28 Dec 2018

The Elf's Prisoner - Chapter 10

Chapter 10

Wren and Jyslyn got to know each other.
Council Hall, Wildwood, the Sylvan Forest
The journey to the Council Hall took far too long for Nyssa's taste.  The healer remained by her side, clucking at her and her leg.  The knight put up with the coddling; she was getting to see someone of import.  She knew she could hobble faster, but the healer had given her two choices; a slow pace or meet the Matriarch in the morning.  The tension she felt from the elves in Wildwood had her concerned.  The presence of the dark elf was the cause, but the reaction was still building.  The knight had to meet with the Matriarch now, before the inevitable riot broke out.

Nyssa lowered her head as she entered the elven Matriarch's office.  The healer fell to one knee, his head also  bowed.  The Matriarch signalled for the healer to stand.  "Kazimier," the Matriarch started, "you bring yet another surprise to me."

"Matriarch Starpetal, this is Dame Nyssa of the Kingdom of the Seven Domains.  She requested an audience."

Nyssa smirked.  "I demanded, so don't punish the lad."

The matriarch returned the smirk.  "I wasn't planning on it.  Kazimier deserves a rest after today."  She leaned forward, interlacing her fingers.  "What brings a wounded knight so far from the Seven Domains?  It is a long way to go to find a healer."

"Matriarch, I insist that Dame Nyssa sit down and get off her wounded leg," Kazimier said.  He glared at the knight.  "It would be a pity if my efforts went to waste."

"Of course, of course."  Matriarch Starpetal turned to her aide, a younger elf with long black hair plaited into two long braids.  "Ardelle, get a chair for our guest."  The matriarch returned her attention to the knight as the aide dashed out of the room.  "It's been quite a day here."

"I imagine, what with the dark elf in town.  I assume you know about her?"

Starpetal sighed.  "There is a long story there, and I don't think it has come to an end yet.  Thank you, Ardelle."

The aide returned, struggling with an ornate chair, set with inlaid gems.  She half-dragged the chair to Nyssa, then helped the knight sit.  "I am here at the request of the Count of Varin.  He has a county that borders on the forest."

"I am aware of the County of Varin."

Nyssa made herself comfortable.  She stretched out her wounded leg.  "He believes that the dwarves from Realm Below the Mountain want to wage war against him.  Now, normally, His Majesty would dismiss the belief as fantasy.  However, the Count has evidence that does implicate the dwarves.  Soldiers found dead with dwarven weapons near by."

Matriarch Starpetal arched an eyebrow.  "That seems odd.  The Watch and the outriders haven't reported a dwarf in the forest in years."

"That is interesting, Matriarch.  These are dwarves, mind.  There's nothing stopping them from tunnelling under your lands."

"To what end, Dame Knight?"

Nyssa shrugged.  "That's the question.  Varin is a trade town.  Its riches come from the flow of goods.  Destroying it doesn't benefit the Realm Below."

"And thus your quest."

"Correct, Matriarch Starpetal.  I'm trying to find out what is truly happening and report back to not just the Count of Varin but to His Majesty as well."

Kazimier stepped forward.  "Pardon me, Martriarch, Dame Knight.  This talk reminded me of the ambush we faced."

Nyssa looked up at the healer.  "You were ambushed, too?"

"Three days ago."

"Same time I was wounded."

Matriarch Starpetal sat straight.  "Coincidences do occur."

"We were attacked by gnolls from the Cleaven Eye Clan.  Danen drew the brand."

"Ardelle, go get the drawing."  The matriarch's aide ran out of the office.  Matriarch Starpetal stood and began pacing.  "This is disturbing."

Nyssa nodded in agreement.  "And you have a dark elf in town."

"Dame Knight, Jyslyn fought on our side at the ambush," Kazimier said.  "She was as surprised as the patrol when the gnolls appeared."

"Dame Nyssa, we have spent most of the day on the question of our dark elf refugee.  I would say it is an internal matter, but that doesn't come close to being accurate."  The matriarch sat back down.  Her shoulders slumped.  "There was almost a miscarriage of justice today."

"You cannot deny that there is something afoot."  Nyssa ran her fingers through her steel grey hair.  "If the Count of Varin had his way, he'd have his seige engines passing through your forest."

"And if the patrol hadn't been distracted by another concern, we'd be gearing up to flush the Cleaven Eye out of the Sylvan Forest."  The matriarch was interrupted by Ardelle's return.  The aide passed over a scroll.  "Thank you, Ardelle.  Take the rest of the day off."  The Matriarch waited until her aide had left before unrolling the scroll.  "Perhaps it would be in the best interest of both Wildwood and of the Seven Domains if we worked together to find out who would want our forces scattered."

Nyssa smiled.  "I was thinking the same thing, Matriarch."

"Kazimier, how long will Dame Nyssa need for her leg to heal?"

Kazimier glanced at the knight's bandaged wound.  "A week, Matriarch."

"Two days," Nyssa said.

"I will remind you that you were poisoned, Dame Knight."

"A week is too long.  The trail will go cold."  Nyssa turned to the matriarch.  "Two days, Matriarch Starpetal."

The martriarch considered the information before speaking.  "Come to my office, here, in two mornings.  I will have people ready."

"Matriarch Starpetal, I protest!  The wound won't be healed in that short a time."

Nyssa smirked at Kazimier.  "Then I may need a healer with me."

"Kazimier, will you volunteer?" the matriarch asked.

"Do I have a choice?"  Kazimier sighed.  "I will be here two mornings hence."

"Thank you.  And one last request before you go home for your well-deserved rest, Kazi?  Please escort Dame Nyssa to the Four Leaf Inn so she can get off her leg and keep her beleaguered healer happy."

Nyssa used her crutch to get out of the chair.  "Come on, lad.  You look like you could use a drink."

Next Week:
Leomund experiences the local culture.

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