“I can’t believe you guys are falling for that!” Faute spat, looking at the members of the group who didn’t go into Capita.
Ellen shrugged, “It’s well known that the people of Capita hate the other races. They have reasons for some of it, but mostly I think they are just hateful.”
“According to Percival! He’s probably lying!”
Strozazand tossed a small book at Faute. She missed the catch because her nose was too high up in the air for her to see the book coming her way. It struck her chest and fell to the ground. “Remember when we told him that no one could be so stupid to just hate everyone? Then he brought this back?” The book in question detailed the horrors of non-human races – including what would happen to you if you engaged in intercourse with them.
Mary picked it up from where it had fallen to the ground, “I didn’t realize you had held onto this filth so long.”
Strozazand shrugged mumbling, “It pays to be informed.”
Shandra who had been ignoring the asinine conversation in favor of breakfast wandered over to look at the book over Mary’s shoulder, “I remember that book. Sir Wilbur ordered them to all be burned because of how disgusting it was.” She glanced at Stroz, “They had over one hundred and fifty words or phrases for elf that meant whore. I must say, I hadn’t expected them to be so articulate.”
The tips of Faute’s ears turned red. “Don’t you see? That was his ploy! He wants you to think of him as our emissary so he can cheat us blind!” Blank faces turned back to their breakfasts. “Fine! I’ll go by myself!”
Finos gave a gentle, respectful tug on her robe. It was clear he had been trying to get her attention for a while. “Faute, I snuck down there last night and they had some pretty graphic posters of what they wanted to do to elves. I don’t think that booklet was lying. In fact, I think it may have been understated.”
Or at least, he tried to say that. But when she saw who it was, tugging on her robe, she shrieked and slapped him. “Don’t touch me you filthy half man!”
Even with her calling him a half man – anyone else would have found a knife in their ribs for that – he still tried to warn her.
She kicked at him, “Don’t touch me!”
“Come on now, he was just trying to get you to listen to him!” Ellen shook her head in disgust, “No need to get violent.”
Finos looked up at Ellen and smiled briefly in thanks.
Faute sniffed in disdain, “Can you resist those obscene thoughts for even a moment, Finos?” Faute needed to believe that Finos was a sex crazed beast. She had decided that was his entirety years ago. Her disdain came from that assumption, an assumption that she would never revisit. If it turned out that she was wrong, that his every respectful gesture wasn’t a terrible sexual plot then she was wrong for the constant abuse she hurled at him. Only someone cruel or evil would do the things she was doing… to someone innocent. But he is a beast, so I’m only treating him how he deserves.
Faute stomped off. She made her own way to Capita. She would show them. The fools. Needless to say, Faute didn’t believe Katrina’s prophesy. Katrina is always manipulating people so she can be in charge! She is a cowardly bully! But I see through it, I see her for the slut she really is. Always stringing along Cole and flirting with Finos! With those thoughts firmly embedded in her head, she reasoned that there was no reason she shouldn’t go to Capita and see it’s wonders. Katrina’s just trying to keep something nice from me!
Faute pushed her hair away from her ears. She was proud of her points. Her father always told her to hide them outside Pode, but the only thing she was ashamed of was how her friends were uncultured swine. As she approached Capita, the size of the crowd was overwhelming. There were more people waiting to get into Capita then there were in all of Pode. It was staggering. But she was an elf and she wouldn’t be cowed by these humans. She pushed her way forward, through the crowd using a small magic to force people in front of her out of her way. As she shoved them aside people’s heads started turning, watching her.
A threat triggered her instinctive defensive reaction, she whipped around and fired off a beam of gold and silver light. The tomato burst, some of the juices being vaporized, but a little bit splattered Faute’s hair.
She used an enchantment to make her voice boom. “How dare you worthless humans assault me? Show yourself so that I can destroy you!”
The crowd was silent for a collective moment before a tidal wave of produce began to pelt her. She was able to destroy some of them with her defensive magic. Some of it splattered on the field of force that she had been using to push through the people, but there was so much she couldn’t stop it all. She fled deeper into the city, searching for a tavern to duck into.
She ran past graphic pictures of what should be done to the other races, but she didn’t notice them. She didn’t notice that the first inn she saw, The Talking Horse also had one of these posters on it. She slipped into it. It was packed. Something that would come as no surprise since the people were fleeing the outlying towns. But Faute didn’t know that. She just thought Capita was always this packed. It was the first city she had ever seen. She elbowed her way to the bar. She felt filthy for having to rub against so many humans to get here.
