Eschaton (The Chance of a Lifetime)
"I heard a scout returned yesterday evening," Erildar said.
"He was summoned to the king instantly," Qildor added.
"A matter of urgency then," Erildar mused, rubbing his chin.
"Rumors have already spread," Falael said. "I heard his horse was exhausted and close to death."
"Who said this?" Ardreth asked.
"The stable boy," Falael replied. "He talked to one of my comrades."
"He must have ridden a long distance then," Qildor said.
"And apparently without rest," Erildar mused, still rubbing his chin.
"I can only imagine he came from Khidell where our enemy’s powerful wizard resides," Qildor said.
"This is very speculative," Ardreth said. "You do not have any proof."
"It could well be," Falael said. "Only a month ago we captured a scout from Khidell who told us the mighty wizard has retreated to his tower without given any reason for it."
"He told you that? He gave away a secret freely?" Erildar asked with an almost smile on his lips.
"Freely, no," Falael said with a grim look. "I can only guess he thought it would delay his death which was a fatal error."
Erildar smiled. Qildor and Ardreth exchanged a quick look.
"A fatal error," Falael repeated. "He was..."
Erildar raised his hand. Falael fell silent. Qildor and Ardreth looked at Erildar.
"The scout may indeed have more information. Perhaps the wizard of Khidell’s power weakened, why ever. This could be the chance we were waiting for."
A shiver ran down Falael’s spine. Qildor straightened and Ardreth lifted his chin.
"The chance of a lifetime," Falael said.
"The end of a war," Qildor said under his breath.
"The end of an era," Ardreth said in a low voice.
Erildar nodded. The others looked at him.
Another elf approached them and told them that the king had announced that a council would be held in the evening. The elf hurried on.
Erildar, Qildor, Ardreth, and Falael looked at each other.
"We must not forfeit the chance," Erildar said in a serious, almost reverent voice.