Uuma Ma’ Ten’ Rashwe, Ta Tuluva A’ lle.
Don’t look for trouble, it will come for you.
It was dark. Even with her eyes slowly opening, it was still dark. She knew she was outside, she could hear wind rustling the last of the dead leaves that still hopelessly clung to branches. She could smell the richness of the damp earth beneath her, fingers gently raking through frozen hummus. Consciousness returning she was instantly on her feet, taut as a bowstring. Vigilant. Head swims. It is ignored
“Manke naa ile?” the murmured question, asked in the ancient language of Sindarin hangs in the air waiting for a response.
There is none. A hand reaches out, fingers brush against a rough, textured surface. Bark. But not bark from any tree she was familiar with. The air smelled wrong. It smelled false. Like this place, wherever she was, was nowhere.
Eyes start to become accustomed to the darkness. It was not complete. Never complete. It was obvious after a moment’s breath that she was in a forest, surrounded by trees that gave off a distinctive pungent scent that was alien to her.
A breeze, brought the scent of the sea. Wherever it was, it was winter. The trees were bare, and above her, beyond the naked branches- a sky that was velvet black and filled with stars that were not her own.
She was not alone in the woods.
Her throat was dry, parched. She reached for a water skin that wasn’t there. Her bow. Arrows. Gone also. The weight of her sword on her belt gave reassurance, a hand checked for her dagger. That too was there. But nothing else. A hand hurried to her throat and feeling beneath the collar of her tightly fitting coat, she felt the chain. She still had it. That thing that was most precious to her. She allows another breath, she had been holding it in her chest. A sigh of relief, that drifts into tinkling laughter, that sounds loud in the silence and she would visibly relax.
Suddenly movement as a sleeping creature awakes.
She saw the movement. SHIIIIIIIIIIIING! The blade is unsheathed, the point pressed into the soft flesh of the unknown creature’s throat. Just the merest pressure, just enough to tell the beast, whether hostile or benevolent, to move very, very slowly.
Red eyes glowed from beneath the helmets brim. The Silvan hisses between clenched teeth before saying in an hypnotic language that was like delicate chimes in the space between them.
“Ya? Mani naa essa en lle?”
It would have been beautiful, if it wasn’t so demanding and dangerous.
The Human freezes, watching her intent- But.
Head lurches once more. She staggers and the point of the sword drops away from the stranger’s vulnerable throat. The woman actually sinks to one knee, the blade point down and sinking into the soil as she leans heavily upon it, the creature forgotten now, her stomach clenches and then empties upon the ground. A rather ignominious introduction to this foreign land.
The creature is forgotten as the Silvan looks wretched, her face a ghastly pallor. As the sun starts to rise, and the sky flushes with the first light of the grey dawn, the being can see her for the first time, the features revealing themselves from the shadow.
Dressed in silvery grey, layers of silk and twill, a slender coat constricted about her neck and bound to her body tightly. It was hard to tell if she wore a gown or rather voluminous cullottes, but her face in profile showed the fine features of the Elf, the delicate upswept tilt of her ears into a point. Her hair was very long, plaited away from her face and nut brown. His voice draws her attention.
“Amin fauka” she says hoarsely, pointing at her lips.
Can she make herself understood? She scoops up in her fingers, a thin layer of snow, and takes it to her mouth, dirt and all. Water. She needs water.
The Human provides water.
The Silvan reaches for the skin and takes it quickly, a hurried nod of the head, acknowledging the kindness that the creature does for her, before dropping her head back and taking water from the spout, careful that she poured it in, and did not touch with her mouth- considered the height of bad manners among her people if sharing from a bottle or a cup.
It was a graceful action, and nary a drop split from her lips. From where she crouches, balancing upon the ball of her feet, with hardly a movement, centered perfectly.
“Manke naa i’omentien?” waving an arm about her, indicating the forest, or maybe even the nation at large. Her expression is one of perplexed confusion.If she had to play act as though playing charades, then she would.
She searches his expression, vainly for answers and then when he too shrugs, she drops her head as though all was lost. She gets to her feet and then starts to speak. Her face, animated, as her voice rises and falls with the musical tones of her language.
He didn’t understand her, nor she him, so it mattered not what was said, only the manner in which she was saying it. Handing back his skin it was clear, as she told her story, using hand signals and self conscious actions, she had been spell casting. Her tone changed into that of a chant to demonstrate, eyes closing.
“Boooooooom!” she says suddenly, flailing her arms about her and then turns to illustrate that she was now in this space. In this time. Wherever that was. He can deduce what he likes from the commentary, it doesn’t really matter. She is here. And not there. And this seems to cause her some distress.
He points North.
The Silvan, dressed in elegant though wholly impractical tones of grey silks and thin diaphanous fabrics that were more in keeping with a hot alien summer than a cold planetary winter and she soon shivered, despite the strong boots that seemed to be the only appropriate attire.
” Ya auta yeste’?” she asks, calm and patient, she asks again, a little louder, in the way of non native speakers, as though speaking to someone hard of hearing and probably, none too bright.
“YA AUTA YESTA?”
She approaches him. He sees then, as the first rays of the dawn filter across the sky, that her eyes shine with intelligence, with knowledge. Her skin almost glows as the planet awakes to a new day, indeed, there is a very mild silvery aura about her that moves as she moves. She pats her chest.
