Trials of the Half-Elven (Story)

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Trials of the Half-Elven (Story)

Post by Z »

A re-write I was working on. I don't know if I'll go back to it like Hunt for Kiran, but I might get inspired. This is a retelling of Olula's story in Trials of the Half-Elven, the only plot we finished, lol.
Also: Adriel, Aiden Silvermoon II, Ailil, Anisa Amri, Barbarian Barbie, Bella, Centauress Cissiria, Ciprian Tremas, High Elf Seri, Granite Stoneheart, Katela el'Baran, Kiran, Kitsa Stormeyes, Lady Kavryn, Meridian, Mia, Midwife Lien, Mudan Jasil, Myrela, Naclia, Natasi, Olula, Permanent Tears, Pirate Kreoss, Priestess Elohssa, Priestess Jenesis, Priestess Lianora, Priestess N'shara, Priestess Sairina, Priestess Sura, Priestess Thalia, Princess Elianna, Sevrina, Silvia, Vampiress Ileta, Vanaia, Werewolf Xanin, Y'ezela, Zaole, and Zira.

Yes, I am crazy.

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Location: Vedun, Kanon

Re: Trials of the Half-Elven (Story)

Post by Olula »

Chapter 1: Spring Showers

Vedun was a small village near the north eastern coast of Kanon, a couple miles off the main road that traveled north to Flambage, and then into Alania. It was a farming village, and occasionally a traveler's rest stop. The little town was surrounded by a patchwork of varied crops, and a small wooded area in the east. As the village was a little out of the way of most travelers, there was only one inn; the Silver Sword Inn. It was a moderate sized building, two stories high, room enough for fifteen guests on the top level, though it was more often used as the tavern for locals. The rest of the village was mostly residences, with a few other official buildings for business and politics. All in all, Vedun was a normal Lodoss village.

Five years ago, however, Vedun was an occupied village. In the year 510, the Marmo Empire expanded into Lodoss. Much of Kanon was destroyed, but Vedun was spared. Some would have called it cowardice, others would call it prudence; but when the armies came to Vedun, the mayor bowed to their will and submitted the village to Marmo rule. It was five years ago that the Free Army drove the Marmo back, and Vedun was restored. There was only one visible remnant of the occupation, and that was Olula Remel.

Half-dark elf, conceived of rape by a dark elf upon her human mother, Olula's dark skin and long, pointed ears were the only Marmo presence left in the village. However, this was of no concern to any of the locals. Olula had been a sweet child, and now she had grown up into a beautiful young woman. For all her physical differences, her personality won out, and she integrated nicely into society, which was far more than many of her fellow half-elves, and especially half-dark elves, could ever have. Unfortunately for Olula, this would not last forever.

Several years ago, she had learned that she could live for as long as five hundred years, and over time, she came to realize she could never have a normal life. Were she to chose any of the young men who had expressed an interest in her, she would stay young and beautiful while she watched them whither away and eventually die. If she had children, she could very well outlive them as well. This concern shaped her life, and Olula had vowed to remain chaste until she could find a man who wouldn't suffer that fate along with her.

Now, at the age of twenty, Olula spent her days working in the local inn, the same place her mother had worked for many years. Her goal, when she started working here three years ago, was to save up enough money to fund traveling. She intended to leave Vedun behind and make a life for herself out in the world, away from the sorrow brought by the thought of staying in the village. Recently though, her mother had taken ill and had to stop working at the Silver Sword. Olula and the other inn staff had been putting a little money aside each week to afford travel and healing. The local doctor could do nothing, but he gave Natia at least a year before the illness overtook her.

The half-dark elf girl leaned on the bar in front of her, her elbow propped up on the counter, supporting her chin on the back of her hand. Her weight was on her left foot, while the right wrapped around behind her ankle, and her left hip jutted to the side. Tables were cleaned, chairs pushed in, and an inviting fire crackled in the hearth. In the kitchen behind her, the smell of roasting meat and potatoes wafted in. Barak, the cook, was preparing lunch. Upstairs, her fellow barmaid, Lirra, was making sure the rooms were in order. The common room was empty, but it probably wouldn't be for long. The morning had rolled in overcast, and not too long ago rain began pelting the roof. It was a heavy spring deluge, coming off the tail end of winter, so even though the roof was a floor above her, the sound of raindrops could be heard down where she stood. The long, tapered ears of her half-elven heritage probably attributed to it as well.

* * *

Soggy, wet, and damp, Thangroth sloshed through the mud. The young dwarf had set out from his roadside camp a few hours ago. Had he any sense, he would have found himself a dry place to sit and wait out the storm, but Thangroth was used to the mines. He didn't think much of the weather when he woke to thick, dark clouds but he was kicking himself now. His thick, dark blue cloak had been soaked through in the downpour, and all he wanted for was a nice warm hearth and something equally warm in his belly.

It seemed he was in luck; there was a side road into the pasture lands with a sign that proclaimed that the village of Vedun was just a mile up the road. Thangroth hefted his beloved warhammer on his shoulder and trudged on, gaining a little momentum with the promise of a village ahead.

As he entered the heart of the village, the red-headed dwarf was greeted by the sight of an two-story inn in the center of town, the largest building in the small farming community. Above the door hung a well-maintained signed with a painting of a sword bearing Kanon heraldry, and marked as the 'Silver Sword Inn'. Thangroth cared little for what the place was called, and he eagerly stepped through the doors.

He did his best to scrape the mud off his boots and shake off the excess water as he stepped inside, but inevitably, the dwarf tracked in enough mud and dripped enough water to keep the maids busy for the day. However, if the storm drove anyone else through these doors, he wouldn't be the only one to blame for the mess. The smells of beer and wine and baking bread made his stomach growl; it would be good to have something better than trail biscuits and water for a change.

Stepping up toward the bar, Thangroth noticed a pretty girl behind the bar, but what he first noted was her dark complexion and her long, tapered ears. However, he had seen a couple elves in his day, and he noticed that the girl's ears were a bit shorter than usual, marking her as a half-elf. Without voicing his curiosity about her heritage, he spoke, "I'd like a meal, wine, and a room, if ye please."

The barmaid's blue-grey eyes examined the hefty hammer he carried, but he didn't appear threatening apparently, as she only nodded in response to him and said, "Alright. I'll see to it," before turning back to the kitchen to handle his order.

Once the girl moved away, Thangroth made his way to the table nearest the crackling hearth. He leaned his hammer against the wall, then removed his thoroughly drenched coat and hung it on the back of a chair facing the hearth. Thangroth then finally hauled himself up into a chair and gave a heavy sigh of relief as he began to warm his hands in front of the fire.

* * *

As expected, Thangroth was not the only person the rain had driven to Vedun. Krisatris, a half-elven ranger, had been traveling along the road to Flambage when the rain began this morning. While she often loved Spring showers, she had to admit defeat today. She was soaked to the bone and had begun to shiver from the chills. When she saw the sign to Vedun, she eagerly followed the road until it led to the Silver Sword Inn. With a need for food and warmth, Krisatris paused at the door just long enough to kick the mud off the soles of her thigh-high green leather boots and shake her head of short brown hair.

As she entered the inn, Krisatris gave a heavy sigh and leaned back against the door for a moment to catch her breath. She could already feel the warmth of the fire filling the room. "Damn, I'm exhausted," she murmured to herself, and as the smells of the kitchen came wafting toward her, her stomach complained as well. The half-elf placed her hand on her stomach, covered by the leather jerkin she wore. "Alright, alright. I hear you, she grumbled in reply to her stomach.

She noticed that the common room was quite empty, save for a dwarf sitting in front of the fire. If there was any staff, they were elsewhere in the building. I'll wait a bit for them, she thought to herself. Krisatris was in a good mood, after all, despite the fact that she was utterly drenched from the downpour.

Eager to warm up, she made her way across the room toward the fire where the dwarf sat. She was not the most sociable individual, but he had the best seat in the house on a day like today, so Krisatris moved to a chair on the other side of the table. "Mind if I have a seat?" she asked the dwarf.

"Oh, not at all lass! I wouldn't think of keepin' this fire all to myself," he replied with a friendly grin beneath his bushy red beard. He looked quite young to Krisatris, but she knew little of how well dwarves aged compared to humans.

