Eryn awoke to the sound she had been dreading ever since setting off three days before: the soft grey dripping of rain through the trees. She cursed her idiocy of the night before… She knew that it was the rainy season, and yet she had seen stars and decided to continue hiking. Once she finally stopped she was too exhausted to set up the tent and tarp as she had the first two nights.
“What did I tell you, you silly little girl!” taunted a voice from above.
Eryn shot up then, all vestige of sleep now gone. She groped around for her knife while scanning the tree limbs above her head. She found the knife, but couldn’t find the source of the obnoxious screeching taunts.
“Show yourself Éleglan!” she shouted using the nickname she had given the annoying trickster who had been following her around for the past 2 days. It was a curious nickname to give someone and reflective of her curious origins, for she used the phraseology of her native forest tribe with the dialect of the elves she had lived among for years now. The word literally translated as “star forsaken” which among the elves would make very little sense, they would have instead said godforsaken. In any case, Eryn was sure that Éleglan knew why she had given him this title. He just seemed to like playing dumb.
“Éleglan am I?” asked the seemingly invisible creature, “I seem to have seen the stars well enough last night. They have not forsaken me you silly girl.”
“Just leave me alone,” grumbled Eryn, resigning herself to her seemingly invisible and annoying companion. Luckily the village of Mindondelu was now near, and she would soon be able to loose Éleglan. He continued to taunt her as she re-rolled her blankets now damp blankets – the only thing she had unpacked the night before. She debated skipping breakfast as well because she knew the village couldn’t be much more than an hour or two away, but in the end decided to sit down and eat what was left of her bread.
“Ooh more of that delicious Elvish bread huh? Can I have some too?”
“Bugger off Éleglan.”
“Oh come now, have a heart dear girl, I’m but a poor lonely soul who has not tasted bread in over a fortnight.”
“Only because you haven’t managed to murder any travelers since moving to this part of the wood.”
“Oh! Well really that was unnecessary!”
“Then it’s true.”
“Really, I have no idea what you’re talking about dear delectable girl.”
“You’re the forest nymph that the elves warned me of.”
“Now, why would you trust those dirty nasty elves over the likes of me?”
“Perhaps you would inspire more confidence if you actually showed yourself.”
“Perhaps I would show myself if you gave me your bread.”
“Sorry, but no.” She got up then and shouldered her pack. The bread could be eaten on the road as she ignored Éleglan.
The morning passed away in a gloomy rain-soaked way. Eryn could think of nothing but sitting by the fire in dry clothes and peace after a warm bath. Of course, she knew that she would have work to do as soon as she made it back, but it was nice allow a daydream for once. Of course, once she hit the road to Mindondelu and saw the familiar landmarks a half hour from town, she snapped herself out of the daydream. It was time to plan how she would approach the elders of the town with her new information. They were by nature distrustful of the Elves and any goods or information exchanged between the two races.
As the town walls came into sight, Éleglan left Eryn with one final bit of annoyance before disappearing back down the trail, “You’ll never convince them in time! You know you wont. And then they’ll be food for me!”
She turned and threw her knife where his voice had come from, but missed. His cackling could be heard down the trail as she retrieved the knife and then once again faced her destination. Society once again: the walls of Mindondelu staring down on her from high on their hill. She climbed up the hill, out of the forest, and towards the light of civilization. Lamps were lit even though it was barely noon.
The gates were unguarded as usual, and Eryn laughed to herself. “You hate the elves, but you leave your doors unlocked because of them.” There were very few people passing through the streets in the rain, but those who were close enough to hear Eryn stared. Eryn didn’t care though, as ambassador to the elves, she had long ago gotten used to stares from people in both settlements. She simply adjusted her pack and continued winding around buildings to the center of town: a hall made of the same stone as the town walls and with additions built on with bricks and wood. Eryn made straight for this building. Here there were guards dressed in plain armor and with mismatched weapons lounging about the steps leading up to the building. They saw Eryn approaching and seemed to weigh the amusement of pretending to be suspicious of her and sending for someone to verify that she was supposed to be there, but her grim determination seemed to put off three of the guards. The last was younger, and obviously less used to the boredom of guard duty.
“Halt!” he called.
“No time,” she called back as she made her way up the steps. He now tried to position himself in front of her.
“Come now, you can’t just walk into the council chambers any time you like! They are in session right now!”
“I can and I will, now get out of my way you imbecile.”
When he continued to block her entrance she called out to one of the older guards.
“Elric, you know better than this. Get this idiot out of my way. Unless you want me to move him yourself.”
“I’m sorry miss,” said Elric lazily. “Come on man, let the lady through.”
“What about rules?”
“Fred, we both know that you don’t care at all about the rules. You were sitting down just a minute ago, and that is definitely against all the rules of guarding.”
Fred then grumblingly moved out of the way for Eryn, but the grumbling was mainly just to save face, his purpose had been fulfilled. The boredom had been lifted for a moment. Normally Eryn would have spent a moment berating the young Fred, didn’t he know who she was? Or that she was in a hurry right now? But, since she was ACTUALLY in a hurry, she just barged through the doors of the central building, and to the door on the far left of the foyer. In the council chambers Eryn hoped to see a group of important people sitting around a giant table and planning important details of a city. Instead, they were simply sitting around eating Pho.
“What is going on here?” asked one of the council men when he saw Eryn walk through the door.
“I could ask the same exact thing,” retorted Eryn. “Since when does a city council mean that you sit around eating soup?”“We are entitled to a time of rest and relaxation at times,” asserted the oldest and fattest of the group. “We do after all make the decisions that determine the lives of this city and the people living in the cities farther from the frontier.”
Pompous bastard, thought Eryn. But out loud she attempted to be talk a little more politically correctly. “I suppose that you are right,” eased Eryn, “You are a very important board of rulers, and that is why I have come to you the very moment that I got to town. I hope that that may excuse my appearance.”