CHAPTER THIRTY TWO
15 of Uktar 1371, Year of the Unstrung Harp
‘Tell me how, in that time of sighing, just
how love could it have been with you allied
when you drank the dubieties of lust.’
Mirriam shifted inside an old armchair upholstered with shabby leather, loosened her bodice, and tried to arrange the unwieldy mass of her petticoats in a sensible manner – but they did not want to fit into the narrow seat and spilled out onto the floor. If ever there was a torment more unpalatable than wearing these barbaric northerners’ clothes, she had yet to experience it! She wished she had never agreed to the masquerade that Kessen had forced upon her. It was all fun and games for him – but he did not have to wear the damnable corselet and the two dozens lacy underskirts that made one feel like a freshly plucked head of cabbage. It was uncomfortable and impractical, and on top of everything else, Jon seemed to be utterly oblivious to her efforts to impress him with her new look.
Mirri sighed and checked her appearance in a huge dusky mirror smeared with various suspicious substances and stained with face paints – each side of its once gilded frame held numerous tapers in bent and crooked candle holders, but only half of these were lit at the moment, adding their warm, hazy glow to the dim light pouring from the narrow slit of the single window. What she saw in the faintly warped glass was a young woman in a very revealing evening dress, looking slightly disheveled and peevish, but quite lovely. Her skin was smooth and flawless, her lips the rich shade of ripe cherries, full and inviting without any need for artificial colors. Her dark wavy hair was braided into a thick plait and pinned to the top of her head with bejeweled hairpins (an arrangement that gave her headaches), revealing a long gracious neck, yet leaving a few ethereal locks to curl along her cheeks. Some men were simply too thick to appreciate their luck, she decided brusquely. Then she pulled up her frilly décolleté and stuck a tongue at her own reflection, further contemplating her misery.
At first, the idea of posing as a wealthy merchant’s daughter had seemed an excellent one - they had needed a fresh identity to fit with their new riches, and Esamon was too notorious a name in both Calimshan and Tethyr to safely claim him as a father, (albeit Mirriam had always suspected that their boisterous parent was known under quite a few other names in various parts of the Realms). Mirri had spent enough time in Memnon’s best assassin school not to be intimidated by a big city like Darromar, although the bustling Calimshite seaport permeated with the smells of spice, fish, and rotten fruit and full of smugglers and thugs had been a far cry from the royal capital of Tethyr with its cold, impersonal splendor. Even so, at the beginning of their scheme Mirri had enjoyed fooling the polite society with her guise of a rich exotic heiress. And although her manners lacked ‘refinement’, (or to put it bluntly she had very little knowledge of the proper etiquette), her natural talent of observation combined with her basic training as an assassin had gotten her out of hot water on most occasions. Besides, her soft Calimshite accent hid most of the flaws of her imperfect Common speech, and thanks to Chyil’s schooling, she was more literate than many of the local noblewomen.
However her interest had not lasted. She did not have the patience to listen to the senseless prattle of ‘high society’ ladies, or to tolerate the lustful gazes of their fat, sweating husbands latched onto her half-naked breasts (which were uncomfortably squeezed by the tight corsage and too exposed in the cleavage of her evening dress). All her new frocks felt as if they had been especially designed for these kinds of public displays – and she did not like it one bit. Mirri was too independent to enjoy the image of herself as a fragile expensive toy, which many of the upper class women seemed to project and cultivate. She understood and pitied their predicament – that kind of self-exposure was their ultimate weapon in the eternal battle of the sexes, and the only one they could wield successfully. Yet, unlike most of them, Mirriam had a profession and deemed that her training as an assassin had granted her a much better set of survival skills. The main reason behind her own acceptance of the offending clothes was, of course, attracting the attention of the one man who had so far ignored it completely.
The young thief was adventurous and high-spirited; she was used to making her own decisions about her life – an advantage granted by both her father’s status as a famous swashbuckler, and his liberal attitude regarding her upbringing. Esamon had insisted that his daughter should be able to protect herself, and had sent her to the assassin school, where she had been well trained to counter any violence aimed at her personally. The whole embarrassing episode with Farheed and the engagement had been the first and the last time when Mirri had compromised on the matter of her personal freedom. But that had been done under pressure from both her mother and her brother, and she had never truly intended to go through with the wedding. Even when she had been a little girl Mirriam had had very firm ideas about her future: it was either becoming a famous pirate captain on the high seas, or an equally distinguished professional assassin in one of the most splendid cities of the Realms. Some of her wildest fantasies also contained a dashing dark rogue, or a brave sea-captain who would one day sweep her off her feet and carry into their brilliant future together; but whatever these dreams were, they had most certainly never included her father’s unsavory lieutenant, (or for that matter a narcissistic elf with no memories of his past life, and the temper of a spoilt five-year-old child.)
