“Because the Queen’s guards, Agile and Adriei both saved us from a gaggle of batals!” Gabbie cheered. “That’s why there’s eleven of us. You should be proud to welcome back such victorious warriors!”
“Oh my gosh,” Ginger whispered, mimicking Agile’s hands-over-the-face reaction.
“A gaggle of batals, you say?” Squeaked the voice. “Hmn, that may perchance allow at least half of you lot in.”
“You can’t spilt eleven people!” Ginger called out.
“Sure you can. Just half someone down the middle. They’d come out like string cheese, but they’d be alright enough.”
“That’s it!” Agile yelled. “Where’s your mother, Silverskin? You can’t be dealt with right now.”
“But she let me guard the outpost while she spoke to father right quick!” Moaned the lovely voice.
“I no I did not!” Said another deeper squeak. “I turn around for a second and you’re there playing games with some of the most important people in Soille!”
The company heard a scuffle from behind the rock outcropping, the sound of a lever being pulled back, and then the clattering of rocks as they moved one by one to the side. The outcropping soon bled away into a delicate, well carved arch that led straight into the mountain. Right in the middle of the archway were two short people.
One was a woman. She was as tall as Alastair with glimmering tan skin, maple leaf brown hair pulled humbly into a pony tail, and long pointed ears. Her nose was twice as long as a humans, her chocolate brown eyes twice as big, her her limbs elongated as if she’d grown a few extra joints. The woman wore comfortable clothes, including a belted tunic with tighter pants and boots. Alastair could pick out the outline of chainmail poking out from underneath her tunic.
The other person was a boy and was most obviously the woman’s son. He shared the same features as her except whereas his mother’s skin shimmered the hues of the rocks around her, his glimmered silver. The boy’s head could barely reach Gabbie’s chin. He wore clothes one size too big similar to his mother’s.
“My apologies, Masters Agile and Adriei,” woman squeaked. She curtsied. “And guests!” She focused her severe brown eyes on Tipper astride Glue Pot’s back. “You have a wounded.”
“Yes, ma’am. He almost burned out,” Perceval supplied.
“Oh, dear,” the woman tsked. “Please, you’re welcome inside. If the guards saved you, then you shouldn’t be a danger to us,” the woman said. There was an ominous undertone to her pleasant chirps, almost as if what she meant to say was, “And you wouldn’t want to be a danger to us, now would you?”
“Thank you, Sannier,” Adriei smiled at the woman.
“It’s the least I can do. You two have been a great deal of help with keeping of the beasts and ghoulies. They have all been acting up. Took a few of our youngings.” She smacked her own child on the back of his head. “And here’s mine, being everything but respectful.”