Image courtesy of Unsplash
Steve had not expected to be invited to the celebration at Lord Lothar's court. He was still not sure it was a good idea. Elfen are not safe creatures. They may give a convincing performance of humanity, but they are not human. It was also incredibly dangerous to accept food and drink from them, but Lord Lothar had waved aside Steve's carefully worded concerns. The local paladin and exorcist were both here, which was reassuring. Steve didn't know them well but both Mike Doyle and Darren King had good reputations. Besides, it wasn't just elfen. The faerie court had plenty of werewolves and boggarts around with a couple of vampires politely sipping red liquid in the corner.
In the main part of the hall the elfen were getting drunk. As Steve sipped his plain red wine with caution, the elfen were pouring honey into heated wine and adding suspicious spices. One fae was already sitting in a corner giggling and pointing at nothing. Steve had not needed Mike's warning to stay off the honeyed wine.
More honey was being poured over fruit at the side and being brought around. Once again Mike gave an almost imperceptible shake of his head and Steve excused himself. Chopped strawberries and apples were handed round in bowls, shrouded in thick layers of the molten honey and sprinkled with more of the strange spice. Four of the elfen stood up and started to dance. Steve watched entranced. They wore human shapes but they had never looked less human as they whirled and spun around the hall. Steve blinked and checked his wine. The dancers' bodies seemed to flow from shape to shape as they traced their patterns around the room. Steve felt his eyes lose focus. There seemed to be trails of coloured light following their movements and hanging in the air to form intricate and elaborate geometry in the air. He glanced nervously around. The elfen seemed entirely at ease and he could hear a couple having noisy sex in the corner behind him but the others, the werewolves and the boggarts, were equally uneasy and the vampires had stood and were looking stern.
"Enough!" Lord Lothar's voice thundered suddenly and for a heartbeat the coloured light froze and dropped splintering to the ground. "I will not have enchantments danced when it is more than elfen present. It is an insult to my guests and an insult that I will not tolerate." There was an icy still in the hall before Lord Lothar waved a lordly hand. "But make merry. Today we celebrate the coming of a new paladin - we must enjoy."
As Mike made his way purposefully towards Lord Lothar, Steve found himself beckoned closer. Lord Lothar casually dipped a whole strawberry into the seasoned honey and looked at Steve. "You are surprised at me asking you to stay after your very welcome delivery of fifty barrels of honey. But have much to discuss. I need to speak to you about Lord Marius."
For anyone interested, this is the continuation of the Steve Adderson story, and you can read previous installments here. The Steve Adderson novel is coming along nicely, but I didn't expect it to take the twist that this image has inspired. I hope I am not being too pushy, but Lord Lothar, Mike Doyle and Darren King are all in my first novel, The Forgotten Village which is on Smashwords and at Amazon.