22 Feb 2019

The Elf's Prisoner - Chapter 18

Chapter 18

Nyssa engaged in diplomacy
Inn at the Crossroads, outside the Sylvan Forest
Jyslyn lounged on the double bed.  A sliver of moonlight reflected off her bare leg.  The dark elf shifted her leg, watching how the light played along her thigh as she moved it.  She decided that the moon's light was far better than the sun's.  Her skin didn't burn where the moonlight fell on it.  Her eyes didn't find the light overwhelming.

Heavy footsteps approached the door to her room.  Jyslyn rolled off the bed, landing beside her discarded clothes.  She slipped her dagger out of its sheath, holding the blade up as the door creeped open.  "Jyslyn," Kazimier called in a whisper, "are you asleep?"

Jyslyn put her knife back before standing.  "Still awake."

Kazimier entered the room.  "It's just dark and quiet in here, I thought you could be sleeping."  He lit the lantern, keeping the light dim.  "We're waking up at dawn, so," his voice trailed off as he saw the dark elf, clad only in a strophic and a loin cloth.

"So move," Nyssa finished.  She pushed past Kazimier into the darkened room.  "What's going on?"  Nyssa followed the elf's gaze.  "I see.  Lass, aren't you cold?"


Wren slipped under Kazimier's arm.  "Jyslyn, you should've seen the circle and the fights.  Dame Nyssa even went in!"

Kazimier found his voice again.  "Jyslyn doesn't need to hear about it now.  You can tell her in the morning."  Despite talking to Wren, he never took his eyes off Jyslyn.

"Leomund, close and bar the door when you get in," Nyssa ordered.  "Jyslyn, you weren't parading in front of the window, were you?"

Jyslyn put a hand on her hip.  "I am not stupid," she huffed.  "I doubt anyone could see inside, though.  I can see far better in the dark than anyone here."

Leomund finished setting the bar across the door.  "Ma'am, you should sit down."

"When I'm ready, Leo."

"Wren said you were in a fight," Jyslyn said.  "Arena battles, here?"  The dark elf shuddered.

Nyssa shook her head.  "Not quite what you're thinking.  The inn uses it to keep the barroom from becoming a nightly brawl.  Two people in the circle, no weapons, and the fight stops when someone lands on the floor."  She shook out her hand.  "It gets the crowd worked up and drinking, but no one should die."

Jyslyn sat on one of the double beds.  "Best that I missed it, then."

Nyssa dropped on to the lone single bed in the room.  "For many reasons."  She took off a boot, flexing her toes.  "I saw someone dressed like you."  The knight waved a hand at the dark elf.  "Well, not like you're dressed now.  Can you warn us when you decide to walk around nearly naked?"

Jyslyn smiled.  "I will remember for the future."

"Some of us find it distracting."  Nyssa took off her other boot and lobbed it at Kazimier.

The boot struck Kazimier's side.  He turned to face Nyssa.  "I am not distracted."

"As I was saying," Nyssa said, "there was someone else clad head to toe, no skin showing.  Normally, I wouldn't take notice.  Two people making the same secretive fashion choice?  That, I notice."

"One of my people?"

Nyssa shrugged.  "I couldn't tell.  Given what's been going on, your ambush, mine, the tensions, I'm not taking any risks.  We leave as soon as possible tomorrow morning."

"I agree," Jyslyn said.  "There isn't a coincidence here."

Kazimier nodded.  "How fast can we get the horses ready?"

"The packs are set to be put on them," Leomund said.  "Me and Wren can get it done in minutes."

"Good."  Nyssa yawned, then winced.  "We should get to bed.  I'll take this one."

Wren fell beside Jyslyn, joining her on that double bed.  "You don't mind, do you?"

Jyslyn patted the elf girl's arm.  "Not at all."

"Looks like you're with me, Leomund," Kazimier said.

"Yes, sir."  Leomund sat down on the last bed.

Jyslyn crawled under the covers as Kazimier doused the lantern's light.  She felt the bed shift as Wren joined her beneath the blankets, then the bouncing as the girl got undressed.  Jyslyn settled on her pillow, rolling on her side.  She closed her eyes, ignoring the sounds from the others as they, too, got ready to sleep.  Wren snaked her arms around Jyslyn, giving the dark elf a quick hug.  Jyslyn felt the girl snuggling closer.  She heard Wren's breathing grow deeper as she fell asleep.  As Jyslyn fell asleep, she rubbed Wren's arm, feeling safer than ever before in her life.

Next Week:
On the road, sort of.

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