Date Uncertain - best estimate, late Ches or early Tarsakh, Year of the Staff

Somewhere in the High Forest

The elf walked disdainfully down the steps and across the floor, blood running down his arms and dripping onto the dark stones. The sacrifice had been a good one - though it were a shame it could not have been sentient. No matter, his god was an understanding one and knew of their plight.

He washed the blood from his black skin and left the shrine to stand beneath the stars. Still strange, but their heritage long past and soon future, perhaps. He pondered the strange twists of fate and divine machinations that had brought them here for a moment. Not for long however, for soon another dark figure slipped through the night to join him.

"Report," the priest commanded.

"The scouting team has returned, Lord. The ruins are desserted. Though the signs show that some of the surface scum were there within the month. Not many though - no more than five. They beleive they came from the South. Shall I instruct them to investigate further?"

"No... This is not the time. I would guess they are well beyond our borders. There is no need to antagonise our brothers at this stage. A scouting team so close will only be observed - and we know where that will lead. No... Warfare is not the key. Something else is required. We cannot sustain a war on the surface without deadly cost to ourselves, though we would surely wipe them out. Our Lord has given us his divine commands. We are to return to the surface. If that is so, war with these `elves` would not make him happy..."

The priest smiled to himself. He could feel a plan coming on and opportunity calling.

Somewhere else in the High Forest

"The orcs are troubled, master," grinned the drooling beastman, bowing low. "It all is going as you said. Soon they will approach us for an alliance."

"Excellent," said the tall beared figure. "You have done well... Soon your reward shall be upon you. I hope you have chosen it`s form well." He grinned at the monstrosity with affection, amused by his own pun.

He twirled his robes imperiously then, smile fading and shook a hand in dismissal turning to his apprentice. She looked back with loathing. All to be expected. One did not bind such beings to you without them resenting it, especially when they had escaped so recently bondage.

"Sorcretia, you will go and investigate what those meddlesome elves are up to. I trust them not to stick to their own dung-heap. Make sure you are not spotted as well... They seem to be shy of demons these days, for some reason."

The winged woman glowered at him, tempted to his through her fangs, but she knew what such disrespect was rewarded with. Instead she merely said, "Yes, `master`..." Feeble sarcasm her only goad... for now.

With a leap the succubus was out the window and flapped her bat-winged way across the sky.

The One smiled at her departure. Plans were going well...

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