Sunday Serial: Wrathburnt Sands 12

Because life can be interesting when you are a character in a video game…

Sure, enough she had barely got home, given Ruffkin his breakfast and made a fresh pot of fruit tea, before the Visitor she had overheard on the pier was banging on her door. She didn’t bother to welcome them, focusing instead on pouring some of the fruit tea into a pottery bottle and sealing it up.
“Come in. It’s not locked.”
The figure who entered might have stepped out of an ancient tale. She was clearly an elf, the pointed ears, elaborate hair and lofty expression of superiority spoke to that. She wore golden armour that gleamed with its own radiance and even lit up the room more brightly. One hand rested on the pommel of a sword, shaped to resemble the skull of a dragon with hollow socket eyes that gleamed darkly and a jagged blade representing flames coming out of its mouth. On her back was a bow, Milla could see it over the elf’s shoulder, which looked like it was made of a milky white wood, set with tiny gemstones.
This was clearly the kind of Visitor Pew called a poser.
“Hail fair lady. I, Blessedknight Gloryjammer, have need of your wisdom.” The elf managed to make it sound as if she were doing Milla a favour by allowing her to help, instead of it being the other way around.
Putting her hands on her hips, she wrinkled up her snout and glared at the elf, and Ruffkin gave a low growl from his bed by the hearth.
The elf looked a bit puzzled and cleared her throat.
“Hail fair lady. I, Blessedknight Gloryjammer, have need of your wisdom.”
“Yes. You said.”
“I don’t know how things are in the Melifulous Glades where you elves all come from, but here in Wrathburnt Sands we have these things called ‘manners’. You might even have heard of them?”
The elf had changed colour and looked a little grey.
“I…Uh… B-but this isn’t in the walkthrough.”
“Please,” Milla told her helpfully. “You say please.”
The elf swallowed.
“But it isn’t…”
“In the walkthrough?”
The elf shook her head.
“I don’t think that’s my problem,” Milla said and tapped her foot impatiently.
The elf looked close to tears.
“Alright. Please. Please will you give me the fragging pyramid quest?”
Milla sighed and picked up the bottle of tea and held it out to the unhappy-looking elf.
“You’ll need to get some flyberry cookies from One Eye Rye as well, so save yourself the time and get some flyberries before you go to see him.”
The elf took the bottle and stared at it uncomprehending.
“I already got some berries, but what’s this?”
“Fruit tea. The drakonettes who guard the pyramid love it.”
“But that’s not…”
“In the walkthrough?”
The elf shook her head again.
Milla resisted the temptation to shake hers and instead managed a fake smile. Not that the elf would think it fake. Visitor’s never noticed such things. Except for Pew.
“Uh. Alright. If you say so,” the elf said, sounding sulky. Then the colour shot back into her face with embarrassment “I mean – I thank you fair lady Milla for aiding me in my quest.”
Milla decided not to say that the only reason she had given her the tea was because she didn’t want the elf coming back to her house and trying to use her fire to make the tea herself. She’d learned early on that if she let them do that the Visitors always left the place in a mess.
Instead, she pulled a newly finished necklace of shells from her pocket and dropped it into the elf’s hand.
“Oh, and that’s the quest reward so you won’t need to come back and find me afterwards.”
The elf’s mouth was opening and closing like a fish.
“But it won’t work until you’ve finished the whole thing in the pyramid, relit the Everburning Eternal Fire, defeated the Lich Lord and summoned the Guardian of the Ages. So you’d better get going. You’ve a busy day ahead.”
As she spoke she gripped one heavily armoured elbow and spun the elf, unresisting, on the spot before pushing her firmly out of the front door and closing it behind her.
This time Milla did lock it. Turning the key firmly. She’d had more than enough of Visitors for the day and it wasn’t even lunchtime. She sat at her table and drank some of the fruit tea. Once she had tidied the place up she might do some baking then pop over to see One Eye and…
There came a thunderous knocking on the door.

We will return to Wrathburnt Sands by E.M. Swift-Hook next Sunday.

Return to Wrathburnt Sands was first published in Rise and Rescue Volume 2: Protect and Recover.

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