Krisatris smiled to him gratefully and pulled out the chair to sit down. "Thanks," she said. Well, I might as well give sociability a chance... she thought to herself, then reached her hand across the table to him. "My name is Krisatris."

The dwarf returned her greeting in kind, shaking her hand firmly and warmly. "Don't mention it. The name is Thangroth Broadarm, miss Kris..." he struggled over her name.

"Krisatris," the half-elf replied. "You can just call me Kris if you'd like." She said with a smile. Her name was rather long after all, and though she rather liked it, most people just called her Kris for short.

"Ah, Krisatris. Quite an interesting name there, but I believe I will just stick with Kris then," the dwarf replied with a chuckle.

* * *

Barak, the cook, had served up a plate for Thangroth and Olula stepped out of the kitchen to catch a glance of another patron sitting at the dwarf's table while she went to the bar to get him his wine. When no specific wine requests were made, Olula always picked out one of the local vintages. With the plate gracefully balanced on the palm of her upturned hand, and the bottle of wine and a goblet in the other, Olula brought the meal to the table and set it beside Thangroth. As she did, she noticed the new customer's ears, which were just like hers. However, she didn't allow her excitement at meeting another half-elf distract her.

"Here you are, sir," she spoke to Thangroth. "We have roast mutton, potatoes, and carrots this afternoon. If there is anything else, just call me! My name is Olula," she explained with a warm, friendly smile. Popping the cork on the wine bottle, she began to pour it into the goblet and her eyes drifted to Krisatris, though she was still mindful of the drink and stopped pouring before it spilled.

After serving Thangroth, she set the wine on the table. "Can I get you anything?" she asked the half-elf.

"Yes, please!" the girl replied eagerly. "I'll have what he's having." Krisatris was quite new to inn dining, and so she took no risks in asking for anything else.

"Ye can even share me wine, lass," Thangroth added before tucking into his meal voraciously. Krisatris looked rather shocked at the display as he shoveled food into his mouth.

"Alright, I'll be right back," Olula said with a smile, then turned on her heel to hurry back to the kitchen.

Thangroth seemed to catch Krisatris's wide green-eyed stare as he wolfed down his meal, and he realized he had forgotten his manners. Wiping his mouth, he set down his fork for a moment and began to chuckle. "Ha! What a motley pair we are; I, a dwarf, sharing a meal and wine with a slip of an elf girl. If me father and brothers saw me, they'd think I'd lost hold of my senses!" the dwarf guffawed. "Ah well, one makes his own path, I suppose. So Kris, what say you? Have we lost hold of our senses, or are we merely two weary travelers sharing a meal and enjoying the warmth of this fine inn. Ye must admit it's better than bein' out in the cold rain, no?"

Krisatris laughed lightly with color in her cheeks shyly at Thangroth's speech. "I suppose it's all just chance," she replied. "But I'm only half-elf, if that counts for anything, and I don't even know my real parents. I can't say I've ever really gotten to know a dwarf either."

"Better late than never, I suppose!" Thangroth announced gleefully. The dwarf began to eat again, but at a much slower, more polite pace.

* * *

Olula returned to the kitchen after taking Krisatris's request, nearly floating into the room. She was excited to meet another half-elf. "I need another plate," she requested to the cook, then murmured, "This is so weird..."

"What is?" Barak asked, glancing back at her as he began to prepare another slice of mutton.

"First a dwarf, and now another half-elf!" Olula replied excitedly.

"Darky or lighty?" Barak asked as he laid a slice of meat on a fresh plate.

"Light, it looks like. She's probably half-common elf," Olula mused as she waited.

"Probably from the Kanon forests, originally, or at least one of her folks were," Barak supposed as he added the vegetables to Krisatris's plate. The cook passed the metal plate over to Olula and licked some of the meat juices off his thumb. "I'm sure it's odd, but it ain't our place to go askin' questions."

Olula balanced the plate on her hand and went to fetch another goblet for Krisatris's wine. "I'll tell ye though, that elf blood sure makes ye graceful," Barak added with a friendly wink. Olula blushed in response to the compliment and continued back to the common room to deliver the meal.

* * *

As the rainstorm carried on, a merchant's wagon rolled by the side-road leading up to Vedun from the main Flambage road. A young man in armor hopped out of the back of the wagon, shouted a quick thanks to the driver, then put his helmet on as a meager defense from the rain. The full helm kept most of his head dry, but water still trickled down his face through the plates. He then began his trek toward the village of Vedun. Some time ago, when the rain started, Derrick Ironfist had been on foot, but luckily, the trader's wagon had come up behind him, and the merchant was kind enough to offer him a dry ride to the next town. The merchant was bound straight for Shinning Hill, but Derrick was eager to see more of the countryside of Kanon before making his way to the big city.

Five days ago, the young adventurer had made a name for himself when he helped a small hamlet to the north, Aldry, fend off a horde of goblins and their pet ogre. They were remnants of the Marmo army, left behind five years ago, and out of desperation, had begun attacking Aldry for resources. As an aspiring hero, and well-armed at that, Derrick had charged into battle and slew the ogre. His heroics were the talk of the town, and the tales had begun to filter to nearby villages. It did wonders for the young man's ego.

After making his way up the muddy road to Vedun, Derrick came upon the inn, much to his joy. The young adventurer pushed through the doors and stepped inside, making quite an imposing figure. The full armor he wore was intimidating, as were the weapons he carried. Strapped across his back was the scabbard for his longsword, and from his belt hung both a dagger and an elven morningstar—likely of dark elven make as it had been recovered from the horded gold and weapons in the goblin cave outside of Aldry. However, as he entered, he politely removed his helm to reveal a youthful face that was in no way intimidating. His hair was dark brown and curled, with a noticeable cowlick at the brow, his eyes brown, and there was a small scrape just above his left eyebrow—a souvenir from his battle days before.

From the time between Krisatris's arrival and Derrick's arrival, a few locals had come to the inn for an early lunch. Three farmhands sat at the bar, enjoying warm drinks and a break from work. When Derrick entered, they scrutinized him and then muttered amongst themselves.

Derrick had been surprised to see a dwarf and elf at the inn, let alone sitting together, and judging by their garb, he assumed that they were travelers as well. As his eyes scanned the common room, he spotted a woman with dark skin and pointed ears and his hand immediately moved for his dagger... until he noticed the comely maid's uniform she wore. Perhaps she was nothing to worry about...

The young adventurer moved over to the table by the hearth and set his bag and kite shield beside the table and sat down with the mismatched pair. Laying his helm on the table and removing his guantlets, he revealed a ring on his right hand of hammered white gold and set with an emerald cut in a delicate fashion resembling elven styles. Despite the light from the fire falling on the ring, it did not sparkle.

"He looks like the fellow that helped save Aldry a couple days ago..." one of the farmhands from the bar spoke, though his voice was rather audible.

"The lad that tackled an ogre all by himself?" one of his companions asked.

Overhearing the conversation, Derrick immediately had to bathe in his newfound fame and cast a glance over his shoulder to the three farmhands. "Yes, I am the Hero of Aldry," he spoke, with no small measure of pride. "I defeated the Hobgoblin leader and several of his cronies, as well as the ogre that was with them." Wow, news travels fast! Derrick thought gleefully. I'm already on my way to becoming a legendary adventurer, just like Parn, or Kashue. The young man turned his attention to the two guests he shared a table with, who now regarded him with rather curious expressions. Perhaps these two would like to join me. It couldn't hurt to ask...

Putting on a friendly smile, Derrick introduced himself; "Hello, I am Derrick Ironfist, and as you have already heard, I'm an adventurer who helped in Aldry's defense against goblin raiders and an ogre. May I ask who you are?" Without bothering to wait for an immediate answer, he realized that he could catch the dwarf's attention better if he let him know how well acquainted he was with his kind. "Greetings, sir dwarf. I hope you are doing well," he spoke in dwarven.

