Chapter XI: The Elven Village
Copyright © 1999 C.E. by Dustin Jon Scott
[Last Update: June 6th, 2018]
13th Month, 19th Day, 4,632nd Year
Note: All of this is going through heavy revisions.
“Jadia? You awake yet?”
“Yeah,” Jadia replied with a yawn. She turned her head to the side and her eyes fluttered open to see Tif sitting next to her. “What’s going on? Where are we?” asked Jadia.
“We’re just inside Béowyn, off the main caravan route between Talenburg and Krendor,” said Tif, “up in the canopy of the Viridian Forest, in the treetop city of Nyn’Vilnor.”
Jadia’s sight slowly came into focus as she raised her head up off the pillow. She looked around a bit, finding herself on what appeared to be a cot with a mattress in the middle of a smallish room, with lit candles scattered about the desks and dressers encircling the accommodation. She laid her head back so that she was staring straight at the ceiling, and clenched her eyes shut as she stretched her arms back behind her with a yawn. Her back arched and her limbs sprawled as the life slowly began flooding back into her soar muscles. It was then that she suddenly felt as though something were missing.
Jadia shifted positions, propping herself up with one arm as she raised the white, linen blanket from her body. Peering down beneath the covers, she noticed that she was topless. Jadia shook her head and sat up further, lifting the blanket higher in order to peer beyond the ocular obstruction caused by her magnificently alpine breasts. In doing so, she discovered that she was not only topless, but indeed completely naked.
Confused, Jadia turned her attention back to Tif and asked, “How’d we get here?”
“Well,” replied Tif, “not only did that disguise of yours not fool anyone in Talenburg, but when you tried to escape into the forest, a bunch of Elven archers saw you in that Blackguard armor and the two Blackguards chasing you, and thought that the three of you were coming to invade the city. You got hit by an arrow, and hit your head on a rock when you fell from the carriage. The two Blackguards chasing you got killed by a barrage of arrows from the Archers. When I explained to the Elves that you were only disguised as Blackguard so you could escape from Talenburg, they decided to bring you back here. You were almost dead by the time we made it here about an hour ago, but the Elves still managed to get you all nice and healed up.”
“So, what happened to my clothes? And my weapons?”
“The Elves’ve gottem, and your pack too.”
Jadia swung her legs around and dangled them off the side of the cot, wrapping the bed sheet around her. She tucked the linen into itself and then gripped at her knees with her shoulders tensed and her eyes narrowed. It was as if she’d suddenly been catapulted deep into her own thoughts as she began to --
Suddenly, a knock at the door.
Jadia shook her head. “Come in!” she called out, her throat slightly horse.
The door creaked open, and through it came two Light Elves, a male and a female, each exemplary specimens of their race; each with platinum blonde hair, pale blue eyes, porcelain skin, lissome builds, and faces of most stunning Elven grace and beauty. The male carried Jadia’s pack, whilst the female carried an armful of Jadia’s clothing.
“Llyariel, Darelyen!” Jadia shouted, a sparkling white grin stretching across her face. Jadia stood up quickly, throwing her arms out to her sides, gesturing for an embrace from her Elven friends. Her sudden movement caused the sheet she’d wrapped herself in to fall to the floor, much to her alarm. Jadia’s eyes grew wide and her face became red, and she slowly lowered her gaze to the lump of linen lying lifelessly at her feet.
Jadia yelped and dove down to retrieve the cover and sprang back up again, and began hurriedly wrapping it around her, making certain to secure it more reliably this time.
“Relax, Jadia,” said the male Elf, “it’s nothing we haven’t both seen before.”
“What are you two doing here?” inquired Jadia.
“We live here now,” said Llyariel. “When the Sovereignty seized Béowyn, most of us Elves fled from the cities and into the forests, as did a number of Hoblings and Troop Gnomes. Darelyan and I were lucky enough to stumble onto Nyn’Vilnor. This city’s been hiding up here in the canopy of the Viridian Forest since King Béowyn’s time. Most of the Elves and Hoblings here don’t even know how to speak the Common tongue, they’ve been isolated from the Humans for so long. In fact, I’d wager you’re the first Human visitor here in over a decade.”
