Viresse smiled as she thought of those she'd be leaving, then
pondered how the trip would go. As far as she knew, the wagon was going to
travel by the river through the King's Hollow, and continue by the river to Tyr
Thromgolin. At that point most of the goods would be unloaded, and the wagon
would continue to Elsreth, where Vir was to find escorts into the Paelelon, as
arranged by Arti and several other intermediaries.
Viresse looked back to the worn wagon, which was mostly full. It looked like a
steady wagon, with small spots of green moss growing on the outside planks.
Alltogether weathered yet trustworthy, those were her
favorite modes of transportation. Aged, yet strong.
A pair of what she assumed to be poor-bred war horses were tethered to the cart.
Viresse's assumption of their breeding came from their restlss nature and large
size. Had they been better bred, they wouldn't be pulling a trader's cart.
Viresse was always wary of animals-they tended to react poorly to
dark elves. She hoped that
these horses were either too scatterbrained to notice her, or trained enough to
A large, long parcel was loaded along the side of the wagon,
she assumed it to be a tent. Which meant she was travelling with a
human. She was not entirely surprised by this turn of
events. Not many elves were traders, at least not
openly. And even fewer worked in service of the King.
The elves of Santharia, at least of what she had
learned in her stay in the Kingdom, had their own government, and did not
muss in the ways of men,
unless the Kingdom inteded to toy with the
elves in any way. As wars had gone in the past
- the elves knew the ways of war, no matter how
they tried to hide it.
But Viresse was curious - what kind of
human would it be? She hoped she had not been ill
paired. There was nothing worse than silent hatred, simply becuase those that
hated were afraid to speak. That was how problems always started. Viresse pursed
her dark lips and noted that if she was poorly matched, then she had no
responsibility of her actions if her travelling companion... well, disappeared
or was never heard from again. She hoped that didn't happen. Viresse may be a
drow, but she didn't much like to kill
- not unless she had to. That was not the way she allowed herself to be
A loud voice thundered and the livery-clad men balked and halted the loading of
the tent. The voice came from inside the doors of the outer
wall and it got louder as it approached the doors. Viresse piqued her brows
- it sounded like an oaf of a man, and she had hoped that it wasn't her
As the figure exited the outer doors, she was surprised. It sounded like a
massive man, but it must have only been the echo. For the man - barely a man, he
looked little over his second decade of life - was of
a relatively normal stature. He had broad shoulders and a good balance of
weight, much like a millitary man without all the pomp and dress. He had a
sturdy brown leather tunic, a black cloak with a high leather collar and dark
breeches. His boots were high, almost to his knees. He bore
two weapons - a long sword and a shorter dagger.
Viresse approached the wagon, her fast pace making her
boots scuff against the stoned walk. Her curiousity was getting the best of her-
something that she often had to keep in check. If anything, that was Viresse's
biggest weakness, her need for knowledge and her taste for curiousity. She
disliked drama, but always enjoyed the "whys " rather
than the "whos".
As she got closer she could observe his features, which were good-looking,
for a human, anyway. He had dark, straight hair that
reached his shoulders, brown, deep-set eyes and high cheekbones that
complimented his wide face. A black goatee grew from his chin,
it made him look older, but not much. His ears were pierced and had large hoops
of silver hanging from them.
She stood silently near the cart as she watched the young man. He huffed loudly
at the men that tried to load in the tent, and pushed them off. "You guys have
no idea how to load this thing, do you? Let me just take care of it. Get me the
parcels and I'll load it." He glared at them for a few seconds as he got a good
grip on the long package. " I said -
get back to work. I got this!"
The two livery-men balked for a second then skittered off to continue retrieving
the parcels as commanded.
Viresse was a bit amused by the situation. Such a young man, so confident in his
skills that he can convice others of such with great ease. But how did he get
that way? He had a confidence that was unfamiliar to her,
at least when eminated from a human. Some of the Kavogerim had a confidence
like that- but they were dwarves. And they could back
it up. What did this "boy" have that allowed his cockiness to be so effective?
He was unlike any human she had met.
Well, technically she hadn't met him yet.
"Ay-" she heard, and snapped out of her thoughts.
"Can you pull on that end? Be careful, but be firm!" The young
man asked Viresse. She glanced up, but her cowl was
pulled low and she could only see his rough hands. She could not entirely see
him due to her hood, so she assumed that he could not entirely see her face. She
paused for a moment. - Would
he have reacted differently if he knew she was drow?
Is now the time to find out?
Viresse thought a moment, then snaked her hands into the sleeves into her cloak,
to hide her pale hands. She then did as she was told. The long package was slid
into place and Viresse stepped away from the wagon to observe. When she turned
to look back at the young man, he disappeared into the
doors of the outer wall.
Viresse pursed her lips. Was that really her companion? And
what would he think of her when he found out what she was? She then rolled her
eyes at her thought. Why should she even care !?
