File1, 2, & 3 for opollard:



Wind howled through the night, carrying a scent that would change the world.
A tall Shade lifted his head and sniffed the air.
He looked human except for his crimson hair and maroon eyes.

He blinked in surprise. The message had been correct; they were here.
Or was it
a trap? He weighed the odds, then said icily,
"Spread out; hide behind trees and bushes.
Stop whoever is coming . . . or die."
Around him shuffled twelve Urgals with short swords and round iron
shields painted with black symbols. They resembled men with bowed legs and
thick, brutish arms made for crushing. A pair of twisted horns grew above thei
r small ears. The monsters hurried into the brush, grunting as they hid. Soon
the rustling quieted and the forest was silent again.


Shade peered around a thick tree and looked up the trail.
It was too dark for any human to see, but for him the faint moonlight was like
sunshine streaming between the trees; every detail was clear and sharp to his
searching gaze. He remained unnaturally quiet, a long pale sword in his hand. A
wire-thin scratch curved down the blade. The weapon was thin enough to slip be
tween a pair of ribs, yet stout enough to hack through the hardest armor.

The Urgals could not see as well as the Shade;
they groped like blind beggars,
fumbling with their weapons. An owl screeched, cutting through the silence. No
one relaxed until the bird flew past. Then the monsters shivered in the cold
night; one snapped a twig with his heavy boot. The Shade hissed in anger, and
the Urgals shrank back, motionless. He suppressed his distaste—they smelled
like fetid meat—and turned away. They were tools, nothing more.

The Shade forced back his impatience as the minutes became hours.
The scent must have wafted far ahead of its owners.
He did not let the Urgals get up or warm themselves. He denied himself those
luxuries, too, and stayed behind the tree, watching the trail. Another gust
of wind rushed through the forest. The smell was stronger this time.
Excited, he lifted a thin lip in a snarl.


Get ready," he whispered, his whole body vibrating. The tip of his sword
moved in small circles. It had taken many plots and much pain to bring himself
to this moment. It would not do to lose control now.

Eyes brightened under the Urgals’ thick brows, and they gripped their weapons
tighter. Ahead of them, the Shade heard a clink as something hard struck a
loose stone. Faint smudges emerged from the darkness and came down the trail.

Three white horses with riders cantered toward the ambush, their heads held
high and proud, their coats rippling in the moonlight like liquid silver.

On the first horse was an elf with pointed ears and elegantly slanted eyebrows.
His build was slim but strong, like a rapier. A powerful bow was slung on his
back. A sword pressed against his side opposite a quiver of arrows fletched
with swan feathers.

No lines are longer than 80 characters, TYVM. Other specified properties aren't being scored automatically at this time so this is not necessarily good news...