Thorniir braced himself as the man looked towards him, their eyes locking, human and elf preparing for the worst. The man opened his mouth, took a breath, and…
“Thorn-air?” he shouted. “Thorn-air?”
Thorn grimaced. The humans had such an unmusical way of murdering elven names. If they really were trying, it was rather pitiful.
“It’s Thurn-ear” He said, smiling brightly. Keep the humans happy, He said to himself. When they’re not happy people die.
“Ok, I’ll try to remember.” The man said, with no real sincerity. “This is for you.” He extended a hand, parchment clasped tightly within. As Thorn reached for it, the man extended his empty hand impatiently.
“I don’t have any gold.” Thurn said apologetically.
“Then I guess you don’t have a letter either.” Said the man. He snickered and turned away sharply. As he reached the height of his stride, the root of a nearby tree jumped up, catching his lower foot. The man stumbled over, his entire satchel of letters pouring out, blowing all over in the breeze. Thorn rushed over and scooped up his letter, turning toward the man as he did so.
“Watch out for the roots, they can be a little…territorial.” He joked, moving quickly to avoid a look that could probably kill him instantly. When he had reached the safety of the hostel, he tore the seal from the letter, knowing full well who it was from. Suddenly, the air was filled with an unmistakable odor of sulfur. Thorniir ran to the window, already certain of what he’d find. In the distance, a great lizard, wings unfurled, levitated towards the building, fire flowing from its agape jaw.
Thorniir awoke in a cold sweat, the hazy morning air nearly reflecting the light of the warm new day. He would never get used to the New Haven heat, of that he was sure. The Windakre had been temperate, but even on the warmest day couldn’t hope to reach these temperatures. The air weighed more than most of the people here, and it made pulling himself from his cot a chore as he untangled the soaked sheets. Around him, his cabin fellows barely stirred, their breathing even. He got to his feet, the cool of the floor sending a shiver up his spine, through to the tips of his ears. He pulled on his shirt, still damp from the day before, and made it a point to remind himself to wash it after watch tonight. The tunic came on over that, and the looking glass aided in the woading before he wrapped his cloak about his shoulders and started on the road to High town.
The woods had always felt like home, even if he didn’t know them. The elven connection to the earth was as natural and simple as breathing; The connection would pull at one’s chest, their heart beating in time to the flap of wings and the whirl of the breeze. The blanket of recognition and mutual respect radiated in full- the woods are where Elves belong.
But not these woods- these woods were hard. There was darkness here; they called out to him, pleading for aid and protection. Someone, something, had upset the balance here long before the first seeds had taken root. Steeped in blood and pain were the grounds upon which the surviving refugees now tread. Part of him wondered if they would have been safer with the dragons.
Even through his boots, Thorniir felt the roots tremble; something was approaching. He had been in New Haven long enough to know that traveling alone meant traveling quickly, so he collected his thoughts and took off at a clip, faster down the road.