Viresse set her satchel inside the corner of the wagon
near the front seat. She crossed her arms and leaned against the wagon. The
horses stirred for a few seconds as they felt the presence of the
drow in an area they could not react to, but a quick
whisper with calming Styrásh
words caused the tethered steeds to stop fidgeting momentarily. Viresse kept her
attention tuned to the trip ahead as she thought of pitfalls and situations to
expect, but her ears and attention were pricked every time she heard something
from the outer walls.
She looked up at one particular noise and saw a large flaxen haired man she had
recognized just from his stature. Despite his thick fur-cloak draped over his
muscular form, Viresse recognized Drogo and his pale blond tresses from a good
distance. She called to him, and he approached her quickly.
"Good to see you out and about in the sun!
Are you going somewhere?" Drogo asked, as he leaned against the wagon and held
out a hand.
"The Paelelon. I get to research poisonous wine." Viresse cocked a brow and
shook his large outstretched hand. "Not what I was expecting, but something
"Well, at least it will be easier than other projects,
not so many stares. I'd love to go with you -
alcohol and me go hand in hand,
as do imbibed women and me, but that's a story for another day." He smirked at
his innuendo. "I am heading home for the
harvest- will probably stay the whole of winter." He
sighed and let his weight sink against the cart, cauding it to lean slightly on
its far wheels as he drifted off into thought.
"Be careful the way up - I hear some of the
orcs are getting adventurous." She nodded once and
turned her head toward the castle as a heavy clatter caught her attention.
Drogo reached behind his shoulder and withdrew a massive sword.
Its blade glinted in the sun as if kissed by the Injčra
herself. Viresse stood in shock for a moment at its size, then smiled as the
mithril-esque blade shimmered a sliver of light across her face. "I have no
fear. Not with this," Drogo said as he observed the
beautiful blade himself.
"Then I would hope the orcs do, if you have a blade
like that. I don't want to think of you hewing their heads,"
Viresse stated. She looked away from the blade into
Drogo's eyes. "I know you want to do it- but that invites a skirmish." She
paused a moment, and planned her next words. "You plan
on a massacare?"
"I would figure you'd be the most understanding, Viresse. I expect a fight every
day." Drogo pushed himself off the cart
- a heavy racheted squeak sounded as his weight was taken off the axles.
Viresse sighed. "I do. But I do not always relish it. I am a drow
- but I am not that kind of
drow." She too leaned off the cart and looked up at
the nearly two ped tall Kug'limz. "Maybe some day, but not right now." She let a
frown cross her face, but then quickly turned it into a smile. "I hope you have
a good harvest season, Drogo. Be careful and be wise!"
Drogo nodded as he put his sword away. " I hope so too. And I will be careful.
Believe me." He started to walk away, but turned
around. "Give a greeting to Rube for me." He said.
"Who?" Viresse queried.
Drogo said nothing more, but pointed.
Viresse turned around to see the young
man setting another large burlap-wrapped parcel into
the wagon bed. "A-yo Drogo! Good journey!" He called,
and waved at the massive barbarian man, who slipped out of the castle gates and
into the maze of streets of New-Santhala.
Viresse watched the young man Drogo called Rube settle the last burlap parcel,
then jump out of the wagon. He dusted his hands on his breeches, then walked
toward Viresse. Viresse quickly ducked her head to hide a good amount of her
face, and kept her hands inside her sleeves. She knew this young man would find
out anyway, but she hoped later rather than sooner -
for the drow, a first impression
can make or break a friendship, and if he liked her before he knew of her
heritage, then maybe it'd be easier for him to handle it.
"A-yo. I see ya know Drogo there. He's a friend of mine...
- I'm Rube." Rube stuck out his hand to shake.
Viresse's painted black eyes widened. A shake... -
he'll see her hand... Viresse thought quickly, and
awkwardly leaped at Rube, hugging him around the neck for a brief second, then
stepping back to comfortable distance. "I am called Viresse by many." She
stated, her tongue clumsy with the rough Tharian language. She cocked her head
so she could look just off the edge of her cowl, to eye the young man in front
He wore a look of slight confusion, his thick but neat black brows knitted. But
his handsome, olive-complected face wore it well. He had freckles across his
cheeks and on his nose- making him look younger still. "So you're the Lady I'm
taking to Elsreth. We have to stop at Tyr Thromgolin on the way,
if you didn't know, you know now- and we'll unload a fair amount of this kack
there. From that point on we should move fast,
alltogether the span of about three days."
Viresse eyed him while he overlaid their plans, then spoke. " How old are you?"
She asked, the cock of her head conveying curiousity that was well magnified by
the hood. She knew it was out of place considering the conversation, but she
felt the urge to ask.
Rube chuckled, thin lips parting to reveal straight white teeth and a smile that
could be both aggressive and kind
- which exactly it was at the moment she was unsure. Nevertheless, he
seemed aggressive. "I'm just over my twenty first year,
but have been working on and around pack-wagons since the day I escaped."
"Escaped?" Viresse asked.
"Yea - from that cussard wench's womb. Dumped me with
my pa the day she let me out and that was that for her." He nodded. "A good way
to start things, yea?"
