Chapter three: Decision
Drell woke the next morning to the sound of a flute being played. The haunting sound brought him from his room into the main house where he found Neldaroe sitting in the light of the bug lights with a hand carved ash flute at his lips. Sitting at the table wrapped in the spell of the music was Mina wearing a silver gown that Neldaroe had found for her, no doubt stuffed in some old trunk or another. Seeing Drell standing in the doorway Neldaroe smiled and played the last notes of the song. As the last notes faded Drell came into the room and helped himself to a rose cake, fresh baked, and said,
“Elder I thought you had given up that foolishness” Mina turned to him
“What foolishness? It was beautiful Elder” Neldaroe smiled and bowed, Drell shrugged. Loroedor entered then and said, at the site of Mina,
“Oh, good morning I’m glad to see you recovered miss and I am sorry to trouble you but my brother and I were given orders to bring you before the Councill as soon as possible” At first Mina looked puzzled and then resigned. She sighed, nodded and followed Loroedor out with Drell following close behind.
“Ah, Loroedor we didn’t expect you to be coming so early, I thank you for saving us the trouble of sending a summons,” said the King, he stood at their entrance.
“And this of course is the young lady you told us of. Welcome, welcome my dear,” said Tassaiodor pressing his lips to Mina’s forehead. Mina blushed and the king took his seat.
“Before we make our decision my dear the other counsel members and my self would like to know the details of how you came to be in such trouble with these Bandits Drell has told us of” said Tassaiodor raising a goblet of mead to his lips. Mina frowned slightly and said,
“My family and I live in Talowen. My father is the mayor’s younger brother so we don’t have that much money. My father just recently gave my hand in marriage to Lord Carmon Stealwell and he ordered Brom, a forester in his employ, to escort me to him. Brom helped me to load a waggon with the few things that I thought to bring with me into my new married life and we set out two days ago. Yesterday a group of Bandits serounded our waggon. They wanted all that I was carrying and they also demanded myself. Brom attempted to reason with them even offering himself as replacement but they would not hear it. He drew his sword and told me to run so I ran.You know, I think, the rest” The King was silent for a while then motioned for a small boy who was standing at the end of the room to step forward.
“Take the young lady into the gardens, give her food and drink if she wants it. When our decision is reached I’ll send for you” the boy nodded and led Mina gently from the room. As soon as Mina left the Council came alive. Lord Darsdell rose from his seat,
“I say we send her back to her father. After all by all reason she’s his problem not ours” Drell stepped forward.
“No we cant do that. You heard what she said; her father doesn’t give a damn about her. Its pretty plain, in my eyes anyway, that she doesn’t want to go back” to this Darsdell folded silently into his seat again. Lord Roladond stood then,
“In that case I say we send her to her soon to be husband for he is the one who now has authority over her, not her father” again Drell spoke.
“We cant do that either. Arranged marriages are a curse and a hardship to any woman and we have never supported them. Besides that we know what kind of a man Stealwell is, he doesn’t deserve a hobgoblin for a wife and he certainly doesn’t deserve Mina” Roladond scowled
“Well then what would you suggest? Further I had no idea you and this woman had grown so friendly with one another. Perhaps young man you want her for yourself?” Drell paled and bowed his head, Roladond smirked. Loroedor stepped forward then,
“We could take her to the Temple of Second life. The clerics there have never turned anyone away and she can stay there for as long or as short a time as she likes” a silence passed through out the Council. It was Tassaiodor who broke it,
“You`re level headed Loroedor, you`re also vary sensible, and you`re right Second Life would be the perfect place for her to stay. I trust that you and your brother shall act as her escort?” Loroedor nodded as did Drell.
“Vary well then” Tassaiodor closed his eyes for a few moments, the boy and Mina walked in moments later.
“My dear it has been decided that you shall be escorted to the Temple of Second Life. Do you have any objections to this?” Tassaiodor folded his hands on the table. Mina shook her head
“No your Highness I have no objection once or ever”
“In that case my dear fare thee well,”
They returned to find Neldaroe sitting outside of his house reading a book on gardening. At their approach he placed the book aside.
“I wonder if you three might care to join me and Reiond on a little picnic lunch?” Mina readily agreed, as did Loroedor and Drell, simply because they had nothing else to do.
“You and Mina go on a head Elder, we’ll meet up with you in short time” said Loroedor placing his hand heavily on Drell’s shoulder. The Elder nodded and led Mina away with him.
“I have to talk to you,” hissed Loroedor leading Drell to the back of the house and then out into the woods so they would not be seen.
“Are you mad?” asked Loroedor as he shoved Drell up against a tree.
“What are you talking about?”
“You know exactly what I’m talking about. You love her don’t you?” Drell gazed silently upon his brother and then looked away swiftly.
“Dont be ridiculous. You are the mad one here I think and you`ve no idea what you are talking about”
“Do I not?” he did and Drell knew it. Loroedor had known the love of a human woman before his little brother had been born. They had not stayed together, which had been for the best, and so their time together had been short but it had hurt Loroedor greatly. Small wonder that he did not wish the same for his brother. Regardless Drell looked up and said,
“Then why did you fight for her?” Loroedor`s eyes became stone. Drell matched his brothers gaze,
“Why did you?” There was silence, then Loroedor sighed and embraced his younger brother.
“I’m sorry Drell but I had to know. And I only asked because I care about you. I don’t want to see you go through that. You understand, don’t you?” Drell smiled.
“I know,” Loroedor returned his smile and the two continued on to Reiond’s.
Reiond was a philosopher and storyteller. He wasn’t quite as old as Neldaroe but he was a close second. Their picnic was enjoyed in the sheltering grace of a mountain spring that Reiond had discovered years ago. After lunch Reiond regaled them with his stories, that all, save for Mina, had heard before. The evening carried on in this same way and they spent diner with Reiond. By the time they departed it was vary late and there wasn’t much that any of them could do but go straight to bed.