As the sudden heat from the teleport faded, the cool wet air of the southern reaches of Jelharin Forest took over. A lite drizzle was seeping through the canopies above, and after the bright sunlight of the city Leo found the soft shade of the forest cold, and dim.
Only one other person had come through with him, Ronald, one of his father’s household staff. A middle aged man, with brown balding hair and no family other than that he served. Dressed in his uniform red and black, he already was in the process of storing Leo’s bags into the waiting car.
“Ron!” Leo called out. The fat man paused suddenly, like a deer caught in the headlights. “Sir?” he responded.
“Could I get my jacket from the bag quickly? Please?”
Quick as a flash Ronald had the bag open, and within moments had retrieved the jacket, and additionally a scarf. He hurried back over under the portal landing shelter where Leo waited, and extended them with a near perfected bow. Leo took the items with a smile.
“You don’t need to be so formal out here Ron. Relax a little.” He told the older servant.
As he was tucking the scarf in under his jacket, a movement from between the trees caught his eye. They came, at first one, then three, then seven, all garbed in green with more skin showing around their stomachs, legs and arms than Lord Kennith would have thought proper. They were tall and slender, with long arms necks and legs, all wore their hair down in a similar fashion so that it hung about their shoulders.
They stood in a concave formation, in rows like the order they appeared and for the longest while said nothing and made no move. Then, the one at front raised her hand slowly, until it was palm up over her head. With unbroken fluidity she twisted the hand around and brought it down, brushing her brow, between her eyebrows, down her nose and over her lips until her hand was rested in a curled position between her breasts. “Welcome to the forest, young Leo. We have been expecting you.” She called with upmost courtesy.
Leo was shocked for a moment, he had not expected hospitality. Before he could formulate a response though, the lead elf tucked her other arm behind her back, and bowed low from the waist. The troop behind her mimicked her bow. Then, silently, they stood and left.
Still confused, Leo entered the car and they were on their way. For the whole drive he was lost in his thoughts. He’d expected hostility from the Elven population- after all, they were barely received with anything less where he’d come from. Yet still, maybe this year wouldn’t be the hell he’d anticipated.
The car pulled up slowly, resting to a stop. Ron was out of his seat like a flash, and around opening Leo’s door for him. Leo took his offered hand, and stepped back out into the cool drizzle. The school was magnificent, the main construct was built around a tree of monolithic proportions, while further stairways had been built into the tree itself, leading to further buildings and towers carved out of the living trees boughs. A wide clearing surrounded the building on the ground for a good three hundred meters in every direction, but between the building and the monolithic tree the canopy of what must have been a relatively thick grove could be seen.
A stone wall surrounded the campus, the wall was smooth and seemingly seamless, made of a grey-green rock and infused with Elven runes that glowed slightly in the dim light.
A crowd of students were congregating a small walk from the road, outside what seemed to be the main gate. Small groups were already forming, but all seemed friendly enough. Except one, huddled up the back and away from the rest a few people stood alone. Leo was watching them, as they were approached by three from another group, hostility written all over their body language.
Leo left the Ron with the car, and slipped into the crowd. The elves took near no notice of him, but those who did were unimpressed. They sneered, cat-called and spat. This was more the reception he’d expected, but he forced his way through to the group at the back.
The three elves still stood over the other small group. They were in the process of rummaging through a bag they’d snatched when Leo reached them. He grabbed the bag back out of their hands, they seemed too shocked to respond. He paused, for just a second, before handing the bag back to the cowering Human girl behind him.