Anson and the other fighters traded places periodically so they could stay rested. The others sat stuffed into the narrow tunnel, wondering when the beasts would stop their assault. While he wasn’t defending the entrance Anson sat quiet and distraught. Finally he spoke aloud a worry that was weighing on him. “We are safe in here for now, but we are not in a much better situation. If the beasts don’t leave us alone, We won’t be able to go out and get food or water. Eventually we will die of hunger and thirst, if the beasts don’t find a way to get to us before then. This shelter may have turned into a trap.”

“I have thought of the same thing,” Arnol said. “We can’t escape from these beasts on our own. We need help.”

“But we are alone out here,” Eveli said. “Where will we find help? Don’t tell me you want to return to the tree-elves.”

“No,” answered Arnol, “but there are some who might help us, if we begged them. Our kin back in the city we came from.”

“You can’t be serious!” exclaimed Arralor. “We were exiled. We can’t go back there!”

“I wouldn’t suggest such a thing under normal circumstances,” Arnol said. “But I am afraid it may be our only chance to survive. Would it be better to die here, or risk further punishment by breaking our exile? We would not be returning to the city to dwell, only to beg for compassion from our kin. I think if they knew our plight they would help us.”

“Even so,” replied Eveli, “the city is a long way off. How could we all escape the beasts long enough to make it back there?”

“We would not all need to escape,” explained Arnol. “One person might be able to sneak past the beasts. We could send a messenger to them, and hope that they would be willing and able to save us.”

This plan was not readily agreed upon. It would be a long and difficult journey, and the rest of them might not last until the help returned. Even if the messenger made it to the city, there was no guarantee the Immortals would listen to their plea. And first they would have to find someone who would be willing to make the journey. But for now no one had a better plan.

They argued and debated for a while, and then Archean stood to his feet. “I will go,” he declared. “I am the fastest among us, and running is my talent and passion. I think this is the reason I am here, so that I can bring help to our people in their time of need.”

Arnol followed Archean through the crowded tunnel until they reached the back exit. It led out through a narrow gap onto a small rocky plateau on top of the cliff. There they sat waiting for the sunrise.

“Are you sure you want to do this?” Arnol asked his companion. “There may be another way.”

“We have already lost many to these savage beasts,” Archean said gravely. “If I can help save the rest of our people, I want to do whatever I can, even if I die. If I don’t go, and we all end up facing death, I will regret my cowardice. And if the beasts find this other entrance, we really will be trapped. Now may be my only chance to get away. Don’t worry, if I am seen, I think I can outrun even the beasts. I am the only one who can do this. I will bring back help from our kin as quickly as I can.”


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