Private Tales The Mage and The Minstrel

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Namidre Dhendizad was more than a little upset. Her tears over having been cast from her home had already been shed, so she didn't cry as much as she had the first day or two, but it still shook her to her core. She had been walking through forests to grasslands and eventually to a more sandy place, something unlike anything she had seen before. But she saw the river, and her parched throat demanded a drink. She stumbled forward weakly, and kneeling beside the river and letting her silver staff fall to the ground, where it landed with a soft thump, she thrust her hands into the river and drank. She took several gulps, cooling her burning throat and soothing its scratchy parchedness. The sun was nearing it's ascent, the eastern sky becoming brighter as her beloved stars hid from it's cruel gaze. She had to hide from it, or risk the severe sunburns that her people had been known to get after prolonged exposure.

Picking up her staff she walked along the riverbank, looking for a rock or tree or bush to take shelter under, instead she found a small dock, a ways away was a village, far enough away to be safe from floods, and with it's houses on stilts it was even safer, but not so far as to be deprived of the fish and traffic that the river brought. She had no time to go to the village and seek shelter there, but there was a dock that could protect her from the cruel gaze of the sun. So she ducked under and curled up among the grass, and laid her head down to sleep. It wasn't long before a boat came to the docks, but the river was to low to actually dock the boat, so they had to pull it up onto the shore. Among them was a man, a young man, carrying a lute, and a sword.
 
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TheScarletDastard

Desmonthenes “Dez” Oracion
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“Pull, lads! Pull!”

The small crew strained anew at the call from the boatswain, gripping lead ropes and hauling at the little talbar with everything they had. In the rich dark mud of the River Bystra, it was a struggle not to overbalance and fall on your face. The progress of the craft up the bank was slow, partially because of one the 5-man crew wasn’t helping his fellows.

Rather than lend his aid, Desmonthenes was climbing the moist embankment, hands reaching down to find purchase in the lush grass. He made it to the little dock and slung his old lute off his back. He let out a contented sigh. They‘d finally made town.

Setting down the instrument, his swordbelt was halfway undone when he caught sight of her. She was lying rather close by, a testament to Dez’s occasional habit of missing what was right in front of him. A young woman of rather exotic appearance, lying asleep in the grass. This was no village girl, not one of the Bystra’s people. Where had she come from? Where did people look like.... that?

“HEY! Songbird! You done surveying the terrain?”

Dez gave a start; he’d been staring. Tossing his sword and accoutrement on the ground near his lute, he ran back to the talbar, hopefully before she woke up and wondered why he’d been so close.

Seizing a lead rope and yanking with a vengeance, the young man quipped as the oarboat slid up the riverbank, “So, uh, is Flavus even pushing back there?”

A chuckle from one of the others, and a grunt from Flavus. “Stow it, half pint.”
 
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It was the call from one of the men that woke her up, the same man who called the minstrel Songbird. It wasn’t a bad alias for a minstrel to be truthful. She quietly looked up, and panicked when she saw so many people so close to her. She slowly reached by to pick up her staff and retreat further under the dock to avoid notice, she wasn’t the sneakiest elf around though, and she wasn’t very gifted in moving quietly despite her elven heritage. But they were busy which gave her an opportunity to retreat with less of a risk of being seen. But unlucky for her, she had already been seen by one of them without her knowledge, and he was undoubtedly aware of what she was doing.

So she hid under the nearby dock, hoping to the hidden stars that she wasn’t observed, which of course, she was. But it wouldn’t be until he approached her that she’d know about it.
 

TheScarletDastard

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As the other cargohands lashed up the talbar, Dez looked around for the woman who'd disappeared from her spot in the grass. Where in the world.... ah. Quiet breath and a distinct figure under the floorboards. She obviously wasn't anxious to introduce herself.

"Oy Dez, let's get to town! Remon said first round's on him!"

Dez kicked his scabbard and belt across the old wooden floor, hopefully obscuring the hidden stranger's profile. His new friends from the talbar crew were harmless, but if she didn't want to be detected, that was her business.