There was that little problem of course, of actually killing people... Mirri resented her own squeamishness, yet even during the year of her training as an assassin she had never killed anyone – as at all times she had managed to complete her assignments without resorting to murder. Combined with her virginity, this fact gave her twin brother plenty of opportunities to tease her unmercifully. There was no point in telling Kes to mind his own business – he was as persistent as the Tethyran pox, and equally annoying. Yes – she thought sourly, playing with various flasks and small vials scattered across the scratched surface of the dressing table before her – Kessen was a pest when it came to inventing new jokes about both of her ‘deficiencies’, and although he was rather protective as a brother, Mirriam knew that he did not take her seriously as an adventurer. So far the opportunity to prove herself to Kes had not presented itself – Mirri’s blade was still unstained, and her love life was, well, nonexistent. But she assumed that this situation, as everything in this world, was transient and that when it finally came to having a romantic affair or cutting a throat, she would be no less successful than her industrious twin.
The girl dipped a finger into a jar filled with mysterious carmine substance and sniffed at it cautiously – the smell was cloyingly sweet, almost luscious. It was tempting to try the pomade on her own lips, but Mirri was not sure if the room’s owner – whoever it was – would approve of such larceny if she was discovered. She hesitated, licking her lips in indecision, and returned to her trail of unhappy thoughts. In her opinion, Kessen was over-energetic in proving his maturity, as over the last few weeks he had spent all his time and assets on gambling, whoring, and on whatever other unsavory activities Darromar could offer to an eager if inexperienced debaucher. Mirri was mightily annoyed with his antics, though she was not worried about their funds per se. In addition to their shares of the treasure, she had her own unlimited source of pocket money. As a matter of fact, the only thing that eased her intense dislike of the fashionable parties that she was forced to attend together with Kessen were the opportunities to relieve a couple of her would-be-admirers of their purses, and their wives and daughters of their more valuable pieces of jewelry.
It was a dangerous game, but at least it provided a distraction from the otherwise insufferable routine of the social outings. Mirri wasted the stolen money on sweets and dolls for Miamla, various expensive pieces of junk for herself, and had once even emptied the entire purse onto the collection plate of the local Temple of Tymora – the Lady Luck deserved her gratitude. She knew she ought to be more frugal and put something aside for future needs but could not help it: the big city life with its endless carnival of entertainment distorted her inner equilibrium, and the easily begotten money burnt her fingers – it had to be spent quickly, although neither thievery nor wasteful spending brought her any pleasure. Mirriam wished they could leave Darromar as soon as possible, and return to the harsh but familiar routine of traveling through the wilderness. At least they would be spending most of their time on the march together as a group, unlike here in the city, where the only company she truly desired was denied to her most of the time.
Mirri sighed once again at her wistful thoughts, and used a greasy piece of cloth to wipe her finger clean of the rouge. Judging by its condition, she assumed that was the rag’s purpose. The floor of the little room was littered with dirty towels, crushed boxes, jars of various cosmetics, brushes, lipsticks, disheveled wigs, and other mysterious accoutrements. The desktop before her was cluttered with much the same selection, although the false tresses and pots of face paints were in slightly better shape than the ones on the floor. She picked another jar – this time of white lead – and cautiously daubed a blob of the ghastly paste onto her tawny-brown cheek. Her finger drew a pale streak across the rich, warm color. Mirri scowled at her own reflection, but stubbornly began to spread the bluish-white paint evenly across the entire right side of her face.
“By the gods – what are you doing with yourself, my dear child? Don’t you dare touch those perfect features with ceruse – it is a crime against both style and fashion!”
The voice that had spoken these words was rich, even musical, yet full of such an unmistakable sense of self-superiority that Mirri cringed, dismissing the implied compliment. Her unpainted cheek flushed bright red, and she grabbed the discarded towel, intended to remove the offending color from her face in one furious swipe.
“No, no, and no! You cannot be serious about that. I wipe my boots with that rag. This is my dressing room – so please allow me to be in charge.”
Mirri hissed, cursing herself silently for getting carried away and forgetting herself.
