The tree (yes I’m taking orders from trees now) wanted to make sure the loggers were leaving before giving up the location of the man in black so we were forced the spend the night in the woods. Etraxia, our pixie sort-of-guide led us to her village, if you ever wondered what a pixie village looks like it basically looks like a normal village only at one fifth size. I have to admit it was adorable.
“So are you going to shrink us down or how does this work? This isn’t a deal where we spend a night here and find out that twenty years have passed is it?”
She tossed her words dismissively over her shoulder as she crossed the threshold of her house. “There’s a cave over there.”
She paused in the doorway of her wee little village house, handing her bow to her wee little husband inside “Yeah, isn’t that what you big people like? Rocks?”
“What is your problem lady? I’m not the one cutting door your tree friends, I haven’t done anything.”
“You’re worse, you live off those that do. At least they work for a living.”
And with a tiny door slam she was gone. I thought fey folk were supposed to be merry pranksters – what’s all this angst? I turned to say something to Erza and saw that he was walking off.
“Where are you going?”
“I don’t like caves.”
“That doesn’t tell me where you’re going.”
He just shrugged. I sighed and made my way to the cave. And by cave I mean more of a crack in the stone face of an outcropping that you could sort of sit down in. Sort of. On the plus side that means there’s no bears. I slept about as well as you can imagine. Eventually, groaning, I slid out of the stony tomb just as light was starting to filter through the treetops. Waiting patiently for me was a large pixie (well over two feet tall!) in rich gold clothing and matching armor. He snapped off a deep bow that would be the envy of any court etiquette master.
“Good morning my lady, I am Sir Galfrus, and I will be escorting you by order of Queen Larnaca.”
“What about Etraxia?”
“Her duties lay elsewhere my lady. Can I offer you some refreshments my lady?”
“Is it going to make me grow or turn me invisible or something?”
He grinned and winked “No my lady, we save that for special occasions.”
I was expecting fey food to be delightfully delicious. I was disappointed. It was pretty bland fare – leeks and some tasteless berries. I was also expecting Erza to show up which also didn’t happen. Not sure if I should feel disappointed about that crazy bastard abandoning me or not.
“Where exactly will you be escorting me sir knight?”
“Down in the valley my lady. Ramoisin has taken up in a temple at the far end.”
“A temple, out here?”
“It’s abandoned my lady, a ruin I suppose you could call it. It’s a Nekharu temple from the old days.”
“Who or what is a Nekharu?”
He seemed surprised by the question “They’re the people that made your people. You may know them by another name.”
“Huh. I was told the gods made us.”
“I don’t think so my lady.”
“Well anyway, sally forth and all that.”
My minute knight protector was the absolute soul of courtesy and not in the smarmy annoying way that some knights are – those that bother anyway – he wasn’t acting courteous he was courteous. It’s a sad fact of life that most anointed knights are shitheels to the core – how could they not be, they’re professional killers, that’s not an occupation that attracts the best of the best. If more knights were like this little fellow it would be a fine world indeed. The path down into the gorge was quite treacherous but Sir Galfrus was there to aid me every step of the way. The valley was wildly overgrown, but there were signs of some kind of inhabitation from long ago.
“So this was some kind of Nekharu village then?”
“I don’t believe so my lady, I’m told this was where the humans lived – the Nekharu lived in caves or perhaps underground. It’s not quite clear. The Elders speak of the Nekharu coming out of the stones to give their commands to their followers.”
“And by elders you mean?”
“The oldest of the fey my lady. Those that have walked this land for thousands of years, since before the coming of mortals.”
“Hm, I guess I never thought about that before. Being immortal your people probably have a pretty accurate history of elves and men and so forth. I wonder how well it would match up with what we have in our books.”
“I couldn’t say my lady.”
“Maybe that’s why we’re always cutting down your forests – no one likes to be reminded of the inglorious truth of their past. That’s the nice thing about history, it can be whatever you say it is – you may not be able to give your children a future but you can give them a past that makes them proud.”
A few hours later we came to an open air stone structure – looked more like an archway on a platform of cobblestones than a temple to me. In the center there was very dark shaft heading down. Even activating my tattoo for lion vision didn’t allow me to see all the way to the bottom.
“Well sir knight, I suppose I have to go down there. Are you coming along?”
“I wish I could my lady, but the Queen’s instructions were clear – escort you here but do not you help you in your quest.”
“Of course. Can you hold this rope while I climb down? Er . . . and I mean no offense, are you strong enough?”
He smiled “No offense taken my lady. I’m sturdier than I look. If it wouldn’t be too familiar my lady, I could fly you down myself. No need to mess about with ropes.”
Sir Galfus was indeed sturdier than he looks – taking me around the waist (rather gingerly) with both hands he was able to lift off with his wings and fly me down into the grasping darkness. He did struggle slightly but give the guy a break, his height could be measured in apples. He set me down lightly in the middle of a circular stone room – a tiny circle of light above.
“Do I just call out when I need you come get me out of here?”
He seemed surprised “Do you imagine you’re getting out of here my lady?”
Inventory: Animal Totem Tattoo (Lion), Dagger of Venom, Bracers of Armor +2, Ring of Protection +2, Rope of Entanglement, Enchanted Feycloth Dress (Green), Light Crossbow
Revenge List: Duke Eaglevane,
Piltis Swine, Rince
Electrum, watchman Gridley, White-Muzzle the worg, Percy Ringle
the butler , Alice Kinsey , “ Patch”, Heroes of the Lost Sword, Claire
Conrad, Erist priest of Strider, Riselda owner of the Sage Mirror,
Eedraxis, Skin-Taker tribe,
Kartak, Królewna & Bonifacja Trading Company, Hurmont Family,
Androni Titus, Greasy dreadlocks woman, Lodestone Security, Kellgale
Nickoslander, Beltian Kruin the Splithog Pauper, The King of Spiders, Auraluna
Domiel, mother Hurk, Mazzmus Parmalee, Helgan van Tankerstrum, Lightdancer,
Bonder Greysmith, Pegwhistle Proudfoot, Lumbfoot Sheepskin