I lounged on the comfortable red cushioned chair, waiting for the new King to arrive. He seemed a boy to me, in fact he was to my 600 years, but for a human he was at the height of his manly power. I rolled my eyes at the thought.
The dwarves were drinking and chuckling in the corner, and I focussed my attention on them, listening to their conversation with a small smile tweaking the corners of my lips.
"The human King approaches." Araanea said with a wistfully thoughtful voice, puffing on his pipe. I straightened slightly in my chair, preparing myself for any eventuality without losing the languid pose that boasted impassiveness.
"Hello everyone!" King Jason announced as he entered, and my subconscious rolled its eyes. Youngster. The others appeared to agree, as no answer was given, and it was as though no one had entered the room. I saw the girl, Heather, look affronted by our reaction, or lack of it. The boy continued. "I'm going to continue my father's war against the dragons."
My eyes flicked from the girl to the boy again, and I felt the others in the room still as he spoke those words. Almost a hundred years of war, and thousands of years of history before that, brushed over in one sentence by a boy who had recieved a sword and a title and thought that made him a god. Decreeing what he wished. No diplomacy, no thought, no patience. Just ignorant decisions made because no human king before him had given him a better example. Were humans incapable of unique ideas? Did they always follow what their predecessors had done?
"Just like that laddy?" One of the dwarves, Honrel, piped up.
"Yes, I don't see why not." The boy said. My subconscious rolled its eyes again, but I kept silent. I wanted to study this unfortunate race.
"And what of the war that you wage upon our fair races?" Araanea commented, his tone suggesting it was merely a passing thought and not a question which held thousands of lives waiting for an answer.
"I believe that the greatest threat to my land, my people's lives and yours is that of the dragons. I therefore propose some form of treaty that allows us to work together to rid us of this threat, and then after we are rid of it, we may further discuss the state of our relationship."
So the boy was running as soon as he walked. I stood from my chair and moved carelessly across the room to the window and looked out. I felt the humans' eyes on me as I did so, but ignored them and stared out across the courtyard wordlessly, while the dwarves continued the conversation.
"Some sort of treaty? To rid us of the dragons? They were our friends before you and your grandfathers came to this land."
"I am well aware of our history..."
"...Oh are you? So you know that your greed has brought this upon us all?"
"I wouldn't say..."
"Ah but of course you wouldn't." The boy was interrupted again. I stifled a smile at the dwarves' treatment of him; he stood no chance in an arguement. Dwarves bantered and argued as a form of entertainment, even as a sport."Humans can't see past the blinkers that's put on them from an early age."
"MY NAME IS HONREL FOEBREAKER!" Honrel roared, striking the stone floor with his axe, "PEOPLE FEAR MY NAME ACROSS THE LAND!"
Dwarves are very proud creatures, and they do not like customs that lead to their name being ignored. The boy had not been trained to talk to other races, or at least, not by a clever human.
"I have heard your name mentioned Foebreaker, and those that speak of it speak with repsect and fear."So perhaps he had recieved some training in speaking to dwarves.
Honrel harumphed in pleasure, and settled back down. Dwarves are also very easy to please. Throw in a compliment and you might as well have offered to buy them every drink they propose to drink for the rest of their lives. I threw this observation to Araanea, who chuckled slightly. A thing about elves is that some of us can communicate through our minds, over a short distance. No one is allowed in battle though, because it is much too distracting.
"Your majesty speaks fine words, and throws treaties round as though they were your toys. But you have not yet discussed what you intend for the treaty. You expect humans to work with elves and dwarves immediately, despite years of war and hatred between us?" I would never understand Araanea's ability to sound as though he did not care a fig for what was being said in every word he uttered. Perhaps it was something to do with the contents of his pipe.
"Something could be arranged."
Child. This boy was ignorant to the fact that people's minds cannot be changed, even if their ruler orders it.
"Dragons are not some animal you can kill with your weapons boy." Araanea's voice had acquired an edge to it, sharpened through years of knowledge and experience. "They are creatures of a higher field than the deer you hunt for sport. They have tangiable thoughts, emotions and a language. They are equal and beyond us all in intellect and society."
"They are monsters." The boy's voice was filled with hatred no one as young as him should have.
I span sharply, and the attention of the humans snapped to me.
Calm, Araanea's voice said in my head.
"If the dragons are monsters, it is because you and yours have made them such human. You know nothing. You're barely out of your crib. Do you know how to use the sword on your belt? Do you know how to gain the respect and love of your people? You are a child."
As 'child' left my lips I realised that I might have endangered the chance of peace that had been offered, no matter how temporary it had been. The human looked stunned, as though he had not realised I could speak, but the girl was angry and had her hand on her weapon. Try me.
"Lady, I may be young, but I have been trained, and I know how to lead. My whole life has been in preparation for this. You yourself are not very old; how is it you may say this to me, but I may not say it to you?"
His civil tone caught me a little.
"I am six hundred years of age human."
The girl started forward, but the boy stopped her.
"Well then you do not look your age."
He was all politeness and compliments. It annoyed me. His father had not been so. He had been filled with a hatred for us that was only rivaled by his hatred for the dragons.
I turned back to the window.
"We would need to discuss with our respective royals the situation. Perhaps we should arrange a meeting on more common ground?" Araanea said.
"This castle is safe from a dragon attack. It is ideal."
"It is not the only place. The Stones of Agrar were used for secret and safe meetings between the Kings of old."
"That is acceptable."
"You must think us fools!" The girl butted in.
"Then each King will bring a guard of four, no more or less."
"Agreed." The King said, although the girl looked as though she would disagree. I turned back to watch this deal being made.
"At the stones." The King reached forward his hand, which Araanea merely looked at. It was not our custom to shake hands. The dwarves however shook his hand, although I saw one slip a ring from his finger.
I nodded curtly when his eyes flicked to me again, then gestured to the other three to follow me.
I wanted to get out of this castle as fast as possible.