"Well, well, a hero, eh?" Thangroth replied, seemingly rather unimpressed by the boy's lack of manners. "You know, boy, the first part of being a hero is being humble and being humble means manners. You sat, and nary a once did you ask if you could join us. Nor did you incline as to if you were intruding on our conversation." The dwarf's expression brightened though as he cracked a friendly grin. "Still rough around the edges, you are, but welcome! I am Thangroth Broadarm, at your service, and I'll be glad to further instruct you in the proper way of manners."

Krisatris, however, seemed disinclined to humor Derrick with a response and only eyed the young man suspiciously as she ate her meal. The half-elf's ears flicked a few times, annoyed at Derrick's pompous attitude, but she continued eating, doing her best to ignore the boy. It was then that Olula came back about after tending to the men at the bar.

Putting one hand on the back of Derrick's chair and the other on her hip, Olula gave her most accommodating smile and greeted the new patron. "Well, Derrick Ironfist, the renowned hero of Aldry! Welcome to our humble little inn, we're honored to have a local hero with us. Would you like a meal and a drink? It's on the house for you," the barmaid explained.

"I would, thank you, miss," Derrick replied with a smile as he looked up at the half-dark elf. It seemed that despite her dark skin, there was nothing to worry about. "I'll have whatever's on the house and a cup of tea."

"Sure thing," Olula replied, then turned back to the kitchen.

As he polished off his meal, Thangroth eyed Derrick curiously, his steel gray gaze drifting toward Krisatris as well. "Well then, aside from the foul weather, what brings all ye weary travelers here?" the dwarf asked.

Derrick took the initiative and began to tell his tale; "I was born in a small farming town called Ivory Rose, in the north of Alania, near Novice, where I lived with my parents and my little sister, Jasmine. When I was three years old, the Marmo invaded Kanon, but Ivory Rose was too far north to be affected, even as the Marmo army advanced northward. Despite my happy childhood, I began to believe that the life of a farmer was not for me. I would always love to listen to the town's storyteller tell tales of adventurers. I decided to become an adventurer. I often dreamed of the day people would tell stories of my adventures. When I turned fifteen, the Marmo invaded Alania and my town's militia, which had been preparing for war long before Marmo stormed into Alania. The militia gave those sons of demon spawn a good arse-kicking. The Marmo were never able to even get near the town because of the militia. The blasted Marmo finally had to retreat, because Parn, Spark, and their friends were causing problems for Marmo. Although my dad wouldn't allow me to join the town militia, the captain of the militia saw that I had the potential to become a warrior, and so, he taught me how to fight and use a sword and shield.

"My parents were worried about my safety, but they finally decided to let me follow my dreams. Dad gave me an enchanted longsword that had been in own family for many years. As a going-away present, the militia captain gave me a suit of burnished banded mail armor. One of my friends who I've known for a long time, a dwarf, who happened to be the son of the town blacksmith, made for me a small dwarven steel dagger. This dwarf was the same person who taught me how to speak, read, and write Dwarven, as well as how to take care of my armor and weapons." Derrick chuckled as he looked to Thangroth. "I have to say that you dwarves really known how to take care of your equipment. The militia owns a great deal of thanks to you dwarves. My town wouldn't be here today, if it hadn't been for you dwarves.

"Jasmine, on the other hand, didn't like the idea of her brother leaving home. I promised her that I would return home one day. She asked me when I was coming back, and I told her that I didn't know when, but I assured her that I would return. When I turned seventeen I told everyone in town goodbye, as I set off to become the adventurer I dreamed of becoming. I hoped to find wealth and glory, all the while helping people and fighting monsters. I hoped to find my destiny as an adventurer..."

* * *

Olula had returned to the kitchen before Derrick's 'epic', and as Barak served up another plate, she watched from the kitchen door as his tale drew on. She didn't care to hear his entire tale. Despite her hospitality, she found the boy rather rude. The half-elf turned back into the kitchen to speak to Barak.

"It looks like that fellow who helped Aldry has made his way here," she told the cook.

"Oh? What's 'e like?" Barak asked as he finished ladling out gravy over the meat.

Olula tipped her chin up, sticking her perked nose in the air. "I think it's gone to his head already," she commented, unimpressed. "He just walked in and sat at that table with the dwarf and half-elf without asking," Olula explained and shook her head. Derrick was droning on about his early life in the background. Olula's right ear twitched frustratedly that she could still hear him. "Now he's reciting his life's story to them... in great detail." Glancing back out to the common room again she added; "He's younger than I expected too. He can't be a day over nineteen."

"Well from what I hear, he's skilled for a man twice his age. Killed a whole tribe of goblins an' their pet ogre," Barak replied, giving an extra helping of meat on Derrick's plate.

"You know how skewed rumors can get," Olula shot back. It was becoming apparent that she didn't think much of the young man with the inflated ego. "Besides, it doesn't give him the right to barge in on other people."

"Well, regardless of what he did exactly, he did help save that village," Barak replied, passing Derrick's plate to Olula. The half-elf gave a "hmph" in response and set the plate aside while she prepared Derrick's tea.

* * *

Without giving pause for Thangroth or Krisatris to speak up, Derrick continued on to his heroic deeds in Aldry. "I had traveled around a great deal, and was about to give up of becoming an adventurer, when I came upon a small fishing hamlet called Aldry near the Alania-Kanon border. Just as I neared the village, I saw smoke coming from it. I rushed to the village to see if I could help in anyway possible. That's when I saw it. A large band of goblins and an ogre lead by a really ugly-looking hobgoblin was attacking the village.

"The battle looked like it was almost over, but I didn't really care. I just drew my sword and charged headlong into the fray. After killing some of the goblins, I began to fight the hobgoblin leader. He nearly broke my arm with that damned spiked chain of his. After lopping his head off, some of the surviving goblins turned tail and ran—right into the village guards' pikes. The only thing left now was the ogre, and it looked like she was the real leader behind the raid because she was calling out orders to the goblins to stand and fight, or she would eat them for supper, or something like that. I don't speak goblin, or whatever language ogres use, so I really don't know for sure. I was able to get behind her, climbed a nearby tree, and jumped right onto her back. She began jumping up and down, swinging her arms around, like she was trying to dance, all the while trying to grab me with her huge hands. I was finally able to drive my sword through her skull, instantly killing her. I almost got crushed as her lifeless body tumbled to the ground. Luckily, I jumped off her back at the last minute. However, I knocked my helmet off and cut my face on a rock." Derrick pointed to the scrape above his left eyebrow.

"The mayor thanked me for coming to the hamlet's aid. They named me the Hero of Aldry and gave me two gems as a reward. After leaving the small village, I came upon some ancient tomb that the goblins had been using as a hide-out. Unfortunately, the place looked like it had already been cleaned out long before I came along. My curiosity got the best of me, and after taking a closer look, I discovered a cache of weapons. Most of them were pretty poorly made, but this elven steel morningstar shone like a beacon, and so I took it. I then hitched a ride on a merchant's wagon on my way to Kanon. And here I am now."

Sitting back into his chair, Derrick said, "By the way, do you mind telling me what you two are doing, if you don't mind my asking?" Turning to the dwarf, he asked him directly first. "So, Thangroth, what brought you to Vedun?"

Krisatris stared blankly at Derrick after he finally finished his story, and gave one heavy blink. That was the longest and possibly the least interesting story she had ever heard. She had finished her meal in the beginning of the story, but she was dumbfounded as it dragged on.

Thangroth had tried to hold back yawns as he listened to Derrick's tale, and succeeded for the most part, forcing himself to breath through his nose entirely to avoid being rude to the young man, no matter how irksome the boy was becoming. The dwarf lifted his goblet of wine and tipped it toward Derrick. "Hmph," Thangroth grunted when Derrick finally finished. "A meal, dry bed, and short tales. Lad, I like ye, but for a hero, ye be long winded." The dwarf took a drink of his wine, polishing off the last of his wine before reaching for the bottle to pour himself another. "I seek my way in the land, it's as simple as that," he offered with a wink in response to Derrick's question.

For all his manners and friendly demeanor, Thangroth was still a dwarf and sometimes he could be as gruff and as endearing as the best of them. He was slow to warm up to any new scruff who had seen just to join them with no pretext, but Thangroth had to admit that the boy had potential. He did just save some people from some very nasty customers, after all, and that counted for quite a bit.

