Greetings and welcome to my new weekly feature! Thanks to your participation in last week’s polls, we have the beginnings of what I hope will be a fun story.
Here is part one of the story, loosely titled Heritage. At the end, you’ll have a chance to choose what happens next. Hope you enjoy!
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The storm outside raged on, the lightning briefly illuminating the few scraggly trees outside the Virtuous Fox Tavern. Noshli gazed out the window, watching the trees thrash violently in the wind. She had been lucky to reach this place before the storm hit. Another traveler had tipped her off about this place, praising its food and the lack of bugs in its beds. “You can’t miss it,” the man had said. “Just look for the sign with a fox dressed in a monk’s habit.” Apparently the proprietor of the tavern had a sense of humor.
It was a good enough place, although anywhere would be good on a night like this The tap room was crowded, the roaring fire in the fireplace filling the room with welcome heat. Noshli watched the people who came close to her table and made sure that the hood of her cloak stayed put. The last thing she wanted was for anyone to find out what she was.
The cloak worked well, as long as she didn’t have to look directly at anyone. The hood hid her sharp, pointed ears that poked through her blond hair, but it did nothing to hide her eyes. They were silver, with narrow pupils like a cat. They were her father’s eyes. Elven eyes. The eyes of her people.
Or half my people, Noshli thought. She was grateful that the rest of her features were safely human. It had helped her blend in back home. Her mother, Gemma, had had the unfortunate luck of falling in love with an elf, whose tribe passed through her village. Noshli had only met her father once, but she could understand why her mother had been so entranced. Tall, blond, fair, with the piercing silver eyes of his kind, Naleniehl was an impressive sight. Noshli hoped he would remember her, but assumed that he would. Immortality did have its benefits.
The trouble was that Noshli had no idea where to find him. Humans and elves generally did not get along and tended to stay as far away as possible. Elves were nomads, who didn’t stay in one place for long. There were rumors of an elf encampment near Rirha, so that was where Noshli was headed. Her father was her last hope. Since her mother’s death, the villagers back home in Finna had turned against her, driving her out of the village, calling her a “filthy half-breed.” These were people Noshli had known all her life, who suddenly only saw her as an abomination. It had only been out of respect for her mother that Noshli had been tolerated at all. She shivered and drew he cloak closer around her shoulders, her finger tracing a long scorch mark on the wooden table in front of her. Her father would help her. He was her last chance.
She hoped the elves would be more accepting, despite the fact that she looked much more human than elvish. Where they were tall and thin, she was short and, well . . . not thin. Her skin was a warm, sun-kissed tan, a direct contrast to their ivory tones. If it hadn’t been for her eyes and ears, Noshli knew that her secret would have been safe. No one would have known about her elvish heritage.
But there was no point in dwelling on it. I am what I am, she thought, her head drooping slightly. She shook herself, deciding that it was probably time to go upstairs to her room, before she fell asleep at the table. Tomorrow, she would continue on her journey, but tonight . . . tonight, she could rest.
She was halfway up the steps when she heard a loud crash behind her.
Be sure to vote for what you want to happen next!