Omwo had come to the theater that day to finalize the deal with the play and had brought them along. Of course, Jon had refused to come under the pretense of being occupied with his studies. Kessen had not wanted to go either – but Mirri had convinced him it might be fun, and in the end he had agreed, as he always did when she wanted something from him. After a while, Mirri had become bored with the conversation and had sneaked away to explore the premises on her own. Now it turned out she had discovered Eldoth’s personal dressing room!
The dirty towel was gently taken away from her suddenly numb fingers; then the bard pulled a clean one from the drawer to her left, uncorked one of the colorful glass flasks on the table, and bent over her, leaning on the armchair’s back and winking at her confused reflection. Still, the fact that she could only see his smiling bearded face in the mirror somehow made the situation less embarrassing.
Eldoth was so close now that she could feel his hot breath on her naked shoulders as he carefully lifted a loose strand of dark hair, and tucked it behind her ear, all the while watching her expression in the mirror. One hand was casually pressed against her fingers on the armrest, while the other was holding the clean towel moistened with aromatic oil. Strangely enough, that made her heart beat quicker, although she was not sure if it was the effect of his touch, or the sensually sweet fragrance of the oil.
“Now my precious flower, will you let me have the honor of restoring your beauty?”
Since at this point any further resistance would have been even more embarrassing, Mirriam muttered her permission. Eldoth chuckled and began cleaning the painted side of her face with the gentle but sure touches of a professional artist working on his new canvas. Utterly confused and a little excited, Mirri relaxed and let him do the work - he was in his element: first removing the thick layers of ceruse with the heavily oiled section of the towel, then finishing the job with gentle strokes of a fresh corner of the cloth.
“What possessed you to try and spoil your perfect complexion?” Eldoth asked while continuing to work on her chin. Mirri noticed that although the bard tried to sound casual, his voice rose and fell theatrically as if he were savoring his every syllable before delivering it to the audience. She decided his manner of speech was amusing, if a little odd.
“Is there any utterly boring fool out there, who cannot appreciate the richness of this color?” He continued dramatically. “My dear girl, your skin is the shade of the Saerloonian Topaz – the most potent of all the sweet muscatels produced this side of the Sunrise Mountains. The first taste of it makes a man’s eyes water, the second fills his heart with a craving for more, the third makes one its slave for the rest of his natural life.”
“Is not the effect a bit too... err, proficient, for a mere beverage?” Mirri finally found her tongue.
Her voice sounded strained, and she shifted in the armchair, fervently wishing she could wiggle away from Eldoth’s confident fingers that were almost ‘accidentally’ touching her neck and naked shoulders as he finished cleaning the last traces of white from her temple and the area behind her ear. Her displeasure must have showed in her voice, for he immediately withdrew the offending touch, but not without a deep theatrical sigh.
“Did I say I was speaking about wine?” He twirled a lock of her hair between his fingers, still smiling at her in the mirror. “Poor old Eldoth. My dear, you must forgive this actor for getting carried away. Your beauty makes me wish I was young again.”
Mirri snorted and gave his reflection a scrutinizing look; Eldoth’s deep dark eyes stared back at her, shamelessly gliding over her bare shoulders and the tops of her breasts. There were faint traces of silver in his stylish beard and small mustache, but his umber locks were collected into a youthful ponytail. Overall, the bard could not be any older than thirty five, she decided confidently. And while of course that was quite a venerable age, Eldoth was still a very good looking man and a talented poet. Omwo had warned her to stay away from him. But naturally, that was all the more reason to play with the celebrity, and prove to them all that she was not the silly girl they seemed to take her for. There was absolutely no risk in this, Mirri decided quickly. She was deeply in love with another person, who seemed to ignore her completely – and that was yet another motive to be a little careless. After all, who could blame her for accepting another man’s flattery when her beloved was so cold and distant?
“You are not that old,” Mirri said after a small pause, and gave him a brave smile. “And you know how to use all these... things so well,” she pointed at the open jars with rouge and ceruse. “Although is not it a little awkward for a man? I mean... to know so much about makeup?”
She blushed, instantly wishing she could take her words back, dropped her eyes in embarrassment, and immediately discovered that the bard’s laughter was almost as pleasant as his singing – the rich, golden undertones of that beautiful voice were unmistakable.
“You are priceless,” Eldoth finally muttered wiping away tears of laughter and taking one of her hands in both of his. His palms were very hot, Mirri realized with surprise, and there was a slight but unmistakable tremor to them. (Had she had any experience with alcoholics, she would have suspected something; as she had none, she attributed the shaking to the effect of her good looks.) The discovery was startling – yet flattering.
