Estarin slowly ran her spear-staff through the air and smiled as she found what she was looking for. The elf sang a quiet, soothing tune. A thin wisp of scarlet mist rose from the ruby at the pommel of her weapon, and a few seconds later a great gray owl landed on the shaft.
– Be my eyes. – The spellcaster whispered to the bird, with a light movement of the wand she sent it flying and turned to her squad. – Everyone raise the observers!
Two dozen different birds rose above the forest and scattered to the sides, in search of the missing Maidar squad. The summoners are stationed at the edge of the cursed swamps. More than a month had passed since the scouts disappeared, there was no longer any chance of finding them, but the elves could not leave their own without trying everything. The rescue team was obliged to find either the missing persons themselves or evidence of their death.
The birds returned two days later. After listening to what they saw, Estarin’s party moved into the depths of the forest, carefully checking for an ambush ahead. The charmed animals patrolled the escape routes, except for the huge binturong, which did not depart a single step from its mistress Estarin.
Two dozen fighters were in Maidar’s squad, two dozen silver armbands were taken by the animal charmers. From the bodies of the elves, only handfuls of dust remained, the cursed swamp withered them. The last one, which belonged to their commander, was missing. There was no time to look for it. Birds – observers told the elves that the enemy was approaching. Estarin took what she thought might belong to Maidar, a fragment of a long, elegant blade.
The elves retreated quickly. No one can compare with these people in moving quickly through any thicket, even the cursed, changed, bogged. The forest was left behind, the camp was set up at a considerable distance from it. Premonition did not give Estarin peace. She summoned a new bird and cast a stronger spell. While the elf was meditating in safety, the bird went back to the swamps, in the direction where the animals noticed the Akkari’s approach. Estarin watched with her eyes as the creatures moved through the swamp until the bird was grabbed by a tall spider elf. His outline was not yet completely changed, and at his belt hung the other half of the elven blade that Estarin had picked up. The realization of what had happened severed the magical connection between the elf-woman and the bird.
The casters returned to Talanis and handed over the bandages to the new head of the silver elf clan, Aridan.
– That’s… All I could find. But I’m sure your brother is dead.
– Did you see his body?
– Yes. – Estarine took pity on Aridan, not saying that it was still alive.