"I'm just a wanderer," Krisatris spoke up with a shrug. She had to admit that her own story was more wrought with emotion and pain that Derrick's, but she was not one to ask for pity or sympathy. "I have been traveling Kanon for a long time in search of the men who murdered my human family." She didn't want to explain further. "That's why I'm here. Just a rest stop, really," Krisatris added, managing as cheerful a smile as she could manage to avoid saying more about the grim fate of her family.

Derrick's brown eyes fell to the table top as sympathy filled his features. He knew what it was like to lose family, but not in such a violent way. The young adventurer looked up at the half-elf. "I understand. If you like, I will help you find the ones responsible for taking your family away from you," he offered.

Krisatris shifted in her seat, squirming in discomfort. She didn't want to bring so much attention to herself. Maybe I shouldn't have said anything, she thought to herself. If she wanted help, she wasn't sure if it was Derrick that she wanted to help her.

Thangroth could only shake his head slightly as the young warrior spoke. He was a talkative fellow for sure. The dwarf finished off his wine, he listened to the last of the conversation, his mind wandering back to a time when his father told him there'd be days like this with nothing better to do but drink and make merry to pass the time. He looked forlornly at the wine bottle; there was still some left, but he had a craving for something stouter.

Olula returned from the kitchen with a façade of hospitality again as she carried Derrick's heaping plate and a cup of tea. "Here you are, sir," she said as she set the plate and cup before him. "If you need anything else, just call me. My name is Olula," she told him, then began to move around the table gathering Thangroth and Krisatris's clean plates.

Thangroth was relieved to see the barmaid return as she brought Derrick's plate and cleared the table. The dwarf set the wine goblet on his plate as she took it. "Ah, a vision of loveliness has returned!" he crooned, flattering the barmaid. Reaching into his belt pouch, he fished out a few silvers and laid them on the table for her as a tip. "I'd like a flagon of mead, if ye please, and a few spice cakes for dessert, if ye have them. Mayhap they'll keep the lad here too busy munching to spout another long tale," Thangroth added with a chuckle, eying Derrick. The dwarf gave him a solid pat on the shoulder; if the fellow as going to be friendly with them, then he'd be friendly as well. After all, there had to be some truth to his tale.

Olula smiled to the kind dwarf pleasantly and as she balanced both plates in her hand, she scooped the coins into the pocket of her apron. "Thank you, I'll see what we have in stock," she replied.

Taking a cue from the dwarf, Krisatris found a few coins for Olula as well. "It was good," she said cheerfully, if a little shyly, to the barmaid.

"I'm glad," Olula replied to Krisatris, gathering up her tip as well.

"Thank you for the meal, Olula," Derrick said. As the others tipped the barmaid, he decided he'd give her something to make up for his rude behaviour, and he took out one of the jewels he had been given by the mayor of Aldry. "This is a tip for being so nice, and for the food," he said, pressing a small, cut garnet into her hand.

Olula opened her hand to see the gem and grinned broadly. She could get several gold pieces for it, and she couldn't help but let it change her opinion of Derrick. He could tell as many tales as he wanted, boring or exaggerated, so long as he tipped her like this. "Thank you so much, that's very generous of you," she said to Derrick. She was tempted to kiss his cheek, but decided against it and hurried back to the kitchen.

Pleased by the barmaid's reaction, Derrick smiled and watched her leave, then turned his attention back to his tablemates. "Thanks for welcoming me, Thangroth," he spoke to the dwarf. "I know I will enjoy being friends with you and this fine lady..." Derrick looked to the half-elf, trying to give her the most charming smile he could muster. "I don't believe I caught your name..."

"Krisatris," she answered curtly. "Or you can call me Kris for short." The half-elf avoided his gaze, wiping her hands on her thigh-high boot-tops.

"Kris, then," Derrick said. "A pleasure to meet you." As she didn't seem interested in talking more, Derrick began to eat, though he didn't believe he could finish such a generous helping in one sitting.

Krisatris's gaze drifted back toward the kitchen where she heard the sound of dishes clattering. "She's a very nice person," the half-elf commented on their barmaid. She too was rather curious about the other half-elf, but she was not so skilled at sociability. However, she intended to stay the night, so perhaps they would have another chance to speak and get to know one another. Kris had never met another half-elf before. How alike were their lives?
Author's Note: The characters were originally role-played by myself and others, and most of the dialogue is from the original RPs. However, I did have to remove one character, a half-elf named Reem, as her player left early in the campaign and was written out too early to leave much of an impact on the story.
Olula Remel (Trials of the Half-Elven) - Profile - Gallery

Her face is a map of the world
Is a map of the world
You can see she's a beautiful girl
She's a beautiful girl
And everything around her is a silver pool of light
The people who surround her feel the benefit of it
It makes you calm
She holds you captivated in her palm

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Location: Vedun, Kanon

Re: Trials of the Half-Elven (Story)

Post by Olula »

Chapter 2: Lord Darvis

Olula returned to Thangroth, Krisatris, and Derrick's table after a quick raid of the inn's cupboards for a dessert she could serve to the guests. The half-dark elf barmaid had found the remainder of a spice cake baked the night before, and after dressing it up a bit with a sugary glaze, Olula brought it out, along with a mug of mead for the dwarf.

"This is all we had available, I hope you don't mind," she said to Thangroth as she set the dwarf's mug in front him, then the cake in the center of the table. She set about slicing the cake and serving up slices on clean plates for each of the three patrons.

"Ah, that'll be fine, lass," Thangroth replied to Olula. Nearly burping, the dwarf covered his mouth politely with the side of his fist, then looked to his companions as their dessert was dished up. A dwarf's appetite could well outlast most folks', but then, he wasn't a piggish eater either, unlike his brothers who ate everything in sight. The thought of his two older siblings made the red-haired dwarf smile widely as he looked at his gathered companions. "Well, my comrades, have any of ye family? Or more to the point, siblings? Humor a slightly weary dwarf and tell me of yer homes and hearths, if we're to be a company of friends. I would like to know a bit about each of ye."

Krisatris's eyes fell to the slice of cake Olula set in front of her. Any joy that had been in her expression previously drained out, but it seemed that she was ready to open up a bit to her new companions. "I guess... I guess I should start," she spoke. Olula moved over to Derrick and laid out a slice of cake for him, her attention on her fellow half-elf.

"My father and mother didn't get along," she began. "My father was a human, and when I was young, he was always running off back to the local village to spend time with his people, and my mother was always trying to control our every actions. One day, she found out that he had been seeing another woman, a human, and that was the end of their relationship. I guess my father only stuck around for me, but when my mother ended it, he probably thought I would be alright with her." The half-elf frowned. "He was wrong though. She hated me after that because I was only half-elf, and when I was nine, she abandoned me in the forest.

"But luckily, I was found some time later by a human hunter. He took me back to his family, and they adopted me." Krisatris's expression began to brighten a bit, and a nostalgic smile touched her lips. Olula had slowly tended to the dessert as Krisatris told her tale, and now she had only just moved on to serving Thangroth. Krisatris continued; "He raised me and taught me how to be a ranger like him." The half-elf stopped herself there, however. She couldn't bring herself to talk about the fate of her family. "He was married and had several children already, and they became my brothers and sisters," she added, trying to maintain a smile.

"Thank ye, lass," Thangroth whispered to Olula respectfully, trying not to interrupt Krisatris's story. As he looked back at the half-elven girl with her bittersweet smile, his expression softened to a sympathetic look upon the girl. "My apologies, Kris. It would seem I was out of bounds for asking such things," he spoke, then trying to change the mood, he glanced toward Olula as she began to step back from the table. "What say we have our beautiful barmaid regale us with some juicy tales of this place, and some more mead, eh? Milady Olula, would you mind bringing my companions a drink and engaging us with a bit of friendly conversation for a moment or two, if yer not busy?"

Olula's dark cheeks glowed with a blush as the dwarf requested her company. "Sure," she replied with a nod. Quickly, she returned to the bar to pour pints of mead for Derrick and Krisatris.

As Olula left, Krisatris stayed quiet. She seemed rather embarrassed now that she realized she had ruined the conversation, but perhaps it was good that they now knew something more about her. The weight of secrecy seemed to be lifted off her shoulders, however, and Thangroth seemed to be mindful of her emotional state.

