It was night, and a full moon reflected off the sacred bowl of water upon the dais in the gazebo where Nimredel stood. Her hands folded in front of her, she wore a long gown of silvery blue that was open at her sides from her hips to her shoulders. Her long white hair reached down to her tail bone behind her, no longer braided as she reached a hand to her side. Feeling her smooth pale bluish skin, she felt no indication of the deep wound that had been there but a day ago.
As the Sentinel stood there, inspecting herself, a Priestess of the Moon quietly strode up behind her. In a soft tone, the violet haired priestess spoke, immediately grabbing Nimredel’s attention, “It’s a good thing you dressed and tended your wounds so well, or there would have been nothing we could do to prevent some nasty scarring.”
Turning to face the priestess, Nim smiled and spoke back in a happy tone, “I couldn’t take credit for that. It was a kind soul who took care of my wounds and saved me from succumbing.”
Dressed in pure white mooncloth, the priestess held out her violet hued hands and smiled widely, “A kind soul again, was it? If I do recall correctly, this is not the first time I’ve heard you mention a nameless kind soul.”
Stepping down from the stone gazebo, Nim extended her arms and held the hands of the priestess in a gesture of familiar friendship. Unphased, the Sentinel spoke in a steady tone, “No, I suppose not, Lil.”
The priestess squeezed her friends hands before letting go, studying her friends face, “Don’t worry, I wont report to anyone about that.”
Inhaling then giving a slight sigh, Nim gave the priestess a steady gaze, “It was nothing like that, Lilyana. When a citizen requests the aid of a Sentinel, it is not my place to refu–”
The priestess cut her off with a wry voice, “Or your place to call for support from your sister Sentinels, apparently.” She turns partly away, giving a sly smile on her unmarked face.
Giving the priestess an unflappable smile, “Makes for a better story that way.” Nimredel gave a shrugging gesture with her hands, “And without stories, what else is there to talk about?”
The priestess cocked an eyebrow, “Sometimes I think you haven’t changed a bit in all these years, Nim.”
“Nonsense. I have more stories to tell now.” She replied with a wide smile on her face that seemed to stretch back to her ears.
Lilyana shook her head and laughed softly, “Well perhaps you’ll share some of them with us some time.” She placed an emphasis on ‘us’.
Nim stood her ground, pausing a moment as she thought back on younger years. “Well,” she stopped herself from saying something she’d regret, “give Dendral my best, Lil.” She casually stepped around the priestess, walking away from the priestess’ grounds.
Lil turned towards her passing friend, speaking up, “You’ve still got a day left before you have to head back to your barracks.”
Keeping her casual pace, Nim called out as she walked away, “Elune-Adore, Lil. No rest for a Sentinel.”
It took her longer than usual, but in short time Nim was packed and dressed in a simple brown leather tunic, with an orange skirt that hung down to her ankles, hair braided carefully again, but this time in two separate braids over each shoulder. She strode away from the settlement with her small, simple bag held by one hand and slung over her left shoulder.
As she stepped beyond the gates to the community and down the forest path, she heard the sound of a flute seem to flutter down from above. A smile came to her face before she even turned her head upwards and sighted the visage of her green haired friend, legs dangling over the thick branch upon which she sat.
Teeva continued her soothing tune to completion, eyes shut as she swayed from side to side, aware of her audience of one as the music played out its perky ending. Letting the flute and her hands drop from her mouth, Teeva’s eyes fluttered open and she smiled down at her friend who watched below, bag on the ground at her feet as she applauded.
Teeva’s expression was mirthful and warmed the Sentinel’s heart as she stared up. In a sing song, jolly voice, Teeva called out, “And the hero of the Moonlit Grove sets off early! No doubt in search of further adventure.” Kicking her booted feet back and forth, she let her pan flute fall to her chest, held in place by the leather strap attached to it, as she leaned forward, looking down.
Resting her hands on her hips, Nim smiled up, “Suddenly, further adventure doesn’t seem so urgent.” Teeva’s eyes seemed to sparkle in the moonlight, “You were waiting here for me?”
Teeva kicked her feet further, “Uh huh. And I was supposed to have an extra day to prepare for your exit.”
Nimredel laughed, “You were going to wait up there a whole other day?”
“If that’s what it takes! Us fan girls often spend a great deal of time staking out a vantage point to meet our heroes, you know?” She pursed her lips from her joyful expression. “It’s how we get the juicy info and the face time.”
Throwing back her head and laughing loudly without reserve, Nim clapped her hands together again and called out, “Well how about you hop down here and get THE vantage point of all vantage points by walking beside me, huh?”
