“Aren’t dragons mythical? I mean they don’t really exist…right?” Bobby asked. The group gave him a silent look, the kind that suggested he wasn’t entirely sane. He supposed he wasn’t. After all, he was arguing with elves, a dwarf, a mage and a halfling over the existance of dragons. “Oh, right then.” He said quietly.
“A dragon hunt eh? Well do we at least get weapons and things?” Irknar boomed surprisingly cheerfully.
“Of course, we’ll even provide you with horses.” Thorellin told him. “I’m not about to send you out there with a sharp stick and a few pebbles after all.”
“Excellent! There’s nothing like a dragon hunt to make your day.” Irknar grinned.
“Oh? You’ve hunted many of the beasts then?” Elredor asked the smaller man.
“Well…no. But my grandfather assures me that it’s very invigorating.”
The details of the mission were discussed for some time, until the main hall darkened and sunlight was gradually replaced with candlelight. Not that Bobby really heard a word of what was said. A dragon. He’d never even seen a dragon and now he was expected to go out and fight one? He shook his head in disbelief as they were led to their respective rooms for a good night’s sleep. Elredor startled him by placing a hand firmly on his shoulder.
“Cheer up, it’s not as bad as it sounds really.” The elf smiled at him. “Loads of people have gone after dragons and returned alive. No reason to think we won’t be fine. After all, we’re no strangers to adventures eh?”
“Adventures? I’m a bloody office temp! I spend eight hours a day typing things up for people and making coffee!” Bobby growled. Elredor blink confusedly.
“Office temp? That sounds very adventurey to me!” He flashed a grin as he spoke. Bobby glared at him silently.
“Don’t worry, you’re here because of us so we’ll look after you. Don’t be too concerned about it. It’ll be fun. Like a holiday. We’ll travel through lovely countryside and meet nice people on the way…” Tallia tried to cheer Bobby up. The stopped outside his room. “Look, go get some sleep and we’ll set off tomorrow. We’re not going to make you do anything you don’t want to we’re just asking you to come along.”
“I…I guess. No harm in seeing what happens I suppose. It’s not like I have much choice anyway. You lot are the only people I know in this place.” He sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose. “Goodnight anyway.” Bobby turned and entered the room and shut the door gently behind himself.
“If he doesn’t have to do anything dangerous, do I still have to?” Bren whimpered.
Bobby stripped out of the fancy robe and noticed his clothes had been laundered and placed in the room for him. He looked around for something to wear to bed. After a brief search he shrugged and climbed between the sheets naked. It’s not like his hosts would mind anyway. He was surprised at the smoothness of the sheets and the softness of the bed. He hadn’t slept somewhere so luxurious since he’d ended up in an expensive hotel during his cousin’s stag weekend. He yawned and murmured happily. It was very, very comfortable.
Bobby stirred awake as moonlight pooled over his pillow. He rubbed his eyes and stumbled blearily to the balcony. The forest was bathed in silver. He watched an owl glide silently through the brances. Tallia was right, it was a truly beautiful place. He leaned over the railing and noticed a gentle stream flowing into a pool beneath the palace. A group of elven maidens sat on the banks singing gently as a group of young elvish lads tried to approach a few of them romantically, resulting is gentle giggles and hushed voices. He turned his head and caught another figure watching the wooing below. Tallia stood on the balcony next to his. She had shed her flowing outer robes and was wearing a small dark tunic of some kind. Bobby suddenly remembered his own nudity. He looked around for his trousers.
“Don’t worry about it.” Tallia’s voice carried softly on the light breeze. “it’s nothing I didn’t see earlier.”
“I didn’t expect anyone to be out here, sorry.” Bobby blushed.
“I said don’t worry about it.” Tallia took her eyes off the scene below and looked at him, a smile in her eyes. “You should be asleep anyway.”
”I could say the same about you.” He replied, doing his best to hide his embarrasment. She chuckled lightly.
“I don’t really need to sleep very much. An hour here, a couple of hours there. I could go quite happily for a week or so without sleep. Besides, I so rarely get to stay here when the weather is quite so fine. I thought I’d make the most of it.”
Bobby nodded and turned to watch the young elves once more. A raven haired boy seemed to be having some measure of success with a pretty brunette.
“Ah young love.” She sighed with a smile, resting her elbow on the balcony edge and her chin in her palm. “It is so nice to see them courting at that age. They grow up so fast. I remember when Thorellin’s father first caught the eye of his mother. Now that was a romance to remember.” She chuckled. Bobby looked at her.
“Woah, you remember before that old king was born? How old are you anyway?”
“You never ask a lady her age.” She grinned mischeviously, tapping her nose.
“You can’t remember can you?” Bobby smirked.
“Alas no, I lost count.” She sighed. “Anyway, you should get back to bed. We have a long day tomorrow.” She looked up at him and smiled. “Sweet dreams, Otherworlder.”