“How can I help you miss?”
“A hot bath if you please.”
The bartender shook his head, “No can do. All my rooms are full.” He paused eyeing her suspiciously, “Where are you from? You don’t sound like you are from the inner towns.”
“Most recently from Pode.” Always actually.
“Pode?” he laughed, “Get out of here, I have paying customers to deal with.”
Faute was shocked, “But I have money!”
He laughed again, heartily. This time some of the patrons joined in, “Your wooden coins aren’t worth anything here.”
“Wooden?” She was stunned, “I have coppers like anyone else.”
The bartender laughed and walked away.
Faute made her way to the fireplace. It was the only clear place in the tavern. If I can’t get clean I can at least get dry. A single upholstered chair was by the fire with a rug under it. No one stood on the rug even though the rest of the tavern was packed to the gills. An old man, dressed in clothes finer than any she had ever seen, sat in the chair enjoying a hearty pint of ale.
The knight in the chair looked up at the filthy woman who had come to his fire. Normally, he wouldn’t let someone set foot on his carpet, let alone someone so dirty. But he saw from where her hair was plastered to her skull that she was an elf, a very dangerous thing to be, and he was in need of something being done. Perhaps he could use her? If not, there was always time to throw her to the common folk. “Girl. You there, the filthy peasant.”
Someone shoved Faute toward him. “Yes…” How dare anyone speak to me that way! But she saw the ring on his finger marking him a knight so she didn’t retaliate, “sir?”
The knight cocked his head when she began speaking, “I recognize that accent. Tell me, do you by chance know Sir Wilbur?”
“Yes. He is the lord over Pode.”
“Ah, Pode.” The knight was quiet for a moment before gesturing to a stool by the fire. It hadn’t been there before, but Faute wasn’t observant enough to have noticed that. “I believe the king is meeting with a delegation from Pode. Even Sir Wilbur’s granddaughter is part of it. Were you not important enough to be included in the delegation?”
Faute sat on the offered stool, “Of course I am important! They sent me in to see what could be seen. Talk to the people that sort of thing. All very important.” She waved her hand dismissively. Her lie struggled to sound convincing to even to her.
The knight smiled. “That was wise of them, seeing how useful and intelligent you are.” He looked away for a moment, touching his ear, “My sources tell me that the king is requesting your friends kill the orc chieftain. I happen to know something he won’t bother to tell your friends. Would you like to know what that information is?”
Faute nodded slowly. I’m not certain what he would know that is useful since he couldn’t see through my lie… maybe it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was?
“The orc chieftain has trolls working for him. At least two. I know this because they stole my horse, Paint. If you are able to find and return him in good health I will reward you handsomely.”
“How will I know him?”
The knight chuckled, “This inn is named for him. Believe me, if you find him. You’ll know he is the one.”
I hate riddles. She considered the name of the inn for a moment, This horse Paint can’t possibly talk! That’s impossible. I suppose I’ll have to figure it out later. “Of course.”
The knight slipped a ring off his finger. He held it up to his lips, breathing on it gently before shining it for a moment on his sleeve. It wasn’t his signet ring, just a simple gold band with a green stone in it. “Please take this ring as my thanks for looking for Paint. Even if you aren’t able to find him, or save him, you may keep it. Should you run into the trolls it will help you.”
“Thank you, but what is it for?”
“Three times a day it can shoot a ball of acid. I wish I had it when the trolls took Paint.” He sighed, “But you need it more than I do.”
“Thank you.” She said slipping the ring on her finger.
He snapped his fingers and four guards came toward them from the crowd. “Now, it appears to me, unless my eyes deceive me that you have elf ears. Something that usually only occurs when there is also elf blood.”
Faute tried to toss back her hair so she could show off her ears, but her hair was so matted she just looked foolish. “Of course!”
“Capita tends to frown on elf blood, really any non-human blood. As I believe you may know by now. I’ll have my guards escort you out of the city so you aren’t hurt.”
“I’m not really-”
“No, my dear, I insist. I don’t want you to be harmed after we made are bargain.” Nor do I want your foul elf stink stinking up my air any longer. His false smile couldn’t be kept up any longer. Disdain closed his face once more. Not long after Faute and the guards had left, some peasant new to the area stepped on the carpet looking to warm himself by the fire.
Sir Reginald snapped his fingers and two guards emerged from the crowd, took the peasant outside and beat him. No one stepped on Sir Reginald’s rug without his permission. The elf would serve her purpose and then she too would be punished for her insolence.