After a moment of shock, the other councilors all burst out into arguments at once, their voices blending into a cacophony of senseless noise. After another moment, it died down, as discipline overcame their first instincts to object.
Once they had restored order among themselves, the louder of the two humans said, “Perhaps it would be best to discuss this in more… comfortable environs. It is clear we must at least allow these… people into our village.”
The other councilors nodded in agreement, and soon the elves who had watched them on their way here materialized out of the forest around the three friends to guide them in less hostile fashion. For all this, though, there was much mistrust in their gazes as the odd group made its way through the jungle.
Almonihah watched those around him with equal mistrust. He knew they’d been ready to shoot him just a few minutes ago, and he didn’t doubt they’d be just as willing to do it now if their leaders decided they should. He just wondered why they were all elves when half of the councilors hadn’t been—maybe only the elves came out to hunt?
The Ranger also noted the way these elves moved. Zrathanzon was half-elf, and so the half-bronze dragon had learned something of elves from his mentor. But these elves were not like any Almonihah had seen or heard of before. The elves he knew of were lords and ladies, or merchants and craftsmen, or farmers and laborers. These… they moved like the jungle was the only home they’d ever known. Were they natives of this island? And if so, why did they differ so much from their kin on the mainland?
Garkhen caught none of this, but he did watch how the councilors spoke among themselves. It seemed that the female elf held some seniority or authority above the others, but that did not mean they agreed with her. The non-elves seemed to be arguing the hardest—including the dwarf, in contrast to his comparative quiet earlier. But he didn’t know who was arguing for which point.
Zakhin’Dakh didn’t really understand what was going on. He thought these other people were threatening his friends, but they weren’t fighting, so he guessed everything was okay.
It took a couple more hours before they reached their destination. It was heralded first by a thick layer of underbrush, which their guides led them through in an odd pattern that Almonihah realized was probably done to hide tracks.
At last they broke out of the underbrush and came face-to-face with a rough stockade. The front of their group was already entering a nearby gate, and their guides soon led the three friends in behind them. Behind the stockade was a village of surprising size, its homes oddly elegant compared to the rough nature of the stockade protecting them. They still had a certain roughness to them, but the wood was carefully worked and closely fit.
Almonihah and Garkhen were led over to a small building with a large, fenced yard.
“You will stay here while the council deliberates,” one of their guards told them. “You may stay in the yard,” he added, looking at Zakhin’Dakh.
The griffon, pleased at being addressed individually, perked up and nodded his head with a cheery chirp, then jumped over the fence and settled down in the yard. Almonihah followed, while Garkhen went inside the building.
He came out to join his two friends after a few moments. “It is empty,” the Warder stated. “I do not think they intend for us to stay long.”
Almonihah shrugged. “Don’t really want t’ stay.”
Garkhen nodded. “Indeed. I only hope that they will aid us, for we are in sore need of help.”
The Ranger snorted. “Could say that.”
Sorry for missing the post last week! I’m still getting my schedule for this semester figured out. I’m rather looking forward to being done…