"At least they went deep," the elf said to himself, a half-hearted chuckle escaped his throat as he forced the first arrow free.
Night had taken full hold as he dropped the last arrow into the quiver. He turned to his village and carefully treaded through the foliage separating him from the path home.
As he neared the path a creak passed through the woods. The elf stopped and listened and heard not only the creak again, but it was joined by the clop of horse hooves. He crept on through the trees to the path where the noises originated. With each step it became harder to hear the creak and clop for the pounding of his own heart.
A pinprick of light flashed through the trees and the elf stopped and wrestled back control of his breath from the fear gripping him.
The light did not move and the noises were replaced by footsteps.
The elf narrowed his eyes and strained to hear the steps.
Human walking on boards, the elf thought.
The tinkling of metal and glass mixed with the scraping of boots against wooden planks.
The sounds of the elf's beating heart subsided slowly from his own ears. He moved forward and soon he could make out the trader's wagon in the dim lantern light.
The trader limped down from the side of the wagon and stopped short, staring in the elf's general direction. Lowering a panel on the wagon, the trader reached and produced a sword and held it, shakily, before him.
With a resigned sigh, the elf raised his hands and stepped out of the foliage.
"Halt," cried the trader, his voice breaking.
"Yes, Sir," the elf replied, using stilted common.