pretentious cosmic picture


~A GUEST AMONG THE GUESTS~

The Mage Supreme motioned for everyone to stand up. Then he said, "Now. Are we alone now?"

Heosun said cautiously, "We seem to be...sir."

"Commendable caution, Heosun. For with an elf, you might be suprised." Suddenly from the trees stepped a slim form. The Mage Supreme gave a short bow, as one would to a child of a house you were guest at, but not the same marked respect he showed Jequeror.

"Who here knows how to address our guest?"

Falnee raised his hand. His facility for languages might come in handy.

"Go ahead and try."

"Cha sidunjequa da?" he asked the slim form. It was difficult to tell if it was male or female. It looked lost, though, surrounded by a strange people. But on hearing words in its own tongue, the dark bottomless brown eyes suddenly focused. Maybe here was someone worth conversing with.

Nodding, the elf answered, "Chei sidunjequa da, ober! Chei Seeliski da.""

The Mage Supreme spoke up, "For those who are not as conversant in the Elvish tongue as they should be, the first sentence was 'Are you of the Fair Folk,' and the answer is 'I am of the Fair Folk, mortal! I am Seeliski.' Seeliski is a younger elf. Just as we have to learn elvish glamours and ways, the elves in turn learn mortal tongues and attitudes. Seeliski will be with us for a while. She," and Falnee was glad to be sure of Seeliski's sex, although her softer voice indicated such, "will be staying at the women's barracks, and learning our ways. It is a great honor. There are usually only one or two such elves to be taught in a hundred years."

The Mage paused and whispered a few phrases to Seeliski too low for even Falnee to hear, but an elf's ears are keen indeed. Then the Mage turned back to the others. "We are all guests in their land. Now one of our hosts will in turn want to be our guests among us. I want every courtesy extended to Seeliski. A guest among guests, as it were." He turned to Braele. "I thought she would put her things by you, and rest next to where you sleep. Is that all right? Do you know enough of their tongue?"

She stammered. "I know a little, sir. But I'm not as proficient as he is," she said, nodding at Falnee.

"I'm sure all of you will learn greatly with her here. And, in turn, she will learn greatly from you."

He turned and started to walk. The students followed, but Seeliski held back, looking behind her.

"Thori vund ga," she said, sighing, perhaps quoting, saying, "the song is silent," in their language.

He held out his hand. She took it, but said, preemptorily, "Stil, ober?"

He said his new name, the name in Elvish, but she shook her head. "Stil ober!"

"Oh, my mortal name? Falnee."

"Falllnee."

She took his hand, but he noticed she held it gingerly, like a person holding the hand of a corpse. He was never so aware of his mortality. He felt like she regarded him as being in a state of advanced decay, that he might rot any second before her eyes.

So he began to sing, the only Elven song he knew.

"B'mab dri da,
"Una nia...
"

Which was a little embarassing, for it was the beginning of a love song, although not horribly racy...but it was all he could think of to assure that he was, at least in a sense, of the same flesh and spirit as she. That there could be understanding between the two.

Startled, she looked at him, and then joined in the next verse,

"Alf chre chasmi
"Fai ar thori...
"

So singing, they caught up with the others.

For previous story, go to The Sadness of the Elvenking.

Those interested with comments, suggestions, things I have forgotten, things I messed up, contact me at...
E-Mail:al.schroeder@nashville.com

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