With a stiff neck and sore wrists I stayed tied to the pole for most of the day. I had no food or water and my condition was getting abysmal. Apparently Sherwood was serious in his threat that I would want to die before it was all over. Thankfully the men were ignoring me though. I would rather be ignored then have undo attention.

Night was beginning to fall and the resurgence of hope I had had was slowly starting to melt away. Doubt plagued my mind that even if Malach had survived, he would be in no condition to help me. I let myself droop tiredly against my bonds.

That's when my eye caught my crossbow. They had taken it from me when I was first captured and there it was leaning against the side of one of the makeshift tents. If only I was loose I would seriously consider murdering some brigands in their sleep.

It was too much of a stretch even with my feet to try and reach the weapon, but in the process of the struggle, my foot hit a broken off arrowhead buried in the ground. With a sidelong glance around me, I quickly pulled the object to myself and worked my body until I had it in my hand. After several attempts to pick it up and several slashes to my hands I finally got the small blade turned around so I could hold it.

The going was slow but at least it was something to preoccupy my mind. I had no idea what I would do after I cut myself free, but being free was a start.

"Need help?" a soft voice said suddenly at my shoulder.

I twisted around as fast as the rope would let me and was greeted by a pair of exquisite, if tired, indigo eyes. My heart swelled so that it felt as though it would burst. There was Malach, alive if not entirely whole. It was all I could do not to start sobbing right there.

"Did they hurt you," he whispered, a fear of the unknown creeping into his voice.

I shook my head, afraid to speak. As soon as he had cut my hands free, I flung myself against him, wrapping my arms around his neck and smothering his face with kisses. He responded with affection of his own until I felt him wince as I held him. I frantically pulled at the neck of his tunic until I could see the chain mail under his clothes. There was a small hole in the mail right under his collarbone stained rust colored around the opening.

He gently pulled back my hand from the opening.

"I'm fine," Malach said, caressing my face with one hand, "the chain mail made sure that the quarrels didn't do any vital damage. I'm just sore."

I tenderly stroked the base of his neck.

"Don't ever scare me like that again or I swear I'll kill you," I whispered.

He smiled in his silent way and proceeded to undo the ropes around my ankles. Suddenly the tent flaps in front of me exploded back. Malach drew himself up to full height in front of me and drew his weapons.

"Why won't you stay dead?" Sherwood asked incredulously as he stood in front of us, "I'll admit you have a rather bad habit of tenaciously clinging to life. I would assume the woman has something to do with it."

"You have no idea," Malach growled.

With that, Sherwood gave a loud yell and lunged at the drow. Malach was the bigger in size than the short man, but he didn't nearly have the muscle structure. As the two opponents clashed together, I made a break for my crossbow. I had almost made it to my weapon when a soldier rounded the corner of the tent. I slammed solidly against him and he grabbed my arms. I quickly slashed out with the arrowhead, cutting a large gash in the man's arm. He released me with a cry of pain and I scrambled for the crossbow, grabbing it and spinning around to aim at him.

"Call them off!" I shouted at him, "call them off now."

I trained the weapon on the mercenary leader who had come up behind the first man. My aim bounced between him and the soldier. The leader raised his hand and slowly the men backed off.

"It's their fight, not ours," he said. Slowly all eyes were turning towards the fight to the death in the middle of the tents.

By sheer force Sherwood was having the upper hand. Malach twisted away from whistling blow and caught Sherwood's blade between his. Sherwood had the advantage of having a broad sword as opposed to Malach's smaller blades. I was amazed that his weapons hadn't snapped under the impact of the blows. It was plain skill that was keeping the drow alive. He was forced backwards until he was nearly into the side of a tent. At this moment two things happened, the first was that Malach lunged forward. The second was that Sherwood tripped over a tent peg. The drow's shorter blade plunged into the chest of the unbalanced man. A look of shock cross Sherwood's face as Malach jerked the sword out. He shoved the stricken man backwards and moved, chest heaving, towards me.

"Gilliana," he gasped out, looking at me. I backed towards him, still keeping my crossbow trained on the men.

"Just leave," the mercenary leader said, "we have no fight with you. We were just hired by the man you killed."

Malach growled low in his throat and pulled me to him protectively. We slowly backed away from the group then with Malach shoving me from behind we plunged into the forest.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

I twisted a strand of Malach's hair around my finger. His head laid nestled against the curve of my neck, gentle breathing brushing across my skin. His arm was thrown over my body as we lay on our bed.

We had made it out of the forest three weeks ago. In the town we ended up in I had accidentally run into a cleric who had quietly married us with no questions asked. Malach had found an inn that was willing to give solace to a drow and we had comfortably slid into married life.

I let my fingers roam over Malach's muscled back. His body twisted sleepily and he languidly opened his eyes. I smiled at him before he buried his face closer against my neck.

"Do you mind not being immortal anymore?" I asked quietly.

He pulled his head up and looked at me rather devilishly as he pulled one hand free to cradle the side of my face.

"I traded immortality for you," he said, "and it was worth it in so many ways."

I draped myself over him and repeatedly kissed him as I traced his ear. He softly moaned into my mouth until I pulled back.

"You know what I want?" I asked.

"What?" Malach breathed.

"An inn," I quickly put a finger over his lips before he could object to anything, "for drow and elves. There isn't such a thing you realize. I want something that everyone can go to and not worry about being turned away."

Malach looked at me for a moment then blinked slowly.

"That's not a terrible idea," he said quietly.

"Good, then it's settled," I said as I playfully poked him in the stomach. With one fast motion, he flipped me laughing on my back and buried his face in my neck again.

"Just don't shoot the patrons," he murmured into my hair, right before we again made sure he'd lost his immortality.

A/N Look, I finally wrote a long chapter. Anyway, I intend to write another story using new characters as the protagonists but still with Malach and Gilliana. We'll see how that goes, being that I'm strapped for time. Keep your eyes open for that one.