“And to think that if not for the crazed midget and the stupid play I might have never met you,” Eldoth shook his head in mock horror and raised her hand to his lips, gently kissing the very tips of her fingers, then moving lower and planting another kiss on her upturned wrist, right on the pulse line. “My dear, you must admit – this is fate. I am desirous to know you better, thus you must tell me more about yourself. I can hardly believe that Calimport could have produced this immaculate combination of beauty and innocence, not to mention excellent taste.”
His eyes took in a gaudy golden bracelet on her wrist – Mirri found it rather ugly, but it was a gift from one of her richer admirers, and Kessen insisted that she donned it whenever they went out, as it was an exemplar of the latest Darromaran fashion. The girl frowned; the only piece of jewelry among her possessions that she truly valued she wore constantly on the middle finger of her right hand – a small ivory ring carved in the likeness of a smiling cat with two shiny emerald eyes. Although she doubted that the giver of that trinket had even remembered the fact of handing it out to her. The mere thought of the cat-ring made her snap out of the dizzy and slightly improper mood that the conversation with Eldoth had put her in.
“Excuse me,” Mirri rose to her feet and plied her hand away from her vis-à-vis’ grip. “I need to go now. There is this little girl, the daughter of my guardian...”
“Must you abandon me so quickly?” Eldoth protested, trying to recapture her hand unsuccessfully. “You have a guardian? What a strange coincidence – once upon a time I knew a young damsel, who escaped the clutches of her brutal father, and fled her home to join her life with mine. It was so very romantic.”
“I am sure it was,” Mirriam replied hastily, trying to slide past him to the door of the little studio. “But what happened to her later on? Did you get married?”
A shadow crossed Eldoth’s handsome face, fleeing as quickly as a night burglar escapes a rich district of a city at the first light of dawn. “Wasting disease,” he explained briskly, “the priests could do nothing, even though I offered them everything I owned. I suspect she might have been cursed – I would not put it past her father to have punished her in that way…”
“I cannot believe a parent could do anything so cruel to his child!” Mirri started to protest, but at that moment the door of the dressing room opened with a loud bang, admitting a very angry halfling, a slightly amused brother, and a silent elven girl, carrying a stuffed purple dragon under her arm, (of all the toys that Mirri had bought her, Miamla seemed to always prefer that one).
“Here you are at last!” Omwo declared sternly. “Eldoth, did I not tell you the girl was off limits? Believe it or not, but when her guardian finds out, keeping the same number of feet and maintaining the same body temperature, not to mention the same size might become a problem for you!”
“Same number of feet?” Eldoth’s eyebrow shot up quizzically, and Mirri decided that he became a little paler than he was before, “are you implying a transformation and he is some kind of a wizard?”
“I doubt it will get that bad,” Kessen intervened hastily, “although Jo... I meant Demadan-effendi has a bit of a temper. He might get a little upset if you relate this little accident in a wrong way… Omwo, you should not bother him with this nonsense! Surely, nothing inappropriate has happened so far?”
“I have no doubt that he will not give a damn,” Mirriam bristled like an angry cat. “It is not like he cares what I do with my time anyway. And even if he did – it is absolutely none of his concern! I am a grown up woman and I can make my own bloody choices. If I want this man’s company I will have it whatever ‘Master Demadan’ has to say about it!”
“My darling, you are exceptionally brave and charming,” Eldoth gave Omwo a triumphant look, “but it is a little unbecoming in a young lady. Certainly, your guardian has your best interests at heart. Let me assure these fine gentlemen that my admiration of your beauty is pure as the breath of an angel.”
“You have not changed your routine,” Omwo grinned humorlessly. “Still catching flies with syrup – not with vinegar, eh, Eldoth? But just keep in mind the little bit about being turned into a newt, will you? Or you may end up literally catching ‘em with your tongue!”
“Omwo!” Mirri gave him a pleading look. “If you value my friendship, please keep out of this. Besides, Kes was right, nothing ‘inappropriate’ has happened. I got lost in the theater, and found this room, then Eldoth came and found me here. If you want to know, he only kissed my hand, something every one of Kessen’s new ‘friends’ does two dozen times each evening. Honestly, I am tired of this argument. Let us get out of here and go home.”
The halfling grunted, muttering something about young girls and their ways, but was somewhat mollified by her obvious disinterest in his former colleague.
