Part Eleven: The Breath Before The Plunge
THE BREATH BEFORE THE PLUNGE
‘This plan is so stupid’.
Krish leaned against the moss-covered wall of the tunnel. He was trying to look nonchalant, as though to make it look as if it were the most normal thing in the world: standing inside a moss tunnel that was part of an underground network of similarly strange tunnels, waiting for a psychic message sent by a magic-wielding, ancient-and-wise-but-looks-like-she’s-nine princess of the Elves, directing him to pull the massive, rusty bronze lever that was built into the ground before him, so that the tunnel network could be raised into the open air, and then…
…Krish tried not to think about what was supposed to happen then, it just seemed far too impossible to work. On the other hand, he’d recently encountered two Elves and a zombie, beings whose existence he had — up until recently – fervently denied.
He shivered, slightly, then; he remembered the glare Selebriar had given him when they had first (formally) met, and realized that the Elf probably didn’t like him much: he had been picking on Drake, and Drake was obviously some sort of ally of Selebriar’s. Krishten swallowed, hard. He suddenly felt that Selebriar’s bad side was not a good side to be on.
He tapped into the psychic bonds Layleanel had set up between the four companions, sending a telepathic message to Selebriar.
A few moments passed by in silence. Then,
‘Discendore’, came the toneless reply. It was at this point that Krish realized he had no idea what to say next.
‘So, uh…Elf, huh?’
There was a pause, during which Krish repeatedly gave himself mental face-palms for being awkward. After some time, there came a reply.
‘…Better than being Human, is it?’
‘I would not know. I have never been human’.
Krish kicked himself mentally, thinking, gahstupidstupidstupid…
He took a deep breath, and kicked himself for real, then; and blurted out:
The answer that came had an air of curiosity to it. ‘What for?’
‘For being nasty to Drakendrar. For being nasty in general. Please forgive me.’
‘You are forgiven’, came the light, bemused voice inside his head. He breathed outward. That was easy.
‘Thank you’. He was silent for a while; and, feeling that more might be expected of him, decided to try and socialize a little.
‘So. You live in the forest?’
‘Is it worse than living in a town?’
‘I prefer it to urban settlements, actually. I suppose you could say it’s an Elf thing.’
There was a fourth pause, longer than usual. Krish was starting to realize that he might have said the wrong thing, when an answer came, in a soft voice.
‘A sister. Briarthorn.’
‘I guess your parents really liked briars’, said Krish, in desperately jovial tones. He regretted it immediately.
What sounded like a sigh resonated in his head.
‘That was tasteless’, said Selebriar flatly.
The conversation, which by then had grown rather uncomfortable in Krish’s opinion, was abruptly cut off by Layle’s voice, which came resounding in his skull. Positions, was the single word spoken, and Krish hurriedly took his.