“You mustn’t be able to hide here indefinitely,” said Jadia. “What do you do for food, or for water?”
“We’re completely self contained up here,” answered Darelyen. “We have stores, taverns, medical facilities, everything we could possibly need. We harvest the majority of our food and herbs from the canopy itself, but we also tend to crops along the tree line ridge of Mount Llesca for anything that needs to be grown in the dirt, such as our hemp and maize crops, and we channel our water through steel pipes from the falls.
“An nala narad Faernaril, valen Manila?” said the elder, asking if Jadia spoke Elvish.
“Non narad Faenaril,” or ‘No speak Elvish’ replied Jadia, shaking her head slowly.
“Darelyen,” said the elder, turning to face the young male Elf, “nalor anis narad nu ni.”
Darelyen nodded his head.
The elder then turned back to Jadia, “Ai’ni nerlad nala’n yia.”
“We need your help,” said Darelyen.
“Ai’ni’n Nanila anem rynadem silen on li quethen inivil,” said the Elder.
“Our princess has fallen ill to a mysterious poison,” said Darelyn.
“Ki lien tolil on yianadis nila, uni on queladis ki quethen mor’naenil ein nynad thalen ki granen kuodil min ki llamenar isondil al Draconia,” said the Elder. “Ai’ni tenar odadis li colil al ki vivil al ein naenil, di yianadis nila ul kiradem.”
“The only way to heal her, is to find the secret black flower that grows atop the great mountain on the floating isle of Draconia,” said Darelyen. “We can make a potion from the nectar of that flower, which will heal her upon consumption.”
Jadia’s eyes went suddenly wide. “Ooh! I have some of that!” she exclaimed, standing to her feet and walking over to the dresser to search her backpack. She unbuckled and lifted the flap, and began rummaging through the rucksack’s contents. After a moment or two, she pulled out a small bundle of cloth. She untied the string that bound it, and then unraveled the cloth, removing from it a small, corked bottle of strange gray-black liquid.
“Draconian black-flower healing potion,” said Jadia, tossing the bottle to Darelyen as she went to sit back down on the cot. “I lifted it from a magick shop in Woodcroft nearly two months ago. I don’t know why I’ve been carrying it around so long, seeing as it doesn’t work for injuries, but you never know when something like that’s going to come in handy.”
Darelyen handed the bottle of potion to the elder, who wore a somewhat confused expression upon his face. The elder took the bottle, and contemplated on it for several moments before breaking into laughter and walking out of the room -- presumably to treat the princess’s illness.
“That was ... convenient,” said Llyariel.
“It’s just as well,” said Jadia as she stood to her feet. “I need to be leaving for Grandshire first thing in the morning. I don’t really have the time to go questing after some legendary flower that only grows on the top of some mountain on an island that floats in the sky as part of a campaign to save the life of an ill Elven princess suffering from the ravages of a mystical poison right now anyway.”
Llyariel and Darelyen looked at each other momentarily, their eyes wide as Jadia’s words struck them.
“I really wouldn’t recommend going to Grandshire,” said Darelyen, turning his gaze back to Jadia.
“The High Empress of the Unseelie Court has set up a temporary headquarters there,” added Llyariel. “It’s the heart of the Sovereignty.”
“I know,” said Jadia, “but my friends have been taken to the main dungeon there. Or so I overheard as I was running away from some soldiers back in Talenburg. It’s because of me that they’re in this mess. The blackguards are looking for me because they think I have something they need.”
“Then it seems to me they’re using your friends to lure you into their clutches,” said Darelyen.
“Doesn’t matter,” said Jadia. “It’s because of me that they have them, so it’s up to me to rescue them. Besides, I figure there’s no safer place to be than the heart of the Sovereignty.”
“How do you figure that?” said Llyariel.
“Haven’t you ever noticed that whenever you’re fighting one elite adversary such as a Blackguard, he’s always an incredibly powerful force to be reckoned with, yet whenever there’s at least three or more of them they always end up dropping like flies?”
