I reveled in the feel of the air lifting me into flight, my soft feathers gently stirred by the wind as I soared high above Waterdeep, the City of Splendors. My search had taken me to the great city, and now I used it as a convenient base of operations. The pureness of Leuthilspar beckoned to me constantly, but my parents had asked I perform this task for them, and because they asked so little of me, I agreed.
The sharp eyes of my favored form caught movement to the north of Waterdeep, near the hostel that sat at the road crossing. Curious as usual (my blessing and my curse), I dipped my wings and flew in that direction, flapping through the open door and perching on a rafter.
Below me the figure removed his hood, pale white hair and ebony skin becoming visible.
“Is that you druid?” came the accented voice in common. What in the world was he doing this far north? I hopped down, and clicked my beak at him. I enjoy my little games as much as the next elf-maid. He stared at me, crimson eyes flashing and ebony fingers caressing the hilt of his dagger until I sighed inwardly and shifted form back to myself. Feathers changing to amber curls falling to my thighs, tawny eyes to azure blue, my body elongating into my natural elven form.
Drow. They have no sense of humor sometimes. Still I was thankful for the magical protections covering this place forbidding the use of magic, and blanketing the hostel with a peaceful feeling.
“What are you doing so far north?” I asked in my softly accented common. Such an awkward language, lacking the musical quality elven possesses. Still, it comes in handy when one must speak with the other races, and I certainly do not speak the tongue of the Drow.
“I had to meet someone. What are you doing here?” he asked, eyes ever watchful as they scanned the room looking for any hidden movement, sign that someone might be here that didn’t belong, or perhaps ever vigilant for an attack. How could someone live with the constant worry that something would jump out of the shadows at them?
“Searching,” I answered truthfully. My sister had always teased me about my honest nature growing up. All my mother would have to do is ask me if I had done something and I would immediately confess. It got us both in trouble more times than I can count.
Nilan raised an eyebrow at my short answer. “What do you search for?” It seemed an explanation was in order, and while I would tell the whole truth there are some things I needed to dance around. Nilan may be different, but he’s still a drow. The distrust my people hold for the drow is ancient to the point of being bred into us in varying levels. How a child is raised also has a great deal to do with it. My parents are simple people. They work hard at their trades, and hold no hatred for anyone. They are also immensely proud of the skills their daughters possess and the paths we have chosen in service to our people.
My first meeting with the assassin had been interesting. I’d been looking for some ruins and was blown off course and landed in a forest. Curiosity had me exploring it and I had found the surface city of the drow. I had entered in owl form and poked around, finding myself perching in the rafters of what had appeared to be a temple of some sort. Nilan had been kneeling before an altar, and I watched him puzzled. After he finished his prayers, he looked up at me suddenly. “Abbil?” he had asked with what seemed to me a hopeful tone. This drow had recognized that I was not a normal owl, it was time to leave. I had flown out of the temple, out of the city, and perched in a tree, pausing to compose myself before looking once more for the ruins.
“Who are you druid?” the accented voice had asked me from under my perch. He had followed me as I left the city. My powers being useless in this form if he decided to attack, I shifted back to my normal form. He seemed disappointed at first and demanded to know my business in the forest of Mir. I had explained that I had lost my way, and curiosity had me entering the city. I kept my hand on my scimitar during the conversation, finally relaxing slightly when I realized he wasn’t going to kill me right away. Apparently he had mistaken me for someone else, and that stayed his blade long enough to let me talk my way out of trouble.
Since that day, I had stopped by the Forest of Mir one other time. My welcome then was colder somehow, so I had decided not to return there again without invitation.
The drow was still waiting for my answer. “An elf.” I prevaricated. He just stared at me until I continued.
“I am looking for an elven mage who has gone missing. Her family received word that something had befallen her, and she had been taken to the settlement of Greyhome for healing. She left there after a few months, and no one has heard from her since. I am known to her family, so they asked me to look for her.” I shrugged. There, that was the truth, just not every bit of it spoken.
“And this elf’s name? Perhaps if I see her I’ll pass the word on you are looking for her.”
I wanted to laugh. After what had happened to my twin, I doubted she would welcome a drow strolling up to her with a message. Being the reckless and quick tempered one of us growing up, she would probably cast first and ask questions later. I tried to explain this to Nilan, but he seemed unconcerned. Shrugging, I gave him her name. It was highly possible they would never meet anyway. The mainland is a very large place, and I could search more efficiently. With this I bid him farewell. I had a search to conduct after all. I shifted into my feathered form and flew out the doorway, soaring to the north.
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