While they waited for the barmaid to return, Derrick, who had remained silent throughout the conversation—perhaps biting his tongue as he had practically explained every detail of his life earlier, including the mention of his younger sister—brought out a map from his backpack and opened it on the table as he picked at the slice of spice cake. Thangroth took notice of the map, and glanced over the paper. Clapping Derrick on the back—lighter than the last time—Thangroth spoke; "What have ye there, lad? A map? Mayhaps we'll venture on a quest and find the likes of coin and glory!" The dwarf said cheerfully.

Derrick smiled back at Thangroth, then passed the map toward the dwarf. "Here, take a look," he said. "I was just looking at where we could go from here." Krisatris rose up and leaned over the table to get a good look at the map as well.

As the group studied the map, Olula stepped out from behind the bar with two mugs of mead and began to cross the room to the hearth-side table the trio sat at. She was eager to join their conversation. It was always nice to be engaged in the conversations of the guests—provided that they weren't just trying to talk her into bed. Before she got half-way across the room however, the inn doors swung open violently, and Olula gave a start as she looked out the door. Two men in livery tossed a roll of red carpet through the door, and it unrolled into the foyer of the common room. Behind them, in front of the door, a carriage was parked, and the pretentious carpet led right up to the running board of the carriage giving someone a path over the muck of the street and step. The door of the carriage swung open, and the two men stepped inside the inn, taking a place on either side of the open door as a much more portly and ostentatious fellow stepped out of the carriage and entered the inn.

"To your feet for Lord Garz Darvis!" one of the liveried men cried. Olula's complexion drained of color and the half-elf stood rigidly, clinging to the handles of the mugs. She was utterly terrified. The region of Vedun had recently been passed to a new lord, and though no one had yet heard of who that man was, Olula feared that his opinion of having a half-dark elf in his populace could ruin her quiet life, and destroy her chances for helping her mother.

A man clad in regal garb, perhaps far too ostentatious for his role as a mere local lord, stepped into the inn on the carpet, as if walking on the hardwood floors was too humble for him. He was a plump man, around middle-age with his long dark hair oiled back. His hairline was high, telling of the onset of balding. He strode into the building, his nose high in the air, his hand tucked comfortably under his coat on his chest.

At the table, the group of travelers paid Darvis little mind. Thangroth, Derrick, and Krisatris had both looked at the lord, and seemed to deem him unworthy of their time, then turned their attention back to the map. The other patrons at the bar had gotten out of their seats and stood to face Darvis rigidly. Lirra, who had finished her duties upstairs and came down to tend to the locals, stood behind the bar, and even the cook, Barak, had stepped out of the kitchen to see the commotion. Darvis noticed the group near the hearth first who seemed utterly oblivious to him. One of the heralds noticed as well, and slammed the butt of his spear on the ground. "I said, STAND FOR YOUR LORD!" he bellowed toward the table.

Before they could voice their discontent at appeasing a lord they had nothing to do with, Darvis's eyes fell on the trembling dark-skinned, long-eared barmaid that he seemed to have overlooked at first glance. Suddenly recognizing her, the lord's eyes widened and the color drained from his face. The hand he kept tucked warm in the breast of his coat came trembling out of its place to point an accusatory finger at Olula. "D... Dark elf!" Darvis stammered.

Horrified by the implications of her new lord's snap judgement, Olula's jaw dropped, as did the mugs she was carrying, the clay shattering on the floor and spilling the mead she brought for Derrick and Krisatris.

The heralds now noticed Olula as well, and at Darvis's accusation, the man who had called for the adventurers' attention now called back through the doors; "GUARDS! There's a dark elf in here!"

The men outside audibly mobilized, and soon, six more soldiers marched into the inn, moving around Darvis while Olula stood frozen in place with terror. Her legs were shaking, threatening to give out from beneath her. She had suffer a fair share of injustices, but never six armed men ready to attack her, personally.

Barak ran from the kitchen doorway to place himself in front of Olula. "Wait! Olula's only half-elf! She'll do ye no harm, she's just a girl, a mere barmaid. Please, milord, I've known her since she was just a babe," the cook pleaded. Olula stepped up to Barak's back and clung to the back of his shirt like a child.

Darvis stepped forward, having regained his composure, and he cast a glance of disgust at the girl. "She's done no harm, yet. She may be only half-elf, but the blood of Falaris' Children runs through her veins, does it not? That half-breed must be dealt with for the safety of this village!" he argued.

At this point, there was a soft thud on the floor as Olula collapsed to her knees, on the verge of fainting. Darvis and his men gave a start at Olula's sudden movement, as if she cast some evil spell at them. She had never once been considered a threat to the entire village, at least not openly. Darvis couldn't see passed her skin! She knew who she was, she knew that no matter what her father might have been, she was not evil, she was even a devout follower of Falis, the god of light!

From the group of adventurers, Thangroth stood from his seat and walked across the room to lay a hand on Olula's shoulder. Derrick and Krisatris, meanwhile, both stared banefully at Darvis. "Forgive the rude manners, milord, but I can vouch for the girl," he spoke. "She be only a barmaid, not a scion of darkness, and it would be unworthy and unseemly for one such as yourself to arrest an innocent."

Following Thangroth's lead, Derrick and Krisatris quietly moved behind Olula as well. "Yeah, leave her alone!" Krisatris shouted. The half-elf had her hand on the hilt of the sword at her belt, and as she spoke, she began to draw it; "Racist pig! Always so quick to judge someone because of how they look," she spat. Her rage was growing, fueled by the injustices she had suffered at the hands of her own mother. "If you want to kill her, you'll have to get through me! I'm not going to sit here and let you attack an innocent girl who has done no wrong just because she was born different!" Krisatris raised her blade in front of herself and Olula defensively.

The soldiers all reached for their own blades too, and the tension of the room became nearly tangible. Derrick, realizing that a fight was about to break out, tried to calm Krisatris. He grabbed the half-elf's arm, trying to force her to lower her blade, but she was resolute. "Stop and think. I want to strangle this son of a goblin wench as much as you do, but killing him would solve nothing," he pleaded with, casting a spiteful glance at the unamused lord. "Innocent people would be hurt if we tried to take him down, not to mention that we would be wanted for murder. Deny him victory by refusing to teach him a lesson. Refusing to fight doesn't make you any less of a person, especially in the eyes of your friends."

Krisatris found the reason in Derrick's words and lowered her blade, allowing him to release her arm. She sheathed her sword as he continued to speak, now turning to Darvis. Derrick stepped in front of Barak and stared down Lord Darvis, his arms crossed over his chest. "As for you, I hope that one day you will understand that people are always, and shall ever be equal, no matter what anyone says. We have live together in this world, and unlike you, I don't give a rat's ass what race my friends are members of. Ever hear of a noble's obligation? It mens the obligation of those of high rank, meaning you, to be generous and honorable to those beneath you! Now, get your sorry hide out of here, before I let this nice lady cut you in half!"

Krisatris knelt down beside Olula as Derrick spoke, giving the girl her comfort. As she touched Olula's skin, she found that the half-dark elf had broken out in a cold sweat and she slipped her arms under Olula's to help the half-elf back to her feet. Olula allowed her to help, but the barmaid was still trembling, waiting for some verdict or another, and the more Derrick talked, the more she feared he was doing harm to her cause.

"You bloody fool! Do ye want to get us all thrown in jail, or beheaded?" Barak growled at Derrick while he held his ground between the patrons and the soldiers.

Thangroth slapped his forehead in frustration at the boy's closing taunt, but what was done was done. All attempts to parlay or reason with the nobleman were doubtlessly out the window now, especially with Krisatris having drawn her weapon and insulting Lord Darvis. Not that the fellow didn't deserve it, but there was a way to do things, and a way not to do things.

