The Turtle Swales
A Favored Soul Sorcerer, touched by Corellon Larethian, Elvish Deity of Art and Magic, Aras is fond of both toasted Marshmallows (provided by his friend Shadrak) and toasted weenies (provided by his enemies)…
Wait a minute, that didn’t sound as good on paper as it did in my head…
“Help me! Help me!” the woman screamed from the ground beside the road where she lay, looking wildly around for help.
“Whaa…?” his voice cracked with effort, as though it had never been used before, all while he struggled with the where, the when, the how of this sudden tableau of which he found himself a part. He didn’t remember how he’d gotten here.
He was in shock.
Just a bit.
Pointing now, the female, well to do by the look of her clothing, continued yelling, “Help! Constable! I’m being robbed!!”
Finding his voice, he shouted, “Where?! I’ll help, milady!” He looked around behind him, seeing no one. Turning back to her, he now noticed she was pointing at him.
“Uh? Me? Why, I wouldn’t…” he stopped in mid sentence as he glanced down to see himself holding a small, Rose colored fabric coin purse. He jingled it experimentally. It sounded full. He smiled involuntarily.
The woman’s screaming became inchoate, inarticulate, rising to a crescendo that resembled an animal’s panicked keening more than it did the speech of an intelligent being. “AYIEE!…”
Catching himself in mid jingle, enjoying the melodious clinking of the coins as they kissed in their cozy little purse, he suddenly felt a twinge of guilt. Without knowing why, he quickly opened the purse, and grabbing what he thought was a good portion of the coins, he gently tossed them at her feet, saying, “i’ tura uma il- sana ilya”*.
Looking confused, the woman began to quiet a bit.
Angry shouting, accompanied by what sounded suspiciously like the clanking of armed and armoured Guardsmen running, could be heard down the road, from beyond a bend.
Rapidly adding two and two and realizing that the sum equaled a prison term, he fled in the direction most exactly opposite the angry noises. As he looked back over his shoulder, he spied the woman hastily grabbing up the coins he had thrown down, stuffing them into her capacious bodice. “Help! Help! He’s stolen all my husband’s money!” she shouted.
He ran faster, thinking he must be in shock if it had taken him all that time to notice her capacious bodice….
(One week later)
“What does it mean?” he asked, pointing to the tattoo that had appeared on his arm a week before.
" ‘amin naa naur. amin naa gurtha.’ It means, ‘I am fire. I am death.’ in Elvish." said the wise woman, sitting on her stool in the caravan tent.
“I know what it says.” he said, pointing to his pointy ears, “I’m only half Elven, so I’ve been told, but I can read. What does it mean?”
“Well, seeing as how yer getting a bit testy, I feel it’s incumbent on me to remind you that there are no refunds…”
“Yeah, yeah, old woman, just tell me what you know.” then, touched by guilt as suddenly, and similarly to, his experience with the woman he had robbed, he added, “Please.”
“Alright then, and I’m not old, just well traveled.” the seer added with a wink, “Anyway, I think it’s a saying of the Fellowship of the Forgotten Flower. Specifically the avengers of said fellowship.”
“Who are they?”
“Members of the order are followers of Corellon, lord god of the Elves, and sworn to retrieve ancient Elvish holy relics that have been lost or stolen. The avengers themselves are a smaller group, often touched by Corellon’s magic, who are usually tasked with destroying those who dare defile these relics in the first place. Sorta like Corellon’s enforcers. They usually operate independently of the order, often going years or even decades between being tasked with a holy mission.”
“What? So I’m eventually going to get some kind of orders to go kill people, or something? And how do you know so much about these avengers anyway?”
“No, your situation seems a bit different. Most avengers are trained from a young age, and they are mostly warriors,” here she winked again, “and, most are full blood Elves.” then she sighed, “And I used to date one…”
“So, I’m a half Elf with no formal training, who, apparently until last week at least, has been making a respectable living by, er, shady pursuits, and now I’m supposed to suddenly transition to being an avenging warrior for a racist Elf deity who is pissed off that over the millenia you common folk have been playing with his toys?”
“Calm down, calm down. As I say, your situation seems a bit different. Sometimes the gods grant powers to individuals. These people are called by different names: Favored Souls, the Touched, ‘Special’.” she chuckled, “Often the powers manifest magically, granting the person Sorcerous abilities.” she paused, looking intently through her spectacles at him, “Have you noticed any of these?”
“You know, Sorcerous abilities. Perhaps you can make a cat explode just by staring at it? Or maybe you can change your outward appearance, without using make up, or changing clothes, just by wishing it? Can you grant a measure of youth to someone you touch, erasing a day, or a month, or even a year from their age?”
“Well no, I can’t.”
“That’s too bad.” the old woman began to rise, “Let me know if you develop any of those powers. Particularly the last one…”
“Wait, I have more questions.”
As the woman sat back down, she reached out a hand. Placing a coin in it, he asked his next question.
“Do you know what this is?” He held out a Lapis and metal medallion.
“Sure. That’s an amulet in the shape of Corellon’s Shield. It’s supposed to grant protection to the wearer, but yours look like a cheap knock off. Where’d you get it?”
“It was in a Lady’s coin purse…” he caught himself too late, “You know what I mean, a Lady gave it to me out of her purse…”
“Whatever. I’ll give you a Copper for it? I’m always looking to add to my jewelry collection…” with a flourish she raised her arms to jingle the countless layers of bracelets and charms on them.
Something in her look caused him to hesitate. “No, I’ll keep it for now. It reminds me of something, though I can’t say what…”
“Any other questions?”
“Yeah,” he said as he plunked a final coin into her palm, “that brings me to my last question. Why can’t I remember anything from before last week?”
She blinked once. Twice. “You didn’t want to lead with that?” she laughed, “Do you even know your name?”
“That’s about all I know. It’s Arasien Othianvan…”
The shocked look on her face was quickly replaced by anger, as she stood up, shouting “Guard! Guard!”
(One month later)
The cat didn’t so much as explode, as it rather satisfyingly burst into flame.
“That’ll teach the damn thing, howling all night outside my window…” said Aras, as he lowered the finger he’d waved in the cat’s direction. Slowly, a by now familiar sensation began. The smile faded from his lips, as he reached for his coin purse and muttered, “Now I’m going to have to find a frikkin animal rescue shelter to donate to…”
Opening the door to the shack he’d rented (under an assumed name), he strode purposefully out into the street…
(*Elvish for “the master does not take all”)