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Festival of Lanterns

Writer: Hanna Liljekvist
Added: 23.03.16
Menidiath date: 386.9.28
Tags: Lenori, Javenna


Rienle stuck out like a sore thumb from the people around her, even if she had toned down her look,

during her travels towards the Lenorian village she was sent ahead to. She kept her long, dark hair

in a braid with golden threads and light blue crystals woven into it and had also changed from her

non-existing pieces of clothing to more covering options as the nights grew colder. She envied the

body sorcerer’s ability to control their temperature as she wrapped a heavy pelt around her

shoulders.

 

She could still vividly remember her first steps into the foreign country. A small village barely

across the border from her beautiful Javenna which was a key point for the traders going further

into the warm deserts of her home land. She had looked upon the Lenorian’s curiously as she had

only caught glimpses of them before.

 

She had not been able to say no when Lasidaari had asked of her to join her in her travels and be her

personal scribe. Not only was this a great opportunity, but also a personal favor from a rising name

within the higher circles of her people. She would continue learning from one of the local diplomats

in the town as well and get to follow Lasidaari like a shadow and bask in her glory. She had heard

how her new employer tended to give priceless gifts to those she liked as well and the golden

threads in her hair were proof of a good start between the two women. Still she had felt slightly

nervous as she had left her home.

 

When she was about to embark on her journey further into Lenori she had, barely, stood eye to eye

with one of the strangest of creatures she had seen so far. A hairy and sturdy thing, much alike the

bjurgs described to her in her opinion, that was meant to carry her the rest of the way, as the forest

would be too harsh on her feet. Its large, fur covered tail kept on wagging as she studied the

creature. The excitement was all but mutual.

 

“What is that thing?” Rienle asked with her hand covering her mouth and nose due to the strong,

musky scent the creature released.

 

“Oh! He’s an Erug! We call him Ember. He’s quite energetic, but he’s a real softie deep down.” A

man shouted back while tying some goods to the saddle of another, almost identical Erug.

 

Rienle simply gave Ember a confusing look. As she turned to ask the Lenorian another question she

could feel the thing inch forward, reaching out its warm and wet tongue to lick her cheek. She let

out a light shriek at the sudden touch, as she didn’t react quickly enough to distance herself from the

creature. The men simply laughed at the young woman as Ember nuzzled his snout against her

neck, oblivious about the woman’s discomfort.

 

The travel had been uncomfortable, cold and a bit of an agony for the Javenian woman. The

Lenorians quickly got fed up with her love of comfort and their laughs slowly turned into bitter

resent at the woman’s complaints. Rienle didn’t mind the cold glares and whispered ill words

around the campfire, but couldn’t help feeling the isolation creeping up on her as she got further

away from everything she had known. At the end of the journey the only thing that still showed any

kind of pleasant feelings towards Rienle was Ember and as they reached the village she had not

spoken a word for several days.

 

A Javenian diplomat clad in mostly Lenorian styled clothing welcomed her with open arms and

quickly led her inside to be warmed by the fire, offering her food, drink and a bath to wash away the

hardships of the travel. She gladly accepted his hospitality, already longing for some real company

after so many days.

 

She decided to wear a light, slightly see-through dress as she returned to her host. The small bells

around her ankle sang softly as she walked across the room, catching the attention of everyone in

the room as always, and enjoyed the astonished and slightly unsettled whispers were exchanged

between the other guests.

 

“Enchanting as always, Rienle. I must apologize for the crudeness of my residence, but the locals

aren’t much for the luxuries of life and decadence, my dear.” the diplomat said while not being able

to take his eyes of the woman. “It has been so long since I enjoyed the pleasantries of my

country…”

 

Rienle didn’t hesitate when stepping into the stranger’s embrace and taking a light hold of his chin.

Her body still radiated with warmth after the bath and she could see a pleasant blush spread across

the diplomat’s cheeks as she pressed herself up against him.

 

“I will gladly remind you of the fine things in this world” Rienle whispered as her gaze scanned the

rest of the people in the room. Her eyes caught the sight of a young boy who had just stepped out of

what seemed to be the kitchen and almost had dropped the tray of warm meat he was holding at the

sight of her.

 

Rienle let out a light giggle before taking a step away from the diplomat’s warm embrace. “Let’s

not be rude, introduce me! I want to know everyone before the night is over!”