“Surely, you will let me escort you to the front doors of our premises?” Eldoth started to protest. “There is no evening performance today, so I have plenty of time on my hands.”
“It is not like we cannot find our way out,” the girl snorted, “and it is more becoming for a lady – to put it your way – to be accompanied by her brother.” She gave the bard a mocking smile, ready to walk out of the door of his dressing room that now felt overcrowded. “By Tymora, Miamla, take these things off! Just look how dirty you are, you have ruined your frock!”
This latest exclamation caused everybody to turn around, and behold a rather curious and amusing sight: apparently, Miamla had not wasted any time while they were arguing. She had collected some of the props and fake jewelry tossed around the room into a small pile, and was now sitting on top of the improvised hoard, sorting through her ‘treasure’. A crown made of foil and colored glass was barely holding on her head, supported only by her pointy ears. A long brass chain was wound around her neck; in one hand the girl clutched a cardboard sword, the other was wielding a gilded scepter. Her toy dragon was placed at her feet – in a strategically defensive position. Noticing the public attention the child waved her accoutrements at them and smiled – in a vaguely royal, benevolent way.
The ensuing commotion released the tension caused by Omwo’s dramatic entrance and his harsh words, and shifted the atmosphere in the room to a lighter, less belligerent mood. After everybody stopped laughing the halfling was still a bit grouchy, but he immediately declared that the little girl was a naturally born comic, and offered to teach her the basics of the thespian art immediately. The fact that his prospective pupil had not yet spoken a word of Common did not seem to discourage him at all. Eldoth joined in, mockingly arguing that if anything, Miamla had showed a talent for striking impressive poses – and thus she should be taught ballet and dancing, not declamation. They went into a tongue-in-cheek argument over this, while Miamla stared at both of the bards with her usual enigmatic expression, and looked utterly unmoved by all the attention. It took Mirriam another ten minutes to break their discussion and divest the disheveled and dusty child of her decorations and a few cobwebs.
“It may not be a bad idea, but if you are serious about teaching Miamla acting, you ought to ask her father first,” Mirri reminded the two over-enthused actors, “he may have something to say about it.”
“But of course my treasure!” Eldoth gave her a bright smile. “She is the daughter of your mysterious wizard guardian, is she not? And he probably wants her to study magic, not acting. Elves are all such tedious snoots. They think they know everything; one is never sure where he stands with them. It is remarkable that the girl’s father has not even taught her the Common speech by this age – tells you volumes about his attitude towards us ‘measly humans’. What was his name again?”
“Master Demadan E’resse is an old friend of our late father,” Mirri replied fiercely. “And he is not tedious.” The girl wanted to add that he was not a snoot either, but the gleam in Omwo’s eyes stopped her from finishing her enthusiastic declaration in Jon’s defense. In the past, the halfling had expressed peculiar thoughts about elves and their characters.
The name that Mirri gave to Eldoth was a pseudonym that Jon had chosen for himself upon arriving in Darromar. She had no idea what it meant, but the elf had insisted that they never called him anything else in public. Which was odd, considering that he was engaged in a quest that sought to recover his memories - and meeting somebody who might recognize him would have been beneficial to his case.
“Oh, I am sure Demadan-effendi would not mind Miamla studying acting,” Kessen pointed out with a faked yawn. Not for the first time today, Mirri noticed that he looked anxious and upset, but was carefully hiding his distress under the pretence of boredom. “Now, sagira, if you are done here, let me escort you back to the Unicorn. The night is still young and I want to give the tables at the Staggering Nymph another try.”
“Why are you going to the Nymph for your evening entertainment, my young friend?” Eldoth drawled looking at his polished nails. “Excuse my bluntness at pointing this out, but is not that tavern a bit... low class? There are more refined places out there that a gentleman of your quality can grace with his patronage.”
Mirriam groaned. But of course, it was impossible to pry Kessen away from Eldoth after that, and the two of them made a quick assignation to meet at The Deep Gulders – the Festhall frequented by the more decadent segment of the Darromarran upper classes. Omwo was no help, as he shrugged off her concerns, and simply stated that Kessen was not a blushing maiden, and that the most the boy could lose at the gaming tables was his money, not his innocence.