Swinging around, Teeva leaned on her palms and slid her bottom and legs off the branch, dangling down before dropping to the floor.
When she released, she found herself caught in the powerful Sentinel’s arms before hitting the ground. Nimredel laid her feet to the ground softly and gave a warming smile before Teeva turned to her and spoke up, “You shouldn’t over do it, hero.”
Nim gave a laugh and jabbed at her own side with two of her fingers where her wound had been, “As good as new, no worries. Those priestesses didn’t leave a mark, thanks to your work.”
The green haired elf eyed the Sentinel a moment, the smile never leaving her face, “You’re sure? Not just being a big tough hero?”
Nimredel laughed in response, another happy laugh. “No, nothing like that. And the priestess even told me, had it not been for you dressing and caring for my wounds so well, I’d have some nasty scarring right now, to say the least.” Looking bashful at the remark, Nim continued before she could speak, “Thank you, Tee. You saved more than my skin, but my life.”
Teeva laughed, and hooped her arm around Nimredel’s as the Sentinel held it out. “You were helping me, it’s the least I could do.”
Smiling appreciatively at the spirited bard, Nim bent over and picked up her bag, throwing it over her right shoulder, “Come along. I’m sure you don’t want to be rooted to one spot forever.”
Nim laughed and the pair strolled along down the path, “To true, Nim. Then you’d have to come visit me all the time.” She smiled happily and looked along the forest with joy in her eyes. “Say, I didn’t have time to prepare it all, with you leaving early and all, but… I was preparing something for you by a pond near here.”
The Sentinel raised a brow and turned her head towards the other woman slightly, “Oh? A devious fan has been hatching a scheme, has she?”
Teeva giggled and squeezed the muscular arm of the soldier, pointing off through the trees, “Off that way. That is, if you can spare the time.”
Nimredel just smiled warmly to her companion, “That would be lovely.”
It took them little time, even at their leisurely pace, to reach the pond, the two women talking and laughing all the way.
Upon arrival Nim smiled and dropped her bag to the grass, Teeva uncoiled herself from around the Sentinel’s thick arm, “Wait right here! Let me finish what I planned.” Giving the green haired elf a quick nod, she watched as the other elf disappeared into the trees, dashing away.
While she waited, Nim untied and kicked off her boots, laying back on the grass and taking in the sights and sounds of the small gap in the trees above the pond. After a brief period of relaxation, she set about starting a small fire on a rocky patch near the water, using dead branches she gathered from the forest.
As the Sentinel stooped over the flame, coaxing it to full life, Teeva returned out of the trees with a large wooden bowl between her hands, and a few items in a satchel of her own. Her face alight with a bright smile as she skipped over beside Nim at the fire and knelt down in seemingly one graceful motion, laying out the bowl in front of the other woman.
Smiling at Teeva’s return, she glanced to the bowl, “What’s that you’ve brought?” Peering in, she saw the glossy contents.
“It’s a mixture of all the best nature has to offer! Fruits, nuts and berries like you’ve never had before! And drizzled in the finest honey, graciously provided by our insect friends.”
Nim’s blue lips spread into a wide smile, her attention turned from the contents of the bowl to her friend, the joy on Teeva’s face growing as she sees her friends look of approval. “A feast fit for a real hero, should one come along.”
Teeva gave a laugh, and waved her hand dismissively at her friend, finding her comment silly. “And since you’ve already got a fire going…” she twisted around, rooting through her bag until she pulled out a clay pot and a tiny purse, “you can wash it all down with some herbal tea!”
Nearly blown away by the display of kindness, Nim paused a moment as she saw the look of glee upon Teeva’s face, then sat up on her knees, “Well what are we waiting for? Let’s enjoy this feast!”
As the two ate and the pot boiled, they shared friendly smiles and traded amusing banter between plucking honey drizzled morsels from the bowl between them. As the meal wound down and Teeva prepared their tea, she smiled wide and toothy to Nim, “Would you tell me another one of your stories?”
Leaning back with one palm upon the grass, Nim looked across to the other elf then sat up, folding her thick legs beneath her. She swallowed the last of the berry she had in her mouth, “You’ve heard them all though.”
Teeva added a dallop of honey to Nim’s tea before holding the steaming cup out to her, “Oh come on. Pleeeaase?” She tried to give a pouting, pleading look, but her smile shone through, as she knew Nim would acquiesce.
Taking the tea, Nim smiled and nodded, “Okay then. I don’t believe I ever told you the full story of that time–“