Erin stared at the elf. She had always played elves at her D&D table when she wasn’t DM’ing. The beauty of the creatures had always fascinated her.
“Excuse me,” the elf said, the wooden earrings clanking softly. “I asked you why you were traveling towards our village.”
Throbor bowed to the elven female. “We were seeking out survivors of Brangmar. We are not of this realm.”
The elf smiled. “I could tell that from the way you look, but you seem to speak our language fluently.”
“That’s because we met with Oghma,” Erin explained, “and he gave us the language we speak now.”
The elven woman looked impressed. “So, the gods speak to you? Why are you here, then?”
Aram spoke up this time. “We were summoned by a man named Sorley Aelfson. Perhaps you know of him and why he would do that?”
“Because the old man believes that he can save his child, the city, from its destruction.” The elf shook her head. “Maybe he can, but these Teblats are too powerful. They have taken over many beasts, and other creatures who hate civilization have flocked to their cause.”
Tribst nodded his head, his bulbous eyes catching the elf’s attention. “Yes, when you are old you wish all of your children to do well, and you see many more things as your children than the younger folk.”
“You know somewhat of how Sorley thinks, but he sees this whole region as his child. Not just the city.” The elf shook her head sadly. “We want the blight of the Teblats gone, but I don’t believe the city is the best thing for this realm.”
“Well, perhaps instead of one large city it will be a collection of towns.” Erin shrugged. “Just because it’s Brangmar doesn’t mean it needs to be the same Brangmar.”
The elf smiled. “Very well, you may come with us. I am Mother Ironbark. You may call me Mother Ironbark, or just Ironbark, but not just Mother.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Aram bowed deeply to Mother Ironbark.
“Now, follow us into the forest. We will grant you an audience with our elders.” Mother Ironbark motioned the group forward and turned back into a lioness.
“Well,” Tribst addressed his traveling companions. “Looks like we’re being escorted. Be on your best behavior…and that means you, frost giant.”
“Oh, stow it lizard boy.” Throbor patted Tribst on the back. “Sorry, salamander boy, not lizard.”
The four traveling companions chosen by Sorley moved onward, following Mother Ironbark and the other elves in lion form toward the north western forest.
– – –
As the party entered the forest the elves around them turned back from lions into their humanoid forms. They were beautiful, but the four travelers were not looking at them, rather they were looking at the cedar trees with bright red bark.
“What kind of trees are these?” Tribst brushed a bulbous finger against the bark of a tree. “They look like cedar trees, but their bark is a beautifully unnatural shade of red.”
“Those are rediron trees. The humans call tree’s sap red dragon piss because it smells horribly.” One of the elves that wasn’t Mother Ironbark replied. “However, they also made a delicious wine using that sap, so it does have its uses.”
“If you have any I would love to try it.” Tribst pulled his hand away from the bark of a rediron tree and continued following the group. “I imagine it has a powerful kick.”
“Oh, that it does.”