Lizal finds herself alone - (1.533 words)
|After the commotion had died down at the house and there was just the single family left - I approached to speak with them. It was understandable they, also, would be frightened by the events. And so when they saw me, they were angry.
“Lizal! What’s going on! All those dragons have everyone frightened out of their minds!” Whitecloud ran over, grabbed my shoulders and began shaking me.
“Wife,” Greywolf took Whitecloud’s shoulders to calm her, “allow Lizal to explain what’s happened at her home.”
After a tense moment where she looked at the point of the sky the dragons disappeared from, Whitecloud released my shoulders.
“Now,” Greywolf drew us both to the porch table, “tell us what has transpired which brings you here prepared to travel.”
And so I told them everything. I told them why I began my mission, my knowledge for needing trade with Humans and other races, the law of my people against it, of Kraeth following me, the trial - its result, why they saw the dragons leaving, and finally why I came to them.
When I finished, there was a long space of silence. Both Whitecloud and Greywolf looked at each other and back at me several times. They seemed to be silently deliberating some issue between them which I was not privy to. I was about to ask what it was when they both nodded and Greywolf turned back towards me
“You can’t stay with us.” Greywolf firmly announced.
“But, you know me.” I was astonished.
“We do, but the dragons change things.” Whitecloud again looked towards the sky as she spoke.
“I told you, the dragons are gone. They left this place to go somewhere else.”
“Yes, you’ve said so,” Greywolf said. “But we won’t be able to convince the townsfolk of that. Even I still can’t quite believe it.”
“You know I don’t lie, ever!” I was getting angry. “And I’ve nowhere to go!”
“We just can’t take you in.” Whitecloud shook her head slowly. “And there’s something else you should know.”
Somehow I just knew I wasn’t going to like what she was going to say next.
“You’re going to have to hide those Elven features.”
“And how am I to do that?”
Again that look of knowing between my friends.
“Just a moment.” Whitecloud rose and went inside the house.
“We both feared this day would come for you.” Greywolf began saying.
“What do you mean?”
“It’s just that not everyone in the town shares the same view about Humans and Elves living peacefully together, or even just as trading partners. And after today...” He shook his head.
At that point, Whitecloud returned carrying something. “I found it.” She smiled as she handed it to me.
What she gave me was a pair of spectacles. Very few people wore them for the ground glass required to correct vision was difficult to come by. But this pair was even more unique. The glass was dark/opaque and there was leather attached to each side.
“I know these are spectacles, but my vision is perfect. Why would I need them?”
“They’re not just any spectacles,” Whitecloud said. “They’ll hide your eyes. No one will be able to see that they glow when you have them on.”
The design was good but I was dubious about their nature. I put them on anyway to test their theory.
“Well?” I asked. “Does it do what the inventor said it would?”
“That and more,” Greywolf said. “If you wore those and a headband to cover your ears, you’d look human.”
I frowned at the thought and threw the spectacles to the table. “I don’t want to look human, I’m not human!”
“Of course you’re not dear,” Whitecloud spoke in a soothing tone. “But if you’re going to live among humans you’re going to have to make some changes so you don’t get killed.”
“Elves never change. That’s why I’m here. We don’t change, ever!” Was that a hint of hysteria I heard in my voice?
“Calm down dear.”
“Calm down!? Calm down!? I’m marked for treason, thrown out of my home and now my only friends left tell me I have to run and hide who and what I am. And you tell me to calm down!” Yes, definite hysteria. And was I now on my feet?
I’m not sure what happened next. I vaguely remember Greywolf’s fist coming at my face.
When I came to I was alone. For the first time in two thousand years, I was alone and I didn’t care for it. It saddened me that both Whitecloud and Greywolf had told me I was no longer safe with them, no longer welcome to stay. And I was ashamed I had argued so vehemently against hiding the fact I was an elf. Especially since they had to knock me out before my temper got the better of me.
So here I now sat. Me, the forest, and a letter reminding me of the importance of hiding my identity, and every part of my elfish being cried out against it. Elves never changed and this was change. And yet…., and yet, I saw the truth of it. And I SAW a bit of the future. Me, standing with a human, surrounded by elves and dragons, smiling. A Vision so distant and faint I knew I had to get there. Survive until things came full circle, as they always did. And the letter reminded me of what was needed to survive.
Some change on my part was needed, and if I was to survive I would have to succumb to the truth of change. So I did. And now I was alone.
I sat quietly listening to the forest around me. The birds were making their afternoon rounds in the trees above, who spoke of patience, and told me change was not so bad. I sighed and shook my head while tearing a wide piece of cloth from one of my shirts. I also found the spectacles Whitecloud had given me. Change was not something elves did. We were born knowing certain things and then living our lives around that knowledge.
The knowledge I held was the need for keeping some sort of relationship open with humans and other races existing on this world. I knew what it would take to open trade routes and create friendships. I also knew it would all need to begin with my people, and we were divided. The majority now wished me dead, others wanted to return me to my former place as the Speaker of the Land and Keeper of the People. I couldn’t do either unless they all agreed but I couldn’t do anything sitting in the middle of the forest, alone.
I looked at the wide strip of cloth in my hands and the fear of change welled up again. It was not something I wanted to do. It went against the nature of my soul, and yet here I was, beginning something I couldn’t turn back from. I’d already begun that change when my own people cast me out of the valley I called home, what was one more change?
I closed my eyes and placed the cloth around my head so it covered my pointed ears, then cried. I cried for the loss of everything I knew: friends, family, and even would-be enemies. I cried for the fact of this thing called change and the need for it. In the end, I cried because I was alone, though the trees and animals around me continued to whisper patience and comfort.
I’m not sure how long I sat there but eventually, I pulled myself back together and gathered my meager possessions. I couldn’t sit and wallow in self-pity for the rest of my life. Putting the spectacles on, I looked around and wondered which way I should go. I supposed one way was as good as another, and since I wasn’t sure where my friends dumped me I asked the birds if they knew where the nearest road was. At least it would get me to a town, village or city.
The birds directed me to the Southwest and I headed in that direction not knowing, or caring, what I would find. I was only 2,000 years of age, what might be considered a teenager for humans, in these times certainly old enough to be on my own. I was well versed in many forms of combat, thanks to the Captain of Arms at the Council’s House, and my human friends ensuring I worked hard on their farm.
As I thought more about the idea of being on my own the more I realized I could do anything, I just needed to be careful how I did it. The trees told me I was still a mile from the main road when I stumbled across a peculiar item. I found it by accident, or at least that’s what I believed, there’s nothing to suggest something other than chance.
The device is octagonal in shape with strange symbols on small octane pieces on each side. On one side, the center piece is blank and could be depressed. I ran my fingers over the wood, finding each symbol could be turned, if slightly depressed as well, for each had a catch in the center. It certainly complicated the variance of what the item would do. The question was, of course, what did the item do? And did I dare try to find out?