The dwarf studied the men attending to the lord and shifted his eyes to the windows and other exits in the inn. No matter what happened next, they would most likely need a hasty retreat with the girl in hand. Should she have remained, it was most likely she would be put to death out of spite. Even with Derrick's newfound fame as a "hero", he was still a civilian and at the mercy of the powers of the land. He wasn't even a knight. Each one of them could either be arrested or even put to death for such an affront. In a cold voice, the dwarf spoke as he made ready for a fight, "Boy, that be the wrong tone to take with this one. Methinks he'll not be listening to anything now. When, and if, we survive this, promise me ye'll think before ye speak."

Darvis, his face previously glowing red with anger, now regarded Derrick with a smirk of satisfaction. "Boy, what makes you think you have the right to tell me to leave a town in my jurisdiction?" Motioning to his men, he ordered them; "Guards, take the boy, the dark elf, and the other elf into custody."

"No!" cried Barak as the guards stepped forward. The large cook flung himself on the floor, prostrating himself before his lord. "Please, my lord, I beg of you, don't take Olula!" he begged futily.

Standing with support from Krisatris, Olula stammered, " milord, please. I will leave Vedun if you spare my life," she pleaded, her voice quivering and her blue-gray eyes rimmed with tears. She glanced toward Derrick and the others and gently pleaded further, "Please, don't shed blood for me, don't make things worse for yourselves. I'll leave Vedun—I'll leave Kanon, I swear!"

The dwarf interposed himself between the guards and Olula. "No need, milord, I've another proposal," he spoke. "One which mirrors the girl's request. There would be no danger if ye did banish all of us neigh to return under pain of death. If ye wish, yer men could escort us all to the boundaries of your realm, a stay in your stockades would take valuable time and resources that no doubt a man such as yerself has better uses for. If not, there will be bloodshed. As ye are a man of the crown, milord, that is the last thing I would want. What say ye to my offer?"

"I agree with the dwarf, sure," Krisatris added, nodding eagerly. "I would like to be banished too, along with the barmaid."

Darvis had been honestly considering Thangroth's suggestion. Apparently the half-elf was loved by the villagers, and perhaps the dwarf was right. Banishment would be far more agreeable for both. If he executed the half-elf, he could have a full-fledged revolt on his hands from this village, and that was not something he would enjoy dealing with. Despite all his deep-rooted fears of dark elves, the girl had seemed to be utterly helpless; she had nearly fainted after all. However, he couldn't bring himself to trust any dark elf, regardless of how they presented themselves...

Before Darvis could reply even further, Derrick spoke up as well. "I apologise for being so rash towards you, my lord. If you were to forget this whole mess ever happened, I'd be happy to pay for you and your guards' meals. By the way, Aldry wouldn't happen to be part of your realm, would it? If it is, then you should be thanking me, for I am the Hero of Aldry, Derrick Ironfist." It was a blatant plea to get on the lord's good side and smooth the whole mess over, but the damage had already been done.

Thangroth grumbled at Derrick's begging. Speaking up, and outright dismissing Derrick's vain attempt at retribution, Thangroth again brought up his suggestion; "Milord Darvis? What say yet to my offer of banishment? It would prove more agreeable, would it not?"

While Darvis was fully willing to settle for the dwarf's suggestion of banishing the girl, he had other issues to deal with. Turning an indignant glare at the young adventurer who had outright insulted him, and then dared to butter him up with flattery and bribery. "Oh, I should be thanking you?" he growled at Derrick. "I have had enough of your insubordination! Guards, arrest him." Darvis pointed to Derrick, directing his soldiers as the men moved toward Derrick. "Take the light half-elf as well."

"What of Olula?" Barack begged, looking up at Darvis from where he had planted himself on the floor.

Darvis sneered distastefully, then looked up at Thangroth. "She will be banished," he stated. Pointing a finger at Olula, he offered her some leniency. "Girl, you have until this evening to say your goodbyes. Dwarf, you are free to do as you please."

Derrick, still desperate to save face, tried to dissuade the lord from arresting him. "I apologize again, my lord," he said and bowed as the guards surrounded him. "I have a suggestion that will benefit both of us. If you allowed us to leave freely, we will aid you in tracking any bandits that may be causing trouble in your realm. In addition, if you allow us to do this for you, we will leave your realm never to return. Furthermore, we will hunt down these brigands for free. If this idea doesn't suit you, then we will leave your realm without aiding you in bringing any bandits to justice under penalty of public humiliation." Derrick got on his knees, drew his sword, and held it up with the point towards him, offering the hilt to the nobleman. "It is your decision, great Lord Darvis the Mighty. That is your title correct? I have heard many bards praising your heroism and battle prowess against Marmo. I apologized for not recognizing you at first for the mighty hero that the bards spoke of when we first met."

"Shut your mouth, peasant," Darvis snarled at Derrick. "Or else I'll add more lashes to your punishment."

Thangroth rubbed his brow again at Derrick's words. The boy understood nothing. "'Tis time past for such recriminations, boy," Thangroth grumbled. "He'll have ye in a cell as soon as is done, unless ye are willing to fight for ye freedom. When and if this is over, think well upon thy mouth before making use of it eh? I know ye are only human, but ye'll live longer if ye do so."

The guards closed in around Derrick and Krisatris, and both accepted defeat and gave into arrest. Their weapons were confiscated and their wrists bound. While they were prepared to be marched out, Thangroth turned his attention back to the half-dark elf girl.

"Child, gather your belongings and make way to the outskirts of town, now. Say what goodbyes to whomever, and make thyself gone. Wait on the outskirts near the entrance, I shall join ye shortly," he spoke as gently as he could manage. The half-elf nodded in response, she was trembling and her eyes were brimmed with tears. "Make haste now, girl, make haste."

The red-haired dwarf watched the arrest and regarded Lord Darvis and his men. He didn't relish a fight with the nobleman, and at most, he now expected the boy might get a few lashings, though he did fear that Darvis would take severe offense and stretch the lad's neck with a rope as soon as possible. The half-elf girl didn't deserve such treatment either. No matter the situation, he'd see the barmaid to safety and try to help her as much as possible. The dwarf was ready to barrel through Darvis and his men if need be, but for now, he'd wait for the noble's response.

Once Krisatris and Derrick were bound and disarmed, the soldiers looked to Darvis for orders. "Take them to Vedun's constable and have them detained. I will determine their punishment afterwards," Darvis ordered the soldiers. Then, turning to the two men standing by to protect him, he added, "You two, follow the dark elf." And then, focusing on Olula, he wagged his finger at her and gave her his orders; "Don't leave town until after the hearings." Darvis wanted to make an official decree of her banishment for the citizens to remember. If she returned, it was likely they wouldn't report it, but then, it would be on their heads if they didn't inform him.

"I—I'll meet you in the town square, instead," she said softly to Thangroth. It seemed his plan was thwarted, and she would have to suffer further before she was actually banished... unless Darvis lied. Slowly, on shaky legs, the half-dark elf barmaid stepped toward the door, casting nervous glances to the two armored men that were ordered to guard her. As she passed Darvis, the two men moved to flank her, all the while the nobleman stared her down.

Thangroth's rage fairly bristled and for a moment, he imagined bringing his hammer down on top of Darvis's head. Still, thought and deed were two different things as the dwarf impassively watched the young barmaid, Olula, step out the door. What angered him most was the fact that Darvis didn't just want to banish her, he had to embarrass and humiliate the girl by doing it publicly. It was already bad enough that she was being torn from family and friends just because of a heritage the rest of the village had overlooked. A quiet banishment would have been at least showing a bit of decency and mercy, but this noble had to make it far worse by forcing a spectacle on the girl by calling out the entire town to witness it. The dwarf wanted nothing more than thrash the fop right then and there, but Derrick and Krisatris's hotheadedness had already landed their little party in enough trouble.

Hefting his hammer over his shoulder casually, Thangroth dismissed himself as politely as he could manage. He would follow Olula to her home and watch over her. While the villagers seemed apt to rise to her defense should trouble with her escort arise, Thangroth felt the need to further attempt to keep the peace in Vedun. The last thing they needed was to be caught up in the middle of a peasant revolt.

