CHAPTER VII: THE MORE THINGS CHANGE

A SANTHARIAN NOVEL

 
Darkling Abroad   
  Click on the book's name to view the Table of Contents
  Click on the author's name to view the Author's Index
  5 pages (Download is available Download text)

Introduction. Viresse is in awe of the dwarven world of Tyr Thromgolin, but is quickly pushed from her mind as the reality of the surface world comes down on her in a hard way.

 

iresse was impressed with the amount and intricacy of metalwork the dwarves produced. Each metalworking stand she passed was alive with dwarven men working at the anvil - the clanging chirp of the hammer against the red-hot metal as it was warped into the shape of beautiful armor and weapons could be heard everywhere.

Some worked on a smaller scale- small intricate pendants and all sorts of dwarven charms. Stonemasons chipped away at stone and jewelers appraised and chiseled massive nuggets brought in by the gruffest, strongest dwarves she had ever seen, covered in sweat and dirt and getting their pay as they brought the fruits of their hard labor to be priced.

What seemed to stun her the most as that she didn't see any women. She had heard rumors that the dwarven women were bearded too - which meant that if they were - she'd never be able to tell. But if they weren't- then she hadn't seen one. Maybe women stayed home. Maybe they worked in the mine, maybe they didn't like the town. Viresse wasn't sure. All she knew was she hadn't spotted one, at least - not that she knew of.

Thergerim was all she heard as she wandered around town. It was weird to her, for as long as she had been alive, which was a long time, she had been able to understand words. She was born into an elven family and knew Ifer'hém, and while studying at the School of Ames she had learned Tharian and the elven Styrásh - different from her own but with enough similarities to be easy to pick up. But she had never been able to pick up Thergerim - perhaps it was her elven roots, or the lack of dwarven teachers. The latter made more sense, but as the words swirled around her like a haze of sound, she listened - it didn't sound hard. It sounded rough to the tongue with all the sharp sounds that made the words audible, but it didn't sound the least bit as intricate as Styrásh, which she admitted could be a pain at times, especially writing.

She could see well down the streets due to her excessive height and the dwarves' lack of it. She openly greeted those that were taller than dwarves-  there were few around and it felt almost as if they were a small community of tall folks though they have never met. Some did give her the shocked drow-stare she was used to, but it wasn't very shocked or very long. That made her comfortable, despite the fact that the dwarves took no notice of her.
 

Viresse did not buy anything, mostly becuase she had no money, bust she did enjoy observing all the goods that were availiable. Perhaps some day she would come back to Tyr Thromgolin. When she had money. Which she was not sure of when that would be. About the whole of it, however. She'd get money some time- but again being able to pass through Tyr Thromgolin? That would probably be a great while.

Another idea hit her. She owed a dwarf twenty san. Where was she going to get that? She quickly realized her blunder and tried to get back to Rube as quick as she could while trying not to stick out like a sore thumb. She didn't want to be confronted by the dwarf without any cash. That would just be absurd of her. Would Rube allow her to borrow the money? She hoped so. Otherwise she'd be in a jam.

While getting lost only by turning down a dead end twice, she made it back to the large, beaufiful stone carved house in a corner of town. There were some men unloading the wagon - they seemed much taller than dwarves, but still had the build of them. Whoever owned the home had a fair amount of money to throw around. Viresse wondered who lived here.

She walked up to the door, and pulled the bell-cord. A cheerful chime rang throughout the house. She instinctually expected the bell-sound to reverberate more as the house was made of stone, but it fell flat after she stopped pulling the cord. There must be a fair amount of fabric and cloth inside the home to kill the sounds, she thought. Tapestries and rugs... Viresse boredly imagined the lushness inside the home...

The same man that answered the door before answered again. He was dressed in a velvet burgundy jerkin, quite expensive clothes for a manservant. She shrugged it off.

