Viresse peered in windows as she walked by
- pale dark elves tucked away in their cozy homes
on the forest floor, the darkness inside like a shroud of
sleeping magic that made them seem almost entombed within their homes. It made
Viresse feel comfortable, but eerie. As if she was the only one awake in the
entire, massive forest.
She reached the clearing, and looked around. The fires still smoldered, but were
no longer burning. The area was cleaned and well-kept, as
if gnomes came out in the wee hours and groomed the area as the
dark elves slept. She smiled to
herself. It was very comfortable and cozy, she liked this quiet sense of woodsy
cleanliness. She wandered out toward the center of the clearing, and then
spotted a felled tree she could sit on towards one edge of the clearing. She
walked toward it and sat down, leaning back a little to
catch a patch of sunlight that filtered through the trees. She basked in it a
couple of seconds, then quickly sat up. Too long
had she been with humans. She was beginning to
enjoy the sunlight, pulled her knees to her chest and
Viresse sat for a while, fumbling with the hem of her
sleeve, and pondered her situation. It wasn't hard to be in the Paelelon. But it
would be difficult to adjust from the way she had
lived so far to this new way of existing
- which was more familiar to her than her previous living arrangements.
But - as she had told herself when she wrestled with her
thoughts earlier - in order to be more receptive to the
world around her, she had to be willing to bend and flow like a branch in a
strong wind. If she was too steadfast then surely the wind would break her,
and at the moment in this world and this time, that would
be a terrible setback in her life and efforts.
She heard a rustle to one side and absently glanced up, expecting like before to
only see the branches move where an animal once was. But to her shock, a
dark elf was there. He was a bit threatening at first,
then she recognized who it was. Terquan was oblivious to her presence as he
split the foilage and entered the clearing. He was off the beaten trail, and
seemed to be returning from something, she said noting to
avoid disturbing him.
But as he walked through the clearing, he slowly began to walk slower, and
finally stopped. He looked around - and Viresse realized
that she was watching him - and he was acting as any watched
animal did, treading with caution and observing his environment,
no matter how familiar. Viresse quickly dropped her eyes
and became uniquely fascinated with the hem of her cloak.
Terquan finally turned and spotted her, and began to walk
in her direction. Viresse looked up, and offered a small, friendly smile.
Terquan didn't entirely smile back, though his face seemed to lighten. She
wondered what he was thinking as he approached her - what
kind of dark elf was this? She
smirked to herself as she thought up the answer
- not like one you've ever met...
He bowed his head for a second. "Cór'jeín ártanhé,"
he said, then smirked at his phrase. It was the middle of
the day. It didn't work, but Viresse nodded understandingly. "What
are you doing up so late? I would have guessed you were
tired," he said. He
came off as merely inquisitive, but she was slightly threatened, simply because
he was in his own world and she was not.
"I couldn't sleep," she stated
simply, and slipped a bit off her hair behind her ear. "I
have also had to function in the human world for a number of years
- I've fallen out of habit." She granted him a smirk. "What about you?"
He shrugged. "I kind of like the day forest. You can see things you don't
normally see." He looked to his feet shyly, then looked up at Viresse. " I know
that's not a good thing around here, but... sometimes things can't be helped."
The way he spoke sounded as if he didn't want to be
questioned about it, so she nodded slowly. But now she
found she really had nothing to say. She let her legs slip off of the felled
tree and set them on the ground, then looked up at Terquan.
"Do you like the Paelelon?" he asked, attempting to change the subject and keep
a conversation rolling. She wondered what he was up to -
building an alibi? Keeping her from asking what he did during the day? She
smirked, wondering how big he thought his blunder was, and how big it actually
was compared to others.
"It's nice. I've been missing my own home for some time, and this is the closest
I can get to it. Mind you - I don't entirely miss the
people." She sighed and looked up at him- he wore a puzzled look.
"You miss home, but not your tribe? Isn't that kind of... weird?" He asked. He
took a few steps to stand closer to her, then took a seat next to her.
"It depends. I can see how you can miss your people if you left.
You have a beautiful tribe dynamic that allows for relationships. In my tribe
the only dynamic is a power struggle, even family members
will fight against each other for power
- my own father was killed by my mother's brother.
So... I don't miss having my life threatened every second that I exist. But I do
miss being comfortable among that dynamic... becuase that is my home."
Terquan nodded slowly. "I wouldn't miss it either. I mean... being on your toes
every day like that."