 

It had now been a while since that evening. Rienle sat, alone, in her room on the second floor,

watching the people pass by underneath her. She had quite a lot of duties to accomplish before

Lasidaari arrived, but it all seemed so boring, so easy. Men would fall at the mere flick of her hair

and she had quickly grown tired of it, even if it kept her bed warm.

 

She sighed, stepping up from her seat and throwing a poncho over her shoulders. It was a gift from

a trader and kept her warm as the breeze grew chiller by the day. It was of simple craft and felt

rough against her skin, but the locals seemed to give her much fewer amused looks as she passed by

in that way. The Lenorians seemed also to have grown used to her walking around the streets as she

enjoyed much less attention from the men and women around her as the days passed, much to her

dismay.

 

She didn’t like the feeling that had started to take a hold of her. She was not the kind to feel alone

and longing for attention. In Javenna she had numerous friends and more than enough lovers, but

here… no one seemed to actually care about her. They had even started to call her “Flickerling”

after the small and colorful flowers that appeared as summer arrived. When she asked about it from

the diplomat he said that the Lenorians considered it a weed to some extent as it had little use

besides being beautiful.

 

“Watch out!” a voice shouted from behind her as she absent-mindedly walked forwards. Rienle

stopped for a second, only to feel how arms wrapped around her. She was pulled down to the

ground as the sound of an arrow went past her with a hiss, barely missing her, as it broke one of the

gold chains in her hair on its way towards the target not too far behind her.

 

Rienle turned around towards her rescuer. She felt out of breath as she watched the young man lean

over her and met his blue eyed gaze met hers. He sounded furious as he started to reprimand her.

“Are you stupid or something? Even the kids around here know to not just walk out into the archery

range! Is there nothing but fluff between those shiny ears of yours?!” The youngling said with a

sharp tone.

 

Rienle let out a light ”hmph” as she heaved herself up slightly, holding her face an inch away from

the youngling’s. She opened her mouth to answer, but the man cut her off before she managed to

utter a sound.

 

“Don’t you dare start talking back to me missy, I know your kind. You’re all honeyed words and

silver tongues, but don’t know the first thing about how real life works. You just keep your head in

the clouds and think your tricks and magic can fix everything in the world. You don’t care about

anyone else but yourself, if you even think that far.”

 

Rienle simply laid against the cold ground as she listened to the harsh words being thrown towards

her. Her gaze flickered to the people walking past, who even though they seemed surprised by the

commotion and noise, didn’t lift a finger to stop the boy from harassing her.

 

For the first time in her life Rienle felt truly helpless. She didn’t like it, not one bit… but the worst

part was that according to these people, the people whom she had to work with and try to

understand to create a prosperous relationship with for her and her country’s sake, shared the

thoughts this boy was throwing in her face. She needed to do something about that.

“Well, you haven’t given me much of a chance have you?” She shouted back at him, cutting off his

berating and making him go quiet for a second.

 

“What can you do then? All you do is talk fancy with people and do stuff with them.” The

youngling said firmly with a slightly embarrassed tone in his voice.

Rienle looked around, trying to find a way to escape the situation. In desperation she pointed at the

young woman who was still holding the bow that had released the arrow in her hands. If children

could manage archery she could probably too. At least good enough to fool the boy for long

enough.

 

“You? An archer?” the youngling said with an amused scoff. “Why don’t you give it a try then?

Show us how good you are!”

 

Rienle realized her mistake very quickly as she had taken place at the end of the archery range and

was holding the bow in her hands. As she had never held a bow in her life she couldn’t quite figure

out how to nook the arrow in place. She tried her best to keep her composure as she studied the bow

and tried to draw it back. She could hear the children starting to snicker and giggle the longer it took

her to try figure out what to do.

 

“Your bows look so different to ours… I am also slightly out of practice…” Rienle explained

nervously as she finally managed to somewhat draw the bow and keep the arrow in place, but as she

released the string the arrow quickly dropped and slid against the ground. The children burst into

laughter and she could hear one of them even topple over and fall to the ground. 

 

Rienle felt how her cheeks started to go slightly red out of embarrassment. She started searching for

words as she stood there, trying to find something to say to save her dignity.

