Saturday, 19 May 2012
A Fateful Meeting: In Which Wanda Meets An Elf!
Yesterday, stepping out into the world in order to further her knowledge had been an exciting, empowering thought. She had expressly packed 'light', fully entering into the spirit of adventure. As she crossed the threshold that morning, however, consternation was the order of the day. It was all very well and fine entering into the spirit of adventure, but now, as she stood looking out onto the square, she was forced to wonder - where was it that adventure could be found? What, exactly, did adventure look like?
She tugged the door to and heard it click.
There. I'm committed now, she thought. Let's go find some of this 'adventure'.
She turned and started to cross the square, speeding up as she started organising her thoughts, only to have her train of thought obliterated by the dramatic challenge of a mandolin.
Looking up, she noticed a suitably colourful character, stark against the greys and browns of the square and its inhabitants.
Wait. Was that-
She moved closer.
-It was! She'd never seen an elf, but Heironymus, her bizarrely eccentric tutor, had rattled on and on about the elves, enough for her to consider this unusual fellow a member of their species. An unusually angular face, distant eyes, and the telltale ears - if not an elf, then what?
Her heart skipped a beat. The reason Heironymus had waxed as lyrical as he had about the elves was very much to do with magic. Wanda had been led to understand that they were one of the most magical of all the races - their very being was infused to bursting point with magic.
And - given as she was to establish herself in the realm of magic through this business of adventure, here, surely, was an opportunity presented by the gods themselves!
She was in time to hear the elf address the few wanderers in the square, and noted that clearly, Reikspel was not the chap's first language. Excellent! What better way to ingratiate herself with the magical being than to teach him the language of the Empire? She stepped forward, about to introduce herself, when another man, hitherto unnoticed, blurted a question at her. It appeared the lout wanted directions.
Her eyes flashed at him and she drew herself up to her full height.
"Sir! Here, in civilisation," she spread her arms expansively, "when one wishes to address a lady one does not know, one does not start their sentence with 'say'! The appropriate form of greeting would be 'excuse me, M'Lady', or 'pardon me, Madam'. As it turns out, I do know something about Herr Oldenhaller, although how you plan to gain an audience is beyond me!"
Without awaiting a reaction (as, no doubt, the man had been suitably chastised), she stormed on past him, eager to engage with the elf.
But fate, capricious as ever, had since turned against her. Between the oaf and the elf, there was another creature - a halfling. She was more familiar with these normally harmless beings, although this one seem hell bent on frustrating the elf and the other characters in the vicinity. He clutched at the elf, bombarding him with question after question, before being gently mocked by a mustachioed monster of a man, which riled the halfling no end and led to some form of argument.
Side stepping these, Wanda again forged ahead, eager to close the final few feet between herself and the elf. The elf looked at her as his gaze swept the square, and he started speaking again.
Fate had one final throw of the dice. The town crier, his work here now done, was trying to escape the ever tightening crowd. He, too, dodged the indignant halfling, but in so doing, collided with Wanda.
"For all the bloody gods of heaven!" she exclaimed. Stunned, he turned to face her. "What have you told these people that they're all stood here arguing with each other?" she demanded.
"Oldenhaller," stammered the surprised crier. "He's looking for some people to do a job. That feller," he pointed to the elf, "offered to take it, I think. Not from around here, so he don't know where to go, or something."
Inspiration struck Wanda. Perhaps this group of travellers were an adventuring party? She had heard of such things, where either brave or foolish men banded together to raid ancient tombs and what not, in order to avoid an honest day's work. If this was the case then, invariably, the elf must be their leader.
So the elf wanted to see Oldenhaller? Of course, she could help. She was a local, from a well respected family. What had these yokels to offer him?
Wanda gripped the crier's arm and spoke loud enough for those surrounding them to hear.
"Good sir - I've caught you just in time. There is no further need to advertise the Oldenhaller contract - the Weltschmerz family have already supplied the requisite personnel and the matter is well in hand. You may dismiss your crowd."
Without another glance, Wanda pushed past the flustered town crier, finally presenting herself to the elf.
"Sir Elf! I couldn't help but overhear your offer, earlier. I fully understand that this is not your native language, so I thought it both appropriate and kind for me to assist. I suspect the word you were after was not 'retrospective', but rather 'irrespective'. I'm certain an elf such as yourself will have no trouble whatsoever mastering the language, especially with little bits of guidance, which I am more than happy to provide.
"As for Counsellor Oldenhaller, the Weltschmertz family is, as I mentioned, known to him, so we should have no trouble whatsoever in gaining an audience."
Wanda linked arms with the elf and patted his hand. "Why don't you gather up your... men," she gestured vaguely toward the Halfling and the Moustache, who were now shaking hands, "and we can all go immediately to Oldenhaller Mansion..."