"But aren't you on your toes every day? I mean - hunting
is the way of the world around here. Every moment you're chasing something
down-" Viresse was cut off by a quick-to-correct Terquan.
"Not every moment. Some of us see it that way. Tristen, for one. But I don't. I
have other things to do that entertain me." He nodded slowly again, then glanced
over at Viresse. "I knid of envy your tribe - you got to
leave and do whatever you wanted without people jumping
on you to do what's right..."
Viresse put up a hand. "Wait. You think I was able to just get up and leave?"
She shook her head. "I am the lowest ranked elf in my family. I was bested by
elves at least fifty years younger than me. I'm an embarassment to my family."
"You're over a hundred?" Terquan asked, an astonished look on his face. "You
don't look a day over ninety."
"I'm around two hundred, as of... oh, maybe spring. I
don't recall the date." She told him, then looekd at the
ground. His last words were flattering, even for a naive young elf.
"Really? How long have you been in Santharia?" he asked.
"Hm. about fifty years..." She nodded. "That sounds
right. So - for the first one hundred and fifty years of
my life, I was trying to leave. But - now I feel as if
I'll spend the rest of my life trying
to find my home, because I don't fit in Sevari anymore.
Too off in my own world."
Terquan nodded, as if he understood. "Maybe when I'm a hundred and fifty, I can
get out and do what I want to do." He sighed.
"Why can't you do that now?" she asked.
Terquan only looked at her out of the corner of his eye. As if he had somethign
snarky to say and decided not to say it. He stood up. "Well, Viresse. It was
nice chatting with you, but I've been up most of this time and need to get some
sleep. If you're around a bit longer, maybe we'll talk again."
Viresse furrowed her brows, slightly insulted but alltogether
respectful. She felt just a bit like she was back in Sevari, having to watch her
back. "I'll be around a while."
Terquan nodded, and walked off across the clearing and into the brush,
still avoiding paths.
Viresse sat on the long for a while. What an odd one. He
was like the men at home - hiding things and being
sneaky, and ruthless. She shook her head. That meant there was something up. And
she didn't like that at all. She decided that she would avoid him
as he seemed to have too much going on behind those black eyes. What
exactly, she didn't know - but it was too familiar a look
to just let it slip by.
When she finally decided to get up and return to sleep, the sun had shifted the
beams considerably. They now beat
down far from directly above. She noticed that some
people inside their homes began to stir, but not so much
as to identify a waking hour anytime soon. She slipped back into Sifl's
quarters, and planned to quietly go back to sleep, but
Sifl was awake and he sat upon the cushions
across from his altar. He burned a small plant in a shallow plate before the
deer skull, a sweet cloud lifting through the chambers and filling the whole of
the place with a pleasant smelling fragrance.
"Adjusting?" Sifl said, and looked slowly over at her. Sifl still seemed very
tired, but there must be some reason it was awake. "I hate to be a busybody, but
please - be careful. People don't
know or understand you yet."
Viresse took a seat beside Sifl. "Terquan was awake," she
stated, hoping that that notion would aleave Sifl's
notion of her danger.
"Viresse - Terquan is not entirely normal among us. If
you conversed with him, I'm sure you picked that up."
Sifl looked seriously at Viresse. "He worries many of us due to his
"He reminds me of some of the men from my tribe. Which isn't good." She noted.
"But what do you mean by allegiances?"
Sifl nodded slowly. "He has made choices that while are not entirely frowned
upon by us, they are choices that are not understood by
many. They have altered him in great ways - and will
continue to do so. He is becoming strained by his choices,
if you knew him over a span of time, you could easily see it. Eventually Terquan
will not be able to cope with the strain, and he will break. And I pray to all
who keep us safe in our venues of choice, that no one has
to see Terquan break, because it will shatter everything
we know of him - because he will
no longer be himself."
Viresse furrowed her brows. Sifl spoke oddly - she had
only vaguely heard that manner of speaking before, about
those in the higher ranks of Coór'hém.
She looekd seriously at Sifl.
"Are you speaking of-" She searched to find the word she was looking for.
"In the worst way," Sifl answered. "He has chosen to
match himself with one. And eventually it will take over his mind and soul
- and the Terquan we know will be no more." Sifl sighed.
"I did not know of his decision until it was too late
- in my teachings he had only heard of it,
mentioned and searched out others to teach him,
that is where he goes during the day... And he often hunts alone to hone his
skills and appease the Beast." Sifl paused, and swallowed.
"He speaks of leaving the Paelelon," she
"Better for all of us then," Sifl added.