Wednesday, August 17, 2011
The clearing has a small stream that feeds into the edge of a nearly hidden waterway. If Fea hadn't been standing on the edge of it, Keon would never have noticed. A Murdhuachan is suddenly beside her, holding out a close fitting cap. The Dark Lord smooths back his hair and fits it to his head.
The scaled fae shakes his head and makes a small adjustment. "The red feather needs to slant back, Like any other spell, Lord Keon, some things cannae be out o' place."
The Unseelie Lord nods and follows as the pair into the shallows. The Mer Cronigh passes her hands over Keon's weaponry. Her companion removes Keon's cloak and hands it to another. The second straps it to Keon's saddle. A female rises from the water, balancing on her tail, to hand the Fae Lord a small spiraled shell on a cord. He secures it around his neck, looking askance.
She flips, diving back into what looks to be shallows. Keon blinks at her disappearance. After the second blink he spies the waiting warriors. Their natural coloring hides them well. One smiles and he is suddenly thinking of American alligators and the kelpies of his homeland.
Mer Cronigh touches his arms. "Tis time."
She wades deeper into the water, the Murdhuacha flowing behind her. The one who gave him the Merrow Cap waits as his brethren begin to slip under the waters. He grins at Keon and lifts the small shell around his own throat.
"Grip this between your teeth as we swim. It will help you move with the currents, and touch our minds with your thoughts to speak, much like your gargoyle friends." He looks out over the still water. "Come, Keon of the High Courts. Let's see if you can swim as well as you fight and sing."
With that he dives below the surface, Keon fast on his heels.
Lake grass slides along their legs as the team works its way through the plants of the Human Realm. A mind touches Keon's letting him know that the scenery will begin to change. Plants become strange, eerily beautiful. The colors are vibrant, bringing light and shadow to the dark depths.
There is a motion in the forward ranks and a few Murdhuacha split off. They disappear within the tall forest of plants. Soon after another group moves in the opposite direction. Keon picks up the images of ambush points. He nods and his companion points out a ridge set into and underwater cliff.
From here on, you need to be on your guard. This is the opening to the water passage into Drow lands. Follow the men before you, Stay away from the walls. The channel is wide enough for four to swim abreast, so it should be easy to avoid the walls even for a Lander. When we get deeper into their lands, there is someone who is aware of our coming. She will not betray us.
A creature wriggles up beneath Keon. It butts the fin on its back against him. When Keon drifts slightly, the eelish creature nudges him from the other side.
Grasp the fin. They come from the one who awaits us. These are her creatures.
The Unseelie Lord follows the Murdhuacha's lead, dark hand wrapping around the pectoral fin. The creatures glows softly and wriggles, Suddenly Keon is racing through unknown waters, along a narrow tunnel, to break the surface of the water inside a small cavern. Murdhuacha slip out of the water, turning to help Keon and others out as well. Mer Cronigh is resting comfortably on a seaweed padded seat. The figure with her rises gracefully, holding out a slim blue hand.
"Welcome to the Borderlands of Underdark, Keon Blackthorn, Lord of the House of Night, Unseelie Dark Lord, Rider of Herne, Minstrel of the Dark Court,"
He stares, trying to process the woman before him. Long waves of variegated blue hair tumbles around her slim form. White curls cluster near the ends, reminding Keon of the surf as it breaks on sandy shores. Her face is ageless, eyes nearly aqua, the nictitating third lid oddly right in her face. He hears his titles vaguely, until she utters the last.
"Father of Mera Waterchild, Chosen of Our Cassandra. Come gentlemen, sit, rest. Few Drow dare this part of the waters. They have much to fear here."
Keon clasps her hand lightly, careful of the fragile webbing. His lips brush the surface and she laughs. "I am The Siren. Fea and the Mers tell me much of you. Welcome to my home."
She touches the blue streak in his hair. She sighs softly. "Fea, this won't do. he cannot sport this if he walks among those wretched Darklings."
She snaps her fingers and a small child with gills is suddenly at her side. "Bring me octopus and squid inks."
The child is gone, and back quickly. Speaking to Keon, she begins to stroke the inks into his memory strands. "You are well known to be sporting a lovely patch of blue in memory of your lost love. This will not change the hair, merely color it for about a week, wearing out slowly. Your skin is a shade that is not uncommon among Drow. Your black hair and slightly smaller stature will mark you as a Drow/Court Fae halfling." She smiles at his raised eyebrow. "It does happen. Most escape Underdark to make their way among the Courts, but a few... Even without a robe you will fit in. Except the weapons. A Halfling is never allowed weapons. Best to find a robe."
Another child appears with a bundle. The Siren motions for her young assistant to find an appropriate one. It isn't long before one is found, wrapped in oilskin and secreted in Keon's pack.
'Sleep now gentlemen. For tomorrow you infiltrate The Drow."
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