“Jadia, listen, I know that it seems like that sometimes, but that’s just because --”
“I’ve made up my mind, Llyariel. I’m going to Grandshire to rescue my friends.” Jadia made her way toward the lanai as Tif, Llyariel, and Darelyen followed.
Jadia leaned against the guardrail of the balcony, admiring the expansive treetop city as she looked from side to side. Tif perched on the railing next to Jadia’s hand, as Darelyan and Llyariel came up behind her.
The city was breathtaking.
To the left were tree houses as far as the eye could see, many built around the circumference of their trees, with lanais and ___ connected by catwalks and rope bridges. Lights from inside the structures cast a soft glow on the trees around them, and the doorways and windows were lit so brilliantly that they became a seemingly endless field of stars as they receded back into the furthest unseen reaches of the canopy.
Directly below, the trunks of the trees disappeared into a lightless abyss; a void that seemed utterly without life save for the faint trickle of a stream.
Straight ahead was another field of lights cast too by brightly lit Elven dwellings. And they too seemed to regress infinitely into the tree line, above which towered the twin peaks of Mount Gladhopiggen and Mount Glittertind, which lay near Krendor in Lomshire, just beyond the edge of the Viridian Forest. The royal blue silhouette of the crags all but blended completely with the dusk sky, and Lucifer’s star shone fiercely as the first of its companions began to make their appearance in the afternoon twilight.
To the right were still more structures, stopping about eight hundred feet or so away at the mountainside, near a gurgling waterfall that poured down into the stream shrouded in the nothingness below.
The city was quite busy, alive, with Light Elves, Gold Elves, Wood Elves, Sunrise Elves, Moon Elves, Grey Elves, Gold Elves, Hoblings, and Troop Gnomes walking up and down the catwalks and rope bridges as Pixies, Feeorins, and Sylphs flew about amongst the trees. From all around, it seemed, came the unmistakable smell of meals being cooked, as did the faint sound of people speaking softly with one another. Never had Jadia seen a city so active and yet so peaceful at the same time.
“It’s beautiful,” said Jadia, marveling at the city with moonlit eyes as tiny flakes of snow began fluttering down from the sky above. “It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.”
“It’s a shame it won’t be here much longer,” said Darelyen, coming up beside Jadia and with her admiring the bustling city of Nyn’Vilnor as he set an arm across her bare shoulders.
“What do you mean?” asked Jadia.
“The village Elders are content to have us wait here for the armies of the Sovereignty to exterminate us,” Llyariel replied as she came to Jadia’s right side, opposite of Darelyen, and leaned back against the balcony’s railing. The lithe young Elven woman then reached up and brushed the back of her hand against Jadia’s cheek and proceeded to play with her hair, stroking the thief’s crimson locks.
“I thought this place was well-hidden,” said Tif.
“It is,” said Darelyen, caressing Jadia’s shoulder. “Unfortunately for us, the Drow will stop at nothing to destroy the Light Elves, and any other Elven breeds with whom we dwell. Likewise, the Cluricauns will stop at nothing to destroy the race of Hoblings. The Unseelie Court will do whatever is necessary to wipe out every last refuge and vestige of the Seelie Court. Even the resistance cells in Faelore are gone by now, and the same will unquestionably occur here in Béowyn now that the Unseelie Court has the assistance of the Blackguards, the Saurians, and the Orcs.”
“We’ve been trying to talk the Elders into taking a more offensive stance concerning the occupation,” added Llyariel, weaving her fingers through Jadia’s dark cherry mane, stopping intermittently to twirl her fingers around. “They aren’t listening, though. Perhaps when they see that a single Human female is willing to travel to the very heart of the Sovereignty -- by herself -- in order to rescue her friends, that Human’s courage and bravery will inspire them to take some sort of action, rather than hiding up here in the trees like a tribe of cowardly primates waiting for death to befall them.”
“At the very least,” said Darelyen, “it might inspire some of our militia to disobey the City Council and start a resistance with or without the consent of the Elders.”
