I write this as we debate a momentous decision. The Elves of the High City hold our ship and our crew hostage and claim the orb in our possession.
The Wood Elves revealed themselves after the fight with the ghouls. There was an initial misunderstanding as to our intentions, as they accused us of nefarious designs on an Elf Village not far from where we had inadvertantly led a horde of undead. After we had apologized and explained ourselves, the Wood Elves were much more amenable.
They offered that an Elder from the village was very learned in the arcane arts and might be of assistance in understanding the orb which we had bound to us. Zap and I formed the delegation to meet with this Elven lady.
I confess that our recent experience with betrayal had me jumping at shadows, and I was persuaded that this frail lady before us would betray us, or be assassinated, or simply die unexpectedly. She did not, and was able to provide some useful guidance. As a matter of fact, a great Elven hero, from before the waters, resided nearby and was responsible for locking the orb away initially. She suggested that we explore his tomb nearby which may contain additional information on our quest.
She was also able to research a spell which would permit us to contain the power of the orb. The downside was that she would have to uncover the orb to cast the spell, and that the spell would take a minute to cast.
We and the Elven scout troop, together with the village guards, took steps to minimize potential casualties while the mage cast the spell. Elven artisans erected a rough palisade while Zap and Svin cast protective spells on the sage. We also contacted the villagers and warned them to stay indoors while the scouts and the guards were deployed to block access points to the village. The rest of us assured bodyguard duty to the mage.
I will not go into the detail of the battle. The undead do not employ strategy, and simply attempted to overwhelm us by numbers. The palisade was very effective in limiting the threat. Suffice to say, the spell was cast, the orb was locked and the undead were neutralized.
Our battle in arms with the Wood Elves fostered a level of trust between us. The Wood Elves admitted that they felt that the High Elves had gone too far in their all-out war and that they had been assisting the orcs in their resistance against the High Elves. They also believe something else is afoot: the High Elf King has not been seen the war started, and the Crown Prince disappeared shortly thereafter. The General is third in line to the throne. The Wood Elves lay much of the blame for the barbarity of the war at his feet.
My friends and I got a sense of the ends to which the General was willing to prosecute the war shortly afterwards. We received a message from the General in which he advised that he had had us followed into the woods and had learned that we had recovered the orb. He also advised that he had taken our ship and crew hostage in exchange for the orb, which he hopes will enable him to finally smash the resistance to High Elf rule. As I mentioned in the opening, we are currently debating how to free our ship and crew while minimizing the potential loss of life.