11 Jan 2019

The Elf's Prisoner - Chapter 12

Chapter 12

Leomund experienced cultural differences.
Wren's apartment, Wildwood, the Sylvan Forest
The next morning found Kazimier knocking at Wren's door.  After a few minutes, Wren appeared.  She looked up at Kazimier.  "Hello!"

"Hello, Wren."  Kazimier tried to peer into the apartment.  "Is Jyslyn awake?"

Wren nodded.  She stepped aside to let her visitor inside, then closed the door.  "We're washing her hair."

Jyslyn waved from where she lay on a bench.  Her hair dangled into a basin.  She had a dark red blanket wrapped around her, leaving her bare feet exposed.  "Hello, Kazimier.  Checking up on us?"

Kazimier sat on Wren's sofa.  "A little.  Just making sure you're settling in and Wren is adjusting."

Wren returned to her task.  "We're good."  She wrung the soap out of Jyslyn's copper hair.

"Wren's been busy making sure I get settled in."

"Good, good."  Kazimier held his breath.  "The Dame Knight was worried about your presence yesterday.  You might want to avoid her until she leaves."

"I can't blame her."  Jyslyn shrugged her bare shoulders, shifting the blanket a little.  "I expect that.  For all anyone knows, I could have a nefarious scheme to undermine Wildwood."  Seeing the expressions on both Wren and Kazimier's face, she added, "I don't."

"I know."  Wren picked up a pale red towel.  "Time to dry."

Jyslyn swung her legs over as she sat up, her blanket whispering across the wood.  "I wasn't planning on going out in public today, Kazimier.  Other than Wren and maybe you, I can't think of anyone who would trust me here in your city."

"Thanks."  Kazimier leaned forward.  "The Dame Knight also brought some news of her own.  Same day we were attacked, she was."

Wren wrapped the towel around Jyslyn's hair.  "By the same gnolls?  Is that normal?"

"No," Jyslyn answered.  "None of the gnoll clans are big enough to spread out like that."

"The Dame Knight didn't say."  Kazimier got to his feet.  "Wren, do you mind if I put some water on for tea?"

Wren stared at her visitor.  "Please.  Sorry.  I forgot to offer."

"You're busy."  Kazimier gave the young elf a reassuring smile as he placed a kettle on the fireplace to boil.  "What she did mention was that one of the human lands wants to march through here to lay seige against the dwarves."

Jyslyn laughed.  "And do what?  Drive the dwarves mad with the hammering of rocks?"

"If I hadn't found you, that ambush would have led the Council of Matriarchs to send a force south."

"That'd take us past human lands," Wren said.  She paused in her drying.  "Would the humans attack us?"

"It'd depend on the ruler."  Kazimier shrugged.  "If the ruler has been seeing similar to what we have, he may have his soldiers stop us.  And if Matriarch Moonflower had her family in charge, blood would be spilled."

Wren sat beside Jyslyn on the bench.  "Is that why the knight is here, to stop fighting before it starts?"

"I think she is.  She spoke with Matriarch Starpetal yesterday.  She wants to send people with the Dame Knight to find out what is truly happening.  I'll be leaving with her and her squire tomorrow."

"Just you?" Jyslyn asked.

"No.  It's too dangerous."  Wren folded her arms.  "You have to take someone with you."

Kazimier chuckled.  "I am looking for volunteers, or will be."  The kettle whistled as steam rushed out of its spout.  "Would either of you charming ladies care for a cup of tea?"

Wren blushed.  "Please."  She got up to retrieve her cups.

"I would love to try some," Jyslyn said.

"I have honey."  Wren pointed at a cupboard behind Kazimier.

"Thanks."  Kazimier got the honey out, setting it down on a table.  Wren added loose tea to each of the cups.  She stepped aside to let Kazimier pour the boiling water.

"Where would the human go?" Jyslyn asked.  "She could wander the ends of the Realms Above and Below and not find anything."

"I know."  Kazimier added honey to his tea.  "But she's going to the dwarves first."

"And ask them if they've had odd things happening, too?" Wren asked.  "Jyslyn, do you want any honey?"

"No, thank you, Wren."

Kazimier sat down, handing a tea cup to the dark elf.  "Give it a few minutes to steep."  He settled in.  "That's what I'm hoping."

Wren sat down, again beside Jyslyn.  "Are either of the humans magical?"

"They're knights.  The humans don't send their wizards out without a larger guard."

"You're going to need a wizard."

"You are going to make a fine leader, Wren.  You're thinking ahead."  Kazimier sipped his tea.  "I was going to visit the Guild of Mages after I leave here.  It's going to be difficult to get one to leave the tower."

Jyslyn blew on her tea.  "You don't have to go there."  The dark elf's eyes met Kazimier's.  "I've studied magic."

"You are full of surprises.  I didn't think women became wizards where you're from."

"They don't.  I had to sneak around to learn what I do know."  Jyslyn whispered a few arcane words.  A gentle breeze wafted over her tea, blowing the steam away from the dark elf.  She took a sip.  "There, not too hot to drink."

Wren's eyes widened.  "Can you heat water, too?  We could have done that to wash your hair."

"I didn't want to frighten you."

Kazimier set his cup of tea down.  "Just how skilled are you?"

"I can't melt a hole into a mountain, but I did get to the surface on my own.  The caverns from my old home to where you found me are dangerous.  I'd just need supplies."

"I'd like to see more from you."  Kazimier rubbed his chin.  "You also have to get permission."

Jyslyn waved her hand in dismissal.  "The Matriarchs would be glad to see me gone from their city."

"Oh, no, not them."  Kazimier nodded to Wren.  "You're Little Wren's protector.  You need to get her permission to leave."

"Mine?"  Wren held up her tea cup to hide her face.  "But you said you'd be responsible."

"If Jyslyn ran.  She won't be running, and the Matriarchs are going to be sticklers for making sure Jyslyn has your permission to leave."

"Oh.  What if I go too?  I'm an apprentice outrider, and my mentor says that I'm good at being stealthy, I'm so quiet.  I'm good with a bow, too."

"And the human has her apprentice with her, too," Jyslyn added.

"I'll talk with Matriarch Starpetal and let her know I have two volunteers."  Kazimier finished his tea.  "Both of you write down the supplies you'll need.  We're on Council business; they can pay for what you need."  He stood.  "Now, wish me the best.  I am going to try to convince the Dame Knight that she's not allowed to walk yet."

Next Week:
Diplomacy lessons with Nyssa.

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