The young minstrel flopped onto his back in the grass, right in the depression of a prone body she'd left behind. Hands behind his head, he grinned at his mates. "You go! I need a rest, I'll be along."

Two of the other sailors looked thoughtful at that. "Hey, not bad weather for it. Might take a nap nearby myself."

Blast. Couldn't have them hanging about. So Dez seized his lute. "Oh, I never said anything about sleep." And he strummed a mournful chord, singing in an overly dramatic tremolo. "Listen and weep o'er the tale of Fae'n Ranon...."

"Argh, not that song again!" They rolled their eyes and turned to leave.

Chuckling, Dez plucked through the rest of the pattern, letting a few minutes pass in quiet peace, enjoying the sound of the river. Then;

"You can come out. They're halfway to the village by now."
 
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Damn, she was seen. She was surprised at first surprised when he kicked his sword and scabbard over top of her, and assumed that it had been an accident. She had heard the other men call to him right before he had kicked the sheathed sword, Dez, a strange and short name to her, but she knew that other cultures had other names and languages so she didn't dwell on it. And she kept observing, it appeared that he was a minstrel by the lute, and she was actually impressed with how well he sung. It wasn't until he called out to her that she realized that he was an on the spot thinker, and it dawned on her that he had intentionally sent them away when he mentioned the song that they had obviously had enough of. She was cautious and peeked out nervously before slowly coming out from under it, though not by much, and clearly ready to bolt should he prove hostile.

"You can come out. They're halfway to the village by now."
"Wh-who are you?" Her common wasn't the best, and she stuttered nervously.
 

TheScarletDastard

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Putting his lute aside, the young man reclined fully with his hands behind his head, and closed his eyes. Adopting a posh and over the top Anirian accent, he declaimed, "Desmonthenes Oracion, Esquire, at your service." He peeked one eye open at her and gave a slantways grin. His tone shifted to something far more casual, almost immature. "Call me Dez."

A quick one-eyed glance told him a lot. For one, he was grateful for his decision to keep her concealed from the others. She had elven good looks and wore quite a low neckline under that dark cloak. His riverhand friends would've tripped over each other to make a pass. As skittish as she appeared, that could have ended badly.

She was clearly elven, meaning she was probably older than Dez's parents had been when they'd been... taken, so it wouldn't do to treat her like a dew-eyed farm girl.

However, she didn't bear much resemblance to any elf of the Falwood Dez had ever met, which was a fair number. Silently wondering after her homeland again, he shut his eye and asked, "What do they call you?"
 
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"Namidre, Namidre Dhendizad, my friends call me Nami. It's... a pleasure to meet you Dez." She said, just as timidly as before. "Why did you hide me? Why didn't you call me out to all of your companions?"

She carefully approached him, still a little unsure of what to expect, she didn't like the idea of being so open with someone, mostly because she was afraid of what might happen, but she also knew that she wouldn't be capable of surviving long without someone else's help, so she had little other choice but to trust him.

"I... I'm sorry to have caused you trouble, and, thank you."
 
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TheScarletDastard

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Eyes still closed, Dez chuckled. "No trouble, Miss Dhendizad. Folk who hide generally aren't fond of being ousted to a bunch of strangers; it was common courtesy."

A nagging was starting in his stomach, so Dez opened the satchel slung about him, and produced a cloth bundle. Setting aside his lunch, he dug further for a waterskin. The boy took a swig, then offered it to Namidre. "Have a drink. It's only water."

Well, even if she was older than Dez's parents had been, she certainly seemed a little lost. There was a weariness in her posture, her eyes. Had she been separated from a group?
 
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"Have a drink. It's only water."
She was nervous to accept, but she hadn't had water in a while and she was in desperate need of nourishment. She gingerly accepted the waterskin and drank from it, then gave it back to him. "I appreciate it Mr Oracion, you have my gratitude. So what exactly are you, a minstrel or a soldier? You carry a sword but you also carry a lute, and clearly know how to use it."

She sat on the grass, a little ways away from him but not so far as to appear mistrusting, just cautious, which she was.