Toba rested lightly on the bed of the stream, more than one of the pointy eared warriors had come close to him, but none had seen him, mere feet beneath the water. It had been six months since he had successfully crossed the great ocean, and navigated his way up the river to this very spot. Most of the trip was uneventful, there was much free territory here, the rivers, and lakes were empty of sentient life. Those that did have life were primitive merfolk and the like. Those who had not perished, had told him everything they knew.
As far as he knew, he was the first cuada to swim in these waters, the first to encounter the stout hairy ones, and the woodland dwellers. It was fine, the empire would grow, and the drylanders would realize their innate inferiority to the cuada and their imperial subjects.
The baleful sun finally set, he rose nearer to the surface of the water. The drying heat was gone and it would be safe, relatively, to venture forth from the water. Previous encounters with the pointy-ears, elves they were called, had taught him they were more observant than he had previously thought. Even from this distance, he could feel their thoughts, ephemeral things, but advanced and structured. A far cry from the fractal mess of the Anura or the near painful static of the lurdi.
Most all were male, one female. Another had a mind like ice, hard and deeply structured. That one would be impossible to influence. The female likewise would be hard if not impossible to control. The others could offer some resistance, but it would be simply a matter of time to crush their primitive will to his own.
One of the elves saw him. It was sometimes a pain to be brilliant red with white stripes running from his wide mouth to his eyes, and down his back. The rest of his body carried similar vivid red coloration with white stripes, and his belly, unseen, was a pale yellow in color. The elf froze, his drylander eyes caught in the mesmeric gaze of the salamander.
'Make no sound,' Toba commanded silently. The elf struggled against the compulsion, to raise the alarm that their was an observer in the stream. 'Return to your place, speak not of seeing me. If asked, you saw a fish, nothing more. Do not remember seeing me.' The elf blinked once, then a twice and walked away from the stream. The sight of the vivid red monster in the water already less than the memory of a dream.