Thangroth stepped outside to find that the rainstorm had cleared. The clouds had parted a bit, allowing some sunlight to fall on the village. The dwarf scowled at the sky, while he enjoyed the sunshine, the mood of the village was much more akin to the dreary morning downpour that had drove the small band of adventurers together. Well, one couldn't expect the skies to cater to the moods of the many people who resided beneath it.
Olula Remel (Trials of the Half-Elven) - Profile - Gallery

Her face is a map of the world
Is a map of the world
You can see she's a beautiful girl
She's a beautiful girl
And everything around her is a silver pool of light
The people who surround her feel the benefit of it
It makes you calm
She holds you captivated in her palm

User avatar
Z's Account
Posts: 340
Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2006 8:49 pm
Location: Vedun, Kanon

Re: Trials of the Half-Elven (Story)

Post by Olula »

Chapter 3: Olula's Goodbyes

With Thangroth at her side and flanked by two armored Kanonian solders, Olula crossed the village to her home. The half-elf's head was tipped downward and thoughts tumbled through her head. She was too shocked to even cry. Olula knew that with her potentially five-hundred year long life that she would have to leave Vedun eventually, but she wasn't quite prepared to do it now, considering her mother's poor health. Even so, perhaps leaving now was best, before she grew much older and marriage came into the question. Olula had avoided allowing some of the local boys to court her, knowing that she would outlive them. While she had heard enough romantic tales of Parn and Deedlit, the Free Knight and his high elf consort, to understand the concept of 'love conquers all', Olula had yet to meet a boy she truly thought she could love at home. Besides, why waste the earliest years of her life? Her life's plans were always complicated by her heritage, torn between human traditions and the potential for what such a long life could hold. Yet... it was her mother that held her here. Natia was ill, and the only reason Olula remained was to either see her mother to better health, or to be at her side when death came.

The rainclouds had begun to blow across the sky again, and a sprinkling of rain dotted the dark brown fabric of her maid uniform's skirt. She tried to avoid most of the puddles and thick mud as she wore only simple slippers, but at the same time, a part of her couldn't be bothered to care about such trivial matters as wet shoes. Her home wasn't far from the inn, and had belonged to several generations of her family. Natia had inherited the home from her parents, who died before Olula's birth. They had been farmers, and owned a plot of land behind the house, but as Natia was alone, she couldn't tend to the land and she sold the fields to neighbors. Natia was able to support herself and Olula on the gold she earned at the Silver Sword, which had always been enough for them.

As several neighbors noticed Olula returning home accompanied by a strange dwarf and two armed soldiers, they stopped and stared. To the right of the Remel home were her neighbors, a small farming family. The elder son and his father were in front of the house, apparently preparing to get to work if the skies cleared enough. The young man, Jenko, held a pitchfork lazily, as he and his father had been examining the sky for a break in the clouds when they saw Olula approach under guard. Jenko was one of the local boys who tried to court her on many occasions, and he was near her age.

To the left of her home, two women had been conversing on the front step, but they paused their conversation to stare in disbelief. Olula knew both women who were casual friends of her mother, and they had known her from birth.

Jenko hefted the pitchfork, and took a step off his porch, but Olula shook her head at him sorrowfully, silently asking him to stand down. His father placed his hand on Jenko's shoulder, holding the boy back as well. She didn't want them to remember her last day with them like this. Olula's head dropped, avoiding their astonished gazes as she trudged up to her home.

Olula carried herself up the stone steps to the door of her home, which was raised on a rather high foundation compared the neighbors' houses. With a heavy sigh, she opened the door and stepped inside. The guards followed her, but Thangroth stayed on the front steps.

Natia Remel sat in a wooden rocking chair, wrapped in a blanket in front of the fire, and Olula's heart ached at the sight of her. Natia was barely fifty, but she had become increasingly frail over the last few months. Her hands, once strong, were now thin and boney as they held a cup of tea outside of the blanket. Her hair, the same dark brown-black shade as Olula's, was now streaked with grey, and her blue-gray eyes, which her daughter also inherited, had lost the keenness and quick wit they used to express. While Olula had been dealing with her mother's illness and frailty since it first began, now that she was being torn from the woman who had bore and raised her alone did the pain of loss truly sting.

For all her frailty, Natia seemed to gain a bit of vigor at the sight of her daughter home from work early, accompanied by soldiers. The former barmaid rose from her seat in a surprising burst of speed, though she still clutched the blanket to her chest and held her teacup in the other hand. "What... what is going on Olula?" she asked. "What are these men doing with you?"

While Olula's upbringing in Vedun was rarely tinged with racism, Natia had always readily stood to defend her daughter. Regardless of the situation in which Olula was conceived, no matter how terrified Natia had been when she first learned she was pregnant by that dark elf, she had loved her daughter as deeply as any true mother would, and fought for Olula whenever there was even a hint of racism. Now, that old spark had been ignited again in Natia's heart.

"I met our new lord today," Olula said, her voice small and drained of emotion. "He decided that I'm a threat to the village and I must leave."

Already expecting to hear such such slander against her daughter, Natia suddenly shouted, "You're not a threat to anyone!" and threw down the ceramic teacup she'd been sipping from. It shattered against the wall, the remaining liquid splattering on the floor. The guards gave a start and Olula could hear the creak and clink of their armor as they shifted to reach for their weapons. While they likely had no plan to attack a sickly middle-aged woman, no matter how enraged she was, they had to affirm their position of control in the situation.

"No mother," Olula spoke. She wished that she could let her mother stand up for her again, like she did when Olula was a child, when another child teased her for her ears or dark skin, or when villagers gave her dirty looks. Natia's sharp tongue had always given them something to think about, and changed their minds. Now, however, Olula couldn't let her mother strain herself by fighting another battle. "I will leave. Lirra and the neighbors will take care of you, and I'll try to find away to get more money to you so you can go to the temple for healing," Olula's voice gained an edge of confidence, though it pained her to convince her mother to stand down. "You know I want to leave, that I must leave. I'm a half-elf, and I will live for centuries longer than everyone else. I don't wish to see myself outlive all our friends, and their children, and their children's children! I can't spend my life here. I have to find my place in the world." Olula forced a smile, though a solid lump had formed in her throat and tears threatened to pour from her eyes. "Today is as good a day as any to begin."

"O-Olula," Natia whispered, her voice breaking. She knew well enough what her daughter needed, and wanted. The elder Remel woman sniffed as tears trickled from her eyes at Olula's display of solidarity. She stepped forward, crossing the room to face her half-elf child, a girl that now stood even with her own height. "I know, I know... I just... Olula, you're my little girl. You always will be, even when I'm dead and gone and you're one hundred, or two hundred, or even five hundred years old."

Natia laid her hand on Olula's dusky cheek as the half-elf tried to hold back her emotions to keep from breaking down. Her mother wept openly and dropped her blanket to embrace Olula. The half-elf wrapped her arms around Natia, again struck at the feel of her once solid frame weak and boney. "I don't want... I don't want to lose you just yet," Natia whispered.

Olula finally could no longer hold back the deluge of tears and she buried her head in her mother's dark, silver-streaked hair. "Mama..." she whispered as she began to cry.

The soldiers couldn't help but turn their heads away at the painful farewell between mother and daughter. One of the men became engrossed with his boots while the other looked about the house at anything but the Remels.

* * *

Thangroth watched silently from outside, just outside the door. The red-headed dwarf was behind the soldiers, but not immediately inside the building to unnerve them. The youngest son of the Broadarm family wanted nothing more than to get that fancy-dressed milksop of a nobleman, Darvis, and drag him here to make him see the heartbreak he was causing. Though his expression was usually kind and gentle, the dwarf's charming face was skewed in a scowl of pure anger and disgust and he didn't bother hiding it. He knew some humans could be heartless fools and Darvis was one of that lot.

The dwarf listened in on the weeping women from inside the house. It was a sad situation, unfair and totally senseless. Thangroth glanced within to see one of the guards shifting and looking away. He looked quite displeased with the weight of his duties, but fealty to his lord took precedence in this case, no matter how unfair and foolish. They were oath bound to obey their lord, Thangroth knew that and he understood the demands of honor and duty, even if one didn't agree with the situation.

Several of the townsfolk began to gather around the small house. The young man from next door approached the dwarf. He was a gangly looking young man, barely into his twenties, with brown hair and green eyes. He was dressed in a simple blue rain poncho that covered his clothing. "Why are there soldiers in Olula's home?" he inquired, his voice sounding pained.