"In what way - in life or for a trip?"
she asked. A smile began to creep across her black
painted lips. Rube had a way with words that made it easy for her to relate. He
spoke like a Coórhem, in a very watered-down kind of
He paused a moment, then shrugged. "Either way, I guess. It appears I didn't
turn out all that bad if I'm running daft errands for the King."
"They're not that daft,"
she stated in a defensive manner.
Rube's apparent smile slipped into a sneer. It seemed
to be a reaction to her statement - it seemed he felt
he was more qualified at judging goods.
"Oh, no, not to those that need them." Rube began to side-step around Viresse,
which made her uneasy - it was too similar to the Coór'hem
fights for power. The fights she rarely won, and thought she was done with.
While he continued to walk around her, she stayed facing him- one hand on the
dagger at her waist, hidden behind her thick black cloak.
" I mean - you're going on an errand...
So to you, it's not so daft at all. But to
me - you're a package..." Rube looked Viresse over with a scrutinizing eye and it
caused her to fidget slightly, "...a weird, black parcel that won't even look me
in the eye..." Rube straightened up and set one of his hands on his hip. "And
needs to be delivered to Elsreth. I will take you to Elsreth and as much as I
want my head on my neck, you're going to get there in good condition." He cocked
a thick brow and smirked - it looked more wicked this time than before. He
reached over with his right hand and set it on the seat of the wagon, and leaned
against it. "And that's all there is for me." He stared heavily at her, as if
making an open invitation for a fight.
Viresse furrowed her sculpted black brows. Humans regularly made her upset, but
this one did it in a way that she was unfamiliar with - instead of being ignorant
like she expected and could put up with, he was both smart and blunt. And worst
of all, concering Viresse - he was right. But as far as she could tell, he was no
different than any human she had met before him. Just arrogant.
"Well... I don't say it's daft." Viresse stated coldly, and set her own hands on
her hips, allowing her hands to slip out of her cloak as she did so. She didn't
like to have to match minds with a human - especially a
laborer such as this. He
had no idea who or what she was, and she felt that if he did, she could very
well pull back some of her respect that he had taken in the few short moments
they had spoken.
Rube huffed loudly, a similar noise he made to the men who poorly loaded his
wagon. It sounded like the blend of a snarl of an upset dog, and the mocking
laugh of a well-knowledged man. "And who
are you to tell
me about my wagon and
my trip?" He sprang up and set himself upon the seat of the wagon, looking down
Viresse sneered from under her hood, and with her dainty pale hands she threw
the hood off of her head, revealing her pale elven face and dark tresses to her
companion. She blinked against the bright sun that now flooded her painted eyes
and caused her eyes to water. "I am Vir'es'fa'sáh'íl-drén
Santharian Compendium Writer, and I expect at least a little respect for my
position and my orders!" She pursed her lips in defiance and stared heavily at
the man whom she had revealed herself to. She hadn't said her full name in a
long time. She had no need to before now
- in all honesty, she didn't need to say
it, this child didn't deserve it...
Rube was not taken aback by her dark
- the first human to not do
so in a great long while. Rather, he seemed almost angered by it. "What? Speak
Tharian, woman! That elven kack does nothing for me!" He rolled her eyes and
slid across the wooden seat of the wagon, making space for Viresse to sit up
"Fool! I wouldn't speak another word to you if it wasn't for
you driving me to
where I need to go!" She reached up and swung onto the front seat, and seated
herself as far from Rube as she could." I don't want to hear another pompous,
arrogant word from your foaming mouth unless it involves death!" She snapped,
and pulled her hood over her head. She huffed loudly and crossed her arms, not
looking in Rube's direction.
"Same goes for you, sildren-machan... the whole of it," Rube mumbled. He took
the reins and glanced in her direction, brows furrowed. "You're lucky I'm in a
"Can we leave yet?" Viresse snapped, without turning around.
Rube made a clicking noise with his tongue, and the restless horses lurched
forward, causing Viresse to be tossed back into the wagon-seat. She straightened
herself up and huffed loudly, while Rube chuckled slightly.
"Oh, silence yourself, human, or I'll do it for you," Viresse
"Hey, Darky. Do me a favor and take a nap in the back, huh? I don't want to hate
you until at least halfway," Rube snapped, and shot a cold glare, yet the hint
of a smile danced at the corners of his mouth.
Viresse stood on the bench and straightened her cloak. "I will,
only becuase I
don't want to even hear your blathering voice." She stepped over the planks that
seperated the wagon bed from the front seat, and slumped down against the burlap
parcels. She set her satchel on her lap, and wrapped her cloak around her,
slipping her pale hands into her cloak to hide against the sun. She closed her
dark eyes and listened to the clop of the horses' hooves and the whirring
clatter of the wagon wheels upon the cobblestones, then shifting into the
rumbling thunder as it shifted into earthen roads.
As she began to drift off, a faint hollow voice carriend into her ears and
seemed to sing to her throughout her restless dreams...
Well, the song does call me on and on,
And once I am there, then soon it's gone.
The song will move my feet again
When the time grows we-a-ry.
The light of the road is shining on me!
The light of the road is with me!