Jadia reached up to the side of her face, taking Llyariel’s hand in her own, and gave the Elf’s wrist a gentle kiss before placing their hands on the guardrail. “You’re being far too kind,” she said. “I’m not nearly as valiant and noble as you both seem to think.”
Darelyen shook his head. “Jadia, you’re probably the most loyal person we’ve ever known. You’d do anything for the people you care about, and everyone knows th--”
Suddenly, another knock at the door, and Jadia, Llyariel, and Darelyen spun around as Tif began hovering around their heads.
“Come in!” Jadia shouted.
A youthful Elven woman then entered the room, a Moon Elf with shimmering porcelain skin, white hair, and electric blue eyes, dressed in a flowing white robe and carrying with her a large silver platter, and a linen chemise draped over one arm. Upon the silver platter were a few bread rolls, slices of apple, some cherries, a bowl of soup, and a glass of red wine.
“Food for thee,” said the Elven chambermaid. “Thou, ah, thou needest, um, needest be eating.” The young woman was obviously having difficulty articulating in the Common tongue. “For thy strength,” she added.
“Thank you,” said Jadia, walking back into the room as the chambermaid set the platter down upon the nightstand next to the cot, and set the chemise on the bed itself.
“There being a man ... downstairs ... man who like to speak with you,” said the chambermaid.
“Send him up,” said Jadia, making her way toward the bed as the chambermaid headed for the door.
Jadia turned back toward Darelyen and Llyariel as the chambermaid exited the room, shutting the door behind her. “Turn around,” said Jadia, gesturing to the Elven couple by twirling her finger around. They reluctantly obeyed, rolling their eyes as they did so.
Jadia undid the sheet and let it fall from her body, and then picked up the chemise. It was slender, extremely slender. It would’ve been skintight on even a rather lithe Human woman, and could only have been worm comfortably by an Elf. Unfortunately for Jadia, it probably could’ve fit her somewhat loosely if it weren’t for her bounteous stern and preposterously oversized bust; the former of which would’ve at least strained the fabric’s limits, and the latter of which could never hope to fit inside the garment to begin with.
Jadia let out a huff and turned around, and then made her way to the dresser. She unbuckled her backpack and pulled out the nightgown she’d worn last night and quickly threw it over her head, allowing it to slide down over her body, for the most part concealing her nudity.
“Alright, you can turn around now,” said Jadia, walking back over to the bed. The thief sat down with one leg dangling off the edge of the cot and her other ankle tucked beneath it as she began picking at the food.
Darelyen, Llyariel, and Tif came up to her.
“Jadia, I can see your cunny!” Tif declared, buzzing around Darelyen and Llyariel’s heads.
Jadia looked down, then quickly pulled her ankle out from under her thigh and snapped her legs shut. “Sorry,” said Jadia, her face red as she popped two cherries into her mouth and began to suck on them nervously.
Llyariel smiled. “It’s more than alright.”
“It’s not as if we could see anything anyway,” said Darelyen. “The lighting in here’s pretty dim and there’s, y’know, there was a shadow....”
“It’s nice to know you were looking,” Jadia teased.
“Honestly, Jadia, we’ve all seen each other nude before,” Llyariel stated.
“We’ve done a lot more than that,” added Darelyen.
“Yes,” Jadia agreed, “but we were still basically children then. Teenagers, just beginning to realize our sexuality. We were exploring, experimenting. Now that we’re adults we should be showing some semblance of modesty, some measurement of maturity.”
“Well if that’s the case, why dress so scantily to begin with?” Llyariel inquired.
Jadia pulled the cherry stems from her mouth, each now tied in a knot, and placed them on the silver platter on the nightstand beside her as she relaxed her legs a bit. “I like the feeling of the air against my skin.”
“Stop being so damned coy, Jadia,” said Llyariel, going over to the cot and nestling down between Jadia and the nightstand. The Elven woman put a hand on the inside Jadia’s bare upper thigh. Slowly she moved her hand along the limb’s inner surface, bringing it closer each moment toward her aim between the thief’s legs. “I know you’re just trying to entice us,” she continued, grinning toothily, confidently as her face drew nearer to Jadia’s. Soon their faces were nearly touching one another, their small, button-noses side by side, almost pressed against one another’s cheeks as the women breathed softly into each other’s mouths.