The dwarf looked away from the boy, staring up at the sky as it threatened rain again, then responded, his voice as strong and hard as the stones which comprised his family's home; "She be the victim of a cruel injustice, wrapped in the guise of a lawful decree of the lord of the land. This girl is being banished from these lands, simply because of the matter of her heritage."

* * *

Krisatris and Derrick were stripped of their weapons, then marched across town by Darvis and his soldiers. They attracted the curiosity of villagers who were out, despite the weather, some of whom had seen Olula leave with her own armed guard. Darvis marched straight on to the local constabulary, quite assured of himself.

As they reached the building, Darvis stepped inside after one of his pages opened the door for him. Confidently, the plump lord entered to find a lawman in his office, and a humble jail with three cells. One was occupied by a sleeping fellow who reeked of alcohol and snored like a snarling clawbeast.

"M'lord Darvis!" the constable hopped to his feet from his seat in his office, surprised by Darvis's sudden presence. "What brings you here, m'lord?" The constable scraped and bowed like a dog eager to please its master.

"I have two prisoners to be held until later this afternoon. Their punishment will be dealt then," the nobleman explained, inspecting the holding cells.

The constable noted the two Darvis obviously intended to incarcerate immediately. "Yessir. Do you want them in one cell, or one to each cell?" he asked, taking the keys from his belt.

"Separate them," Darvis replied. "Take the half-elf first. Take off her leather," he spoke to his soldiers, and two men near Krisatris took her by the arms and followed the constable to the nearest cell. "And get his armor off," Darvis ordered the rest, glancing at Derrick.

The soldiers started to remove Derrick's platemail in the foyer of the constabulary while Krisatris reluctantly removed her green leather hauberk, revealing the short white top and short pants she wore beneath.. For once in during his stay in Vedun, Derrick was stoic, but obviously seething with rage as he stood, his arms spread, while the soldiers worked quickly to un-equip him.

After Derrick's armor was off, leaving him in his tunic and breeches, the young man was pushed into the cell beside Krisatris. Their belongings were left in the custody of the constable, and Darvis and his men soon left, along with the constable who had some business with Darvis now. Derrick was seriously regretting opening his mouth at this point. "Well, you have to stand up for what you believe in, even if it lands you in some pompous, racist noble's dungeon," the young warrior voiced his thoughts to Krisatris. From the other side of the wall, he heard her scoff in reluctant agreement.

* * *

Olula emerged from her home shortly, now wearing a drab grey cloak with a heavy pack on her back, the strap slung across her chest. She still wore her barmaid's uniform, given no time to change, and her eyes were rimmed in red, showing she had been crying profusely.

A number of villagers had assembled outside, most of them the young men she had grown up with, some single, some accompanied by their young wives who had been her close friends as a child. The news of her fate had traveled through Vedun, and several of the young men clung to their farming tools defiantly. After casting a glance across the crowd, Olula frowned. She was flattered by the show of support, but the last thing she wanted was for her peers to suffer the wrath of Darvis as well. She had prepared herself to leave, and even without Darvis to throw her out, it was as good a time as any to step out into the world, even if she had to leave her mother behind.

"Please don't fight for me," Olula addressed the boys in question. "Don't risk your lives for my sake. You know I'm not like you, and I've had to explain this many times." Her eyes met with the eyes of Terild, a handsome young man with short black hair and brown eyes who had proposed to her several years ago. He avoided her gaze as the statement was mostly directly aimed at him. He never saw why her race should matter. "I'll live for many more years than any of you will, and I cannot spend my life in this little village."

One of younger boys, a boy in his late teens with dirty blond and brown eyes burning with anger, stepped forward. Wiping his soot-covered hands on his tunic, he spoke up in response to Olula, "You can't leave! It's not fair, we know you! You've committed no crime, everyone in town will stand by you. Some new lord can't just sweep in here and decide who's a traitor and who's not without even talking to us. I think we oughta send him a message!"

"Watch your tongue, boy," spoke one of the guards behind Olula. The half-elf gave a start at his voice, fearful of his response to her defenders. "You're close to committing treason. His lordship's command is that this woman be banished from this village. I can respect that you all have an attachment to her, but a command from your liege is a command, not a request! If you love her so much, than any of you are welcome to leave with her."

There was a low mumbling and angry, hushed statements from the crowd, but no one stepped forward to leave. The guard's statement seemed to quell their rage for the moment. "But..." the boy who spoke so bravely started, fist clenched at his side, "She's not a threat to anyone! We've known her all our lives. Why... why does she have to leave?"

Before the soldier could respond, Thangroth spoke instead, his tone was no less stern than the guard's, "Because that is the decree, like it or not. This nobleman is the lord of the land, be he a good man or a bad one. Now isn't the time to fight a losing battle, hold yer temper and keep yer life, lad. Ye'll only make it harder for the girl. Mayhaps, one day, she may be able to return, but not if ye and the rest keep this up! I'll look after the lass, I promise," the dwarf's tone became softer. "Ye want to be of service to her? Then do the child a favor, and make sure her mother is well seen to."

The boy studied the dwarf for a moment, then his fists unclenched in defeat as he found wisdom in Thangroth's words. He lifted his head and looked to Olula, his eyes were brimming with tears. "I'll see that she's cared for, I'll swear it, 'Lula. I'm sorry, I wish... Please, take care of her sir dwarf," he said, the fire drained from his voice. The boy bowed his head sorrowfully, then turned back to his father in the crowd.

Olula watched, struck speechless, not only for the outpouring of support, but for the massive knot in her throat. She was trying her hardest to hold back more tears and put a strong front out for her neighbors. The last thing she wanted was for anyone else to be punished for trying to fight for her rights. She would walk away from Vedun with her head held high and begin a new life... except, she feared that she couldn't even do that with her mother's health hanging over her shoulders. Even with all the promised support, it remained a burden on her shoulders.

The guard who had spoken before spoke softly to her from her flank; "We'll give you a moment or two to say your goodbyes. Make them quick." His voice still had a stern bite to it, but the sympathy was evident. Olula felt a little more vindicated to know that he wasn't just a heartless dog of their lord, but it also tugged at her resolve to hold back the tears.

Olula swallowed hard, trying to find the strength to speak. She had to say something more, to try and convince her neighbors to stand down. "Please, don't risk your lives or freedom for my sake," she spoke, her voice cracking as she spoke, reiterating her earlier plea. "I know I had to leave someday, and today seems to be that day."

A quiet whimper came from the crowd, a small boy being held by his mother, an auburn-haired girl around Olula's age. As Olula glanced at her, she nodded back to the half-elf. They had played together as children, and the girl worked at the tavern alongside Olula until she married and started her family. The boy, Berrin knew her well, and had always been fascinated by her ears as a baby. "May Falis guide your path," her friend spoke, her voice full of reverence, offering Olula strength. "We know your heart, and it's one of gold. Regardless of what some far-flung lord may think." Holding her son's face to her shoulder as he simpered, she gave a disdainful look to the guards and turned back toward her home. The crowd began to disperse after that, offering Olula heartfelt goodbyes, promises to look after Natia, and other sentiments. The half-elf bit back her tears as she accepted them all, wondering just how long she could hold back the flood.

Thangroth stood by patiently, watching Olula say he farewells. The dwarf's face was the epitome of stone, no emotions could be discerned on his red-beared face, but inside, he was seething. Despite his anger, he knew well enough that this was not the place for a confrontation. Darvis's orders were being carried out, Olula would be banished, it was just that simple. And perhaps it was a good thing, as the girl herself had said clearly; she would outlive these people. She would outlive every boy that longed to court her, the girls who tended bar and made beds with her, and she would outlive their children and even their children's children. To live as a half-breed among either side of her heritage would not be an easy journey, but he would do what he could for the girl. If nothing else, he would at least teach her how to survive on the roads of Lodoss.
Olula Remel (Trials of the Half-Elven) - Profile - Gallery

Her face is a map of the world
Is a map of the world
You can see she's a beautiful girl
She's a beautiful girl
And everything around her is a silver pool of light
The people who surround her feel the benefit of it
It makes you calm
She holds you captivated in her palm

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