One would have thought that the visit to the Darromarran New Magnificent Theater (that was, of course, a highly ‘appropriate’, artistically inspired name that Eldoth picked for his company) would have been the end of the story, and that perchance my companions’ acquaintance with the sleazy human bard would have ended with Omwo quietly completing his commission, and pocketing his fee. Regrettably, that was not the case. To my greatest surprise, on that very evening Miamla barged into my room, interrupting one of my latest attempts at completing a Monster Summoning and demanded my attention.
I had acquired the spell a week earlier, (from the same enthusiastic trader that had later sold me the Amanuensis scroll), and had been trying to master it ever since. A bag and a small candle... I had rearranged the components a billion times. Lit the candle, then extinguished the flame, exchanged it for a different one, and drawn complicated diagrams on the floor trying to visualize the portal opening into another plane... it was pointless.
I had been going through that same routine for days now, grasping at straws, and using some of the more elaborate curses I had picked up from Omwo after each repeated failure – all to no avail. The spell was extremely familiar for some reason: I could almost ‘feel’ the tingling of the static electricity at the tips of my fingers, and ‘taste’ the hint of brimstone in the air – the effects that I ‘knew’ would accompany the opening of the conduit to the Astral Plane. An opening which was supposed to deliver me a random creature of the appropriate size. Yet, the completion of the spell had eluded me continuously. It felt as if every time my confidence deserted me at the last moment before casting, and I was left empty handed once again.
“Joneleth is playing with magic again.” The observation was delivered matter-of-factly, without any particular feeling being obvious in the voice of the spectator.
I had long ago noticed that Miamla’s manner of voicing her opinions differed greatly from her ‘mental speech’ pattern as a dragon. Unlike her telepathic communications that had often been a stream of raw conflicting emotions, she was always extremely cool and composed when using her humanoid vocal cords.
“Must I be interrupted at every turn? Miamla, you know how busy I am – what is it that you want of me now?” I responded in Elven, since that was still the only language that she could use infallibly. “And I had asked you never to use that name again.”
“Nobody can hear me,” she pointed out serenely. “Miamla wants to study too.”
“What? You want me to teach you magic? Are you out of your mind? You are too young.”
“Miamla is young but Joneleth is younger,” the dragonette pointed out with what I thought was almost a hidden spark of humor. But since it was preposterous to think that she was capable of joking, I dismissed the notion right away.
“What do you mean by that? You are only one year old, maybe two at the most.”
“How old is Joneleth?” This time I could swear she chuckled. “He does not know at all.”
“Stop it, you nonsensical little brat!” I snapped back at her. “You have no idea what are you talking about. And who gave you the right to speak with me like I am your egg-brother? Do you even know whom you face? Can you comprehend the complexity of my situation with your puny little mind? No, I am sure you had never given it a thought. You live, and have memories of your past. They are yours to possess and to cherish, or to grieve over in private... Yet, I am... I cannot be sure, that is true, but I think I might be one of the most powerful beings to walk Toril… or I used to be anyway.” I noticed I was striding back and forth in front my desk, and stopped the ridiculous pacing with an effort of will. “In any case, it is you who are too young to study magic - not me - and that is my final word!”
“Miamla understands,” the dragon child nodded with an unmistakable hint of amusement in her voice. “Joneleth is not ready to teach. She shall wait until he grows up.” She gave it a little thought. “But Omwo wants instruct Miamla how be a human now, and Miamla wants to learn.”
“What is that supposed to mean – that Omwo wants to teach you the Common speech? Why are you even asking for my approval?” I shrugged. “It is for you and him to decide. If you want to study ‘how to be a human’ – go ahead and learn. It may entertain you for long enough to forget about studying magic.”
“You agree?” This time Miamla practically beamed at me, forming her pretty pink lips into a semblance of a cupid-bow smile. It looked a little artificial, but passable. “Miamla tells Omwo Joneleth approves. She will start playing with humans tomorrow.” She nodded and walked back to the door of my studio, stopping at the very last moment to add a parting shot. “Joneleth should come and see the play when it is ready. Miamla will be happy.”
Thus, I agreed to something I would come to deeply regret later on, although at the moment I did not even realize what I had done. It turned out, Omwo was quite serious about developing Miamla’s theatrical talents, and had written her a small but important part in the final act of Eldoth’s play. All she had to do was enter triumphantly, and speak one line of text in Elven. If I had known how it would all end, I would have cut and run. But I did not, and the disastrous chain of events was set in motion at that point.
sagira – little one (calim.)
demadan – forgetful (elv.)
eresse – solitude (elv.)
Last modified on December 12, 2003
Copyright © 2003 by Janetta Bogatchenko. All rights reserved.