"Can I help you?" He asked politely, though he was unsure how to address her. She probably didn't look like someone who was dropping in for a visit, and as he looked her over, she probably seemed more like a threat than she really was.

"I'm looking for Rube. The owner of the wagon," she asked, being straightforward and unimposing as she possibly could. She looked to the wagon behind her. The servant followed her look, and he made an O with his mouth as if understanding, yet still confused.

The page thought a second, his eyes rolling as he tried to think. After a few seconds he looked at Viresse and answered, in a timid voice. "Could you wait here?" He slowly closed the door, peeking out the crack of it as he did so. It was kind of amusing to Viresse as he did so, but she held her humour until the door was closed. Then she snickered to her heart's content.

Sometimes, she did enjoy scaring people - especilly if they were irrational in their fear. It was something she missed, for so long she was so determined not to stick out. And now that she stuck out in all the ways Coór intended she didn't much mind it. Especially if many others didn't - just the irrational ones.

A couple of the large men unloading the wagon looked over at her during her giggling fit, and when she looked up - while still giggling - she noticed the men staring at her. She stopped giggling for just a moment. The men just stood for a moment then quickly began working again. That only made Viresse laugh even more.

Finally the door re-opened and Viresse quickly silenced herself. The burgundy dressed man servant looked at her oddly, but opened the door wide. "Enter, Viresse. I will lead you to him."

Viresse stepped in and was surpised to feel that her feet sunk rather than clacked heavily. She looked down and noticed that she was standing on an elegantly tapestried carpet. She smiled to herself. A very nice carpet. When was the last time she had stood on a rug of that caliber?

"Viresse?" A voice chimed, and Viresse looked up.

The man servant was standing a few peds away, waiting for her to follow. She smirked at herself and stepped in line to follow the servant.

The house was intricately carved in the doorays with built shelves carved into the stone walls. Tapestries of warrior scenes and fantastic animals and sculptures and ironwork decorated every room - majestic pieces of armour and delicate glasswork. Viresse allowed her jaw to drop as she walked through the rooms, simply awed by the amount of treasure in this house. And it were ony a few rooms, on the first level. She could only imagine the second floor, or even hidden rooms that she was sure this place had as well. It was a mysterious building with many secrets as she assumed from the way Rube had talked about it.

"Lady Beth, the drow Viresse, guest of Rube Marques, the Trader." The man servant announced, and stepped aside as Viresse entered a new room.

The room had the most elegant tapestries she had ever laid her eyes on, such works were fit for even the Santharian king. It seemed this room was filled with the greatest tresures - probably the best pieces in the entire house - if not the whole of Santharia. Viresse  tried very hard not to be in awe, but it was difficult.

There were posh loungers situated along the walls, and several people were seated within them. All were dressed immaculately in the most beautiful clothes with elegant cuts and sewing. Virese wondered if these people were actually royalty - or just very rich patrons.

"Viresse!" She heard a familiar voice call. She looked into the direction of the voice, and found Rube. He was dressed the same way he was when he had entered, but for some reason he seemed very comfortable among the aristocratic patronage of the Lady Beth.

She moved toward Rube to sit near him, but an auburn haired woman in a burgundy dress whose cut and fabric were clearly superior to those that surrounded her arose from her seat. She walked toward Viresse, her hand extended. Viresse instinctively recoiled. These were the kind of humans she hated. She simply waited for the woman to reach her and react - that was all she could do in these kind of situations. She glanced at Rube for just a moment, hoping she didn't offend him with the situation that was inevitably to occur.

"The drow Viresse," she said, her voice clear and resonant, but with an icy edge. "The Trader Rube has not told us much about you - at least, not until you arrived." She cut her crystal eyes in his direction, her red painted lips curling into a smirk. "I don't know why - I myself have never truly seen a reason to hide one's alignment with such a murderous vile crerature such as yourself. Nevertheless, you are welcome to sit with us for as long as you like, so long as you don't eat any of my guests." She swept her arm wide and Viresse, without a word, took a seat beside Rube. Rube glanced over at her, his face conveying nothing.

