Four of the five boys waited silently. Korman, however, waited impatiently for Avira, the dark-skinned she-elf who had "found" them.
They were lucky Darien had woken up first, he thought. Marcus would have woken up Trey first, and then he would have missed the action.
Trey would have let everyone sleep and just thought up something on his own to make it look like they were more welcome. Brendan would have woken Trey up as well, but maybe the both of them.
Trey might be the prince, but Korman was the unspoken leader of the group. They always asked him what to do.
It was irritating sometimes, but they were his best friends. He had known Trey for a long time, and he and the Cameron twins had been great friends since the day he met had them. Three days later, after traveling through animal trails and a lot of underbrush, Avira said that they would enter the elven lands tomorrow.
That night, as soon as she put two men on post, Avira went off by herself. She had Landon's letter.
Korman followed Avira silently, waiting to see what she would do. To his surprise, she opened the letter Trey had been carrying! She must have confiscated it when they were captured.
"Dehlyn annonei, hmm?" she murmmured.
She opened it and began to read the soft, elven words. Korman, who had helped Landon penn the letter, suddenly remembered seeing the names at the top of the list:
Kelta, Gorai, Avira, Lende, Fortsight, and Master
Korman struck his forehead with his hand. He was such an idiot sometimes! Avira was close to being one of the Five, the ones who decided the fate of elven nations!
"Are ye finish'd spyin' on me, young man?" Avira whispered from behind him.
"You are no elven scout!" Korman hissed. He turned to face her. "Your name is on the letter. There is a reason for that. Landon wouldn't put your name on the letter without a reason." he glared suspiciously at her. He could at least try to get something of an explanation.
"I know of elves," he said to her. "and I know that most don't have dark skin and hair like you do. Who are you, really?" she smiled.
"Ye be an intelligent one, I am no elven scout. I will no' tell you my past, but I will tell you who I am. I am Avira, an elven general, though such tis rare at my age. My skin was a price my parants paid, long ago, fer my life.
"Landin and I both were raised by the Mastar, one of the few left on this place as far as we know. I am able t'command the Legion if I wish, but i will only be chosen once. Such is the rule among elves, lad, which you know well enough is you know of us. Prince Trey may speak to you of his lands when he learns of them if he wishes, but I canna tell you much else, save that you are permitted to leave tomorrow."
The she-elf smiled at him, turned and walked back to camp. If elves were stubborn, then this one was lenient, at the very least. Korman sighed. She had to be important for her name to be on the letter, but who was she! On top of that, Korman could not remember the contents of the letter. He would have been Trey's adviser on the Elven customs if the Norwans hadn't come in, so he had to know it!
She grew up with Landon! He hadn't mentioned the elves much, not even a childhood friend. Well, it was something. He turned and headed back to camp, racking his brain for some sort of memory or clue. Anything. But, as he walked, he did not notice the large root in the ground, a swordspan from the fire.
Not having gathered his wits, Korman tripped on the root.
Acting upon instinct, Korman pushed his hands out in front of him to catch himself, his left hand landing in the flames. Korman screamed from the pain as his hand was wrapped in flame. He did not even notice Trey and Darien haul him upright.
Seeing Korman's hand, Avira immediately took control. "Watar, healing herbs and fresh linen! Quickly! Stan'in there'll do nothin, would ye hav' him lose his hand? Go!" Avira shouted to three of her guards who were off duty. Brendan rushed forward to help support his friend.
Marcus immediately took stock of the situation and began trying to reassure the Elven guards who had come, thinking they had been attacked.
As soon as the guards brought what she needed, Avira seized Korman's injured hand and pushed it into the bucket of water to help maintain the pain of the burn. Trey knelt beside Korman, who was propped up against Brendan. Darien sat with Marcus and watched as Avira tended to Korman's burned hand.
"If he is lucky, we may leave his hand wi' little scarrin'." Avira whispered to Trey "He still may use a sword in due time."
Trey stared at his friend, who had nearly passed out from the pain. Not really knowing who to do, Trey placed his hand on Korman's shoulder, trying to think of conforting words. After a while, he recovered from the shock, and everybody slept.
A well-earned sleep it was.
The next morning:
Korman sighed as he looked at his injured hand. He paced for a few moments, waiting for Avira. He then stopped, tapping his foot as he waited by the door. Tempted as he was, he couldn't just barge into a meeting called by the Five. He knew better.
He wished he had been more careful walking back, but Avira had removed his focus, startled him.
The door opened suddenly, hitting his injured hand. Korman yelped and backed away from the door, holding the hand protectively to his chest.
An elderly elf stepped outside, surprised to see Korman. "Impatient t'day, are we young man?" He glanced at Korman's hand. Korman kept his eyes lowered, trying not to lash out at the elderly elf.
"Excuse me, but I on'ly just saw ye when ye yelped so. Did I hit ye?" the man had a thicker accent then most of the elves. Korman nodded, barely able to understand the Master.