 

“Not bad for someone who has never held a bow in her life!” The youngling said as he stepped in

close to Rienle while picking up a new arrow. “Let me show you how it’s done.” He continued as

he took a light hold of Rienle’s hand, positioning it correctly on the bow and instructing her as he

showed her how to hold the arrow properly. He assisted her as she drew the bowstring back. The

arrow flew across the clearing and stuck to the very edge of its target. Had she been a kinetic

sorcerer this would have been an easy feat, as her sigils were of no use on such short notice.

Rienle smiled triumphantly, even if she had been assisted all the way through the badly aimed shot.

“Hah! Did you see that? No tricks or magic involved.” she said confidently and looked at the

Lenorian over her shoulder.

 

“You’ll need a lot of practice to be able to do it on your own though. Don’t celebrate too quickly

Flickerling.” he answered with a grin. “Now go get ready, there’s a celebration tonight. You’ll

probably need the rest of the day to prepare with all those fancy jewels and fabrics of yours.”

Rienle gave him a sly smile. “In that case you will see something I am much better at. Could you

come get me when it’s time… Sorry, what was your name again?”

 

The Lenorian grinned and nodded. “The name’s Jarek. Just don’t think I’ll be a push over,

Javenian.”

 

Night had already started to fall as Rienle finished touching up her makeup. She had chosen one of

her more festive outfits for the occasion: a sky-blue silk dress that was loosely wrapped around her

body and tied around her neck. Instead of a braid she had gone for an artistic up do with crystals

and jewels embedded into it and long golden chains hanging down behind her ears and down on her

chest. Her bare feet and legs were now covered in floral patterns that crept up under the hem of her

dress, only reappearing as they ran down her arms.

 

A knock on the door to her room woke her up from her thoughts. She quickly got up on her feet and

moved across the room, her hips lightly swinging from side to side as she went to open the door. As

she opened it she felt her hands shake slightly. Why did she feel so nervous?

As expected it was the blue eyed Lenorian from earlier that had come to get her. He looked a bit

cleaner and polished now though. His dark hair had been combed back and hidden under his 

headwrap, a piece of bright green cloth with dark waves as a trim. He grabbed Rienle’s hand

without a word and started pulling her along after him.

 

“Hurry up, the others have already started.” He said excitedly.

 

Rienle didn’t really know whether she liked being the one pulled along or not for once. She was

used to being the more active part who encouraged others, not the other way around. Sadly she had

no idea where the festivities where held, so she had no choice but to follow the Lenorian.

The streets were already dark in the village as they rushed onwards. Their footsteps echoed off the

walls as they made their way through the empty streets towards the edge of the village. As they got

closer Rienle could hear music playing and a glow started to appear between the trees. The

Lenorian stopped and stepped around Rienle with a wide grin as he covered her eyes with his hands.

“…what are you doing?” she asked with a giggle.

 

“It’s not as fancy as the parties you are used to probably, so I’ll at least try make it a surprise.”

She could hear the youngling giggle behind her as he guided her forwards with light pushes and

pulls. He kept a slow pace as the path they walked was quite uneven and roots crossed it quite often.

She could hear loud voices and music getting closer as they slowly made their way forwards

between the trees.

 

Rienle felt a slight warmth against her skin as they stopped. The sound of laughter and singing was

overwhelming. The smell of smoke filled her nostrils, originating from a fire somewhere. The

situation felt familiar, but still completely different to what she was used to. Even the atmosphere

was different from back home.

 

“Alright. Let’s see what you think of our traditions, Flickerling.” The Lenorian said as he released

his grip of her. “What do you think?”

 

As Rienle opened her eyes she was at first blinded by the amount of light in the small clearing. As

she got used to it she started to distinguish what must have been hundreds of lanterns covering the

whole clearing. A bonfire crackled warmly in the middle and a few smaller fires had been set up for

cooking it seemed. People were gathered around tables, laughing and enjoying the company.

 

Musicians stood on a makeshift stage at the opposite side and several people were already dancing

in front of it. Rienle felt speechless. She could hardly believe these were the same people that she

had seen on a daily basis. They were so happy, so warm and alive.

 

“This is unbelievable” she managed to mumble after a moment’s silence. “…and very strange.”

The Lenorian laughed as he stepped into the clearing, pulling Rienle along once again. Everyone

seemed to greet them as they passed by with a wide smile. Rienle could feel the looks of everyone

on her as her jewelry and body paint shimmered in the light that surrounded them, but for once she

didn’t feel any ill wills from anyone.

 

“Now then, Flickerling, let’s show you what true Lenorian hospitality is.”