Eliamn huffed as she bounded between the trees, hurrying toward the outskirt of the village. After a few minutes of carrying her backpack, her shoulders already ached and she was winded. She was a bit dismayed by the observation, as it glaringly revealed she wasn't anywhere close to a seasoned traveler, yet her pride wouldn't allow her to show weakness if she could help it.
"Hang in there Eli... you look like you're about to collapse."
She stopped, panting and a bit embarassed as her youngest brother Kanil ran to her, grinning.
"What is it? We already said our goddbyes a few minutes ago." she asked, not hiding her annoyance.
"Look, I know 'Tarel totally bought your 'I am disgraced' act, but I can't let you leave home with those kind of gloomy thoughts." her brother said, grinning.
Eliamn frowned. "There are people waiting for me Kanil - you'll excuse me but I have no time for such talk." she was about to walk away when he interposed himself in her path.
"Make the time." he said, this time his tone as serious as hers. "You're an elf, I'm sure you can afford to spare a few moments - Naclia would understand." He sighed. "Look Big Sister, you screwed up, yeah, but it's not a death sentence. Not every elf can contract with Ento at 125 years old-"
"It's Keeper tradition to-"
"-contract with a King Spirit by his or her 125th year. Yes, I know. I grew up in the same house you did, remember?" Kanil finished frowning. "Well, you just broke tradition Sister, so you might very well just take it in stride. I'm betting you'll just go along with this Naclia and let her drag you around with you being all servile."
"Naclia is an accomplished elven ranger and yes, I was planning to defer to her judgement and that of her companion Aiden when we would be out of the forest." Eli answered tersely.
"Well, think on this. Maybe they could use an extra shaman like you, you never know what might happen. You're quite good and I'm sure they'll value your company eventually."
She gave a suffering sigh. "I'll take it into consideration. Now, is there anything else?"
"Yeah." he chuckled. "I love you."
She couldn't contain a smile. She came closer and kissed him on the forehead. "I'm going now." She turned and took up the pace, but-
She halted in her tracks. "What?"
"Take care of yourself and don't forget to bring back a souvenir for your baby brother."
She turned around exasperated. "You're hardly a baby brother at 74. What do you want?"
"Whatever you find. Just bring back something interesting - oh, and you better enjoy yourself out there because once you're back, I'm going to be all over you begging for stories."
* * *
The blonde elfgirl stopped by the two elven rangers and the horse, looking slightly winded. "I am sorry. The family farewells dragged out." She shrugged her shoulders, adjusting the weight of her pack and looked at Tiash. "Are we going to ride? I didn't expect I would need a horse..."