"So. How had Tyr Thromgolin treated you so far? I hope a bit more like an elf and less like the dog you truly are," she asked as she sat down across the room from Viresse and Rube. She regally leaned back onto her seat and watched Viresse with a cold, scrutinizing stare.

"...It's not like the surface," Viresse said, kind of stuck for words. Every word this woman said seemed to cut like a knife - and worst of all, she meant them that way. It was as if she was trying to make Viresse angry, just to see what she would do. Viresse  felt very pressured to do something elven, and she tried very hard to not do that. She knew that she was just an interesting trinket for the moment to these people - and she disliked it. Very much.

"Defenitely not! For you see - we are underground," one man to her left said, and the others laughed in a teasing manner. Viresse looked at the floor for a second - this was already not going well.

The Lady Beth looked to the laughing man. "Oh, Samor! That's not right. It's amusing, but not right! Picking on the small-brained dark elves isn't kind - why she probably doesn't even get it so she can join in the laughter!" She swatted teasingly at him and then looked to Viresse. "Is that all? Have you met any of the inhabitants? Surely you must- for the swarty ranklings are all over the place - egads. Some dys, I can't even leave my home, the thought of having to commerce with the rifraff disgusts me."

Viresse nodded slowly. " Yes... they're very straightforward. No - nonsense and very easy to persuade when pride and money is brought into the fold." She looked to Lady Beth.

Lady Beth leaned forward and nodded slowly. " Many people are. Not just dwarves..." She looked around the room at the folks in attendance, and laughed smugly. "I am sure, even a drow can be bought."

Viresse furrowed her brows. "I can assure you that some can - but not where I come from." She blinked slowly, and finally pulled down her hood. She hoped her appearance would define her tribality - a few of the people in attendance gasped slightly, and Rube turned and looked at her, then sighed. He then turned around and pretended not to notice.

The Lady Beth tittered loudly in amusement, though Viresse was unsure why she laughed, but was almost guaranteed to be offended. "Oh, Viresse! Surely you know of your own tribe's indiscretions in the world beyond the Paelelon. More than one of us has hired a Hound to do our dirty work - and let me assure you - while they like to kill, the money is a large part of it!"

More laughter erupted from the patrons from the room, and a few of them raised their glasses of wine and chimed them together in a toast of agreement. Viresse closed her eyes, her blood boiling. She should have known...

Viresse glanced to Rube. "I'm sorry," She stated simply, then rose form her seat, which had suddenly become very uncomfortable. "Lady Beth. Let me advise you now that whatever I say has no bearing on Rube - for I am not a friend or an acquaintance - just a weird black package he has to take to Elsreth." She cleared her throat. "I feel very sorry for you and your supposed knowledge of drow. Apparently all you know is just what you come in contact with - I doubt you have even researched our kind. I doubt you care. From what I can tell I am just an amusement to you. And I despise the comment you have made about me, and your assumptions. I am not an Eophyrhim, I don't even know what a Hound is, but have been called it twice in the past two days. I'll have you know I was not even born on this continent, and for fear of being an eventual story to be told in a low voice at another, similar aristocratic money - wallowing get - together... that is all I am going to say. You all have a good time with your posh, boring lives, and I hope your demises end by the hands of an Ifer'hém - they would not stand for this in the least."

Viresse looked to Rube, her brows furrowed and eyes like burning chunks of coal. He looked up at her, his own eyes wide - for the first time since she met him, he looked scared.

She quickly turned around and left the house, her dank old drowish ways seeping into her already-boiling blood. She silently admitted it to herself while she slammed the heay door to the house - that it felt liberating... the visit to the Paelelon would be a vacation.
 


Return to the Book
Click on the book's name to view the Table of Contents
or the
Click here to view the Author's Index
 

Chapter written by Viresse View Profile