The Inquest caravan was in ruin, it's escorts were no match for the fury nature itself had brought down upon them. But that had been hours ago, and now only two remained.

The Asura stirred, pain bringing his consciousness screaming back to life, his panic renewed. He sat up far too quickly, his left leg flaring messages of injury during his caravan desertion. A sharp gasp, followed by a groan of pain escaped his lips while he clutched at his leg, fingers probing the tender flesh about his broken femur.

"He's awake." The innocent voice spoke. Upon the edge overlooking him sat a Sylvari child pulled from it's dream far too early. The shackles that had bound it to the slaver's wagon wall far removed. The Asuran looked about his surroundings for the first time. He was within a natural pitfall, a crude wooden gate the only exit at the far end to a chasm beyond.

A twig cracked as another approached the pit's edge above, a hooded figure whose eyes could be seen like a distant star in the night sky. The facial features were illuminated as well, a demon's glow of Nightshade purple. It walked like a man, even had the humanoid features and leather bound clothing of one. "So he is.." The voice spoke, soft and kind towards the child. "Fetch us some water from the creek, if you would please dear." The child eagerly climbed to her feet, glad to be rid of her charge.

"What are you?!" The Asura's voice cracked, parched from it's efforts.

Ah, but those eyes! There were upon him again, studying, judging. The figure reached up, drawing back the hood to reveal a lively head of leaves, their tips glowing the same purple as its owners face. A Sylvari.. His dark, bark like facial features showed little of it's thoughts. "Splintered." He paced off to the side, looking to ensure the child had gone. A bow was strung across his back, the quiver nearly drained of it's contents. "You bought slaves from the Courtiers.. Why?"

"That is no concern of yours, Sylvari!" The Asuran bit back, spite in it's voice as it grimaced and massaged it's wounded led.

"Mmm.. perhaps. Your actions speak for themself, but you have many reasons to be concerned." The Sylvari stopped, crossed his arms and stared at the Asuran, it's judgement made. "How did the Courtiers pull one so young from the dream?"

"Are you deaf, or just dumb? Inquisition matters are above your diminutive comprehension level. Now help me out of here, and I'll see to it .. You're not even listening, are you?" The angry Asuran huffed. He needed a plan, and quickly. It was growing cold, and his leg throbbed terribly. Was that sweat he felt upon his forehead?

"I'll not ask again. How did Courtiers pull Sylvari from the Dream?" He crossed his arms, fingers idly drumming upon the coarse leather sleeve. It as strange to him to feel the human crafted leathers against his bark, but the benefits they offered outweighed the frail leaves he had before.

"You'll never under- Ahh!" The small Asuran startled, a crash from the gate behind. Something big had hit it, and hard. He grimaced in pain, turning to look towards it. A snort, and a shadowy figure behind the wooden structure.

((To be Continued.))