“Is it working?” said Jadia, grinning widely, her lips beginning to graze Llyariel’s. Their eyes now lidded heavily, their smiles slowly fading, they opened their mouths to one another and their tongues began to drift ever so slightly outward, each reaching out to the other, cautiously, blindly probing forward for its companion. It seemed their tongues were now mere thousandths of an inch away from each other, each able to feel the moisture of the other, each feeling the other’s warmth and longing to embrace it.
“Hell yes it’s working,” said Darelyen.
Jadia and Llyariel broke away from one another and turned sharply to face Darelyen. Never had they seen an expression of such thorough desperation and anguish as that upon his face; neither woman could keep from laughing.
Of the two girls, Jadia was the first to stop laughing long enough to utter a sentence. “Don’t just stand there looking dumb, come over here and join us,” she giggled.
“Jadia,” said Tif, flittering about Darelyen’s head, “don’t you have friends to be thinking about? You should be getting as much rest as you can before you leave for Grandshire in the morning. Besides, isn’t there supposed to be someone coming up here to see you any minute?”
And at just that moment, there was yet another knock at the door.
Jadia let out an annoyed grunt and sat forward, her hands resting on her knees. “You’re right, Tif. Of course, you’re right. Though it isn’t as if I’m going to be able get much sleep now that I’ve gotten my hopes up. I’ll probably be so antsy that I won’t be able to sleep at all.”
“Just get rid of him,” Darelyen urged. “Then we can do our thing, get you nice and relaxed so that you can actually sleep, and you’ll be more than rested enough by morning.”
Jadia nodded. “Come in!”
The door creaked open, and a figure in a white mantle entered the room. The robe’s hood hung down like a veil over his face, shrouding everything but his chin from view. Slowly he raised his arms, the mantle’s bell sleeves dangling as he reached up to the hood and revealed himself.
His face could’ve belonged to a Light Elf, if not for his blood red eyes and pitch black hair.
“Drow!” Jadia screeched, darting -- nearly leaping -- for the dresser. She reached quickly into her unbuckled pack and pulled out a buck knife, and pointed it at the Dark Elf as she began to sidestep slowly toward Llyarial and the cot, stopping once she was standing directly in front of Tif and Darelyen.
“Llyariel, get behind me,” Jadia commanded, her eyes trained intently on the Drow.
“Jadia, please,” the Dark Elf pleaded, his hands in front of him.
“Jadia,” Llyariel shouted, “calm down! It’s just Aramyn!”
“Aramyn? Aramyn Haran?”
“Yes, Jadia, it’s me. And I must say, you really are the spitting image of Abigail and your mother.”
Jadia lowered her weapon and then tossed it over on top of the dresser. “Turn around, give me a moment....”
Aramyn turned around, and Jadia began to rummage through her backpack. After a moment or two, she pulled out a pair of white linen leggings and proceeded to slip them on, one leg at a time. She pulled them as far up as they’d go, nearly a quarter of the way between her nether region and her naval, then cinched the drawstrings and quickly tied them into a knot.
“Alright, you can turn around now.”
“Thanks,” said Aramyn, turning back around to face Jadia. “Your, um, attire ... or lack of it, I should say, was making me a bit uncomfortable. You and I are almost related, after all.”
“Don’t remind me,” Jadia replied. “So what is it you want?”
“I take it you don’t care for me all that much, do you?”
“You’re incredibly perceptive, aren’t you, Aramyn? Of course I don’t care for you. I don’t know you for one, for two I know almost nothing about you, and three, what I do know about you is that you’re the Drow that my mother cheated on dad with. What reason could I possibly have to care for you even the slightest bit?”
“I shouldn’t expect you to feel any differently. Though if you gave me the chance, I’m sure you could learn to at least tolerate me. After all, your father and I have managed to work out our differences. We’ve actually managed to become quite good friends.”
