Anarquendor Picnic 1
Into the West
There was a lot of wind in these parts, much more than in the forest unless you would climb to the top branches. Something moved between the stalks of grain. The green shoots were slowly turning to yellow. At the nearby farm a dog started barking madly. The sound echoed between the huts and barns, and a man stepped outside. He put a hat on his head, a stange contraption covering his bald spot. With his right hand he grabbed a pitchfork from next to the door, and he walked to the edge of his fields, the dogs running ahead.
What strange language this was, the farmer did not know, but the man looked dangerous. He wore a sword on his belt and on his back was a quiver full of arrows. His pointed ears poked through his long hair, and in his hands was a leather helmet. The man was a head taller than the farmer.
The farmer knew it! It was an elf. He would teach them a lesson, to come barging through his fields. To steal his food, no doubt! The last apples from the basement. He gripped the tool tighter. He did not have a sword or arrows, but his pitchfork was sharp enough. He had scared off other robbers, and whether they were halflings or humans or elves, he would show them they could not just rob his food.
Captain Fenras stood up, so he could be seen between the crop. He handed his bow to his pengyll without looking. The pengyll, an elven woman with brown hair, stood to his left. The human approached, his face set in a frown. It did not even occur to captain Fenras that the pitchfork was a weapon. The art of war did not need makeshift weaponry, and an elf wouldn't think of using a tool to defend himself, because it was not made for that purpose.
The farmer had the pitchfork pointed forward, and it was hard to see how long it was. The elf raised his arm, and the armour of the elf shifted, leaving a small exposed place between the top armour and its belt.
The rangers had gone ahead, but the druids and healers at the forest edge could hear Captain Fenras' greeting where they sat.
As if it were a miracle, the human managed to stab the elf in the small, unprotected spot. The steel of the pitchfork penetrated fabric and flesh. The smile on the elf's face changed to a grimace. Behind the elf more elves stood up, aiming their arrows on the farmer, who stepped to the right, the pitchfork twisting in the wound.
Beriadanwen Námiëmelda could not see the farmer very well because her captain was between them, but when the other elves stood up, she know something had gone terribly wrong. Her captain crumpled to the ground, and she tried to catch him before he hit the ground, his bow obstructing her.
Two, three arrows flew true and impaled the farmer. Amras shouted for help, ran back to get the healers.
Hîr nín! Avrink le... don't move." she said to her captain. Carefully she looked at the wound underneath his slim fingers. It looked bad and was bleeding heavily. She put her hand on the wound, pressing down carefully.
Û-dhago hon" the captain whispered. "He did not know. Let not this accident take another life."
Not trusting her voice, Beriadanwen nodded. The farmer was behind her, also bleeding.
"Pengyll nín, my life is slipping. Bring my body home. Lead them back."
Beriadanwen shook her head. "No, no, Sairahiniel is coming. She will heal you. We shall complete our mission." She took another look at the wound, the blood that flowed over her fingers. When she looked back to her captain, his eyes were blank and he was dead.
Sairahiniel came running, followed by the other druids and healers. The distance was so short but seemed so long, and their captain was hurt. When she arrived at where her sister was crouched, Beriadanwen looked up and shook her head softly.
Still, Sairahiniel laid her hands on her captain's neck to find a pulse. And then she carefully closed his eyes.
"Sairahiniel, this man is also wounded." Beriadanwen stood up and used a rag to wipe her hands. She did not want to smear blood over her bow, or the bow of her captain.
"Three arrows in the chest." Sairahiniel said. "It will be a wonder if I can save him."
"Try it. Noone needs to die over a misunderstanding." Beriadanwen knelt next to the man. "My sister will try to heal you. We mean you no harm, and were but passing through your land."
With their long knives the elves cut branches and twine, making a litter for the body of their captain. The farmer was healed, and brought to his bed where he could come to.
They lifted the body of Captain Fenras onto the litter, and folded his hands over his bow. And then they brought him home, their mission a failure.
The queen was disappointed, but showed understanding. She appointed them to a quiet corner of the Woods, where they could work together to mourn their loss. A hundred years passed until they would be sent out on their next mission..