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Tristan's breath caught in his throat as the realisation struck home that he was about to die.
The gnoll before them stared long and hard at them before it turned its head slightly and said something to the other three. Tristan could not believe his ears, could he really have understood what was said. He could not tell if he had heard or just imagined the words ‘juicy elf meat'. How was it possible that he knew the language of the gnolls when this was the first time he had ever set eyes on these creatures? He had heard Alren speak about them for hours on end, but to his knowledge, he had never taught any of their language. As the leader stepped forward, Tristan heard the familiar sounds of bowstrings snapping back into place as four arrows sped across the clearing, embedding themselves in the gnolls. Each arrow had found their mark, taking a gnoll in the neck. Dropping to their knees, they fumbled clumsily at the protruding shafts. Tristan held his ground until he could no longer see the flame of life burning in their little beady yellow eyes.
It was then that the four elven rangers made themselves known as they stepped into the clearing. They were dressed in their usual uniforms of green tunic and brown leather breeches. The blending of the colours allowed them to remain unseen throughout the forested areas of Hiethar. Alren Silverleaf quickly came to stand before his daughter. She was still in shock and had not moved. She had remained frozen the entire time during the brief encounter. Using gentle soothing words Alren coaxed his daughter back from the brink of her terror. She had almost been at the end of the gnoll's rusty scimitar but Tristan's intervention had saved her.