I looked at the small crystal in my hand, a wan smile crossing my weathered face. I was honored by the trust she had in me, but I had watched the images contained within. They lacked substance, they lacked flair... they lacked any sense of artistry.
But the Lady Moonflower trusted me, and so here I sit in the elven tavern. It was filling up, and I judged the time was right. I rose to my feet, tossing my brilliantly golden cloak over my shoulder with a flamboyant flair. I cleared my throat noisily, watching as the the Lady's people looked at me uninterestedly.
Harumph! I tried to add some interest to the event, but if they wanted to be boring, then that was their business. In my richest voice, I called out "Your Queen wished for this to be seen and heard. Watch, and listen," I intoned, lowering my voice ominously for effect.
They still didn't blink, and a couple of them even turned back to their conversations. Frustrated, I slapped the small crystal down on the table and dropped back into my chair. No taste, these elves...
There was quiet birdsong on the air, and a gentle breeze caressed the leafy
boughs of the glade's sentinels. With an almost wraith-like silence, several
wiry figures slipped out from around the guardian treants to stand before
their mistress. For her part, Queen Amlaruil stood stationary in the middle
of the glade. She was clad in a gown of dark blue satin, her ephemereal
beauty amplified by her somber expression.
She looked at each of the four figures in turn, nodding slightly at each
and her expression softened. "Greetings my friends. I am glad that you
have returned. I'm eager to hear about your progress."
The first elf stepped forward, lowering himself to one knee and taking the
Sad Queen's hand in his. "All is ready to the north My Lady. The new
trails are laid, and will be ready shortly. We've had to herd some of the
residents to new settlements, but they didn't provide any real opposition.
When you are ready Majesty, we can proceed."
She sighed and withdrew her hand from his. "Semsofin, please. I accept that
I am Queen, but the formality now is too much. You bear good news though,
I'm pleased. In just a short while, we can proceed. Now then, what news
from west of Leuthilspar Alialir?"
The hawkish man grinned, eschewing the more subservient approach of his
comrade. "We progress well. We've been very successful with our trail
work, and will be ready soon. The rodents can be relocated whenever we
"Amlaruil, I object to this plan. We don't need to keep them around, our
warriors are well trained by their commanders, we can be rid of Gwark's
clan once and for all."
The elven queen shot a warning glance at the third elf, a lithe man with
his long hair gathered into a ponytail at the back of his head. "Calm
yourself Tanyl. Gwark's people still serve a valuable role to us and
our up and coming warriors. We will proceed with the plan for them. As
for your part, milord Evanara?" she asked pointedly.
He looked like he wanted to continue to protest, but subsided obediently
under her patient gaze. "Yes Lady, I am prepared," he admitted. "The
casting will be difficult but within our abilities. It will restore the
existing trails to their un-marked state, just as if we had landed upon
the Retreat that moment. Alialir's and Semsofin's new trails will be
untouched by the magic. I just wish, Lady, that you would reconsider
your decision about the Mythal. It is too weak!"
She shook her head, a tolerant smile crossing her face. "No Tanyl, if
you recall we have those human guests anyways. Soon they will sail away
again, and then we can revisit the issue of our Mythal. With the battle
against Auzorm'tvorl past, it is time we restored our defenses. Now my
friends, I must retire for the evening. Take heart, we will soon be
The three men bowed respectfully as sparkling motes of blue light appeared
around their Queen, and a moment later she was gone.
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