At first the mortals were unsure of the meaning of the tree-elves’ strange chant. Their captives were released from their cages, and a long, stout rope was tied around each of their middles. They were tied close together along the length of rope, bunched up on one end while the elves took hold of the other. The rope was stretched between two wooden platforms, with a gaping hole between them in the middle. Then they began their game of “tug-a-war.”

The rules seemed pretty obvious. Each team would pull on their end of the rope, the mortals on one side and the elves on the other. The losing team would be pulled off their platform, being forced to fall from the dizzying height to the ground below the tree branches. While the elves seemed overjoyed to be playing a game, most of them jumping up and down excitedly and chortling with uncontrollable mirth, they did not seem concerned with fairness. Not only were they not tied to their end of the rope, so that they could release it if they started losing, there were also a lot more of them.

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