“My father never even met you, Drow liar,” said Jadia, glaring abhorredly, practically bathing Aramyn in the sheer, unadulterated detestation cast by her steely, loathing gaze.
Aramyn crossed his arms, furrowed his brow, and pursed his lips. “Alright,” he said, nodding his head slightly and taking a step away from the door, “I’ll just have to prove it to you then,”
“Don’t you dare take another step near me, Drow!” Jadia warned.
“Isaac!” Aramyn shouted.
Behind Aramyn, the door knob turned and the door opened, and through the door walked another mantled figure, this one a bit burlier than Aramyn.
“Father?” said Jadia.
The figure pulled the hood down, revealing his sandy red hair and beard, his lively green eyes, and his freckled face. “Surprised?” he queried, his smile great and wide, and his arms out to the sides.
“Dad!” Jadia shouted, running up to Isaac and throwing her arms up around his neck as he bent down a little to embrace her. He lifted his daughter off the ground, holding her tightly to him with his arms clenched around her waist.
Jadia kissed her father on the cheek, and he warmly returned the gesture. “Oh my Gods, dad, I was so worried. I had no idea where you were or if you were alright. For all I knew you’d killed yourself after mom died. I’m so glad you’re okay.”
“Well I would’ve written,” said Isaac, setting Jadia back down, “but I had no idea where to write to.”
“Hi Isaac!” Tif exclaimed.
“I understand,” replied Jadia, “but why didn’t you leave a note? Where’d you go?”
“I did leave a note. I left it on the table.”
“I didn’t see it,” said Jadia, shrugging her shoulders.
“Anyway, your mother told me, just before she died, about Abigail, about Aramyn. I couldn’t believe that she’d betrayed me like that. After the funeral, I decided to go and get Aramyn’s side of the story.”
“Actually,” Aramyn interrupted, “he came to Arlianor intent on disemboweling me.”
“Well, to be fair,” said Isaac, “I really did attack him when I first saw him. I came at him with a knife, but Karianna slugged me in the head with a frying pan and I dropped the knife. Then Aramyn started hitting me, and hit him back a few times. We wrestled around for quite a while. He was quicker than me, I was stronger than him, and as soon as we realized we were at a stalemate, we started talking things out while Karianna bandaged us up.
Needless to say, I was very surprised to discover that he had absolutely no idea who I was. As it turns out, your mother was living quite the double life.”
“Yeah, that’s pretty much what I gathered from what Abby and I managed to piece together.”
“That’s what Abigail said.”
“Dad, when did you meet Abby?”
“About six weeks ago, down in Leighton. She stopped there to visit Aramyn and Karianna, and to fill them in about you and Kyra. I got the chance to speak with her briefly. She was on her way to Necropolis to look for you, since she’d heard rumors that you were planning a campaign there to explore the catacombs.”
“I postponed that trip when I heard they were planning to finally send a hunting party into the caves outside of Talenburg to slay the Fafnir. I wanted to be one of the first to search the caves for treasure.” Jadia thought for a moment. “You must’ve been surprised when the Elves brought me here.”
“A bit,” said Isaac, “but I was on my way to Talenburg anyway. I started packing this afternoon, right after Toren showed up to warn us that this ‘New Sovereignty” was beginning to invade the Zone. He thought they’d be invading Béowyn next, and was quite surprised to learn they’d already taken Béowyn and were merely absolving the Zone. But, he told me that he saw you in Talenburg.”
“Wait, back up...” said Jadia. “Toren’s here?”
“That’s what I said.”
“Riley’s father, Toren?”
“Yeah, Jadia. Same guy.”
“You know Toren?” Darelyen queried.
“Yeah,” said Jadia, turning her gaze to Darelyen. “How do you know Toren?”
“Toren Llyraeus is the one working the hardest to try and convince our Elders to take a more offensive position concerning the occupation,” said Llyariel.
“He’s all anyone’s been talking about since he showed up here this afternoon,” Darelyen added. “He’s debating the issue with the Elders as we speak.”
“Okay, wait,” said Jadia, tossing her hands in the air as she made her way toward the cot, “this is all a bit much to take in. I need to sit down....”