“Sílrien” indicates herself.
Again “Sílrien” and then a step to him and a hand lays gently upon his chest and a quizzical tilt of the head. “Ya auta yeste’?”
He says his name is Garret, and kindly provides her with his cloak.
Her face breaks into a smile when she finally makes herself understood. Some meaningful conversation- almost.
“Garr-” she says, opening her mouth and testing out the sounds of his name rolling across her tongue.
“Garr-et”, trying it once more. “Garret!” she finally says, again a smile so beautiful it would make the heart of a blind man sing.
“Garret!” once more for luck, becoming confident.
“Elen sila lumenn omentilmo, Garret”, she says, moving her hand in a ritualistic manner to her chest, then with a bow of her head, to her lips, and then to her brow, in what appeared to be a formal greeting.
His name had never sounded so good! Like magic. The elf gratefully receives the cloak with a “Mae Govannen”. Given the tone, it was definite thanks.
There is a gasp, as the thin figure of Garret starts to fade.
As though trying desperately to hold on to something solid and breathing and animate, her hand attempts to grasp the enigmatic creature but does nothing but sweep through thin air and a meek cry of disappointment when her hand returns to her empty. She studies it while drawing the cloak about her.
It was warm, fur lined, she was regretful that she had it, and he did not. Was it theft? She could not concern herself with complex moral issues right now. She was hungry. She was thirsty. She still had no clue where she was, or where she was going. He had pointed North. And so, she would go North, assuming that in this world, the sun rose in the East.
Boots crafted from red leather crunched in the leaves that littered the ground. There had been a frost during the night and they had yet to thaw. Therefore, her passage through the strange forest was noisier than she would like. But she had still yet to hear movement in the undergrowth, what little there was, it was mainly bracken and bramble, or the first trill of birdsong.
But for the trees, which she could sense were a benevolent presence- the landscape seemed quite sterile. Sharp eyesight spot wizened berries upon the crown of a bush. Fighting back the thorns, she plucks those few hard fruits and greedily defrosts them in her mouth.She had walked for what seemed like half a day, but by the angle of the sun, it was but an hour, maybe two.
Despite the rise of sun, the clouds started to thickly coat the sky until deadening everything a sullen grey that seemed to only just sweep over her head, they hang so low. Then the snow started. A few flakes blowing in the wind. She could smell it even before she could see and feel it, each tiny frozen jewel a sting upon unprotected flesh. The wind blew stronger. It got colder. The snow came down harder.
There was a space where the bare branches hung so thick that on the ground, there was no snow, nor light, it being like a dim shadow had passed over the sun. She would rest here. She would have to. The snow was falling thickly. The wind had dropped and it seemed to warm slightly which is all the nod snow needed really to fall in a wall that made the way treacherous and the path she had taken, anonymous.
It was at this spot, that she sought out dry branches, twigs, kindling, built a fire. It was with some nervousness that she held out her hands, palms up. Then it appeared that she engaged in some intricate finger dance, making sweeping gestures in the air while her expression was one of intense concentration, until she exclaimed “Bragollach tel’llach!”, in words that were ancient even when Sindarin was new.
A scintilating ball of fire slammed into the cone of timber with probably a little more force than was intended.The fragile stack of branches and twigs exploded across the clearing, scattering in all directions. The fireball bounced from its spot, sailed across the space and hit the winter naked tree opposite. It instantly erupted into a conflagration, which caused her to fall back, shielding her face with an arm.
The heat was instantaneous. The fire soon licked up the trunk and into the tinder dry and sleeping wood of it’s branches until the whole tree was aflame. It wasn’t quite what she had in mind, however, she now had heat, and no doubt a beacon to any who were looking in that direction. An odd sight- a burning tree amongst a silent wood. It’s very presence would crave attention.
Still no birdsong, no panicked rush of flight away from the flammable tree. No sound of beast that crawls, slithers, hops or flies. She finds this disturbing. She now has a splendid fire however and stands a way from the trunk, warming her hands until the crack and pop of exploding timber above her, once more cause her to fall back into the cold as branches all aflame drop from the tree’s height and crash on the ground with a sizzle and a hiss as flame meets snow.
Perilous to stand so close then, but the distance makes it ineffective. Not one’s most well thought out plan, she thinks, and drops into a crouch, drawing the cloak around her and generally exuding the air of quiet misery.
The hiatus gave her time to think, to consider how such a calamity could have befallen her? The woods at least were no longer silent and the crackling of the fire consuming the boughs, the occasional creak and then crash as yet another branch burned through, could no longer support itself and fell. It provided a primal accompaniment to her thoughts.
She was at The Well, the sanctuary of the spell crafters. Her father had sent her for some quiet contemplation as yet another of her makings had gone horribly wrong. Shamed she was as she recalled it. Lids squeezing tight to shut out the image of an exploding squirrel and her father’s expression as he delicately removed the splattered remains from his otherwise benign visage and banished her to think on her actions- at least until next meal.
The frustrated Silvan had attempted the spell yet again, even against Ranor’s expressed wishes, whilst at The Well, and as she had explained to the being, Garret- BOOOOM! And she was in this place. Perhaps she should thank the Gods for not sending her the way of the squirrel.
She was cold, damp, lonely and desperately wanted to go home.