Chapter 44 - The Long Night
The night was long, hard and cheerless. The priests tended to the wounded and John and Doug were everywhere at once trying to find space and food enough for all their guests. Doug was very upset at not being able to serve a hot meal, but scarcely any of them dared venture outside and not even the ogre was brave enough to try collecting fire wood.
The forest was strangely quiet and most of the time there were no night sounds. Not entirely surprising in winter, but this was an eerie silence punctuated by an occassional orkish scream and the sound of bones snapping. By morning, they all prayed that this would turn out to be a nightmare.
The wizards and other scholars spent the night in debate, trying to decide what to do next. It was clear that the trees could not be bested in combat, for while fire and axes would hurt them, there were too many. Besides, none of them relished the idea of cutting down a live tree, especially one that would be fighting back. Finally, it was decided that the elf would have to do some scouting once dawn came. It was risky, but there was no alternative.
The dwarf and the ogre slept on the covered porch of the inn, the dwarf in a chair propped against the door and the ogre on the hard stones of the porch. Neither was comfortable, but the most recent battle had removed almost all of Ron from the ogre. Steve feared that he would soon have to take Ronís life as he had promised to do and was surprised to find himself excited about the prospect. It seemed that his dwarven nature was also becoming more dominant.
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