Awaiting The Ship (Part 1)

Marla Khenvra, the ancient dark elven Queen of Dhesabro and one of the former matriarchs of the drow House of Khenvra’Borga was enjoying an evening out under the stars. She had only been in the surface world for little over a week and had spent most of that time inside a carriage. Powers beyond her ability to control had taken hold of her destiny and delivered her from her old home in the underdark first to the surface world itself and then as quickly as could be safely managed across the most alien landscape she could have imagined to a place she was told was the almost mythical Havre d’Anges. According to the all-but forgotten lore of the drow this was where the elves of Partum would gather in order to await the arrival of the ships that would carry them across the sea to the eternal paradise of the faerie folk.

Brought in on a soft, heavily pillowed stretcher the old dark elven woman had been in awe of the soaring architecture of this hallowed place. She had only been taken out of the carriage during the nights so that she wouldn’t be unduly subjected to the glare of the sun. Having never seen the sun, like many of her ilk, Marla would have found it painful beyond words. Even the night sky was bright. Marla marveled at the moon and found the stars completely enchanting. It was at night that she had been brought into the amazing Havre d’Anges and the attendants carried her effortlessly and gently to a room where she could rest. But Marla didn’t wish to rest there, she wanted them to carry her outside where she could stare up into the heavens. Her life in this world was drawing to a close and she wanted to now immerse herself in seeing as much of this mysterious place as she could.

The attendants had dutifully complied and carried Marla into one of the dozens of gardens that could be found all about Havre d’Anges. Unable to move her withered legs, Marla squirmed until she could see the stars clearly. Her arms weren’t all that functional either, but she was able to point her fingers in the air as she traced lines between the stars. So many twinkling lights! It was so unlike anything she had ever seen or could imagine.

Marla was startled by the sound of an elderly man’s voice, soft as an elf but with a bit of an edge which betrayed his drow elven heritage. “Quite the scene, isn’t it? Are you new to star gazing?”

Marla turned her head as far as she was able and saw a dark elven man, likely as old as she was, standing a few feet away with a smile on his face and his hands clasped in front of him. He wasn’t dressed like the attendants were, so Marla deduced that he too had made the journey here as his life was drawing to a close. But there was something in his accent that suggested that he was unaccustomed to speaking the language of the dark elves. Marla attempted a smile, but the concept was something of a novelty to her and only infrequently employed. “I am quite unaccustomed to the sight of it. They are bewitching.” She said softly before turning her gaze once more to the night sky.

The dark elven gentleman stood quietly for a moment before asking, “Do you mind if I sit here a while with you? I hadn’t taken the time to be around my own people when I was young, and now I find it remarkably soothing to chat with those from the underdark.”

Marla was taken aback by this. She had never found dark elves soothing. In fact, that was one word she would never have used to describe them. Dark elves were violent, chaotic, cruel, sneaky and backstabbing. They could be malicious, greedy, vindictive, hateful, lustful and always angry. But never soothing.

Looking at the gentleman with something akin to horror mixed with amusement, Marla said, “I don’t think that soothing is the word you were looking for. But no, I do not mind your being here. I did not know that there would be others here.” She wiped her hair from her cheek. “You know, other old drow. I didn’t know what to expect.”

The dark elven gentleman motioned with his hand and one of the carved stone benches in the garden slid forward across the pavers and stopped where he pointed his finger. He smiled again at Marla and sat down where they could see one another if they wished and yet still had the whole sky above them to gaze upon. His voice was soft and strangely reassuring. “Am I to gather that your journey here was not a long process, carefully planned and carried out?” he asked as he crossed one leg over the other and clasped his hand on his knee. He had no visible jewelry, but his dark red robe had a sort of golden shimmer to the fabric.

Marla smiled again, and this time it felt a bit more natural. Her voice cracked ever so slightly because she wasn’t accustomed to speaking much as of late. “No, it was all rather sudden. My idiot son probably doesn’t even know I am gone.” Marla glanced at the gentleman before looking away quickly back at the night sky. “My trusted bodyguard arranged it. Some wierdos from the surface realms had blundered into Dhesabro, and Dunniwyrm told them he would sneak them out back to where they belonged if they would take me too so that I could come here. I guess there is a transport of some sort to take us on to wherever we go when we are done here.” her voice trailed off as her energy waned. Marla was suddenly quite tired and aware of her age.

The elderly dark elven man nodded his head and said quietly, “The ships. They sail in right over the horizon from the west and come into the harbor here. Then they come and tell those that are gathered here that their turn has come. They have a list of names. Who knew elves could be that organized?”

Marla snickered and looked over again at her soft-spoken companion. His face was turned up to the night sky, and he seemed as enamored of it as she was. She too looked up into the night sky and closed her eyes. The cool breeze in the garden filled her nostrils with strange and delightfully confusing smells from flowers she had never before encountered. Swiftly sleep crept upon her and just like that Marla was softly snoozing.