his step causing him to stand on a dry branch and snapping it underfoot. This alerted the gnoll to the presence of someone behind him. Spinning around, his sword already drawn, the gnoll faced down young Tristan. Letting out a menacing growl it charged. The gnoll was closing the gap fast, when the words entered his mind. Tristan watched as the danger charged towards him but found that a strange calm had come over him. The words that flashed in his mind began to form. They were in none of the five languages he could speak yet somehow he was able to pronounce them. Shouting out the words young Tristan Crow raised his arm so that his hand was level with his chest. From his outstretched fingers shot a flaming golden dart. The dart streaked forward to meet the charging gnoll, slamming square in the creature's chest.